Relief of a gnarled heart

Short Story

This morning, I could barely sense the light sunbeam delicately stroking my face. I was entirely perplexed and awed by how smoothly I could breathe in, then breathe out. This dazed moment seemed to be outlandish, yet never-ending to me.

 I was no longer hitting rock bottom or limping in agony, nor did my vindictive habits play havoc with my mind. I was, finally, at the helm, so to say. I steered my own mind and body. Never have I experienced such a beaming and fierce joy during the tormented past years of my cankerous adulthood. Since I have finally done away with the smoldering, evil gazes that used to belong to the monstrous wight, more a demon than a man, part and parcel of the doom and gloom in my life passed.

My inner peace emerged by simply seeing clearly, getting away from the perpetual loop that used to cause all my irksome staggers. I am enjoying every sip of my morning coffee without venturing out of reality.

Even though the serene and pensive condition of mine engulfs me impeccably at the moment, I am aware of the miserable fact that this day is, at the same time, the last free day of my entire, potty life, at least, physically speaking. Still, I admit, haven’t ever been calmer during my rebellious years that were filled with harrowing tears. The crux of the matter is, that while walking in a maze, I ended up committing a sin, which I myself would rather define as truthiness. The doomsday was nearer than hell.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, look at this tangle, the relief of a gnarled heart.

A tiny ray of sunshine broke into the huge room, and exactly shone into my eyes, distracting me for the fraction of a moment. But there I stood, petrified in that moment, while having twenty-three pairs of judging eyes laying on me. My confession unravels the secret that could merely be revealed by the tell-tale beating of a culpable heart.

That morning was quite a significant one. After putting on my glistening diamond earrings and necklace, I dressed up in my festive, opulent Dior Haute Couture dress, of pallid color, quite a simple one, although characterized by a note of the romantic. It was not only a smart dress, but also a useful one, thanks to its length, as it offered perfect concealment for my stitches and scars, all of them proving the blind and sturdy aggression of the brute I had married twenty-three years ago. I wore a pair of flamboyant, scarlet heels, and my quilted bag of the same shade was stuffed with everything I decided I might need during my date. I looked into the mirror. The wrinkles reflected twenty-three years’ woe, the flushed face revealed my constant apprehension. Looking at the deprived face of mine, I trembled and quivered, let out a twangy whine. A tiny, weightless teardrop fell upon my gloves, and out of the blue, I started to see in retrospect each and every detail of the marriage that destroyed the vivid and blooming lassie I used to be. Having been forced into a marriage as an adolescent in order to improve my family’s financial status definitely meant nothing but strolling down the stairway to hell. Try as I might, I couldn’t put up with the idea back then, not to mention that straining myself to get along with my future partner turned out to be rather an awful nightmare. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I knew exactly that he was supposed to be more of a foe than a friend. However, little did I know that tying the knot with him would fatally turn my life upside down in the end. Wiping away my tears, I gained control over my emotions.

 My inner turmoil seemed to have vanished the moment I left the house. Driving towards the private beach where the date was taking place, I felt even more confident, the butterflies in my stomach ceased to flutter. Arriving at the beach, a blur of sunlight caressed me, as if some eerie forces stood by my side, backed me up along every step of the way.

I was alone, on a lonesome paradise, belted about by the sea, all water without a background. The shimmering water was blue of all shades and echoed bird-clamor. The shore was scattered with decaying coconuts, but I could definitely smell the depurating salty aroma of the sea. The palm trees stood as many feet tall in the air as one can depict, and they were quite densely grown. By the time the all-encompassing sea went golden, and the sun didn’t kiss my cheeks anymore that intensively, it was time that my date arrived.

 All of a sudden, I turned my head towards the robust palm trees, from where his steps could be deciphered, then I slowly leaned towards him. Now, my slender figure was right in front of his unalterable mold, but still, there was a huge distance between the two of us. I could outline his vague shape, standing in his tenacious and steady position, just like more than two decades ago, on the day I met him, right here, at the beach, just a few days before our wedding. He looked at me firmly, I glanced at him courtly, in spite of the fact that I was sizzling with hate in the inside. A dreadful silence held sway over our existence. However far away he was, I could clearly see him displaying a smirk on the face, the one that never faded away when looking at me. His devil eyes could burn my virtue to ashes by the wickedness and depravedness it revealed. We were, both of us, motionless. Standing there, I thought about the relatively impeccable life we could have lived if the incident wouldn’t have shaped our lives the way it did. What a frolicsome and happy family we could have been! Everyone would envy the picture-perfect family, living happily ever after, laughing and cheering together. Oh, how bewitched and astonishing it would have been if our paths didn’t go separate ways! But if we never lost little Annabel, if she was still among us! Her beloved, chubby cheeks, honey-colored skin, and those sooty lashes, all framed by the curly, golden locks of hair, she was truly the one and only ray of sunshine. If I could still hold her tight in my arms, grasp those cold, little hands and still feel the quiet beating of her heart! I would do anything to live the life I was supposed to live with my darling Annabel, the light of my life, I would even bear living in a world where this beast standing in front of me, on the shore, still exists.

