"Scent of Mahogany, Part 1"
Note: This is in 2 parts due to max char lengths in blog posting.
December 13, Tuesday 3:04am
The digital Sony clock cut a dim red haze through the sparsely furnished apartment. Thomas squeezed shut his red rimmed eyes. The nausiating weight in the back of his throat lifted, temporarily. Wiping the cold sweat off his brow, he sighed deeply. With a shaky hand, his fingers prodded the thick darkness until he found his tattered pack of Marlboros. Lighting the ciggerette, his mind frantically wandered.
" I can't believe she's really gone," he said to the lonely apartment, caressing his wife's pillow. "Oh... Emily..." the scent of her mahogony coffin still lingered in his nostrails.
December 12, Monday 2:47pm
"How was your weekend, Sarah?" asked Emily, unconciously twisting a lock of hair around her finger. Sarah ceased her incessant typing, spinning her corporate office ****chair to face Emily. Their knees brushed lightly due to the obnoxious confines of their shared cubicle.
Pulling off her heels with a soft grunt, Sarah gently massaged her aching feet. "Oh, you know, the usual. Finally got to play a little catch up at the house. Cleaning here and there, helped Bobby study for Friday's big spelling bee! He's becoming quite the competitive young man, just like his father." she smiled, revealing two rows of perfectly formed teeth. "Mike and I found a sitter for the little guy, and we went out to dinner. The first time in.. oh must have been months!" her laugh was beautiful. "How about you, Emily? How'd your weekend go?"
Emily smiled. "Well, actually-" she stopped abruptly as a shotgun blast thundered through the office, followed by screams of pain, terror, or both. Kelly and Emily froze, eyes wide. Another blast rocked the complex, followed by more screams. Emily's teary eyes were locked on Kelly's. Gathering all the courage she could muster, Emily rose onto unsteady legs and cautiously peered over the white cardboard wall. Anxiety tore at her pumping heart and churning stomache.
She saw a man in a nondescript business suit- Scott was his name, one of the company's consultants- plead for his life down the barrel of a .12 gauge pump action Remmington shotgun.
"B.. Bob. It's me. Sc..Scott. D..d...don't do this," Scott was stuttering, and having a great difficulty standing. "It.. It's me, b..buddy. Our.. our w..w..wives go shopping togethe-" Emily watched in sheer horror as everything above Scott's shoulders vaporized. She tried to scream, but the only thing that came out was an odd clicking noise. She could smell burning hair.
Bob's periwinkle blue button down shirt was dotted with blood, like so many stars in the night sky. His face was so contorted in hate, rage, and total insanity that Emily didn't even recognize him. Slowly looking up from Scott's mutilated corpse, Bob's blank stare met Emily's. Her legs gave out, and as she hit the ground she realized she had urinated on herself. She couldn't get rid of that smell of burning hair. Grabbing a trashcan, she vomited.
Sarah was under her desk, knees pulled tight against her chest. Rocking back and forth, she muttered some Christian prayer over and over again. Another blast cracked the air and Sarah lost conciousness.
Emily, weeping silently, knew that she was going to die today. The realization of this fact left her feeling numb. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. In an almost etheral state, she thought about how she was supposed to make dinner tonight for Thomas. Behind her, she heard heavy breathing. A cold finger ran down her spine as blood rushed to her head. Rapidly losing her grip on conciousness, she slowly turned her head.
The shotgun was resting casually on Bob's shoulder, his eyes screamed raw insanity. He was smiling so wide it looked painful. His blue shirt was now deep maroon red. Emily tried to choke out a plea, but only a soft whimper escaped her lips. Closing her eyes, she waited for the release from this nightmare that only death offered.
Hours later, a Baltimore forensic scientist matched the teeth found to Emily Lockhardt's dental records.
December 12, Monday 10:39am
The soft but harsh shrieking pierced Bob's sensitive ears as he twisted a lightbulb gently into the socket. He squinted against the brilliant light as it clicked home.
"Hey Bob." said a passing voice. Robert Pierson was known as "Bob the Maintinance Man" here at LuciTech Corp., a highly respected software firm.
"Hey, Scott." Bob said absently, climbing down the rickety ladder. The company had enough money to justify 4 shipments of leather furniture, yet Bob was still using this same ladder for over 8 years. Tucking in his shirt, he spun around and nearly knocked over Preston Braun. Preston was head CEO of LuciTech, overlord of this corporate concentration camp. His peons swarmed the beehive of cubicles, performing their mundane tasks in a mechanical and emotionless manner.
