She is always replacing things. Just as I get comfortable with a sofa – it’s gone. I can never relax at home. She can’t tell me why she feels the need to do it. I think she is between hobbies. “One day, you’ll replace me,” I tell Vanessa, half-joking. She really puts me on edge as she never talks things through. I am never part of her decision-making processes.
We can’t have children. I wonder if this accounts for her refurnishing our home all the time. Maybe, Vanessa just doesn’t like cleaning. I don’t know. I come home from work and my favourite coffee table is gone. I am so used to putting my tea there. I get angry and tight-chested. I just can’t get through to her. I dread working at the shipyard for fear of what I’ll come home to. She is really making me fume. I make it known too.
I phone Vanessa, after lunch, and apologise. I tell her I’ll be home late as it’s busy. There is a freighter in that needs work. The early evening is lost to welding the hull. I think about the phone call afterwards. She was really absent.
Now, I’m at last glad to be home. It is quiet and the living room light is off. There’s some Chicken curry in the microwave. Vanessa must be feeling under the weather. I warm my meal and eat it alone. I kick my shoes off then pop upstairs. She is asleep. I quietly undress and slip in next to her. It smells of fish and there are tiny movements. The sheet feels like the rice I’ve just eaten. I flick the light on. There’s fucking maggots everywhere. I pull the duvet back and throw up. Vanessa has been busy. My Ex wife hasn’t weathered well. She is almost rotted beyond recognition. There is a note: ‘You’re next.’
I wonder where Vanessa is. She’s never been this unhinged. She could be hiding anywhere with a spade or a hammer. I thought I really knew her. I am naked and vulnerable. I slip a dressing gown on and quietly tread to the bathroom. My heart feels like a ticking bomb. I gasp. She’s not there. I turn to the spare room. The curtains are drawn. I peer into the darkness. I can just make out shapes in the dark, but I don’t recognise some of them. Then I jump. The lock turns behind me.
About the Author
Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. He has been published in The Horror Tree, Fiction Kitchen Berlin and others. In 2020, his Horrors appear in Red Cape Anthologies. His Novella and a collection of poetry is available on Amazon.
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