DEMONS

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


A short story inspired by a prompt to start with... It was a dark and stormy night

Submitted: May 17, 2018

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Submitted: May 17, 2018

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It was a dark and stormy night… an evening that matched Ava’s mood perfectly.

By the time they had covered the short distance from the restaurant to the car park, they were soaked to the skin. The drive home through torrential rain, howling winds and rumbling thunder was perilous, but Mark had a more burning issue on his mind.

“Ava, you were openly flirting with him, I saw you,” he accused.

A bolt of lightning lit up the night sky, highlighting the familiar dark mask of anger etched on her husband’s face. Ava had learned from bitter experience, this was a no win situation. “Whatever I say won’t make any difference… in your court, I’m always guilty as charged.”

Mark pulled on to the drive and screeched to a halt. “So you don’t deny it, then?” he yelled.

“Mark, please, I’m soaking wet and tired.”

Once inside the house, Ava changed out of her wet clothes, dried her wet, tangled hair and went downstairs.

Mark was sitting in an armchair, his jaw clenched. Ava threw him a towel. “Here, dry your hair,” she said, trying to lighten the mood.

He sprang to his feet, his arm raised menacingly.  “You haven’t answered my question.”

Ava braced herself for the punishment. “You need help, Mark. You’re sick.

The slam of the front door resonated through the house, quickly followed by the sound of furious revving, before the car roared off into the distance.

Ava slumped down on the sofa, acutely aware of the throbbing pain from the blow to her cheek, of the swelling that had already concealed her left eye.  She staggered into the kitchen, reached into the freezer and grabbed a bag of frozen peas, holding it against her face in an effort to minimise the tell-tale bruising. He could be so charismatic, attentive and caring, but his distrust of her had now escalated to the point of insanity.

She remembered vividly the situation that had first aroused his jealousy, like the flick of a switch. That call from Jack, who had phoned her while she was on holiday from work to give her the good news on a bid she had submitted for a government funded training programme. She had been jubilant and proud, until she saw the look on Mark’s face. The set of his jaw… the evil glint in his dark eyes… the words he spat in her face while wrenching the phone from her hand. “What’s going on Ava? Couldn’t that have waited? You must think I’m stupid.”

She had staggered back from the force of the blow, falling heavily and hitting her head on a side table. When she had opened her eyes he was leaning over her, his dark eyes shining with tears of shame and guilt. He had helped her on to the sofa. “I’m so sorry, please forgive me… I love you so much, and I promise never to hurt you again.”

She had believed him.

A sudden clap of thunder interrupted her thoughts, rain lashed against the window panes as the storm raged over-head. She had no idea where he had gone, nor did she care. She had loved him… or the man she thought he was, but this volatile bully he had morphed into was making her life unbearable. She sighed, silently acknowledging the fact that their marriage was over… she could no longer tolerate this knife-edge existence.

Ava sauntered into the kitchen, took out the bottle of wine left over from last night’s dinner and poured herself a glass.  As she listened to the violent roar of the elements a nagging doubt filled her mind… if she ended their marriage, what would be the consequences? She realised his manic jealousy knew no bounds… if provoked, he was capable of anything, even murder.

Feeling vulnerable, she locked and bolted the front door, went up to bed and let the tears of self-pity flow.

*************

The insistent sound of the door-bell roused Ava from a fitful sleep. A rush of fear and panic coursed through her. She glanced at her watch, raked her fingers through her matted blond curls and hauled herself out of bed. She pulled on her dressing gown picked up her phone and with shaking hands, tried to call him… there was no answer. She slowly made her way down the stairs and along the hallway. The sound of pounding on the wood panelled door sent her adrenaline into overdrive. “Mark, go away, or I’ll call the police,” she screamed. “I’ve had enough of your mind games and violence, just leave me alone.”

The reply came as a complete shock. “It’s okay Madam… Police here. Can you please open the door?”

Ava fumbled with the locks. “Just a moment.”

Two Police Officers followed her into the front room.

“Are you Mrs. Mark Palmer?”

“I am.”

“We are very sorry to have to inform you of the death of your husband. He was involved in a car accident early this morning where he sustained catastrophic head injuries. It seems he was driving at speed along a narrow lane when he collided with an uprooted tree, overturning the vehicle. He was treated by paramedics at the scene, then taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead. We realise how distressing this will be for you, but would ask if you could come with us to identify the body.”

Ava barely recognised the bruised, battered features of her dead husband. A husband who had become a stranger to her in life. It all seemed so surreal, she began to question herself? Had she been to blame… had she provoked him? Had she made him feel insecure? Was she a bad person?

She made her way to the Ladies room, stood in front of the mirror and stared at the horror of the injuries he had inflicted on her, not once, but time and time again.

His demons had killed him… now they were both free.


© Copyright 2018 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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