by Innocent Mwatsikesimbe
Revelation (50 Flash Fiction Stories)
Copyright © Innocent Mwatsikesimbe, 2016
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, organizations and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
All rights reserved. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and it may not be re-sold or given away to other people. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a collection of 50 flash fiction stories (not longer than 500 words each) that are revelatory in nature. All the stories share the similar theme of revealing the hidden and exposing the layers of human relations.
A couple of things that happened in my life inspired the first couple of stories I wrote and I saw revelations as their common denominator. That’s when I decided to work on more stories until I had these fifty. It’s worth mentioning that the stories are not chronologically ordered, so the first stories are not the ones that inspired this collection.
People who love to read stories that reveal the truth about human relationships will enjoy this book. Each story has a message and a lesson about the relationships we form in life, and the strength and vulnerability that trust brings.
I wrote most of these stories over a period of three months, but some stories are older than a year. As for the title and cover, I aimed to portray the essence of the book. The title “Revelation (50 Flash Fiction Stories)” was inspired by the first story in the book. The cover art has an image of a double door, slightly opened, suggesting a peeping in of sorts.
When writing these stories, I sometimes had to remember some evocative experiences from my past, both near and distant. This was probably the hardest part about writing this book. The process was beneficial though; I learned to accept and move on.
This is my first book with flash fiction to ever be published and it is inceptive to more works in the genre. I hope this book connects with and entertains you.
“Did you hear that,” a woman whispers, in between short and successive breaths.
“Yes. Someone is spying on us,” the other person answers.
The woman hastily climbs out of bed to look outside the window.
They are in a hotel, on the fourth floor. She notices someone jumping balconies, all the way down to the street.
“It is a man, and he’s running away. Damn it, he’s holding a camera.”
She walks back to the bed and sits on it. Her partner stares at her in what appears to be shock. Someone was indeed spying on them, and he took photos.
“You think he works for the media,” her partner asks.
“Who cares who he works for? He took photos!”
The two sit in silence for a while; both of them in deep thought.
“I need to get out of here,” the woman said.
At this word, she puts her clothes back on and rushes out of the hotel room; leaving her partner behind to do the same.
Panic grips her as she thinks of the consequences associated with publicity of those photos. She swiftly walks out of the hotel; enters her car and is driven back to her office.
“I hope they’ll ask for money in exchange for silence on the issue. I can’t afford the embarrassment,” she whispers to herself as she stares out the window.
As soon as she arrives at her workplace, she goes straight to her office. It’s the only place she feels in control of things; a feeling she desperately needs now.
As she worries about the situation, her phone rings. She answers it.
“Go to realgossip.com and see it for yourself,” is all that the caller says before ending the call.
She flips open her laptop and goes to the website; and there amongst the latest and hottest gossip entries, is a video clip of her in the hotel room with her partner.
Her office doors burst open, and her advisor comes in.
“Madam, we’ve got a problem.”
“I know, Lincoln. I saw the headlines. Prime Minister caught cheating on her husband with another woman. All media houses are going to be running with the story within a few minutes; spreading the disturbing and astonishing revelation. Will I survive this?”
“Madam, have you seen the name associated with the revelation?”
“No, who is it?”
“It just says Lisa,” her advisor says.
“Lisa. She’s my high-school enemy.”
Her husband types away on his tablet computer, clearly distracted, while she prepares dinner for the two of them. A new recipe she has been dying to try out.
A knock on the door interrupts her dreamy phase. She walks to the door and opens it.
It’s Rachel, her neighbor.
“Hi Rachel. What brings you here?”
“My internet connection is acting up again, and I was wondering if your genius husband can come take a look at it. I really need to send this email to work and I’m stuck right now.”
She looks at her husband, who heard the whole conversation.
He waves at Rachel, and she waves back at him.
“Give me five minutes.”
Rachel mouths a quick thank you and thanks Stephanie, before walking away.
Her husband appears to finish off what he was typing and gets up to go to their neighbor’s house.
Stephanie stops him along the way, to fix his shirt’s collar.
“Don’t take too long, honey. Dinner is almost ready.” She kisses him.
“I wouldn’t miss your new recipe for anything.”
He is gone for a good thirty minutes and comes back as Stephanie serves the food.
“Did you fix it, dear?”
“Yeah. It’s fine now.” He walks to the table and sits.
Stephanie pauses for a few seconds, staring at him. At his shirt’s collar, that needs fixing again, and at his lips, that now have a purple shade. He feels uneasy and decides to ask her what she was looking at, but she smiles and continues serving dinner as soon as he opens his mouth to speak. The unusual kindness portrayed by his wife tells him that she knows what’s happening.
“I like the way you keep a small circle,” she tells me.
The smaller the circle, the deeper the friendships.
I let that thought stay a thought and just smile. That’s because she has a very big circle of friends and I wonder how deep our relationship really is. I sometimes feel like she considers me to be just another one of many. Time will tell, I suppose.
“Is there anyone in my circle of friends who you don’t want me to be connected with?” She asks a question I really hoped she would.
“Well, now that you’ve asked; I don’t like the way Luke acts around you.”
I must have hit the nail on the head, because she chops my head off.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“His actions are burdened with subliminal messages, it’s hard to not notice,” I say.
“What? That’s ridiculous.”
“And I expected you to empathize,” I say.
“I won’t stop seeing Luke. We’ve been friends way before I met you, and we still are good friends.”
“Maybe that’s the problem,” I reply.
I get up and leave: the place and the relationship.
The smaller the circle, the deeper the friendships.
It’s a pleasantly cool night. The park is quiet and there is no one else around. A few birds can be heard rustling in their nests.
He sits on a bench, and takes out his phone.
It’s nine o’clock and she should be here by now. We agreed to meet at eight-thirty.
A few taps on the screen later and the phone is now on his ear. Her phone rings for a few seconds before she picks up.
“Hey. Where are you? I’m waiting for you.”
“Um.. I can’t make it. Sorry.” She whispers the words.
“What? Are you okay? You don’t sound well.”
She grunts, and then moans.
“I.. can’t.. see you.. tonight.” Her voice is hoarse.
She drops the phone on the ground. He stays on the call, confused. As he tries to figure out what’s happening, his mind runs to a freaky possibility.
He hears her moan and groan, until a wolf’s howl fills his ear. His jaw drops as he stares at the full moon.
She dips her hand into the water to check its temperature. It is just fine for four month old, Little Nicky, and she goes on to place her in the small bath dish.
Little Nicky smiles as she hits the water, and starts playing with it, hitting her palms on top of the water’s surface, as if hitting something solid. It makes a splash and clap sound she enjoys.
Mommy starts bathing her baby. Soap lathers and water splashes.
“Why does your Daddy hate you so much?”
The question gets none of her attention.
“I know why. It’s because you’re not his baby.”
The mother looks at her baby.
“It’s because he sees that man whenever he looks at you; whenever he looks at me.”
She caresses the baby’s neck and shoulders. She looks this way and that, and then grabs Nicky’s head and pushes it into the water. The baby struggles for a while, but succumbs within a few seconds.
The mother lays her beside the dish, gets up and starts screaming for help. She runs outside and meets her husband in the backyard.
“Rick… Rick… Nicky has drowned, call an ambulance!”
