WELCOME HOME

This story came to me when I overheard two people having a conversation.  They were talking loudly.  I was not intentionally trying to hear them.  I was standing in line at a store.  The two people ahead of me were amusing.  And they were not trying to funny.  But they were. 

Both were having different thoughts as the other was talking.  And they both knew this.  They complained about it.  But neither of them took the time to tell the other what they meant.  They just kept talking and making plans.  Plans that probably did not turn out well.  Or they did not happen at all. 

Remember, if you are having a conversation with a friend, you may want to make sure you both are clear on what is said.  Because we all know that just because two people have a conversation does not mean they will walk away with the same meaning in mind. 

Enjoy this short story.  This is what happens when confusion leads the way. 

MARIE DANGEY OPENED THE front door and walked inside.  It was dark.  The moonlight usually lit the place a little.  There was no light anywhere.  She closed the door with her foot and tried to flip the light switch on with her elbow.  She gave up and went and set the grocery bags on the counter.  She went back by the door and flipped on the lights.  The first sight was one of beauty. 

Her big, beautiful, chef style kitchen was clean.  There were no dishes in the sink.  The papers on the counter were gone.  The counters were wiped clean.  Everything was back in its place.  The cleaning service had loaded the dishwasher. 

The mess she and Perry had made over the last two days had looked awful.  Long days and lots of meetings had left them both too tired to clean anything when they got home.  And the mornings were a mad dash to get out the door.  Thank goodness for that fabulous cleaning service.

Nothing from the grocery bags needed refrigerating.  She slipped off her heels and looked in the refrigerator.  The bottle of red wine was calling her name.  She poured a glass and took a long sip.  Half of it was gone when she brought the glass down.  She checked her watch.  Ten fifteen.  She panicked.  She had fifteen minutes to shower and get dressed.  Michael would be furious if she was late.  She finished the wine and ran upstairs.

An arm hooked around her neck and jerked her backward.  Another arm wrapped around her waist, pinning her arms to her sides.  She screamed and kicked and tried to pull the arm from around her neck.  She was forced forward onto the bed.  A cloth was stuffed into her mouth.  A strong body straddled her.  Her arms were yanked to the rear and tied together.  The light coming from downstairs reflected off of something shiny that was near her eye. 

She was yanked by her hair onto her feet and hoisted into the air.  When her feet came off the floor, she kicked and kicked.  Someone was forcing her back onto the bed.  She went forward.  She slammed her feet against the edge of the bed and stopped them.  Whoever was holding her was strong.  She could not get free.  The person behind her was pushing down on her with their body.  It was forcing her to submit and give in. 

Her feet dug into the mattress.  She grunted and pushed back with her feet.  Her head slammed into the person’s head behind her.  It must have stunned them.  They both went backward and hit the floor.  The arms lost their grip around her.  She scrambled to her feet and ran toward the bedroom door.  She ran into someone else and started kicking.  Her arms were still tied together.  Arms wrapped around her again.

“Stop,” a man’s voice.  “Marie, stop it.”

“Perry run!” she yelled.  He held onto her.  “Run.” 

“Stop it,” Perry said.  “Slow down.”  He held by her shoulders.  “What’s wrong with you?  This is embarrassing.” 

“We need to run,” she said.  “He tried to kill me.  He tried to choke me.  He…”

Michael flipped on the light switch and gasped.  “What have you done?” he asked, looking at the floor. 

“Did you hear me?” she asked.  “He tried to kill me.  He tried to kill me! We need to call the police.  We have to call the police!” 

“Oh no,” he said.  “No.  No.  No.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Look what you’ve done.”

She noticed Michael was naked.  Then she looked down at the naked man.  A knife was sticking out of his neck.  Blood was still gushing from around the knife.  It had spread out from around his head.  He was faintly gasping for air.  His eyes were open and red.  His fingers twitched.  That was all there was to movement.

“We have to call the police!” she said. “He had a knife.  It must have stabbed him when we fell.” 

“Don’t you get it?” he asked.  “You killed him.  We’re going to prison!  You just sent us to prison for the rest of our lives.”  She looked confused.  “You wanted this.”  Her mouth opened.  Nothing came out.  She was baffled.  “You practically begged for it.  I never even thought about it.”

