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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2099895
After the death of his wife, a man begins to rebuild his life.
Everlasting Love

Clarence Cory sat on the sand, looking out to sea as the sun began to set on the horizon. The tide was coming in and the waves that lapped at the sand were getting closer to the tide line, where seaweed and other objects were gathered in a line the entire length of the beach.

He wasn't paying attention to the approaching water, instead he was lost in thought as he watched the sun go down. The changing colours of the sky bringing back memories of days long gone, when he sat here on this very beach with Rhonda.

Rhonda had been working in the Layton family business when Clarence first met her. He had turned up at the Layton dry cleaners to get his first ever suit washed and pressed so he would be all set to attend a job interview two days later.

Rhonda gave him his suit back when he went to collect it. She also handed him the firm's business card which contained her direct number.

After the interview, Clarence telephoned the dry cleaner's shop to thank Rhonda. He was sure in himself that the neatly pressed suit was a part of the reason he had been awarded the position as clerk at the local bank.

He took her for drinks later that week and seven months later, Rhonda Layton became Rhonda Cory, wife of Clarence.

They spent seven years together. Seven years of happiness of the type Clarence never thought he would experience. He had no idea how he had gotten himself a girl like Rhonda. He was smaller than her and by the end of their seven years together, his once thick and curly brown hair was thinning and he was also thickening around the waist.

Even just before the end she would look into his dark brown eyes, sunlight or moonlight sparkling off her own blue eyes. She would whisper things to him, things that most couples had stopped saying to each other after a number of months. Things that kept their relationship fresh.

Whenever she stood to walk away from him, he remembered how she would always look back to acknowledge him, to let him know she was thinking of him even when they weren't together. Her hair would flick out as she spun her head around. Her smile, he would love to see that smile again now.

He felt the water began to lap at his bare feet. The tide was right in now and if he stayed here any longer he would find himself swimming ashore and he wasn't the strongest swimmer in the world.

He stood and looked down at the heart he had drawn in the sand in Rhonda's memory, as he always did when he was here; he watched as the incoming tide began to slowly wash it away.


After driving to his home, Clarence fixed himself a vodka and coke. He had always been a beer drinker when Rhonda was still with him, but now he had moved onto her favourite drink. He stopped drinking beer after that dreadful night when it was the reason he couldn't pick her up. The reason she had been in the car with him, the man who killed her.

Osborne Gardener had been drinking that night, but Clarence believed that he told Rhonda he hadn't in order to get her into his car. Osborne later admitted to Clarence that he had fancied his wife, had tried it on with her and had been sent away with his tail between his legs.

After meeting him, Clarence had taken an immediate dislike to Osborne. Not only was he arrogant, he had the looks to go with it. Slicked back hair and a smile showing off perfectly formed teeth that were impossibly white. He was also the kind of person that wore shades in a darkened room.

Clarence knew he was angry, if not jealous, that his wife, his Rhonda had spent the last moments of her life with that man. A man who was much better looking than himself.

He sipped his drink and leaned back in his chair looking at the patterns around the light on the ceiling.

Two years... had it really been so long? Time had flown by since the accident and he had found it difficult to move on.

He knew he had to get on with his life and when he met Lilian around six months after Rhonda's death, he knew he could continue to carry on living.

Lilian Holme was by far the most important thing that happened to Clarence after Rhonda's death. On more than one occasion, he had considered ending it all. What was the point in carrying on without the woman he loved more than anything else in the world? Without the woman that WAS his world.

Then there was Lilian, flashing him a smile as she served him coffee. Her waitress uniform hugged her slender figure and the skirt was high enough to show off a lot of her long legs. She had hair exactly the same colour as Rhonda's and when she turned to make him the coffee he ordered, he couldn't help but tell her, "You remind me of my wife."

As tears began to fill his eyes, the woman serving got him talking about Rhonda. She spoke in tones that Clarence thought that only Rhonda possessed. He told her as much too and she was flattered to be compared to a woman that was obviously loved so much.

He began to go into the café more often and got to know Lilian a lot better. He found out about how her ex-husband had beat her and how she had run away from him after getting her brother to 'sort him out.'

She had lived away from that town now for three years and she never wanted to go back. She didn't want to see or hear from the guy ever again. She didn't want to accidentally bump into him in some supermarket somewhere and end up fighting like cat and dog. So she moved here to Garcaster to get away.

Clarence picked up his glass and realized it was empty. The bottle was empty too so he decided he would go down to the cellar and get another. He would have to call Lilian too, he realized, there was no way he would be driving to the flat after having drunk so much.


Lilian and Clarence didn't live together. Lilian had had a bad experience living with men in the past and Clarence, well, he didn't really want to leave the house. It was the one thing that he and Rhonda had really invested in. He lived in the house and he knew that Rhonda was in the house with him.

