Discovering Mona dead on the floor of my bedroom against the bed’s leg made a current shock running through my veins. Her hair was tangled desultory all over her dry sweat face like a moss nest fallen from its notched branch of a tree. Wide fixed gloomy eyes peering through her hair wisps generated high degrees of beats to my heart. Her sleeping gown was neat and clean, the bottom skin was clean, despite the strange look starting from her neck to the hair. I felt sultry all over as if I’ve just mistakenly accessed myself down in the abyss of hell, my legs went numb, my lips dry and my mind more than whirled as if my brain had launched on a rollercoaster. I thought, someone, somehow, somewhere out there should give me a great bottle of whisky and whisky and let me pass out quickly at this spot and restart on this scene latter. But would that make a difference on every illegal or legal ground of this earth? No! It would still be the same; Mona was dead indeed, for the first and last time.
Suddenly at the moment enormous emotions reeled in a flash to Jane, my soul native wife who had gone on vacation to the coast with her old school friends. Jane had promised to be back on the 13th of the upcoming month. It was October 27th, seventeen days to go, this aroused alarm in my mind. Good but not good at all, there was still time to create some explanations and think about what has to be done! As they say the results of infidelity, this result was looking at me with grave piecing eyes. When the liars bumped on to the shape of truth, they hit the spot where it hurts most. All this time they appeared sweet like honey, which made me not want to share it with anyone. I knew if I let someone have a lick, especially Jane, it will turn bitter, even to me. So I thought it is better to keep the sweet taste secret, yet even the air is watching.
Derrick is my name, the son of a bitch! I was in a freaking mess!
During school I knew sweet enticing ways to make girls fall for me, especially newcomers, and had more often got away with it. Therefore girls, who became aware of my lechery and lustful habits, used to call me by a pseudonym – dangerous zone. I was handsome, smart and handed my words intelligently when it came to proposing to a girl.
However, because of this habit I ended up in this situation – a dead woman in the same bedroom I share with my wife Jane, who was still on vacation without having any idea of this betrayal and the heartbreak I had ploughed for us. The blade came to a stop. It hit an underground stone and halted. The end was stuck, so was I – The dangerous zone. I thought about letting out a heavy sigh… what have I done?
No blood was spilled nor was there any signs showing she had wrestled with his or her killer. There was only dry grey froth on her lips. A bottle of diet coke I had bought for her early in the morning was placed half drank on the bedside table, and a novel laid on the covers. She must have been reading before all this had happened, I thought, and walked towards her. My feet were shaking as if they were made of rubber. This scene didn’t produce tears at all, but I felt them deep inside. They were up to the brim of my soul and felt like being as heavy as a ton. There wasn’t any exaggeration in my soliloquy; I could actually feel the utmost weight.
No! I couldn’t touch the corpse I had to call the police and that might lead to the killer’s arrest, I thought, but Jane was to find out and frankly that would be the divorce. Instantly a dark force influenced me to wrap the body in one of the covers, throw it in the boot and dump it somewhere far I had never been, especially in the sea. After a golf course I knew about that place and that was miles away, yes! Of course why not! After all it was the only option to make better this calamity that had shattered my personally embedded cheating legend. If later on they discovered her body floating above the sea, they would think she drowned suicide or any other way and if I won’t get caught life would go on as usually.
And still I sighed, my hands shaking. The courage was moderately week and I strengthened it a bit more and took a large duvet from the wardrobe. I came back to her, quickly spreading it over her, and then gathered her within the duvet. I picked her up feeling the weight slumping over my shoulder like a block of rock, then staggered as I went to the open door. My car keys were by the kitchen counter where I had left them. And soon the body was in the boot, I by the driving wheel heading to dump a dead secret girlfriend so that I won’t be nailed for the crime I didn’t do against the outer law but in the realm of the law that me and my wife shared. I didn’t kill her didn’t I? No! But she was dead, homicide committed by an outsider. The time on my car watch was reading 7:30. Thank God it was dark, but God had no any slightly support over this, I thought, and then should I say thank Satan, yes! I was carrying his work, I thought and the feeling I got from that was totally gruesome. I hesitated to carry on and thought of Jane my wife, the divorce the pain and suddenly I set the car in motion.
Time moves faster in Cape Town than at any place I’d been and soon I would forget about this. That is if I was that strong enough, since I’d never killed anyone before. I wasn’t sure if the memory of this day would ever go away.
