"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Watching Albert

Linda stepped out of the shower with determination.  This was the day.  She would do it.  She would tell Albert that she was leaving him.

She dried off brusquely, getting the blood pumping, garnering her strength and courage.  She slipped into a pair of jeans and her yellow tie-dyed T-shirt.  Albert hated that shirt.  Albert hated everything.

She blew her hair dried, then pulled it up in a high pony tail.  She looked at herself in the mirror.  She looked like a teenager.  Did she really want to look like a child when she confronted him?  Ha.  Yes.  Yes, she did.  It would seem a special kind of affront for him, daring to defy him like a rebellious daughter, and not his loving, obedient wife.

Last night with Marco at the Wild Notes Karaoke Bar had helped her finally make up her mind.  The beers, the singing, the dancing on the dance floor.  And later, a trip to the women's room private stall... It wasn't only the notes that were wild at that place.

It's not like she was in love with Marco.  She realized that.  But singing XXX with all her drunken heart, she realized she still had a good voice, and she was still young enough to do something with it.

She squared her shoulders and walked upstairs to his room, opening the door and entering his inner sanctum unbidden.  She braced for the backlash, but none was forthcoming.  He wasn't there.  Odd.  He never left his room.

She looked at the blinking screens of his surveillance system.  Oh, that explained it.  He stood at the foot of the neighbor's new driveway with the owner.  Linda recognized that stance, the waving arms, the flush that could be seen on the hi-def screens.  She could only imagine the minor infraction that had elicited such rage.  She thought the man had remarkable self-control.  He didn't seem to be rising to the bait; he simply spoke a few words, turned on his heel, and went inside the house.

Linda watched as Albert made his way back to the house, then she turned her gaze to a second screen that showed him walking into the kitchen.  Apparently, he had worked up an appetite.  He opened the pantry, removed a loaf of bread, then moved to the fridge and took out the leftover meatloaf from last night.  He made himself a sandwich and took a bite as he headed toward the door.

He stopped, grabbed at his throat, pounded his chest.  He retched as if to cough, but there didn't seem to be any force behind it.  His eyes grew wide.  Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as his face, already red from the altercation, turned crimson.

Linda watched as he grabbed frantically for a chair, pulled it toward him, positioned himself above it, and slammed forward onto the hard back.  His face took on a purplish tinge.  He slammed forward again.  Again.  Again, but with much less force this time.  His skin had turned a pallid blue as he sank to the floor.

Linda watched.  He was unconscious now.  Perfectly still.  She waited.  When thirty minutes had passed, she turned off the computer screens.  She shuffled through his desk drawers, gathering all his files, all his DVDs, and threw them in the garbage.  She took the bag, tied it off, and walked downstairs.  Walking outside, she put the garbage into the bin, just as the trash collector arrived.


Today's prompt: "Albert is dead."

To play along, and to read about Albert in his original story, visit Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday here.


Anthony said...

oooo, interesting. Did she or didn't she? Very nice. I'm sure I'll stil be wondering late into the night :)

John Pender said...

Left me wondering too. Nice one, Shelli.

Susan G. Haws said...

Leaving me wondering.

Shelli said...

All right, if I've left all of you wondering, I'm wondering if I didn't do too much showing and not enough telling. It seems I may have left out a little clarity this time. Good to note. And thank you Anthony, John, and Susan, for coming by and leaving your comments!

keiths ramblings said...

I know what I think but what really happened? Delightful.

Shelli said...

Thank you, Keith! Do I spill the beans and tell you what I think happened?

Anonymous said...

I really like Linda, I was wondering if she could just leave him...
It didn't seem to be too much showing!

Jason Coggins said...

Excellent take on Linda here. Albert's death was almost incidental in getting to understand her POV and the trap he had made of her life.

Shelli said...

NTWGirl, thank you! I thought she'd taken enough, and I wanted to give her an out. I couldn't see her being too proactive about killing him off, though.

Jason, thank you very much! I did want the death to reveal as much about Linda as it did about Albert. Passively watching. That seemed to fit her personality.

John Wiswell said...

From tie-dyed shirt to tied-off garbage bag. But the collector spotted her! There goes alibis.

Shelli said...

Yes, but who's going to think about asking the collector? She cleaned up nicely after herself, making sure no one else could be hurt by Albert's dirty little hobby.