Gone Forever

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
For TheSecretofDawn s contest, based on the song You Have Gone Forever, by Three Days Grace.

Submitted: February 11, 2010

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Submitted: February 11, 2010

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Staring down at Katie, Fred Morison realized what he had done. Why? Why didn't he just walk away? He should have just gotten up and left when she started screaming at him. Then he would never have been in this mess.
All he wanted when he got home was some peace and quiet, just him and a beer or two and his TV set. He didn't want to fool around loading the dishwasher and picking up the dry-cleaning and all that stuff. She could do it when she got in. Wasn't that what wives were for? But no. She started up as soon as she got in, her voice like a chain saw over the syrupy tones of the news lady. "Did you pick up the dry-cleaning?"
"No. Forgot." He'd gazed down into the shimmering amber of the beer, sorry he'd forgotten. Well, not really sorry. Picking up the dry-cleaning meant waiting in line with all the other guys under marching orders from their wives, paying for the clothes (seemed like more and more every time), getting them to the car and trying to keep them dry in this rain, then getting them out of the car and into the house. He wasn't really all that sorry he'd forgotten. She could pick them up tomorrow. But he was sorry all right. Sorry he had to listen to what came next.
"Why can't you do anything?" The same old line. "You just sit there and expect me to do it all. You can't even pick up your beer bottles and take them to the recycling bin!" She gestured at the empty bottles beside his chair, the empty candy wrappers and potato chip bags. "What, are you afraid of throwing your back out? Spraining your wrist?"
"I'll clean it up eventually," he snapped.
"That's what you said yesterday! and the day before that!" Her voice had risen. "Night after night I come in from work to find you just sitting there guzzling beer! Night after night! I'm sick of it! Sick!"
"You need to calm down!" he'd finally yelled. "I'm trying to watch TV here!"
At that she'd turned off the TV. He grabbed the remote and turned it back on. "Don't do that!"
In response she'd picked up one of the empty bottles and before he could stop her, threw it at the TV set. She didn't break it clean through, but the glass cracked.
And then he'd jumped to his feet and hit her. He hadn't meant to hit her hard, but he'd knocked her clean off her feet. Her head struck the corner of the credenza, and she'd slumped to the floor without a sound.
Now he stood wondering, What to do? What to do? Call 911?
The thought screamed in his mind, She's dead! Dead! You're going to jail! It'll be on the news! Everybody will see! You're going to the chair, you moron!
He sank down onto the couch downing his beer in great gulps, trying to think. Her family lived across the country. Who would miss her? Her workmates? Well, of course her boss would notice when she didn't come in tomorrow. The neighbors? He shot a nervous glance to the window, but he'd closed the curtains when he came home.
Could he fix this? Could he really fix it? She wasn't all that thick with her family. What if she just disappeared? No law against a woman up and leaving, was there? No. No, there wasn't. He glanced nervously at the crumpled form. He couldn't bury her in the back yard; the neighbors would see.
Under the basement stairs. Yes...
Her thumb twitched.
He'd read somewhere that dead bodies twitched as the muscles stiffened. No, of course she wasn't alive. He walked over, bent down, picked her up. She wasn't heavy. A sudden memory slipped into his mind, how he'd carried Katie into this house ten years ago. She had been so light and little then, too. They'd both laughed when he put her down and clutched his chest dramatically. He firmly put the thought away now, as he carried her down the basement stairs and around to the little doorway. He laid her down and shut the door again, gasping for real this time. He hadn't carried her anywhere for years.
A slight rustling sound came from behind the door as the body settled into its new home. He climbed the stairs again, happy to get out of the basement and into the bright kitchen. But the kitchen seemed darker now, and quieter. He turned on the radio. "While these walls surround me/with the story of our life..." somebody sang. Angrily he switched the radio off again. Stupid song.
He went to the silent TV. But the screen had cracked, and something seemed to be wrong with its guts, because the remote wouldn't work anymore. He stared at the pile of beer bottles and trash by his chair. That stupid pile that had started this whole stupid fight. He sat down in his chair again.
How could he live like this? With a body under the stairs? Her boss would call tomorrow. He had to come up with the story now. "Well, we had a fight last night, to tell the truth." (Yeah, that was the truth all right) "She packed up and left. Said she wasn't coming back. Did you try her cell phone?" He'd turn off her cell phone now. It would be in her purse. He got up, went over to her purse.
