En Vidrio

Dan Holden's Creative Writing

Old Friends

By Dan Holden

Why was she awake?

Rain washed against the windows in waves. A storm raged outside, but she usually slept through those.

Then she realized her legs and butt were lying in a pool of warm liquid.

“Oh my God,” she thought, “that old fuck peed in our bed!”

She looked over at his open-mouthed, flat-on-his-back sleeping posture, his grey crew-cut. He seemed strangely unaware.

She watched for a breath that never came.

It hit her like an electric shock: she was lying next to a corpse.

She threw the downy covers aside and jumped off the oversized bed, her damp silk nightgown clinging to her body, a shadowy liquid dripping on her legs and feet, pooling on the plush carpet between her toes.

She shuddered and groaned, creeped out completely.

She clutched her nightgown at the collar and ripped it open, dropping it to the floor along with her silk panties. She turned and scampered past the vanity, flipped on the lights to the bathroom, and turned the gilded shower faucet to extra warm.

She stood there shaking, arms across her enhanced breasts, just long enough for the water to warm and then stepped in, closing the etched glass door quickly behind her.

She wished she had closed the bathroom door, but she wasn’t about to get out now. She felt safe and secure in the warm water and bright light, although the smell of his urine was intensified by the heat.

She grabbed a soap bar and lathered herself completely, twice, and shampooed her hair. The scent of jasmine and raspberries filled the shower stall as the glass quickly fogged over.

She knew the old man would go someday, but this was her worst nightmare, this was creepy. Sleeping next to a dead old man.

It was horrifying. It made her question whether it all had been worth it.

Sure, she would inherit millions of dollars, but now she would have to live with this creepy reminder that she was really a gold-digger, a has-been model in a sleazy marriage with a sugar-daddy old man.

The tabloids would be all over it in the morning.

“OIL MAGNATE DIES, PORN STAR WIFE GETS MILLIONS”

Her life would be miserable for the foreseeable future.

Lightning flashed outside her bathroom window like a paparazzi ambush, like a thousand flashlights all aiming at her. It startled her so much she almost fell. She rinsed her auburn hair one last time, wiped her face with her hands and stepped out, grabbing a thick white towel from the warming rack. She dried off and wrapped herself quickly in a long, soft white robe with gold trim.

She stepped onto the plush throw rug in front of her cosmetics-filled vanity and looked at herself in the brightly lit mirror…a habit that always made her feel good.

Annette. Army brat and high school dropout turned photo model, exotic dancer, party girl, film star, then trophy wife to a rich Texas oil baron who rewarded her sex kitten looks with credit cards that maxed at $30,000 a month. How was she supposed to live on that?

She stared into her own ice-blue eyes as if agreeing with herself that the whole world should know, and appreciate, what a stunning beauty she is.

And now, she was sitting squarely on a fortune…the press put it at $260 million only last week…with no other heirs in sight.

That would make it all worthwhile, she thought.

All the awful endless days of boredom, the insufferable business associates, the horrid gatherings, his leering old eyes and rotten teeth, his age-spotted hands and cold touch.

She opened her robe, posing to herself, admiring the body she meticulously built through twelve years of plastic surgery, tanning salons and personal trainers.

She stepped back into the bedroom, carefully avoiding the wetness in the rug.

Lightning splintered on the bleak horizon, lighting up the room.

She screamed…he was sitting in the chair.

No not the old man, it was someone else. In that momentary strobe of light she saw a shadowy stranger sitting on the reading chair at the far end of their bedroom.

Her bedroom.

“I was hoping for a better welcome than that,” scoffed a familiar voice.

“Eric?”

“Who were you expecting?” asked Eric wryly, looking toward the bed where the old man lay motionless, eyes still closed, mouth still wide open.

“What are you doing here?” she asked cautiously.

“Visiting,” said Eric, with an unnerving coldness in his voice.

“Visiting? Why?” she asked, opening the louvered white closet doors and flipping on the light. She felt strangely vulnerable in the robe and wanted to dress quickly. She entered the walk-in closet and grabbed the first things she could find: black cotton panties, a grey cotton pullover sweater, a pair of light blue skinny jeans. She closed one of the bi-fold doors so she could dress in private.

“Well, I wanted to talk with you about….finances,” said Eric gleefully. He was beginning to make her nervous.

“I have nothing to do with that,” she said, pulling on her jeans. “He fired you years ago, Eric. You shouldn’t even be here. How did you get in?” She pulled her top on and peaked around the corner.

Eric sat motionless in the shadows. She could barely even make out his outline, much less his facial expressions.

“I’ve always been here,” he said calmly.

