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When The Table Turns

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“You smell like vanilla, but you taste like salt.”

That’s what I told him. But I assure you, I am not a rude woman. I’m a wonderful wife, honestly. If anything, I’m strict yet understanding. But cross me and the next thing you’ll cross is Death himself.

Living amongst humans isn’t easy. These human-led kingdoms still aren’t used to elves roaming their lands. At least not with rights. The human heart will always be ignorant and controlling, but at least they’re making progress… if you call being forced to allow elves to have rights and own land and hold jobs “progress.”

Dealing with the sneers and backtalk is easy enough, for I am grown and refuse to partake in petty squabbling. But despite having rights (rights that were granted nearly a decade ago), getting a job was difficult. So while I’m putting food on our table and my good-for-nothing husband decides he’s a “professional card player” and gambles our money away, it appalls me that he would even ponder cheating on me! The pact of marriage is sacred and everlasting and he ruined all of that! How in the world did he expect me to react?!

“But I was drunk, honey. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Mhmm… Oh, of course you didn’t know! LIES! My husband isn’t the most advanced spell in the tome, but he also isn’t the simplest. His lies are birthed from desperation. I should have listened to my mother, but… well… what young daughter ever listens to their mother before it’s too late?

Now I’m eating breakfast by myself when the liar sulks into the kitchen, his head low and his eyes nowhere near mine. I pretend not to see him, pretend to be surprised when he sits down across from me at the table and asks for me to pass the butter (even though I haven’t laid down a plate for him, but you know males… not the cleverest creatures in the world).

“Sweetie… honey.” His words are slow and carefully prepared. It’s so easy for me to tell at this point in our marriage. His apologies are like the scripts of terrible plays. “I am so sorry and I love you more than anything in the world. Will you forgive me, please?”

I smile, and a laugh nearly leaves my mouth.

“Of course,” I answer, glancing up and awaiting the expected returning smile on my husband’s face. It appears, of course, just like it always does.

Later that night we’re lying in bed, me reading a book and my husband whispering to himself about card strategies. Normally I would demand he shut up, but on this night I’m feeling particularly rosy.

“Honey,” I whisper into his ear, caressing his ears with my fingertips. He loves that, much like a dog. And it always put him in the mood. “I want to give you something.” I rise from bed and walk to my wardrobe. What I bring out is a pair of iron handlocks and footlocks. “I want you to know that I’m not angry,” I tell him. “That I’m willing to… ‘open up,’ if you will.”

A figure walks into the room, a beautiful human woman. To use predictable, trite descriptions my husband would use to butter me up, her hair is as yellow as the sun and her eyes are as blue as the ocean. She is gorgeous, though… I’ll give her that.

She’s also the woman my husband cheated on me with.

“What…?” he looks from me to the woman to me… then a quick glance at the woman’s features before back to me again. “A-are you” is what stumbles from his mouth, as if drunk from beauty alone. “Can we… are you serious?”

I nod, slowly, and smile. “Of course, my dear. I love you more than anything in the world. Isn’t that what you told me this morning?”

“Yes, it was! I do love you! I love you!”

“Then let’s get started.”

The woman climbs aboard my husband’s lap as he leans back against the bedpost. His eyes never wander into mine until I’m locking his hands and feet to the wooden poles in each corner.

“What are you doing?” he asks me, but his eyes dart back to the woman as I answer.

“I told you, honey, I’m being more open-minded now. I wanted to… spice things up a little.”

He doesn’t argue (why would he?) and I lock his feet and arms into place. Then, standing just in front of the bed, at the woman’s back, I snap my fingers. The magic-induced apparition disappears and the only people inside the room are my husband and I.

“Wait… where did she go?” he demands.

“Oh, don’t worry,” I tell him. “You’ll be seeing her very soon. I’ll be sure to bury you where I buried her.”

I bring out the knives, watching as my husband’s smile turns upside down. And I’ll tell you now… I haven’t felt more alive in years.

 

Jeffery T. Ford is an aspiring fantasy author and attends class at Indiana University Southeast, where he is majoring in Secondary Education.

 

 

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