This story is by Stella and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The sun descended over the small town of Mordell and the glow of the lamplights slowly replaced it as it sank behind the mountains. Children with scuffed knees ran around catching fireflies, and teenagers smoked cigarettes together in a parking lot as they laughed and chattered. However, once she appeared, everything stopped. Mothers pulled their children inside. People looked down and crossed the street. The teenagers’ shouts turned to whispers, and they gave her nervous glances as she walked.
“What a witch. I can’t believe she’s still out and about like this.”
“Even if she hasn’t been arrested yet, how can she stand to show her face around here anymore?.”
“I know, right? Everyone knows what she did, even if the police can’t prove it yet.”
“Makes me sick just to think about it.”
Dolores continued walking, a song on her lips. She didn’t care what they said about her. She didn’t care how the rest of the town viewed her. She was having dinner with her husband, and he’d be there for once, not with that bitch Seraphine. Who did she think she was anyway? Flirting with someone else’s property. What a whore.
Before she entered her house, Dolores stopped to look back at the streets. The children and pedestrians were gone, replaced by locked doors and shuttered windows. The teenagers stared at her from the parking lot, but she didn’t care. Any other day she would have yelled at them and flipped them off, but she was in a good mood today. Without giving them another glance, she went inside.
Coming out of the kitchen, Dolores stepped into the musty living room, two plates and two glasses in hand. She continued humming as she carefully placed these onto a stained plastic dinner table, her off-key tune and the clink of silverware the only things breaking the silence in the room. Once seated, she smiled towards the other side of the table, picking at her dinner with a fork.
“So, how was your day today? I apologize if it was boring for you. Not much goes on in this room.” A set of black button eyes stared back at her, unresponsive.
“Well, I went out for a walk today, and would you guess who I saw? It was Miss Seraphine! You two used to be so close. I would even get jealous, could you imagine.” She laughed, and the stitched mouth on her husband’s face smiled as if it could still remember. “You know, sometimes I would get so angry, I couldn’t control myself. That’s how you ended up the way you are now. But we still have a happy life together, don’t we?”
Dolores reached across the table and stroked the burlap hand, “You know, I was never good with the needle. I tried my best to make you look the way you should, but I guess some things just can’t be replicated. At least you smile at me now. You’ll never stop smiling at me.” Her hand caressed her husband’s ice-cold cheek and she opened her mouth to continue, but a knocking at the door interrupted her. Sighing and shaking her head, she got up to answer it, grabbing a kitchen knife on her way.
Seraphine stood at the doorway, hands trembling, face red and wet, mascara leaking down her cheeks. Dolores crossed her arms and scowled, “What are you doing here again? I thought I told you to get out of my life and leave us alone. There’s no place for you in this family.”
“Family? You call this a family? A deranged woman and the doll she made to look like the husband she killed with her own hands? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“I won’t stand to listen to nonsense like that from someone like you. This is all your fault, you know. If you hadn’t interfered, none of this would have happened. At least let me be happy now.”
“Look at you. You’re not even denying that you did it! Just because there’s no body and no fingerprints doesn’t mean there’s no proof. I’ll have you convicted, no matter how long it takes,” Seraphine jabbed an accusatory finger into Dolores’ face, the ragged fingernail cutting into her nose.
Dolores reached out and crushed Seraphine’s thin wrist with an iron grip, leaving bruises on it when she pushed it to the side. She leaned against the doorframe and sneered, “With every day, the trail gets colder. Besides, we both know nothing will come of your efforts. Why don’t you just fuck off and find someone else’s husband to sleep with.”
Seraphine rubbed her injury and hissed, “I can’t believe this. It’s obvious he left you because you’re a crazy psycho who kills people without batting an eye. You never cared about him until he began seeing other people, and instead of trying to fix your relationship, you murdered him!” She waved her hand in Dolores’ face, “You resort to violence whenever things don’t go your way, and carelessly hurt him every time you were angry. Do you know how many times I’ve seen him cry about the ways you’ve mistreated him? Did you ever consider that there was a reason he started coming to me instead of you? Absolutely insane.”
The sneer melted off Dolores’ face, replaced with a darkening scowl, “I thought I told you to leave. If you keep pissing me off, I can’t be responsible for what will happen to you.”
Seraphine stepped closer to Dolores, eyes narrowed in hatred, “So now you’re threatening people to get what you want? You’re the scum of the earth. The worst kind of person there is. You keep on talking about ‘being happy now,’ but you never let him be happy. Not once. He was just your slave and your toy. In fact, I can’t believe he didn’t leave sooner. He would’ve been better off-”
Her speech was cut off by the kitchen knife thrust deep into her throat. Dolores gasped with effort as she ripped it out and wiped the hot blood on her dress. Sweat and tears of anger rolled down her face as she grinned at Seraphine, whose body crumpled in the doorway. Before giving her the mercy of death, Dolores hauled her to the table and placed her in the chair across from her husband.
“Dear, it looks like we will be having company for dinner, is that alright?”
Seraphine shook and wheezed, blood spraying out of her throat and onto the table. It spilled over the food and dripped into the glasses, turning the wine a deep red. With the little strength she had left, she looked up at the burlap figure sitting across from her. Now that she was closer, she could see that the face and neck seemed to have a dried skin-like texture that-
“Oh, my God!” she shrieked, “That’s Harold!”
Just then, a button eye popped off, revealing the hollow eye socket beneath.
“Oh, would you look at that, he said he was keeping an eye out for you!” Dolores cackled. She took a sip from her glass and licked her lips.
Seraphine gasped in horror. Now she knew where the body had gone. “You’re . . . a monster. . .” she managed to cough out before choking on her blood and collapsing to the floor, her pretty face twisted in loathing.
Sometime later the stains and gore had been cleaned from the door and hall, and Dolores was sitting in front of her fireplace, humming her song once more. Before the roaring fire lay several severed body parts, and she giggled as she picked one up and squeezed the flesh between her fingers, watching the blood ooze out. “This is what you get,” she said, and tossed it into the hungry flames, “for interrupting my dinner.”