Login   Sign Up 


Torrential Shortcomings

by Mattyai16 

Posted: 28 March 2003
Word Count: 2210
Summary: A thriller based around the life of a man who comes home from work on Valentines day to find his wife dead. This is a complete mystery to him, and as the story goes on the reasons slowly unfold....

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

Looking back on it, everything else just led to this point. This glorious moment I realised that this was it. This was the pinnacle of life itself, my crowning moment. . . .

* * * * *

The rain thrashed hard against the panes of glass. The constant vibration of the windows was only drowned out by the continuous whistling of the wind. The curtains closed tight and windows shut and bolted. The room was cast in practical darkness, with only the occasional flicker of light creeping up the ceiling as the flames danced in the fire. The warmth was radiating from the fireplace to all corners of the room. The condensation on the windows was dense. I lay with her enveloped in my arms, our legs intertwined on the rug in front of the fire. My body pressed against hers in an embrace of more than just casual lovers. She fell asleep as I softly tickled her arm. I had only met her seven months previously but I knew that she was it. She was the one I wanted, needed, to carry on living. Every waking moment away from her my mind would drift away from life into a dream world, and every moment with her was just like this dream, entirely fulfilling. I could say for the first time in my life I was truly happy, with no regrets. I found my attention strayed no longer to attractive waitresses or glamorous ladies on the high street. I was satisfied with her as the woman in my life and would take every opportunity to show her off to my friends whilst spending as much time as I could intimately alone with her. Although I never told her, I planned to marry her soon.

* * * * *

Then the nightmare began. The night was similar in many ways to that glorious night but would turn out so differently.
I can vividly remember the tumultuous shudder of the pavement as the water sliced away at it. The constant barrage was unceasing in its fury. I feared for my life as the rain slapped against my flesh, causing searing pains on my neck. I was anticipating huge dents in the ground from the sheer force of the impacts. The brilliant flashes of light, from the dark clouds above, illuminated the faces of strangers as I strode forward. I was drenched, soaked to the skin and freezing. My hands were like ice, and they were warm compared with my feet. My boots had long since given into the rain and I was now walking in sodden socks and pool infested shoes. It was not far to home now though.
I strode forth though ignoring the look of amazement as people in cagoules stared at me as if I was some alien-being, as if they had never seen someone drenched before. I considered glaring back but thought better of it. Instead I thought of her. I knew this journey would be worth when I walked through the door. Her face would be a mixture of fear and relief as I clambered up the steps to the doorway. It would be all worth the wait when I delivered the roses from behind my back. I took out my mobile phone, which I begged was water-proof, and rang her. As it rang the first time I coughed, clearing my throat. On two I pictured her in her dressing gown hurrying to pick-up. It rang again and again. Eventually I gave up, assuming she was showering or perhaps in bed.
I walked on quicker than ever. I took large strides to avoid the gigantic puddles which lay in front of me, crossing road after road, with neon-lit lamps shining from steel lamp-posts. The bright white from car headlights shone into my eyes, burning my retinas. I blinked and carried on. I was sure she’d be worried about me by now. I knew that I would be if she had been gone this long, especially in this weather. I was a few hundred metres away now. I was a hair’s breadth away from seeing her, drying off and telling her all about my adventure. She would be captivated by the scenario, desperate to hear my every word. We would say goodnight, perhaps make love, and then fall asleep in each other’s arms. It would be another night that I would remember for the rest of my life. Every night with her was so special, so magical. I couldn’t put a price or word on every second I spent with her. She had an effect on me which made all my stress and fear disappear. She made me content with what I was and I loved her for that. Feeling appreciated by someone as amazing as her made my life so worthwhile.
I crossed the final road and as I saw the first glimpse of home around the corner, I paused. I stood rooted in the middle of the road. My feet were glued to the tarmac. I span by my hips to look behind. It was moving fast, too fast. The driver’s face suddenly flashed forward, the look of terror on her face matched only by mine. The lights beamed on me, showing my lack of reaction. The squeal of brakes was the jump-start I needed. I regained my reactions, uprooting my feet from the floor. I no longer felt the cold, the rain or the slopping of my feet in my shoes. I pelted as hard as I could for the pavement. The car continued, brakes unleashing an earth-shattering screech. I planted feet down on the wet tarmac, struggling for grip to propel myself forward with. I strained every muscle in my body, running purely on adrenaline. Every single movement was in slow motion. With arms flailing I made a final concerted effort, diving out of the way, colliding painfully with the curb. I turned to see the car flash by, the brakes glowing red. The driver and passenger were tensing all their muscles, their faces showing. Their bodies shot forward in the seats as the car finally came to a standstill. The driver sat in the seat for a second, her chest inflating and deflating three times. She opened the door, the loud clunk echoing through my ear canal. The thud of her shoes as she walked around the car was a sign of things to come. She had a look of immense anger and a slight glimmer of relief, but she was hiding that emotion.

