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Been reading a book from Steven King called ON WRITING. In one of the chapters, he gives  writers a prompt. He provides the background, and tells you to “…dig for bones.”  If you want to know what that means, you gotta’ read the book!

This little diddy is the result of that prompt and is my first attempt at Horror…{yikes}

love_sickness

Sonny sat at the light at 4th and Main for what seemed like an eternity listening to the updates, now across every band on AM radio.

“Again, this is a warning to be on the lookout for, what authorities are calling, a very dangerous woman.  If you see her, you are not to approach her but to notify the local authorities immediately. She was last spotted in the vicinity of Raleigh, NC, and authorities have reason to suspect she may be headed to the Myrtle Beach area.”

Sonny’s eyes widened. It’s been 5 years since he had her committed…

“Let me repeat…Do not approach the escapee. She is considered dangerous and, in fact, suffers from Paranoia and delusions, as well as depression since early childhood. Here to speak further about the effects of paranoia compounded by delusions is Doctor Sue.

“Thanks for joining us on such short notice Doctor Sue.”

“Mr. Rogan, it’s a pleasure.”

“What can you tell us about people who suffer from paranoia and delusions; what sorts of things should family members and friends look out for?”

“Well, the progression into paranoia can sometimes take years. Often times it is the effect of having lived in an extremely hostile or neglectful environment, or is due to other causes such as early childhood trauma. A lot of the time, the paranoia will be centered on a specific person or people that have normal associations with the sufferer.”

“Interesting…”

“That’s only the beginning Hal. As time passes, the sufferer becomes obsessed with imagined slights from their object of interest and might act out towards them in an aggressive manner, very often accusing that person of something they have never done; or conversely, these thoughts could brew silently, gathering steam inside the person–emotionally, and mentally creating this pressure pot scenario of spontaneous action-whatever that might entail.”

“Can you give me an example of this?”

“Certainly. Imagine if you will a person who acts normally among others…maybe even charming and persuasive. However, just under the radar, this person is conspiring to do harm in some fashion to their perceived ‘nemesis’; quite often in very creative fashion. They spend a lot of time developing ways to get back at this person for an act they start to see as momentous when in most cases it is absolutely false.”

“Wow. Scary. Can you explain the medical reasons, neurologically speaking, why this might happen?”

“There isn’t any solid evidence of physical…”

Sonny’s thoughts drifted off to that January night; the night he could no longer deny the illness that consumed Natasha, his young bride. If he’d only paid more attention to the signs, he might have prevented the inevitable attempted-murder, charges, and subsequent jail sentence she was now serving in Holy Redeemer sanctuary, home to the criminally insane: Ten years minimum and then mandatory review boards with a psychiatric panel. The odds were she wasn’t getting out anytime soon.

The light changed to green and Sonny turned the radio off. He drove the last two miles in silence not wanting to expose their daughter to the effects of mental illness…not yet. It was bad enough that at some point he was going to have to tell her about her own mother. It suddenly dawned on him that he never got the name of the escaped mental patient.

Too late now.

***

Seeing the blue-grey beamer pull up to Lily’s drive, Claire ran out of the opened door and into the waiting arms of her father.

“DADDY! You got my stuff?”

“I sure do.”

“Thaaaaank yooou! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are the bestest!”

“I bet you say that to all the dads.”

“Ha Ha.”

“Where is Lily?”

“She told me to tell you hi and goodbye. She’s on the phone with her editor.”

“Ok.” Lily was a bestselling author. He’d gotten lucky the day he met her. He still couldn’t believe after everything that happened, she was still around…still calling him friend.

He continued, “You tell her ‘Hello and I love her’ for me, hear?”

“Will do.”

“And I’ll see you tomorrow bright and early!”

***

The house would be quiet, and he told himself that was exactly what he needed. He opened the door and was swept with a sense of deja vu. He brushed it off as being the result of the newscast about the escaped patient. Still didn’t catch the name. Mentally, he made a note to look into that.

He walked to the kitchen and set the kettle on the burner. Turning, he was surprised to find his mug on the counter with a brand new tea bag still in its wrapper right beside it.

“What the…” Did he set this up this morning? Did Claire? He couldn’t remember.

Moments later he was seated on the couch in his study with his tea. The liquid had a bitter taste. Not something usual. He shrugged and took another healthy sip. Maybe he was coming down with something.

His focus blurred and distortions to his vision soon followed.”

“Relax. It’ll all be over soon.” An eerie, disembodied voice spoke.

Just as he was about to turn, he heard the sound of a gun being cocked directly behind his head.

“So it was you.” Sonny tried to sound calm.

