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Uxoricide by Bob McNeil

 

During a Thursday, around 3:43AM, a female and male sauntered towards the driveway of her Spanish Colonial-styled mansion. The woman, Neala Desdemona Johnson, was blonde, in her thirties. Her appearance was comparable to the models found in Playboy. Her male counterpart, Rod Silverman, who was younger than she, favored an actor, Johnny Depp. In an attempt to convey his libidinousness, the male stopped and put his arms around his girlfriend’s waist. This effort at warming the woman to the proposal of having sex worked. Under her red leather skirt, jacket and shoes, she felt a lot warmer. And Rod’s blue Italian suit felt tighter, much tighter.

Mansions were common to Rod Silverman. Being the son of an investment banker father and an art curator mother, he was used to wealth. Irrespective of his family’s moneyed existence, as a young, rising model, Rod was getting riches of his own. Among the profits of appearing in fashion magazines and going to trendy clubs was dating attractive, wealthy divorcees like Neala.

Over to the right of Neala and Rod, crouching behind some shrubbery, the forty-seven-year-old African-American former football star Orello Johnson was wearing a ninja outfit. Disguised by his black cotton Balaclava Ninja mask, anger monopolized his expression. Sans his gear, he had short dark coiled hair, straight features, oval eyes, somewhat narrow lips, broad shoulders, bronze skin and an Olympiad’s musculature. Certain women thought the man was handsome. His awareness of these females made his ego rival the Rungrado May Day Stadium for largest mass.

Unheard by anyone else, Orello whispered, “I should take the blood from her fake breasts, breasts that I bought for her. I am the man who inflated those trailer tires and parked them in my mansion.”

Upon amassing an armory of anger, Orello emerged and unsheathed his head.

“What, what, what drug made you come here, Orello?” Neala screamed. Cold, pale fear encased her from skeletal pillars to the flesh covering her. Letting her fingers unify into fists somehow made the woman resuscitate her composure. The girder for steadying her logic was in place as she continued speaking, “I thought the court explained your visitation rights to you. You can see our daughter and son on the weekends.”

Asleep and oblivious to the fight below, two olive-skinned children with sandy hair were in the right wing of the mansion. Their little bodies, which had the attributes from both parents, were content.

“Pray, puta, pray!” Orello’s reply had all the rancor of a Rottweiler before chewing on its prey.

“Hey, uh, uh, don’t call her that!” Rod tried to posture like a defensive lineman, but the boy knew that if a fight started, Orello would defeat him.

“Shut up, sex toy. Your trampish hole and I have some probing to do. Does this boy know that you drove him in my Charcoal Gray 1969 Ford Bronco? Does this boy know that you’re gonna screw him in the house that I pay mortgage on? Does this boy know that you spend my one hundred six thousand dollars every four weeks?”

“Yeah, I’m a trampish hole, but not your trampish hole anymore. You will never screw me anymore and that’s causing your rage. Well, you had this hole for a whole long time. Some days I was your pleasure and other days I was your opponent in a boxing ring. Did you feel like the Heavyweight Champion of the World after beating a woman, Orello? Other than bringing grief, what else are you going to give our relationship?”

Each word that she lunged turned into a shank stabbing Orello in the abdomen. Psychosomatic or real pain, either way, it hurt as if it were a weapon. Enraged by her, Orello wanted the discomfort of the scene to cease. Walking away was not enough, he wanted blood. Orello wanted to see the submission of defeated fighters. His psychopathic need, the desire to ingest violence, wanted a couple of servings.

Evil was never birthed out of nothingness. Orello’s family proved that aforementioned concept to be incontrovertible. All Johnson men were large. Ranging from the tall and muscular to the stout, they were huge. What they possessed in size, they lacked in compassion for women considerably smaller. Bullying diminutive females was yet another trait these men possessed. Johnson men were known for abusing women. The clan pounced on insecure women. A specific Johnson son named Orello saw his father abuse his mother. That fight left bruises upon his psyche. The bruises metastasized into a murderous adulthood.

With a quick motion, Orello stabbed Rod with his Bowie hunting knife. The blade rammed through the trachea of the Hollywood-model-handsome male. Gurgling sounds, instead of other pained utterances, came out of the victim. Akin to a cocaine high, Orello felt exhilarated.

Before she could run or scream, Orello grabbed Neala. Stifled by his left hand, her howl was hampered.

“As opposed to screaming, why don’t you say this? ‘For giving my boyfriend a means to meet God, thank you, Orello.’ You won’t repeat those words, will you? Even though you won’t praise the gift that my knife gave your man, I am going to give you the same prize. But, first, speak your last words, say them.”

“What will you do with our d–d-daughter and s-s-son? Don’t deny Sandy and Justice a relationship with their mother. Leave before the police arrive. I won’t tell them that you stabbed Rod. Orello, besides thinking about our babies, I am concerned about your other children from your first marriage. Consider Arnette and Jordan before you do another thing right now.”

“Arnette and Jordan are adults now. They hate you. Praise for killing you, not criticism, is what I will get from them. Frankly, as for our kids, being six and seven, they won’t remember you after a while.”

“Imagine our kids’ lives with you in prison then put the knife down.”

“You’re merely another wallet-sucking parasite.”

“Your cynicism will prevent you from hearing this, how-however, I did love you. I profited from your love, never the money. Baby, even after the abuse started, I thought my heart could love you so much that your evil would weaken and go away. No matter how much love I gave, you still found reasons to beat me. Honestly, if I didn’t divorce you, Orello, I would have killed you. Much as I desired your death, I didn’t try to kill you. Two things prevented me from murdering you: our children and my hope that our relationship would become something beautiful. Please, Big O, don’t kill any chance for our reconciliation.”

Believe it or not, Neala was expressing some truth, despite what Orello thought. For a corn-fed 19-year-old Indiana girl, armed with dreams of being a model, L.A. was like paradise. So, between waiting tables and auditioning, Neala thought success was a tip away. Some fifteen years ago, at The Datura Club, when she met Orello, her whole spirit knew they were going to be media town’s hottest twosome. And, yes, around the beginning of the relationship, she did love him.

Years later, she saw that love get tackled until it hurt.

A single portion of the plea was false as a faked orgasm and that was the part about any future reconciliation. Neala would have sooner French kissed Charles Manson than date or remarry Orello again.

A combination of cocaine, steroids, CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and genetics prevented Orello from comprehending Neala’s statement. Exceeding all else, the weapon in his hand was able to communicate Orello’s response. Quicker than his mind’s ability to realize what he was doing, Orello’s arm swung as if it were a scythe mowing grass. Known for its sharpness, the metal went straight through the victim’s neck. There was no way of concealing the sanguinary act, Orello realized. Blood shot out and stretched to greet his clothes. The knife was the bartender and it was serving blood. Unsinewed as a dishrag, Neala fell and a plasma pool widened around her outstretched body.