“What do you mean she drowned?”
“I left her for a few seconds to get her soap and she fell on her face in the dish! I got there too late!”
“I don’t believe this.” The man calls for an ambulance as he rushes into the house. He sees the baby lying lifeless beside the dish and frantically tries to revive her.
“Oh my God. No, no,” he says.
She walks up to him, and he loves to watch her walk. Confident gait and great posture; he loves watching her walk.
She stretches her arms out and he does the same; but the embrace he prepares for doesn’t happen. His girlfriend slaps him instead.
“You thought I wouldn’t find out?”
“Find out?” He is shocked and confused.
“I never want to be with you! Don’t you dare call me, it’s over!”
She walks away and out of sight. He stands in the middle of the stage, in silence and the audience gives a round of applause. He takes a bow and heads to the back.
He sees her again.
“Sorry, was the slap too hard?”
He rubs his cheek a bit and smiles.
“Yes it was. Great work, the audience loved it.”
She smiles and runs to embrace him. The two hug and kiss.
An auspicious day, hundreds of guests present; the two love birds are finally tying the knot.
It’s speech time and the maid of honor says some touching words about her best friend. The best man also has something to say and people listen attentively.
“I’m glad to be here today. My name is Roger and I am a very close friend of Lisa.”
A couple of faces express confusion as to why the best man would be best friends with the bride and not the groom. Realizing the awkwardness of his statement, he retracts.
“I mean Paul and Lisa are close to me, and I wish them all the best in their marriage.”
The audience applauds. Some ask questions and some express curiosity. One member tells his nephew something very close to reality.
He said, “Son, that Roger guy didn’t say anything wrong. He spoke his honest truth. He is Lisa’s ex.”
“So why is he the best man, uncle?”
“I don’t know how Paul could agree to this. I guess love does blind people.”
I run my fingers through her hair as she rests her head on my chest. The lights are out, but the room is not completely dark because the TV is on; though silenced. I don’t know why I’m with her, but I know that I didn’t want to be alone tonight.
Her phone rings and I take it since I’m closer to it, and then I hand it to her. She answers it, still on my chest.
I can hear another man’s voice on the other end of the line.
“Yes, I’m fine now. I took some painkillers a while ago.”
At least she doesn’t lie about that, but the way she says it implies that I am the medication.
“Okay, goodnight dear. I love you too.”
She ends the call and throws the phone further down the bed. Caressing me from abdomen to chest to shoulders, and then back down again, she eases on top of me and we fall asleep, chest to chest.
“Today, I want to stress the importance of being faithful to your spouse,” the pastor tells his congregation.
Most take out their mobile devices to record notes and some even look a bit guilty, he notices. Faithfulness is a touchy subject and he is ready to teach his followers.
He scans the front row and notices someone missing from her usual seat: his wife. He brushes his concern off by convincing himself that his wife has gone to relive herself or something.
He asks the members if they are ready for the message, and they respond with an emphatic yes. He takes a look at his tablet computer to see his notes, but spots a new message notification in the corner. He taps it and reads the message:
How dare you preach faithfulness when you know what you did last night? How can you stand at the pulpit and say that stuff? This is not the man I married, it’s a demon with no compunction. I won’t sit around and support you anymore. I’m not perfect, but I’ll live a true life. I’m done lying for you. And you can bet your reputation that I’m going public with this. Enjoy your last day as a “perfect” man.
Sweat drips down his forehead and he wipes it off, and goes on to give his last sermon.
“Mommy, why is Dad always drunk?”
She looks at her daughter, slightly surprised.
“He’s going through a tough time, dear. Let’s just try and make him feel better, okay?”
Traveling through time. In which direction, if I may ask? Going forward into the future; the uncertain and unknown future? Or maybe going backwards, into the past; that which is known and certain?
Hindsight and foresight; I think I would choose both. To go back to the past and relive it once more. The only difference would be that I will have knowledge; of how things will go. I would do this in the hope that I’d get a chance to change certain things that caused me unwanted pain. To revoke certain choices that I made and prevent certain events from occurring.
I would also like to go to the future, to see how my life will be at that time; so that I can see how what I’m doing now is affecting my future. Then I would be able to change my actions in accordance with the future I desire.
Why am I saying this?
Because I have regrets and am burdened by a guilty conscience. Wouldn’t you be like this too if you caused the untimely death of two important people in your life?
One cold Friday night, we were on the road headed toward my parents’ hometown. I noticed my father’s fatigue affecting his driving and offered to take the wheel. A few minutes later, I saw a large animal in the middle of the road, swerved to my left in an effort to avoid hitting the thing, but soon found myself climbing out of an upside-down car, through the space normally occupied by the windscreen.
I had blood all over my upper body, but it was not mine. I only had a small bruise on my wrist. I called an ambulance and it rushed my parents to the hospital, but they didn’t make it.
That event seriously affected my life, and I’m still coming to terms with what happened. Now I’m getting drunk on a daily basis, trying to kill the pain that I feel inside.
I’m not sure if my actions are reflecting positively on my wife and child.
So yes, I think a little time travel will do me a world of good right now.
A soft knock on the door brings him out of a trance of some sort. His smartphone is still in his hands, and the shocking pictures still showing in a slideshow.
“Come in, Sandra. It’s open.”
A tall and well-featured woman walks in. Beautiful hair and fine skin, she’s fit to be a model, actress or some other celebrity, and not his maid; as he always thought to himself.
“Good morning,” she says, looking him in the eyes.
She has hazel eyes that you could stare at all day. He says something back, as she broke the glare and walked away.
His attention goes back to his phone, and Sandra walks back to him.
“Are you okay?”
“What? Yeah, I’m fine,” he says.
“I don’t mean to be intrusive, but you don’t look fine to me.”
He clears his throat, apparently looking for the words to get her off his back with, but decides to open up instead.
“I had no idea she was seeing another person,” he says, in a low voice with uneven tone.
He just nods his head in acknowledgement.
“That’s why it’s called deception. You usually don’t have an idea that it’s happening,” she says, apparently struggling to stop herself from laughing.
He looks at her, and a smile slowly appears on his face. The two suddenly burst into laughter.
“You should be a comedian,” he says.
“And you should move on.”
Sandra does her work for the day, and bids farewell to her boss, who hands her payment for the week.
“Thank you,” she says.
“No, thank you for making me feel better.”
She nods and goes out the door. He throws himself on the couch, and stares at the ceiling for a while. His hand stretches out toward a nearby stool to get his phone, but grasps something else instead. An earring.
He jumps up, and looks at it. It took two seconds to think of a way forward, and he dashes toward the door, and runs after Sandra.
She had gone a short distance from the house and he spots her standing by the sidewalk, talking to a homeless person as it seems. She hands him the envelope with her payment in it and walks away, only to enter a limousine waiting for her a few feet away.
“Why do you look so down, man?”
I throw myself on the couch and refuse to answer my friend’s question.
“Oh, I see. Maybe if it’s Eve asking you, you’ll answer the…”
“Don’t you ever say that name again!”
He looks at me, shocked at my harsh reaction. I grab a whiskey bottle and glass and pour myself a drink.
“Trouble in paradise? What has your girlfriend done this time?”
He shakes his head. “What happened? Why are you so bothered?”