When he and Lilian spent time together, it was usually at her flat. She didn't like it in his house too much, it felt to her as though the place was full of memories and they stifled her, somehow.

Clarence was happy enough to go to her flat, he did really like to keep this place just for him and his memories, and for Rhonda.

He used the telephone and caught Lilian still in the café. She was serving a customer so she just ummed and erred through the conversation and agreed that he would stay at his place that night.

After the call, Clarence hung up the phone and went into the kitchen to throw the empty vodka bottle into the bin. He then walked across the kitchen to the cellar door and opened it.

He looked down the steps into the darkness, the musty smell of old dust filed his nose as he leaned in and flicked the light switch. Every time he did this he half expected the light bulb that was dangling just high above the steps for him to walk, to explode like in a cheap horror film.

The bulb didn't explode and Clarence walked down the creaking wooden steps into the cellar corridor.

He and Rhonda had done a lot of work on this place. They had built a party room down here and also a workshop and storage room. The washing machine and dryer were both in the workshop, as were the tools and many other handy items.

The drinks were kept in the storage room. There was also a deepfreeze in there along with a refrigerator and lots and lots of tin cans of different soups and processed vegetables. Most of the tin cans were bought by Rhonda, and Clarence had never been able to bring himself to throw them in the bin. They were also mostly still in date so may one day come in useful. It was as though Rhonda wouldn't let him throw them away.

He walked to the storage room door, opened it and stepped inside.


As always when he entered this room, he said, "Hello Rhonda," as if she could hear him.

She couldn't hear him of course, she had been dead for two years. Still though, every time he stepped into the storage room he felt guilt wash over him. He always felt the need to apologise to his dead wife.

He crossed the room to where the bottles were, looking at the table in the centre of the room as he passed it. He picked up two bottles of vodka and then headed to the door to leave the room again.

On his way out he stopped suddenly. He placed the bottles on the ground outside the door and went back in. He headed over to the table and whispered, "I'm sorry."

He then leaned over the table and kissed the skull of the skeletal form that lay there.

"Really, Rhonda, I'm sorry," he whispered to the side of the skull where the ears should have been.

He raised his hand up and began to stroke the blonde hair that remained at the top of the head, clinging to what flesh remained.

He waited for her to react, but she didn't.

Filled with disappointment yet again, he left the storage room and headed towards the steps out of the cellar. He put the vodka bottles down on the bottom step and went into the party room door, which was directly adjacent to the stairs.

"Are you okay?" He asked towards the figure that was gagged and bound to the only chair in the room that wasn't stacked in the corner.

The figure nodded at him. It had been a long time since Osborne Gardener had shook his head to this question. The last time he did, he received a terrible punishment. He wouldn't do it again. He didn't want to know what he would see on the ground, lying next to his rotting tongue.

Clarence shoved food into Osborne's mouth, some kind of bread the bound man presumed. He couldn't taste it anymore now his taste buds had gone.

After swallowing, a water soaked sponge was shoved into his mouth and his gag replaced. Feeding time was over for another day.

Clarence left the room and closed the door, picked up the two bottled from the bottom step and Osborne could hear the creaking of the steps as Clarence left the cellar. His dead wife and the man responsible for her death remaining silently in the dark.


Osborne Gardener sat in the chair in the darkened room. He had long since given up any chance of escape. He no longer struggled against his restraints and had learned to ignore the pain in his lower back and numbness in his legs from sitting in the hard wooden chair so long.

He listened with relief as the stairs creaked beneath Clarence's feet, as he walked up the stairs to leave the cellar.

He was relieved it wasn't her again. That woman, that evil vile woman. The woman who would do things to him that were unspeakable, but he was unable to resist due to his constraints. The woman who had removed his tongue and left it on the floor in front of him, hoping he would beg to eat it when he was hungry enough.

He resisted that urge, but each time he heard noises outside the cellar door, he suspected SHE was coming in again and it was her who was the evil one. Poor Clarence was laden with grief and didn't know what the hell was going on in his head.

The terror of what might be no longer keeping him awake, Osborne Gardener closed his eyes as he sat in his constraining chair and fell asleep.


Another day passed. Clarence sat in his office as always and visited the café where Lilian worked at lunch time. Lilian invited herself to his house that evening and Clarence was happy that she was coming.

At work each day, he didn't ever think of what he had in the cellar at home. Not until he knew somebody was coming around that is. Once Lilian had invited herself to his place, he began to ask himself, 'What if she went down into the cellar?'

After work, he headed down to the beach as he did often. He didn't go there every night, but he did on most of them.

He drew a heart in the sand using a stick he found lying along the tide line, as Rhonda used to, and waited until the tide came in again, washing it away. Once the water covered the heart, he stood and left the beach to head home. His usual beach routine.

