Warped: Historic and Fictional Relationships Gone Bad
Published by Rose Perez at Shakespir
Copyright 2015 Rose Perez
Dedicated to my mother
Have you ever been so mad about someone that you thought you would do absolutely anything for him/her; no matter how insane it might be? Or have you ever loved a person so intensely that you thought you would go absolutely crazy? When does love become an obsession or a crime? You’ll read twenty tales of what people obsessed are capable of doing. Just for fun, see if you’re able to guess if the story is fiction or real! Perhaps you’ll see a little or a lot of yourself in these characters. Monster, wolf, cheater or criminal -- which one are you? And more importantly, what are you going to do about it?
He was driving, and she gazed at him with unabashed worship. She was overjoyed. Why then was she shivering? He smiled at her but before she could smile back, he was gone. Bonnie screamed, but her terror was short-lived as the rain of bullets ended her young life, as well.
(Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were outlaws who robbed and murdered people during the Great Depression)
I returned to him. I always did. A toxic and intoxicating love. I shiver now; thinking of how he’d bend me over and slap my bottom until it was as red as Father Preston’s face when Mrs. Swanson, with her enormous breasts, would stick her tongue out for Holy Communion.
(Fictional story by Rose Perez: inspired by being raised Catholic, having to go to mass every Sunday, and watching the priest, whom, to me, looked uncomfortable whenever an attractive woman passed by)
He woke up feeling strangely weak; even opening his eyes took some determination. He reached towards her side of the bed, but only felt the cool sheet. Attempting to get out of bed, his legs buckled, and he fell to the floor. His hair had been shaved.
“Delilah!” Samson screamed.
(Samson was granted otherworldly strength by God, but was betrayed by his lover, Delilah, who allowed the Philistines to shave his hair while he slept)
He heard her approaching and knew she’d be angry. He didn’t expect the noises coming from her head. Leaning against the wall, he waited. As she walked towards his direction, he swiftly brandished the mirror. She screamed at her reflection, and then there was silence. Medusa had turned into stone.
(According to Greek mythology, Medusa had venomous snakes in place of hair. If one were to gaze directly into her eyes, the onlooker would turn into stone. Perseus was sent, by the gods, to destroy Medusa)
He saw her, and his breath caught in his throat. He stared. She met his gaze and let out a horrified gasp.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you,” he apologized profusely.
She smiled uneasily. Suddenly cold, she tightened her red cloak about her. Who was this hairy stranger?
(Little Red Riding Hood is a fairytale about a girl and a big bad wolf)
She was turned away from him, and he felt her distance. He closed the gap between them, reached out, and caressed her cheek. No response.
He felt anger welling up inside. “You wouldn’t be here without me!”
He was being childish, but how was he to reach her?
(In Ovid’s poem, Metamorphoses, Pygmalion was a sculptor who carved a woman out of ivory and fell in love with his sculpture)
She had a long day at work and couldn’t wait to go home and just look into Jerome’s eyes. She smiled, entering the apartment.
“Honey, I’m home!”
She walked over to a cupboard and took out a jar. She stared into it, and Jerome’s eyeballs, suspended in formaldehyde, stared back.
(Fictional story by Rose Perez: inspired by a collection of porcelain doll eyes in a glass jar))
She felt happy in his arms, but she wanted so much more with their lives. They sat under a tree, and that’s when she shouted: “Let’s stand up and do something with our lives!” Eve plucked the apple from the tree. In the shadows, the snake watched with glinting eyes.
(Adam & Eve, from the Bible, are believed to be the first man and woman created by God)
He felt dizzy and fell hard; his head bleeding profusely. Running to him, she, too, tumbled. Her arm snapped, and she screamed.
She crawled painfully to him. “Are you okay, Jack?”
He winced. “There’s something wrong with the well water, Jill. I feel sick. Tell everyone not to drink it.”
(Jack and Jill is an English nursery rhyme)
He was a man of great power and expected everyone to bow down before him.
