THE FIFTH NIGHT

By C.V. NÓR

The cops might wish to come for me after reading this, but I have no choice but to confess my crime. First let me state that she was the love of my life, that I never meant to hurt her. Just kill her. But not kill her just to kill her, but to undo the curse that she’d brought upon us, onto herself, and onto my life. I did not want to go into the pits of joy with her, be happy the way she was happy. I’m sure everyone understands.

So here is my last testament. Maybe I can use all those pretty words I always wanted to use whenever I set the point of my pen to scribble poetry, levitate the spirit in such a way that…I can’t think clearly. Forgive me world for what I have done! She was my one and only in life. But she had gone out and become someone else. I could never forgive her for that, not even now. I would have preferred she stayed with me that night and not have gone out and hobnobbed with the dregs of our modern society. With filth!

But if the cops show up, they won’t find me alive, because this is it. This is my last story. The last story I will ever write of my life, the wonderful life I had till today.

Why I killed her…well, because, I already said it—I hate repeating myself—I did not like her happiness, that joy. It was too foreign, too…shall I say scary? That’s what it was. I was in pain when I realized it wasn’t me who made her happy, our life, our love, but that otherness that clung to her like another skin. I no longer existed to her.

That joy, that horrible joy! It was as if she had taken some weird drug. No, she was not the same woman. That sweetness that encased her, that sweet timber in her laughter, were so unearthly that I didn’t recognize her. I could not be a part of it. Why would you want to live with something so foreign, and be a nothing? You would not wish her on your worst enemy, if you knew what hell truly was. Not like I’ve been there, but after this, who knows?

No, no! That is not the kind of woman one wants to live with, but the kind of woman that one must kill. Yes, I died that night, I absolutely and irrevocably did. But I would do it again. I would kill her again just to die again. But to hell with it! She was already dead. The world just didn’t know it. She was not the same woman!

I beg you all, cops and everyone else, to understand I am not an evil man, who can strike the weak just because he can, and cowardly has a weapon that the weak doesn’t have. I am pained that I did it. But I would do it again.

I’m going off the deep end here, not being clear. Let me get myself together. It’s hard to write when you have a muzzle on one side of your keyboard, ready to aim at your brains, and a bottle of spirits pouring wicked fumes down your throat.

The memory of the first night haunts me still, the night she returned, and yet it was not she who returned.

I could tell the moment she entered the door. Her glowing paleness, shiny eyes, and the laughter in them, were not my sweet love’s. Her mouth was a little too stretched to each side of her, I swear making her jaw sore. I didn’t understand.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Oh, hello my darling!” she said.

She was so happy and sweet at the same time. Scary. You know when you look at something weird, you can’t take your eyes off of it. She must have read some of my thoughts, because her mouth left the corners of her face. Her jaw muscles must have been thankful.

“Oh, don’t be angry,” she said. “I just went out for a bit. I had the time of my life.”

“I’m glad,” I said, still wondering about this new woman.

She hugged me, almost broke me.

“What the hell is going on?” I said. “You want to get all my air out?”

“Did I hurt you?” she said, as if feeling sorry. “I’m sorry.” Then she laughed again.

Normally, whenever she came back from a soiree with her friends, her laughter had a soft, beautiful ring to it. It was contagious. You wanted to be happy with her, and to welcome her into your arms.

Definitely something had changed about her, but I could not pinpoint what it was with exactitude, and trying to that first night would have been impossible.

She went to take a shower soon after. She buried her paleness under a coat of soft colors and came into the bedroom, looking more beautiful than she’d ever looked before, suggestive of animalistic fire. The colors added a visual perfume, an accentuation. Something about makeup brings out the best in a man, while a woman is always perfect, and sometimes perfectly wicked, underneath. The small line of pitch-black mascara over her bottom eyelids made her gray-blue eyes jump at you, and to hold you, and seeing them close in expectation of bliss gave rise to an exhilarated heart, to the primeval beast.

She was the siren in the ocean, drawing the unwary sailor to his destruction. I was trapped, weak! I had to get to her. My head danced; my temperature rose.

Besides all this, there was a scent of rose mixed with spices that she had sprayed on. I wanted to bathe in that perfume, and erase her makeup with my lips, muddy my body with whatever she had put on until it was all over me, her lipstick on my lips, her rouge on my cheeks, her spicy roses on my body.

I was falling into the pits of her dark romance, a joy I had not experienced before—simply by seeing her, contemplating. This feeling went on even as something of the old returned, the good, sensible heart. Because I had to wait. She made me wait as she lied in bed and watched an old show on TV while watching me in turn with that perverse knowing glance, that wicked lowering of her eyelashes, and the veering of her eyes back to the TV when she already had me in her palm. She even commented on the many imbecilities in the world. She was even angry at the news of a man who had killed his entire family.