Soon, though, once the satisfaction of killing his ex-wife dissipated, elation died. Not much later, it became dread and nausea. Fear’s cold hand grabbed the killer’s spinal column.

Leopard-legged and madness-motivated, Orello ran into the darkness. Among his goals, not getting caught for his monstrous act was paramount. Through side streets, the murderer made his way to his new home. About half a mile separated him from his desired sanctuary. Midway to his destination, Orello reminisced about being the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. Considering that he was now much older and his stamina had changed since the mark he set during the 1973 season, the former running back was pleased with the amount of strength his legs still possessed.

Orello entered his residence which looked like a place that Elvis would have enjoyed calling home. Although it was large enough to accommodate two jumbo jets, Orello preferred his former home. Expensive divorce proceedings made him lose the other house to Neala.

Disrobing in the dark and thinking about all that took place, the murderer scrutinized his actions. Garments and the weapon went into a plastic bag. The evidence was going to be put in a place as unattainable as Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa and D.B. Cooper. Sneaker prints on the carpet were vacuumed away. Inspired by a childhood spent watching Basil Rathbone on television, Orello mused that he could stump Sherlock Holmes.

Later, in his bedroom, numerous glasses of screwdrivers with a little juice could not remove Orlello’s conscience. Emotion-sedating pills, the kind that could make an elephant sleep, were also unable to remove the disturbing murder from his dreams.

***

“Yes, I killed my wife! Yes, I killed my wife!” Orello cried out. Remorse was a touchdown vulture that stole his demeanor.

“From the first news report, I knew you stabbed that woman. Unfortunately, by a jury of your so-called peers, you were deemed innocent of that charge. Double Jeopardy prevents the judicial system from putting you in a court for that case ever again. This time, however, the State of Nevada will make these unrelated kidnapping and robbery charges kick your prick into the penal system for a long, long bid.”

Orello did not know who spoke to him. He opened his eyes and found out he was not in his home at all, but he was in a 6 by 8 grey prison cell, wearing blue inmate garb. The voice belonged to a Corrections Officer in a green uniform. A middle-aged, tall, muscular white male with short auburn hair was standing outside of the prison door. He was in front of the bars looking at Orello. There, on his cot, Orello realized what transpired.

“Whoa, I was having a real serious nightmare, man. Check it out, um, what I was yelling wasn’t true. I had nothing, nothing to do with Neala’s, you know, you know, murder.”

“Bad dreams aren’t all you have to worry about today, football hero. Your court case is being called again. Make sure you wash yourself well because the jury is going to screw you.” The guard walked away from Orello’s cell. A blitz of laughter struck the walls and bars of the building. Inspired by the officer expressing his appreciation for his own humor, co-workers and other inmates stormed with their chuckles. From afar, Orello could still hear the guard speaking. “Try to understand this, sports star, pretend today’s New Year’s Eve and you’re the only available toilet in Times Square. Justice is going to piss on you. Court TV will let everyone see you get wet. Disappointingly for all the abused women out there, you’re not going to get a lethal injection, or what I call the ‘Juice.’”

Denied comfort, a need to satirize another inmate’s sorrow was on par with escaping. Humor was a tunnel to a freer place. Everyone in that section of the prison enjoyed lampooning the once venerated football player. By laughing at Orello, these criminals and officers felt better about their parts in the melodrama.

Disorientation was exiting with its fog in tow. Memories of situations that brought Orello back into the judicial double arm bar pin maneuver were appearing. The criminal remembered that after fifteen years of freedom, he made a life-defeating mistake. In a Las Vegas’ Auction House, with a gun in his hand, Orello confronted men who allegedly stole some of his valuable possessions. Since he stopped the auction in an illegal manner, Orello was arrested. That June, he was charged with a load of felonies.

Imprisoned by the realization that his somniloquy confessed to a form of unlawfulness while facing another form, Orello sat up on his cot. Right then, his desire for cocaine made him imagine the taste of the white powder on his tongue.

That guard returned to the cell. For a while there Orello thought he was hallucinating, because it looked like Neala exited the Correctional Officer’s body the way steam would from soup. Previous to disappearing, the apparition, dressed in a miniskirt-short ivory-colored tunic, turned, smiled and laughed. It was the type of laughter that people would associate with villains. Hearing the manic cackle gave Orello the feeling icy stalactites were forming on his spine.

***

Entering that courtroom with an infamous murder case in his past did not make the accused criminal look nicer. There was a full meal of reasons to hate Orello Johnson. Each person in that room chewed on some reason or another. Nervous about the setting, the defendant fidgeted.

Compounded with all the legalities Orello had to battle, there was Neala’s ubiquitous being standing next to the jury box. Later, she was standing beside Judge Janis Copper. Other times Neala stood a foot away from the bailiff. No matter where the ghost stood, she laughed throughout the long trial.

“Can you hear and see her?” Orello whispered the query to Criminal Defense Attorney Harvard Moldova.

“Who?” The middle-aged white lawyer in the pinstriped suit replied. Indeed, Harvard did not know to whom Orello was referring. In addition, he wished for another client.

“Neala is standing over there and over there at the same time. Look over there to the right and left of the judge before Neala changes her position again,” Orello whispered.

“Are you trying to get an insanity plea?” Harvard asked. Nervously awaiting an answer, the brown-haired lawyer stared at a client who made him feel hatred.

“Insane, no, I am not insane. I was just saying that some of the women here look like Neala.” A plea bargain for Orello to stay in an asylum would separate him from his children and his assets. His plans would be tackled. Sure, seven hundred fifty milligrams of Depakote and about four hundred milligrams of Theophylline would make the prison bid bearable, but deadening his senses would prevent Orello from getting the ultimate touchdown–freedom.

“Members of the jury, have you reached a verdict?”

Nervous about the setting, Orello continued tapping his brown slippers and biting the cuticle of his thumb. He wanted supernatural strength so he could race to a time before meeting his wife. If time travel were possible, Orello thought, he would jettison back to a time when he was loved by the American media.

“Yes, your honor, we have.” Harder than an assassin’s demeanor was the expression on the young, pale woman as she spoke, “Guilty, your honor.” Neala exited the woman’s flesh triumphantly.

His countenance became melted chocolate. All the flesh on his face dangled in a mass of sadness. Muscles that once maintained his structure buckled. Orello collapsed. His body and existence met the floor.

“Now, you’re gonna rot,” Frank, the father of Rod Silverman, screamed.

