by Mike W
A love story. Of sorts.
|She came back. He hadn't expected that. She was meant to have gone to Mauritius for two weeks, but she turned up unexpectedly one night in their bedroom at two in the morning.
Of course, she found him in bed with Tara.
"Go on then, Gregg." She spat the words bitterly. "Tell me this isn't what it looks like."
Gregg was furious - how dare she do this to him - but he refused to let it show. He remained calm. Tara just smirked.
"This is exactly what it looks like, Anne," he said coldly. "So now you've discovered exactly what you came back for, you can go. As you can see, we're busy."
Anne gave Tara a withering look. "You're such a cliché Gregg," she said disdainfully.
"If you mean the woman I'm cheating on you with is younger, prettier and sexier than you, then yes, I'm a cliché. If I'd wanted someone older, fatter and dumber I'd have slept with your mother. Now go."
It turned nasty then. In the ensuing melee Gregg got a nasty scratch to the face and Tara lost a clump of hair. Eventually Anne was thrown physically out of the house. On her way through the door she screamed "I'll take you for every penny you've got, you bastard!"
Of course, Gregg could never allow that to happen. He'd worked too hard building up his business empire to lose half of it to an embittered ex-wife.
So he sorted it.
There were people he paid handsomely to make problems like this go away. People who buried the problem and buried it deep, so that he could be sure it would never come back to trouble him again.
He never knew the details, didn't want, or need, to know. Everything was taken care of for him. Anne simply went away. He got on with life, with Tara, as if nothing had ever happened. And Tara knew not to ask questions. All was good.
Just a few months later, however, things had changed.
His businesses were struggling. There were ugly rumours going around concerning the disappearance of his wife. As a consequence, a huge deal had fallen through and he'd taken a massive hit. Tara was becoming an annoyance. She'd gotten over-confident with Anne out of the way, and spending way too much money.
Gregg, to his enormous surprise, found he was actually starting to miss his wife. Somehow, Anne always knew how to make things better when he was struggling. Tara just nagged him to take her to fancy restaurants and away on expensive holidays. He wished things could have turned out differently.
Then one night, he was lying in bed, sleep refusing to come, his financial misfortunes running incessantly round his head. Tara was making those little murmuring noises in her sleep that once he had found cute but that now irritated the hell out of him.
He thought he heard a faint shuffling sound out in the corridor. Immediately he was on alert. He listened more intently. Yes, there it was, a dragging sound, heading towards the bedroom, getting closer, but moving slowly, as if with an effort. There was a gun in the cabinet next to the bed. He was prepared to use it if necessary.
And then the sound stopped, right outside the door. He heard a faint gurgling noise.
The door handle started to move. Slowly. Then the door slid silently open, not all the way, but enough to allow a person to step through. For a moment nothing happened.
Gregg glanced at Tara. She was still sleeping. He looked at the cabinet to his right but was unable to move. Gregg never got scared, had always boasted of it, but he had to admit, he was terrified right now.
Then she entered the room, her room.
She was not a pretty sight, had to concede that. She wasn't looking her best for her reunion with her husband, but screw it, it was his fault anyway. She was grey, half decayed, her hair a wet and tangled mess. The big hole in her temple, still clogged with the remains of congealed blood, was not nice to see. Her clothes, muddy, torn, and dripping, hung limp from her emaciated body. Her eyes, dull, dead, stared accusingly at her husband.
"Gregg." The word came with an effort, slurred, gurgled, quiet, and menacing.
Suddenly there was screaming. Lots of it. Tara had woken up. On seeing the rotting corpse of her lover's wife, standing in the doorway staring blankly at her, she had understandably lost it.
Gregg couldn't bear the screaming on top of everything else. "Shut up!" he shouted. "JUST SHUT UP!" But to no avail.
He slapped her.
The screaming stopped, barely for an instant, then resumed even louder.
He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to face him, but then immediately let her go when he noticed two skeleton-thin, raggedy arms slowly creep around her neck. He backed away. Tara's eyes widened in terror as the stench of rotting flesh enveloped her. Her head was yanked suddenly and violently to one side, there was a sickening crack, and her lifeless body fell silent to the floor.
Gregg stared, horrified. "Oh my God," he whispered, "what have you done, Anne?" He looked at his wife, his ex-wife, his dead wife, for Christ's sake. What was going on? How was this even happening?
Anne crawled clumsily into the bed beside her husband. She was finding it hard to control this decaying body of hers, but she managed to edge closer to him.
He was muttering incoherently to himself. Rocking. Staring into space. She wrapped her arms around him, lovingly, held him close.
"Hush, baby, hush," she crooned into his ear as best she could. "Everything's going to be alright. I'm back now."