Monstrous Femme

Caryn Rathbone sat at the bar, swaying her head along with the music as she enjoyed her drink. These night outs were so rare. She’d been lucky to get a babysitter for the kids.
“Buy you a drink?”
She turned to see the man who sat on the stool next to hers. At first, her blood boiled at the interruption. She preferred to enjoy some alone time on her nights out since she never got it at home. But when she saw how handsome he looked, she smiled.

Caryn Rathbone sat at the bar, swaying her head along with the music as she enjoyed her drink. These night outs were so rare. She’d been lucky to get a babysitter for the kids.

“Buy you a drink?”

She turned to see the man who sat on the stool next to hers. At first, her blood boiled at the interruption. She preferred to enjoy some alone time on her nights out since she never got it at home. But when she saw how handsome he looked, she smiled.

“I already have a drink,” she replied, indicating the glass of scotch in her hand. “But I’d love another scotch.”

With that, she threw her head back to finish the rest of her drink and put down the empty glass. She folded her arms across the bar and looked at the stranger. “What’s your name?”

He placed their orders and turned to smile at her. “Omar. What’s yours?”

“Caryn,” she said, reaching out her left hand. “Nice to meet you.”

He shook her hand and she noticed he looked to see if she wore a wedding ring.

Well, she didn’t wear one anymore. She noticed he didn’t wear one, either.

“You live around here?” she asked, returning her hand to the bar.

“Yeah, I’m in one of those apartments on Acre Street,” he replied, his voice soft and inviting. “How about you?”

She shrugged. “Got a house about ten miles from here.”

He raised his brows. “Big house?”

“Enough for me and my kids,” she replied with a shrug.

“Kids, huh?” He suddenly appeared uncomfortable, slouching on the stool. “How many you got?”

“Three kids from two dead husbands,” she replied, grimly looking away. She sighed. “They drive me crazy sometimes, but I love them.”

“Ah, I see,” Omar said, nodding. “I never had kids. Don’t want ‘em.”

She grinned at him. “Just because I have them doesn’t mean I don’t get to have some fun every once in a while.” She moved her fingers along his arm to his shoulder to let him know what she meant.

He looked at her hand on his arm then back at her and grinned.




Omar sighed with pleasure as he turned to move away from Caryn underneath him on the bed. Caryn smiled, relishing the pleasurable sensations from their lovemaking as she laid in bed next to him, their nude bodies mingling under the sheet.

“That was amazing,” she cooed, smiling at him.

“Yeah,” he agreed in a whisper. Then he looked at her. “Can you stay the night?”

She shrugged. “Can’t. Got a sitter at home, and I’m not paying her for an overnight.”

He nodded, looking away again. “How old are they?”

“Cameron is twelve. He’s my oldest,” she replied. “Then there’s Susan. She’s ten. And then the little one is Arty. He’s eight.”

“Arby’s?” he asked, looking at her with confusion.

She laughed. “No. Arty. It’s short for Arthur.”

He nodded. “Cool.” He got out of the bed and walked out of the room. She soon heard him relieving himself in the bathroom.

She climbed out of bed and began gathering her clothes from the floor. She looked at the bedside clock as she began dressing. “Shit!” she exclaimed, her eyes widening as panic flooded through her. She had told the sitter she’d be home by eleven and that was over an hour ago. What if she could never get this sitter again? Rumors about her and her kids had made it hard enough to find a young woman willing to watch them, and this one seemed to get along so well with the children. Given that they had already lost two babysitters they’d never seen again, she didn’t want this one to meet the same fate. This one was a keeper.

“Something wrong?”

She turned to see Omar standing in his open doorway and smiled as she pulled up her skirt. She pushed away her lingering worries and tried to relax. “Just that it’s after midnight. I gotta get home.”

He walked over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder. “I would really love to see you again.”

Her smile broadened. “Count on it.”

Grinning, he leaned in to kiss her.




“Mom!” Susan wailed from the living room.

Caryn sighed, turning away from the mirror she had been using to apply her lipstick. She walked into the living room and folded her arms. “You two need to settle down. The babysitter will be here any minute.”

“Are you going out again?” Cameron asked, losing interest in the music video he was watching on the TV.

Caryn noticed Susan grab the remote control her oldest son dropped and change the channel. She looked back at Cameron. “Yes, and I’ll be out late again tonight.” She held his chin as she moved closer to kiss his head. “Be a good boy and take care of your siblings.”

“Ah, Mom. We don’t need a babysitter,” Cameron whined. “We can take care of ourselves.”

