A Haunting Memory
By Margie Keane
George was sitting up in bed, sipping from a brandy snifter. For some reason he was thinking about his late wife. Maybe because it was Halloween, and it was a year ago to the day that she died. Not that he was sad about it. A malevolent smile lit his face. He laughed out loud remembering how he had gotten rid of her.
George and his wife, Alma had been married for 25 years. They had slept in separate bedrooms for ten of those years. George just couldn’t seem to keep his pecker in his pants, and he sure wasn’t good at concealing his affairs.
She told him she would stay with him while their three kids were still in college. But now all three were on their own and she was divorcing him. His lawyer had already told him that she would probably get at least two thirds of their holdings because it was her money that had started the company, and also because of his adulterous affairs.
With Alma’s money and a lot of hard work, the two of them had built a landscaping business into a multimillion dollar success with franchises in fifteen states. Two thirds was a lot to give up.
George was furious! “What was she so upset about?” he fumed, “She can come and go as she pleases, has her own bank account, they had a great social life. But she wanted to get rid of him. “Well, fat chance, babe, I’ll get rid of you first.” He stewed about this for days. Then an idea struck him. They had a meeting with their attorneys in two days. He could do it then.
The day of their meeting arrived, George realized it was Halloween. ‘Perfect day for a horror show,’ thought George. To Alma he said, “Look, there’s no point in getting two cabs. We can at least ride together.”
“Why not?” shrugged Alma.
George had his plan all worked out. They walked out of their apartment building to wait for their cab. There was a group of people nearby waiting for a bus. George saw the bus coming and knew it was his chance. As it got closer he pretended to lose his balance and bumped hard into Alma, knocking her off the curb and into the path of the bus. The bus’s breaks screamed but it couldn’t stop. Alma was thrown back onto the sidewalk by the force of the blow striking her head against a lamp post. The bus driver jumped out, already dialing 911, and knelt beside her.
“She’s still alive!” the driver shouted.
“Damn!” whispered George.
The doctor found George in the waiting room. “She’s in critical condition. She has a skull fracture, internal injuries, and is on a ventilator. It’s really touch and go right now, but she’s strong, she may pull through.”
“That’s what you think!” thought George, as he looked at her lying there with tubes running into her body, machines beeping.
That evening as George neared Alma’s room, a spooky story from his childhood came to mind. He smiled. The story ended with the perfect lines to end Alma’s story.
As George stepped into her room he started whispering: “I’m by the door, I’m near your bed, I’m by your side, (as he raised a pillow over her head), I gotcha!!”
He held the pillow over her face until the monitor showed a flat line. Then he quickly knocked over all the equipment next to her bed, pulling out all the tubes. He flung himself over her body, sobbing hysterically, crying, “She’s gone! She’s gone! By the time the nurses were able to get George off the bed and restart the machines it was too late. Alma was indeed gone.
The funeral was beautiful, the catered reception afterwards was elegant and George the perfect grieving husband. “Ha, ha!” laughed George, as he picked up his snifter. “Well, that’s all in the past. “ He glanced up at the mirrored ceiling he had installed in his bedroom and raised his brandy in a toast to himself. Yes, this past year had been great. Now his ladies came to his house, sometimes two or three at a time. No more need to sneak around. He started to take another sip of brandy, but stopped.
What was that sound? He thought he heard the creak of a door. Had he set the alarm? He couldn’t remember. Suddenly the lights went out. A dank, musty smell filled the room. George tried to move but he couldn’t! His limbs were like jelly! Then he heard it, a soft whisper, “I’m by the door, I’m in your room, I’m by your bed . . .”