In my bed,
Holding my finger.
Short Stories | Fish-eye Perspective
Fish in the Trees
In my bed,
Holding my finger.
Author’s note: The First line of the story was suggested by Webb Blogs
Why is everyone being so loud, and why is this stranger claiming to be my husband? My head hurts like there is a stampede inside it. I can’t recall where I was last night or what I did but I certainly couldn’t have married a stranger overnight!
If only Priscila was here to provide me an alibi. She had promised to meet me at my home last evening. She had something to celebrate and wanted to give me the news in person. But she never showed up. I was bored and lonely. So I decided…
This is where I came up blank. I just can’t remember what I decided or what I did after that. It shouldn’t be too difficult. I am not on drugs and I didn’t have alcohol. I also don’t have a life and have lived vicariously through Priscila since forever. Ideally, I would have had dinner and slept the night off. Only, I am not in my bed. And the owner of the bed, and the house it is in, says that we dated for six months and married a couple of days back in a small ceremony in front of the minister!
How can I date and marry someone and then forget about him?
May be he’s lying. He shows me some pretty convincing pictures of the ceremony with me as the bride. But photos can be fake. Or worse, what if he slipped something in my drink last night? An LSD? That can explain the loss of memory and the headache.
He looks genuinely confused, which unsettles me, but he can be a good actor, “I don’t understand. You were fine with our marriage until last night. You even went out to share the news with a friend! Have I done something wrong?” His eyes are honest. He doesn’t seem like a guy who would gaslight a woman but, then, what do I know? I barely met him five minutes back when I woke up in his bed.
Why isn’t Priscila picking up her phone? Is she alright? It isn’t like her to not show up. Already at the end of my nerves, I throw my phone down on the bed facing upwards.
His brows are crunched in confusion, “Honey, why are you calling yourself?”
“No, I am calling my best friend. She’ll help me figure it all out. She always does when I am not able to make sense of something.”
“Darling, the number is yours…”
“No, it n…” I look closely and beneath the name Priscila, is my own phone number. My stomach drops out of the bottom. “I must have messed up the contacts when I changed my phone. Maybe that’s why I am not able to get through to her. I’ll check the recent calls. She called me last evening.” Hastily, I scroll through the recent calls. I have several incoming calls from Priscila but all of them have my number.
The stranger looks at me with a guarded expression that I hate. Even though he is most certainly not my husband as he claims to be, I want him to know I am not insane. I hated when sometimes people assumed that about me; makes me feel like killing someone. I feel anger rising already, “I don’t understand. I swear Priscila called me last evening. She was so excited about something that she wanted to share. But she never turned up!”
“So you have a best friend named Priscilla too?”
I grit my teeth and my confusion comes out harsh, “What do you mean? Do you know a Priscila as well?”
He slowly stands up and inches towards the door as if I am a wild animal that might attack him. He clearly thinks I am a deranged lunatic. The gesture raises something wild within me. I am too hurt and too livid, and I begin to black out…
Author’s note: This is a six-line story. The first line was offered by by Sarada Gray.
It was almost dark when I realised that the four of us were suddenly five. Shivering, I quietly signaled and we cowered in the shadows trying to blend with the walls.
Hiding was the only way to survive these days. I always wanted to fix that broken door but the rest of our group felt it would give our position away.
I knew the ruse could only work so long, because now, with abated breath, we waited for the axe to fall. And sure as death, a teenage scream rented the air, “Aagh, Ghooooooost!”
Author’s note: Thank you, Gavin Marriott, for the first line of the story.
I had only just come indoors from the cold and wet, putting the kettle on while I was to change into something warm, yearning for that hot brew, when the phone rang. Wearily, I picked up the receiver of the old landline.
The giggle was horribly familiar. But for the first time in our three-year marriage, it gave me goosebumps.
I looked around for her cellphone. It had to be here somewhere. Wasn’t she texting on it when I struck her from behind? Gah! She had pocketed it by the time the blow made impact. Which means she still has it! And she is making calls. How did she survive? I had checked her pulse before driving her to the forest and throwing her where only animals could find her. I should have buried her! Had she called the police yet? I might still have time.
I ran to my wardrobe and threw everything of value in a bag and rushed to the door of my cabin. If I drove without stopping for food or sleep, I could make it to the next state by tomorrow. Only, the old lock on the door was stuck. I tried with all my might. But the door didn’t relent. I tried to break it down but felt like I dislocated a shoulder in stead.
I looked out of the window. I could jump out of it but I’d never survive the fall from the steep cliff. The only way to get out was through the door. I checked the storage for anything that could help me open the door. An axe, a shovel, not even a carving knife… Desperate, I threw the chair at the door but it bounced off. Not even a dent! I tried the table next. The table broke in splinters but the door stood unaffected.
I went through my options. I could wait here for the police and tell them she was lying. But with that head injury, she’d have a clear case. I could almost see the glint of cruel madness in her eyes when she knew she had me at her pity. I’d seen it too often during our marriage.
And she giggled…
She was really there, standing in the room in front of me. She had probably locked the door and had the key. I could try reasoning but had it ever worked in the past, I wouldn’t have killed her…or rather, since she was standing here, tried killing her. So, I picked the only remaining chair and swung at her. But, somehow I missed. I tried again and the chair passed through her. She giggled…
Horrified, I rushed to the door and yanked the door bolt, only managing to break the handle of the bolt. There was no way I could stay at the cabin with her. I quickly picked up my phone to call my bestie to break down the door but there was no connectivity. Only her giggles were coming out of its speakers setting my teeth on the edge.
I was shaking as I rushed to my bedroom, closed the door and opened my laptop, hoping to catch someone online. She slipped inside through the closed door and stood sentry, fixing her gaze on me with an intensity that frayed my nerves, and giggled…
After an eternity, the laptop finally booted and her grinning face filled the screen. Scared, I skittered backwards. In the process, I had upset the laptop. It fell on the floor and broke in two pieces.
I turned my eyes skywards seeking help from the almighty and found her hovering on the roof, grinning down on me.
I threw myself at the room’s door. It, too, was locked. I threw things at the door while screaming at the top my lungs for help even though I knew no one could hear me. The nearest house was a mile away. Soon I was standing in a pool of broken things with nothing left to throw at the door while she giggled from the roof.
I could not stay with her here. Anything had to be better than this.
There was only one way to go.
I opened the window and jumped off the cliff. I could hear her giggles following me all the way down. When my body made contact with the rocky floor, the pain had me blinded and, for a few seconds, all I could feel was my broken body and all I could hear was my own ragged breath as life seeped out of me until the blessed silence enveloped me. I was finally free of her…
And then, she giggled…