“I shall never bow down to you!” His wife, Anne screamed at him.
He grew tired of her temper and failure to produce a male heir.
“You shall lose your stubborn head.” He promised her.
(Anne Boleyn was King Henry VII’s second wife who was executed after three years of marriage. The honeysuckle and acorn were adopted as symbols of their relationship.)
He had unrolled the rug, expecting a statue. Instead, he found her. His smile warmed her, and his touch thrilled her.
How did it come to this?
She placed the snake to her chest, and its fangs sunk into her skin. Her lover’s name was the last word Cleopatra spoke.
(Cleopatra was an Egyptian queen who was the lover of the Roman General, Mark Antony)
She cried at the news of her husband’s demise. In the broken mirror, she gazed at her tawdry gown and reminisced about the grand days.
Surely, the court would pardon her and take her back to the castle.
The cake remark was just a joke. Commoners were far too sensitive!
(Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were queen and king of France during the French Revolution)
In town, as she walked alone, people threw her disdainful glances and others shouted obscenities. She watched as those who had cruelly mocked her, entered the church. They would wail if they knew the secrets of the man who led their mass. The baby kicked, and she rubbed her belly.
(The Scarlet Letter: A Romance is an 1850 novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne.)
Each time, they would try, and she would rest on his chest as he stroked her hair. Perhaps this time, they had made a baby. It never happened, and she remained barren. He sent her away, but his love for her remained.
At his death bed, he called her name.
(Joséphine de Beauharnais was the first wife of Napoleon I, and the first Empress of France)
He traveled to the Underworld to bring her home.
You mustn’t look back until you reach the upper world, the gods had warned him.
Orpheus walked ahead, yet he couldn’t hear her footsteps any longer. Was she following? He looked back, and she screamed his name as she vanished forever.
(Orpheus and Eurydice are the tragic lovers of Greek mythology)
She was determined to marry a man like the ones she would read about in romance novels. Yet here she was married to her fifth husband, and he, too, was weak. Shaking her head, she poured the poison in his beer. Would she ever find the man of her dreams?
(When Nannie Doss a.k.a.“The Jolly Black Widow” was arrested, she joked about her dead husbands and the method she used to kill them.)
She had never known a love like his, and at his untimely death, a part of her died with him. For the rest of her days, she was in mourning and dressed in black to show the world her heart had lost its joy. She spent most days in seclusion.
(Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert, in 1840. She never ever fully recovered from his death in 1861)
Skin is burning and boiling, a scream fills the inside of her chest. The lye scorches her vision, leaving behind a veil of scars.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to earn your forgiveness and win your love,” he promises.
After fourteen years incarcerated for the crime, he marries his victim.
(Linda Riss married Burton Pugach, who in 1959 hired a man to splash lye on her face. Their marriage lasted thirty-nine years)
He watched his love deteriorate before him. The doctors he had hired couldn’t help her overcome the disease.
“You’ll be with me always,” he sobbed as she died in his arms.
He had her body embalmed and placed under glass. He displayed her perfectly preserved corpse in his dining room.
(Eva ‘Evita’ Peron was the second wife of Argentine President Juan Peron)
She woke up to darkness.
There was an enormous shadow in her bedroom, and she could hear his breathing. She started screaming, and he silenced her by squeezing her neck. He felt her bones shatter underneath his merciless grip.
“For you, father.” The monster whispered through gritted teeth.
(Frankenstein is a novel written in 1818 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)
After reading these stories of broken, insane and tragic characters, you must know that their stories do not end. Look around your home, your neighborhood and your world…if you pay close attention, there’s a wolf lurking in the shadows. Do you see the furious son who blames his father for his misery? What about the monster in the mirror who appears when you’re angry? We have all experienced jealousy, selfishness and desperation in some form or another. Fortunately, there are boundaries most of us will respect, however, beware of the ones who crossed over the line…
…bad things can happen.
Photographs and cover design by Matt ‘FlyTrapMan’ Childs