After arriving home, he began to cook his meal and then decided to make a second, just in case Lilian was hungry when she got home.

Once the pans were on the hob, he headed down into the cellar to get a bottle of wine for them to drink as they ate together.

He was halfway down the cellar stairs when he heard the front doorbell ring. Lilian had arrived early, so he turned and headed back up the stairs to let her in.

He opened the door and there she stood. She was radiant. Her smile was wide and the wind was blowing her hair to the side. She looked just like Rhonda did when she came home from work in the evenings.

Lilian raised her hand to show him that she had brought a bottle of wine. "Look what I brought with me."

Clarence smiled and waved her into the house. They both automatically headed to the kitchen where Lilian placed the bottle on the worktop, next to a pile of potato peel.

She then crossed the kitchen and threw her arms around Clarence, kissing him heavily on the lips.

Clarence noticed that the cellar door was still open. The light was out and he couldn't see down there, but he knew that this door being open always seemed to make Lilian uncomfortable.

The moment she realized that the door wasn't closed, he felt her shudder as she held onto him.

"I was going to get some wine," he told her.

"Good that I brought a bottle," she replied, she didn't like him going down there for some reason. He always seemed to come up a different person.


They ate their meal and drank the wine. The bottle was no empty and Lilian, having drank over half of it told Clarence that she would go into the cellar to get another bottle.

She was more relaxed now after drinking so much and her inhibitions of going down there faded as the alcohol ate them away.

Clarence jumped up suddenly, a look of panic on his face.

"I'll go and get it." He told her, turned and walked to the now closed cellar door.

Lilian just watched him walk through the door, surprised that he went so quickly. Was it any wonder that she was nervous about the cellar when he reacted this way whenever she mentioned it?

Someday, she thought, I'll follow him down there.

She had never been into the mysterious darkness that was Clarence's cellar. She didn't really want to go down there. Something about the darkness behind that door made her uneasy. Now though, she didn't have the feeling of fear. The wine had taken it away.

Lilian didn't usually feel tipsy after such a small amount of wine, but today she had skipped lunch and the effects seemed to be increased on her. She felt a little daring. Maybe her and Clarence could, well, do something down there.

She stood from the table and headed to the cellar door.


Osborne heard the creaking of the stairs as Clarence came down the stairs. He would have licked his lips if he wasn't gagged and still had a tongue. It was feeding time now and hunger made his mouth water and his stomach rumble. Something he was surprised still happened.

He heard as Clarence passed his door and headed towards the other room and he listened as Clarence spoke to whoever it was he spoke to in that room.

Then there was something different.

The cellar stairs creaked again. Somebody else was coming down the steps.

He felt a chance so he began to shake in his seat. It felt like it had been a long time since he had moved himself this way. It hurt his legs, his head and his hands, but he tried to make as much noise as possible.

The chair began to rock and shake and then toppled over. Osborne banged his head on the cellar floor, but he didn't take any notice of the pain. Adrenaline had taken over and he continued to shake himself, to do anything that would make a noise, to bring attention to himself.

Footsteps stopped right outside the door and in this moments silence, he could hear Clarence's voice still coming from the other room.

Another voice called out from directly outside the function room door, where he was held captive. This time it was a woman's voice that spoke.

"Who are you talking to, Clarence?"

At first Osborne froze. He thought it was her, coming back to torment him. In his mind, all the horrific things that she did to him flashed through his memory. Then it clicked, it wasn't her. Her voice wasn't as husky as the other. This sounded like a woman who was curious.

He began to shake even more in his chair. He tried to make more of a noise now he knew there was an unsuspecting person directly outside the door.

"Clarence?" He heard the woman outside the door call again.

He heard the creak of the store room door. He heard it almost every night and knew what would usually come afterwards. This was something that still filled him with fear and he froze, stopped shaking and felt warm fluid run from his groin area, over his thigh and onto the ground.


"Clarence?" Lilian said to the figure in the shroud that came out of the dark room at the end of the cellar corridor.

She heard a scratching sound behind the door next to her, at the bottom of the stairs. She looked at the door and then at the figure confused as to what was happening here. Something didn't seem right.

Behind the shrouded figure, Clarence's face appeared. He was holding a wine bottle in one hand, then he dropped it to the floor.

"Lilian? What are you doing down here?" He said of the shoulder of the figure, which was slowly moving along the corridor towards Lilian. "You shouldn't be down here."

A raspy voice came out of the figure's mouth, "Who is this bitch, Clarence?"

Lilian was about to protest about being called such a thing, but before she did so the figure removed its hood from over its head.

Instead of speaking, Lilian screamed at what she saw.