After a week the wicked deed had gone well according to how I had just planned it and evil had known, and God too, and I was pitched between them in trial. But the memory gripped on, it was like a scar that no any other medicine can heal off, you don’t need a plastic surgery to prevent this scar of a terror, it simply continues. And all the seven days that had passed I had been drinking too much whisky ending up sleeping wherever I could be, waking up with painful hangovers. At work several work mates had asked me if I was sick, on stress or something, and responding them I insisted that I was fine but just had some financial problems I was working on. October 3rd, day a workplace friend of Jane called asking if Jane hasn’t yet come back from her vacation. Her mother called too the same day to ask how I was doing; ‘Great!’ I had answered her with clear confidence. And her grandma visited me on the 6th and we shared a couple of cups of hot cappuccino by the garden lawn chairs. She didn’t notice the guilt that I held inside, I guess the whisky had worked that trick out. On the news no missing reports came, Mona had had no husband or any relative I knew of, she was just a girl I always went to pick up at Green Point every time when I felt so and only when Jane wasn’t any close.
I had no idea who the hell on earth had killed Mona. We had worked in private the two of us and maybe she had had enemies in her prostitute business affairs. If something had been stolen at my place, of course, I could have thought it was the work of a bugler, whoever had killed her, was smart. The day after her death I had scrutinised all around the yard for evidence of how the professional killer had managed to get inside despite the firm razor wire (blades) above my yard brick-wall and none evidence came to my naked eye.
On the 8th, 5 days to go, to face up to Jane my wife and pretend as if nothing blood or fishy at all had happened. I wasn’t sure if I was to handle myself with good confidence; my eyelids would be heavy to look in her eyes. My heart would beat terribly, especially when we would sleep in that that- that bedroom. That dead woman will haunt me for injustice. But was it justice letting me sleep with her; was it justice for her waiting by the robots every night with a handbag for any men to appear for sex? Nah! We were on the same page it would be unfair if she resurged from the dead to haunt me, she was trying to make some money and I was-was? Damn! But I had a wife.
On the 13th Jane arrived after dusk, I was drunk, lulling by the settee, and I could smell the sweat that had gathered on me from the two days that I hadn’t bathed. Stress had a huge meaning on me as if I had killed somebody, something told me that yes, I had, and I admitted it, but not on that sort of sense. I had killed my personal soul peace. That was the sense I could understands, not exactly having killed someone. The moving car outside interrupted my nap I was just taking to ease my mind a bit before I was supposed to take a shower. I opened my eyes, heard her jingling keys unlocking the Maxdor and shut my eyes at once pretending to be asleep. Her faint lurking steps followed next, and suddenly I felt her kiss on my forehead, I pretended not to wake up and so she decided to nudge on my shoulder that would wake up me after all.
“At last, you’re back!” I said not showing surprise.
“Have you missed me?” she asked while I stood up to kiss her straight on her lips, forgetting the smell of whisky that was stinking badly from my mouth.
“Ugh! Hey! For Christ’s sake, Please!” she frowned turning her head aside. “So you’ve been drinking all this time I was away. You promised not to drink again remember?”
I couldn’t find any means to defend myself, both by lies or truth, and by not being able to do so, I turned away to look at the wall. She stepped close to me. “What’s up? Are you sick or something?”
“No! It’s just complicated” I said, trying to return to the same fixed gaze she shots at me as if wondering what really was up to the brim of my mind. Like always she cared for me as if I was still a baby. I knew Jane’s mind well than any girl I had had affairs with before. She could read the level of my mind mostly when I was trying to hide something from her, and this had made some of my days hard to carry along with. Especially these days, which we were to carry on along together, me knowing that I had thrown a dead body in the sea, a body of the one I had been messing around with behind her back.
“You know you can tell me anything Derrick. I’m your wife; we can work together on it.”
Yes. I thought, we always had, but this is a different issue. Spilling it up could be the end of us and I’m not ready for that. We haven’t yet even got kids together, mind me on that Jane, no! I thought and brushed the sleep off my eyes restraining the trembling of my hand.
“ It’s nothing to worry about Jane, nothing!” With the grave expression on my face, what I had just said was deniable at once, even to a little kid you always fool around with telling him that a bogeyman has eighty white wide eyes that spin and bulge. Lie! She looked at me and I looked aside shyly. Then she made a click disgusting sound with her tongue, and headed to the bedroom. As if after thought, she turned and faced me in the eyes again.
“Go on, keep on lying to me, I’ll find out. Go, get the luggage in my car boot, I can’t carry them, I’m too exhausted!” And so I went to fetch the luggage, trying not to think much. I came back, pulling the two-wheeled suitcases on both my arms. In the bedroom she was undressing to put on her sleeping pants.
