“Reflection” by Sassi Bhutto
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Sassi Bhutto gets the shock of her life.
I don’t remember how I ended up doing what I was doing. Every fiber of my being shook when the alarm went off as the clock struck seven. I threw a glance at the clock and then looked at the view outside the big glass wall in the lounge, reminiscing about the time I spent planning this vacation out and how excited I was. I thought things would work out between me and Richard if we spent some time together. In a couple of seconds, my mind was drawn back to what I had to do. Brackish drops of tears mixed with mascara painted my face black.
“Get up, get up get up, you fucking whore. Clean up your mess,” I rebuked myself.
Some minutes later, I will be running frantically from the bedroom to the kitchen and back to the bedroom, grabbing any cloth piece I can get my hands on—bed sheet, hand towel, a tissue box too—thinking about what will happen now that my rage demon is fed. I came to Vancouver—the busiest, most beautiful, and also the biggest city I have ever seen—with my husband, Richard who is dead now because I killed him. I was so blinded by vehemence that I didn’t realize I was hitting a dead man. Frustration and sorrow took over the feeling of rage, and minutes later I was wiping his blood off of the tiled floor. No matter how hard I tried to clean it, the blood went everywhere on the floor. Fucking Monday, I thought. His beautiful blue eyes changed in color and form. I could no longer stare at him. I started sobbing and choking on my tears. Distraught with fear, I reached out for the cordless phone and dialed Cynthia’s number. Two rings later, I heard a familiar voice. It was my sister.
“Cynth, I don’t know what to do. I ended it. I was tired and sick of his habits. He kept repeating his mistakes and I . . . I felt stupid. He exploited me. Cynth, I . . .”
Between my sobs and wailing, I thought I heard her say, “Hello?”
She couldn’t hear me. I hung up and started staring at the skyline, the tears in my eyes creating a bokeh effect on the already beautiful view. Flashbacks from the day we went cruising diverted my attention. I recalled the clear blue sky in the morning, and the clouds that floated over the top at night, which occasionally blocked the beautiful full moon. I was most amazed at the luxurious cars everyone drove in this city.
Then I reminisced the night at the pub downtown. Richard and I were having fun at the pub. Ten minutes later, he was nowhere to be seen. Our mutual friend, Ryan, who was also our guide for the week, said something in my ear. Since the music was too loud, I couldn’t hear him. He led me off the dance floor, where I saw Richard with someone. I was angry. That night Richard crashed at Ryan’s. The next day he brought roses and chocolates. I was sitting in the lounge of our luxuriously furnished penthouse when Richard walked in. It was hard to not look at his charming figure kneeling beside me. I couldn’t stay mad when he looked at me with his devilishly attractive crystal eyes. But I was upset. This emotional abuse had been going on for three years now.
The sirens from the ambulance and the police cars were yet another diversion. My heart skipped a beat, and I resumed my business. Shoving the bloodstained sheets in the garbage was not a good idea. My mind stopped working, and I was still. In the meantime, the police had already barged in and were in the living room searching rigorously.
“Sir, I’ve found something,” said one of the officers standing behind the long sofa in the lounge.
The officer in charge walked toward him.
“Middle-aged Caucasian woman, dead due to head injury,” announced one of the two paramedics.
I stood breathless and paralyzed. The officer in charge walked into the kitchen, stood right in front of me near Richard’s body, and didn’t even look at me. No one noticed me. Could it be . . . ? I walked to the sofa only to confirm my apprehensions. The other body behind the sofa was mine. I looked at the glass wall, and I didn’t have a reflection.
SASSI BHUTTO is an absent-minded professor in the making. She is a visiting faculty at SZABIST University and is also doing her PhD from there. Art has always fascinated her and therefore, she reads and writes stories.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to [email protected]. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Mar 1, 2016
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