Short Stories, Dark and Virtuous

A compilation of both upbeat and cataclysmic short stories. A comparison between the pure and tainted. A lens through which both sides can be heroes in their own story.

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1. Widow

    I like to think of myself as a good person, a generally kind-hearted woman. So when I received a phone call from my neighbors that someone had broken into my house and murdered my husband Ray Carver, I wondered what I had done to deserve this torture. I spent the rest of the day bawling my eyes out to the point where I had no more tears and all that came out of me were guttural whimpers and dry coughs. My mother-in-law had offered to take me into her house, as her late husband had passed away a few years before and she had gotten lonely.

    The police are investigating everyone Ray knew, me included, to find any possible motives. No one really thinks I did it though, not only because Ray and I loved each other so much but also because I was fifty miles away on a business trip at the time of his death. It only makes me slightly more relieved that my last words to him before I left were “I love you” and not the cruel words we shared the night before during a heated argument. The detective on my case said that it was important for me to tell him what the fight was about but I assured him it was trivial; simply the fact that I didn’t like when his muddy boots made tracks in the kitchen and how he complained that I leave messes everywhere. The topic of the discussion was obviously not supporting the possibility that I killed my husband but the detective refuses to rule me out. I think he just doesn’t want to seem like he’s playing favorites between me and the suspects, considering this man used to come over to my childhood home for dinner parties hosted by my parents.

    This morning I woke up and made breakfast for my mother-in-law. She came out of her room in her nightgown and sat before the plate I set on the table for her. “I’m going to my house today,” I whisper to her. After she puts her fork down she says, “Oh really, what for?” I go back to cleaning up the dishes and reveal, “I left a picture of us there. The police said I could get it so long as it does not disturb the area of Ray’s—.” I would continue if it weren’t for the tears welling up in my eyes. Mrs. Carver stood to comfort me and wrapped me in her arms. “I’m okay with you going as long as you have an officer from the station escort you,” she says and lets me go to get dressed.

    When I walked into the police station, I felt a shiver run down my back. It felt as if the killer of my husband was somewhere in the room and the somber yet frightened looks I got from the officers and secretaries seemed to confirm my thoughts. I saw a hand reach out for my arm and turned around. It was the detective with handcuffs in his hands. It finally occurred to me that he wasn’t reaching out to console me but to handcuff me. I nauseously fell to my knees as he said, “Miranda Carver, you are under arrest for the murder of your husband Ray Carver inside your residence. You have the right to remain—.” At this point I was frozen in shock and had to be carried away to an interrogation room. 

    As I was being questioned on my whereabouts the night Ray was murdered, the detective showed me photos that had been taken of me leaving the crime scene just minutes after my husband’s death at 11:42 pm; that was around the same time I checked into my hotel on my trip and went to bed. The detective shows a video of me entering the hotel that night and at the same time pushes forward the photos of me carrying a large and bloodied butcher’s knife just outside my front door. He looks at me for a while waiting for an explanation so I tell him, “I never thought anyone would know my secret and I have to keep it that way. You of all people should know that.” I use the bobby pin in my hand to unlock the cuffs. The look of horror on the detective’s face is all I need to finish the job of covering up my tracks. “Tell me,” I start, grabbing the sharpened pencil from the desk, “what should my new name be? I’ve always wanted to be a Rose. It sounds innocent.”

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