“Some people are sick!” I remember commenting.

“Yes,” she said, smiling, giving me that wicked look, that look that destroys. “Come here.” She stretched her arms and I came to her.

She was impeccably beautiful, scary thinking of it now, but fascinating then. I gave in to her touch, brushing aside my consciousness as one brushes aside a wanton strand of hair on the brow and tucks it behind the ear.

I felt hypnotized. With her caresses, kisses, and little licks with her tongue, she seemed to soothe all the problems of my life, both forgotten and remembered, which reared up their heads like dogs who wanted to be petted. I felt their weight as they were dredged up from an unconscious, long-forgotten cave, and then their lightening as they went away. That was magic.

She stroked my hair, deliciously, even with her cold hands, so cold as if she’d been holding ice and bathed herself in it.

So, you see why I wanted to kill her? This was not right. She was disappearing from the old oasis of our lives, and trying to take me with her. And I would have been with her—that’s how much I loved her—if life in full consciousness of right and wrong had not been important to me.

I don’t think I ever felt the way I felt that night. It was love, primeval love, a dream, a drug.

I woke up uncomfortable the next day. As if I had been used. A terrible feeling. I had been the prey of that romantic beast. I had been weak, unable to contain the spell. I was never in control. Yet I thirsted for it again, even as I dared not get close to her as she slept. I had drunk too much of that primeval love to wish it again, and yet I rose high as I recalled the ocean in which I had swum, both in body and mind.

I took a shower still in thought of what I had experienced, a dark clasp on my chest, on my heart. I felt too weak to even consider going to work. Still, I put on my clothes. Once I had my tie on, I walked into the bedroom and watched her as she slept. I bent to kiss her cheek and to tell her I was going. The light was coming in through the curtains. A bit of the sun touched her exposed bare foot, and she pulled it back under the blanket, quickly.

“I’m going,” I said.

She sat up slightly as if my words had struck her as odd, putting out her hand to shield her eyes from the sun.

“Please close the curtain,” she said.

“I will,” I replied.

I shut the curtain and she lied back in bed. As I drove, I kept thinking of the odd feeling of the night before, of the possession of my body and mind. Still, I did a good enough job once at the office not to get fired.

I remember the images of her, not only of her body and face, but of her mind. The images of her lively and alive. She had such a good heart, a heart she kept even at the last moment. She came from the sunny part of the world, Texas, a farm’s daughter whose love for cows made her a vegetarian.

“Oh, I can’t stand the sight of blood, that’s why I didn’t study nursing like mom had asked me to, and instead studied cosmetology,” she said once.

“You are too good a soul, it’s why,” I replied.

“I try to be, but that’s not why. I think it’s because I know where it came from. I don’t mind the blood from the little cuts, had plenty of those without fainting, but I don’t like ponds.”

“If you could travel the world, where would you go?” I asked once.

“I reckon Spain would be nice,” she said.

“What would you do there?”

“Shop, of course. I guess I’d do a bit of sightseeing, too. I’d like to visit me one of them old cathedrals.”

She was so vibrant, so alive, before the poison took her, the dark poison that made her so happy.

When I got back in the evening, she had not stirred at all. She was still breathing alright, but had not moved from the position in which I had left her, at least not enough to seem she had shifted even slightly. When she finally opened her eyes, she didn’t seem to recognize me.

“Have you come for me?” she asked.

A strange question.

“Come for you!” I exclaimed.

“Oh, it’s you,” she said, as if insulted. She frowned.

But I thought she was joking.

“Were you expecting your husband?”

“My husband? I am married?” She seemed shocked.

“Unfortunately, you’re not free,” I responded.

“Oh, I’m in chains,” she said. “But wait, oh, yes, I remember you. Last night. It was beautiful.” She smiled now.

“Where is my wife?” I asked.

“You are married?” With the question came laughter.

“I thought I was.”

“What is her name?” she asked.

“Last time it was Lucy. I don’t know today.”

“Lucy is a wonderful name,” she said.

“Have you eaten yet?” I asked, changing the subject, thinking she had just been joking.

“I want some steak,” she said. “Not too cooked. In fact, I want it very bloody. That’s what I crave.”

I was stunned, but she insisted she wanted steak. I followed the strange wish, thinking it I’d be the one eating it in the end. It wasn’t that way now. She truly wanted it. As I watched her eat, I couldn’t help being shocked.