Caryn smiled as memories of just how the children managed to take care of themselves in the past flashed through her mind. “Of that, I have no doubt. But it’s illegal to leave you three at home alone. We don’t need trouble with the police.” As she moved to the right to kiss Susan on her head, she muttered, “. . . again.”

“Is it Melanie?” Cameron asked, just before Caryn turned away.

She nodded. “Yes. Why?”

With a frown, he said, “I don’t like that babysitter, Mom. She’s mean.”

Caryn’s brows lifted with concern. “Really? She seemed so nice to you when I interviewed her.”

Cameron nodded. “I know. But when you leave, she’s mean to us. And the last time she was here, she slapped me.”

“Well,” Caryn began, controlling the urge to hunt down the babysitter to strangle her. It was too late to get another sitter now. At least this time, her children had awaited her permission without taking action against a naughty babysitter. “I guess you know what you and your siblings will have to do.” She walked over to him and gently ran her hand through his brown hair. Her heart melted as he peered up at her with bright eyes.

Before moving away, she whispered, “And this time, use the bottle in my bedroom cabinet. Okay?” She looked at him and added, “It’s less messy.”

He nodded.

The doorbell rang and Arty barreled past her from where he had been in the kitchen. “I’ll get it!” he announced, nearing the door.

Caryn walked up to him. “Did you finish your dinner?”

Arty turned to smile at her, his blue eyes glistening. “I ate it all!”

“Good boy,” Caryn replied, grinning as she tousled his blond hair. “Be good for Mommy,” she added, bending over to kiss him on the cheek.

They opened the door together and before Caryn could say a word, sounds of Cameron and Susan fighting over the remote control erupted in the background.

Sighing, she turned to look at the babysitter. “Thanks so much for doing this. They already had dinner. I’ll be home by midnight.” She shook her head. “Good luck.”

As she walked out of her house, she thought of just how much luck the babysitter was going to need after what she’d given the kids permission to do.




“How long until we can actually spend the night together?”

Caryn finished buttoning her blouse and turned to look at Omar. “Why do we have to spend the night together? What we have is fine the way it is.”

He walked over to her and gently laid his hand on her right cheek. “I’m falling for you, babe. I’m falling hard. The fact is, I think I love you. I want you with me all the time.”

She gave him a shrewd look. Oh no. Not another one. Well, if he was going to play that card, she would just have to tell him what she had told the others: “If you want to have me, you’re gonna have to want my kids too.”

He shrugged. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”

She studied him. This was new. Was he really feeling that possessive of her? Or was he just bluffing? “I thought you said you don’t want kids?”

“I don’t. But I do want you.”

A shiver ran down Caryn’s spine. She didn’t like the way this sounded. “How about you meet them first? Then we’ll talk.”

He grinned. “Sounds good.”

Upon arriving at home later that night, she noticed all the lights were on. That could only mean one thing. The kids were not in bed, and she had an idea why.

She got out of her car and walked up to the porch. “I’m home!” she announced. She closed and locked the front door, then turned to see all three of her children lined up behind her. They each appeared to be clean, hair combed and wearing pajamas.

“We took care of the babysitter, Mom,” Cameron said.

“It’s done,” Susan confirmed with a nod.

Arty made a hiss sound as he imitated a knife running across his throat.

She smiled at them. “Very good, children.”

“What do we tell the police if they come?” Susan asked, looking up at her with her curious blue eyes. Her curly blond hair hung at the sides of her angelic baby face.

“The same thing we told them the last time,” Caryn replied. “That she left after I got home, and we don’t know where she went.”

“But, Mom, we couldn’t bury her,” Susan said.

“She’s too heavy,” Cameron informed her with a sigh of exhaustion.

“She’s too fat!” Arty added, giggling.

Caryn gave him a scolding look, then addressed the other two. “No problem. I will take of her myself.” She brought them into her arms for a hug. “You’ve done well, kids. Nobody hurts my babies.”

“We love you, Mom,” they all said.

She smiled as she looked down at them. “And I love you too.” She stepped back, examining them. “It’s late. Time for good children to go to bed. Now, did you all brush your teeth?”

They nodded in unison, showing her their pearly whites.

“Very good. Now, off to bed.”

“Goodnight, Mom!” they sang in unison as they ran up the staircase.

Caryn watched after them, grinning with satisfaction. “Goodnight, my dears.”

Once she was sure they were safely in their bedrooms, Caryn sighed with fatigue. She knew her night wasn’t over yet. She had some work to do before she could also go to bed.

She found the babysitter’s body lying face-down on the back porch. Her poor dears could not drag the body out to the burial site to be with the others, but at least they had succeeded in ending this terrible babysitter’s reign. She would never again hurt another child, least of all Caryn’s little angels.

