Friday, August 5, 2011

Ace of Spades

Grace double-checked that all the addresses were right. Email wasn’t at all like the post- twenty years ago she’d kept a worn notebook with the street addresses for friends and family, made her lists from it when it was time to draw up the Christmas cards, each one personalized. No, email, she thought, was impossibly fast. People changed jobs, switched accounts, or just didn’t bother to check them. So much for the online address book. Still, it would suit her purposes today- she couldn’t wait two weeks. It had to happen by tomorrow.

It had been quite a pleasant morning. Not too bad for the last one she’d see. First, she dealt with the necessities: bleached the grouting around the bathroom tiles, rinsed out the bucket with more bleach, and checked that the fireplace was empty of ash. Then, she’d wiped all the other surfaces in the house. Three hours, all told. Plenty of experience, she thought, bitterly.

She tried not to think of the cellar, where the cement had finally set. All those awful months digging in the gloom, with the spiders and mice twitching in the shadows. Grace was glad that was out of the way. The cellar door had taken ages to board up and cover with carpet, too. Her fingers ached a little. Although just 45, she had felt her joints protest at the extra work.

The cat eyed her from the windowsill. Grace smiled. The poor thing was so dependent on her. It’d be hard for the authorities to find a place to keep a middle-aged cat, although, to Grace, Cleo would always be the kitten she’d found her as, teetering on legs no bigger than stubby crayons.

A noise made her think that the television was on, but that had ended abruptly two weeks ago, and she was actually thrilled not to have to listen to Don correcting it all the time. Disagreeing with the weatherman, mocking the talking heads during the news reports. She was quite happy not to hear Don, ever again, in fact.

The noise was just a roll of thunder in the distance. At the next blue flash, she counted: One hippopotamus, two hippopotamus, she counted until the thunder groaned again; it turned out that the storm was at least eight miles away.

She put on the skirt she liked. It showed off her knees, and she was proud of them. Knee-pride suddenly felt… silly. She chuckled to herself. A soft satin blouse made her feel warm, and showed just enough of her breasts to be both decent and a little daring at the same time. Grace was sad that the stilettos would have to wait for the next time she did this, but then she wouldn’t be around to see them.

Checking that the lights were off, except the one in the study, she thought again of the cellar. How easy it had been. Nobody had noticed Don’s absence. She had excuses and a fake sympathetic expression all prepared in case anyone had asked where he was, but no-one had. Oh, he’s gone to visit his aunt, she would have said. Very old lady that, it won’t be long now. She suddenly remembered, as she saw the glow of the screen in the corner that she needed to finish up.

Grace pressed “send”.

Grace was happy. Happy that he’d be blamed for everything. How many years of trays of food, expressionless lovemaking and then, towards the end, expressionless everything. He deserved what he’d get.

Going outside, she shivered. Not that cold was important right now, but it was taking the pleasure away from her.

She sat down on the side of the hole she’d dug over the past few nights, in the dark. It was a comfy fit. Launching herself into the damp earth, she looked up. Without all the other light, she could see the stars. None of them were shooting. They just twinkled, much as they had when she’d been born 45 years ago.

She grinned as she began pulling the dirt in on herself. Of how she’d made sure Don’s passport was gone, and how she’d asked a teenager to get the ticket in his name to somewhere tropical. Don! Don in the tropics! That was a laugh. He’d have moaned about the smell of suntan lotion, or the big ants, or something. Anything. That’s what he liked to do. Moan.

Taking her last few breaths, she looked up to see the cat, looking at her. The moon formed a halo against Cleo’s pointed ears. My angel, thought Grace. The last few chunks of earth slipped against her cheeks, and she thought that it was a little ironic: She’d struggled to get all Don’s angles completely secured in the cement, but she wanted at least her hand to be left for people to see.

The night disappeared as the soil toppled into the gaps.

Amanda’s computer made that alert signal she liked. It was the first notes of Fur Elise. She got up and walked over. New mail, it said. From Grace.

Hi, Amanda, I don’t have much time. Don’s been acting very oddly these last few weeks. I think he may be drinking again. He’s looking at me in a funny way, but I can’t describe it. I think he wants to hurt me. Please come and visit as soon as you can. Love, Grace.



  1. Loved it! Loved her calmly going about her well thought out plan. Poor Cleo though!


  2. Fantastic Scott! Reminded me a Roald Dahl tale. I can picture something like this coming true.

    Sad about Cleo, but I'm sure she will be okay.

    I really hope you do write that novel one day :).

  3. I'm a bit confused. Is she faking? The stilettos got me muddled. Now i cant stop thinking about it. Great story. Love the cat. I imagine it licking her fingers as they stick out of the earth.

  4. Thanks for reading it.. @Spot and @ Craig: The cat was the only witness.. @flyingscribbler: it was a bit clumsy- I was trying to say that she wanted to wear the shoes, but couldn't while she buried herself, but she hoped when they found her, and buried her properly, she'd get to wear them. And, btw, eeeeew! at the fingers!

  5. Interesting premise. I bet she gets away with it. You don't have to be abused to feel trapped in a marriage.

  6. Great piece Scott...was also confused about the shoes but get it now!!! I agree, you should write a book...


Say something! It can't be worse than what I have said. Note: Sometimes you have to press 'comment' twice. Stupid comments thingy.