She didn’t use a fork to eat her steak. She ripped the meat with her teeth, ravenously, and seemed to relish the semi-rawness and the juices that came with it. Soon after dinner, when I wanted to talk to her, she said,

“Not now, dear, I need to sleep.”

She did not reply to any of my questions regarding how she felt. Before I even knew it, she was snoring.

At around one o’clock in the morning, there was a knock on the window. I lifted my head, partly angry that someone would come to bother at that time, partly wondering if someone had come for my wife. But I was silent, expecting the knock again.

“Go back to sleep,” Lucy said, rising.

“Did you hear that?” I asked.

She was smiling.

“It’s time to dream,” she said, and kissed me.

I tried to protest, but there was no stopping her. She kissed me long, at times softly and at times hard. Her kiss soothed me back to sleep, strangely. When the sun got up in the morning, she was not next to me. I walked out of the room to find her, but she was nowhere. She was nowhere in the house. Then I remembered the knock on the window, and how she had put me to sleep. I got back into the bedroom to get my phone to call her, when I saw her bare foot on the floor on the other side of the bed. I walked over to her.

“Darling, are you ok?” I asked, touching her shoulder.

“Did you close the curtain?” she asked.

“Yes, it is closed,” I said.

“Good,” she said. “I must go back to sleep.”

After work, I got a revelation, and this came with a hand to help me. We shared many things in common, but I promised I would not say his name. Needless to say, Itsa, I shall call him, and I went to the backyard and started digging out the grave as Lucy slept. That’s because I’d told Itsa everything, and he said he knew what was happening, that a female friend of his, with whom he had had a relationship, had killed her husband for the same reason. And it served her well, she’s alive, because otherwise he would have killed her. You see? No one likes that kind of joy, especially to imagine oneself forever sharing it and being a part of it, laughing that way, not being oneself. No, that sort of thing must be ended before it infects us; before it carries us along, and we are unable to escape.

And according to Itsa, we can’t escape. Lucy, he said, would never let me go. She would find me if I left her. So, I stayed, risking my own neck for the sake of saving, not only her but me and the entire world. I would be an evil man if being able to end the darkness of such joy I held back and let it continue.

That night, the third night, Lucy was unimaginably paler, but with a little dab here and there, a bit of lipstick and a bit of wand, she became adorable again. But I was prepared. I had done some meditation before I encountered her again. I knew I had nothing to fear of the spell, since I was aware of its existence. I got into the room and hid the weapon that would end her under the pillow.

She danced into the room, pretending to be holding someone, almost unaware I was there. It felt like she had not done herself up for me, for when she saw me, she showed surprise. Her eyes fixed on me when she noticed me, and boy they seemed angry before they looked happy.

“Oh, my husband,” she said. “I have so missed you. I am so tired, I could sleep an eternity.”

Normal joy doesn’t speak that way. No one talks about being so tired that one could sleep for eternity the way one would say he’s so hungry he could eat a horse. But that’s what she said. At that moment, I knew I had lost her.

“Won’t you come to bed?” I asked.

“Oh, yes, you will be wonderful,” she replied.

But she did nothing. She lied down next to me as always, but did not touch me. I was kind of sad about that. She looked so beautiful, wearing her lovely nightgown, which had laces on the chest she could undo.

But eventually I lost the passion to do anything. I was too lost in thought to even be aroused. Her hand went to my leg under the blanket, her cold hand, the ice in them that stung me, though I made no motion other than move my leg. After a while, the cold became a part of me, and I didn’t feel it anymore. It’s like when you jump in a cold pool, and you rise to its temperature, or rather lower yourself to it, till you and the water are one.

She may have tried to arouse me, but she took her time, which allowed me to relax. She seemed to expect nothing out of me that night. She simply rubbed my leg, tenderly, until she was rubbing between them as she lied down. It is like she was tired herself. But she was doing something, consciously or not. A part of her sought it, that was evident, and that part of her found it. I jumped into full wakefulness all of a sudden. She kept rubbing, and she thrust her other hand between the laces of her nightgown.

Consciously, I let her wrap her arms around my neck and to lick my face. She said how beautiful I looked. When I said, “Likewise, my love,” she nibbled on my ear. To be honest, all the work of digging the grave had worn me out, but admirably, her powers in making me want her did not lack. I said, though not to her but to myself through my mind, “no, no, I can’t go through with this!” But then my mouth was hers. I was consciously aware of the drug she was injecting in me. Her fingers went to my chest, and played a game of pinch and squeeze.

The sight of her multiplied the passion, and I started kissing her back, knowing that this might be the last night we would be together. The weapon was under the pillow.