She picked up the arms of the body and groaned as she dragged it out to the yard. Once she had it next to the storm cellar, she dropped the arms and lifted the heavy wooden door. She positioned the body over the opening and pushed it, listening to the thumps as it went down the steps. Satisfied the body was far enough inside, she began descending the stairs, carefully feeling her way until she reached the bottom. She turned on an overhead storm lamp, grabbed a shovel leaning against the wall, then chose a spot near five other graves to start digging.




“I want to see you again.”

Caryn smiled from the other end of the phone. “Well, I’m short a babysitter. How do you feel about meeting my children now?”

She heard Omar sigh. He was silent for a long time. “Okay,” he finally answered. “Tonight?”

She looked up from the lunch she was preparing in the kitchen and peered out the window. Her kids ran around the yard, kicking a ball.

She grinned. “Tonight would be perfect.”

After they ate lunch together, Caryn informed her children that there would be a guest for dinner that evening.

“His name is Omar and he is a lovely man.”

“Is he going to be our new dad?” Cameron asked.

Caryn smiled at him. He could still remember when it was just the two of them after his own father had died, and how another man came into their life and became his new dad. A new dad that provided him two siblings, but who also met an untimely end.

“We’ll see. It’s too early to say.” She clapped her hands together as she looked at the three of them. “Now. Please be on your best behavior. He’s just interested in meeting you, so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to spend time with you.”

“Yes, Mom,” they said in unison.

The children dutifully worked together to tidy up the house while Caryn tended to her home-business matters in her private office. When her work was finally done for the day, she joined the children to finish cleaning. They played quietly in their rooms while she prepared dinner.

A knock sounded at the front door right after she placed the pot of spaghetti and meatballs onto the table.

“Kids, please come down!” she called up the stairs as she walked to the door. She ran her hands along the sides of the black hair she had tied in a braid, then opened the door. She smiled as she found Omar standing on her porch stoop.

“Hi there,” she greeted. “Thank you for joining us for dinner this evening.”

He nodded. “Thanks for inviting me.”

She moved away to give him room to enter the house. After closing the door, she turned to see him staring. She followed his gaze and smiled at the sight of her three children lined up at the foot of the stairs.

“I’d like you to meet my kids,” she began, stepping up to stand at his side. On cue, the children walked over to stand in front of him. She pointed at each one as she spoke. “Cameron, my oldest. Susan, my only daughter. And this is Arty.”

“Pleased to meet you,” he mumbled to the children.

“Pleased to meet you too,” they replied together.

Caryn noticed him wince. He looked at her. “Do they do that a lot?”

“Do what?” she asked, looking from him to her children. She hadn’t noticed anything wrong.

“Talk at the same time.”

She chuckled, clasping her hands together. “Sometimes.”

“Okay,” he replied, looking away with a face of unease. Then he sniffed. “Something smells delicious.”

“Yes! I made dinner,” Caryn announced, just remembering the meal awaiting them in the dining room. The aroma from the garlic bread still hung in the air. She looked at her children. “Please take your seats at the table.” She watched them trot off to the dining room before glancing back at Omar. “Can I take your coat?”

“Thank you,” he said, handing it to her. Once she was back at his side, he nodded in the direction of the dining room. “They’re cute.”

She grinned. “Thank you. They’re my world.”

She noticed him shift uncomfortably. Was he going to need more time to get used to her children? Perhaps he would like them once he got to know them.

“Let’s have dinner,” she suggested, smiling warmly as she took his hand.

He looked at her and seemed to relax. They walked together to the dining room, then took seats at either end of the table. Caryn figured that once they began eating and enjoying the meal, Omar might feel comfortable enough to talk with her children and try to break the ice.

But instead, he greedily piled food onto his plate and kept his head down as he ate.

Very little discussion happened at the dinner table, so when he asked her if he could stay the night long after her children had gone to bed, she turned him down, saying she didn’t want to set a bad example for the kids.

His smooth smile immediately disappeared. He stood up from the couch, mumbling something about an early appointment tomorrow and how he had to leave.

Once he was out the door and it was locked, Caryn leaned against it and sighed. That first meeting had not gone well. If this relationship was going to go anywhere, it definitely needed more time.




Caryn laughed along with her children at the movie playing on TV. The man dressed in a gray suit and carrying an umbrella seemed to have one mishap after another with the people he met on the street. This particular character was one her children enjoyed watching, and she felt a wave of gratitude at being able to enjoy this time with them.

A knock sounded at her front door.

