So Sorry Alice. - Taé Brown

The first time Alice considered murder was the first time she met Gabriel. 

He whispered his name to her like a healing chant and assured her that the only way to get back at the little boy at daycare that had just taken her blocks was to take the blocks and shove them down his throat. If he wanted them so bad, he deserved to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Gabriel looked like any other little boy, then. But his face grew sour when she didn’t comply. He helped her find more blocks, though, and he didn’t push the subject.

When Gabriel first heard Alice’s mother speak, he felt no different about her. Except he was very sure that he wanted knives to be involved instead of building blocks. Once again, Alice refused. Even as her mother went and plucked a switch from the yard, and Gabriel pleaded for her to defend herself, to fight back, Alice just sat there. He played patty-cake with her when she was locked in her room.

Gabriel hated her first boyfriend from the moment he laid eyes on him. Gabriel described it as jealousy, and reasoned that he was allowed to want to kill him. Alice was his down to her messy little core, all the books they read said so, yet she did nothing when said boyfriend threatened to kill her.

Gabriel got uglier after him. And even uglier and meaner after all her friends left, and even uglier and meaner after she got groomed.

Every night, as she lay awake, and he cried in her ear, pleas of maiming and sodomy, of massacre and revenge, Alice sat and listened, and hated herself for the thoughts she let him have, and she hated herself even more for relishing in the softness of his form against her spine.



“What a weird woman,” the grating voice that the meds didn’t fix pointed out. That was Gabriel, and he looked kind of fucked up and a little bit biblical. Alice wasn’t quite sure what he looked like in full today because she was paying attention to the Michigan road. 

And ignoring him.

What’s it like to kill someone? Have you ever thought about that?”

“Gabriel, you won’t let me not.”

“Okay, okay, but we’ve-”

I’ve. I am singular,” Alice said. “And she was also in the funny farm, I don’t think it’d be that beneficial to consider her questions on a moral scale.”

“Sure sure, but we’ve never actually done it.”

“And we’re keeping it that way. And I’m going to be keeping these in me to keep you out of my fucking business.” Alice was pointing to Gabriel’s lap where the pills sat. “I think I could go for some… Italian food. Or milk of magnesia. I haven’t shit in a week.”

“What even is this… Lamictal? Ritalin? So what, you’re a woman, now?”

“Very funny, Gabriel.” Alice pulled into the Cheddar’s parking lot. It wasn’t Italian, but it was close enough to an Olive Garden without being an Olive Garden. She longed for the spinach and artichoke dip… And a pita chip. Eating the same chicken and fries everyday was beginning to make pavement look edible.

“Okay, but what even is Lamictal? There’s no way that works. That’s like, for epileptics.”

“Want me to overdose and see what happens?”

“Do you want to?” 

Alice scoffed at the suggestion, and crawled out of her car.

As she sat in the Cheddar’s, knuckle deep in spinach and artichoke dip, Gabriel fiddled with the children’s menu and the crayons. He rubbed the red down to a nub, and then repeated with the blue, and the green.

“Isn’t it… Kinda fucked up that she didn’t give us all primary colors.” Gabriel pointed to the server, Denise, as she strolled up to the table. “Shouldn’t we…. I don’t know, rage about it?”

“What’ll you have, hun?” Denise asked. Denise looked like her mother. Gabriel was staring at Denise.

“Can I have the chicken alfredo?”

“Sure thing. Is that all?” She talked like her mother, too.

SuRe ThiNG.” Gabriel mocked.

“Yes. Thank you.” Gabriel slammed his large, clawed hand to the table, and then did it again, and again. 

“Stop ignoring me, cunt,” He growled.

“I think I’ll watch the Twilight films when I get back to the dorm. How does that sound?”

“Fucking awful.”

“Mmm, Twilight it is.”

“Listen, I don’t know what they did to you during your brief stint with reality, and I don’t frankly care, but you want to know what Gabriel wants to do?” Alice didn’t answer even as Gabriel bent his long form over the table. Instead she began rolling her straw paper up. “I want to kill someone, which means you have to kill someone.”

“Okay, take your pick.”

“Which me- Excuse me?” Alice flicked the rolled up ball into his face or through it. She hadn’t really looked at it til just then, but there wasn’t anything there. She shook her head.

“Take your pick. Really mill on it. And we’ll do it.”

Gabriel laughed, “Wait wait wait, you can’t actually be serious.”

“Mill… On it.” Alice assured. “And take your pick.”

“Here’s your Alfredo. You need a refill?” Denise asked as she slid the plate onto the table.

“Thank you, Miss, but I’m alright.” Alice tossed a look to Gabriel, who reeked of an abnormal level of uncertainty. She reached for her fork. “I appreciate it.”