In the morning, I couldn’t find her anywhere. The sun was coming into the room, but no sight of Lucy. She wasn’t on the floor on the other side of the bed; she wasn’t in the bathroom, or in the kitchen. Nowhere. Then I wondered, did she leave? Leave, forever?

I also couldn’t find my shoes. As I touched under the bed, I touched something cold. I lied on the floor to look under, and there she was. Now is the time, I thought. This has gotten worse.

I am crying, now. Even under the bed, she was so beautiful. She was my Lucy! If there had been anything I could have done to cure her; if I could have found it, I would have been the happiest of men. But no, the road was closed. There was only one way, and that was killing her.

I could not do it. I sat in the living room waiting for the night. When it arrived, I was still too powerless to act. I got into bed as she was still under it. But the motion of the bed brought her to. She was suddenly over me, looking into my eyes.

“I love you,” she said, and kissed my hand.

The kiss to the hand surprised me more than the fact that she remembered me; that isn’t something women normally do. But I was happy, happy that this would end with love. She was perhaps sad herself, sad that she could no longer be mine, unless she infected me fully with the poison flowing down her fangs. She kissed my mouth again. I let her, though I knew I was kissing death. But the kiss put me to sleep, though I tried to resist it. In my dreams, I heard the knock on the window again, but did not wake up.

In the morning, she was no longer under the bed. She was nowhere. She was gone. My last chance, I thought, had ended. I had set her loose. Her memory had returned enough to keep her from infecting me.

I told Itsa, who came to see how the proceedings of Lucy’s death were carrying out, that she had left. I told him I was too weak, too weak to do it.

“She hasn’t gone,” he said. “She will be back. She will remember how good and kind you were, and will want you with her. Because she loves you.”

I didn’t think she would come back, but Itsa was right, too right for my poor heart. It was as I lied in bed. It was already past midnight when I heard a knock on the window. I couldn’t sleep. My eyes were full of tears. For some reason, the knock that had angered me before, gave me a feeling of the utmost joy, one I had never felt before.

“Oh, my love!” I said, my heart palpitating with the beautiful prospect of seeing her again.

She was behind the pane, knocking, calling me. She seemed to appear from within a nebula, which dissipated and orbited around her for a moment as if she was the mother star of its existence. She put both hands on the pane, almost as if pleading that I rescued her from the world into which she had fallen. She seemed sad, but at the same time happy to see me.

But I recalled myself to what I did not want for me or others before I approached the window. I dug under my pillow first. When she saw me turn to it, she slapped the pane with both her hands, though not harshly, as if telling me to hurry on. When I looked at her again, I felt her pull, the strange pull of her darkness.

With my hand clutching the murderer of my love, of my heart, of my everything, the murderer of me, I approached the window. As I neared, she put her lips on the pane, and kissed it the way she had kissed me, with ardor.

That enchanted me so much, and roused me so much, I grew weak again, and my heart grew strong. I wanted her. I wanted to be with her forever, either in darkness or in light. Oh, my dear Lucy!

When I opened the window, she smiled.

“Oh, Brant,” she said. I teared up again. My name had never sounded so sweet. It is sweet when someone you love, who has gone into amnesia, remembers you. There is a light in that answer, indeed more than a recognition. It is a world, a world of memories that comes with it. I could not kill her. I wanted her. I wanted to be a part of her. “Oh, Brant, let us be together forever,” she went on.

I was shaking in the legs and beating in my heart with joy.

“I am yours, forever,” I said with tears in my eyes. Not just in my eyes. I was awash in them. They were over my face. I felt them touch my neck. My nose was runny. Oh, l loved her! Loved her so much! I love her still. Oh, I do! I will never stop loving her. My Lucy. My love. The light of my life. My all. My everything. My universe.

“Come with me?” she said.

“Oh, please take me,” I replied.

She smiled. But then I saw them. I saw the impalers of my fate. As she got her mouth near my neck, I still cried, even as I struck harshly into her heart. The point was sharp, especially designed for such work.

Oh, the sound of my Lucy as she cried in pain, as she fell to the floor, touched again the earth that gave her birth. She looked at me one last time, and took my neck with her weakening hands. She pulled me to her, to her lips. I kissed her as she died.

Oh, let the cops come, let them try me posthumously for my crime. I care no more. I have died already, before the muzzle touches my brains. You probably think I’m a murderer, an evil murderer without conscience. So be it. At least, we will be together. The grave is still open, awaiting another body, mine! It is there where I will end everything. I will lie next to my Lucy, next to my heart, but not in darkness, but in light.

Goodbye, friends. Goodbye relatives. Goodbye WordPress. Goodbye everyone. If you will not think of me, at least kindly, please think of my Lucy. Think well of her. She was always beautiful, either in darkness or in light.

END

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