We are excited to publish today a short fiction story by the talented, award-winning Australian writer Deva Shore. We hope you enjoy reading this story as much as we did!
How far will a distempered husband go to get rid of his loathsome wife?
“Deva once more unleashes her creative writing skills, luring us into a dark, psychological mini-thriller featuring an unlikable, murderous husband with despicable intentions. Odious as our protagonist is, we’re bound to feel a little compassionate toward him when we read the vivid descriptions of his devoted, yet off-putting, wife.
With short, hard-hitting descriptions, Deva masterfully brings to life the characters, enhancing their obnoxious traits and bringing out all their ugliest sides.
Just when we think we know which way this story is headed, Ms. Shore spins the plot around, bringing us to a surprising (yet satisfying) end.” – Editorial Review by Sandra Reynolds, Editor at the NY Literary Magazine.
Divorce Would Have Been Easier
Hate, isn’t a strong enough word to explain how much I abhor her.
Each morning I smile into her hideous face, feigning revulsion and every night I have to pretend to be happy to be home, to be with her and only her.
I hunger to kill her, to end my misery at having married her, but how? I’d thought it would be so easy, but after her postnatal depression and her compulsive eating, no amount of money was worth having to live with her and her disgusting habits.
It came to me one night as I lay there listening to her snoring, coughing up sputum which dribbled down her chin to pool onto the pillow. At first, I thought of smothering her, but I’d seen enough CSI shows to alert me to the fact she could scratch at me and then what? Spend the rest of my life in prison. From one living hell to the other.
A walk along the cliff tops was another option. A quick push while no one was about and I could scream for help as I scrambled down to supposedly help her. But what if she didn’t die? Could I risk smashing her head in with a rock and having evidence which would point back to me? My prints would be everywhere as I made my way down to her, but again, too risky.
A hit man?
My luck it would be an undercover cop.
Exhaust fumes in the car? Everyone knew how much she loved me. There’d be no way she’d kill herself. No, that wouldn’t work either.
I’d heard if someone fainted and you held them up, they would die, that all oxygen left their brain on fainting and went to their feet, leaving the brain starved, but how would I get her to faint? She was as strong as a bull and scared of nothing.
It became a physical ache; the desire to kill her, to have her out of my life. I wanted nothing more than to be away from her clutches, to live in peace, in solitude.
And now I knew just how I’d do it.
I’d call her to me. Snake my fingers around the back of her neck, tilting her repulsive face upwards, so I could pretend to look amorously into her eyes. Tell her how much I loved her and all the while building up strength within me. Then, while she was off guard, I’d grab the back of her head and smash the corner of her forehead on the edge of the marble wall unit in the dining area.
The force would have to be tremendous. One mistake and I’d be gone forever. If she lived, attempted manslaughter would be too mild a conviction. She’d destroy me, take me down and not give up until even I would beg for a guilty verdict of attempted murder, just to shut her up.
There could be no slip ups. The impact would be brutal, I was sure I could manage it. I was excited now as I plowed on, now that the idea was taking shape it was all the little incidental details I needed to be confident about.
She’d need to slip on something to make it believable. Water? No, there‘d be a possibility she’d be able to balance herself, not slippery enough. Oil? Perfect, but how? I’d talk her into a fondue night. She loved to eat and to be able to cook and keep eating without leaving the table was her greatest joy. Yes, I could say as she was bringing the fondue to the table, some oil must have spilled and she slipped on it. All I’d have to do is splash some on the floor, run her shoe through it, throw the fondue into the air and allow it to land wherever.
I’d call 000. Make sure my voice was hysterical; smash some of her ribs, pretend I’d been administering CPR. I’d jog on the spot when I hear the sirens wailing in the distance; bring perspiration to my forehead, the exertion of CPR a well-known fact for taking a lot out of you, and then what?
I’d stand back, shocked into disbelief. An accident most definitely. I tried desperately to bring her back, I’d say. Didn’t think about not touching her, about evidence. My God, at a time like that why would I leave her, not check on her condition. What sort of monster would do that? I’d cry pitifully, perhaps have some pepper in my pocket so I could rub in my eyes.
Then I’d call the children, console them, ask them to come over so we could comfort each other. The police would be sympathetic; I’d oblige them in every way. There’d be nothing to link me to murder, nothing.
A smile spread across my face as sleep took over my body, my stress levels now at an all time low. I dreamt peacefully, soundly, like never before. In the morning as she rolled towards me, her morning breath overpowering me completely, I even managed to smile and give her a peck back as her tongue tried to force its way into my mouth.
There was no indication, none at all as I bounced out of bed.
My feet though didn’t land on the floor, they buckled beneath me. An explosion ripped through my brain, needle-like pain seared my eyes and then thankfully I slipped into unconsciousness.
I lay here now, a victim of a stroke. Unable to move the whole of my left side, the right weak and immobile, my speech diminished, all I can manage is a gurgled whine, all dignity gone as there is nothing I can do to fend for myself.
A thinking head that cannot speak.
And here she comes, her footsteps reverberating up the stairs as she bounces into the room, happily bringing my food tray of puréed meat and vegetables. She sings as she shoves the slops into me and all the while I think about how bad I thought my life was, and wish with a passion I was back there now.
Australian writer Deva Shore is an award-winning short story author, poet and children’s writer whose work has been published worldwide. Her ten-minute play titled, ‘Why Mummy,’ has been produced in Sydney, Australia. She also been a feature writer with Burial Day Books in the US and Little Raven Publishing in Australia.
Deva is a voracious writer writing in most genres. Secrets of the Tomb was written while completing her Diploma in Writing and Editing at Adult Education Centre in Melbourne, and published with World Castle Publishing in 2015.
Deva has three amazing daughters, four delightful grandchildren who are the loves of her life, and adores surf fishing with her partner Mick at their beachside haven.