“No problem, Sweetie. Just let me know when you’re ready for your tab.” Alice smiled and nodded the woman off. 

“I don’t like that she called you sweetie.”

“And I don’t like you, Gabriel.”

Alice twisted the angel hair onto the fork, and then gently turned the utensil toward Gabriel. He was gone, though, so she placed her fork down, pushed the alfredo off to the side, and continued to eat the pita chips.



“What about Dylan? Oh- Oh- Or Conrad. He’s Scottish, you hate Scottish people.”

“I am Scottish, Gabriel.” It took very little for Gabriel to be on board. After looking at the student populus of her campus, and sitting through five minutes of a modern art history lecture, Gabriel was bored enough to reconsider murder.

“Oh- what about him- Oh- oh- or that good looking homo-”

“They have names, and you know them, Gabriel.”

“Yeah, but they don’t know mine, so what’s the problem? Unless you call them a good looking homo, nothing is going to happen.”

“I…. am also a homo Gabriel.” Alice reminded him as she opened the door to her dorm building.

“No you’re not, you’re a queer. You don’t just wanna fuck girls. You want to fuck me, right? Can we fuck? Can we go jerk off?”


“But we want to jerk off.”

You want to jerk off, I want to commit murder. Which you wanted to do no less than a day ago.” Alice prodded the close door button on the elevator. “And unless-”

The door reopened just as it closed. Gabriel directed his eyes to the man that trudged in.

He was tall and ridiculously blonde. His shirt bagged just above his undone belt, and when he walked in the unmistakable smell of sweat followed after. Not work out sweat, or just had sex sweat. A mold of a musk permeated the elevator. His face was flat, and his glasses were square. 

Gabriel looked down to her. Today he had a face and it was horrific, but not as horrific as the smell tracing in after that fucking guy.

Alice turned to face him. Gabriel was silent and glaring. Freezing, yet frothing. His hands were wrapping around Alice’s waist with knowing touch and assurance. He dragged himself toward her unmoving body. His toothy grin was clear on the back of her scalp. 

What’s your name?” they both asked.

“James,” he mumbled, not looking up from the phone in his hand.

“Cool, what floor?” Alice asked. He held up two fingers.

Alice felt Gabriel’s smile widen against her scalp.

Alice hit the two button. 

You live on the fifth floor.” James said.

 It wasn’t a question, or a fun observation, but rather a statement, and a passive aggressive one at that. He was inconvenienced by her asking for his name. Even with his smell, he was inconvenienced by her

What a joke.” Gabriel whispered against her head. “Have we met before?”

“Yeah. We do.” The door was opening again, and James was walking out with zero change in posture, expression, or stench.

The door closed. Alice stood silent. Shocked, almost. 

“Oh fuck yeah.” Gabriel laughed all the way up to the fifth floor.



“Do you all know a James?” Alice asked her roommates when she returned to her dorm. She tossed her bag down next to her door, and then immediately regretted it when she realized her laptop had hit the ground with it.

“I knew one back home.” Milo reasoned as Alice turned the corner into the living room. He was making tea. Jenna sat on the couch to his right. “Why?”

Cause we’re gonna kill him.”

“He was really weird to me in the elevator.”

“Like… pervert weird or?” Jenna asked.

“No, like… like weird.”

“Killable weird,” Gabriel added. “Stinky weird.” The door clicked again, and Miley came walking in. Roger was behind her with a briefcase. “Ugly weird.”

“What’s up?” Miley asked, seeing Alice’s face. She could tell something was off, but Alice kept her expression flat.

“Do you know a James?” Alice asked. Miley shook her head slowly. Roger had different opinions.

“Like… Our year James?” Roger snapped. “Yeah, he’s like- weird. Woman hater weird.”

“And he reeks?” Alice added. Roger nodded.

“He’s not like, on a registry or anything, but a couple of the girls on campus have restraining orders on him.” Roger waved a ringed finger at her. “Don’t get involved with him, you little… Drug dealer fucker. I know that little hungry look in your eye.”

“Ah that’s funny.” Gabriel laughed. “Slit his throat next… Can we jerk off now?”

“I’m not planning to,” Alice lied. “Like… Not really.”



“Do you think there’s CCTV footage in America?” Gabriel asked as Alice loaded the duct tape into her shopping basket. Alice ignored him, but then he hit the basket from her hands. She sighed.

Yes. That’s a stupid question.”

“So you don’t care that there’s CCTV footage, and you’re loading, like,  everything you’re going to use into this basket right now?” 


“Are you even considering the consequences of this?”

“Every single one.” Alice assured. “I never get the option not to.”

Alice shrugged at the question, “And?”

