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Haunt

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Every night. Every damn night it's the same. Well sometimes not. I don't really know anymore. I've lost my head as they say. This house has become my prison. To think of all the potential I saw when I first laid eyes on it. When WE laid eyes on it. I had a wife and a good life. Or so I thought. We were newly weds and this was our first home purchase, possibly our dream home! It was quaint and humble but nestled in a lightly forested area which gave the illusion of seclusion. Like a little cottage you see in those Kinkade paintings. It was still part of a neighborhood sure, but not like the ones I had grown up in. Clones of each other with uninspired architecture all the way down the street. Any red blooded American's dream but my worst nightmare. I knew when I was still young that I wanted something different for myself. My wife Christine did as well. So this was the house we would call home! We decided to show up before the date we gave the moving company so it was just us, an air mattress and passion. We celebrated our new purchase quite voraciously as we had forgone a proper honeymoon in favor of a substantial down payment on the property. I can say without a doubt that first night was still the best love making we ever did.

In the months to come happiness only seemed to steadily increase. Both of us were doing well with our careers and the house payments weren't even near a burden. I knew it was too soon to start talking about kids but I couldn't help but want a family when I looked at her. I wanted to raise a child with this woman. It seemed like the most romantic gesture I could make but she insisted she wasn't ready and so we continued taking precautions. I would eventually learn just how unready she was. Her job as a trauma nurse kept her out and about at all hours day or night. If the hospital was short staffed they could count on her. She was so reliable. Her phone was always glued to her hip. Except the day I had come back home early.

I was on my way to work in a rush and had forgotten my laptop. Nothing was so infuriating to me as little inconveniences. In an exasperated growl I pulled an (excessively aggressive) u-turn and headed home. I had left Christine sleeping but she was in the shower by the time I had gotten upstairs to our room. She had left her phone on the nightstand and I noticed the soft pulsating glow of the led at the top. Someone had called or texted. I went to check it out in case it was an emergency. I figured I'd be a good husband and shout through the door that "duty called!" It was a message from someone named Sean. No text history for this contact and I couldn't remember ever meeting a Sean. Maybe it was a coworker? He had sent a short puzzling message with a video...."Hey movie star, here's last night's clip ;)" I had an icy feeling in my gut but I had to watch. I clicked the play icon and I was instantly transported into her adultery. There she was, Christine, my wife, on top of who I assumed was Sean. She was still wearing the top half of her scrubs. But it was the look on her face that I couldn't pull my eyes away from. The breathless smile of ecstasy. Her moans . It was about a 10 second clip and then it was over. Just the play icon taunting me to press it again, the still image of her blurred smiling face... Christine. I hadn't even noticed that the shower had stopped. For me all time had stopped. I just sat staring at the ground holding the phone. I was numb and could feel nothing. Until I saw her. She opened the bathroom door wrapped in a towel, startled by me she just stood there"Honey what's...."She saw the phone in my hand. I don't know what emotion I was expressing but whatever it was it made her eyes grow wide with fear. I had always heard the expression "seeing red". I thought it was just word play but my vision suddenly glossed over with a crimson hue and my numbness was washed over by rage. Uncontrollable rage. I couldn't articulate my anger into words. I couldn't hurt her with my thoughts. All I could manage was "You recorded it?"

Before she had time to answer or I had time to think I threw the phone at her face as hard as I could and seeing her retract and cry out spurred my rage even more. I lunged at her and slammed her against the wall, grabbing her by the hair I hurled her into the adjacent wall with enough force to make a considerable hole in the wall where she was engraved. Like something out of a Looney Tunes episode. The thought flashed through my head as I looked at my hand still clenched in a fist with so much of her hair poking out every which way. I saw her naked as the towel had fallen off, moaning and coughing with blood running down her face. I wish I could say this was the end of it. That she ran, called the police, served me a court order and we never saw each other again. But I see her often. I ran at her and grabbed her arms yanking her out of the hole, she started to come around and I saw her eyes look into mine with fear and mania. It was so satisfying because all I could see were her eyes filled with lust for "Sean" on their little movie. She started screaming and I slapped her again and again as I dragged her to the stairs. "No! Please!! St--!!" And I shoved her hard down the steps. All the rage, the fear, the screams, our bloody little drama, it all came to a halt with the tumbling of her body and the distinct "SNAP". There goes the neck. She lay at the foot of the stairs naked, bloody, mangled and silent. I calmly walked down and sat on the first couple of steps just surveying all I had done.

