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Who We Used to Be

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A warm, viscous substance lingered on the woman’s hands. The carmine colour was even more vivid against the turf. She clutched at the hair pin tightly, the metal cutting into her skin, but she made no sound. She looked down at the chocking and gasping figure lying in a heap on the ground. He was shaking and his breath came out in short, abrupt rasps. His previously royal blue t-shirt had turned unequal shades of red. The stain was spreading from his chest towards his stomach. In the centre, completely out of place, was a wide, gaping hole, out of which protruded a hairpin, marking him like a gravestone.
4 weeks earlier
The blinding light hit her eyes as the woman drew the curtains. A ray of sunlight filling her bedroom. She stretched her arms out, yawning. A head peeped out from around the door. It was a little boy, no more than ten years old. He had a mat of red hair and an upturned nose. The sunlight seemed to multiply the freckles on his face. The woman stretched her arms out towards him. He ran towards her, squeezing her tightly, burying his face in her chest. A man entered the room, carrying a little girl in his arms. He was about six foot with auburn hair and good build. He approached his wife, lowering the girl to the ground. She ran up to the little boy, whispered something in his ear, turning his ears pink, and making his eyebrows shoot up. Giggling, she ran out of the room. The boy stood in the centre of the room for a few seconds, unsure of what to do, his expression like that of a baffled dog, and hobbled after her.
The man moved towards his wife. She tilted her head slightly to the left, smiling. He snaked his hand around her waist, bringing his lips towards hers, closing the final inches between them.
“I love you,” he whispered, and drew back slightly, to allow him to reach for a small box to his left. He passed it to her. Attached to the box was a white envelope. She slid her finger under the lid, retrieving a card. It had three pink roses on the front, underneath which it said, Happy Anniversary in green writing. She smiled at him; he motioned with his head towards the box. She held the card under one arm, holding the box with two hands. She shook it slightly, and then lifted the lid. Three diamonds gazed up at her, the light catching them, making them even more stunning. It was wrapped in a bloody red piece of silk. The contrast between the three solitary diamonds and the silk was so strong, that for a moment it seemed that it was lying in a pool of blood.
“It’s so beautiful,” she whispered, holding up the hairpin.
“Yes, you are,” he whispered back.
Present day
The sky had turned a crimson red, with blotches of yellow peaking through. The setting sun could be barely seen through the clouds encasing it. A veil of red cloaked the landscape. The silhouette of a young woman, crouched on the ground, rocking slightly was barely visible. A young man walked towards her. His coffee eyes narrowed in curiosity. He stopped a few paces from her. She stopped rocking, her head looking down at her knees. He kneeled down, slowly, not once taking his eyes of her, like one might do with a dangerous animal. She gradually lifted her head.
“What is it? Is this the surprise?” He looked around. They were in a muddy terrain, with a canopy of trees over their heads. A river stood by them, half a dozen feet away. The woman straightened her back, but Alex didn’t notice, he was curiously taking in the change of surroundings.
“You know, I’ve always loved rivers,” the woman pressed her palms into the earth, bringing her body up.
“I’ve heard that when people go camping they drink on the highest part of the river they can reach, wash themselves a little farther down”. The woman was now fully on her feet, she reached into her hair, sliding her hair pin out of her ponytail. She tardily made her way towards him. Her face let out no emotion.
“And the dirtiest water is used to wash dishes, or was it clothes? Don’t you think that’s fascinating? Don’t you?” Alex turned around, curiosity etched on his faced, but suddenly terror gripped him, as he saw his own horror reflected in his wife’s wild and raging eyes, as she plunged the hairpin into his chest.
The blade tore through his shirt, penetrating his flesh, like an animal sinking its jaws into its victim. Blood spurted in all directions landing on the woman’s face, but she just pressed harder and harder into his body, until finally letting go. Howling and screaming he tumbled to the ground, kicking and twisting. He turned and rolled on the ground like a worm on a hook. The woman looked down at the gasping and gagging figure bellow her, she leaned over him and prised the hairpin from his chest and retreated a few steps. Alex stopped twisting after a few seconds and lay gasping on the ground. His shaking hands grasped tufts of grass, placing them on the gushing wound in his chest. His face covered in blood and sweat and mud.
