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The darkness intensified with each step, the ground below crumbling before his eyes, this was the end he could feel it. His mind had slipped into a distant memory, faces of friends, family, haunting him. He thought about all of his victims, and his poor wife, how would she react when she learns that the man she married was non-existent, just another hideous lie. He hoped that the letter on her nightstand would answer all of her questions.
They had called to him, reaching for his soul through dreams, the masked figures screeching, clawing at his face shattering his eardrums.
“Harry, Harry hunny wake up.”
“Mhh, there grabbing my ears.” Harry had said in a groggy voice, his wife Barbra sat on the side of him stroking his bare chest, intertwining the thick dark hairs between her tiny fragile fingers.
“Another bad dream?”
He had thought quickly and carefully about his choice of words,
“Yeah, it was that damn bear attack dream again.”
He looked into her innocent face, the lines on the sides of her mouth creasing, the crow’s feet in the corners of her pale grey eyes straining. He could hardly believe it, she had caught him in a lie, after all the years he had spent lying to her, she had never questioned his version of the truth. The almost weekly weekend “hunting trips” with “the boys”, or his personal favorite, the fishing excursion along with innocent hunting, she had always complained when he arrived home, of how he always managed to smell like fish. He would reassure her, pressing his palm to the lower frame of her back, running it up and down like velvet, that some harmless fishing had been done also. Since the deep, tangled, unmarked woods had no showers taking one in the hotel would have her suspicion. Nobody disappears for that length of time without a shower then returns smelling sweet like a patch of crumpled flowers.
She had tensed but let the subject slip away, and that is why he loved her. Barbra got up releasing her grip on his chest, running her fingers through her fire red hair, the jungle of curls capturing her two carrot wedding ring, a beautiful goddess. Her slender figure shadowed against the shower curtain, as she reached in to turn on the hot water in their deluxe chrome tub. Henry turned his head, facing the blue digital alarm clock that rested on his glass nightstand, the bright numbers glowed a giant 6:00 A.M., it was Saturday and yet he still managed to wake up at his normal time. He closed his eyelids letting the blackness slip over his chocolate brown eyes; it was time to spice life up a bit. The door to the bathroom slammed shut, startling Henry, he lifted his head from the pillow in curiosity, Barbra had never shut a door so viscously before, he could hear the faucet on the tub still churning water. He could imagine the tub half filled with luke warm crystals, the steam shimmering off of there surfaces, clouding the room with a heavy musk, fogging the mirror on the medicine cabinet, causing the human reflection to become a shadow. He looked back over at the alarm clock, the large red digits now said seven, a whole hour had passed feeling like a mere ten minuets, Henry decided to get up and start his usual morning routine. Have breakfast of one egg sunny side up, with one piece wheat toast lightly buttered, one glass orange juice, and half a grapefruit, then go for a jog which would take exactly one hour, around the bike path in the back of the apartment complex, on his way back he would grab a newspaper from a stand, then come home and shower. His daily constant routine, nothing ever changes, but that was the way he liked it, no chaos, just strickt-planned mornings, leaving the chaos for the evening.
Before leaving the bedroom he knocked on the bathroom telling Barbra of his morning plans, then he left for the kitchen, the dark planks of wood squealing beneath his sneakers. Their apartment was somewhat small but cozy, this was the same exact place they had lived in since there wedding day 25 years ago, Barbra was never able to have children but they would be happy together with or without them. The kitchen and living room were separated by one halved wall, from the living room you could see the kitchen, the living room had a fire place hand built by Henry, the red and brown bricks meshed with the deep red leather furniture.
After Henrys jog he grabbed the paper then ran home, walking up the two flights of stairs to his smug apartment, touching the copper doorknob he realized that the door had not been locked. How unusual, usually he remembered to lock the door before leaving, he let it slide not thinking beyond his own mistake, he walked into the small entrance hall throwing the paper on the kitchen counter. The heading on the paper caught his eye, in bold black lettering the heading read, strange string of murders in Little Rock, shivers erupted down Henrys spine, causing the tiny hairs on his neck to rise. He decided to take a shower, hoping to wash away his fears, slowly he walked towards his bedroom, dragging his large feet with each step, odd the faucet in the bathroom was still running, under the bedroom door a blood red puddle of water had formed, creeping from the next room.
Henrys heart was pounding, wanting to break free from beneath his chest, this was not part of his routine, he hoped Barbra was playing one of her jokes, though it would not be funny at least he could feel at ease and slow his heart. He inhaled a deep breath not knowing what to expect, the door was slightly cracked open, leaving a shimmer of sunlight reflecting off of the green walls, his shadow grew as he slowly and silently opened the door, the entire bedroom floor was covered in cold bloody water.
“Barbra, hey hunny are you there? Is everything ok?”
There was no response, only an intense silence, he took a step forward the water beneath his feet sloshing against the dark fabric of his sneakers, the once bare walls were covered in photos, his heart dropped, there it was his last hunting trip, the photos were aligned in a sequence of events, from the moment he picked up Mary to the dinner, then the hotel, the last picture exposing his once so cherished secret, there naked body’s forming. Her perfect breast rubbing against his bare chest, while his hands were pressed on her hips swinging her body in a perfect clockwise motion to intensify the pleasure tingling through his body. Blood was splattered across each photo, as with small fragments of bone, he took another step forward eyeing a medium sized hammer lying on their all white comforter, scarlet stains soaking through the fabric. In the corner of his eye he could see that the bathroom door was open, there in the middle of the floor lay his wife, her body cold and limp, half of her skull bashed into itself exposing the contents of her brain, the wound was still gushing a thick blood, pieces of her skull were lodged into her brain, ruining her once beautiful mind. Her eyes were still open a look of horror spread across her face, next to her lay a blood soaked note, he grabbed it unfolding the tiny piece of paper thinking about the hand gun he kept under his mattress, hoping there was one bullet left in it’s chamber. The note read in neat cursive:
Welcome home Henry, game over