DOMESTICATION

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man receives an unexpected visitor.

Submitted: October 26, 2016

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Submitted: October 26, 2016

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DOMESTICATION

by Greg Klepper

 

“Diane?” he said.

No answer. The footsteps grew closer.  

“Diane?” 

“Is that you?” 

 Joe heard the fear and weakness in his own voice.  His mind was telling him to get up.  Do something you god forsaken pussy.  Be a fucking man!

He heard the footsteps soften as they left the stairs and made their way across the linoleum.   They stopped.

Standing in the door frame of the kitchen was Diane.  She looked as if she had just caught the red eye back from hell.  Her hair was streaked with murky gray.  Dark circles underlined wide eyes gleaming with insanity.

“Hello Joe.” She said. 

 Her voice was calm. Joe rose to his feet.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.  

“You didn’t think it’d be that easy to get rid of me, did you?”  She replied.  “Look at this dump, Joe.  I’m gone 2 weeks and this place is a sty.”

Eyes widening, Joe slowly began to step toward the kitchen.  

 “Diane…  How did you get out?”

 “Where you going, Joe?” 

“Please.  Let me call someone.”

“Oh, fuck you!  Time to get down off your high horse, kid.”

“Diane—“

“Did you really think you could just ship me off?  Wipe your hands clean?  Let me tell you something Joe, where there’s a will there’s a way.  My way, was a bit messy as you can probably tell.”

As she stepped into the light, Joe’s jaw fell toward the floor.  Draped in blood caked hospital scrubs, Diane twiddled a scalpel between her fingers.

“What have you done?” he stuttered. 

“It really was supposed to go a lot smoother. But that nurse, she just …wouldn’t let it.  So I sliced her throat.”

Joe swallowed his fear and began inching his way toward the kitchen. Convulsing, Diane’s body writhed to the sound of her own laughter.  Joe took one step back; the glint of fear shone bright in his eyes.  The wife he once knew was dead.  Now, a stranger stood before him in her skin.  In that moment, 37 years of knowledge had been rendered useless.  Contaminated.  Life didn’t make sense anymore.  Nothing made sense.  

“Diane, please.   Put down the knife. I really don’t want to hurt you” he said. 

He took small steps.  Small steps.  Easy does it. 

“You know, I did some thinking while I was away.  About that night.”

“I assume you’re referring to the night you tried to kill me?”  

“As if you weren’t asking for it?” she uttered.  “Honesty, Joe.  It’s a virtue.”  

Diane took a step forward.  Her dirty feet were bare and covered in scratches.  The hems of the hospital garbs were stained with mud bound to small pieces of grass and weed.  Diane took another step and Joe watched as the moonlight from the kitchen window cast a glow over her mad eyes.

“Call me psychotic, Joe.  I might agree. Call me unstable, you might be right.  But at least I’m FUCKING HONEST ABOUT IT! “

“I’ve never been anything but honest with you, Diane. “

 “Diane, you’re just being paranoid.  Diane, You’re the only one.  God’s honest truth” she mocked. 

“That was the truth, goddamnit!” screamed Joe.

“Was it?  Ah, I see.  I gave my life to you, you son-of-a-bitch!”

“For gods sakes, would you shut the fuck up!”  He snapped.  “Diane, I am going to give you to the count of three, to put down the knife.”

Diane lit up with glee.  Was he really challenging her?  Him?  The liar. The creep.  She wiped a drop of blood from around her mouth and tasted it. 

“Really now, big guy?  Because last I checked… I WAS RUNNING THE FUCKING SHOW!!!” She screamed like a maniac. 

“One.”

“You know, aggressive’s a good look on you, Joe. 

“Two.  Diane, I’m not kidding around here. ”

 “I almost don’t recognize you.  Must feel good not to be such a pussy for a change.”

Joe’s steps widened as he edged his way toward the kitchen.  Wearing a look of crazy and calm, Diane continued to twiddle the scalpel in her hand.  

“Three.”

Joe stared at her with an intensity that could cut glass.  Beads of sweat dripped from his forehead.  

 “Diane—“

She lunged at him with a flash of the blade.  A slice across the forehead. 

“Diane, please!”

Joe’s vision was clouded with the red of his own blood as he fought her to the ground.  She writhed and laughed.  Another swipe – this time his hand.   Pain seared throughout his body as blood dripped from Joe into Diane’s mouth.  

“You fucking bitch! “  

Using all of his strength, he tried to pry the scalpel out of her hands.  She was moving too much, too fast.  Covered in blood, her hand slipped from his like butter.   He made another lunge for it as Diane sunk her blood-stained teeth into the flesh of his bicep, tearing out a chunk of muscle and drooling it out onto her chest. Joe howled out in agony but continued to fight.   Diane no longer looked human to him.  She looked rabid.  Like an animal lusting for blood.  He grabbed hold of her greasy hair and pulled it with all his might. Diane screamed out arms extended, swiping the scalpel and aiming for skin.  Joe pulled her head back and slammed it hard into the linoleum.  Once twice three times.  He could hear the crack of her skull against the floor.  Her grip finally loosened as he tore the scalpel from her fingers.  

Joe rose to his feet and grabbed his wife by the head.  Dragging her across the kitchen, he propped her up like a puppet against the same table they would eat breakfast together on every morning.   Images of coffee and crossword puzzles ran through his mind. Joe cleared the blood from his eyes, and took a deep breath.  Diane was out cold.  He walked over to the land line portable that hung from the wall. Joe took the phone from the receiver and into his shaking hands.  The white phone ran red with streaks of blood upon contact.  He turned it on and held it to his ear listening for a dial tone.  Nothing.  