“No you haven’t,” she snapped back,”you were barred from this house years ago.”

“I thought you said you didn’t have anything to do with that,” he taunted.

“I didn’t, but I know all about you,” she said.

“Really? From who?”

“From him,” she said, motioning toward the old man.

“You would take the word of a dead man over mine?”

“Any day,” she snapped.

She turned back to the closet and retrieved a pair of slip-on black shoes.

“So, what happened to him anyway?” asked Eric innocently.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I guess it was his time.”

“Really.”

“Did you do it?!” she asked, suddenly rigid with fear.

Eric looked at the body again, and then back at her.

“It looks like natural causes,” he said in a mocking tone, and then smiled.

“What does that mean?”

“What I said.”

“Did you do it?”

“Would I be here if I did?”

“Seems like a remarkable coincidence if you ask me,” she said, as she considered making a run for the door.

“You’re smarter than you look,” said Eric.

“Fuck you,” she shot back.

“That might work, too.”

“Go to hell.”

“Halfway there. So where’s your check book?”

“Are you crazy? If I write you a check the press will be all over it,” she said, unsure of why she was even talking to him. She just wanted to call the police now.

“Cash, then.”

“How much do you want?”

“One million dollars.”

“You’re insane.”

“No. But I am nice enough to compromise. Let’s see, by my calculation he had a little over $3 million invested in this place,” he said stretching his hands out, palms up, to signify the fullness of the mansion. “I’ll take it.”

“I’m not going to give it to you!”

“You will, or we will both take it.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, inching toward the door.

Eric stood up. He was considerably taller than she remembered. He had to be well over six feet, and muscular too – not the Eric she last saw. He wore a black shirt and black pants, and his black hair was long and tucked back behind his ears. He sported a new goatee, which, with his dark eyes, made him look completely sinister.

“Eric?” she asked, disbelieving his transformation.

She shuddered in fear. He stepped forward.

“I can’t give you the house!” she screamed, backing away as he continued slowly toward her. “I don’t have his will, I can’t change it, not now! You should’ve come to me before you did this!”

Eric seemed bent on mayhem.

“Please,” she said, “I –“

He stopped, and so did she. Her instincts said to dash out the door but her body was somehow locked in place. Her muscles tightened and her eyes slammed shut as he lunged at her, head down, like a linebacker determined to run right through her.

She was blasted across the room and slammed into the wall. Her head smacked loudly against it and she passed out.

A heavy, wind-swept rain poured against the windows. Another flash of lightning jolted her back into consciousness.

“I’m still alive,” she thought, as her mind began to clear.

She slid up the wall and to her feet, her legs unsteady. Everything seemed unusual, confused, somehow wrong. Even her thoughts were a muddy jumble.

She turned and looked at herself in the mirror.

Her robe was thrown open and off of her shoulders, revealing her naked beauty again. But it seemed somehow different, and when she realized why, she burst into maniacal laughter, a laugh both foreign and familiar.

And utterly terrifying.

She was Eric.

He hadn’t just knocked her out. He had insinuated himself into her being.

His mind was in her brain, crowding it out like an enormous passenger in an airplane bathroom. His thoughts ruled her feet, her legs, her torso. His mind flexed her fingers and touched her face, and his senses felt the warmth of her touch and the glow of her skin.

“You can’t be serious!” she thought to herself. She would have said it out loud but her mouth wouldn’t work. He had taken control of that, too. She felt a suffocating panic wash over her.

“Oh, I am serious!” laughed Eric, in her voice. “I am very serious!”

She tried to move something – a finger, her mouth, her eyes, anything…but he had complete control.

“Don’t you think it’s time to call the police, now?” he asked. “Somebody should know the old man is gone.”

“I’ll tell them about you!” she thought.

“You can’t,” he said. “You’re mine now. My trophy wife.”

He turned her around and looked through her eyes at the pale corpse.

“I am so glad not to be in that nasty old son of a bitch anymore,” he said, shaking her head.

“Oh my God,” she thought.

“More or less,” he said, chuckling to himself. “Anyway, you’ll get used to it. You’ll have everything you ever wanted, and so will I.”

“This is worse than hell,” she thought, “worse than being with him.”

“Well you may be right on one count, anyway,” he said. “But relax. We have a long and luxurious life to live, together. You might even learn to enjoy it.”

She wanted to cry, but couldn’t.

“I’m hungry!” he said joyfully. “How about some pizza? Oh and don’t forget your cell phone.”

He laughed her laugh, all the way to the kitchen.

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One comment on “Old Friends

  1. Pingback: Dan Holden’s Best Creative Writing of 2012 « En Vidrio

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2012 by in Creative.
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