I wrote this story in a few hours for a Facebook contest of sorts I held on my Facebook page.
It Came For Dinner
I wanted to kill the thing that was wearing my husband’s body the second it walked through the door. I can’t tell you how I knew it wasn’t my husband within those first few seconds, but he was wrong enough for me to go into the bedroom, grab the .22 pistol from the gun safe, walk back into the living room and shoot him point blank between the eyes. I wasn’t even fully aware of what I was doing, only that it needed to be done and it needed to be done quickly, before anything went horribly wrong.
His head snapped back and spray of blood spattered the doorway where he’d just been hanging his coat and hat. I waited for his body to collapse and sag against the door, but that didn’t happen. Instead his head slowly lifted and his body shuddered as though he’d caught a slight chill. He was smiling when his face came back into view with that tiny little hole in his forehead still sending out tendrils of smoke.
There should have been torrents of blood from a head wound like that, but there was only a small, bright red trickle that ran from the hole down to the corner of his eye and then down his cheek, like bloody tears.
He smiled at me, casually took the gun from my hand as if it was the most natural thing in the world and put it into the jacket pocket that hung next to the door.
I think my level of shock was deeper than I could imagine because I smiled right back at him and went into the kitchen as though nothing was amiss to finish making dinner.
I recall a buzzing noise in the background that filled the entire house. Subtle and maddening because it had no distinct point of origin, and constant. That buzzing was present whenever he was home, so I can only assume that it was something to do with whatever he had become. Or been possessed by. Or took his shape.
If that first night at home had been the worst, then maybe I could have found a way to pretend that nothing had happened and maybe he would forget that I’d shot him in the head, but sometimes we can wish all we want. We can pray and sometimes, I would say even most times, God answers back with “No.”
That’s not to say that I don’t believe that God loves us, but I think his most common answer is because God loves us. I knew I would have to find my own way out of this, even as I prayed for a miracle and sliced the kosher dill pickles to put on our burgers.
I’d just put the knife down when he walked up behind me and smacked my ass. It wasn’t his usual playful smack, but sharply painful. When I turned to try and smile at him he was leering at me like the town drunk at a strip club.
And in case you’re wondering how I know that particular leer, let’s just say my parents weren’t rich and I needed to pay for college out of my own pocket.
On the other hand, I can also tell you that I graduated from a private college without a single loan.
That look he gave me, that wide eyed, openly hungry look, made my stomach twist and evaporated any remaining hunger I might have had toward the burgers I’d spent so long making absolutely perfect. I can be thankful that look didn’t lead to anything that night.
“How do you want your burger, honey?”
“Rare,” he grinned. “Just set it next to the grill for a minute or so to absorb some heat.”
If I hadn’t shot him in the face, I would have known immediately that he wasn’t my husband anymore. There’s no fucking way he would ever eat a rare burger. The man was petrified of all food-born illness. Remember the spinach scare from a few years ago? He didn’t eat spinach for nearly eighteen months.
I laughed, but I knew he was more serious than he was letting on. I did cook the burger, but for only about a minute per side.
For the next three weeks, the best parts of my day were when he went to work. Or at least, he said he was going to work. I don’t actually know if he did and I was too frightened to check.
While preparing dinner for him became a matter of just slapping down some raw meat on his plate, the rest of my evenings were filled the type of horrid things that you pray you only ever read about in the news and that you never have to experience personally.
Twenty-three nights I got little more than a couple of hours of sleep. Part of it was fear, part of it was pain and part of it was simply being so exhausted that I couldn’t get to sleep.
I could have left at any point, I’m fairly certain of that. Whatever it was either knew that I wouldn’t leave or didn’t expect me to leave or didn’t care if I left. I don’t know which of those possibilities was the truth, but what I do know is that I felt an obligation to stay just in case my absence meant somebody else had to suffer.
What if he just grabbed some girl off the street and dragged her home?
It was after about two weeks that my mind started coming back to me and I was able to start thinking rationally again. Instead of jumping at every noise when he left the house, I started researching. I don’t know if whatever it was that swallowed him knew about technology in any kind of detailed way. The internet is a wonderful place to get information.
To be honest, I wasn’t even certain what I was looking for to begin with. I just started searching for things that didn’t die. I came up with a number of different animals that really seemed to just be immortal. I doubted he was any kind of jellyfish or even lobster, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. If I shot a lobster in the head, even one that was two-hundred years old, it would just fucking die.
Over about three hours I’d watched the hole I’d put into David’s head close itself up until nothing was there, not even scar tissue. It was difficult eating that hamburger watching that hole between his eyes, but I managed to choke it down and keep it down.