She must have cut the line.  “Fuck.” 

Joe threw the phone across the room.  It ricocheted off the dishwasher and shattered into pieces of jagged plastic that lay parallel to Diane.  With his eyes glued on his wife like a hawk, Joe rushed his way back into the living room to find his cell phone. 

 Breathing heavily, Joe slowly stepped backwards until he collided with the coffee table.  He jumped and took a breath.  “Get it together, man”, he whispered.

 Re-directing himself, Joe made his way back to the sofa, eyes fixed on Diane.  No movement, he thought.  She’s out cold.  His eyes moved from her for a moment as he surveyed the couch.  No phone.  Figuring he left it in his coat pocket, as he often did, Joe continued into the foyer, eyes on Diane.  

When Joe reached the closet, he opened the door, leaving a palm of blood on the knob.  His eyes moved from his winter coat and back to Diane.  His hand outstretched into the left pocket of his coat.  No phone.  He took the coat down from the hanger.  He fingered the right pocket and dug out his cell phone with a sigh of relief.  His blood stained fingers attempted to dial but his phone would not.   Soaked with blood the touch screen of his cell phone seemed unable to understand his commands.

Joe hastily made his way back into the kitchen in search of a towel.  His heart skipped a beat.  For a moment he thought she had gone.  As he got closer he saw that she was still out like a light.  He grabbed a towel from off the oven handle that he often used in place of oven mitts.   As he dried his hands of the blood he heard a heave come from Diane. A sound as if she had just emerged from drowning. 

He froze.  

Silence.

His shaking hands cleaned the blood off the LCD and he once again dialed 911.  The numbers appeared on the screen and he took a great sigh of relief.  Pressing send, he held the phone up to his ear.  

“911 what’s your emergency?”

“I need help.  I’m calling from 4511 Jameson Way. My wife, she… 

“Are you hurt, sir?

“She cut me pretty bad--

Bloody fingers came from behind and dug themselves into the gash in his forehead. Joe howled in pain.  She jumped onto his back like a wild animal punching and kicking, screaming her lungs out. 

“You fucker you mother fucker I’ll kill you!!!!”

Out of nowhere the shrill whistle of the tea kettle on the stove began to fill his ears.  She was on his back clawing his face.  Half blinded he made his way to the stove trying to shake her off.  Diane screamed and began punching his skull in.  He reached for the kettle but felt nothing.  Edging closer he reached again, just grazing the plastic handle.  He took another step and Diane dug her jagged fingernails into his eye.  Joe howled out in pain and grabbed hold of her curly hair trying to pull her down.  He reached out his right hand once more, this time grabbing the screaming kettle. He swung it back with momentum, slamming her in the noise.  She screamed bloody murder and fell backwards.  He turned around to face her.  Diane lay gushing blood from her nostrils.  Her legs were spread.  Joe had had enough.  He pushed his finger to the kettle releasing steam from it’s spout.  Diane slowly backed away.  He hated her.  He wanted to cause her pain.  The same pain she had caused him.  He wanted her to suffer.  Diane was now backed up into the corner of the kitchen below the phone receiver.  He slowly stepped towards her.  His fear was gone.  The kettle swung in his hands as he reached Diane.  

“Joe, baby.  Let’s try and make it work.  We were always good together” she said.

She looked like a madwoman.  Like something out of a horror movie.  

“Diane…” he said.  “I want a divorce. 

And he poured the boiling water over her hair, onto her face, onto her lap.  He watched her scream as her skin began to blister and swell.  

He never once hit Diane.  And contrary to what she believed, he never touched another woman.  Never the less, he somehow felt as if the pain she was feeling was owed to him.  

As the cops burst in through the front door and carried her out to the ambulance, Joe could swear he saw her smile at him.   Deep down in her sick twisted mind, Joe knew she still loved him.  It was the first time in their marriage, Joe truly felt sorry for her.

*  *  *  *

Spring came around quickly.  After the trial, Joe and his son moved up to Maine to be near his sister Alice and her family.   He was able to find a job teaching freshman English at a local high school.  It was less money than he was used to but it didn’t bother him.  Things were better. 

Caleb asked about his mother often, but Joe hadn’t planned on telling him anything for a few years.  Not until he was old enough to truly understand.  Hell, he didn’t even understand.  But they were okay and everything could finally get back to normal.  

Joe took a sip of coffee.  Lousy.   Like dirt.  He remembered what a great cup of coffee Diane made:  strong enough to wake him up but never too strong to make him gag.   Joe shook it off and came back to reality.  His sister Alice sat across the table from him steeping her tea in and out of a blue ceramic mug.  She was a rare homely type of beauty, with deep auburn hair and kind eyes.

“Thinking about her?” Alice asked. 

“I was actually thinking how much better off he’d be if my son grow up to be gay.” Joe said.

Alice chuckled.  “These days, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Joe took another sip of Joe.  The second sip was as bad as the first.

“Y’know, he asked me about her this morning.  Asked if mommy was coming to visit.” Alice said.

“Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot of that.” Joe said.

“Well, mother’s day’s coming up. It’s natural.” Alice said. 

“He’s been writing her letters. “ Joe said

“I know.  He let me read one this morning.  It broke my heart. I think you should tell him. “

“I don’t want to upset him.”

“He thinks she’s coming back, Joe.  He has hope.  It’s not right

“What the fuck am I supposed to say?  Huh?”

 “I didn’t know.  It’s sick, Joe.  The whole situation is just so fucking sick.”

Joe took another sip.  Alice’s coffee was making him nauseous.

He thought of Diane, and hoped that the memories of her coffee would one day do the same.  

 


© Copyright 2017 Greg Klepper. All rights reserved.

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