This is another piece pulled from Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction sandbox. Our prompt this week? Twisted Love. We have a limit of 1500 words, which I didn’t reach but came close, and no limits to genre. This story stewed all day Friday while I was holding my daughter’s hand while she got her tongue pierced as well as a set of snake bites. It’s extremely dark, so be warned. And hopefully… enjoy.
Twisted Love – 1065 words
“We met two years ago today, my love. Do you remember?”
The scent of sulfur filled the small room as a match touched the tapers. Dancing flames chased away the shadows blanketing the table and revealed an elegant setting for two. Classical music played in the background – the haunting strains of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The wine rested in its bucket. Intricately embroidered napkins folded into hearts lay beside delicate china plates. She poured their wine, and offered him a toast.
“We were both at a turning point in our relationships. I was newly single. By the end of the day, you would be too. You may not believe in it, but I think fate brought us together.”
She cut into her steak. The warm red meat bled quietly onto the pristine porcelain, staining the baked potato. Humming appreciatively, she licked a trickle of juice from her lips.
“I can’t believe how far we’ve come since that day.” She refilled her glass and offered him more wine. “We went from miserable and lonely to a happy couple. Escaped the bustle of the east coast for the serenity of the mountains. I’m so glad we threw off the ugly influences of the outside world and went off the grid. It’s so tranquil up here. I feel closer to you than ever before.”
She kept her arm around his waist as they moved to the living room. She loved touching him. Always had. Now that he was finally hers, she reveled in the simple pleasure. It had been a long, hard road to get to this point, but it was more than worth it. They were together at last. Forever.
They sat snuggled together on the sofa as the wind howled through the trees. Ice pelted the windows. Tree limbs scraped against the roof as the storm raged outside. Yet they were safe inside, protected from the cold by the crackling fire in the hearth and a thick quilt.
“I know we said we didn’t want anything to intrude on our little slice of heaven, but I couldn’t help it. I’ve always wanted a family. A son or daughter that is a symbol of our love. I know I should have asked you first, but I wanted it to be a surprise.” She pulled the stroller closer and eased the baby from inside. “Isn’t she beautiful? I think she has your eyes.”
The silence that followed was awful. The wind died with a final screech of branches across the window. The stinging ice turned into powdery snowflakes to fall soundlessly to the ground. Even the fire simmered as if frightened of breaking the fragile peace.
The child lay in her lover’s arms, undisturbed by the rising tension. She draped an extra blanket over the baby to ward off the chill. Her fingers lingered on a smooth cheek, the soft pursed lips, the downy curls decorated with a pastel pink bow. How natural they looked together, her lover and their baby. Still… why hasn’t he said anything?
“What’s wrong, my love? Aren’t you happy?” Her hands shook as tears stung her eyes. This could not be happening! “It’s what we’ve always wanted. What we’ve always dreamed of. Isn’t it?”
Still the silence stretched.
“It’s that bitch, isn’t it? Of course it is. It always is. You’re still mooning over that little slut that walked out on you without even a note goodbye. Well, I won’t have it!” She rose from the sofa and stormed over to the fireplace. A few jagged stabs at the logs sent sparks into the air. “You’re mine, William Franklin DeLaney, and it’s time you remembered that fact! Forget about her and focus on what’s important. We have a baby to think of. We’re a family, now. Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted? A family? Why won’t you say something?”
She turned around, poker in hand. He remained on the sofa. Still. Silent. Ignoring her. The child remained on his lap where she’d placed her. He refused to even hold her. Her fingers tightened around the slim metal rod as her shadow danced upon the wall.
She had given up everything for him – her job, her home, her friends – and this is how he repays her? By yearning for some seductive Barbie wanna-be? No! She had told him to forget her. They had moved out here to get away from that evil temptress. She would not allow that woman, that snake, to destroy her carefully created Eden.
The first swing struck his temple with a sickening squelch. Carefully placed stitches ripped under the force of the blow. The second strike tore the head from the torso. The man’s dead, unseeing eyes watched her approach as the baby rolled off his lap and onto the floor. Still, only the sound of the storm and the faint cry of a siren broke the stillness of the cabin.
She kicked the disembodied head with a cry of rage. “She could never have loved you as I do. Never. Forget about her. We are a family now. The three of us. A family.” She gripped the head by the hair and shook it as she stared into his eyes. “Damn you, William. I will make you love me if it’s the last thing I do!”
The sirens grew louder as she stomped over to the sofa. Tossing the head into its body’s lap, she grabbed her basket of supplies. With careful stitches, she sewed the head onto the torso. “You really shouldn’t make me so angry, my love. I hate hurting you like this. But, I know it was a shock. I should have talked to you first about starting a family. Don’t worry, though. It’ll all be okay. We’ll be so happy together. Just you and me and little Wanda.”
The room lit up with red and blue lights as cars surrounded the cabin. She tied off her thread and smoothed his collar over the jagged line. Placing a tender kiss upon his lips, she carefully combed his hair and laughed. He had always had the most stubborn cowlick. She found it endearing.
Glass shattered in the back of the house, followed by barked orders and booted footsteps. She ignored them all. Uninvited guests did not deserve hospitality or even recognition. She scooped up little Wanda and placed her upon her lap.
“Time for your bath, little one.”