The drive to the police station seemed to take forever. I looked out the window to watch the beginning of rainfall on the busy streets of the city and wondered if we’d ever get there. Some part of me seriously believed Mara was going to appear again and cause some kind of traffic accident that would assure Sam and I would die. Of course, I was still grappling with whether I was finally going out of my mind or if I was really seeing the apparition of Mara. Had she returned as some sort of vengeful spirit because I had tried to move on? As droplets of water splattered on the glass of the car window I was looking out of, I was given this gray, distorted view of the world that seemed to mimic the events of the last few days. Everything was distorted and the truth was lost somewhere in the rain. The sound of Sam’s cellphone ringing to the tune of “Crazy Bitch” by Buck Cherry. I disliked that song almost as much as I disliked the person it was associated to.
The conversation between Sam and Elanor involved a lot of him saying ‘Wait…’ and ‘calm down…’ and ended with ‘We’ll be right over.’ The penetrating stare I gave Sam demanded an answer and I got one that began with a turn down a street that I know could never take us to the police station we desperately needed to get to right now.
“Elle’s freaking out, Patrick. I promise we’ll go to the police once I make sure she’s all right.”
“Sam, I know she’s you’re wife, but nothing is more important than this right now. Let’s just—“
“No! We’re going to check on Elle now! If it was your fucking wife, you’d do the same!”
Unintentionally, Sam just verbally punched me in the throat. I was robbed of any protest I could have made to his logic. Part of me wanted to throttle him because he had to know how important clearing his name was with that Veronica’s cellphone, assuming of course he was innocent. It just occurred to me then that Sam could be in this with Elanor too and this was all just a ploy to get me someplace where they could kill me quietly. I felt like I was going to vomit with the tension of it all. Despite my gut feelings on the matter, I asked the question that would have been expected of me to ask. If Sam has a hint that I’m not buying this possible crock of shit, he might just kill me now.
“Alright, Sam. Why is she freaking out?”
“Doesn’t make any sense. Think she’s just going crazy.”
“Crazy, like how?”
“She’s just crying and spouting nonsense. Just want to make sure she’s all right.”
I frowned but didn’t press further. That really did sound like a made-up excuse that was meant to lure me into a death trap. I looked out the window again, but not to study the dreary world presently engaged in a downpour. I was trying to figure out if jumping out of a moving car would be any less lethal than going home with Sam. We were going about 60mph in a 45mph zone. I’d probably die from head trauma if I made a jump for it. Then there was the matter of Veronica’s cellphone still stuffed in Sam’s pocket. Unless I had the element of surprise and a baseball bat, I wasn’t going to get that phone back from Mr. All-American Football Hero. I was going to have to let things ride out and hope that my growing paranoia isn’t the result of me losing my marbles.
* * *
“Hey, thanks for not making a big deal out of this.”
“It’s fine Sam. Let’s just make sure she’s alright and get to the police.”
“I’m sure it’s nothing. You know how freakin’ emotional women get.”
“What was she getting ‘all emotional’ about anyway? She still thinks you and Veronica…”
“No. That’s the funny part. Kept on going on about Mara being here.”
Sam had just explained that the moment he unlocked the front door of his home. Every instinct in my body wanted me to turn and run with the horror of it, but where would I go? Home? Mara could be there too. To the police? They’d lock me up before I was halfway done explaining how my dead wife is possible suspect in the murder of Veronica Stiles. Instead of running, or any other justifiably sane responses, I chose to do the one entirely not-sane thing. I stayed. I stayed because I was tired of being haunted by Mara’s memory and if this really was Mara’s spirit hunting me down with such malice, then it was time for me to face her. I had no idea how I was going to deal with such a confrontation, should it come to pass, but I was ready.
I was jarred from my inner turmoil by the sound of gunshots. As the distinct scent of gunpowder filled my nostrils, I saw Sam fall to the ground with two gushing crimson holes in his chest. Elanor was holding the gun. She was wearing a pink silk bathrobe and her hair was wild and unwashed. She looked like she had just woken up and decided to kill Sam. Wordlessly, she trained the small revolver on me and without thinking I charged her. Woman or not, I was going to beat this bitch within an inch of her life and call the cops.
Her uncontrolled bellow of rage filled my ears, followed by three more thunderous cracks from the revolver. All the aggression, all the strength I had built up suddenly deflated from me as I fell to the pretty brick-face walkway with an anticlimactic thud. My sight was blurring, but I watched with broken fascination at the tiny rivers of red trickling through the spaces between the bricks. My life was ended and the lingering pain from the gunshot wounds aside, I was happy to be dead. It meant I was free of all this and the torment it brought me. Yet, as the last moments of my life came and went, I turned my head up at the sound of Elanor’s voice.
“It’s done. You can rest now.”
It was Mara she was talking to. I knew because as my end came, Elanor and the world became darker and Mara’s spectral visage became clearer, more distinct. My last words weren’t words at all, but laughter. She might not forgive me but at least we were reunited. All of us could find peace now.