The woman stepped towards him, he tried to move away, but the slightest movement drained him of his energy, and he collapsed back onto the turf; resignation and surrender in his eyes. She knelled down next to Alex on the grass, leaning over him and letting her hair fall on his chest. Her lips brushed against his ear.
“Until death do us part,” she whispered. A tear slid down her cheek. She wiped it away angrily. She lifted the hairpin and plunged it into Alex’s body. A scream pierced the night air. The final cry of a creature in utter despair, torn with hopeless longing. Only several seconds later did she realise it was her own. Alex’s eyes bulged for a moment, his chest raised, bloody froth coming out of his mouth, until his body slumped, becoming lifeless and still. His eyes wide open, unseeing.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. Sobbing, I threw myself over him. Spearing the ground with the hairclip again and again. My world was lost. It had disappeared into non-existence when I saw Alex with her. In one moment, I had lost everything I had. Everything I had ever wanted. To love and to hold. To have a prince on a white horse who loved me as much as I loved him. For us to be happy together. Wasn’t that what Alex had wanted too? For four years I had believed that he loved me. I had built my life on lies. A fire cannot exist without wood. A house cannot stand without a foundation. A body cannot exist without a skeleton. My fire had lost its flame. We were soul mates. We were made for each other. At least that’s what I thought.
But last night he wasn’t home. The clock had struck two, and I was very worried. Horrible images flashed through my mind of his body lying in a pool of blood on a road, the doctors trying to keep him alive, and gradually losing hope. I called his friend, and he said that he’d seen him at ‘The Cuckoo’s Nest’ a pub on Nadine Street, earlier on that evening. I immediately took off.
I made my way through the crowded bar, looking around everywhere for Alex. I had no idea what to say to him. After 20 minutes of searching I gave up, and dialled his number for a final time. Then I heard music. The beautiful and exhilarating words of ‘Angie’ which Alex and I danced to at the school prom, the night my dreams had came true. The melody floated through my mind. I feverishly scoured the pub for the source of the song. My eyes came to rest on a man with brown hair. The voice of Mick Jagger coming out from his pocket.
He was pushing a woman against the wall, his arms wrapped around her waist. The woman had waist long blond hair and wore a tight denim miniskirt, with a strapless red top. I was too stunned to speak. Various scenarios had run through my mind, but not this. Alex raised his head, and for a moment, our eyes met.
He immediately drew back, whipping his mouth like a boy who had been caught in the jam cupboard; fear plastered over his face. Fear, not guilt. He feared the consequences of his actions, like a criminal might fear punishment. He regrets being caught, but not what he did.
Cold sweat is running down my neck. My whole body is shaking; my throat feels like an iron clasp has been secured tightly around it, making it impossible to breath. I lean over him, slowly and carefully, as though it were made of glass, I lift Alex’s head up to my face. His hair is covered in a mass of tangles, blood and mud. I placed my lips over his. They had lost all their warmth. I let out a groan. Drawing back, horrified by what I had done. I looked down at my hands. They were covered in dirt and Alex’s blood. I had spent my life trying to make the world a better place for myself and the people I cared about. But there was no-one left who cared about me. No one will calm me in my last moment, and when I die, no one will mourn me or put flowers on my grave. I had tried to fool myself into thinking that he deserved to die. That someone who had hurt others to such an extent, did not deserve to live. It was the sentence I was putting into practise which the law did not recognise. No. I did it for my own selfish satisfaction. Jealousy had consumed me and had made me lose all my humanity, and made me turn against all reason, into committing a cold, merciless killing. I not only took away a life, but stole a father. Who was I to decide wither he was a good father or not. I am not worth my children. And to save them from the humiliation of knowing that their mother was a killer, and to save myself one last bit of dignity, no-one will know of what happened.
Shuddering and shaking, I crawled over to the side of the bank. Rising to my feet, my heart thumping, I raised the hairpin. I was inches away from the bank, so my body would fall into the water, and the police wouldn’t be able to connect Alex’s death to me. Sobbing, I raised the hairpin higher, and thrust it into my chest.



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