“Wait here, I’ll get it,” she said, removing Arty from her lap and scooting off the couch. She walked to the front door, swung it open and looked with surprise at who stood on her stoop.

“Hi Caryn,” Omar greeted. “Can I see you tonight?”

A frown replaced the confused look on her face. “Oh, I’m sorry, Omar. I can’t tonight.” She waved behind her, in the direction of the living room. “I won’t be able to get a sitter on such short notice. Would you like to come in?”

He shook his head. “No. I want to see you, not them.”

Caryn stiffened, forcing herself to act unbothered and keep her gaze plain.

“Can’t you leave them alone for a couple of hours? I’m sure they’ll be fine.”

She shook her head. She knew that as capable as her children were to care for and defend themselves, there was no way she could leave them without adult supervision. “I’m sorry, it’s not possible.”

He looked at her, his gaze intense as he stepped closer. Caryn tried to remain calm no matter how threatening he suddenly appeared, towering over her.

“I really want to see you,” he said in a hushed voice. “I need to see you. I need to be with you.”

Caryn swallowed the lump in her throat. This was going too far. She had not known him long enough to commit. He was just a fling. He was trying to turn this into something she didn’t want.

“You can see me tomorrow night,” she replied, trying her best to keep her voice firm. “I’ll have a sitter by then.”

His dark eyes turned from aggressive to bitter as he sighed with disappointment. He moved away from her, looking toward the living room and shaking his head. “Kids are such a damn burden,” he growled, stomping off the porch.

Caryn restrained herself from screaming in rage as she gently closed and locked the door. That little outburst had been all she needed to determine it was time for the two of them to part ways. He had been fantastic in bed, but now he had pushed things too far, and not in a good way.

She was going to have to do something about him. Soon.




“Perfect,” Caryn whispered, smiling as she looked at the paid invoice. She was relieved to finally be done with that project. The client had been wonderful to work with, but it was a big job that took her nearly a week to complete. A week she’d spent at home, after blocking Omar on her phone and refusing his many requests to go out, saying she had to work.

Well, now the work was complete, and she was $15,000 richer.

She went through the steps to have the funds transferred to her bank account, then looked up from the keyboard as her cell phone vibrated.

Sighing, she picked it up and glanced at the screen. A text from an unknown number.

She rolled her eyes. She could only imagine who that unknown number belonged to.

But she opened the text anyway. Please, I need to see you, it read. And the kids too OK? Can I come over?

She looked up, thinking this through. Now that one job was done, it was time to tackle another. This man was not going to give up easily, and if there was one thing she hated more than people trying to come between her and her children, it was anyone who was too demanding of her time.

A plan fell into place and she smiled as she typed her response: OK come tonight. We’ll have dinner again. All five of us.

Thank u, he texted back, adding a heart.

She put her phone back down on her desk, then stood from her chair and walked out of the office. She heard the sounds of her children making assorted noises downstairs. She crept down the steps, keeping an eye out for them.

All three of the children sat at the dining room table, chattering as they ate from their bowls of cereal. She smiled as she drew close, coming to a stop behind the chair where Arty was sat.

“Kids, Omar is coming to visit again for dinner tonight,” she announced, trying to keep a happy tone.

“Who is Omar?” Susan asked, looking up at her with confusion.

“Remember? He’s the nice man who ate spaghetti with us.”

“I don’t think he likes us, Mom,” Cameron said, looking up at her. Then he glanced down at his bowl of cereal. “He didn’t talk to us very much.”

“He didn’t talk to us at all,” Susan corrected. “But he sure ate a lot of spaghetti.”

“Good, then you remember him,” Caryn said. “He will be coming to have dinner. And I know he makes you feel uncomfortable, but don’t worry.” Her grin broadened. “Your mother is going to take care of that.”




To her surprise, Omar appeared on her doorstep that evening holding flowers and grinning from ear to ear.

“Hello Omar,” Caryn greeted, tempering her emotions. He wasn’t going to win her back so easily. Not when she knew his true feelings about her kids.

Omar held out the flowers to her. “For my lovely lady,” he cooed. “A peace offering.”

“Thank you,” Caryn said, taking the flowers and stepping back. “Won’t you come in?”

Once Omar was inside her house, he began scanning the rooms. “Where are those little angels?”

Caryn did a double take, staring at him in shock. He was working hard to convince her he actually cared about her children. “Angels?”

He turned to smile at her. “Your babies, of course. Your pride and joy.” He stepped closer to embrace her. “I’ve missed you. And I’ve missed them too. I’m sorry for the way I acted last time. I was stupid.” He sighed. “Truth is, I realized that I love you more than anything. And if having you in my life means having your kids, then I want your kids.” He leaned forward to kiss her. “We’ll be a happy family. And I can’t wait to call them my very own.”