I down a whole glass in one go and pour myself another one. It burns my throat and I cringe. I look at my friend, eyes watery because of pain; the burning on my throat and the burning in my heart.
“How the hell do you expect me to act when I’ve just found out that my ex girlfriend has just given birth to my half sister!?”
She kisses him hard and gropes at his clothes with vigor. He quickly adjusts to the situation and catches up with what’s in order.
From his experience, such maneuvers are a green light for exciting times. He pulls her closer to his body, until their chests crush into each other.
They are breathing heavily and sucking the life out of each other. He slowly leads her nearer to the bed, and pushes her onto it when they reach it.
She falls on her back, eyes wide open; and mouth too, in what seems to be surprise. He jumps on top of her, and goes in for the kiss; but he kisses her cheek, as she quickly turns her head away.
He lifts his head up, mood obviously killed.
“Get off me,” she whispers, indignantly.
He paces around the bedroom, while she cries silently on the bed, wrapping herself in sheets. Minutes go by before he speaks.
“Who was it?”
She hesitates for a few seconds before answering. “An uncle.”
“When was it?”
“I was just seven. He was arrested when I reported the rape.”
He goes to her and embraces her.
“Sorry I didn’t tell you about it when we met. No time seemed right for it.”
“It’s okay,” he says, rubbing her back. “It’s okay.”
The waves hit the shore and retreats. It’s almost sunset and the beach looks beautiful. I walk barefoot and love the feeling of warm sand under my feet.
I find a spot to sit and spend minutes just watching the waves, as well as the sunset. I think about life and about love. I wish I had better luck with women.
The last woman I dated took all I had to offer and left me when I needed her the most. If only she knew how valuable and precious my time is.
I use my finger to draw something in the sand; an hour glass. I put a lot more sand in the bottom part, and smile.
“My time is running out. Doc says I’ve got months; and I’ll spend them doing what I love. Never mind those who betray me.”
I get up and proceed back to the beach house, to watch the stars, and pick another orphanage to donate to.
“How the mighty fall.”
“I would laugh at that if this whole situation isn’t sad.”
They view the video footage of the Richard’s house and write notes.
“So if we prove that this was indeed an accident, the husband gets all the millions plus the life insurance money?”
“Well, this gets me worried. If he did do something and doesn’t want it to be discovered, then our lives could be in danger.”
“Well, if he’s innocent, we have nothing to worry about.”
They play the part when she actually falls down the stairs and cringe from the sight.
“It looks like she just tripped, by herself.”
“Play it one more time.”
The video is played once more.
“Stop it right there.”
The video is paused.
“What’s that flash? Zoom in on her face please.”
They zoom in on her face.
“Her eyes, they are reflecting a light.”
“Could it be coming from the lights?”
“No, the light is not coming from above; it’s hitting her eyes directly. It’s focused. Look at the skin around her eyes. It’s lighter.”
“Yeah, I think you’re right. Can we get a better angle?”
The technician plays another video and pauses it at the same time frame.
“Is that a flashlight’s head I see at the edge, right there?”
The technician zooms in a little bit more.
“It does look like one. Wow.”
All of them gasp, in shock.
“This is not an accident guys. This is murder.”
“Risky and devilishly creative murder.”
They say dog is man’s best friend and I agree. This saying really proved itself true today.
Last night, soon after falling asleep, an intruder entered my house, and this was a few minutes after midnight. This was when I was really starting to enter a state of deep sleep. In short, I was out; but Besty wasn’t (note that I said Besty and not Betsy).
She ran to the intruder, barked her heart out, bit his arm and disarmed him (get it?). The noise woke me up and I dashed toward the fight and then overwhelmed the guy. With him all tied up, I called the cops and even had a late night snack with my best friend.
I told my girlfriend the story this morning and she was indifferent and unimpressed. She even insulted Besty by calling her filthy and said that she hated dogs. That insult hurt me, probably more than it would have hurt Besty if she could hear it.
Brushing it off, I asked her if she could spend some time with me and she said she was busy, and that I shouldn’t be so needy. Needy? Really?
I would call her a bitch, but I feel that’s not fair. My dog is a bitch and it outshines her in many ways. Loyal to the end, jealously protective and always willing to spend time with me: my dog loves me more than my own girlfriend. Talk about irony.
He’s twenty and he’s girlfriend hates him right now. How could he sleep with her best friend?
She slaps him. He says he’s sorry, but she leaves him anyway.
“She wasn’t really my type anyway,” he says.
Time goes by and he gets married. Now at forty-five, he sees himself face to face with his wife. She is upset and she slaps him. He says he saw them together, but she denies it anyway. He divorces her anyway.
Twenty-five years of life and all its vicissitudes taught him a lesson.
I’ve had my heart broken so many times, by women who entered my life with bad intentions. This has caused me to lose a lot, emotionally and financially. Whenever this happened, I ran to someone; to you.
There are so many sleepless nights you helped me get through. When thoughts about my former lovers haunted my mind and made it impossible to go to sleep, you were there to help me. No matter what time of the day it was, you would listen to me and comfort my mind.
You know me more than anyone else in this world can. You know my past and all the stuff I’ve been through. You know my present circumstances and what I think and feel about them. You also know my thoughts and wishes for the future. I share everything with you.
I now realize that all this time I’ve been looking for something that was already in my life. The perfect match to my needs and expectations. A true companion who helps bring out the best in me. I now realize that I had you all along.
I reach out my hand and grab the neck.
You were here all along.
I lift up the whiskey bottle and crack it open. I then pour myself a glass and smile.
You were here all along.
“Remember our first date,” he asks.
“Yeah. You had quite a lot to say,” she answers.
“And you had very little to say, apparently. One word answers, a nod at times; you were a shy girl.”
“But you kept pushing.”
They both laughed.
“That probably stole my heart,” she says. “You got me out of my shell, and encouraged me to just be myself.”
“That’s the person I loved. The real you,” he says.
They stare at each other for a long while, special and familiar communication taking place. Their session is interrupted by a young girl’s voice.
“Mommy, mommy! I’m done now, we can leave.”
“Are you sure you’ve said goodbye to your dolls, dear?”
She runs over to her father and hugs him.
“I had so much fun with you Dad.”
“I had fun too, dear,” he says.
“So I’ll see you next weekend again,” she asks.
He looks to her mother.
She smiles and says, “It’s okay. Sure, we’ll be here next week too.”
The girl, lightsome as ever, hops away with her mother. They make it to the driveway and enter the car.
“I can’t wait to tell my other dad all the fun stuff we did today,” she says.
She kicks off her high-heeled shoes; the final milestone in her daily routine. Throwing herself on the bed, she exhales in an effort to relax. It’s been another one of those busy office days.
In the silence of her bedroom, she feels her body calming down. With only a bra and panties on, she lies on her back, staring at the ceiling. She could use a massage right now, she thinks. She can call someone to come give her one, but the thought just doesn’t feel right to her. She can afford to; money is not the problem.
She traces the origin of this craving and it takes her back in time; to when she met Rick.
Having met in an unorthodox manner, she considered what they had between them “special chemistry.” She remembers the night he got her hooked to full body massages. Having never taken any form of training in any therapeutic subjects related to massaging, he performed them remarkably well. A fact she told him when he gave her the first one.