Age and despondency tormented the Silvermans. Every day the two conditions stabbed another part of them. Frank’s green eyes appeared murkier and sadder since the murder trials. His square jaw, which once gave him an appearance of a strong leading man, now hung as if the floor beckoned it. Over the course of the trial, his dark and full collar-length hair became grey. In his case, it was not the natural aging process. The loss of his son siphoned all vivaciousness from his being. Frank, in his sixties, could have passed for a man ten to fifteen years older.

Another victim of this siphoning process was Rod’s mother, Cheryl. Called the Elizabeth Taylor of the Hamptons, Cheryl’s beauty was admired for many years. Losing her son and finding alcohol turned her cinematic sultriness into a network of decrepit wretchedness. Wrinkles, warts and a disposition that would befit Edward Albee’s Martha replaced the woman Frank married. Undeterred by their divorce after the murder of their son, they attended all of Orello’s trials together.

Right alongside the Silverman family was Neala’s older sister, Daphne Ensler. Both were stairstep children, a mere year separated them. There, at age forty-eight, the auburn-haired buxom woman would sell her eyes and arms to get her sister back. Loss was an exclusive concern for the senior sibling, especially now since the murder of a family member and the death of her parents, Lars and Janet. On the day Orello stabbed Neala, he ran the blade through that farm couple. A little less than two years passed and both the mother and father died of heart attacks. Daphne’s heart was dedicated to her son, twenty-year-old Christopher, her husband, Jack, the contractor, and her career as a writer. Daphne’s books on domestic violence were acclaimed.

United, the Silverman family and Daphne Ensler stood in clothes befitting a funeral—Orello’s funeral.

Turning towards Frank, Orello saw the ghost of Rod Silverman appear, wearing the same type of tunic that Neala had, but his covered both knees. The ghost wore the expression of an individual who wanted to slaughter his slayer. If Orello were beef, Rod would have served the slices to sewer rats.

Even scarier than Rod’s expression was the presence of a brown-haired angelic woman with white wings and a yellow robe. None of the other apparitions scared him as much as the presence of this ethereal female. Maybe she was the devil, Orello thought. Yet, unlike any other known description of the fallen angel, she was not what the ex-football player expected. Materializing when she wanted, the creature was instructing Neala. Towering above everyone in the courtroom, she glared at Orello. Perhaps she was awaiting her moment to kill, the ex-football player concluded.

***

Orello returned to inmates and corrections officers tormenting him with words that felt like a bump and run. Such discomfort that was created by critical quips was not quite as painful as the visions of Neala, though. Without a logical schedule, the slain woman often appeared in Orello’s cell and laughed. Sometimes she was accompanied by Rod and that winged figure. Under those aforesaid circumstances, Orello awaited his next court appearance in two months.

Had Orello known how strange it sounded to others outside of his cell, he would not have yelled at his ex-wife. Testimonials from convicts and corrections officers agreed on this observation: Orello argued with a woman who was unseen and unheard.

In particular, there was this outburst from Orello that an inmate remembered. An unnamed eavesdropper said Orello bellowed the following: “Neala, Neala, appearing just to disappear won’t help you win this game. Stay so I can explain things to you or hide like a scared girl. Either way, I am going to win. I am Orello Johnson. Don’t you understand that in 1966, when your little ass attended grade school, I rushed for 1,709 yards, got me 22 touchdowns and earned the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, and the Walter Camp Award all during that same year? Hell, in the Rose Bowl, just three years later, I ran 171 yards. Plus, I got an 80-yard TD run. What’s a pale as bird poop phantom gonna do to this brother, huh?

“I played the pig on the gridiron. America cheered me. America revered me. The reverence was a treasure in my bank. My name became success. My persona became a multimillion dollar advertisement. Back when America transmitted racism through rabbit ears, I was on TV. In people’s homes, I was selling waste and they guzzled it like they liked it. Spread out on the big scene movie screen, I was a buffoon with the stadium-wide smile and audiences wanted more helpings of my trash.

“Soon I am going to play a role that’s better than being in a franchise. This role is going to give me the Oscar for bedding that Lady Justice Broad.”

“Next to ants, you’re a giant. Next to an ethical man, you’re dirt,” Neala stated before her figure materialized.

“What’s a ghost gonna do to this brick house, huh?”

“Yo, Orello, shut your hole or I’ll show ya who’s goin’ to knock your brick house down. Ya sound like you’re crazy talkin’ to yourself,” an unseen inmate yelled from another cell.

Not a soul but Orello could hear Neala speak. Realizing that his responses were what the inmates overheard, Orello imagined cement drying on his lips.

Left with nothing else to do after Neala disappeared, Orello tried to sleep, but even that provided torment. Since his incarceration for his wife’s murder, Orello had nightmares about castration, not just anybody’s castration—his castration. Nighttime hours, rather fittingly it seemed, were now reserved for new horrific scenarios to play in Orello’s mind. The drama that played throughout his nightmare showed Orello tied to a bed and all the women he abused cheered as Lorena Bobbitt and Neala cut off his genitalia with knives. Every night there was this sensation of metal slicing him.

Besides the vision of the mutilating duo, there was another sorority that prevented comfortable sleep. His need to nod was interrupted by seeing Velma Barfield putting a toxic chemical in his meals. A lot of dreams were spent being chased by ax-swinging Karla Faye Tucker. Sweat formed all over Orello after watching Betty Lou Beets and Aileen Wuornos shoot at him. Sleep was a murderess. Nauseated, nervous and pained, Orello rarely got more than three hours of sleep per day.

***

“The judge is getting ready for the game, Mr. Sports Hero.” Those words were the alarm clock and calendar that alerted Orello to the date and time of his court case. It was two months to the day since his last judicial ordeal.

Orello saw himself as the team captain standing in front of a blackboard, drawing diagrams and preparing to defeat the other team. Further contemplation on the subject of his pending court case made Orello come up with what he believed was a good game plan. He envisioned himself mesmerizing the judge. Based on all accounts, Orello was effective in getting field goals on females. Even going back to his youth, the opposite sex wanted the athletic male. Success increased the man’s appeal. Orello figured by letting his charm run with the ball, the female judge would personally lead him to the parking lot. During Orello’s shower and dressing ritual, the idea became erotic.

***

“Is there anything that your client would like to say before sentencing?” The forty-something-year-old judge asked. Her approach to the case was much like the ponytail holding her black hair—severe.

“Your honor, my client would like to make a statement.” Earlier Orello told his lawyer that he had some words to impart.

“You may proceed, Mr. Johnson.” Only Orello could hear Neala’s cackle.

“Ma’am, I’m a simple former athlete. There’s no law degree hanging on my wall at home. Ignorance is the reason why I decided to do an unlawful thing. Someone told me about an auction that was going to take place. Also, I heard that my stuff, stuff that was stolen from my home was going to be sold. Sure, now after learning about the law a little, I understand that I shouldn’t have gotten a gun to get my things. Nor should I have held the thieves against their will at the auction house. Emotions, such as anger and hate, inspired a reaction before I could think about the best action.” Midway to the end of his monologue, Orello thought he made the judge wet.