“Hey! Should I make you something to eat or coffee before you sleep?” I asked putting the suitcases in the wardrobe feeling the weight I’m carrying inside. “No. I ate already on my way”, With that I left to take a shower expecting to find her asleep, but I was early, she was now seated by our bedroom computer writing a message. When she heard the sound of the door opening she clicked off the message page and that startled me a bit. What was she writing about? I thought, sitting by the edge of the bed my back behind her. I took off my shoes and swiftly pushed them under the bed.
“Hey! Can I have that coffee you had offered me?” Jane asked when I was just to stand up heading to the kitchen for a cup of my own, “Cool!” I said, not looking back. Instantly, I suspected that she had sent me for that cup, so that I couldn’t see what she was up to.
When I came back with the two cups steady on both hands, she was now seated straight by the bed and I wondered if she had went on well with her secrets during my small time absent. Her face was pale and tears were promising in her eyes, the lips were sort of trembling. She received the cup with a nod of thanks. I nodded as well and sat against her. She began.
“Are you sure that there is nothing you’re hiding from me?” she asked looking through my eyes and I felt weak. I didn’t know if my face was showing any prominent guilty consequences. I could see her eyes so gravely suspicious. My heart beat again, and she heard it. With a faint sigh, I touched her hand and she suddenly threw it aside as if they were dirt or heathen.
“Don’t touch me Derrick, just tell me what have you been through when I was away. Did you kill someone?” The sound of that came like a sharp edged boomerang piercing deeply in my heart. “No! Jane, okay–okay!” I shouted, “I’m just sick that’s all!”
“No, you’re not sick, Derrick, you’re lying-lie!” she shouted back and paused and I moved a little away from her, startled. Should I tell the truth or should I not? This was tough like trying to break an Egyptian pyramid with a fist. The pain was rising rapidly now. All the alcohol that I had swallowed early was all gone; I was now alone, which is in a cleavage that I had invented on my own.
“Let me tell you what I feel, Derrick, what I felt the moment I stepped in this bedroom. I had felt weak to my belly as if this room is on curse from something cold that had been carried on in here, and I need to know what it is. I am by your side whatever it is, trust me!”
Whatever she was feeling I was sure it was identical to what I was feeling crawling scorpions in the mind and on my flesh, it felt as if those woollen maggots that leaves your skin itching were all terrible slowly crawling over my body. I couldn’t believe all this, and I thought all were just imaginations urged by what I had done; this couldn’t be what they call haunted, I thought. Now the cup on her hand was shaking, sloshing some of the coffee aside, and I rose from the bed and began pacing the floor. I didn’t want to say anything, she placed the cup on the floor and again she boomed tremendous.
“For God’s sake WHY!” she whined and stood up heading to the door, the echo went on a bit while irritating my eardrums.
“Where are you going?” I asked under my breath. “Coming just now!”
I didn’t follow her. When she came back after a couple of minutes, she found me still pacing back and forth with joy forsaken face. She stood against the door, gazing at me, and I knew she needed my attention. I went to set back by the bed, looking at her defied contentious expression and I knew she was ready to devour me with something knew.
“I’ve called the police!” Frankly she said like she always does when she had ordered a pizza.
“Wha-a-a-a-t?” I shrilled with a high piercing tone surprised. “For what reason did you do that, Jane!” She left the door and walked a bit closer to me with that smart adorable confidence an officer can have when interrogating someone.
“Well you think I don’t know what happened. I know everything, Derrick, from when it began to where it ended. It’s been some time I’ve been watching you sleeping around and bringing prostitutes on our bed. And I kept shut my mouth knowing that one day I’ll get you down” Heavily she breathed her words out.
Hearing her confession, I felt weightless like a feather and however I listened carefully.
“ I’ve just taught you a lifetime long lesson, Derrick. The police is coming to arrest you for killing Mona Jackson, a lady you dumped into the sea on 27th last month.”
Dumbfounded, I couldn’t let out any word. All I managed to do was to let out a weak sigh, and I wondered whether all this time she wasn’t on vacation, but watching all over my whereabouts behind my back. I believed her and I couldn’t bother arguing, for I was done in and out like the floods clearing the bridge tunnels and above them.
“Jane I’m sorry, but I didn’t kill her. When I came back from work I found her dead on the floor!”
“It’s too late, Derrick. I’ve tried my best all this time I had been pretending not to know anything, wishing that you might tell me the truth. If you had co-operated, we could have kept this to us.”
