First Drafts, Short Story, writing

She Always Looked Good In Red (rough draft)

She always look good in red. I remember the first time I saw her, leaning on a bar, curled amber hair framing her face perfectly. The red velvet of the dress she wore clung to the smooth curves of her waist. It cascaded down from her hips and pooled at her feet. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, I was lost in her. I remember our eyes met across that bar, her eyes shining in the lights, rose painted lips parting in a smirk over her white teeth. The man she was talking to fought to keep her interest, but her eyes kept finding mine and she excused herself from him. She made her way over to me, a perfect and elegant series of movements, her bare hand caressed mine as she slid onto the seat next to me. I felt the sweat bead on my forehead and she laughed at my nervousness. When she laughed she threw her head back, exposing the ivory of her throat; the pearls on her neck rising and falling. She took a sip of her whiskey, running a hand along my face.

I never thought much of myself until her. I still don’t, but I was willing to pretend to make her happy. I would do anything to make her happy. And she knew that. Money spent, parties thrown, expensive dinners eaten; all for her. All to see her shine. At first I couldn’t believe she’d want to be seen with me. A balding man in his late thirties such as myself didn’t deserve a spot in her life. But there I was. Illuminated in the brilliance that was her.

I didn’t think she would say yes, when I asked. I figured she was just with me until she grew bored but I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I asked, she said yes. We said our vows in an ice chapel and honeymooned around the world. Anything for her.

When she found out she was pregnant, I noticed a change in her. Not the normal change I had seen my friends and their wives go through. She became withdrawn, gaunt, almost never eating. Her amber hair dulled and began to fall out. She refused a doctor, telling me a doctor could not help her. The visitors she kept during the pregnancy were strange and quiet. Much older women, dressed in blue, would come and pray with her for hours at a time. I wasn’t allowed in the house when they were there. My wife would beg me to leave, she said they were to only ones who could help her now. I was soon sleeping in the spare room of my own house and then, after a time, I found a new place to stay until she was better. Until, until the day…

She called me, asking me to come home. I hadn’t heard her voice in weeks, only the women in the house communicating with my via phone called. I was so happy to hear her voice, so happy I cried. A baby cooed on the other end of the line, somewhere in the distance. She asked me to come home and I did, and I wish I hadn’t.

When the elevator reached my floor, a sudden wave of dread surrounded me. I tried to shake it off as nerves. The most beautiful woman in the world was waiting for me with our child. Our lovely new child. Something we had created together. Anyone would have been nervous. I slid my key into the lock, turning the knob, and entering the living room. But it didn’t look like a living room anymore. The ground was covered in newspapers and old containers of food. The curtains were drawn and when I reached for the lights, nothing turned on.

I called out for her and when I didn’t get a reply I called again. A soft moaning came from the back of the apartment. Turning on the flashlight on my cell phone, I navigated my way through the accumulated filth, gawking at the awfulness that filled my abode. I couldn’t understand how this had happened. I called for her again, only receiving moans in response. The door to our bedroom was closed, it took so much for me to open it.

What happened next seemed to move in slow motion. My hand grasped the crusted knob, stomach turning as I did. My nose protested the wall of smell that hit me as the door swung open. What I saw next will forever be burned into my mind.

A black creature stood on the heap of mattress that used to be our marital bed, crouched over a small bundle. It was sinewy and thin, each of it’s limbs caked in black dirt. It’s eyes darted to me as the door opened, reflecting like mirrors in the dark. It gathered the bundle in its clawed hands and shrieked at me. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t find my feet or my courage. This thing, this thing just stared at me. It made a clicking noise in it’s throat. It cautiously stepped toward me, it’s toenails grinding on the wood. As it drew closer, I realized the impossible. It was her. Under the filth, I could see her. The creature’s face was inches from mine, No, her face was inches from mine. I stumbled through saying her name. The creature pulled back and clicked again, returning to the bed, holding the bundle to it’s chest. The bundle gurgled.

I took a meager step into the room, doing my best to avoid startling her as she brought the bundle to her breast. The mirror was broken, a shard of it was within my reach. Whatever this creature was, it wasn’t my wife anymore. I winced as my hand closed around the glass, I felt it penetrate.

I said her name as I approached her, slowly and gently. The babe suckling at her breast, I heard her humming softly. I told her I was going to sit down with her, I told her I was going to touch her hair. Fighting repulsion, I laid her head on my chest. I stroked her hair, tears streaming down my face. I told her I loved her, my lips pressed against her forehead, the shards of glass cutting deep into her neck. I heard her choke and she pulled away from me, thrashing and screaming. The bundle was dropped as she writhed on the floor. The blood spurt from her throat, but soon she was still, and silent. The red washed over her, removing a layer of grime. I stood, shaking, and walked out of the apartment. I was on auto pilot. I don’t know how I got to my apartment without someone noticing the blood on me. I’ve called the police to tell them what I’ve done. But I won’t be here when they find out. Whatever that creature was, I can’t live on with the knowledge of it.

I see her face now, her reflective green eyes staring into my soul as I backed out of that room. It was true even then. She always looked good in red.

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