He heard a strange sound. The hair on the back of his neck rose when he heard something rattle, far down in the basement.
What if she was still alive? Should he call an ambulance?
She'd tell the police. And off to jail he'd go.
But he couldn't go down there and finish her off, not in cold blood.
Fred stared hard at the corner of the credenza, still grazed with red. No, she couldn't survive that even if she did get to the hospital, could she? Of course not.
He would go out. He didn't want to stay here anyway. By the time he got back she would certainly be gone. He was better off now. Yes. He didn't need her, did he? Back to hearing about the dry cleaning and his so-called drinking problem. He was sick of it. He was getting out of this house and going to a bar. He would stay out all night, and by the time he got back she would be gone forever.
At the bar he ordered a double shot of whiskey. This was no time for beer. Then he ordered another double, and another. The bartender refused to give him a fourth, and the guy next to him snickered.
"What are you laughin' at?" he slurred angrily.
"Nothin'. I'm laughin' at nothin'," the guy smiled, putting extra stress on Nothin'.
In a rage, he threw a punch at the guy. The guy stepped aside as his punch landed in the heavy wood of the bar.
"Yep. I'm laughin' at nothin'," said the guy again, smirking as the bouncer appeared behind him.
"Fine. I'll find another bar," he growled.
"Buddy, you need to go home," said the bouncer. "Come on. I'll call you a cab."
"No!" he yelled.
"You're not driving in that condition," said the bouncer firmly. "You'll kill yourself or somebody else."
"Kill somebody?" It struck him as hysterically funny, and he started to laugh. "You think I could kill somebody?" His voice dropped low. "I have killed somebody," he heard himself say. "I'm better off without her."
At once he saw the bouncer's face change, and knew he had made a big mistake. The huge bouncer leaned down to him until they were eye to eye. "Who did you kill, buddy?"
He back away from the big man. "I'm leaving now. You can't stop me. But I ain't going home anymore, I'll tell you that."
The bouncer grabbed him by the shirt. "Who was it?"
"Nobody!" he yelled. "I was just joking! What, you gonna call the cops on me? I didn't kill nobody." He spun away, flung himself at the door. He could hear the footsteps of the bouncer coming after him, and he grabbed an empty chair. Throwing it behind him, he fled out the door into the cold night air.
He pulled out the keys as he stumbled to his car. He hadn't locked it. He got in, turned it on, threw it in reverse. Something crunched into his car; he'd hit something, but he didn't have time for that now. Putting it in drive, he peeled out of the parking lot. He could hear a siren.
So much for his criminal career. He could already see how it would play out. They would put him in one of those little interrogation rooms like on TV and get everything out of him. Then they'd drag him into court, and everybody would see him on the news wearing one of those nasty orange jumpsuits and handcuffs. People would write angry letters to the newspaper about him. He pressed down harder on the accelerator. And all because he'd wanted a lousy beer. Was that so terrible?
Fred Morison never noticed the telephone pole, not even when it loomed right in front of his bumper. He felt the impact, briefly. But his skull fractured as it crashed through the glass windshield, and at the same time the steering column impaled his chest. By the time the steering wheel crushed through to his backbone he had stopped feeling anything at all.
-------
"What a mess," said Officer Garrett in disgust. "This idiot hears us testing the siren, stomps the accelerator and charges a telephone pole."
"Drunk.," said another cop. "Dispatch just got a call from that bar that somebody left drunk. Guess this is the guy. Is it that hard to call a cab?"
"Give him a break, guys," said Captain Porter. "He paid with his life." He turned to see another squad car drive up, a man in the back. "Who's this character?"
The officer got out to open the door for the bouncer. "He's got something to tell you."
--------
At the Morison house, Garrett pounded on the door as protocol demanded. When no response came, he stepped aside for the men with the battering ram. "Now, where would I hide a body?" asked Porter, half to Garrett, half to himself.
"Me, I'd put it in the basement," Garrett said. "Nice and cool and out of the way. Switching on his flashlight, he opened the basement door and jogged down into the darkness, while Porter flipped switches until he found the basement light.
It didn't take Garrett long to see the door under the stairs. He opened it, and the bright halo of light fell upon a pale little hand. He dropped to his knees, touched the hand gently.
It twitched. He clasped it, felt for a pulse.
"She's here," he called. "She's alive! We need paramedics!" More softly he said, "You're alive." He squeezed the cold little hand. Weakly, hesitantly, it grasped his own.


© Copyright 2018 Helena Parris. All rights reserved.

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