Caryn forced a smile. This changed man Omar presented was a bit much. She knew it was all an act, but it still unnerved her. He was up to something, and whatever it was, he was using it to get closer to her.

But she couldn’t let him know she was aware of his charade. It was better to play along.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear you say that,” she finally replied, looking into his eyes with as much love she could feign.

“And that’s not all I want to say.” Then he dropped to one knee. Caryn stifled a gasp as he reached into his coat pocket. Omar opened a small box which contained a diamond ring, holding it up to her. “Caryn Rathbone, I know we have only known each other for two months, but I fell for you the minute I saw you. I love you. I can’t get you out of my mind and I can’t sleep unless you’re by my side. Please. Will you be my wife?”

Caryn swallowed the bile in her throat, acting as though she was holding back tears. It took every effort to restrain herself from screaming at him with rage and gouging out his eyeballs. Lies. It was all lies! He didn’t love her or her children. He only wanted what she could give him. What that meant for her kids, she didn’t know. But she didn’t want to find out.

Still, she and the children had made arrangements for tonight. And now her plans definitely had to happen. There was no getting rid of Omar otherwise.

But the only way she could carry out those plans was to continue to play along.

She relaxed her posture, trying to seem overcome with joy. “Oh, Omar,” she whispered, clutching his hand. She forced tears into her eyes. “Yes. Of course I’ll be your wife!”

He laughed as he got to his feet and removed the ring from the box. He placed it on her hand and they hugged. He kissed her, then looked into her eyes.

“I just know we’ll be very happy together,” he whispered, smiling at her.

“A happy family,” she reminded him.

She felt him stiffen just a bit in her arms but his smile remained. “Of course.”

“Let’s celebrate, okay?” she suggested. “We should have some wine.”

“Sounds good!” His grin broadened as he nodded.

He followed her into the dining room, where the children peacefully sat at the table. Each of them had a goblet of juice in front of them.

Once he caught sight of the kids, Omar softened his gaze and held out his arms. “Ah, there they are! Your pride and joy!”

Caryn smiled at her children, trying not to laugh at Omar’s extra show of affection. “Kids, I have some news.” She looked to her right to see Omar grinning as he walked over and put his arm around her.

“Omar has proposed and I said yes.” She giggled. “He’s joining our family.”

“That’s wonderful, Mom,” Cameron replied.

The other two children remained silent, just like they had agreed to.

“And to celebrate the occasion, Omar and I are going to have a special toast.” She glanced at him. “I’ll get our drinks. Why don’t you have a seat and spend some time with the children?”

He seemed to notice her expectant look because he quickly nodded. “You bet! I’d love to get to know my future stepchildren better.”

She watched as he pulled out a chair and sat down. “Do you play any sports, Cameron?”

Caryn walked out of the room and right into the kitchen. She checked behind her to make sure she was alone, then removed the bottle of poison she had hidden behind the bread box on the counter. She grabbed the bottle of wine from the refrigerator, pouring it into two goblets and adding a few drops of the poison to the glass on her right.

Once she was sure the poison had dissipated in the liquid, she picked up the goblets and carried them to the dining room.

Omar stood from his seat as she drew near. He smiled as he took the goblet from her right hand.

“A toast!” she announced, making sure her children held up their glasses as well. “To new beginnings.”

“To new beginnings,” they repeated, all holding up their glasses.

She smiled at Omar before sipping her wine, watching him drank from his goblet as well.

“Now let’s eat,” she said, walking back to the kitchen. She placed her goblet down as she retrieved the pan of lasagna being kept warm in the oven. She carried it to the table, smiling as she watched Omar down the rest of his wine.

“More wine?” she asked, placing the food on the table.

“Please,” he replied, handing her his empty glass.

She walked back to the kitchen and refilled his goblet, smiling as she noticed there was no leftover residue. She carried both their cups back into the dining room and gave Omar his glass before sitting down.

Grinning, she began cutting up the lasagna, picturing the food as Omar’s brain while she dug the knife in.

She heard grunting sounds coming from where Omar sat and stole a quick look to see him clutching his chest, struggling to breathe. His hand moved up to his throat. She said nothing as she looked down at the lasagna and resumed cutting.


Caryn’s knife froze as Omar landed face-down on the table.

Smiling, she sat back in her chair. She lifted her glass of wine, turning to her children. “No one will ever come between me and my babies.”

“We love you, Mom,” the children said in unison.

“I love you too, my dears. More than anyone else in the whole world.”