Web Site: QueenWriter
AWARD WINNING short story.
Everything was a game to Dennis. Their marriage was only that of convenience for him. She once loved him, but soon realized he thought she was merely something he could play with for a while. Tanya Shepherd endured it as much as she could; until he came home one night with blood spattered on his shirt.
She was scared, but asked what happened anyway. He sneered at her and punched her hard in the cheek. She backed away from him only to have him advance on her and start beating her. When Dennis was done, she was a bloody mess lying hunkered down in the corner of their living room with her hands held over her head, her only measure of protection.
He stood there, towering over her and said, “I should kill you just as I killed that other bitch!”
Tanya was too terrified to speak. He droned on and not realizing he was doing so, told her almost everything.
“Iris thought she could blackmail me. Huh! She obviously thought wrong. Do you know she was actually going to come here and tell you we’ve been having an affair? Stupid bitch! I told her you wouldn’t care, but then she told me she knew all about what I did.”
Tanya looked at him with wide eyes, shocked at what she was hearing.
“I couldn’t have her tell the world what I did,” Dennis continued. “How would it look for a superior court judge to be known as a murderer?”
“What have you done,” Tanya whispered as a statement instead of a question.
“I’ll tell you what I did. What do I care? A wife can’t be made to testify against her husband, now can she? It was an accident; that boy shouldn’t have been there, but he saw me buy those drugs. So what if I get high on occasion? He would have told. Don’t you understand? I couldn’t have that. I only meant to scare him, not hurt him. I backed him into a corner of that alley and he ran up the fire escape. The stairs were apparently slippery from the rain the night before. He fell and landed on his back. I’m sure he broke it. He looked like he was in a lot of pain. I was helping him. Shooting him put him out of his misery. He wasn’t hurting any longer.”
He let out an evil laugh. Tanya didn’t know the man standing in front of her. This wasn’t the person she married. What happened?
“She said she saw the whole thing. I told that bitch to wait in the car. Do you think she’d listen? No; Iris wanted to know what I was doing in that alley. She couldn’t keep her nose out of my business. Well, she paid for that. Now my darling wife, I do believe you know too much.”
He turned from her and walked into the kitchen, presumably to get a knife to finish her off. She wasn’t going to stay around to find out for sure. That’s when she took off. Tanya ran for all she was worth. She ran through the dense woods behind their home, through the playground in the park. She ran until she ended up at an old garage that, at one time, used to offer gasoline to customers. She ran to the front entrance where a sign hung that read ‘closed’.
She began to beat on the glass screaming for someone to let her in. She ran over to the big, roll-up doors where mechanics brought cars in for repair. She banged on those, again screaming.
When no one answered her pleas for help, she looked in the windows. It was dark and the only light provided was from a street lamp nearby. She couldn’t tell what was in the building.
She knew Dennis wasn’t far behind her and figured she would only have minutes before he caught up to her. Tanya didn’t want to think of what would happen when he did. She noticed an old tire iron lying beside the unused pumps. She grabbed it and smashed in the window of the front door. Dropping the tire iron, she reached inside and unlocked the door.
She was hoping the telephone was working so she could call nine-one-one. When she got inside, she noticed cobwebs hanging everywhere and the old, battered counter was thick with dust. She ran around to the other side and picked up the handset. No dial tone.
Oh, my god! she thought. If he finds me, he’ll kill me.
She darted to the back of the room and into the repair area. She needed to find a place to hide.
But where? she thought, looking around her.
She saw a door at the back in the far corner; she was starting towards it, when she heard glass crunching in the front of the store.
Dear God! He’s found me, she thought.
Suddenly, he was there. His hulking frame engulfed the entire doorway, making it look like the place was designed for children. She shrank back in the shadows underneath a work bench and whimpered.
“I know you’re in here,” he sang out. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
He must be insane. It was the only reason she could come up with for him acting like this. Admitting to using drugs and committing not one, but two murders was not something she would have ever expected. Then for him to try and kill her—his wife—was surreal.
This can’t be happening, she thought.
He called out for her again. She looked all around her for a weapon. She should have held on to that tire iron. Not that it would really do much good. Tanya had a feeling that he was too high on drugs and he would not feel any pain.
He began to walk back to the front part of the building. Knowing this was her one opportunity, she quietly rose and ran for the back door. It was unlocked; she couldn’t believe her fortune. Not wasting time in wondering how she got so lucky, she opened it and bolted outside.
She ran smack into Dennis’ chest.
“No!” she screamed into the cold night air.
They stood there, both rooted in the same spot.
“Cut!” the director yelled. “You two need to go back to acting school. What the hell was that? No! You scream no! That’s not in the script. Take it from inside from Tanya opening the back door. This time try acting!”
Tanya walked back inside and closed the door; Dennis stayed outside and stood waiting.
“Ready?” the director asked. “Action.”
Tanya opened the door, ran out and again slammed into Dennis’ chest. This time, no words came out. Blood seeped from her mouth when she opened it to scream. Dennis pulled the knife back out and began laughing.
“How’s that for acting?” he asked.
The director stood there with his mouth hanging open. Tanya slumped to the ground. Before anyone realized what was happening, Dennis turned around and quickly sliced the cameraman’s throat.
“That’s not in the script either,” he laughed.
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