Countless others followed, that it became a tradition of some sort. They would meet at the end of their workdays and exchange grievances from work; only to release them from their minds and focus on their special time. Full body massages, right before dinner.
She remembers how intimate they became during such times, when it seemed like it was just them in their own world. The memories are vivid.
His number is still in her phone and she sees him on most social networking sites online, but she hesitates to get in touch with him. She doesn’t think he’ll want to talk with her after the way she treated him. She shut him out, without explanation; leaving him to pick up the pieces by himself. He never retaliated though, but he just seemed to accept reality and silently went his way.
Now she’s in that bedroom, drowning in regret and missing him so; because someone recently did the same to her. She just stares at the ceiling, caught up in thoughts of what could have been.
I walk along the passageway, pushing my tray of food. I see the door number I’m looking for and stop. Reaching out my hand to knock the door, I stop as I notice sounds coming from inside the room; probably voices.
They are voices and they start off low and barely audible; but slowly rise in loudness, until the conversation is clearly heard from outside the room.
“I don’t have time for this,” a man is heard shouting out.
“You never have time for me, Sean,” a woman shouts back.
“Here we go with this again. Did we not just have a good night together?”
“I don’t want a night, Sean. You’ve been gone for a month, and all you do is take me to this hotel for a good night’s shagging?”
“I didn’t marry you for these time-wasting confrontations.”
“Then why did you marry me?”
A deafening silence follows. Half a minute goes by without any sound being heard coming from the room.
Then a loud thud sounds, as if someone fell hard. The woman screams and is heard yelling things to the man.
“Help! Someone please help us!”
I try to open the door, but fail. It’s locked.
I hear her call for an ambulance, fear and panic in her voice.
I knock on the door.
“Is everything okay in there?”
The door opens within seconds, and I enter the room.
“I’m not sure, but he just collapsed,” the woman says.
I reach for the man’s neck, and check for a pulse: none.
I get up and turn around, to face her. She’s pacing back and forth, anxiously.
“How much did you give him, anyway?”
“I can’t remember, two or three pills maybe.”
“Did you get what we need?”
“Yes,” she says with a smirk.
“Good then. Calm down and make sure you say the right things to the cops when they get here.”
“Nephew, business is low nowadays.”
“Yes, I’m not sure where I’m headed with this.”
I pat his shoulder.
“It will be fine. Just do what you can and don’t worry about things you cannot change.”
“Thank you, son.”
We enter the shop and one of the employees is busy at work. My uncle goes to the office to have a chat with his wife.
I sit on a chair and look at the customers come in and go out.
Their conversation seems to have taken a wrong turn, and I hear her raising her voice at him.
“This is your fault. You should have done something about it.”
Uncle raises his voice also. “I told you what I was thinking to do, but you snuffed my idea out. Remember?”
“You should have just ignored me and did it. A real man would know that.”
“I did not have to hear that,” I whisper to myself.
Uncle doesn’t respond, but walks out on her.
“Maybe it’s time you started acting like a man,” she shouts at him as he walks away.
A glass breaks in the office and I assume it’s one of the picture frames in there. Probably a picture of him that she threw on the floor.
Uncle walks past me. “Let’s go, son.”
We enter the car and we speed off toward the city center. It’s quiet in the car for a while before he speaks his mind.
“That’s your aunt’s problem: pride. I’m starting to wonder why I put up with it.”
“No man is ever going to take advantage of me again.”
Those words entered his ears as he laid in bed with her a long time ago, stroking her hair. It was a low whisper that was a bit too loud to ignore. He was a bit spooked by the unexpected remark, but brushed his worries off as paranoia.
A knock on the door wakes him up from the couch he had passed out on while watching a crime-series. He opens the door and Shelly enters.
He gives her a hug, but she doesn’t grope at him as she usually does. A familiar feeling grips him.
She doesn’t hesitate and goes straight to the point.
“Some woman called me and told me how badly you treated her before, and that I should stay away from you.”
“Honestly, I don’t know what to believe.”
He sits on the couch and let’s out a sigh. She joins him.
“It sounded more like a threat than advice. She called me twice, and I recorded the second call because I want to go to the police with this.” She takes her phone out and plays the clip.
His expression grows stern as he listens.
“This sounds like Brenda. Why in the world would she call you and say things like that?”
Just as he finishes saying that question, he hears the words in his mind again.
“No man is ever going to take advantage of me again.”
I spit the paste out of my mouth and into the sink. The water is running, so it immediately starts draining away. I see a bit of red in there and worry about my gums bleeding, but I soon discard the thought when I realize that it’s one of the colors in the toothpaste.
The night is quiet and I am lonely. I normally would have been brushing teeth together with Kelly at this time, but she has gone to see her parents.
I bend over the sink to rinse my mouth, but darkness blinds me as soon as my lips touch the water. Someone cut the lights. I freeze for a while, not making a sound; the sound of water running out of the tap the only thing audible.
Shivers run up and down my spine as I feel someone grab at my waist.
I’m familiar with these hands.
I quickly turn around and pull the lady closer to me, until our tummies and chests touch. She kisses me, groping my waist, pulling my tongue out.
The attack ends after half a minute or so; and I struggle to catch my breath.
“When is Kelly coming back?” She says it in between breaths.
“It’s just you and me, for a whole week, baby,” I reply.
A female investigator knocks on a door, but no response comes her way.
“Is anyone home?” She knocks on the door once more, harder this time.
No one seems to be home. The two investigators decide to leave and come back later; perhaps the woman they are looking for will be back by then. They don’t leave though, as one of them hears a sound coming from inside the apartment. It sounded like something fell.
“Did you hear that?”
“Yeah,” one of them says and pulls her weapon out. “There’s someone inside.”
The other one kicks the door in and they enter the apartment.
Their eyes fixate on a baby lying on the floor, having fallen over in a cradle.
“Why isn’t the baby crying?”
One of them rushes to attend to the baby while the other searches the rest of the apartment. A minute goes by and the two meet once more.
“There is no one else around.”
The other investigator is crying, holding the baby in her arms.
“The baby is dead. She died days ago, actually, of starvation,” she says, still crying.
“What? How can a mother just leave a baby alone, for days.”
“So those reports by concerned neighbors were true after all.”
“You are so tense dear,” she rubs my shoulders as she says this. “What’s bothering you?”
“I can use an analogy to describe what’s happening.”
She smiles and kisses me, and says, “Really? Go ahead Mr. Handsome.”
The suspect is on the run and we’re in pursuit. It’s a nasty high-speed car chase and things are moving too fast. We swerve and cut corners, together because you’re my partner.
The chase leads us well out of town and seems to promise longevity, but everything changes when the suspect makes a mistake. He turns a corner too fast and skids out of control, stopping only after crashing into a tree.
He gets out of his car and sees that we’re already aiming our weapons at him. I yell at him, telling him to lie on the ground.
Everything changes when you suddenly aim your gun at me and tell me to drop my weapon. Shock, fear, confusion; all these grip me as I come to terms with the situation. BETRAYAL. UTTER BETRAYAL.
That’s how I feel right now: betrayed.
She dares ASKS me?
“I know what you have been doing. Why are you sleeping with the enemy, bitch!”