It was a blonde haired woman. Well not a woman as such, it was the corpse of a woman. The flaking skin was clinging to bone and the lips seemed to be curled back revealing a row of teeth, making the walking corpse look as though she was grinning.

A hand reached out to grab Lilian, not much flesh remained on the piece of arm that was revealed and bone and tendon were visible in the hand.

Lilian backed off and was about to turn and run up the stairs out of the cellar, but the hand got a hold of her.

"Who is this bitch, Clarence?"

Clarence sighed before he spoke. "This is Lilian, Rhonda."

Lilian couldn't help but repeat the name, "Rhonda!" Then she stuttered, "B... but you..."

"Died?" The corpse finished for her and then added a raspy laugh. "Oh of course, can't you see that?"

Lilian didn't reply.

The corpse asked her, "Would you like to meet my killer?"

Lilian's head shook slowly as she looked into the half rotten eyeballs of her capture and spoke
finally, "Clarence... Clarence help me."

"He couldn't help me, he can't help you." The raspy voice came from the grinning mouth again, this time there was more venom in her words. The other skeletal hand was raised and came down forcefully across Lilian's face.

"Rhonda, I'm sorry. Let her go." Clarence finally spoke to the body of Rhonda Cory Nee Layton.

The corpse chuckled, grabbed Lilian by the hair and dragged her into the function room.


As soon as they were inside the function room, the stench jerked Lilian back to her senses. It was so overpowering it had a smelling salt effect.

Straight away, she noticed the man on the floor tied to the chair and the fleshy lump in front of him.

"My killer," Rhonda introduced, waving one of them flaking hands towards the man.

Osborne's eyes were open wide with fear, the fear of what other evil deeds she had in mind. Would she cut other body parts off him to go with his tongue on the floor. The tongue that was covered in flies and being looked at, wide eyed, by the woman who had just been dragged into the room.

"Why are you doing this to her?" Clarence asked Rhonda's corpse in a voice that seemed to Lilian to be just a little too reasonable for this situation.

"Because... darling.... Because you are mine." Another raspy cough came from the corpse as it threw Lilian to the floor. It crossed over to Clarence, leaned into him and laid a kiss on his lips, only Rhonda's teeth actually made contact.

"Let her go. Him I understand... but her?"

The husky whispering voice became and angry shout as the corpse's face went face to face with Clarences's face. "NO!"

"Be reasonable," Clarence told her, he didn't raise his own voice. To Lilian and also to Osborne, he sounded as though he was talking to any stranger on a street corner.

"Together forever, remember." The shout had become a whispery sad voice. It almost looked as though tears were welling up in the corpse's eyes.

Clarence just stared at the form before him. He had thought about how he could end this on so many occasions. This time though, he had to end it.

Hurting Osborne he could understand. The man had tried it on with her forcefully, even after she had told him no. He had tried to park the car and have his way. She fought him as they were pulling over and accidentally opened the car door.

Her head was hanging out of the door when another car slammed into it, breaking her neck and killing her instantly.

Osborne tried to hide the body, but the body came back to Clarence and told him the entire story. A week later, Osborne was tied up in the cellar of Clarence's house.

Lilian had done nothing. Nothing but help Clarence overcome the grief of his wife dying and ease his suffering of what she had become after death. Lilian didn't deserve any of this.

"What do I have to do?" Clarence asked his rotting wife.

"Together forever we said."

"Let her go first." This time Clarence's voice had more force in it. "You know I won't promise you anything unless I mean it."

It was at this moment he realized that his love for Lilian had grown and his real love for Rhonda had faded.

The skeletal hand opened releasing Lilian. She looked at Clarence who nodded his head at her, a signal that she should leave.

"Love you Clarence," She said, fear still obvious in her voice, as were the audible sobs.

"You too... now go!" He told her coldly and turned to face his dead wife as soon as Lilian ran out of the room slamming the door behind her. He heard her steps head up the stairs and he knew it was the last time he would ever see her again.

"He is going nowhere," The corpse hissed. It headed over to Osborne, fear obvious in his eyes.

One of Rhonda's skeletal hands grabbed the man by the long tatty hair and pulled him and the chair back into an upright position. Without releasing his hair, the other hand came up, two bony and flaking fingers extended. They moved slowly towards Osborne's eyes. They pressed and soon there was an audible pop as the balls sprung back into the man's head.

Osborne slumped in his chair.

As a last sign of disrespect to the now deceased man, Rhonda's corpse bent over and picked up his putrid tongue. Flies buzzed away as soon as it was grabbed by the rotted fingers and none remained on the tongue when it was shoved back into Osborne's mouth.


The police arrived around about an hour later following Lilian's call, which at first they believed was a hoax.

When they entered the workshop in the storage room in the cellar, they found Clarence's headless body lying next to an axe and also the rotted corpse of his wife.

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