“What’s wrong?” by Priyanka Kole

Aug 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

I called her,

Lily on 1st April,

Julie on 15th,

Rekha on 3rd May.

She didn’t complain, yell, or punch me in the face.

What’s this about?

Love or money.

But, she had a better-paying job than me, and we were dating just for almost a month, so love, no.

But something had to be wrong with her.


We met at a funeral. I gawked at her for the entire time, then mustered the strength, and approached her with a white lily in my hand (which I tugged out from the decorations).

“You are fascinating.” I commented.

“More than death,” she replied, and took the white lily.

I chuckled and asked for her number.


We went on dates, movies.

She liked to watch horror and thrillers, The ring, Hatchet, psycho, centipede etc but never flinched, blinked, or screamed at the gore scenes. We watched the documentaries on serial killers on Netflix, weird choice of her,on a movie night. I retched at a scene. She giggled and patted my cheek playfully.

I grabbed a bottle and gulped down some water, glancing at her, using my peripheral vision to the fullest. She played with her always loose hair. What if she was one of them, a serial killer? They won’t bother names. Few were wanted by the cops in the state.

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with her.

At dinner, I gaped at her. Nah, serial killer, but recognizing one just by his or her looks would make it easier for everyone.


Avoid her, sounds like a good plan. Ghosting her altogether would provoke her, so I tossed that idea out. She knew where I lived.

In these situations, I regretted the quality of friends I had. The number was only three, though. One could grab anything harder to get a hold on in the state if you understand what I mean, and another one only called when he needed a wingman in a club to help him. The third one had only one advice, to run away and start fresh, though he was the one still living with his parents.

The list of my friends end here. So, not anyone like a badass cop going out of his way, gleaning information about this girl, grabbing evidence and then arresting her and saving me.


On a Saturday, she took me to a cemetery. “Coming here, I understand the philosophy of birth, sufferings, and death more. The silence doesn’t bother me. It’s quiet here for everyone.”

I nodded and gulped a spit lump down my throat.


 She invited me to her house next Tuesday; it was her birthday. I insisted on going to a fancy restaurant. She refused, “I will cook for you.”

So next Tuesday, my doom-day or maybe I was just paranoid.

I chose not to take any risks, though. A girl had robbed me on a date before. So, I bought a pepper spray, a long rope, a huge knife, and packed them in an old college bag.

I could light her curtains on fire to alert her neighbors. Use the pepper spray if she chased me and slide down her balcony by the rope if trapped, and worst-case scenario fight her with the knife. She was half my size, I could do that.

In the mellow evening, dogs howled around her house. I pressed the doorbell, and wiped my sweating forehead on my sleeve. Checked my pocket for the lighter. She opened the door.

Her brunette hair loose like always, a sparkling white dress flowed on her curves and skin glowing like clean water. Devil had a charm.

“What’s in the huge bag, my gift?” she chuckled as I walked in.

“A surprise,” I said.

Scented candles decorated the room. The air thick with the aroma of the food. Soft music in the background. Surely romantic on a normal date, but now it felt like I stepped in a haunted house. One I had visited as a ten-year-old then came out wailing.


The plan; swap our plates when she would not look and not drink anything, not even water. No risks.

She cut her cake and offered me a piece. “I’m allergic,” I said.

 My eyes followed her moves while I slumped on the couch. She arranged the plates on the dinner table.

She walked towards me. I straightened my back and held my bag close. While plonking beside me, her eyes darted to mine.

“I’ve wanted to tell you something for a long time. Don’t be mad,” she said.

She held her hair back, a white plastic thing in her ear. “It’s a hearing aid. I cannot hear well without it. Most of the time I kept my hair down because of that, sometimes didn’t even wear it. I couldn’t tell you earlier.I just didn’t want you to judge me on my disability before even knowing me first. It’s being a month I think you should know.”

Thank God. “It’s totally cool. I understand.”

She sighed, resting her tilted head on a fist. “You are a great guy,” she smiled, loosening her hair.

I ate the dinner like a beast.

“I’ve never seen you eating like that,” she said.

“I’m sorry. I’m just extremely hungry. By the way, you look great today.”

“Thank you for noticing so early,” she replied. After a pause she said, “You look good too.”

I insisted on leaving early. The preparations for her BIRTHDAY (double air quotes) didn’t allow me to get enough sleep last night.

At the door, she said, “Are you forgetting something?” She opened her palm, pointing at my face. “My gift.”

“Gift. Okay.” I pulled out the pepper spray from my bag. “This, so you can always stay safe on the roads and from serial killers.”

She frowned at it, “You are funny.”

“I get that a lot,” I snickered. “The dinner was superb.”

“Thanks for coming,” she said, tucking her hair back, making her aid visible.

“So goodnight and Happy Birthday once again, Julie.”

And this time she heard.

“It’s Rose, you moron.”


Priyanka Kole is currently an undergraduate medical student in India. She is pursuing her MBBS degree from RG Kar Medical College, Kolkata. She is a daydreamer, reader, and writer. Her work has appeared in The Tint Journal, Short Kid Stories Magazine, and The Potato Soup Journal.

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