It isn't important HOW I covered her murder up. She took an unscheduled vacation and not long after, her job let her go. So much for loyalty. And never being very close with her family they were content to hear from me every now and then. No, none of that is the point. What is important is THAT I covered up her murder. I cut her up into pieces and buried them under the house. It's been 2 years and I haven't had a good night's sleep since. I could have sold the house by now and rid myself of the daily grim reminder of what had happened but I can't risk anyone finding out. At first it was just my guilt haunting me. I know you're horrified by what I've said so far. But you must believe me when I say I loved her. A man with no passion or feelings could never and would never have lashed out the way I did. I only did it because I loved her so fiercely. And I missed her so. It wasn't until about 3 months later on a rainy night as I was tossing and turning that I stopped missing her. My dreams were always the same since the event. They are just flashes of the event itself. Her screams, my red vision, blood, her broken body. I wake up often covered in sweat and panting but this particular night I was not alone. As I jerked awake from her screaming in my nightmare I realized I was hearing audible screaming. My eyes darted to the source and I saw her there. Her hair was so dark and wet, a mixture of water and blood, she was naked and pale, mutilated looking, standing in a half crouched position as if ready to run or cover herself. Her hands were raised in front of her face and her fingers were curled and trembling. She just stood there screaming and screaming but it was her eyes that shattered me with fear. They were so crazed and otherworldly and they were fixated on me.

"Chris..Christine?" Was all I could manage and in an instant she rushed at me! The flashes of lightning made a strobe effect as she jumped on the bed crawling at me in a wild and furious fashion. All the while screaming. I kicked and jerked trying to keep her away and suddenly the covers were over my head. Did I do that!? Was I reverting back to childhood tactics for dealing with a monster? Before I knew it it was silent again. Aside from the puttering of rain outside and the rumbling of thunder. I slowly lowered the covers under my eyes and I was alone. That night I packed up and headed for the nearest motel. I was gone for 2 days before I mustered the courage to go back. Could any of that actually have happened? Had my guilt finally driven me insane? Honestly I'm still not sure. I have seen her many times since. I usually sleep on the couch downstairs because she's almost always active in our bedroom and the stairway. I remember being shaken out of my nightmare one night to find her at the top of the steps just looking down at me. Her eyes are so unsettling. They were wide, almost impossibly so, and they were almost the only things I could see as it was so dark in the house. I just lay there on the couch face up unable to move. We stared at each other. She wasn't hysterical like before. Just pale and almost glowing softly with those wild eyes fixated on me, unblinking. "I'm sorry, Christine." I almost cried as I said it. My voice quivered giving away my absolute fear. She stood there for what seemed like hours but was in reality seconds and slowly turned back towards the bedroom. Eyes still open and unblinking she drifted into the bedroom. I dared not follow her.

A year and a half of this would wear down anyone. And I am at the end of myself. I write this knowing it will be the last thing I ever write. I could just sell the house and risk her being discovered but I know now that I will never rid myself of her. One form or another will haunt me as long as I live. I will give her what she wants...

So he went to sleep in his bedroom for the first and last time in a long time. He actually slept quite well having given up on trying to live. And without fail he woke up to find her there at his bedside. Even though he was expecting her he was startled nonetheless. Her appearance could make anyone's skin crawl. She was standing over him with those huge sunken eyes that would not blink eating their way into his own. "Christine, please! Tell me what you want!" She slowly drifted towards the door and he understood. He followed her to the edge of the stairs and looked down. When he looked back she wasn't next to him anymore and quickly looking down again there she was. Standing at the foot of the steps. Her shoulders hunched and fingers still curled in madness, her mouth open as wide as her eyes. It was as if she were screaming or gasping wide but no sound came out. "God let this be quick.... I'm coming to you, Christine!"

He dove face first and instantly heard snapping sounds. Fire radiated throughout his shoulder and back and he tumbled down to the ground. A whispered creaking sound escaped his lips but he was still alive. With his mostly face down his head was bent back in a way it should not. He saw her standing over him. That silent screaming face staring at him. Why was he still alive?? He wondered. As it turned out he had broken his back, ankle, and collarbone. So movement was impossible but death would only come from dehydration and internal bleeding. For 6 nights he lay mangled as his wife did, but still breathing. Every night he would hear the slow deliberate steps of Christine coming down from the bedroom. On the 3rd night she did not merely watch him. He was surprised as she bent down and began eating away at his stomach. Pulling the flesh until it broke and started gnawing at his intestines. He was too weak to cry out in pain but it was agonizing all the same. Did she not forgive him still!? Was she so vengeful that it was not enough he lay slowly dying, she had to torture him further?? During the day the feasting would continue but in the form of maggots and flies. Eating and eating, laying eggs, bursting forth larvae which would then feast themselves on his flesh. At night it was her. Perhaps the pestilence was still there but he only noticed her crouched in an inhuman position, her head almost completely in his abdomen as she tore and tore away at him. Finally on the 7th day he felt his life fading. His heart giving out. He gave one last breath and died alone.

 

CL Fuqua

 

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