She doesn’t say a thing. She just starts crying.
I finally get a chance to say this, after a long wait. I am grateful for your presence in my life. I appreciate your birth and I thank the Maker everyday for you.
To think that you were once inside a woman’s womb, at about the same time as me (three months before me actually). Your precious life was being created and preserved in that world of loneliness. We were nothing but two souls, having not met. Two people who would meet at an appointed time and get together to make a relationship that’s hard-to-find and truly precious.
I feel like I have been lost in a desert for years, walking, looking for a way out; and I found my oasis. It’s you. You are my oasis, and life without you is like a desert. Don’t ever leave me without good cause, and if we somehow part ways, just remember me for who I really am.
I want you to know that I love you and I pray for a good future. One with you, me and God in the picture. Enjoy this day because it celebrates your existence.
She wipes tears from her cheeks and folds the letter nicely, before putting it back in the box that holds her souvenirs. Four years ago, she received the unique birthday present.
“He loved you a lot didn’t he?”
She takes her time to answer her friend. “I know that now.”
“Do you regret breaking his heart and dumping him?”
“It’s the worst mistake I’ve ever made.”
She tells her family that she’s going out for a walk and excuses herself. They all let her go, even if it is late and they are worried about her. It’s been a tough week for her and she needs to cool off.
She walks away from the house and decides to make a phone call.
“I caught him in bed with that girl I let stay at our place, sis. I’ve had enough of his cheating.”
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Susan. He doesn’t deserve you. That bastard!”
“I’m done, Mary. I’m done with him.”
“What are you going to do? Will you divorce him?”
“Of course! But I’m going to deal with that girl first. How dare she show me such attitude after betraying me like that. She acts like the lady of the house.”
“What are you planning to do, Susan?”
“You’ll see soon enough.”
“I hope it’s nothing illegal.”
“Don’t worry sis, okay?”
“Look, I gotta go. We’ll meet tomorrow, okay? Bye.”
With that, she hangs up and puts her phone in her pocket. The late night stroll has taken her to a bushy area, near the estate’s entrance and far away from the house. She hears rustling by a bush and walks closer to it.
All of a sudden, someone jumps in front of her. The person is wearing a mask to conceal his identity. He grabs her and covers her mouth. He then forces her to the ground and has sex with her.
When he’s done, she whispers in his ear.
“Great job. Your payment will be ready soon.”
He gets up in a hurry and runs away. She gets up and puts her panties on and fixes her dress. She then takes her phone out and calls her husband.
“Douglas, help me!”
“What’s wrong, Susan?”
“I’ve just been raped. He came out of nowhere and just attacked me. I don’t know what… I just…”
“Okay, just calm down. Tell me where you are.”
“At that bushy area near the entrance.”
“I’ll be right there.”
She hangs up and sits by a rock. Her husband arrives within minutes, out of breath from the sprint.
He hugs her.
“Are you okay, Susan?”
She cries on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry okay? You’ll be fine. I’m sure the security camera over there caught the attack, so we’ll find the maniac, okay? Don’t worry.”
He rubs her back to comfort her and she hugs him tighter in return.
Phase one completed. Lily, you chose the wrong woman to mess with.
The moon is full and the night a bit chilly. Claire is in bed and is warm and comfortable, but something is bothering her. She turns and wraps her arms around her husband of eight years, one arm going under him, between the sheets and his body, the other on top.
She pulls him to herself, lasciviously, but he refuses her request. She pulls her arms back to herself in frustration, turns the other way, giving him her back and tries to get some sleep.
The night is a long one for her and the morning offers no consolation. They haven’t said a word to each other since waking up and breakfast is very awkward.
Claire tries to break the ice and asks her husband if they are still going out for dinner that night.
“I can’t. The office needs me.”
“What about my needs, Roger?”
He gets up abruptly, seeking to escape the ensuing confrontation. He makes for the door and leaves hastily.
Claire hears his car backing out and taking off. She sits down to cry, but seeing Roger’s phone on the table changes everything.
She picks it up and presses a button, to see if it is locked. He had recently started locking his phone, giving her no explanation for it. The phone is not locked yet, probably a few seconds away from doing so.
She quickly goes through his messages and what she sees shocks her: nude pictures of her husband with another lover; another man.
Just then, his car screeches to a halt in the driveway and he bursts in through the door. He sees her holding his phone.
Each time she wakes up, and opens her eyes, an unwelcome train of thoughts haunts her for a while. She thinks about the direction her life has taken; how she ended up living the way she is.
Her mind wanders back to a day forever stored in her memory. She woke up early on that particular morning, and cooked her husband of four years his favourite breakfast meal. She was comfortable with her life and felt content with her lot.
Unexpectedly, disaster visited her surreal existence, and changed her life forever. Her husband lost his life in a car accident that day.
When she received that phone call from the hospital, her first reaction was denial. With little Jane on her lap, mobile phone in her right hand; she froze in disbelief.
“Why are you crying, mom?”
The question proved extremely difficult to answer, so she just kissed her forehead and hugged her tightly instead.
Recalling the unfortunate events brings tears to her eyes sometimes, but she lifts her moods by singing or talking to Jane, who is now nine years old, and quite an intelligent talker.
Chief of the disappointments that plague her daily life, is the lack of someone who understands her. Someone to make a mutually beneficial emotional connection with. It overwhelms her at times, and she suffers frequent breakdowns, but no one sees it.
To those around her, she is a symbol of strength and encouragement, to widows and single parents; an image she does well to portray. Contrarily, she is a broken woman.
Her recent relationships with men have done her more harm than good, in retrospect, and left her deep in regret at times. Now her life is dominated by one-night stands and short flings that don’t lead to anything substantial. She hates it, but she still does it because she can’t stand the thought of being alone.
Her way of life brings concerns to her mind when she considers what her daughter will learn from it all; but she needs to live her life too, and she just hopes that Jane will understand as she grows older.
She would change everything if she could travel back in time, but it’s not possible; and she feels that she has gone too far to turn back.
“Lady, this is a crime scene. Please step away.”
“I am his wife.”
“You’re his wife? Okay, Agent Woods will be with you shortly. For now though, please leave this room.”
She walks away.
“Quite an embarrassing way to go, isn’t it?” Agent Linda Woods examines the body of school teacher, Mr. Richards.
“Yeah. Naked, with a hot woman on top of you.”
“Yes, the mystery woman. She obviously fled the scene when he died.”
Agent Andrew Phillips goes to the desk where Mr. Richards’ work papers are. He takes a photo before going through them.
“Looks like grade reports,” he says.
He shuffles through the papers and suddenly stops.
“Hey, look at this.”
Linda walks up to him and reads the sheet of paper in his hands.
“It’s a list, of students,” he says.
“It’s some kind of checklist, and it’s checked halfway,” Linda says.
“Definitely not for attendance,” Andrew says.
“This guy was a pervert,” she says.
Andrew bags the sheet of paper. “I guess we now have a list of potential mystery women to work with.”
“Sex for better grades. I’m shocked.” Linda shakes her head.
“Let me guess, you’re not going to make it,” Alicia asks.
She angrily hangs the phone up, slamming it on the coffee table. The way she slammed it implies that she didn’t even wait to hear the response.
