Author’s Note: Today’s prompt: “My wife woke me up last night to tell me there was an intruder in our house. She was murdered by an intruder two years ago.” I started writing, and it went somewhere different than I was expecting, but I think I like it. Anyway, please do let me know what you think.
The house is quiet.
Like it always is.
The moonlight shines through the blinds, and illuminates the chair she used to curl up in.
The depression of her body in the cushion is still there.
I make sure it stays.
I cannot say goodbye, even though the moon has risen over seven hundred times since she was taken.
That is the constant in my life.
The sun setting, taking with it its harsh light.
The moon rising, bathing her chair in its loving glow.
The clock strikes ten, and I know it is time to retire for the night.
But I cannot take my eyes off that couch.
I stare at it, more intently that I ever have before.
I can almost see her, still curled up there, greying hair in disarray around her sleeping face.
She always hated the grey in her hair.
Said it was too soon.
She wanted a few more years of black hair, of looking young, even if she didn’t feel it.
She was right.
It was too soon.
The grey hair, the sickness, the hospital visits.
All of it was too soon.
The doctors said she’d have months yet.
But the intruder decided she didn’t even deserve that.
On that fateful night, I’d stared at myself in the mirror above the sink.
My eyes were tired, and swollen.
I’d hidden away again, to cry.
Her scream had me rushing out.
But I was too late.
The monster was gone, and my wife lay bleeding out on the shaggy carpet.
Mere feet from her favourite chair.
Her eyes found mine.
And all I saw was terror.
I ran to her, got down on my knees, took her hands in mine.
She told me she loved me.
I told her to hush.
She could tell me that when she was safe.
I found my phone, dialled the number, spoke through my tears.
Someone was coming to help.
All I could do was wait.
As she lay there, struggling to breathe, I kept a tight hold of her hands.
Applied pressure to her wound.
But I knew it was all for nothing.
She died before anybody arrived, her words of love dying with her.
The blood that seeped out of her was a halo around her head.
It died her grey hairs red.
I look now at the place she lay dying.
The carpet is different.
But her essence will always be there.
Sighing, rubbing my eyes, I say goodnight to the chair, and head down the hall for bed.
Not for the first time, I wish I would find her in bed, waiting for me.
I wish it so much, sometimes, with such intensity, that I think, one day, it must come true.
And when I open the bedroom door, and see her tucked into bed, with a book open, it’s almost not a shock.
“Hello, sweetums,” she coos.
My knees buckle at the sound of her voice.
Still the same, after all these moonrises gone.
“Are you not coming to bed?” she asks, her head tilted to one side.
A strand of jet-black hair falls across her eyes.
It’s all black.
Her wrinkles are gone.
Her lips pucker, as I stare too long.
“What is it?” she says.
I shake my head.
“Nothing. It’s just … you’re so beautiful.”
She smiles, soft as moonlight, lighting me up from the inside.
“Come to bed, you silly daffer,” she laughs.
And I do.