THERIOPHOBIA: FEAR THE BEAST Part Six
Lucas Vale sat in his favorite recliner, staring at the far wall, the lights off. He could just make out the pictures there, framed photographs of his parents, his brother, one of him and Marcus with their cousin, Angela. He tried to think. He’d promised the two detectives, Brewster and Whitlow, that he’d come down to the station and give a full report first thing in the morning. The two were very nice to him. They must have already crossed him off their mental list of suspects in Felicia’s murder.
In his left hand, Lucas held Felicia Stroman’s wedding ring.
At least it sure looked like Felicia’s, the cheap gold band that she was so proud of, the best her husband, David, a plumber, could afford, back when they’d married. Lucas didn’t have a clue as to whose it might be if not Felicia’s.
Neither did he have a clue as to how it might have ended up in his stomach.
Using the garden hose he kept coiled and ready for use in his flowerbed to clean off the sidewalk in front of his door, washing the concrete clean of his vomit, he’d noticed the security light mounted above his door glinting off something metallic. Amidst the residue discharged from his stomach had been Felicia’s wedding ring. What, Lucas wondered, his brain numb, what had become of the finger upon which that ring had been worn?
The answer seemed obvious. He’d eaten it. The finger. The ring. Felicia? He’d eaten Felicia? Sometime during the day which he couldn’t remember, he’d committed murder. Cannibalized the victim, torched the office afterward. Maybe he’d showered after arriving home to wash away the stench of smoke, Felicia’s blood. Maybe he’d washed up at the office. Then he’d come home and curled up on the floor for a nice nap. It all fit, all made sense.
Except, of course, that it was ridiculous, insane. Lucas chuckled, almost laughing at the idea of it.
I could never kill anybody.
He looked at the ring, on display in his palm, just visible in the darkness of the room. A cheap circle of gold.
No, not gold.
He remembered Felicia having mentioned it once. Her dislike of gold, her husband’s choice of silver for her wedding ring. How unique she considered it, how special.
And he’d eaten it.
And it had made him sick.
Lucas began to sob. He leaned forward, buried his face in his hands, and wept. For Felicia and for himself. Grief and fear. For the friend he’d lost and his mind, which he feared he might be losing.
After a while, Lucas stood. He walked to the bathroom, flipped on the light, dropped the wedding ring into the commode and flushed. He watched the hoop of silver disappear in the swirl of dyed blue water. Then he shut off the light and stood in the dark and silent room, trembling, while the Moon rose over the town of Ironwood. A Moon that would soon grow stronger.
Waiting. Just waiting.
* * *
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!