The woods were dark and quiet. He drove. He was going too fast for the windy path, but he knew these roads well. It was moonless, and there were no stars as he turned up the mountain road toward her house. His hands and feet turned his vehicle for him; he made no conscious decision where to go.
She’d had always loved the woods. The road ahead and behind him was empty of cars. His headlights illuminated something dead by the side of the road. The fallen deer looked surreal, its neck broken, antlers pointing toward him. Then, caught in the light of the high beam, he saw the shape of a person walking by the side of the road. Was it her? She often walked at night. He felt no emotion as, without any effort it seemed, his car began to drift. He did not relish the impact, the sickening thud. The body was flung into darkness.
There had been good times once. That was why it hurt so much. He wondered, as he often had, exactly when the changes had started. There had been arguments, most of them over money. She just couldn’t stop spending. He worked all day. She sat home all day, yet she managed to spend his paycheck as soon as he got it. So much for having a joint account. When he tried to take over the finances she had screamed at him, accusing him of all sorts of things. Meanwhile, they sank deeper and deeper into debt as she ran up enormous credit card bills. Finally, one day, he’d had enough. He packed up and left.
That should have been the end. She should have signed the papers; he should have made a clean getaway. But he had underestimated her anger. She’d called at all hours of the night, yelling and threatening. Then she’d hired a slick lawyer and accused him of infidelity and emotional abuse. She had demanded a ridiculous amount of alimony. He could only wonder what had happened to the sweet girl he had married.
They’d married right out of college. He had thought the world of her. She’d been his soul mate, his life, the first woman to truly love him. They used to make love and then stay up all night talking. He remembered one night. They had discussed Hell. Maybe, she said, Hell was not fire and brimstone after all, but an endless repetition of the sins you committed in life. An eternity of being caught in a cycle that never changed. He’d thought fire and brimstone sounded worse.\
As he remembered, his hands began to shake. The speedometer rose, and he took the turns faster and faster. Then he rounded a bend and began to skid. In the few moments before impact, he screamed, the sound lost, snatched away by the night.
The woods were dark and quiet. He drove. He was going too fast for the windy path, but he knew these roads well…