Behind Eyelids – Part Three

short story about reality and fantasy

Short Story

 

She screamed, her voice cracking, and clasped her hands to her face. Angry blisters erupted from where the water fell as her skin boiled and split. Red burns spotted her face and one of her eyes had been completely blinded. Taking a breath to scream again, she collapsed to the floor and rolled onto her side, her kicking legs scuffing against the kitchen floor.

He wasted no time. Taking the keys from his pocket, he went outside to the car and opened the trunk, removing a heavy pair of iron bolt-cutters. He strode purposely back inside with it slung over his shoulder, not bothering to shut the door. Standing over her, he hefted the bolt-cutters over his head and swung them down like an ax.

The impact broke her shoulder with a thick crack like firewood. As she rolled onto her back, he laid into another blow to her sternum, breaking it, as well as shattering at least one rib. She started to push herself away, panting in wet, heavy breaths. He put his foot on her chest and opened the bolt-cutters. With one blade in her mouth and the other under her chit, he swiftly split her lower jaw in half. Blood erupted from the wound like a volcano, spilling out onto the clean tile floor. A gurgle in her throat sounded as she raised an open palm toward him. With blades still unfurled, he brought them down onto her throat, the blow severing her spine and pinning her body to the floor.

Phil wiped sweat from his forehead and sighed, anger and fury leaving his body like an illness. Stepping over the body, he didn’t bother avoiding the bloody pool and left dark footprints on the hall carpet. With another weakened exhale, Phil keyed in the disconnect sequence.

But found only his empty palm.

He frowned. Sitting on the first step of the stairs, Phil again put in the key sequence. Instead of the sensation of button presses, however faint, he felt as if he was simply poking his own flesh. He tried again, using his right hand to type, double and triple checking that he had it right. He couldn’t forget what had become so routine.

Phil stood and sprinted to the kitchen. On the floor lay the bloodied, mutilated remains of his wife, of Kelly. Blood congealed thick on the floor and shined in the setting sunlight like new paint. As his mind raced, nausea gripped his stomach. Phil dropped to his knees, arms clutching the door frame, as hopeless terror poisoned him.

“Kelly…” he whispered. “I thought- I didn’t know. What- Kelly. Oh my God.”

And uncontrollable shaking took over his body. As much as Phil wanted to pull his eyes away from the atrocity he had committed, he couldn’t. An ache took over and he gagged, his dry heaving echoing through the silent house, eventually turning into sobs.

“Phil?” Kelly asked. “What’s wrong?”

Whipping his head around, Phil found Kelly standing over him in the hallway, with a gravely perplexed look across her face. She stooped down and put a hand on his shoulder, eyes wide with concern.

“What happened?” she said. “I’ve never seen you like this.”

“Kelly?” Phil whimpered. Tension fled his limbs as he sighed. “Kelly. Oh my God, Kelly. It was… Something went wrong with the simulator. I thought something…I did something stupid.”

“I was going to put supper on,” she said, rising. “You go relax and wait. I want something fast, anyway.” She crossed the kitchen to the stove, stepping over the corpse and leaving bloody bootprints with her high heels.

“You go relax and wait. I want something fast, anyway.” she said. “I was going to put supper on. I’ve never seen you like this. Phil? I’ve never seen you like this. I’ve never seen you supper fast and wait. What happened?”

Phil fell from his knees to his back and slowly backed away from the kitchen. Kelly took a box of noodles from an upper cabinet, emptied it into a pot, filled the pot with water, and set the pot on the stove. Immediately after, Kelly took a box of noodles from an upper cabinet, emptied it into a pot, filled the pot with water, and set the pot on the stove. Kelly took a cabinet of noodles from an upper water, emptied it into a stove, filled the stove with box, and set the stove on the pot.

A splitting pain shot through Phil’s head, starting at his temple. His eyes unfocused and he was struck by the pungent odor of burnt hair. He grasped at his head in desperation, finding the simulator under his fingertips. As he tried to rip it off, he only came away with wisps of hair, his head empty yet again. Phil could sense the trodes on his head and back, the glove over his hand, but in phantom sensations he could just as easily have imagined.

 

next: BEHIND EYELIDS – PART FOUR (FINAL)

previous: BEHIND EYELIDS – PART TWO

all chapters: Behind Eyelids

more by WILL HEMLEPP

photograph by Petras Gagilas

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