Speakeasy #132: I did it for you

What should I cook today?, I think as I scroll through recipes on Pinterest. Kevin, my fiancé, loves food. I, on the other hand, love cooking and am a pretty awesome cook. Kev’s words, not mine.

Lemon Chicken Romano. That looks delicious.

“Danny, when can I expect the reports?”

“Yum, I mean, umm.. tomorrow afternoon. I only need to…”

“Please see that they’re on my table no later than 1 PM,” my boss, Letty, snaps before I can complete myself and walks out, slamming the door behind her.

I feel my face go red with anger. I’ve been taking this crap for so long now. I.. I really need to… save money for the wedding, I cut myself short.

As if on cue, my phone lights up to display a message from Kev: “Honey, please tell me you aren’t working late today. I would love to see your face NOW. Oh, and I’m cooking tonight.”

I respond: “Leaving the office 5PM sharp. Only for you <3”

***

Where IS Letty? I wonder. I hadn’t seen her since she went out to lunch and she hadn’t even responded to any of my emails. Not that I want to see her face. Besides, it is 5 PM.

I immediately start packing up with a big grin on my face.

That report can wait till tomorrow. I’ve been working late every day for the past week anyway.

I grab my bag and walk out of the building to see Kev leaning against his car in the parking lot, smiling at me.

Kev and I have been engaged for exactly one year and three months now and are to get married in a month. The thought of spending the rest of my life with him makes me forget every silly worry of mine.

“Surprise!”

I run to hug him.

“What’s with the surprise? And you’re cooking tonight? You never cook! Not that I’m complaining.”

“Slow down, Danny. It’s been ages since I did anything romantic for you.”

“But that dinner you took me to on Friday night..  That was romantic.”

“It wasn’t romantic enough.”

“I love you,” I smile and squeeze his arm.

***

“Are you reading that same book again?” Kev asks over the kitchen counter as he slices some vegetables.

“It’s the story, not the book. You know I could read The Fall of the House of Usher a hundred times every day and not tire of it,” I respond.

“Ouch!”

“Kev? Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, just cut my finger.”

Jumping off the couch, I run to the kitchen counter to examine his cut finger. I stop halfway and gasp loudly on seeing the small pool of blood on the kitchen floor. How could one finger cause so much blood?

I dash into the guest toilet and pull out the first aid kit from the medicine cabinet, at the same time yelling at Kevin to hold his hand still. As I leap back to where he stands, he looks as though he’s chopping something, with a pained expression on his face.

“Why are you still…..” I shout.

Kevin had chopped the top of his three fingers and was halfway on to the fourth.

“Stop it! What are you doing?” I continue to yell as I yank the bloody knife off his full-fingered hand.

“I’m sorry, Danny. I’m sorry.”

“Stop it, you’re scaring me. Is this a joke?”

“I killed her. I strangled her with my bare hands.”

“Who? Who are you talking about? You’re scaring me. You need to stop.”

“I killed Letty,” Kevin replies; his handsome face drenched in sweat.

“You did what?”

“We ran into each other after lunch and I offered her a lift back to the office. As soon as she got into the car, I strangled her. I killed Letty,” he explains, now smiling and crying at the same time.

“I did it for you,” he continues as he pulls out a butcher knife from the nearest kitchen drawer.

“Okay, you need to calm down,” I try to reason with him. “Please put the knife down,” I can feel my head ready to explode.

“I only did it to make you happy. I’m very sorry,” he says as he raises the butcher knife and slices half his left arm off.

I feel my knees giving way.

The knife clatters to the ground and a scream pierces the night.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

This is my second attempt at the Speakeasy. Writing fiction, especially horror fiction, isn’t exactly my forte. But I decided to give it a try anyway.

You can find the whole challenge here.

Happy ‘Halloween-week Eve’, everyone!

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The Music of the Night

I still remember that night like it was yesterday.

It was the first day of summer break and my cousin, Bryan, was visiting. It was also the first time we met Matt.

Matt was Bryan’s good friend. They met at a comic book store and became inseparable after they discovered they lived just a block away from each other.

So, when Bryan’s parents decided to send him to our place in the summer, Matt tagged along. For the first and last time.

As always, I wasn’t anticipating their arrival the slightest bit. My brother, Harry, was a different person around Bryan. I wasn’t allowed to join them in anything they did – “boy stuff”, they called it. As if!

I watched grumpily as Bryan and Matt got out of the car and ran to hi-five Harry. After lunch, Matt came up to me and said, “Hey, you look like you need some cheering up. We’re planning a prank on..”

“Nothing, nothing, nothing,” interrupted Harry.

We looked at him.

“It’s nothing,” Harry continued, looking at me.

Yea, right!

“Too late. Matt already told me you’re planning a prank. That’s all I need to know,” I said threateningly before screaming, “Maaaaa!”

“Shush! Okay fine, we’ll let you in on the prank if you promise not to tell anyone about it.”

“I promise. Pinky promise.”

“Shut up. Now listen closely. We’re going to play a prank on Christine tonight.”

Christine was our 80-year-old next-door neighbour who lived alone. Harry disliked her because she complained every single time he played the drums at home. Because of that, his band was forced to stop practicing at our house, which was quite an inconvenience for them.

“What?? No! Poor thing.”

“Uh-oh, here we go, party pooper,” said Bryan.

It then struck me that this was my chance to prove myself and said with a fake laugh, “I was going to add, she deserves this.”

Now, I wasn’t one to get involved in pranks. Even though I pretended to be tough most of the time, I never did mean things to others.

But just this one time, I consoled myself. Then they’d see how much fun I really am.

So, there we hid behind some bushes on Christine’s lawn. The night was unusually chilly. In fact, I don’t remember it being this cool all month. Strange.

We had a clear angle of Christine from where we stood. She was sitting in her rocking chair and knitting. I don’t know about the boys, but seeing the chair go back and forth like that gave me goose bumps. And Christine hadn’t exactly aged gracefully. She was what I pictured the witch in ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to look like.

“Why are we watching her?” I asked, attempting to sound brave.

“We’re waiting for the right time,” answered Matt.

“Shut up, you guys,” was Bryan’s prompt response.

After what seemed like ages, Christine got off her chair and walked towards a big black box – I couldn’t make out what it was from that far. She fiddled with it for some time and suddenly, we heard loud music coming from her living room:

“.. away from the garish light of day..”

Harry grabbed my arm and the four of us ran and sat against the wall right outside her window.

“Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light ..”

While they peeped inside, I made sure no one was around. This time, her back was facing us. I still had no idea what the boys had planned.

“.. And listen to the music of the night.”

At that moment, we heard a ruffle.

“What was that?” whispered Bryan.

“I.. I.. I don’t know. It wasn’t me,” I stammered.

“Something moved in the shadows.”

Matt turned around to look and knocked me over while doing so. “Ouch!” I yelled.

The three of them whispered together, “Shhh…”

Harry helped me sit up, while Matt and Bryan looked around for the source of the sound.

We only realised we had forgotten about Christine when we heard the window above us open followed by a loud scream. The scream ended abruptly with a loud thud.

We made a run for our house, not stopping to look back.

Mother woke us up the next morning to tell us that Christine had died of a heart attack.

Was it us, or something else she saw that scared her? We’ll never know. But now, when someone says, “you almost scared me to death”, I turn blue.

This is my submission for this week’s Speakeasy #130.