“You don’t care, so why should I?” She continued down the aisle in silence. She stared at the rope. The cotton looked too soft, so her eyes dragged to the hemp. She ran her fingers across it, cringing a bit.

“I care.” Gabriel said. “We’re killing someone, so of course I care. This is a big life decision. I’ve been here for all of those, and I just really want to make sure you’re… thinking about this logically.”


“You’re not listening to me again. I care. This is a bad idea.”

“Good to know.”

You don’t care that it’s a bad idea?”

“I don’t care that you have any ideas. I don’t care about you. I care about James Matthews in his dorm, playing League, and how I’m going to slit him from scalp to foreskin.” Alice gripped the hemp tighter. She rubbed her hand on it, washing away skin and surface nerve with each caress.

“You don’t… know that he plays League.”

“You smelled him.”

“That’s not what matters right now- Alice!” Alice was walking away toward the paint swatches.



“So you kidnapped me because I’m… Stinky?” James asked from the backseat of her car. “That’s a shitty reason.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a shitty, stinky person, so…” Alice reached into the bag at her side, and angled the Lysol back toward him. She sprayed him generously, or until he was coughing. 

Alice, at that moment, was a little miffed, and a little more twitchy. She’d left the front seat open for her internal monologue, and he was nowhere to be found. She felt like she’d been stood up.

“James, I’m going to ask you a really stupid question. Do you have a girlfriend?”

“I- I mean, I have–”

“Of course you don’t. Was there a time in your life where you were a standable person and had a girlfriend?”

“No. I mean-”

“Okay, great, so you’re not about to understand what I’m saying, and it’s going to be an entirely unbiased opinion that you’re going to be able to give me, right?”

“I don’t want to give you shi-” Alice slammed her foot down on the brakes, and James went flying forward between the two front seats. His hogtied body clambered down right below her arm, and Alice raised her fist and slammed it onto his skull.

James let out a groan, and Alice stomped on the gas again. He flew back against the faux leather seats and began sobbing. Alice trained her eyes back on the dirt road before her.

“So, let’s say that you have, like, plans with this person. That they made. They wanted to do the plans for a really long time, and now you’re in the process of doing them, and they’re not here. And like… I don’t know that’s fucked up, right? And you sacrifice a lot for this person, and you try your best to make them happy and they just… they keep fucking you over.”

“That’s… really fucked up… And I’m sorry you’re going through that.”

“You’re just giving me what I want to hear.” Alice scoffed. “Nobody is ever sorry about me going through something. I’m asking for an opinion, not empathy.”

“My opinion is that it’s fucked up!” James cried. “I- I don’t know, man! It sounds like it’s not 50/50?” Alice hit a hard curve, sending both of them to the left. “Bro, where even are we? This doesn’t even look like Michigan.”

“We’re in Tennessee.”

“How the fuck did we get to Tennessee so fast?”

“I cryogenically froze you.” Alice laughed.

“You wha-”

“We drove you fucking moron. You think if I knew how to do cryogenics I’d be at a community college? Jesus Christ.” She hit another curve.

“Okay! Okay! Listen listen. This guy you’re talking to, why do you care about him, huh? If he treats you like shit, why care? Leave him, just- just fucking go.”

“Because he keeps me alive. He’s talked me off the edge before, he’s- he’s calmed me down, he’s made me smart, he’s made me funny- He is… He’s all I’ve got going for me. It’s just… When I talk about him… nobody listens. I’m not crazy. I know I look crazy, but I’m not crazy.”

Okay, and how long have you known this guy?”

“For as long as I can remember?”

“Call him. Give it to him. Bitch him o- Sorry! Sorry! You’re not a bitc-”

“No no, you’re right.” Alice hit the brakes again. James groaned as he collided with the floor. 

Alice got out of the car, and stood before the pine covered mountains. She tapped her foot once… and then twice, and then she took in a breath that smelled like dead deer, and there he stood, looking very similar to roadkill.

“You’re fucking evil, you know?”

“I’m evil? You’re the one killing a guy,” Gabriel spat.

“Per your request! Gabriel, Jesus Christ.”

“I told you not to do it!”

“You said we were going to do it whether or not I liked it!”

“What happened to I, singular? Isn’t this your choice?”

“Don’t give me that bullshit.” Alice spat. “I swear to god you are- I don’t get why we can’t just… get along? Everyone else gets along with their thoughts. In fact, most people don’t even have to refer to them as a separate entity. Do you know how nice that’d be?”

“We get along perfectly fine when you’re not trying to

“We get along perfectly fine when you control my every move! When you make me skinny dip, and beat up people I care about, and make me think I’m God!” Alice snapped. “There’s no I singular, because it’s just you, Gabriel. It’s not I, not we, it’s you.”

