Monday, October 10, 2016

Excerpt from Deliciously Dark Tales, The Good Wife

Gloria had no marketable skills.

She and Brad married right out of high school because she was pregnant, at least that’s what Brad told her. But no baby came. Brad was too careful to let that happen. She still wore the same clothes she had owned when they got married, though they were fitting poorly these days. For five years, she had been little more than a housekeeper and Brad’s toy. She basically wore rags, while he had a closet full of thousand dollar suits and hundred dollar shirts. 

“They’re for work babe,” he always said. “You know I have to look good when I go to the office.”

But she didn’t know. She stayed in the house, isolated, without a car, and far enough from the nearest neighbor that she didn’t even know if there was one.

The office Brad talked about occasionally, was a complete mystery. Gloria had never been there. Not even to one of the Christmas parties, though Brad had stumbled home drunk from one of them each December since they had been married.

She had never met any of his co-workers, and he never discussed them, “Confidential information, don’t you know babe?” But she didn’t know that either, she had no idea what he actually did. He never brought work home, she didn’t know the name of the company he worked for, or owned, and he never shared any information about what he did for work. When she asked about his job, he jokingly said, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” At least she assumed it was a joke.

She looked out the front window at the ragged grass. Brad told her before he left that she needed to mow it. She wondered for the hundredth time, what does Brad do for work? About all he ever would tell her about his work was, “It’s important, you wouldn’t understand.” Then he’d say that someday, he would make enough to take her away from all this drudgery to a nice place in the city. But he’d been saying the same kind of thing for four years. He also promised he would take her on a real vacation. They would go to the beach, and she could sit in the sun, build sandcastles on the beach, and play in the ocean all day if she wanted.

Even the sun sounded good. Brad always told her how lucky she was to have a real house to live in and not some dive apartment, like the other kids they went to school with were living in. Not that she had any contact with any of the other kids.

To Gloria, the house was like a cage within a cage, enclosed on all four sides by an impenetrable wall of trees, by the decaying forest undergrowth beneath, and the perpetual ceiling of gray clouds above. The driveway was the only clear path through the trees, and there were so many turns between the house and the road, driving on it was like navigating a maze.

She opened the front door, took a deep breath of compost scented air, and screamed.

She often screamed. Not that it did any good, nobody heard her, but it made her feel better. Even though the forest muffled her scream the moment she let it loose and it died among the trees, screaming released some kind of pressure that built slowly and steadily inside her stomach. If she didn’t release it when Brad was away, sometimes it would just blow out of her aimed right at him. She learned not to let that happen again.

- From Deliciously Dark Tales, The Good Wife

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