“What were you thinking?! You weren’t were you? You just stepped out! I could have killed you. Do you think I deserve that on my conscience? I suggest you get up and walk home. Come on, get up and get out of here!” she hollered.
I was still stunned; my mind was five steps behind my senses. Just as she was about to slide into her car seat and slam the door I made to get up.
“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry . . .” I stammered, in a rather pathetic and clearly shaken voice.
I watched the vehicle slide into first gear and slip off, sending little waves of water to the pavement. I paused for a second, realising for the first time that my heart beat was thundering in my head, beating at a startling rate. I breathed deeply and slowly shook myself. I lifted my shoes slightly off the surface of the gravelled pavement and made my way to the driveway. My head was down; I was disappointed in my self. I felt a mixture of guilt for stepping in front of the car and incredible relief.
I looked up to see all the lights in the house were off. Was she asleep already? Would she really have left no lights on for me? Had something happened to one of her relatives? Or one of mine? I picked up my feet again and ran for the door, fumbling through my jean pockets for my keys. I reached the door and finally located my keys in my pocket. I tugged them from my pocket, bringing a miniature tidal wave from the pocket simultaneously. I hastily sorted through the keys searching for the front door key. The only external light I pulled on to give me a hand. I was temporarily blinded from the bright light. I looked down at the keys, which had water dripping all over them. After a few seconds of hopeless fumbling I found it.
I turned the key in the door, shoving the door open. It slid open wide revealing nothing but darkness. I stepped inside the door, squinting. I could see nothing besides darkness. I would usually shake my feet on the mat and slide them off but I didn’t. I had a bad feeling and this wasn’t the usual circumstances. I flicked the lights on, flooding my pupils once more. I saw nothing for a few seconds then my vision came back to me. The place was empty, deserted, well the hall anyway. I jogged into the kitchen, searching the notice board for any note from her. She usually would leave one. I flicked all the lights on as I ran from room to room. I could smell a burning and strode back into the kitchen. The oven was on, and the burning scent was uncontrollably strong. I flicked the oven off, not opening it. I needed to know where she was and I needed to know now. The fear had set into me now, harder than ever, more than it had when I had almost been shunted by the oncoming car, more than I had ever felt. I sought her refuge from the night but she wasn’t here.
I came to the foot of the stairs; I stopped temporarily listening for any noises. Nothing, nothing but silence was upstairs. The whole house screamed out emptiness. I planted my foot on the first stair and climbed, making every effort to be quiet, in case she really was in bed. I was hoping more than anything, praying that this was the truth. Then the rolling odour hit me. I had smelt this odour once before and I had wished at the time I would never smell it again. It was a mixture of blood and staleness. I lifted my feet high off the stairs as I sprinted from one step to the next, making loud thuds as I made contact with everyone. My arms were swinging to and fro; I was in a race I could not win though. I knew that smell only too well for my liking.
I reached the top of the stairs and headed straight for the smell - our bedroom. The door was closed. I shoved it gently with my finger tips - the shiny golden knob reflected the look of fear in my face. It swung open slowly; I took a deep breath expecting to see her lying there, dead. I was in a precarious state as I sniffed once more. I took a step into the room looking around, searching for the source of the scent. The bed was made, unruffled. My bathrobe was hanging up on the back of the door. The door swung hard shut, sending a quiver along my spine and increasing my heart rate rapidly. I stepped towards the bathroom door. I knelt down and the look of fear changed to bewilderment as I stared at the carpet. It was stained red. Then I knew. I pushed the door open, every moment revealing more of the puddle on the lightly coloured tiled floor.
This puddle was not unlike the ones I had trodden in outside that very night. It was shallower but this was due to the flat nature of the floor. The little grooves in the tiles led little streams of red across the floor, spreading almost to the very extremes of it. The door hit the edge and then was wide open. She was lying there, in the middle of the floor. Her dressing gown half around her, half soaked in blood. I crawled forward on the floor, sending wave after wave of blood across the floor. I placed my finger upon her neck. As I had feared there was no beat. Her face was as white as a sheet; her cheeks no longer had that rosy glow to them that I adored. Her eyes were wide open, pupils dilated and her mouth was closed. I touched her cheek with my hand. She was ice cold. Her face screamed out to me the fear, shock and pain she had felt. The wound was in her chest, the knife had been removed and there was a gaping hole in the front of her gown. I slid my hands from her cheeks down her neck and to her chest opening the gown here, revealing the wound. It was no longer pumping torrents of blood from it. It was a single clean wound, just off-centre. I closed the gown quickly. My hands were trembling. The realisation of what had happened had not yet struck me with the full wrath which it would soon after.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Anna Reynolds at 16:23 on 10 April 2003  Report this post
This is very powerful. I had to read it several times. The horror of his reaction when he finds the body of his girlfriend is really well conveyed, dreamlike, and the journey home, the near miss with the car, all soaked in a really strange atmosphere. The first sentence is really tantalising-- unusual and gripping.

Mattyai16 at 13:16 on 12 April 2003  Report this post
Thank you, the opening sequence is probably the most powerful set-piece in the story, thus far anyway. I'm hoping to receive equally constructive comments to the second post of 'Torrential Shortcomings'. I feel the second section is weaker than the first but i'd be delighted to hear comments nonetheless.

To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .