It’s not Sunday, but here’s my horror feature.
Frankly, since They Eat Their Young (a true “Sunday horror feature”) happened the last time I wrote a Sunday Horror Feature, I’ll put this one up one Wednesday.
Her eyes darted around the room as a car door slammed shut in the driveway. She stiffened in the high-back chair, checking – the afghan she’d knitted on their wedding night lay in a perfect triangle over the back of the sofa, it’s point just touching the intersection of the plump cushions; his books, spines aligned along the edges of the shelves, sat in obedient alphabetical order; fresh cut flowers bloomed in a vase in the exact center of the coffee table, her finger smudges wiped clean from his mother’s crystal.
“Perfect.” She smiled at the stillness in the room.
A fly buzzed by her face. She gasped as she imagined her husband coming up the walk, his thick hand almost at the door. She held her breath. The secret was to be still – so still – to pretend she didn’t exist or was suddenly a piece of furniture, another table, or a grandfather clock ticking rhythmically in a hall, any place a fly might like to land.
Her arm, dead as porcelain, drew the fly to it. The other arm stalked slowly. She imagined it not connected to her body – a lump of clay or someone else’s arm.
‘Yes. Like this,’ she thought. ‘Slowly, so slowly.’
The hand struck in a heartbeat. She stood abruptly and smeared the fly on her apron. Her eyes returned to the door, the knob, watching for it to turn. She expected it any moment…
In a flash, a streak of blue flashed past her eyes and something was around her neck, tightening. She smelled his cologne and recognized the tightening press of his silk tie. The muscles in her neck shivered but she did not move. ‘The back door…’ she thought.
“Good evening, baby. Aren’t you going to welcome me home?”
His breath was hot in her ear. She knew not to answer. She tried to draw breath but the tie tightened further. The grandfather clock hammered loudly, echoing her heart. Her vision began to fade, but still she did not move.
His whiskey breath teased her ear. “Why don’t we eat dinner later. Let’s go upstairs. I have plans for you.” He released the tie.
‘Yes. Dinner can wait,’ she thought as breath flooded her lungs and a shiver of thrill, like hot metal, sliced through her.