I then began to wonder if the reason he hadn’t done anything more than leer at me that first night was because he was sapped from reconstructing himself from the wound. Now a tiny little hole from a .22 doens’t look like much, but that bullet didn’t exit – just bounced around inside the skull wreaking havoc.
I wasn’t able to sleep on night twenty-three because I was too nervous. But on night twenty-four, I slept for a full seven hours before waking and my dear “husband” was still zonked right out.
What I’d discovered in testing on my husband was that drugs had an effect on the physical body. If drugs had an effect, then maybe poison would as well. Maybe it had to be aware and conscious to repair the damage that was done to it. That would mean that I would need to knock it out and poison it so it didn’t feel the effects of the poison.
The only question then was what to use for poison.
The idea actually came to me on a day I ventured out into the woods behind our house for the first time in what felt like a lifetime. If you walk about a half mile back from our little house you get to a pond that’s filled with bullfrogs, peepers and red slider turtles all spring and summer.
On the other side of the pond from where I liked to sit was monkshood, a beautiful, purplish-blue flower. It’s quite stunning and for some reason I recalled that my Grandmother used to call it Wolf’s Bane. Then I recalled that she had talked about it as a way to actually kill wolves many years ago.
My instinct was to march right over there and collect it, but instead I forced myself to walk home and get onto the computer to look up more about this supposedly deadly flower.
And deadly it most certainly is.
The more research I did, the more convinced I became that the only way I could rid the house of the beast that had invaded my husband was to poison the shit out of it.
So that’s what I started getting ready to do.
I know what you’re thinking; if I had drugged him into sleep, why not just use sleeping pills to knock him off.
Trust me, I’d tried that already. I dosed him so hard the first time he slept for nearly twenty-four hours straight – it was a good thing it was a weekend or there might have been calls from his work.
The poison contained in the monkshood is called Aconite and is quite deadly. My fear is that David would notice the poison going to work and be able to correct it as he had with the bullet hole. That’s where the sleeping pills came in.
They didn’t kill him, but they did knock him out. The aconite would hopefully do the killing before the sleeping pills wore off. I just had to make sure to dose him heavily, and I had a plan for that as well.
The first step was harvesting and prepping. To properly harvest any plant that contained Aconite (there are many) I had to make certain to wear gloves that wouldn’t absorb the poison.
After the collection were the preparations to turn it into something incredibly deadly. When it was ready, it was said that just a very small amount of poison was needed to kill somebody. I’d managed to harvest enough for nearly a cup of the poison. If that didn’t kill him, I was fairly certain nothing could.
He’d not seem to have caught on to the sleeping pills yet, even after several weeks, but I was still very nervous. I salted and peppered his raw meat the way he liked it now and then took an eyedropper and laced the whole thing with a layer of aconite. I then filled his wine glass and dumped in the powdered sleeping pills into the liquid and stirred it up. I took the wine out first and then came back to get his plate and the bottle of wine knowing that the first glass would be completely gone by the time I returned.
I was right; he’d drunk it all down and wanted more. I poured more of the laced wine into his glass and set his steak in front of him.
He sucked down the second glass and grabbed his steak with both hands and tore into it like a wild animal, which I suppose he must have been on some level.
I could tell something was happening when he was done with his steak and he couldn’t stand up right. He looked blearily at me and smiled his vicious smile. Normally that smile meant I was in for a very unpleasant night. With surprisingly strong hands, he grabbed my wrists and dragged me into the bedroom. He’d passed out half on the bed before he could get his own clothes off.
I lifted him the rest of the way onto the bed and then went to get the remaining poison. For hours I sat on the edge of the bed and spoon-fed the thing what amounted to raw aconite every half hour or so along with another sleeping pill.
Seven hours it took with more poison than it would have taken to drop a herd of elephant. Toward the end I was worried he wouldn’t actually die, but finally the ragged, hiccupping breaths stopped, his stuttering heart seized and for a moment his whole body went very stiff.
Then it was over, though I continued to shove aconite and sleeping pills down his throat until I was out of both.
A few years ago we’d had a giant pellet stove installed a few hundred feed from house. That, coupled with an oil burner in the basement kept the house warm during the winter and kept our costs down.
If you want to know what happened to the remains of David, then simply use your imagination. I kept gloves on the whole time, just in case some of that aconite leaked out of somewhere, but in the end, he was gone, burned up and his ashes sailed away.
I suspect there were or are others like him. The name Rasputin jumps immediately to my mind. I’m writing this, not as a confession as nobody will find this as I’m alive, but as a warning for those who may find this when I’m dead so they will know that I didn’t kill my husband out of hate or greed or a desire to be out of my marriage with him.
I didn’t even kill him. I killed the thing that ate him, or copied him or did whatever the fuck it was that made him into that monster.