“I didn’t kill the lady. Since you had been watching, I guess you know who did it!” I said, my chin cupped in my sweating hands. No teardrops came out of my eyes, even what to do either, and the police was on its way. She moved more closer again and I watched her adorable petite plain feet in the beach slippers I had bought for her last of last month as if she’s the only one.
“I killed her!” she said, and I was destructively alarmed. She went on: “When she was sleeping, I came from outside where I had seen you and her driving inside here. If you had had seen a blue Nissan on the western yards. Well! That was I with it. I had borrowed it from Mpho, one of my friends whom I had left with mine. When you left, I got inside and found her diet coke in the fridge. Since I knew you don’t drink that, I poisoned it. Later she came and fetched it and that’s how she died. And all I told the police is that my friend discovered that you’re whoring behind my back and she called me just in time and I’ve followed you and came to know all about this tragic event. I framed you, Derrick, for being unfaithful with me. You ought to find an explanatory story, very soon, for soon they’re coming to pick you up!”
Yes! How smart and how effective was that! She had killed her and I had had no idea that really Jane could kill someone and frame it all for me to endure. God! I’m sorry, it’s my entire fault, but I can’t take the result, killing me right now is a good thing for me. Since Mona is still close and I would tell our story. I thought fighting tears back. I couldn’t believe she was now smiling and yet tears were flowing by her cheek.
“I’m sorry, Derrick, but I ought to let you know that we some women are not foolish as you men think. Anyway, tell me! What did Mona have that I don’t have, Derrick? Was I getting ugly or was I not sweet enough to you? I gave you all my heart, Derrick, and in return you shattered it all!” Now I was hardly twiddling with my hair as if to find an answer. Suddenly the intercom ringed in the kitchen. She looked at me the last time with a teasing like wink and went out without a word. I knew for sure that she had called the police.
Three bulky officers came inside towards me. Jane walking behind them with her triumphant look. Already, I knew that this was the end of my lecherous habits. A woman had stopped her man’s infidelities by killing his girlfriend and blamed it all to him. I thought if really I would be given my time to tell what had happened maybe, maybe I would manage to bring justice in this following trial, but nevertheless I wasn’t sure of that since Jane had got to be the first reporting this incident.
“Derrick Maxwell, you’re under arrest for the murder of Mona Jackson whom we found yesterday floating near the harbour shore. Your wife called to tell us about it this night through an email and latter on, she called due to our delays.”
After three weeks in the cold jail cell, Jane’s friend Mpho visited me by mid afternoon. A jail guard I had known all this time while was escorting her, Mpho had a spotted brown handbag familiar to the one Jane had always wanted to use and a newspaper between her armpits, she was dressed neat and sexy. Her high-heeled shoes were tapping the jail’s floor with a sound that made other jail mates to peer through the bars amazed. I believe some were wishing they had been home with their wives at home, but it was too late, like Jane had told me before. The only correction you need when you had done crime is beyond time, that is if time would brought up the same test again. I thought looking at her with the jail guard getting close and wished for a pen and a note book to write words that were prevailing against my mind. My hands were gripping on the iron cold bars my head peering through for a better look. I saw the guard directing her to my cell with a finger gesture and remained starring at her as she gained the little distance that was left.
“How are you doing Mr Maxwell” She greeted me with a sarcasm tone and didn’t shake my hand when I stretched it forward her. I let it drop and responded.
“I’m well as you can see, what brings you here?” she licked her lips slowly never mind the lipstick that I could see smeared on them.
“To visit! Don’t you need visitors?”
“Precisely” I said absently, focusing on the cell behind her, an old man was winking at me and I couldn’t figure out why?
“What do you mean by precisely, Derrick?” Hearing that, something forced me to turn up rude, I didn’t want anyone to interfere during this time. I just wanted to be alone and nothing else.
“Hey! Get lost and don’t you ever come back here or-or?”
“Or what! You son of a-bitch, wish you die in here” She paused, her face pale and promising to cry at any moment. “Read how you had ruined the lives of others.” She took the paper, threw it in my cell, and left in a flash. For a long time I hesitated to pick it up, and thought if I won’t then anyone else would. Whatever bad news the paper contents, let me have it at once and continue with my solitary life peace or no peace it was the same now.
As I set my eyes on the headline page my heart turned boiling as if in a blasting furnace, it’s only the headline and a couple of words mentioning Jane suicide and her confession of all that had happened. I staggered getting up from my small bed and went to throw the paper outside. And still the words were engraved in my mind in red blood capital letters, and I knew indeed that I had created a hell in my soul.