The man was gasping, barely. 

“You’re not making sense,” she said.  “Let the police deal with this.  We have to call nine-one-one.”

“Are you nuts?” he asked.  “You know what I mean.  You know exactly what I’m talking about.  You wanted someone to join us on your fiftieth birthday.  You’ve talked about it for years.  You talked about it, incessantly, for the last two months.  I didn’t want it.  I did it for you.  You’re sick ideas.”  She exhaled and squinted.  “Don’t deny it.  You wanted to be attacked.  You wanted it rough.  You wanted to be in the dark.  It’s all the things you said.  You wanted me to stage it.  And you know it.  And now you’ve killed him.  All because you got cold feet when the time came.”

“I was joking,” she said.  “You know that.  We were just teasing one another.  Making each other jealous.  Didn’t you see that?  Are you a fool?”

“Don’t you dare try to pretend,” he said.  “You meant it.  You damn well meant it.  Now you’ve gone damn crazy and killed him.”

”You brought a stranger into our house to rape me,” she said.  “A complete stranger!  You’re the one that’s crazy.  Bringing a stranger into our home to rape me.”

“He’s not a stranger,” he said.  “He’s Jason Darren.”  She squinted.  Even amidst the chaos, her mind tried to recall where she heard the name.  “One of the camp counselors from where our kids went to camp.  We know him.”

Marie remembered him.  That blonde-haired scrawny kid.  He was always polite to the parents.  “Oh…Oh…Oh…” Marie said and ran into the bathroom.  She vomited on the floor before she reached the toilet.

“You’re a crazy murderer!” Michael ran after her, yelling.  “What possessed you to do that?  You could’ve just said no!”

“He had a knife, Michael,” she said, crying.  “He tied my hands up.  How was I supposed to know?  This is your fault!”

“It doesn’t matter now,” Michael said.  He stared down at Jason’s lifeless body while he slid down the wall.  “Don’t worry.  Every fantasy you can think of will be repeated over and over where we’re going.  Night after night.  You ruined our lives.  We may as well commit suicide.  You’ve killed us already.”

“No,” she said.  “No.”  She panted.  “Untie me.  Untie me!”

“Stop yelling,” he said. 

“There’s a way out,” she said.  “We can clear this.” 

“How?” he asked.  “Throw ourselves on the mercy of the court.  Your Honor, we fifty-year-olds just murdered a twenty-five year old in cold blood as part of a sexual fantasy.  That my wife failed to tell me that she really didn’t want.  But instead of simply telling me, she killed the guy.”

“Just shut up and hear me out,” she said.  “You got us here.  And, as usual, I’ll get us out.  Just stop your whining so I can think.”  He went to speak.  “Shut up for a minute.  Please.”  She covered her mouth and looked at Jason and turned away.  “Who else did you tell?”

“Everyone we know,” he deadpanned.  “You think I’m stupid?  As accepting as people pretend to be, most people don’t accept what you wanted.”  She yelled that it was a joke.  He shook his head.  “No one else knows.  No one.”

“Then here’s what we’ll do,” she said.  “We’ll bury him.  We’ll never discuss this again.  Even if he has told someone, we’ll deny ever seeing him.”  She waited for him to speak.  “Say something.  Won’t you?  Tell me what you think.”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“We don’t have time for I don’t know, Michael,” she said.  “You better man up, for once.  Our careers and lives won’t survive this.  Even if we’re not charged with murder, we’ll serve time in prison.  We were reckless.  You were reckless.”

“You wanted me to do this,” he said.  “You wanted me to set it up.  You need…”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said.  “Are you with me?  Or are you going to take us down?”

Michael looked around.  His hands shook.  He bit his lip and looked at the bed.  The four-poster bed was supposed to be creaking with the three of them on it.  Now it was all a bad dream.  The situation had taken a wrong turn.  Now there was no going back.  They had to fix it.  That was their only choice.

“Yes,” he said.

“Yes, what?” she asked.  “Be specific.  Commit.”

“Yes,” he said.  “Let’s bury him.  Let’s forget this night.”

“Let’s go look for a place to dig a grave,” she said.  “And put your damn clothes on!”

I hope you enjoyed the story. 

Send it to a friend if you did.

Have a great weekend.

Stephen Wallace  


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