Friday, October 21, 2011

Vengeance: Chapter 1

I am hosting a contest on MTS right now. Each round consists of a chapter which, upon the last round, the summary of the contest's rounds should read as a short story. Even though I am just an EJ/host, I decided that I too wanted to write a story. Most of the time when I participate as a judge, I like to also "compete" on my own so I get a feel for the actual challenge rather than just judging on sight. So, as each round ends, I will be posting my own chapter. Enough of the it is!

I sat on my porch, staring out into the distance not really seeing the sunset on the horizon or the butterflies floating lazily on the breeze in front of me. Instead I was thinking of a time, many years ago, when my life had drastically changed. You see, I had once been carefree and happy. Not always, since life can lead you down paths with bumps and detours but the scenery was pretty and the journey well worth the strife. Until one night, it all came crashing down and the path in front of me became one washed out by the tears of despair and the debris of wreckage and ruin.

Some twenty years ago, I had been young and in love. Henry had been my world and I believed that I was his. We both strived to be better and do better for one another. He pushed himself at his job, hoping to make better money for the family we would one day have together. I endeavored to learn to cook, something that has always eluded me. We promised ourselves to each other and we both believed in the fairytale.

“Oh, darling, I’m so glad you could make it,” Deborah gushed as she saw me in the doorway. “I have so many things to teach you but figured we would start with Henry’s favorite meal first. It’s certainly something you should have learned before the wedding,” she tittered.

It was only a month after our wedding and my first day with Henry’s mother. She had promised to show me how to cook and iron and generally be the perfect housewife. My mother had left when I was three and my father wasn’t too in touch with his feminine side. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived. To raise 3 young girls was certainly a chore and to do it without the help of a woman was a task that no man would envy.

I watched Deborah buzz around the kitchen, chopping vegetables and swiftly measuring ingredients. She rinsed utensils, loaded the dishwasher, and stirred all the while explaining the process. Her words were like another language to me. By watching her, I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl

 It was a skill that I had no access to. I, who often wandered outside for hours, taking in the lovely smells and sights before heading home and, being too tired to cook, ordered pizza for us. I, who occasionally made an attempt at some meal but shortly after sticking it in the oven, would become in engrossed in a book, and burn the food. 

Deborah was the perfect housewife, something that I could only vaguely imagine myself as. But Henry loved me and it was me he had chosen to marry. Not some perfect woman, like Annalise Grover whose pies won ribbons at the fair and whose dresses were always starched. I, with my tangled hair and head in the clouds was his chosen bride.

I headed home after an exhausting lesson, one in which I had learned everything about stuffed turkey and retained nothing. I arrived home and saw two men leaning on the hood of a car, with my father standing nervously by. I could tell something was wrong immediately and wondered if I had somehow left a library book out in the rain again. If I wasn’t careful, the library may refuse service which would be unbearable. 

“Mrs. Ridgefield,” one of them started. At that moment, I caught the glint of a badge and also a mirrored glint, this time in the eyes of my father.
“What’s happened? Where is he,” my stomach lurched and I knew something was terribly wrong.
“I wa…I’m Henry’s partner,” the other man stated, eyes wavering between the first man and me. “I’m sorry, but there was an accident.”
Quickly the other man, clearly the superior, stepped in. “He was working undercover for us, on a difficult case and we think he got too close. I’m sorry ma’am but Henry was killed this morning.”

My head spun and my feet suddenly didn’t know what was up or down. Then, everything was black. I woke a few minutes later, inside on the couch. The kind gentleman, Henry’s partner he had said, was sitting across the room while the brusque man conversed with my father in low tones in the kitchen.

“There has to be some mistake. Henry was a teacher. He didn’t do undercover work, he taught English at the high school.” I tried to sit up but nausea quickly caused me to flop back against the cushions.

The other man and my father came in the room as well at that point. My father silently sat by while everything was explained to me. From the initial meeting that my father had helped orchestrate to the details, though I am sure they omitted key things, to the inside job that had eventually claimed my husband’s life. Married barely a month and I was already a widow. Somehow, my sweet, English teacher of a husband had been an undercover agent for almost a year now, trying to pin down a crime ring boss and had somehow been discovered. 

I barely heard a word that they were saying. I knew that I would remember it later. Indeed, it would haunt me many months and years to come but at that moment something inside me broke. I stood, unable to hear anymore. My brain wouldn’t stop picturing Henry on the ground, pale and cold while my heart willed it to stop. I screamed, barely recognizing myself anymore. All I knew was that all of them were responsible for his death, his blood on their hands. I ran from the room, disappearing into the woods I knew so well, not knowing that, one day, their blood would be on mine.


  1. This is excellent Heaven. You write beautifully and i'm already craving more of this story :)

    Will have to pop over to the MTS thread and see how the contestants are getting on!

  2. Hey i've read and scored all 9 entries and sent you a reply a MTS, let me know if you need anything else from me :)

  3. I sent you a PM on the site. We had some last minute entries, just before the deadline so I just need you to score those as well.

    And thank you for the compliments on the story. :)

  4. Oh H, I only just got around to reading this now, it's awesome hun!