"Sorry Mr. Braun, didn't see you there. I was just-"
"Bob, we need to have ourselves a little chat." Adjusting his silk tie under his three piece italian designer suit, which was worth more than Bob's entire wardrobe in all probability, Preston cleared his throat arrogantly. Sipping Starbuck's latte' from his generic "#1 Boss" mug, he weighed Bob's blank expression.
"Yes?" Bob offered, wanting to end this awkward silence.
"I'm going to cut this right to the point, Bob. I was never a man of foreplay." Bob ignored the tasteless humor in his remark. "You know about last year's IG team, correct?"
Bob pretended to think. Nobody could forget the inspection team, who put more than 30% of LuciTech's employees out on the streets. The inspectors called their job titles "expendable."
Bob's palms began to sweat. "Well, Bob, this year they asked if I'd do a preliminary inspection prior to their arrival, save some time this year you follow?" Preston glanced at his Rolex.
"Yes, sir..." Bob could feel the color drain from his face.
"Bob, you're a good guy, but you know the fix I'm in. We have to cut corners. Bob, I'm going to be as frank as possible. Your appearance is simply unpresentable. You were late to work today, by several hours. I'm sorry Bob, I have to let you go. I'm sorry, and good luck." before Bob could even begin to rebut, Preston was strolling down the right aisles in the honeycomb of cubicles.
Standing next to the old ladder, Bob's mouth hung wide. Something in his head broke, he felt it, almost as if a tiny wall crumbled. 'Late this morning?' he thought, in a rage he had never before felt. 'That bastard Preston knows about my wife last night! He knows about the divorce!' Bob felt nothing. He didn't feel his feet touch the ground as he walked out to his car. He only knew one thing. He knew what he had to do.
December 11, Sunday 8:14pm
Bob began pacing the room, not paying attention to the blaring television. His stomache was growling, from both hunger and anxiety. There was still no sign of his wife- or dinner. Picking up the phone with a sweaty hand, he hit redial again. The familiar answering machine service greeted his ear. He could vividly see her broken body wrapped around the steering wheel, in a ditch somewhere. Flinging the cordless phone against the wall, plastic schrapnel flew in every direction. He wiped the cold sweat off his brow with an unsteady hand and turned off the T.V.
As if on cue, the front door opened and with it came a wave of relief as the crippling anxiety lifted, followed by anger. Balling his hands into fists, he walked toward the kitchen where he could hear her unpacking groceries. She saw him as he rounded the corner.
"Bob. I'm sorry I'm late but you won't believe who I-" their eyes locked. "Bob, what's wrong?"
"Three hours, Rachel. Three God damned hours! I've been worried sick! Where were you?! Why isn't your phone turned on?! Is a call too much to ask from you?!" his face flushed, veins popping out of his throat and forhead.
Rachel's mouth hung open. "Bob... I... I'm sorry. I didn't-"
"Yeah you're always sorry, aren't you?! You know how much I worry! HOW MANY TIME DO I HAVE TO SAY IT?!"
"Bob, calm down. I'm sorry. I ran into an old friend, you remember-"
"Always with the damned excuses, Rachel." breathing heavily, he was dangerously near the brink of losing control. Rachel, a petite woman, cowered in the presence of her husband's rage like so many times before. Bob's severe anxiety problem mainly focused around her. He had to know exactly where she was going and when she would be home every time she left the house, and he would still call her cell phone, completely out of breath, asking if she was okay. As the years passed, Rachel slowly came to the harsh realization that this wasn't simply just a phase he was going through.
Rachel narrowed her eyebrows, determined. She had been kept prisoner in her own home for too many years. Folding her arms across her chest, her mouth tightened. Bob seemed to recognize this text book image of defiance as his yelling ceased. He read everything in her eyes, and the color slowly drained from his face.
"Rachel..." his voice now soft, but hoarse.
"No, Bob. Now it's your turn to shut up. This... your obsession... Bob, you have a problem. A very serious one, and you need to get help. I can't stay here anymore. Not for another minute. I'm sorry, Bob. My attorney will be in touch." Now it was Bob's mouth that hung open as the door closed behind Rachel. Somehow he knew that he'd never see her again. He had inflicted a wound that could not heal.
Slowly, as if in a dream, he guided himself into the living room. He felt strange- detatched, as if he were outside his own body and simply a spectator. Collapsing onto the couch, he began to weep silently.