Still holding the gun tightly to the occipital region of Sonny’s skull, Natasha moved with a precision that rivaled any practiced nurse. Swift and light on her feet, she swung her legs over the side of the couch and straddled Sonny, with the gun pointed directly at the front of his head.

“I’ve waited for this moment…dreamed of it. Planned it down to EVERY…LAST…DETAIL.” She seethed between ragged breaths. “Have you missed me my beloved husband?” She ran the fingers of her other hand through Sonny’s thick hair.

Her high pitched squeak scratched at Sonny’s ears and his pulse quickened. She sounded unhinged.  He knew he needed to get the glock away from his head and out of harm’s way.

“Why, in fact, I did!”  He remembered that Dr. Sue woman mentioning patients suffering from this effect were easily distracted.

He tried to look at her as if the love never died. He pictured, instead, Lily there in his lap as he said. “I am so sorry you had to endure such pain.” And he meant it.
Natasha was caught off-guard, and lowered the gun to her side.

“W…Why did you do it, Sonny? Why did you have me committed? You said you LOVED me!”

“I didn’t do it. It was Lily.”

“I knew it!” whispered Natasha “That’s why I had her eliminated!”

“How? Natasha? What did you do?” 

Natasha jumped off of Sonny’s lap like it was on fire and turned towards the window.

“I GAVE HER WHAT SHE DESERVED! SHE WANTED TO BE WITH YOU EVEN AFTER I TOLD HER YOU WERE DEAD! And it worked! Right, Sonny? Lily’s dead?!”

“’She is Nat! Tell me…how did you do it?” He asked in his most soothing voice.

Throwing her raven head back, she laughed uncontrollably.

“I sucked up to that new med student. You know; the one crushing out on me.”

Natasha lowered the gun to the dark, red wood of the table and walked with swinging hips toward Sonny, her trigger finger searing a path from her mouth to the gap between her silicone mounds.

“And?”

Sonny cocked his head to the side and acted like her body still had the power to reduce him to a puddle of goo. He was no stranger to her persuasive tactics. Only, he found her revolting now. The way she used her body and allure to seduce and hurt people caused him to belch bile… And if that didn’t work, she’d buy them with Daddy’s money.

“He stole a fox’s brain from the science lab. But not just any brain.” she boasted.

“This one was infected with rabies.” That laugh again. Her body limp with the effort, giving her the appearance of one of those possessed Raggedy-Ann dolls with those damn googly eyes.

“He cooked and grounded and we tested and tested…3rd times a charm, right Sonny? Getting to her was so simple…I MEAN COME ON! A MASSAGE THERAPIST? REALLY? It was like… a gift from GOD Sonny! I had to do it. I had no choice.” Her voice now more subdued.

“You understand. Right, Sonny?”

“How did you get to her? She rarely leaves the house.”

“Well, she had to work right?” Natasha reached up and interlocked her fingers around Sonny’s neck. He placed his hands on either side of her, wanting to keep her at a distance.

“Jackie…she owed me. She agreed to hire that home wrecker and then offer her a free massage, and I gave her the powder to add to the oil. All she had to do was rub it into Lily’s damaged skin.  Poor girl with her skin rashes! She should have learned to control her urge to scratch those itches. You know?”

“That’s incredible Nat.”

“Are you proud of me Sonny?” Natasha’s eyes danced with a satanic glow.

“Mmmm….very.” Sonny murmured as he pushed her up against the edge of the desk and dropped his hand on the gun.

“Show me, Sonny. Show me how proud you are of me.” She pouted.

“Oh… Natasha. Close your eyes.” He drooled.

Natasha threw her head back once more and closed her eyes like she was told; her long hair dangling and brushing against the polished steel.  A few seconds later, she heard the clicking of the hammer as Sonny drew back on it.

Her eyes opened just as Sonny set the muzzle to the center of her forehead.

A look of comprehension grew on Natasha’s face and for a moment, Sonny saw hints of the old girl, the lucid Natasha, before any signs of the illness.

For some reason, anger overwhelmed him, and he wanted so much to pull the trigger.

Natasha burned with new resentment and shot out “Claire isn’t yours! I screwed that medical student over and over again! You were never there for me…you always wanted the pure white Lily.  LILY THIS, LILY THAT. HA!! SHE’S… DEAD!”

“No, I’m not.”

Lily’s face appeared just behind Sonny’s. She held the lit cell phone for Natasha to see, and just as Natasha’s mouth fell open in shock, Sonny pulled the trigger.

Word Count 1, 731

**Artwork made using clipart and public domain images.

Unpublished work (c) S.L. Davis 2015

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