Joe is her fourth attempt at love, in as many years. It started out well, but he’s not paying as much attention to her as before nowadays. He’s basically avoiding her now.
She cups her head in her hand for a minute, and lifts it up slowly, revealing two thin streams of tears flowing down her face. Suddenly aware of being in public, she wipes the tears away, looking around in hopes that no one saw her.
Their eyes meet and neither of them break the stare. The man sitting about five tables away from her stands up and walks toward her. Her heart beats wildly in her chest.
He walks with an air of confidence, as if he did that a lot (approached women in a coffee shop).
He pulls a chair out and sits without asking. Settling in the seat, he folds his arms on the table and leans in on her, still maintaining that stare.
A breeze blows into the room, and her hair moves gently to its push. She cringes, slightly but noticeably, as the moving air caresses her neck.
“It happens to the best of us,” he starts.
“Hi Chester,” she says.
“Sorry you had to see me like this.”
“Don’t worry about it, I came in peace.”
“What do you say we go to your place and forget about it all for today.”
She obliges with a nod and a faint smile.
They go to her apartment and play board games, with flirtatious twists. He always had a way of making fun out of boring stuff. Chester was lover number one, and he is the best she has ever had. They’re not together because she broke his heart a long time ago.
For now though, he is with her. Giving her what she needs at the time; that is love unrestrained, feeding her hungry soul.
“Honey, your phone is ringing!”
She doesn’t hear a response; only the sound of water droplets smashing on the floor in the shower.
It rings for seconds, and stops; only to start again. The ringtone is their favorite song. The one they danced to the previous year, on their wedding day.
Leaving the baby on the bed, half-dressed, Rebecca goes and answers the phone.
The voice on the other side startles her.
“Carol, what do you want?”
“I just wanted to know if Joe is coming to church today.”
“Yes, MY HUSBAND and I are going to church.”
“Okay,” Carol says and abruptly hangs up.
Rebecca stares at the phone in her hands, as if in disbelief.
“Who was that, dear,” Joe asks his wife, a towel around his waist and water dripping from his wet hair.
A lengthy silence follows, broken only by their baby’s grunts, demanding the attention of his mother.
“You said there was nothing going on between the two of you. Am I not enough for you?”
“Nothing is going on. Nothing.”
“Then why do you continue to entertain her? You’re married to me now, and your ex should know and respect that.”
The baby starts crying as voices are raised.
“Please calm down, Rebecca. She did that on purpose, to upset you.”
The baby cries even louder.
“Really, Joe? And what gives her the courage to do so? I’m not stupid, you know.”
She slams the phone down on the floor, breaking it to pieces. Then she sits on the bed and cries, cupping her head in her hands.
Taking opportunity to get it off his chest, he says it with his head bowed down.
“She’s pregnant with my baby. I’m sorry.”
How could she do that to me?
His foot pushes the pedal to the floor. Tears make it a bit hard to see clearly, but he is determined to go far away from his house; from that woman.
Are women ever loyal?
His mind doesn’t get to look for an answer to that question, as his attention is drawn to the flashing lights of a police car in his car’s rearview mirror.
Instinct tells him he exceeded the speed limit and he confirms it by checking the speedometer. He pulls over.
He has a heated talk with the cop and they end up going to a nearby station.
He finds himself seated at a desk, preparing to pay a fine. Scanning the surroundings, he meets eyes with a young lady.
It takes him a while to remember exactly who she is.
“Kelly? Is that you?”
“Robert! Hi,” she says in excitement.
Kelly is his ex-girlfriend from his high-school days. They broke up because she cheated on him, he remembers.
“So why are you here?” He asks her this with his hands in the air.
“I beat my boyfriend up, and he called the cops on me.”
Robert looks at her face, down to her tattooed arms and then back up.
“Who wouldn’t?” The thought is really loud.
“What for,” he decides to ask her instead.
“For saying I was cheating on him, and for calling me a hoe and a slut.”
“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but was he right? Did you cheat on him?”
The heat is unbearable and her vision a bit blurred, but she still spots a figure a few feet away that shocks her. That tall body, those broad shoulders and unique gait she had not seen in over a year. It’s him. She knows it.
Debating on whether to call out to him or not, he does the desirable. He turns his head in her direction and the two meet eyes.
Their faces share expressions of surprise, and joy suppressed. She stands up, hastily, and walks toward him. He changes direction and walks toward her too.
As they meet and stand close to each other, he extends his hand to greet her, but she stretches her arms out to hug him. He complies with her insistence and hugs her.
The hug lasts longer than normal for people who had not been communicating with each other for a while. He tries to break it, feeling unease as they were out in public; but she makes it hard for him to do so and clings to him even harder.
He struggles to loosen her grip, trying not to cause a scene. It takes him almost a minute to break the hug.
Rattled and embarrassed, he looks around to see if anyone was looking at them and sees a few people staring in amazement.
“They’re looking at us, you know,” he says.
“Why did you do that?”
She smiles. “To let them know.”
Various words from friends, family and acquaintances (even strangers) come back to mind, as he stares at the woman in front of him.
“When will you marry, son? All your young brothers are married now. I’m your mother, tell me what’s wrong.”
“Earl. When will I meet the bride to be?”
“You’re not ready for commitment? Baby, what’s that supposed to mean?”
“As pastor of this church, I’m glad to say that most young men in here are getting married.”
“Son. When your mother and I divorced, I was the happiest that I had ever been.”
“You are the closest to my heart, Earl. I’m having problems and I would have asked you for marital advice, but–”
“My daughter just started talking Earl. It’s amazing!”
His mind wanders from possibility to possibility as he tries his best to convince himself that he is making a good decision. One that he will not regret; but that nagging feeling of doubt and the fear of uncertainty keeps growing inside him.
The priest asks him a question. He’s not sure why, but he answers it anyway: “I do.”
The woman in front of him looks him in the eyes and says the same, and he kisses her in front of a large audience.
“Hi,” she says.
Her face is radiant and her voice full of energy. She keeps getting more and more attractive by the day. I probably should tell her how I feel, but I’m yet to garner the courage.
“Hi, how are you,” I reply, trying my best to hide my nervousness.
Does she feel the same? Or will I just embarrass myself by hitting on her?
She turns around slowly, as if showing off her body. I just watch, still trying to be nonchalant.
“I’m great… Literally and figure-ratively, Mr. Author.”
I’m blown away, by her message of admitting to mutual attraction, and by the cleverness of her word play.
“Nice. Very nice,” I say.
She comes closer and wraps her arms around me. Fantasy turned real.
I hear my phone ring and reach into my pocket and then switch it off. It keeps ringing nonetheless. Right then, I open my eyes and see that my fantasy is still that: a fantasy.
I reach for my phone by my bedside and read the caller name. It’s her. Perhaps I should ask her out or something, since it’s weekend. I answer it.
“Hi, Rupert. I hope I didn’t wake you.”
“What? No, not at all. What’s up?”
“I was wondering if you could have lunch with me today, if you have the time.”
I cannot believe it. She is asking me out?
“That would be great,” I say.
“Okay, come to my place at noon then.”
“Sure. See you then.”
“See you, Mr. Author.”
Dress code and decorum befitting as expected; black clothing and decency dominates the atmosphere, making the day gloomy. The brother of the deceased asks everyone to be attentive, as a late comer says a few words.