“Your honor, let me say this, I am sorry about my unlawful act. Certainly, you can understand that I was trying to regain my own possessions from some thieves. My approach, though a little too hardcore, was well-intentioned. Whether some would call me a criminal or a hero, all I wanted was my own stuff back.” Convinced that his monologue was working, Orello started to plan a release party, complete with strippers, hookers, celebrities, booze and drugs.

“This state was always my favorite. A lot of my football fans live right here in Nevada, and I have always been good to my fans. Nothing would ever make me do anything against this area.”

“Mr. Johnson, you have two minutes before sentencing.”

“O.K, try to get into my motivations and you’ll understand why I handled the situation the way I did. Thank you for allowing me to speak in this honorable courtroom.”

Talking got Orello out of myriad personal dilemmas in the past. As a result, he was convinced that his voice made eggs sizzle. Unless the judge was a blind and deaf lesbian, her body should be lava, Orello thought.

“Thank you again, your honor.”

“You are welcome. I hereby sentence you to thirty-four years.”

Nine years before the possibility of parole became a mantra in Orello’s head. Over again the sentence echoed. He had to serve all those years in state prison before being eligible for parole. The judge might as well have shot Orello. There was, of course, the possibility of an appeal. No matter the legal option, the process of fighting the judge’s decision would take something that Orello did not have—patience.

There, as per usual, Frank Silverman was in the audience taunting Orello with condemnation. Orello’s acquittal for the murder of Neala Desdemona Johnson and Rod Silverman was a dagger in Frank’s heart. Granted, the Civil Court passed a judgment against the former athlete for two wrongful deaths, but it could not make the Silverman’s pain of losing a son stop. $66.6 million dollars that the parents were supposed to receive

did not alleviate the lamentation either. Consistent excuses as to why the complete amount could not be paid pushed the blade further into Frank’s psyche.

Ritualistically, beside Frank, Cheryl and Daphne stood.

It was the civil case that forced Orello into questionable business choices. He made a porno film, wrote a book about his wife’s murder and did personal appearances, etc. The celebrity could not let people sack his fortune. So, desperation became his defensive line.

“The Devil is going to bake your hide,” The Silverman patriarch cried out.

Consistently absent, Orello’s four children saw no reason to attend any of the court proceedings. As far as they were concerned, after Orello was arrested, he died.

Anna Simpson, dissimilar to her children, watched all of Orello’s courtroom problems on TV. Wearing a red floral Muumuu, red processed hair in rollers, surrounded by cherry soda cans, barbeque potato chips and a remote control, her pudgy physique was

orgasmic while watching the defeat of her abusive ex-husband.

A Hispanic bailiff, who was about the size of a kickboxer, took Orello out of the courtroom. The bewildered criminal turned to Rod’s father and stared. That uncommunicative state was caused by the presence of three afterlife figures. Overhead, unseen by all except Orello, Neala, alongside some befeathered female and Rod, cheered repeatedly.

***

Once the case concluded and the lawyer told Orello they could appeal the decision, the cell seemed even smaller. Handicapping this jurisprudential game, Orello knew that no appeal would overturn his predicament.

Later that evening, psychotropic drugs were administered to help alleviate the sensation of cleats and knives piercing Orello’s brain and lower extremities. The pills were prescribed because it was deemed that he was suicidal.

Somewhere around twelve thirty A.M., his ex-wife returned. The abusive spouse knew that the woman who bore his child would trek his way once more. Orello wanted Neala to haunt him.

“Now I guess my sentence will be spent being haunted by you.”

“Why would I share another portion of my immortal life providing a source of escape from your loneliness? No, you’re going to detox from your favorite stimulant—attention. Get ready for withdrawals from the warm love of women, football fans and your children.”

“Please allow your spirit to forgive. Please give me that.”

“You’re right. I should give you certain things. Here’s the first thing I will give: information. Recent reports have proven that a woman is beaten every nine seconds. That calculation inspired me to give you a gift. Right at the point some malevolent man hurts a woman, you will feel the blows upon your body. Punches and slaps some unknown woman endures will affect your flesh. Why should women suffer unaccompanied by your presence? Aside from being suicidal, you will experience discomfort a prison doctor will believe is psychosomatic.”

“Your gene pool was as worthless as pigeon crap on a porch. Until I came into your soon-to-be-on-food-stamps life, you were a liability. How could you have such powers?”

“Try to work past your stupidity and listen. That night you stabbed the life out of me, I saw a Goddess.”

“Did you get high before coming here?” A titter accompanied the question.

“She called herself Nemesis. This Goddess and her minions hunt men like you.”

“What kind of weirdo name is Nem-ee-sis?”

Annoyed with the process of answering Orello, Neala’s eyebrows illustrated her anger before she continued speaking. “My wounded form, which you created, angered her. She said, ‘Get up, Gaelic girl. Your parents dubbed you a champion and a champion you will be.’ For my promise to become a fighter on the side of her legion, I was given abilities.

“Far from this dimension, in a stratospheric area reminiscent of ancient Greece, fifteen of my postmortal years were spent training. Taught by Nemesis and other ancient mystics, I learned about bilocation, dematerialization, levitation, metempsychosis, mesmerism, psychokinesis, radiesthesia, telepathy and a lot more. Thankfully, this ghost of an abused woman was given powers by those omnipotent sources. I was using those powers to get you in this prison.”

Binocular-eyed and confused, Orello stood and listened. Neala’s words were unexplored constellations. Lost in her utterances, Orello could not believe how much his

former wife had transformed. Besides the powers the creature gave her, Neala’s IQ increased. His former simple country girl morphed into some kind of Mensa member.

“Above all, being vengeful was not a simple lesson. My folks taught their belief in forgiveness. Unlearning that concept was the hardest.

“Rod wanted justice to come down on you with the force of a mudslide.

Repeated pleas on my part gave me the right to administer your sentence. Albeit simple, my first attempt at attacking you was by storing a meaty suggestion in your mind. Over and over, I repeated these words: ‘Take your gun and get what someone got from you.’ Easier than waving flesh in front of a piranha, you enjoyed the bait.”

“I’m sorry!”

“Ah, Orello, your anguish is the best dish for me.”

Coinciding with the final vowel, she disappeared in a way that would perplex Houdini. In her place appeared Rod Silverman and the other outer worldly lady.

Frustrated with the amount of time Neala used for her revenge, Rod’s interest was his family. Rod was also exasperated by Nemesis and her associates. He was mystified by these beings, living in levitating jewel-encrusted Grecian buildings. From their ancient ceremonial clothing to their arcane rituals that were on par with witchcraft, Rod disliked their oddness.

