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News & Features » March 2018 » “The Salty Dog and the Sea Maiden” by Linda M. Scott

“The Salty Dog and the Sea Maiden” by Linda M. Scott

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, a husband’s online addiction turns deadly.

The Salty Dog and the Sea Maiden
by Linda M. Scott
Cape May, New Jersey

She sat on the bench and watched the sun drip into the ocean. Barefoot couples stood on the beach and clicked their wine glasses in a toast to another beautiful day.

Eve never felt more alone. Her nerves were frayed like a hundred exposed wires. Again, she discovered evidence of her husbands addiction to online porn. On his computer there were videos of him masturbating to the tantalizing spectacle. The latest were pubescent girls. His fetish now deemed criminal.

Resurrected memories of a dark period barrel-rolled past her. It had been five years since she confronted him with his other life, after discovering his treasure trove of adult porn videos on thumb drives, memory cards, and portable hard drives. Frank had played the ashamed man filled with remorse, followed by promises of reformation.

Id sooner cut my arm off than to lose you. Ill do anything to make it right, anything.

After months of marriage counseling, he became a different person, no longer controlled by his obsession. They agreed that a permanent move to their beach house would cement their renewed dedication. Hed work from home as an engineering consultant. Shed forfeit her position as a top producer real estate agent. Since her commission had satisfied the mortgage there was money for Eve to breathe life into the Victorian house. The wiring and outlets were not up to code, and the slate roof leaked, but it was their slice of heaven.

Frank and his young wife were inseparable. They danced at the Cape May convention center, dined at fine restaurants, and often took in a play. Anywhere she wanted to go, he was happy to accommodate her. She never felt so special. A flame grew, the wall of ice between them had finally melted and she trusted him without question.

Many of the surrounding Victorians had become bed and breakfasts. Eve painted the board and batten siding in vibrant lilac and turquoise and filled it with antiques. With the restoration on the 1869 house near completion, Eve was euphoric.

Darling, what do you think of the name Sea Maiden?

He glanced up from his phone.

You know, for our bed and breakfast. We need a name.

He snorted, Listen, this hobby of yours has gone too far. I rarely question the ratty furniture you bring into our house, but farming out bedrooms to strangers is off the table. You know we discussed this.

I gave up a good job for what? I need something. You agreed earlier.

I never really agreed. Maybe when were as old as the farts thatd pay to stay here, but not now. Frank couldnt admit to himself that he was already on the downside of that pyramid.

The fire between them died rapidly. No longer could she believe in his promises of redemption as their sex life mirrored their relationship. Sex reduced to pecks on the cheek and excuses of exhaustion from putting in so many hours, hours he never fathomed that his boss would demand. He sequestered himself to the den. She knew he wasnt working overtime. His pay reflected that lie.

In late fall, Frank would don his wetsuit and hit the water. He said it pumped up the blood, made him feel alive. Forget the fact that he had to increase his heart meds to quell his heart from doing somersaults.

After his night swims hed luxuriate in hot baths in the metal claw foot tub, adding bath salts, perhaps to mimic the sea. Frank often took his computer in with him, placing it on a small board that crossed the tub. Eve never questioned his motive. She knew.

Earlier that day, Eve confirmed that the laptop charge was low and the bathroom extension cord had recent cuts to the plastic. She heard him fumble for the charger while she stood silently by the door. It was one A.M. She recognized by the frenzied splashing that he was in a compromising position. Eve flung open the door and pushed the laptop into the tub as water hit the frayed extension cord. His eyes startled wide and his body, along with his heart, vibrated as arrhythmias rattled on.

***

LINDA M. SCOTT is a writer living in the Philadelphia suburbs when she’s not on the beach at the southernmost point in New Jersey. Her flash pieces appear in Everyday Fiction and Connotation Press. She holds a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania.

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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 info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Mar 27, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder, Original Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , ,



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