“That’s my job! I am you, motherfucker!” Gabriel screamed.

“And you’re shit at it!” Alice shrieked. “Holy shit! You are so fucking bad at it. And you’re fucked up looking. You’re so fucking ugly. Why are you so ugly?”

“That’s so mean? Maybe I’m ugly because you’re a bitch?” Alice took in a shaky breath, and grabbed her hair. “I didn’t mean it, I’m so-”

“Don’t try to make me sympathize with you!” Alice shouted, smacking Gabriel in the chest. “Why are you so fucked up? Why don’t you work right? Can you take some responsibility? I’m so tired of pretending like my actions are my own when it’s you! And whenever I talk about you, everyone looks at me like I’m fucking crazy! You are such a damn curse!”

Alice turned back to the car in a huff, and James stood, hands and feet untied, knife pointed and sharp. Alice threw her hands up.

“Oh come the fuck on,” Alice snapped. “See? He got out because you weren’t reminding me he was in there.”

“You are fucking psychotic.” James whimpered, clearly having a realization of his own.

“And your ego is bloated because you did a cool thing. Kill me or don’t, I don’t fucking care anymore, “Alice pointed back to Gabriel. “ And neither does he!”

“Who the fuck are you talking about?” James whispered.

“See?!” Alice whipped back to Gabriel. “Do you see what you make me look like? You don’t find this embarrassing?”

“You’re openly talking to yourself!” Gabriel sputtered. “It’s not my fault you look insane! If you were less traumatized, maybe you’d be a fully recognized person! Maybe I wouldn’t have to become my own entity, or whatever you said.”

“Are you blaming me for being traumatized?!”

“We both know that’s reductive, but I don’t think you care about that right now.”

“I sure as hell don’t. What the fuck, man?” Alice croaked. “That’s so mean.”

“You’re mean, Alice!” Gabriel snapped.

“Take it up with yourself, then. When I die to this hamster of a man, and you get reincarnated with the next unlucky bastard, do him a favor, and finish him off before he starts the race.”

“Oh I bet you think you sound so cool right now, way to go.”

“Oh fuck you.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

James had buried the knife in her nape, and Alice was already lying down, paralyzed and dying by the time the words left Gabriel’s mouth. She hit the ground with a thud, and then James dove through her pockets with shaking, bloody hands. Her car beeped at her with mock sympathy.

 James took the car and left her abandoned in the mountains of Tennessee, and Alice just didn’t care to think about the situation anymore.

The blood congealing around her was cold and icky, and Gabriel was still an ugly, fucked up looking deer. Alice glared up through the pine trees toward the stars. She didn’t want to think about how God spited her, or her mom. She didn’t want to think about the guy that groomed her, or the boyfriend that wouldn’t fuck her. She didn’t want to think about how she’d probably get diabetes next year, or how she was another mental break down away from getting knocked up on purpose

But Gabriel just couldn’t help it.

“You know, anyone else’s subconscious would give them the decency of a life flashing before their eyes, right now,” Alice said, blood splattering on her dry lips.

“I’m not anyone else’s subconscious. I’m yours, Alice,” Gabriel said, with a tone of voice she hadn’t quite heard from him before. It was painfully soft. Alice scoffed. “And besides, we both know you don’t have anything good to play.”

“So you’re choosing to be kind by sparing me my greatest hits right now?”

“I don’t have a choice.” 

Of course he didn’t,’ Alice thought. And Gabriel thought it too, but he didn’t consider it. Not really consider it, like Alice always wished he had. Like Alice wished she had.

Alice wished she’d just told James to put on deodorant. She wished she told her mom off more. She wished she put a restraining order on her first boyfriend. She wished she’d gone through with her first suicide plan.

And Alice wished, more than anything, at any point, she’d given Gabriel more than meds and a glare.

The road was cold beneath her hand… Or maybe Alice herself was cold.

“You know, I don’t want to die hating myself, but I’d really like to blame someone that isn’t me right now. I want to know what that feels like.”

Gabriel was quiet for a moment. Alice feared that she’d scared him away. She didn’t have the will or the neck strength to turn and check.

Gabriel hummed.

“You can blame God. Or James. Or blame me. It’s what I’m here for.”

“No… No it’s not, Gabriel.” Alice laughed, but the tears broke through it. “You’re supposed to help me… exist. I’m sorry I didn’t have anything good to exist with.”

“You’re funny, Alice.” Gabriel laughed. Alice craned her head toward him and scoffed. It was like looking in a mirror. “I’m sorry I kept you going for so long.”

Alice turned her head back to the sky with ease.

“Don’t be. That’s your job.”

Scroll to Top