Instead of yelling at Orello, Rod wanted to punch him and watch his frame become bloody pieces of dismembered flesh. Almost Herculean impulse inhibitors suppressed Rod’s vengefulness. Incapable of expressing his rage, he let Nemesis speak.

“Orello, certain people say I am a demon and others call me a saviour. Neither description matters,” Nemesis stated in a synthesized and genderless voice. “What concerns my existence is seeing parasites like you suffer. All of my ethereal resources are dedicated to a single goal—the destruction of brutish beings. View your torment as you would a tragic play. Moreover, know that Neala and I will enjoy your every upcoming scene.”

Before Orello could respond, the figures disappeared. Defeated, he tried to understand his fate.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Orello yelled while feeling invisible fists pummel him. Doubling over as a result of the attacks, he felt bruises form. Again, being consistent with Neala’s plan, the protuberances were imperceptible to everyone else. “I’m sorry,” Orello screamed once more.

“Yeah, you’re sorry for being such a sorry has-been.” Approximating the style of a stand-up comedian, the guard paused for an audience reaction. Bolstered by the sound of inmates laughing at his put-down, the correction officer continued his critical jokes about Orello. “Don’t be sad, Superstar. You’ll have your football memories to enjoy tonight. The guard quipped outside of Orello’s cell. Laughter that was coming from all sides of the isolation ward became louder than the 1812 Overture. The guffawing made the sobs Orello emitted inaudible in the Lacrimae Rerum Criminal Compound in Nevada.

A prison that was normally known for misery was pleased about accommodating its newest inmate.

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Deadman’s Tome is an online horror zine that publishes dark gritty horror on weekly basis. This, of course, is only possible because of the dedicated work of the contributors. The featured authors have spent hours honing their craft to deliver truly terrifying stories. The sort of stories that haunt you with a chilling sensation down your spine. To reward them for their dedication and commitment, I offer them a publication on a site that strongly encourage community engagement, along with a monetary compensation calculated by the number of views, comments, and likes their story receives.

I pay the authors right out from my pocket. While I do not mind right now, there may come a time where I may not be able to. I honestly do not know when that time will come and I hope it never does.

I’m also looking for artists, and would like to one day publish content with artwork 100% of the time. That, as you could expect, may get expensive. Even the for the love artists want payment eventually.

Please consider becoming a Deadman’s Tome patron. It only takes a dollar, and it does give you benefits and access to discounts, exclusive titles, and insider information. I treat the patrons like a family – a good functioning family, not the Charles Manson style family.

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Mad Love – Blair Frison

 

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Enhance your coffee

 

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Plot Twist by Adam Sturch

 

He lay in wait like a spider.  Thick, clinging darkness enveloped him as he listened for the sound of her car pulling in the driveway.  He hadn’t moved from the couch in hours.  He was patient, impossibly patient.  He knew patience was key.  He couldn’t rush these things.  Everything had to be planned down to the smallest detail, or he’d end up in a cell for the rest of his life, a shame and an outcast to the few people he still loved.  Nothing but a bad memory.  A nasty scar.

He banished those thoughts and prepared for the task at hand. She was due home any minute. He caressed the hammer which lay beside him and this comforted him.  He thought of broken teeth and exposed brain matter.  Wild, animal eyes and anguished screams.  He could barely contain himself.

He heard a car coming down the street and he knew it was her.  The headlights momentarily flooded the room as the car pulled in the driveway. The sound of gravel being crunched under the tires made him tremble in anticipation.  A door slammed shut.  Then another.  He heard voices, drunken laughter.

She brought a man home.

His breathing became laboured and he felt dizzy.  He clutched the hammer tightly.  The key was fitted into the lock and the door opened.  They stumbled towards the bedroom without turning on the lights.  They didn’t see him as they hurried past, tearing at each other’s clothes.  He rose from the couch as they entered the bedroom, still gripping the hammer tightly.

Rage consumed him as he slowly neared.  He pictured them sweating and groping and fucking, her moans causing him to see red.

He finally entered the bedroom.  His eyes were already adjusted to the darkness and he saw the man was on top thrusting wildly, the woman screaming in pleasure.  Then she saw him.

The screams changed from pleasure to terror as she frantically tried to push the man off her.  The man turned around and, before he knew what was happening, the hammer came down in his face with a loud crack.  Blood spattered the walls and the ceiling and the screaming woman.

The man collapsed in a heap on the bed. The woman’s screams turned to crazed laughter.  She jumped up and rushed towards the man with the hammer, leaping into his arms and kissing him passionately, telling him how much she loved him, how much she enjoyed helping him kill.  

He dropped the hammer, then put her down gently.  He turned the light on so they could revel in the sight of their cunning crime.  They took in all the bloody details, then smiled at each other for several long seconds before he took a small box from his pocket and got down on one knee..

 

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes terrifying horror short stories and horror flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker and grittier the tale the better. If you enjoyed the horror short, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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Entertaining Threesome

 

 

If a threesome isn’t entertaining, then you’re doing something wrong.

Authors Gary L. Robbe, Sarah Doebereiner, and Dan Lee talk about their stories, inspiration, and other projects.

Stories discussed are My 1963 Ford Galaxy and the Maniacs of Dearborn County https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/02/my-1963-ford-galaxy-and-the-maniacs-of-dearborn-county-by-gary-l-robbe/

Schrodinger’s Dilemma
https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/26/schrodingers-dilemma-by-dan-lee/
Candied
https://deadmanstome.net/2016/05/05/candied-by-sarah-doebereiner/

also discussed: Schrodinger’s Cat, Exploitation Films, B-movies, Nudity and sex in horror, Murderous Grannies and zombies

 

Become a patron today and support the online magazine!
https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3340730&alert=2&ty=h

 

Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes short stories and flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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Book of Horrors Vol I

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Deadman’s Tome: Book of Horrors features ten solid, terrifying horror shorts designed to instill absolute terror. The anthology opens with a dark, brooding story of occult practices and an odd disappearance, then leads into a gritty reminder that a closet isn’t a good place to store dead bodies. Haunted houses cursed with ghost children, demonic visits, mutated bed bugs with a fascination for pink flesh, and exploration into the unknown make for a chilling read.

Buy the anthology and support the Tome and support the authors!

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The Widow’s Reaction by Stephen Millard

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Tonya Dumont’s husband was dead, and under strange circumstances. It looked like an accident but his body was still at the morgue four days later so she knew it had the possibility of not being just your everyday accident. So when the morgue contacted her to visit her at home she thought it was just as strange a circumstance.

