A/N: This is going to a dark, bloody, "romance". I wrote The Passion Paradox at 15 and have improved vastly so I'd like to create a re imagining of that story with more coherency and adult themes. Proceed with caution.


There are nine pints of blood in the average adult woman.

The hot essence of Hannah dripped in crimson globules from my trembling hands as I considered precisely what percentage of her fluid I had spilt. Nine pints—a reasonable amount for a female of sixteen years with a body mass index in the normal range—I could confidently conclude her heart had seen all nine of those pints when it beat blood to each corner of her small frame.

A quaint family laughed on her flickering television as I twisted the numbers nimbly in my mind. It was always best to begin with the Achilles' tendon to ensure the woman in question wouldn't do something silly, like try to escape. My eyes flickered down to her hastily skewered stomach that was still in the process of gurgitation, bubbling with recently expired blood that spilled in long lines across her pink bed sheets to pool upon the tan carpet below.

Nine pints. Achilles' tendon: sliced. Stomach: sliced. Throat: carefully sliced. My eyes roamed across Hannah's staring, cold blue eyes to her mouth, still curved into an eternal scream. Ah, blood had even braved its own path to her orifice, trickling along her drying lips to the plush pillow below.

I puckered my lips. Nine pints. I imagined I had spilled two, perhaps three pints on my own clothing in my uncharacteristically messy kill. It was coating my hands like thick, hot gloves, seeping into each available crease of my palms. She had commented on my hands and informed me they were large. I merely smiled and tilted my head in the pleasing way women sought. Submission.

Sweet Hannah was a precocious girl from a southern town she had longed to escape. I had uncovered her during a peaceful trip through the park, where she was dozing behind a bush. Her features appealed to me in the correct fashion: short stature, blue irises, pale flesh, lips that quivered when she spoke. It was far easier to dispose of women society wouldn't miss. Runaway teenage girls were my favorite indulgence, easy quarry that was rather difficult to find.

I was straddling Hannah's rapidly cooling body as I pondered her. Slowly, I leaned forward to draw a line of blood from the edge of her hairline to the tip of her nose. It was time for me to begin being festive with my girls. After all, it was nearly Christmas.

"Six and three-quarters pints," I murmured. "Two and one-quarters pints left for a margin of error."

I rose from the creaky bed with my hands held high like a surgeon to clean the blood off in the bathroom. It was quite a mess. Mercifully, I had inherited my mother's precision for detail and would be sure to dry every drop of Hannah's blood before leaving for my own home. Not a fingerprint would be left. A hair had not fallen from my head. I would never allow myself to commit such a treacherous mistake, even in the throes of passion.

The weak light in the bathroom illuminated my hyper vigilant features. The hours after a kill always left me in a lucid state of utter euphoria. I idly examined my dark hair, mussed terribly from wrestling Hannah to the bed when she noticed the glint of a knife in my belt loop. The weapon was still dug several inches into the weak flesh between her ribs.

Thus, I spent the rest of my evening systematically defacing Hannah's corpse. I began with the teeth because they were the most gruesome bit—ripping out molars raised large quantities of dead blood. I'd grown more accustomed to the process and had the dexterity of a dentist, removing each clue with a quick flick of the wrist. They were all collected in a Mason jar and would be destroyed.

Each pad of her fingers was thoroughly burned to prevent a matching test, and I cut off her tongue in the event the police department became desperate enough to match it as well. A runaway may be registered in their database. I could not take the risk. The tongue joined the teeth in my jar and I also withdrew my knife in a fluid motion, allowing distended fluid to leak out. Rapid decomposition.

The face required a bit of breaking and more serious burns to disfigure my dear Hannah enough that she would not be properly identified. At the beginning of my career, I had invested time into draining the corpse and dismembering it to scatter the parts, but I had come across a delightful piece of property with a convenient swamp in my backyard. Destroying the body was my paranoia at hand. She would be buried in muck and grime within one week.

Whistling merrily, I rolled Hannah onto a thick, plush blanket to obscure her on my way out. I placed her near the door to begin the long, complicated process of scrubbing away her blood. Some found removing it to be a challenge they abhorred. I was quite fond of scrubbing away each sign of my crime until there was nothing left but a spotless floor and equally clean mattress. I stripped the sheets and bring them along—the maid would roll her eyes and assume I was a greedy guest.

The identifiable remains fit neatly in the blankets I had encased Hannah in. I smoothed her blonde hair away from her face before changing my mind and pushing it closer around her features. I'd never been ignorant enough to select a motel with cameras, but the desk attendants could be pesky.

I gently embraced Hannah as if she was asleep on my way out the door, feigning the concern of a married man for his ill wife. The young man at the front desk, who was flipping through a magazine, though nothing of our disappearance and seemed to smile faintly. Gentle, gentle. The key was to become one of them; to feel as they did. Love crippled them.

