It was done. Something about the finality was comforting, but it was also terrifying. It raised the hair on my neck and sent tingling doubts darting like swallows through the darkening of my mind. My mind. Oh, I could remember when it had been mine. It was done. The gun felt heavy and smoke filtered softly from the short barrel. The shot had been a surprise. So fast. So final. Weeks and months of agonizing and questioning and wondering if I was mad. And it was over so quickly. It was in the things she said! Hidden, encrypted daggers behind innocent conversation. And her eyes. Did I get the message? Oh yes. There were nibbling doubts from the beginning. Maybe I was seeing something that wasn’t there? Maybe I was becoming a tad forgetful…overworked. But then she would tweak the paranoia. Her eyes would twinkle the understanding. I could never ask about it. She knew that. That was her trump card. The doing of it. How does an accountant kill a woman he once loved…still loved…loves? Did I love her still? Yes, even as I pulled the trigger, barrel pressed against the back of her sleeping skull, parting her soft blonde hair. But it didn’t change the facts. ‘Love’ would not change a thing behind bars. Surely, I had made mistakes. But she had spent the money just as I had. She was culpable! She was not a fool. She knew that something was awry, but she couldn’t confront me…the coward…she chose instead to play her games and try to drive me mad. And it worked. But not as she intended. I was not crazy, but mad enough to kill. Sanity was never the question. Well, maybe the first few times. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. But it was all too neat and pretty. Wrapped up in codes and signal words. Like the perfect birthday parcel. Yes, she made me question my sanity. But I refused to address the question! The killing. How to kill? It is a tricky question, indeed. I had many plans that did not come to fruition. Many plots that petered out. Poison. A faked suicide. An ‘accidental’ fall. But then, the robberies. The murders. All over the neighborhood. In the houses of our friends. Our peers. Stolen goods and people murdered in their sleep, while showering, shot through the windshields of their cars. She even tried to suggest that I was the one…never directly. Because I liked my late night strolls. Because they eased my burden. Because I could return home with a blank mind and sleep…not roll in bed, tangled in blankets, replaying our conversations in my mind. So, the opportunity presented itself. One more victim. Oh, I could be the aggrieved husband. I had that in me. She had pushed me far enough for that. I was aggrieved. Betrayed. Forsaken. I had it in me; it grew in me and spread through my body like a virus. I did not fear the questions they would ask. I did not worry that I would be caught. It was done. Finally. The nights of terror. The blood they threw on me. The horror I lived with. The crimson rage and headaches and pages missing from my mind. It was her. Damn her. The whole time, it had been her. She thought I would be her fool. But I am no one’s fool.
JD Mader is the author of ‘Joe Café’ and a Contributing Author to Indies Unlimited, where The Accounting was first published (January 17th, 2012). You can find more of JD’s writing at his blog www.jdmader.com.
Next week a new post by Robin Rickards. Don’t miss it!