“We operate a bit differently,” was what the man from the morgue replied with when she asked if this was usual protocol. As she waited for him to show up she couldn’t quite remember his name. Was it Robert, or Ronald? Some name that was usually shortened, or ‘nicked’, as her mother would say.

“We like a more personal touch. This is the single hardest thing a person has to deal with, why should we make them go through it in anywhere else but the comfort of their home?” His logic was agreeable and furthermore he did run a private business, so why couldn’t they meet here instead of there to discuss the disposal of her late husbands body.

Disposal, she now thought sourly, if he would’ve used that word I wouldn’t have been so agreeable.

But she could say it, to herself in her own home. Anything could be said or done in one’s home and that’s why she didn’t question him, it just made sense. She wondered not about this mortician but rather about every other mortician, thinking they all should be this understanding.

So now she was waiting for him, this Robert or Ronald, and was frantically picking up her living room. She believed in the appearance of normalcy simply because she didn’t want to be seen as just another sad fresh widow. She didn’t want to be pitied and she didn’t warrant it, or at least that’s what she was trying to achieve. In movies or books when someone loses the love of their life they always spiral into this purgatory, with dishes piling up and a half drank bottle of booze in the midst of it somewhere.

Well not her.

Not the mighty Tonya Dumont.

Just because her husband was dead didn’t mean that she had to ruin everything they’d worked for. She continued going to work and as she walked around her house now she found it quite a quick job to clean up for her guest. All she had to do was wipe a thin layer of dust off of the coffee table and she was done. The coffee table that, through every evening, was her husbands best friend. He put his beer, food, and feet up on it, not to mention the wide-spread of every Sunday paper and it was just then that Tonya realized that while he was alive she never had to dust it. He never left it alone long enough to gather dust. And now that her simple tidying was done she felt entirely empty. Empty because she found that even though she worked so hard to put on a mask of life to wear when she went out, it was removed every time she stepped foot in her door. The walls here knew what was missing from inside them, and they pitied her whether she liked it or not. They felt the air, now so still after housing his constant energy and knew exactly what she was; a sad and lonely widow. There are, after all, no secrets that can be kept from the walls of a home.  

Her expression began to hollow out, taking the look she never even let herself see. Eyes sinking in, lips losing color, mouth hanging agape. Like a doped mental patient, if only so numb.

The first time the doorbell rang she didn’t even hear it. She just kept looking down at her dead husbands favorite spot until the man knocked instead. This snapped her back and she felt the blood return. A quick breath and adjustment to her hair was all she needed, and she was back, to open the door with as much of the mask on as the walls would allow.

“Hello Mrs. Dumont? I’m Randall Flynn from Roseview.” Randall, she thought as he offered his hand. She took it and opened the door in its entirety.

“Please come in,” Tonya said standing back with a modest, only-being-polite smile on her face.

“Thank you. Wow,” he looked around, up the stairs and at the chandelier hanging above him. “This is a beautiful home.”

“Oh thanks,” she replied, a little bashful. It had been a long four days since anyone had been in the house with her. “Can I get you something to drink before we get started?”

“Just a water please.” She showed him to the living room, Randall continuing to marvel at the house while all Tonya saw was the coffee table, and then went to get the water.

“Have a seat,” she called back to him, but once she returned, she wished any other words would’ve been spoken. After turning the corner her feet slowed, just for a step, and she felt the mask slipping off.

Randall was sitting in her husband’s favorite spot, letting his brochures clutter her husband’s favorite coffee table. Rage and injustice filled her but she managed to grab the mask just before it hit the floor to inevitably shatter, and put it back on. Tonya continued her stride with that same polite smile and placed his water in front of him.

“Thank you,” he said somberly. “Now,” 

and so it begins, she thought,

“we have a number of affiliates around town that can set you up with a beautiful service, so let’s clear some of this up. Did you have a cemetery in mind? A plot already reserved perhaps?” He was verbally walking on eggshells, like a parent talking to their child about sex and his face was anxiously compressed.

“No. It was just the two of us, his parents aren’t in the picture and mine are still alive so we just never really thought about it.”

“Right,” he nodded. “Well in that case I’d recommend you take a look at these.” He slid the brochures over slowly, as if he was trying not to scare her. Tonya picked one up and began looking, as he recommended.

It was perverse. A delicately manicured advertisement to make money off of not the dead, but the grief of the living. Everyone wanted a ‘respectful’ burial, which of course meant an expensive burial. One full of flowers and granite and marble and things that cost half a years salary, only to be visited a few days a year.

She sighed at the bullshit of it all.

“I know this is hard,” he responded. Looking at him, she tried to hide her contempt. This was a business man sitting in her dead husband’s favorite spot and he had fooled her even before meeting her. Fooled her into thinking that he cared by coming to her, instead of making her come to him. A good businessman, with his look of delicate apprehension and understanding. But what was he, maybe thirty? At best? What the fuck did he know about-

“Mrs. Dumont?” He looked even more anxious now. She quickly reapplied the mask.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t know where to begin here,” she said pretending to look back down at the brochures.

“Take all the time you need. I know it’s especially hard when the deceased is murdered.”

“What?” Tonya’s mask shattered before she felt it fall.

“You didn’t-?”

“Scott was murdered?” It seemed like she couldn’t get enough air.

“Oh, oh Mrs. Dumont I’m so sorry. We found out this morning I thought the police contacted you. I-” His hands were up, like football player who just got flagged.

“I talked to the police this morning and they said nothing about this.” She was furious, wanted to smash the untouched glass of water against his forehead and watch him bleed. She kept the quiet, even tone of a person who has known anger all their lives and can use it for the tool that it is.

“I apologize, you must feel-”

That’s where she cut him off. After her rant was done she was unsure of what exactly she had said but it went on five, maybe ten minutes and only at the end did she realize she was standing over him, yelling down at him as if he was a dog. She called him things she’d never said before and told him exactly how she ‘must feel’.

Then she stood up straight.

“Now get out. I’m not doing business with you.” But he didn’t move. “Did you hear me? I said-” She wanted to scare him, to make him flee away like the house was burning down. But then he began to smile, with a slow spreading pleasure, and she realized that he too, had been wearing a mask.

“Why don’t you sit down?” He said.

“Your fucking sick. I’m calling the cops.” She reached down to her phone on the coffee table, but then couldn’t move.

Randall had pulled out a knife and stabbed it through her hand, nailing her to the table. At first she just stared as it stood straight up out the back of her hand, and then she began to scream. Tonya’s guest leapt up at this and stuffed fabric into her open mouth, muffling and choking her. The force of this act sent her back down to the chair. She attempted to fight back with her free hand as the man brought duct tape to seal her mouth but the constant jerking against the shining blade that crucified her was unbearable. After she was silenced and fixed to the table he sat back down, lounging like a cat in the sun. He was satisfied.

