Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Rage (violent, uncontrolled hatred and anger) (02/05/15)
TITLE: When Sirens Blare
By Francy Judge
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The headlights shoot a beam of light through the living room blinds as he pulls in the driveway. Two hours late, again. I jump into bed and close my eyes tight to hold back any tears. If I sleep, I won’t have to hear his excuse, his lies.
The front door creaks open. He must’ve taken off his shoes to sneak in quietly. The tinfoil crunches as he lifts it off the dinner plate I cooked for him. The house still smells like filet mignon and broiled potatoes, his favorite dish. He turns on the news as I doze off. I wake to his kiss on my cheek.
“Goodnight, honey. Sorry I was late. Dinner was delicious.”
“It’s okay.” I manage to hold my tongue. I’m too tired to argue now, but my stomach is twisted into a giant double knot. My head pulses with anger. How can he act so innocent and not care about our marriage?
The next night is a repeat of the same except after Joe climbs into bed, I get up to do a load of laundry. I gather his shirt and slacks off the chair. I knew it! His shirt smells like Obsession. I haven’t worn that perfume in years, but I know the scent. I shove the clothes in the machine, banging my wrist in the process. I punch it again. What does she look like? Where did they meet? How could he? I crumple into a ball over the laundry basket and sob.
Tomorrow I will find out the truth.
The next day I borrow a friend’s car to do an errand while Joe takes the car to work. I park opposite his office building. At four o’clock on the dot, he leaves his office and gets into his car. I follow him onto the parkway, leaving two cars in between. He turns off at the exit to Cedar Beach. We were here last month. How I envied the people who lived with a view of the ocean. He parks in front of one of my favorite homes with the porch and flower garden.
Then I see her. First the red stilettos, the thin legs, miniskirt and fitted suit jacket. Her long, silky black hair swings over her shoulders. Joe follows her up the steps to the front door. I’m going to be sick.
Why, Lord? I’m burning inside, too much to pray. My hands are shaking as I watch the clock. Each minute that passes makes my heart beat faster. My whole body wants to scream.
After thirty minutes, they stand on the driveway. She dangles a set of keys and drops them into his hands. I’ll confront them now, so he can’t deny what I see. I turn the car on and grip the wheel so tight I could break it in half. I press the gas. I press with force and scream, out of control. Can’t stop! More screaming. SMASH! An explosion of metal on brick on bodies. My own head bloody against the windshield.
I tumble out of the wrecked car. And scream, “Help! I didn’t meant to! Oh, God, please…”
Sirens blare until everything goes black.
The guard hands me a letter. My name on the front in Joe’s handwriting. My hands shake as I peal it open. A note:
Your dream house is ours! Happy birthday!
I love you.
I can’t breathe. My life is over.
…Seven months later I have become someone else. I know what I will tell the jury.
I place my hand on the Bible and swear to tell the truth. A light breeze brushes my arms with a chill. “I am guilty. But I know God can forgive what I cannot. The anger that filled my bones has become sorrow. My only hope is to be washed white as snow and slip into eternity.” I step down and wait in a cold room for the verdict that doesn’t matter.
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