“Men should think twice before making widowhood women’s only path to power.”
– Gloria Steinem
I really enjoyed writing my first short story inspired my Ed Sheeran’s video, “Thinking Out Loud”. I decided to have another go at it. This time I wrote a short story inspired by “The Worst” by Jhené Aiko, in theme with the book, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which I am currently reading for the 2015 Reading Challenge. I am loving the mystery thriller aspect of it, which surprised me and yet made sense to me at the same time. If you are looking for a book to read, I am currently about halfway through Gone Girl and I would highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t really into thrillers, there’s a great movie waiting at the end of it (so I’ve heard). But if you haven’t seen Jhené Aiko’s music video you should definitely check it out here. My short story can be found below, enjoy!
13 minutes and 27 seconds. That’s how long it took the police to arrive on scene the night I killed Eddy.
“911. What is your emergency?”
I found that a little offensive since it took them at least thirty minutes to arrive at my house when I called about Eddy’s abusive nature.
“It’s my husband, he’s hurt.”
And even when they decided to show up, Eddy was always able to turn on his charm and twist them around his little finger.
“Ok ma’am, where is your address?”
They would quickly be sent on their merry way, with the belief in their head that I was just a sensitive wife who overreacted to her “enthusiastic” husband, or whatever bullshit of a lie Eddy had spun.
“He’s not breathing, you know.”
They would pull away in their squad car leaving me in the same position I was in before the 911 call–helpless and stuck in a house with a crazed husband.
“Ok ma’am, I can dispatch someone as soon as you tell me your address.”
Eddy would look at me, enraged by the fact that I had called the police, again. I would begin to apologize profusely, and promise to never do it again. I would spend the rest of the day tiptoeing around the house, trying to make up for pissing him off. And the cycle would start again.
“It’s 1250 Sailout Lane. I don’t know what good you guys will do, he’s already dead. I made sure of that.”
Not this time. I had finally found a way to make sure my husband would never hurt me again. His last breath had assured me of that.
I slammed my finger down on the glowing red end button on the screen. I wonder how long it will take them to find the traces of formaldehyde in his system. Once they find the formaldehyde traces in his stomach, it shouldn’t take them very long to connect it to the missing bottle from the biology lab I frequented at work. I would be arrested is a few weeks top, hell they may even put two and two together and handcuff me tonight.
A week ago, I had made the decision to take a bottle of formaldehyde home with me from the lab. It was just a safety precaution, I never actually intended to use it. It’s just Eddy’s mood swings were becoming more frequent….and increasingly more violent. He had threatened that the next time I called the police it would be my last. Funny how it turns out to be his.
Today, was Valentine Day’s. I had decided this morning when I woke up that it would be a good day. I had the day off work, so I got up around noon and began preparing a Valentine surprise for Eddy. I found Eddy’s grandma’s old recipe for chicken risotto, his favorite dish, wedged between some cookbooks in the kitchen. I carefully followed the instructions to a tee, so it would come out perfectly. I even ventured down into our dark, dank wine cellar to pick out a bottle of wine we had bought together during the early years of our marriage (there was also a 6-pack of Eddy’s favorite beer in the fridge).
As it neared the time that Eddy was to return home from work, I sprinkled rose petals throughout the house leading to our bedroom, dimmed the lights, and lit the candles. I was dressed in a little champagne lingerie-set I had purchased at Victoria Secret the day before. I settled into the couch to wait for his arrival as the sun began to sink into hibernation for the night.
I woke up with a start and immediately knew something was wrong. The outside sky was pitch black, and I could hear a scratching noise at the front door. I quickly checked the time–12:05. The front door bursted open and a drunk Eddy stood in the frame. He looked dazed as he stumbled into the house. He was clearly under the influence of alcohol.
I followed behind him at his heels as he took in everything: the table set with, now cold, food; the candles, burned down low; the wine chilling on the counter in a bucket of melted ice water; and the wilting rose petals scattered on the floor. And then he just stared at me, taking in my barely clothed body (in which I was now trying to hide behind my arms). I muttered, “Happy Valentine’s Day” and walked away leaving him standing in the kitchen in his drunken, confused state.
A few minutes passed, before he followed me into the bedroom. He walked in smelling of stale beer…and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. “I’m sorry,” he began to slur, “let’s have dinner.” I shook my head, explaining I had lost my appetite. He took a step closer, grabbing my wrists. “No, baby. I’m really sorry. Please forgive me.” I was overwhelmed with nausea. I knew what the smell was. Now that he had stepped into the light emitting from my small bedside table lamp, I could see the smudge of lipstick on his cheek. And that smell–it was the smell of a perfume that I had never owned.
One of his arms began to venture from my wrists to the inside of my thighs. I squirmed under his grip. Clearly we are not on the same page. His grip on my wrist tightened as he backed me up against the wall. “Wait, babe we should eat first. You must be hungry after a long day working hard,” I purred. He seemed to ponder on this for a second and then he released his grip on my wrist, and his hand dropped from my thigh. “Why don’t you take a quick shower, while I go heat up the food?” It became apparent that he agreed with this suggestion, because he turned and headed towards the bathroom, and a few seconds later I heard the sound of running water. I released a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding.
I closed the door to our bedroom, and headed towards the kitchen. On the way, I stopped in my study and retrieved the bottle of formaldehyde I had carefully stowed behind several files in the third drawer of my desk. I poured Eddy a glass of wine and added about 30 mL of the poison (the amount it supposedly took to kill an adult human) to his drink, then I added a bit more for surety. After the food was reheated, I reset the table, and sat down across from Eddy’s place setting. He joined me shortly. The lipstick stain on his face was now wiped clean. I looked at him with disgust. “What are you looking at?” He snapped.
“Nothing. I’m just glad you’re finally home.” He groaned, claiming he didn’t want to get into this now. He just doesn’t know that there won’t be a later. He gulped down his entire glass of wine, probably hoping to slow down the sobering process. For a second, nothing happened. Then, he began clutching at his throat making a choking sound. Next, he grabbed at his stomach. The formaldehyde is burning its way through his system. I sat there staring, as he collapsed out of his chair. I continued to sip on my wine. Several minutes passed and I knew for sure he was dead. I got up, cleared the table, and cleaned the kitchen. After everything was back in their place, I grabbed my glass and the bottle of wine and settled down on the couch to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls.
As the closing credits began to reel on the screen, I peaked into the wine bottle and was greeted with an empty bottom. It’s probably time I had a little chat with the police anyways. I unlocked my phone, dialed the three numbers, and hit the call button.
13 minutes and 27 seconds later red and blue lights flashed through the curtains. There was a knock on the door. I calmly stood up from the couch, turned the locked, and pulled open the door.
“Hello,” I said with a smile, “I killed my husband.”