“I am deeply saddened by Nick’s sudden departure, and like you all, I am really hurt.”
The place is quiet and everyone is paying attention, with a few curious faces in the crowd obviously wondering how this woman is related to Nick and his family. Well, not for long.
“I share the same suffering as Mary and her children do. I also have lost a partner, a shoulder to cry on, a man who helped build my life up… I had so many dreams for our two children and their father, but they have been destroyed… Nonetheless, I know departure is a part of life that we cannot avoid and I accept it as such. May our husband rest in peace.”
She cries softly as she goes off the platform and back to her seat. Many people present start murmuring among themselves. Some express shock at the revelation of Nick’s second wife and children, who were quite a well kept secret.
“I wish it was her who had died,” whispers Mary.
“What was that, mom?”
I hear sounds of someone coming up the stairs. John is pacing up and down the bedroom.
Wrong time to be nervous, John. Pull yourself together.
A woman bursts the door open and stands there, still, as if waiting for something to happen. John walks up to her and gives her a hug. She doesn’t return it.
“So how was your trip?”
She walks to the bed and sits.
“It was okay,” she answers.
I see the whole thing in front of me and it dawns on me that this is a meeting between husband and wife, not man and sister.
And I thought he just wasn’t ready to introduce me to his family.
I also burst the door open, and both of them look at me; one face expressing shock, the other regret.
“This hiding in the closet business is not for me,” I start. “You lie so much and expect to get away with it?”
With that, I storm out of the bedroom, back into my car and drive away; leaving the two of them alone, to deal with their messed up lives.
“Goodbye. Have a safe journey,” I say.
I give her a hug, aflame with many emotions. The time has come for her to go, and it feels too soon for comfort.
“Thanks. Take care of yourself,” she says.
She boards the bus and takes a seat by the window, where we can see each other as the bus takes off.
I will never forget the look on her face as the bus took her away from me. It was a heartbroken, sad and concerned look, and I think I had the same too. Countless streams of communication took place, during the short space of time we made eye contact.
Goodbye my dear, until we meet again; whenever that is.
Three months ago, just when I thought I wouldn’t find someone I could relate to, life showed me how unpredictable it really is. Lady Luck visited me in the form of a young woman, with a very attractive personality.
I scoffed, mentally, at the common saying “opposites attract” because we were similar in more ways than were different. A witty, funny and dexterous lover; she always kept me on my feet and enjoyed pushing me to my wit’s end for fun, when she felt like it.
I wish I had met her a while back, and not when I did meet her: when she was about to leave.
As I watch the bus disappear down the hill, I can’t help but think of all that I’m going to miss, now that she’s gone.
I think about her presence, how natural and befitting it had become. I think about the conversations we used to have, and how they often ended in smooching or some other act of affection. I realize that I am attached to her, and letting go is not going to be easy. Even though we are now miles apart, it feels like our hearts are together.
Looking forward, to the future, I know that I will miss her greatly; and I know she will miss me too, but there’s nothing we can do to change things. I just hope that the day does come, when we will meet once more, and be close enough to touch each other again.
“Relationships like that never pay off.”
I’ve always wondered why she used to say that, in reference to unmarried couples.
“You mean when you were married?”
“No. When we were going out.”
The detective takes note of it on her tablet computer.
“I’m guessing she took the phrase ‘pay off’ literally then,” she says.
I laugh at the witty comment, though humour is not something I am ready to take in at the moment.
“So tell me about the day. How did you start it? Were there warning signs?”
I clear my throat, recalling the disturbing day.
“There are always warning signs, but we just don’t notice them. Blinded by the illusion of love, you tend to see your lover as an angel or something. You don’t really expect her to murder you.”
The detective nods, in agreement.
“Honestly, if I didn’t see her spike my drink, I wouldn’t be here right now. I would be in a mortuary.”
“Well, it’s a good thing you did then.”
I just smile.
“Sir, you married a black widow,” she tells me.
I almost believe it’s a racist remark, but soon catch the meaning.
“Yes. Did you know that she had been married before?”
“It’s actually four times.”
I’m lost for words.
“And in all cases, the rich husband died mysteriously, leaving her his fortune.”
I finally get my tongue back.
“So I was just another target,” I add, trying my best, but failing to maintain my composure.
It started with a confrontation, over spilt coffee and an expensive dress. She had just bought that dress and had not worn it until that morning, for the special event that marked a pivotal point in her career. He was just an unwelcome disturbance and annoyance.
“I’m sorry,” he had said, once he realized his wrong.
“You should watch where you are going!”
“I’m truly sorry.”
He put the culprit back in his pocket. She smiles.
“Quick email check while walking. I do it all the time. I’m sorry for the outburst.”
“She can be nice?” He thinks this to himself.
“I’m Bill,” he says, extending his hand.
“I’m Rachel. Nice to meet you, Bill.”
With that handshake, a union was formed. They went out and had fun times together.
They were flying high in the airplane of love. It was the events of one seemingly normal weekend that scared them.
“You always do that!”
“And you’re not perfect yourself, you know,” Bill added.
“I hate you!”
“And I hate the other you!”
Shock engulfed them as they realized what was happening. Their airplane was taking a nose dive.
Love turned into hate, and most onlookers considered it too late to save their relationship. A visit to a counselor exposed a common flaw on both parties. Pride.
So on that day, both of them took a new path and stopped their airplane from crashing. They learned how to say something they had overlooked. Something that marked the beginning of their relationship in the first place: “I’m sorry.”
Two ladies enjoy lunch at home.
“How long has it been now?”
She laughs. “He’s been chasing me for two weeks now.”
“Why didn’t you tell me about him, Lucy? It’s not like you want to keep him.”
“Since when do you have to know everything about my life? You’re not my husband, you know.”
Her friend looks at her, a smirk on her face.
“Not even he knows about what you do when he’s away.”
A phone rings, drawing both of their attention.
“It’s him,” she says, staring at the phone in her hand.
“Well, answer it then.”
She takes the call. “Hi baby. How are you doing?”
The conversation lasts for only a few seconds before she asks her husband to hold the line as she takes another call.
“Baby, what’s up?” She smiles and caresses her neck. “I can’t wait for tonight. It’s wet and ready for you,” her voice is lascivious.
“Okay,” she says and ends the call, returning to her last call. “So when are you coming back?”
“Next week? Uh, I miss you so much dear.”
They exchange a few more words and that call also ends.
Her friend looks at her, shaking her head and smiling. “Why do you do this to the man?”
“I’m not doing anything to him. It’s part of growing up.”
“Hie baby. How was the journey?”
She puts her bags down and gives her boyfriend a hug.
“Exhausting,” she says.
“Really? Well, it’s over now so you can rest, right?”
He looks at her. “Baby, why are you smiling?”
She shakes her head, embarrassed at the discovery. “What? Oh. It’s this funny thing that happened on the bus.”
“Care to share?”
“I don’t think you’ll find it funny though. Anyway, this baby threw up on a man’s suit and the man argued with the mother. It was all about how important the meeting he was going to was and how the baby had just ruined his look.”
He just chuckles.
“You would have laughed too if you saw it happen,” she adds.
“That’s okay. Hungry?”
