The Lady in White – a Short Story

She didn’t know she was going to die today. And why would she? It was her wedding day, after all. She woke up to birds chirping at the window by her bedside, fresh breakfast sizzling downstairs. She had stayed at a bed and breakfast near the church where she was to be wed, to make things easier (she would say) for everyone, but really it was for her. One final night of living alone.

Her husband-to-be, a local politician – formerly a highly respected doctor – would be on his way soon. They decided they were going to meet for breakfast, traditions of not seeing each other be damned. It was their day, and they wanted to spend as much of it together as they could. Little did she know that he went to the local bar for one last light drinking night as a bachelor, maybe one last fling if it suited him. It did.

He woke up that morning next to a small brunette draped in black satin sheets. His naked body exposed to the open air, the sheets over on her half of the bed and the remaining resting on the ground. As his phone starts to ring he jumps up and quickly assesses the room, looking for his pants, trying desperately to stop the ringing. It’s his bride-to-be. He knows it is. A special ringtone of the latest country song twanging over the tinny speakers. It was her favorite and so she set it for him…without him knowing, of course. That twangy-soft, but raspy feminine voice whispering through his pants pocket,

You’re gonna die,

You know you’re gonna die,

and I’ll be the one (waaannn) who keels ya.

You thought you coulda lied,

wasn’t it a sur-prise,

when I was the waaaannnnn who keelled ya?

The top song on the charts was about infidelity and murder and the woman that would be his wife in just a few hours made it his ringtone. Did she know something? Was it just a coincidence? Was this the top song for a reason or did it just have a nice hook and no one really paid attention to the words? A sick pain rumbles through his stomach as he locates his pants and presses a button to silence the ringer. The small brunette rolls over in bed, but still lies asleep. Good, he thinks. He doesn’t remember her name and doesn’t want to. The quicker he can get out of here, the better.

He slips on his boxers and then his pants, finds his shirt thrown over a lamp in another corner of the room and his shoes in still another corner, the last one underneath her blouse that he ripped off of her last night. He thinks of tossing some money, maybe a few twenty’s, on her table as he’s leaving the apartment – for the blouse. But then he thinks she might believe the money to be for…services rendered. He imagines her out in front of city hall, sunglasses and maybe a newly minted black eye, in front of news cameras. He really pissed her off by leaving that money and just…leaving. He looks down at the wad of bills in his hand and puts them back in his pocket.

As he finds his car he gets in and looks in the rearview mirror. His eyes are beyond bloodshot. A cut across his face from the brunette that he just abandoned upstairs. It was a rowdy night. Great, he thinks. Perfect.

The phone rings again, that same idiotic twang coming through his pants pocket.

You’re gonna die,

You know you’re gonna die..

He switches on the speaker in his car, “Hello?”

“Hello, my darling! Where are you? I’m waiting for you to have breakfast with me.”

“I’m on my way. Sorry. Got a little sidetracked.”

“But, darling, it’s our wedding day!”

“I know, I know,” She knows, she knows. He can hear it in her voice. She knows. She knows.

“Well, get here as soon as you can. I have a lovely surprise just for you.”

“I will. I love you.”

“Mm-hmm. See you soooon!” She hangs up on that last part, the high pitch of soooon still ringing in his ear. She never hangs up without saying she loves him back. Maybe he’s just still being paranoid, he thinks.

He swings past his house, runs in to take a shower, get the various smells of last night off of him. The beers and…the rest. A few allergy drops in the eyes for the redness and he’s out the door. The bed and breakfast is about 20 more minutes away. The twang starts to ring over his car speakers now.

You’re gonna die,

You know you’re gonna die…

He jumps, thinking it’s his phone, but then realizes it’s the radio. Man am I paranoid, or what? Calm yourself down. He thinks to himself, before switching the radio off.

In his center console is a pocket knife. He looks at it as he drives to meet his bride-to-be. He wonders what the surprise is. What does she have in store for him? If she knows, not just of last night, but of all of the nights, then why put him through all the hoops of a wedding?

That crazy little…

She’s going to go through with it for half of my money, isn’t she?

She knows and she doesn’t care.

She’ll be little lovely housewife for a year, then file the papers for irreconcilable differences and off she goes into the sunset.

It’s all he can think of. The rage grows in him as he drives closer to his destination.

What a little… and

Stupid little… and then

She’s not getting away with it…

The thoughts and anger consume him. He’s unable to focus on anything else. That, and the little brunette that he left sleeping alone and how he might have to deal with her too if it comes down to it. Extortion. Threats. He’s seen it all before. They won’t take me down. She won’t take me down.

He pulls up to the bed and breakfast, grabbing the pocket knife and slipping it in his pocket right before he jumps out of the car. The rage, he can barely control it. He’s so angry. The twangy little lady starts singing on his phone again and he want to reach through his phone and strangle that raspy voice.

You’re gonna die,

You know you’re gonna die…

He throws open the door and runs up the stairs, Room 280 is where she is. He throws open the door and runs across the room. His bride-to-be has her back turned to him, concealing something at her side, her wedding gown pulled halfway up her torso, the rest of her body exposed.

“There you are, darling,” she says as she starts to turn. He has to get to her first. He reaches for the knife in his pocket and pulls her close to him as he approaches. Just as the knife enters into her abdomen, he sees her concealed hand reveal…a pocket watch. She screams. He pulls the knife out of her as the blood starts to fall to the floor.

She stumbles to the ground, looking intently at his dark blue eyes, “I love you,” she whispers, one last time, just as her eyes become dull, her breathing ceased. The bubbly life that consumed her this same morning now completely gone. The knife falls from his hands, landing next to the pocket watch and his now dead fiancée. His pocket watch. He thinks to himself: What have I done? Oh, my God. What have I done!

He looks at her, at her now hollow eyes staring into the ceiling, tears streaming down his face, “I love you, too,” he smiles a soft grin, “My darling.”


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