On the drive home, I listened to Bach to soothe my boiling excitement. I'd had my fill of her. She was willing to have sex with me, which was a severe disappointment and led to my unfettered psychotic rage. Nine pints of blood and I had split nearly seven. It was truly a night to be remembered.

A series of multicolored lights flashed in my rearview mirror.

My blue eyes shifted lazily to the police officer driving up behind me and my pulse did not quicken. Ah, a routine traffic stop. My wife was slumbering peacefully in the back seat, swaddled in blankets and clutching her own teeth and decaying tongue. Keep quiet, Hannah.

I pulled over politely and kept my hands on the steering wheel as the young officer emerged from his vehicle. He spoke into his radio before approaching and was soon standing at my passenger window, hands on his hips in a dominating manner. I smiled at him and pressed the mechanism to lower my window to allow him to peer inside my dark car.

"Are you aware of how fast you were driving, sir?" he asked.

"No, I'm afraid I wasn't." I sighed, squeezing my eyes shut to the right degree to incite sympathy. "My wife isn't feeling well and I'm only trying to bring her home. I'm terribly sorry, officer."

The police man glanced in the back seat and flinched. "Sorry about that. Do you want an escort?"

"No, thank you. May I leave now? I apologize for taking up your time."

How they loved when I stroked their egos. The man smiled and waved me on, permitting me to continue my drive to my quiet home on the edge of the woods. Fool.

The gravel crackled under my sedan's tires as I pulled into the spot before my garage, where I was not stupid enough to carry out any killings. It was the first place the authorities would look in the event I was captured and that was becoming fainter with each passing day. I'd begun my spree at the age of 18 and had yet to be even vaguely considered ten years later. I was a scientist and perfectionist, a dangerous combination that the police could only wish to capture.

My home was simple: two stories with two bedrooms on the upper floor and one full bathroom with another half bath. It helped add to my unassuming appearance and I had no neighbors for miles around. The placement couldn't have been better, until I discovered my swamp.

I lifted Hannah from the back seat with ease and threw her over my shoulder, catching the jar of evidence before it fell upon the ground. Crickets sang to one another as I walked silently through my backyard toward the thick forest. A quantifiable part of the population was frightened of two things in conjunction: shadows and the woods, which personified many horror movies.

Nocturnal creatures watched my dark sacrament. I carelessly dumped Hannah's body into the black water that was teeming with muck and undesirable bacteria waiting for an easy meal. The blanket remained with me—I would look suspicious buying them in bulk. I unscrewed the cap of the jar and poured her identifiable remains into the sludge. She was already sinking into the abyss.

When I was certain I had disposed of every important article, I returned to my home. Leaves crunched underfoot. Snow hadn't arrived in Washington yet. Perhaps it wouldn't be a white Christmas.

It was serene living in the wilderness. Though I was close to a large city, Washington State was still vastly covered in untouched forest and other such wilds most people were never privy to. I idly unbuttoned my jacket to reveal my bloodstained clothes. It was a pity. Cleaning the filth from them was far more difficult than scrubbing it from the fibers of a carpet. They would have to be burned or drowned along with Hannah's body. I could not risk being discovered as others had.

There was one in particular who had become too high-profile and unveiled himself: he was a pontificator, vastly involved in himself and the limelight. I sat in my favorite armchair and withdrew a cigarette from my bloody breast pocket before flicking on the television to watch the latest coverage. Some fool from Europe as well: Russia, if I wasn't mistaken.

"Nikolai Gunter," I scoffed. "What a ludicrous name. No wonder he was tossed in the nearest asylum."

However, my fellow hunter was on the other side of the country, reaping what he had sown years ago. I was the quiet type of predator, preferring to stalk in the shadows and lure with kind words and gentle phrases rather than brute force. When they were trapped, I was free to indulge myself.

I dashed ashes into my tray and remained before the television some time before leaving to take a shower. The floorboards creaked underneath my feet. The home had belonged to an old woman for many years when it was put on the market. I didn't mind. Whatever facets of my life kept me far from public interest sufficed.

The water did nothing to soothe my gnawing hunger. I gazed impassively at the white wall of my shower as water cascaded down my head, occasionally running into my eyes. My black hair was plastered to my head—I imagined I looked like a destitute puppy. Nonchalantly, I ran my fingers along the ridges of my abdomen and admired my easily attained physique. The structure was common in my family. It allowed my father to drunkenly decapitate my mother.

When I was clean, I stepped from my shower onto a clean towel and used another to dry my body. I deposited both into the appropriate bin and clothed myself in a loose t-shirt and boxers for bed. It was going to be a difficult day at work with my lack of sleep and dissatisfaction. My hunger was nearly impossible to abate. It threatened to consume me alive.

I crept between my grey sheets and stared at the ceiling. It simply wouldn't do. How on earth would I teach college students astronomy when I was yearning to eviscerate them?