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Little White House

An autumn leaf fell from its perch atop a tall maple tree. The stray red leaf swirled around Mr. Smith’s car and crashed into the windshield as he pulled into the driveway of his family’s grand white home. He pulled into the driveway, stationed in an opening in the white picket fence, at the intersection of Second and Third Street. His Ford Focus pulled up behind his wife’s navy mini van stationed in the driveway. Climbing out of the car he grabbed his brief case and shut the door behind him. Black loafers clicked against the rocks of the pathway through the lawn up to the front door. As he turned the doorknob, Buddy, their golden retriever, barked loudly and raced towards the front door to greet his master. The grandfather clock in the living room chimed six o’clock as Mr. Smith put his briefcase on the ground, preparing for an assault by Buddy. The golden haired dog ran up to Mr. Smith happily and jumped up on him as the owner laughed and pet the dog’s head.

A blonde woman smiled widely, approaching Mr. Smith. “Hello, dear,” she said happily. She climbed onto her tiptoes, pressed a hand to her husband’s broad chest, and kissed his cheek softly. “How was work?” The woman, Mrs. Smith, helped her husband out of his pea coat then his dark navy blazer. Mr. Smith shrugged them off his shoulders, letting them sag into his wife’s hands.

“Work was fine,” he said simply, turning to face his wife.

“Well, good. There’s a roast in the oven I just have to put it out so why don’t you just call the kids down and sit at the table,” she suggested. Mr. Smith nodded and walked to the bottom of the stairs.

“Isabelle, James, dinner!” he called before walking into the living room to pour himself a scotch. Moments later, two sets of feet walked down the stairs and padded into the dining room. Scotch in hand, Mr. Smith journeyed into the dining room and smiled at his children.

“Hi dad,” they said simultaneously, their bright, innocent smiles gleaming at him.

“Hey, guys,” he said, leaning down to kiss each on their blonde heads.

As he walked towards his chair, his wife walked in. Her straight, yellow dress wrinkled slightly as she leaned in to set the roast on the hot plate near his head of the table seat.

“Oh, sweetie you have a red spot on your shirt,” she frowned.

“Must be pen,” he said noncommittally, frowning as he started to rub at the red spot.

“Well, after dinner take it off and I’ll soak it. That’s a good shirt.”

“Yes, dear,” he sighed.

“Will you carve the roast?” she asked as she took a seat next to her husband. With a nod, he picked up the knife on the platter beside the chunk of meat and began to carve it.

The rest of dinner went by with light chitchat, the children chattering about their upcoming swim meet and James’s baseball game while. After dinner, the children went up to their room to finish their homework while Mary cleaned and Mr. Smith retired to the living room.

Sweet routine, thought Mr. Smith as he sipped scotch and read a novel.

***

It was a Tuesday afternoon when Mr. Smith drove his car down Second Street, hours earlier than usual. The clock had barely struck two when his boss had told him to take an early day. Rather than call his wife to tell her, he elected to surprise her with his presence. A few red maple leaves fell on the hood of his car and were brushed off by the wind as quickly as they came. He pulled into the driveway, paying no attention to the unfamiliar car parked around the corner.

The house was eerily quiet as he stepped inside. He called out to his wife, “Mary! I’m home!” His words fell on deaf ears. Sighing, he continued inside, hung his own coat, dropped his briefcase carelessly to the floor, and walked up the stairs. “Mary?” he called. Again there was no reply. With the intention to lay down in bed and watch mindless television, something he never did, he continued into his and his wife’s room. Pushing open the door he saw his wife, sweating and writhing on top of a hard body.

“Yes!” she cried out in ecstasy, remaining oblivious to her husband’s large frame in the doorway.

“Mary,” he breathed, his heart shattering in his chest as anger boiled in his veins.

Her feminine screech of surprise echoed through the hollow room. Immediately she fell off the other man, covering her naked body with a sheet. Though they were married, suddenly, her nakedness offended him.

The world collapsed around Mr. Smith, crushing his lungs and weakening his knees. Time stood still as the man in bed with his wife and Mrs. Smith stared at him, trying to gage what he was going to do. Without speaking, he calmly walked over to his dresser and pulled something black out of his dresser.

“John! John! What are you doing! John! Don’t do this put the—“

BANG. A shot rang out in the room, effectively silencing his wife as her lover collapsed to the ground, crimson liquid pooling on his forehead. “John!” cried Mary, her hands covering her nose and mouth in shock. Before another word was uttered, BANG. Another shot rang out in the house and Mary fell back on to the bed, the sheet slipping off her body as a pool of blood gathered on the left side, over her chest.

Like a switch, the anger turned off and guilt-ridden sadness turned on. He looked around the room at the blood on the white sheets of his marital bed and felt sick to his stomach. Looking at his own body, he noticed a single red spot of blood on his white shirt. Guilt blanketed him as he began to cry. His eyes glanced over his wife’s still, tear stained face. Beautiful Mary looked disheveled and scared. Unlike what everyone said, in death, she did not look peaceful. Without regard for the young children who’d find the room like this, John stuck the barrel of the gun in his mouth and—BANG. A third and final shot rang out, silencing the house until the two children came home, their innocent smiles taken off their face forever as they screamed bloody murder into the stillness of the afternoon.




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