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It was my 30th birthday and my wife, Clara, had planned a camping trip to celebrate it. She knew that I loved to camp, but she wasn’t really into it. She loved the idea of it, but not the actual process of it. My wife liked to be pampered with all of the comforts of home, so spending a week in a tent outdoors was probably the last thing she wanted to do. No cell phones, no tv, no laptops, just pure nature. I loved her for doing this for me.

It was a sunny fall morning in the midwest. There was a little chill in the air. Definitely light jacket or sweatshirt weather. I was hungover as I had a heavy night of drinking with the fellas, so she let me sleep in. I was in a bit of a fog; I must have been pretty drunk as the whole night was a blur.

I finally pulled myself out of bed, slugged down a cup of coffee, and jumped in the shower. As the water poured over me, I felt so relaxed. I had hoped that this trip together would help our intimacy. My wife and I worked a lot of hours and I travelled a lot. We were both busy people, but it seemed like she kind of stopped trying. We loved each other very much, but sex was another story.

I heard the shower door open and there was my wife, stark naked. I noticed that she had dyed her hair bright red, got a couple of new tattoos, and a belly button ring. There was no talking, just heated and passionate sex. I was in complete amazement; this was completely out of character for her. Spontaneous sex just didn’t happen anymore. She was a very successful real estate agent and always very professional. I hadn’t seen that side of her since we started dating in college. After the impromptu rendezvous in the shower, we quickly began getting ready for the day. I packed our gear and loaded the car.

After patiently waiting for my wife to finish getting ready I gave the horn a little tap to let her know I was ready to leave. Seconds later, Clara hopped in the car wearing really short denim shorts, a flannel shirt that was tied at the waist exposing her midriff, and a pair of shiny red heels. she looked like a pinup model. Keep in mind, I had only seen my wife not in a dress only a handful of times in the 10 years that we had been married.

“The sex, the hair color, the tattoos, the piercings, the outfit. Is all of that for me…. for my birthday?”, I said. She grinned and proceeded to passionately kiss me. “It’s for both of us”, she said as she fixed her lipstick and I pulled out of the driveway and we began our trip.

The leaves had begun to turn colors. This made the drive beautiful. “Let’s crack the windows and listen to some music”, said my wife as she pulled her bright red hair out of a ponytail, and reclined her seat a touch. Within seconds she was asleep. I didn’t care, I was enjoying the drive. While I was scrolling through the stations on the radio, I looked over to check her out again. All I could think about was the shower this morning. She laid there as the sun glistened off of her pale white skin on her pierced belly button and ample bosom. I had always been attracted to my wife, but there was something extra special about seeing her in that sort of attire. “This is going to be a great birthday!”, I smugly said to myself as I continued to flip flop checking her out and watching the road.

As we were near the gas station, the song on the radio was cut short and interrupted with a news bulletin: “This just in, another murder has been reported in Ottawa county at 10:55am. This is the 30th reported this morning. The local police authorities currently refuse to comment, except they ask that they are investigating and ask that Ottawa county residents please stay inside, lock your doors and call them if you notice anything strange.”

“Honey, did you hear that”, I said to Clara as I pulled into the gas station to get some ice for the cooler. She mumbled as she turned her head and went back to sleep. I proceeded to go in and get the ice. The clerk looked at me strangely as I swiped my card. “What’s his problem?”, I said to myself as I shook my head and walked back to the car. I popped the trunk to add the ice to the cooler. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

There was no camping gear, no cooler. It was just Clara lying there covered in blood. She was dead. She wasn’t in the pin-up attire that I had been so smitten with earlier. She was wearing a dress and her hair was brown, like always! Her hands and feet were tied behind her back and her mouth taped shut. I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. I lowered the trunk to look back up front……... Clara was no longer there.  “Am I going crazy?”, I said to myself as I examined the body again. I ran back into the gas station to get help, but the guy at the counter was also dead. His throat had been cut and he had bled out all over the counter. “What is happening!”, I screamed as I fell to my knees in a state of shock and despair.

“You are surrounded, please drop the axe and come out with your hands up!” I heard as a police officer bellowed through a megaphone. “What axe?”, I said to myself as I looked down and noticed that I was covered in blood and had an axe gripped tightly in my right hand. When I looked up, I could see my reflection in the display case in front of the counter. I was wearing a bright red wig, cut off denim shorts, a flannel shirt tied at the waist exposing my tattoos, and shiny red high heels……. I smiled and laughed loudly as I stared at my reflection and touched up my lipstick.

The police charged inside the gas station and arrested me. I was being charged for the murders of thirty-two people, including my wife and the gas station clerk.

I am now writing this as I prepare for the long walk to the chair. Moments ago the priest had come into the cell and asked me if I had any last words. “It was my birthday”, I told him as I smiled, laughed, and swallowed the final bite of my last meal.


Bio: I am a freelance writer that took a twenty year hiatus from the literary world. I grew up in a small town in Michigan in the 70's and 80's. During my youth I was mesmerized by science fiction and horror, especially the movies and television shows. Star Wars, Godzilla, Batman, etc... I loved them all. In the summer of 2015 I had an epiphany. I could spend the rest of my life doing something that my heart really wasn't into, or I could take a leap of faith and do what makes me happy. Writing.


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