This is not my usual post. It’s not even my usual type of writing, but I wrote this short-short for a blog contest. Didn’t win, but I still like it. So I thought I’d post it on my own blog. Just for fun.
The phone rang. The receiver was only inches from her hand, but she’d never reach it.
Clarissa didn’t bother to open her eyes to listen to the message on the machine. She couldn’t open her eyes. It took too much work.
“Hi, hon, just wanted to let you know I’m working late tonight. I’ll grab something to eat on the way home. Save me a kiss.”
Bastard. Going for an alibi. Her fingers were slick with blood. She moved her thumb and finally pushed off her plain, gold wedding band, letting it fall beside her. That ring had sealed the deal. She’d been touched that he offered something so simple instead of trying to impress her. But he’d had plenty of time to perfect his routine, hadn’t he? His last wife had died, too. And to think that’s another thing that had attracted her to him, how much he still loved the young bride he’d lost.
She tried to chuckle, but could only gurgle.
The knife was so sharp, and the slice had been so quick, she hadn’t felt any pain. The blood flowing from her throat had made her too dizzy to stand, though. She’d tried to crawl to the phone, leaving a smear of blood in her wake—her oak floors. Could someone get the stains out? Lord, she loved this house. He’d tossed it to make her death look like a robbery gone bad.
Spots danced under her eyelids. She’d rub her arms, if she could. She was cold. Then something warm pressed against her. Soft fur caressed her skin. Cheesenip’s purr rumbled, and she felt something inside her relax. Her orange cat had gotten away. Dirk had tried to catch him. The two of them never got along. That should have told her something right there. Her fingers itched to stroke him, but the spots were beginning to fade. Black seeped to erase them.
Oh, well, she’d known this might happen, hadn’t she? Terri, the practical Virgo, had never been fooled by Dirk.
“Don’t you think he’s a little too perfect?” she’d asked.
Dirk always said the right thing, made the right gesture. Was he too good to be true? There’d been warning signs she’d ignored. When was she going to make her investments joint? Was her house ever going to be their house? And flashes of anger showed more often when she resisted.
Why had she resisted? Had she always wondered? Did Dirk love her or her money? Would he stick around if she didn’t comply?
They didn’t have children. Dirk told her that he wanted to enjoy “couple” time before they had kids. She had no close relatives. The looks he darted her lately said he thought things weren’t quite right between them. He must have decided not to wait, that the courts would award him, her husband, all of her properties.
He always could read people well, but he was in for one heck of a surprise. Terri would care for this house—the house Clarissa left her when she’d made changes to her will. And she’d take good care of Cheesenip. She’d promised to when Clarissa gave her the envelope with the words “In Case of my Death” scrawled on the front. The letter inside spelled out that the police should look closely at her husband. Clarissa had left Terri a large chunk of money, so that she and Cheesenip could live in comfort.
And the rest? Clarissa had willed everything else to a program that provided free neutering for stray cats—a catch and release program. If people took in kittens and then tossed them out when they were tired of them, like Dirk collected and killed wives, her money might make a difference.
This time, as the black claimed her, she did smile.
Dirk hated cats.