By My Hand

I know he’s dead. I killed him myself. Stabbed the knife into his heart. Felt the blood as it gushed over my face, surprisingly hot, salty to the taste, viscous. I watched the life drain from his eyes. Saw the horror turn slowly to incredulity and then, an unexpected acceptance. I know he’s dead.

I saw him two nights ago. I was brushing my teeth and I glanced up towards the window. I clearly saw his face outlined against the leaves that were swirly madly on the tree outside. I blinked, and he was gone. I spat in the sink, marched over to the window and closed the blinds. He wasn’t going to get at me like that.

I know that all the doors were locked. There’s no way he could have been downstairs last night. I know because I took the key from his corpse. As I walked past the laundry room, it’s impossible that he could have been silhouetted against the clothes drying on the rack. It was just because the rack was his height, that the clothes were his colour, that the shape was the exact shape of his body.

I put the clothes away and went to bed.

As I slept, I awakened to footsteps on the stairs. I heard every single one of those stairs creak as I lay in the dark. I knew it was not his feet on each step. As the footfalls crept closer and closer to the upstairs landing and moved, almost inaudibly to my closed bedroom door, I knew it was not him.

When I woke this morning, it was some freak combination of the coffee shop on the corner and the bakery down the block that gave me the impression that someone had prepared something delicious for me. It was not his hand on the breakfast tray.

In the shower, I thought of the knife as it thunked into his flesh – the shock of the blow wincing through my shoulder. I considered ordering a deeper freezer. The one I have has barely enough room for frozen peas and ready meals. There is a large selection of hacked and bloody meat in there at the moment. And it’s taking up way too much space.

When I heard a knock on the door. I knew it could not be him. When I opened the door to find his cheerful face beaming at me from the front porch, I knew that it was not his smile.

And yet, when he said, “hi, Deirdre, it’s lovely to see you,” it sounded so very like him that I almost blurted out the obvious fact that he was dead. I was just lucky that I didn’t because the next thing he said made me smile. Made me think of that bigger deep freezer again.

“It’s Ken – surprise! My twin brother’s told me so much about you!”

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