Finally, I broke the silence by greeting him in a rather cold manner. He greeted me back, with that smoldering gaze. I looked upon the girdling lines of the horizon, so that he doesn’t see the highly-strung expression on my face. Then there we stood, on the beach, it was just like our first date ever. Never have I felt a will stronger than this. I was dying to find out the truth about the incident, the truth about how our daughter passed away. Or, to put it bluntly, I was keen on finding out how on earth could my bastard husband end up killing with cold heart and blood even colder his own heir, the darling angel of mine.

So, I made a slight step towards him. He did the exact same thing. For a brief second, I felt broken and in quandary. But I knew, it should be solved, and if not me, then who will find out the bare truth and who the hell would even care to look beyond whatever is on the surface, to dig deeper and deeper into the furtive world of a psychopath. After lingering for a while, I decided to take a handful of steps towards him. What wonder then, he did exactly the same thing, so we were closer and closer to each other. He was still smirking, yet this smile was worse than ever, and I urged towards him because of the terrible anger that controlled part and parcel of my mind and body.

When the distance between us dwindled and we were able to maintain a conversation, I stopped, then I saw him stopping as well. He was trying to hoax me, I guess. Firstly, to feel myself in safety, I grabbed my scarlet quilted bag, just in case I might need something from there. I waited for a few seconds, with the intention of negotiating with him. I was entirely intimidated by him starting to jabber to me.

“You look pretty. You see, some things never change.”

And the mischievous eyes seemed to have winked at me, while the lips pouted slightly.

“You know, the world is a perpetual loop of constant changes. Right now, in this fragile moment, I am speaking to you, so you hear me, but as soon as I shut up, you won’t hear my voice anymore. Then you will know how precious a moment can be, you can have it once in a lifetime, but you can never ever get it back, it’s irreversible. As a matter of fact, the things that really matter to us are irreplaceable once we happen to lose them. Am I right? Anyway, thanks for coming.”, I replied, pretending that I don’t feel like bursting into tears.

“Well, it’s a pleasure to see you again, darling. Hope you have finally recovered.”

“Of course I did.”, I lied to him.

“I’m glad then.”, he replied roughly.

“Scars remain, but I’m fine now.”

He smiled at me in such a hazardous way. I was scared.

“This date should, by and large, be held in the honor of our beloved Annabel. Because she was the mere linkage between the two of us. Don’t you think so?”, I asked.

“Darling, what’s past, that’s past. You said it some seconds ago. Once you lose something of paramount importance, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get it back. Remember?”

“That means that there’s no lost love between us as well. How could you do that? Our sweet little baby…”, and then, looking up at the setting sun, I recalled the delicate features of my little daughter whom I could never let go of.

“What? We have already discussed this over a million times. I did nothing to her.”, he claimed, then let out a smothered, sinful laugh.

“That’s not true. The blood. I could smell it in the stale air back then.”, I remembered. “It was my biggest mistake to expect you to take care of her. Only the two of you were at home, and you could never put up with a child’s cry. I can recall, even today.”

“You are wrong. Entirely bonkers. You shouldn’t suspect me. No one would believe a single word of yours, darling, at least as long as I have the power and ability to wangle the public’s mind. And the police, oh the police?! They couldn’t really get by, at least, not without my financial support. They are begging me for help.”

I was deeply, agonizingly resentful while looking at the perilous look of his eyes.

“What did you do to her?”, I asked and let out a piercing shriek.

“Her heart.”

Hearing this, my whole body was filled with poisoned fury. In the blink of an eye, there my hands were, in the quilted bag. I grabbed it. The delicate ice-cold weapon was lying in the palm of my hand. He started to laugh, and in turn, I started to move the mortal instrument in his direction. My fingers went pale, as I was holding the trigger so tightly. Without a single trace of remorse, but still in despair for a couple of chilly seconds, some of my remote instincts, steered by revenge, whispered to me. They told me to shoot him, and so did I, with calm and clarity in my head, crushed the pistol, so it clicked brusquely. With a restful sound it entered the middle of the evil chest, and the sand beneath went scarlet as his blood scattered.

My senses were numbed for quite a few seconds and seemingly, the entire world stopped for those bloody seconds. As I looked around, the spiritless rays of the remaining sunlight caressed my weary cheeks, and I soaked in the most tranquil of atmospheres.

My soul, body and mind have been relieved, liberated! Breathing in the crystal-clear, salty, fresh air filled my lungs with purity, my veins did not stop pulsing serenity into each and every of my organs.

And now here I am, standing in front of the jury, those twenty-three pairs of judging eyes looking so beastly at me. But they don’t get it. How would they? Eventually, how far can they go, and where’s the boundary between good and evil, guilt and innocence, or even, life and death? They might sometimes even blend together, as one cannot possibly exist without the other, its complementary factor. At least, I am at ease knowing that no matter how bloody my hands are, I am no longer suffering from the pain of being thirsty of revenge. Whatever happens from now on, it will be fine.

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