Tonya looked at her hand through the tears and saw her blood dripping off the side of her husband’s favorite table. The other hand gripped the arm of her chair like a child at the dentist.

“Soooo as you probably guessed, I’m not from the morgue. I’m just a guy,” he reached into his pocket, “who is interested in how people will react,” he continued digging around. “How we react is the what makes us who we are,” he found what he was looking for and pulled out a small tape recorder. “And you-,” he rewound the tape then pressed play. She heard herself screaming at him and tried to do the same again, but the tape covering the soggy cloth in her mouth stopped it. He likewise stopped the recording. “-are a very interesting person.”

He opened up the tape recorder and took out the small cassette containing her audio and put it in on the table next to her bleeding hand, then took out another cassette from his pocket and slipped it in, clicking the recorder shut. Excitement lit up his eyes as he pressed play.

At first all she could hear was crying, then Randall asked a question, and her husband’s voice responded through sobs. Her eyes opened to their fullest and upon her realization he stopped the recording. She reached out with her free hand but he swatted it away and it went to the handle of what was fixing her in place. Jubilation took him over and a small happy gasp escaped him. Her hand was wrapped firmly around the handle of the knife. As she stared at him his crazed eyes darted between her eyes and the knife, her eyes and the knife. She took in short quick breaths and felt adrenaline build her up. Then she pulled.

But she couldn’t get it out. She began to cry again and let her hand drop lifelessly from the handle.

“Oh!” He shouted. “That would’ve been intense!” He settled back down and sighed. “So I killed your husband,” she met his eyes, “obviously,” he continued, “and I’ve got just about everything I need from you. But before I finish I’d like to thank you, seriously,” he leaned forward, “you were way more interesting than your husband, he just cried the whole time,” he took on a disgusted look, “cried and begged.” He stared at her eyes for a moment, trying to make sure that hammered home. Then he took out a pad and pen, flipped it open, and began checking things off.

“Okay,” he said slowly, “so we’ve got the death of a husband, the widow’s reaction, and… do your folks live near here?” Her eyes widened again in realization and she tried once more to reach out and grab him, this time he caught her by the wrist, then held her hand in both of his, tenderly. “Don’t worry,” he consoled, “they’ll be fine,” he thought about this, peering upward, “physically,” he amended. Tonya pulled back her hand from his in a snap. Their skin made a rustling sound against each other and she felt sick from it. “But,” he stood up, gripped the knife that was stabbed through her hand and put his face inches away from hers, then removed the knife to use it elsewhere. “I’d love to get their reaction when they find out that I killed their daughter.”  

 

 

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes short stories and flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.

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Love Electric by Calvin Demmer

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Edith McCarthy liked to peep on potential clients before meeting them. She had parked her van near their Dutch Colonial-style home and was looking through her binoculars. What she saw through the kitchen window did not surprise her. Missus Collins, the lady who had phoned her, was getting fucked like a bargain priced prostitute found on a street corner with a broken light. She was bent over the kitchen table, panties down below her knees, as the broad shouldered man pounded her. Edith decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and presumed the man to be her husband.

Edith placed the binoculars on the seat next to her, rubbed her eyes, and started up the van. She had seen enough. The couple looked happy—they fucked like it at least—and added to this Missus Collins had said they had recently purchased the home. Edith had the inspiration required.

Back in her small apartment on the other side of town, she paced the living room as she counted down the time until she was meant to meet Missus Collins. She couldn’t stand waiting and decided to get through some training. As she never entertained guests she had set up her own little gym in her living room. Cash was tight, so it was mostly a bench and some free weights. Edith picked out her favorite CD, Classic love songs of the eighties, which she had managed to shoplift.

As her portable CD player pumped out the tunes, she did bicep curls, staring herself in a body length mirror. There was no denying the extra few pounds she had put on since getting out of prison—she had been convicted of assault—but she had also gained more muscle. Having just turned forty-two, standing five-foot eleven and weighing a hundred and sixty pounds, she felt good. She clenched tight on her next curl and grimaced, wanting the bicep to pop. The steroids she had purchased from a man riddled in acne at her gym had been worth it.

Prison had changed her. She had not learnt any rehabilitation, if anything she had discovered how to hate more and from a place deeper within. In fact, she had learned to love the hate, to turn into something beautiful. She had also learned how to take better care of herself in a fight and how to get away with certain things.

Edith finished up her set, wolfed down some food, and showered.

#

When Edith arrived for her meeting with Missus Collins, she found the lady dressed impeccably in a gray skirt and floral white shirt. She also found out Missus Collins first name was Tiffany. Tiffany’s heels clacked on the wooden passageway as she led Edith to the first room she wanted to have painted.

“I was so surprised to find a female painter” Tiffany said, entering the empty room. “Have you been in town long? We have just recently moved here, this is actually the first home we have ever purchased, we are so excited.”

“Nah, I move around a lot,” Edith said.

“Well, this is to be my office, I am a realtor, oh, remind me to give you a card before you go.”

Edith nodded.

“The other room, just down the hall to the left, will be my husband, Harold’s, entertainment area, mostly for him and his buddies to watch sports. You know how it is.” Tiffany smiled. “He was here earlier, but will only be getting home at four, has some or other meeting.”

Edith nodded. She was glad both rooms were on the bottom floor and that she now knew for sure she had already seen Harold that morning. Good, good, they’re in love, how sweet, Edith thought. She checked her wristwatch. It was only one o’clock. There was more than enough time until Harold arrived.

Edith took a notebook and pencil out from her back pocket. She pretended to start writing things down while looking over the empty room. “You have your color in mind already?” she said.

“Yes,” Tiffany said. “A pastel blue. I don’t want it to be too distracting.”

Edith frowned. “How do you feel about red? Bright red?”

Tiffany shook her head. “No, that would drive me mad. Definitely a light, soft blue.”

Edith took a step towards Tiffany. “No, I am afraid that is just not possible. It will have to be red.”

She reached for Tiffany’s wrist.

“What the fuck?” Tiffany said, pulling away.

Tiffany’s reaction speed surprised Edith, but Edith had natural close-combat skills ingrained in her from prison. She moved right up against Tiffany and stabbed her in the lower part of her neck with the pencil. Tiffany let out a shriek; Edith pulled her close and pressed the pencil in deeper. A stream of red blood shot out from Tiffany’s neck, landing on the light gray carpeting of the room. Edith released Tiffany, who fell to the floor and began crawling for the door.

“Look what you made me do,” Edith said. She reached for Tiffany’s legs and pulled her back. Tiffany tried to scream but all that came out was a gurgling sound. Edith turned her over and dodged a kick. Tiffany’s neck was bleeding profusely and even her mouth had become an exit point for some crimson blood. The sharp copper smell hit Edith like a slap to the face.

