The Ute spat heavily, then coughed with relief as the engine shuddered briefly, as if saving face. It settled to a rhythmic purr. Suzanne slammed the door and roughly cranked the gearstick. The wheels lazily rolled forward, crunching gravel beneath with a satisfying squeeze. She switched to high beam as they reached the bitumen with a slow left turn, the headlights illuminating the branches along the lonely road, as they journeyed on. A doe darted across the road; well-lit and not close enough for alarm. Suzanne pressed the brake gently in case more deer appeared. She looked at the shotgun sitting on the passenger seat. Deer were the least of her worries at this time of night.
The small road sign, indicating Avonvale State Forest, grew larger. Suzanne slowed the Ute, bringing it to a wary halt at the turnoff. She sat for a while to gather her senses, for the late hour and the strangeness of the location, jarred against routine and made for a dull unease. The surrounding darkness refused to bear witness; the depth of the quiet, indignant to human folly. She looked at the gun again, then at her hands, resting in her lap, upon her cargo pants. There was a dark stain that she hadn’t noticed before. ‘Shit’ She thought to herself. ‘I’ll have a job getting that out.’ With that thought, Suzanne broke into a laugh, snorting to try and stifle it, then letting rip with a ferocity and volume that startled her. Her hands clasped at her mouth in embarrassment. She pulled them across her face, and as they released, shy tears dripped down her cheeks.
Up to the last minutes, she hadn’t wanted to do it. She had hoped for a saving grace, but hope scoffed in the face of it. Simon had drunk his coffee laced with Valium. She imagined he wouldn’t. She had tried not to stare. As he slept sprawled on the sofa, she stood over him and wondered lazily, why no-one arrived to stop her. Events had unfolded duly, after Suzanne had stopped taking the pills that had fogged her mind so long; The ridiculous lies, the discovery of betrayals and debts, the realisation that she had married a narcissist. This was the right thing to do. It was the only thing. Simon would be freelancing in the wilds of Borneo and wouldn’t be back for three months. There were no camera’s this far out to track her movements, and thanks to Simon, she had no close friends left to drop in and check on her. His bags were packed. She would burn them later at her leisure. He would simply disappear.
A low growl brewed in her throat as she stood over Simon with gnarled shoulders. She had poked his ribs with the broom handle. He didn’t stir. She had yanked the pillow from under his head. He did not stir. She had slammed the pillow on to his face and pressed hard, for what seemed the longest time. He stirred. She pounced on to him to restrain his half-hearted flailing limbs and pressed harder. With a final shudder, he went limp. She kept pressing. Slowly, Suzanne relaxed her grip, sitting there atop her ‘sleeping’ husband. She shook the numbness out of her fingers and placed her head on his chest and listened intently; the slowest beat tapped against her ear, muffled by flesh and clothing. The beat was not repeated.
Suzanne always considered herself a kind and caring person. Only deranged and damaged people are capable of nasty deeds and she wasn’t one of those. Well, not out of choice. She had discovered that part of herself that she fancied, lurks inside us all. The safety switch gone beserk. Her revenge was full on anaphylaxis, when an irritating rash would suffice. It’s strange, she thought to herself, that there is this whole other person, waiting in the wings. Suzanne was a warm hearted, empathetic person on the whole. To be that other person, she had to step out of that comfortable and familiar temperament; step out in to the cold for a while.
She stood in the darkened forest and released the Ute’s side tray, eyeing the tarped mound dispassionately. She had the strangest feeling that she was standing beside herself as a watcher. She watched as Suzanne placed a tarp on the ground and rolled the mound down on to it. She watched as Suzanne dragged the ‘body’ to the prepared hole, and rolled it in with a satisfying thud. She watched as Suzanne covered the body with dirt and patted it down, placing branches over it. She stood there trying to feel something, besides her hollow bones, thinking she should say something.
‘I’m sorry.’ She said at last.
Suzanne returned. And turned and walked away.
© Tropical Writers Inc 2024