Leslie looked into their closet with a frown, wondering what to wear for the celebration tonight. They picked some clothes out, laying the outfits along the bed. A skirt here, a dress there. …Maybe no skirts tonight, they weren’t really in the mood.
A few outfits later, Leslie assessed the one they currently wore in the full length mirror: a pair of newly fashionable denim pants and a light green shirt that wrapped tight around their torso and showed off their shoulders.
A knock sounded at the front door. Leslie looked toward the sound in confusion. Ramona and Dax weren’t supposed to arrive yet.
They glanced once more at themself in the mirror, then shrugged. When they opened the door, Leslie was surprised to see 216894 standing there.
“Can we talk?” he asked with a smile.
Leslie glowered at him. “Sure,” they replied.
Silence. “I’d prefer if we talked inside.”
Leslie narrowed their eyes at him, then glanced to the street. Ramona and Dax were already in view; they’d be here soon enough.
“Alright,” Leslie replied with a cold grin, turning their back on him as they walked into the apartment. The door closed.
“Dax likes you, so I’ve decided to start playing nice,” Leslie said as they walked to the kitchen counter where a knife had been left out for tonight’s preparations. “But rest assured I’ll be keeping an eye on you.”
“You really are –” click “ – problematic.”
Leslie turned to face 216894 as he approached, their hand resting casually next to the knife handle. “Why’d you lock the door?” they asked.
216894 glanced at the knife, then to Leslie. He lunged, Leslie snatched the knife, aiming for the man’s gut.
The knife was knocked out of their hand as 216894 tackled them to the wall, hands wrapped around their throat. They’d missed?!
They punched him across the face, causing him to topple onto and break the table. Leslie sprung to their feet. The man charged at them again.
They dodged the swing, the man’s hit landing on the wall with a loud thud.
“That your best?!” Leslie challenged before jumping onto his back.
They had 216894 pinned to the floor, holding both his arms behind his back and a foot pressed firmly between his shoulder blades when a frantic knocking came from the door.
“Leslie!” Dax’s voice called. “Leslie!”
“Dax!” they responded. “He’s trying to kill me! Get – oof!”
216894 had rolled Leslie off him onto the floor. Their head hit hard, little stars swimming in their vision…along with the sight of a knife aimed right at their throat.
Leslie gripped 216894’s wrist with one hand and the other around his fist, trying to keep the knife away from them. Damn he was strong.
Something cracked. Then 216894 went flying off Leslie and into the wall.
They lay there for a moment, trying to catch their breath, looking up at Dax who held the knife in her hand and was staring in horror at a very dead looking 216894.
“Thank you,” Leslie breathed out. “I knew there was a reason I didn’t like him.”
The knife clattered to the floor.
“Oh, shit,” Dax muttered. “Oh, shit, oh shit.”
Oh, gods, she was panicking wasn’t she?
Leslie glanced at the body and saw a knife wound without blood. So they hadn’t missed.
“What am I going to do?” Dax muttered, turning her back.
“I don’t think you have to worry about anything.” Leslie stood, grabbing the knife once more and inspecting the body. The neck had bent and there seemed to be a rip in the skin.
“I have nowhere to go,” Dax continued in her ramblings, “I don’t want to end up in confinement, but there’s nowhere to run. What do I do?”
Leslie detached the head, green and brown wires hanging from it like vines. 216894 wasn’t human. “You didn’t kill anyone, Dax,” Leslie stated.
“I could live in the wilderness!” she exclaimed.
“Dax!” Leslie called.
“Just disappear into the great outdoors!”
“What?!” she cried, finally turning around.
Leslie gestured to the head they held. Dax looked at it with wide eyes.
“Like I said,” they continued, “I don’t think there’s going to be a problem.”
“Well,” Dax replied breathlessly, “that’s new.”