the short story project


Maria Rangel

That Night

I could never forget that night, confusion filled my head and my eyes were pouring like waterfalls but for some reason my mouth just kept laughing uncontrollably. My clothes and hands were covered by this red almost black liquid that was hard to remove. The room that was once pure white with a peaceful blue appeared to have transformed to a chaotic red full of marks. On my feet there was this woman lying cold and with a petrified face, her eyes were so big that I could see the reflection of the cold red moon and her mouth was wide open in a terrifying way. For a moment I couldn’t move and I thought I was paralyzed but when I snapped out of this trance I realized that I was already cutting carefully each body part and placing it in a black trash bag so that I could dispose of her in the lake that same night. Just like that her existence vanished, it’s funny and scary how fragile human lives are.

Every night – no, every second I close my eyes the only thing that appears is the…face of that lady looking straight into to my eyes, like she was seeing how horrible and twisted my soul is. After that my life spiraled down. My wife- she replaced me with a doctor that could finally take our kids to Disneyland. My friends couldn’t understand why I was changing so much, why I was so paranoid everytime I saw a police car or everytime we went fishing on that cursed lake- their favorite lake. My life in this place was over, I needed a new start.

I crossed the entire state, I couldn’t seem to let the past behind. Everyday when I looked at my mirror I only saw a filthy murderer with no mercy, it brings me so much despair that I rather never see my reflection again. When everything began to change for the better I realized that there wasn’t anything to fear. It was a horrible error that I could be erased from my memory after a couple of beers and cigarettes.

Sadly those few months of what I called “happiness” fell down the abyss because on September 4, 2034 I got a letter saying that it was my time to do Jury Duty. I took me some days to process it, so many thoughts began going through my head that I didn’t know how to start processing it. Nevertheless, the inevitable day arrived.

With trembling legs I made my way to my seat looking where the culprit was sitting, imagining myself in his position and I felt slightly bad for him, for being caught of course. But when the lawyer began showing the evidence of the 35 stab wounds in her torso and chess, I realized that the man sitting in that unholy chair with chains in his innocent hands was about to pay the price for my sins. I could feel the panic and fear growing and rotting inside my heart until I made eye contact with the poor soul in the orange fiery clothes and he smiled… he smiled at me, everything was clear now! The trial proceed as usual and he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. When he was being escorted out of the courtroom he smiled at me again, the smile he used to give me when we were younger.

The next day it was the only thing the world seem to talk about, even my family. Some were concern, others were expecting it. They always thought that my brother was the psychopath between us.

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