“Fuck woman,” she said. “You’re wasting the blood. We don’t waste the fucking blood.”

Tiffany tried to kick out but couldn’t lift her leg high enough. She attempted to roll over again. Edith figured Tiffany was trying to escape again and assisted her. When Tiffany was back on her stomach, crawling with less impetuous than a few moments ago, Edith brought her right boot down on Tiffany’s lower back.

There was a dull crack sound. Tiffany’s body writhed back and forth then stopped. Edith moved closer and brought her boot down on Tiffany’s neck.

Edith said, “Fucking blood wasting bitch.” She tensed, her arms became rigid on her sides, but she calmed and found focus. She made her way to her van, now she needed her equipment.

When Edith returned to the room, she stepped over Tiffany’s body and placed her portable CD player in the middle of the room. She pressed play. Her favorite CD immediately soothed her. She put her empty white five-gallon bucket near Tiffany and then lifted Tiffany’s neck over it. Edith removed the pencil and watched as the blood began pooling at the bottom of the bucket. Fortunately, she had a few techniques to extract a bit more blood, but she didn’t need too much. The room was small.

Satisfied with the amount of blood, she added her own special mix. This mix not only helped to thin out the blood but also helped it to dry faster. Edith poured some of the blood, now mixed, into her roller tray. She dipped her roller, which she had attached to a longer frame, into the tray.

Edith made sure she got a good amount of blood on the roller and then made her way to the wall. She began in the middle of the wall to the right and half a roller length from the corner. This would help against the blood getting too thick in the edges. She made sure not to force the blood out of the roller. It didn’t take long to find her groove. Edith painted the room with Tiffany’s blood. She couldn’t resist singing along to her favorite ballads.

#

Edith sat on the large, noisy, and uncomfortable black sofa in the living room. Tiffany’s body had been wrapped in plastic and had been placed her in the van. Her equipment stood in the other room that still required painting. She stared into the blackness of the flatscreen hanging on the wall before her, breathing in deep. Her body still rocked with energy that she had received when painting the room with Tiffany’s blood. Glancing down at her wristwatch, she saw it was four o’clock. She tensed different parts of her body and felt the current rocket there. Her muscles hardened. She was ready.

The front door opened.

A man, who she recognized from the morning’s spying, entered the living room. He wore a neat navy blue suit, and a soft yellow tie swung around his neck. The man was attractive and Edith had to force down the jealousy she felt towards Tiffany. Such emotions had to wait, as there was a job in the process.

The man’s eyes narrowed when he saw Edith. “Oh, hello.”

“Hello, Harold,” Edith said.

“Ah, okay, are you a friend of Tiffany’s?”

“I am the painter.”

“Oh I see,” Harold said. His face seemed to relax. “I thought she was meeting you earlier this morning?”

“She was,” Edith said. “But she wanted me to get your opinion on something.”

Harold removed his coat. “I don’t really have much time. I thought she would handle all this. We’re expecting my parents this evening.” He removed his tie and placed both it and the coat on the side of the single-seat chair next to him.

Edith smiled.

“Where is she?” Harold said. He started walking towards the staircase. “Tiffany,” he called.

Edith got up. “Oh, I will show you. She’s here on the bottom floor.”

She led him to the room she had painted, battling to keep the happiness spreading across her face in check. It was not often she got to show off her work to a client.

Harold looked all around the room, shaking his head. “What the fuck is this mess?”

“The paint job, you don’t like it?”

“Just tell me where my wife is?”

Edith smiled. “She’s here.”

Harold stepped towards her. “Listen, I don’t have time for nonsense. Just tell me where my wife is and what the hell is going on? And what the hell is on the walls? It doesn’t smell like paint.”

“It’s blood. Your wife’s. Do you like it?”

Harold reached for Edith’s throat. “Listen you steroid junkie, tell me where the fuck my wife is.”

Edith hit Harold in his ribs with a clean left jab. He winced and bent forward. She pulled her right arm back and launched a right hook aimed at his temple. The shot clean and Harold nearly toppled over.

“What the fuck?” he said, trying to regain equilibrium.

Edith kicked at his left knee. There was a sharp pop sound. Harold buckled and screamed. He fell forward onto the bloodstained carpeting.

“You fucking crazy bitch!”

Edith walked towards him and lifted her right boot. “I have to break your neck now. I can’t be wasting any more blood today.”

“Get the fuck away from me you freak. I am gonna put you in jail for—”

Edith brought her boot down on Harold’s neck. The dull snap made Edith smile. She stood over Harold and nodded, realizing he was dead. Edith looked over to the recently painted walls and smiled. The current it sent through her almost brought her to tears. She wanted to savor the moment a bit longer, but she had more work to do.

Edith grabbed Harold’s feet and began dragging him to his entertainment room. “What lovely work I am doing these days,” she said to the recently deceased Harold. “You see, once I have finished your room, your new home will be the talk of the neighborhood.”

Once Harold was in the center of the room, she placed her bucket next to him. She reached for her knife.

#

Edith sat in the front of her van staring at the house. Both bodies were wrapped and in the back of her van. She knew a river where she could dispose of them, along with any other items from the house that needed to join. The cellphone she had been using while staying in town could also go. She had stayed in town longer than usual and knew it was a risk, but she had enjoyed her time here. The place had so much love to give. Her operations had also begun to run smoother.

I really did some impressive work here. Both those rooms came out just perfect. Oh, his parents are going to be so impressed when they arrive this evening, she thought. She waved goodbye to the house, and was about to start up the van when the phone rang.

“Hello, this is Welcome Home Painting,” Edith said.

“Oh hello, I was wondering if I could make an appointment for tomorrow morning. My husband and I purchased a home a few months back, and we received some great news this week, we are expecting our first child.”

“Oh that’s wonderful, congratulations.

“Thank you. We’d like to have the room we want to convert into a nursery painted. My husband also mentioned doing the garage while we are at it. It’s our first real home, and we want it looking great.”

“That’s great; you two sound so in love.”

“Ah, yeah, we are. My husband will be at home for the meeting tomorrow. I’m out of town until next week, but I’d like the work done as soon as possible.”

Edith smiled. One more job, she thought. “Well, I just happen to be free, finished a lovely job today. I can even start tomorrow after your husband has told me what he wants. By the time you’re back, I will be long gone any room you need painted will look beautiful. I promise you my work is incomparable.”

“That’s great, thank you.”

When done with the conversation, Edith started up the van, humming the tunes to one of her favorite ballads. She made her way to her apartment. The energy from the day surged within.

Edith wondered if this was what it felt like to be loved.

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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes short stories and flash fiction whether it’s ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, slasher sprees, bizarre fiction, classic horror literature or erotica. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the authors.