“No, thanks. I ate before I boarded the bus.”
The couple drink fruit juice before snuggling up in bed. With her head resting on her boyfriend’s chest, she can hear his heartbeat. Her eyes spot something familiar, lying on the floor.
“Baby, is that not one of Sasha’s custom-made bangles?”
She hears his heart beat faster, and harder.
“Yeah. She came with a bunch of them, and I took one. I think I left it on the bed. It must have fallen off.”
His nonchalance is in contrast to his change in heart rate, so she doesn’t believe him.
He puts his head down on the pillow and looks at the ceiling.
Sasha was right. She did go to see her other boyfriend. Smiling because a baby threw up on a man’s suit? Yeah right, you perfidious bitch.
She rubs his chest and abdomen with her hand, in slow, circular motions.
He slept with Sasha and thinks I don’t know. He has always been a liar. That’s why I’m leaving him for another.
I finally realize that I am awake and I instinctively open my eyes. I’m surprised as I still see the same darkness that I saw when my eyes were closed, if not darker.
A blinding light suddenly shines on my face, and I scream from the pain my eyes suffer.
“What the hell!?”
I try to get up and I fail. I feel that my arms and legs are bound to something. I look left and right to try to figure out what’s happening. The light makes it hard for me to see anything beyond own body.
I’m lying flat on my back, with arms and legs stretched out and bound. I then hear the sound heels hitting the floor, growing louder and louder, as a woman approaches me. I’m naked too, I realize.
“Viola, it’s you! I’m so glad to see you,” I’m relieved.
“Now this is my idea of ‘trying something new’ baby,” she says.
I suddenly remember when I asked her to try something new and she promised to surprise me one day.
“Drugging, kidnapping and torture. Now that’s totally new. I like it.”
She comes closer and caresses my chest, neck and shoulders.
“Oh, I can certainly play along,” I say. “Help! Somebody help!” My sarcasm is blatant.
She shuts me up with her hand, and whispers in my ear. “Shh… I’m not playing.”
I see her lift a sharp object up and she stabs me.
I enter the car and sit in the back.
“Good, evening sir.”
“Good evening, Linda.”
“So, are you still going to that conference sir?”
“Yes, get me there as fast as you can.”
My wife waves goodbye to me, standing in the driveway. My beautiful daughter is there, standing by her mom. I’ll buy her a new wardrobe and anything else she asks for, for her birthday. She’s turning 14 next week.
I wave back and they start their walk back into the house.
That idiot loan shark thought he could threaten me. “Don’t leave your family alone anytime soon,” I mockingly repeat his warning to myself. I’ve got security personnel all over the place, I dare him to try.
“What was that sir?”
“Oh, nothing Linda. Let’s go.”
She starts the engine and I hear a squeaking noise coming from somewhere inside the car.
“What’s that noise Linda?”
Linda gets out of the car and shuts the door.
“Linda! What are you doing?”
She walks away and stops a few feet away. I look at her and a dread grips me. I try to open the door to get out, but it’s locked. I try all the other ones and find out that I’m locked in.
She smiles, waves and walks into the house. She’s now holding a gun. My phone rings and I answer it.
“You should’ve given me my money on time.”
The squeaking sound grows louder and louder, until…
“Wow, you’ve only been gone for two months and look at how much you’ve changed?”
Hugs and kissed precede the compliment.
“Thanks Mom. I’m quite comfortable nowadays.”
“I can see that dear. Your new job must be rewarding.”
“Yes it is, and that’s why I’ve brought you these gifts.”
She takes out a bag and hands it to her mother, who opens it and starts taking things out.
“Oh dear. These are expensive clothes. Why go through so much trouble?”
“Mom, it’s okay. I want you to wear expensive clothes. It’s your time now.”
Her mother smiles and continues checking the gifts out. Her phone rings and she excuses herself, citing that it’s her boss calling.
“It’s me. Are you coming here tonight?”
“Yes, I will come,” she says.
“Good. Wear that lingerie I bought you, okay?”
She hangs up the boss’ call and resumes her conversation with her mother.
“Do they want you at work dear?”
She closes her eyes and says, “Yes they do. There’s a lot going on at work these days. I’ll have to leave earlier than I wanted to. Sorry.”
“It’s okay dear.”
I go downstairs and into the living room, looking for the woman who disturbed my moment of introspect. I see seated on the couch.
“Yeah, you called?”
“Hi Jason. Please come sit next to me.”
I walk to the couch, mentally questioning myself: if I had done something to warrant a reproach. Nothing comes to mind.
I sit next to her. She wastes no time and asks me a blunt question.
“Do you like me, Jason.”
I’m confused, but try to appear calm nonetheless.
“Yeah. I mean, you’re not like my mom but I like you. Dad seems to like you too. Why do you ask? Did something happen?”
“I know I’m not your mom, and I’m not trying to replace her. May her soul rest in peace. I’m just saying that I feel shut out from your Dad at times.”
I empathize and nod my head in acknowledgement. I put my hand on her shoulder to console her, but before I could say anything, she took my hand and slid it down to her breast. The awkwardness of the situation cripples me for seconds.
Is my stepmother coming onto me?
I take my hand back, swiftly and stand up.
“I’m not going to fall for this trick. I’m a few days away from getting Dad to sign half the business to me and you do this?”
I look around, frantically.
“I guess you’ve got cameras planted here somewhere.”
“I guess you really are smarter than you evince. I’m not trying to trap you; I’m just trying to get along with the new boss in this place.”
Today was… eventful, to say the least.
I have a lot of respect for these two people, but I couldn’t help myself from noticing a growing gap between them. A gap that neither of them was willing to adjust to, let alone bridge.
It wouldn’t matter much if I wasn’t caught in the middle of their power struggles and trust tests. It’s also hard to decipher who is right and who is wrong from what I see, but a recent occurrence might have shed some light on the dark relationship in front of me.
Out of an unfortunate circumstance, leaked some shocking revelations. The wife’s father passed away and she left town for two weeks to attend the funeral, and pay her last respects. The husband didn’t go for reasons I’m yet to believe.
Anyway, upon her return, word got to my ears that she was undergoing treatment for chlamydia (an STI). That is when I asked myself: Where could she have contracted it from?
Calculating from the time she commenced treatment and the average incubation period for the infection to start showing symptoms, it is clear to see that she was infected during the time she was away “attending the funeral.”
… I’m so shocked right now that I’ll have to end my diary entry here.
I don’t care who said what, but this girl is not a bus ride. She’s a home.
A red light stops him.
And I’m going to stay with her.
He takes his phone and calls her, but her phone is unavailable. He tosses it onto the passenger seat as the light turns green, and makes a right turn.
Just as he turns, he spots a familiar face in a bus going the opposite way.
“What the? Katy? What is she doing?”
He remembers the weird conversation they had the last night and finally understands why she was saying the things she was saying. Angry, desperate and hurt, he makes a u-turn and follows the bus, all one hundred plus miles.
“Jack, what are you doing here?”
“You’ve just got off a bus and you’re asking me?”
“I can’t be your pastime anymore Jack. I want something serious.”
“You’re not my pastime… You’re not a bus ride… You are my home.”
Katy runs to him and the two hug and kiss.
“Come,” Jack says, “let’s go back to my second home.”
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