The secret to getting free stuff - EmmaDrew.Info

[Crit] Ted's Secret (Beta)

This is the beta version of my most recent short story. Please do take time to read it and post your feedback. I would really appreciate that. Thank you! :D

He drove swiftly through a dark summer night, unaware of the figure in front of him—a living breathing human, ignorant of death to come. He felt the collision. He heard the sound. Panic kicked in as he burst out of his seat to check the damage, or perhaps the tragedy he had caused.
Ted Marshall just came from a funeral viewing to mourn a colleague scheduled to be buried tomorrow. It was not in his intentions to mourn another person. He stood paralyzed a few meters from his black sedan as the woman stared at him. In a crimson pool of her own blood, she begged Ted for help, slowly crawling towards his direction. She wore a white dress, now tainted with the grotesque painting of body fluids and torn flesh. Somehow her face had endured very little mutilation.
Like a spotlight in the climax of a theatrical play, Ted’s headlights shined through the woman in pain. It helped Ted see every line of anguish and excruciating pain she felt. A big gasp for air followed several shallow breaths of despair. Then she stopped moving, and evidently, stopped suffering.
Ted puked. Every muscle in his body seemed to shake. His own clothes were soaked with sweat, piss, and god knows what else. Driven by fear, he committed a subconscious act of recklessness—he picked her up. He carried the body all the way towards the back seat of his car.
He drove as fast as he could through the empty road, almost thinking he could preserve his innocence and save the girl. But the curtains have already been closed. The music had stopped playing and the lights were turned off. She’s gone now.
“Hey. You home?” said the woman through Ted’s phone. A calming sound, but not what he needed right now.
“Yes. I’m opening the door as we speak,” replied Ted. “It’s been raining like crazy.”
“Can I still come over? You sound tired,” the woman said.
“I am tired. It’s been a long day,” said Ted. He was praying she’d just stay right where she was. He didn’t want Alice to see what he’d brought home. Or what he did.
“Okay. You should rest. I’ll just come tomorrow.”
“I will. Goodnight Alice.”
Faking calm, normal voice was challenging. Ted had just started to gather every bit of calm he could find in himself, and his trembling hands were barely serving him to end his phone call. He wanted to tell his girlfriend Alice about his current...problem, but she wouldn’t be a solution. He closed the door and collapsed to his living room carpet.
Ted woke up to the sound of an almost musical beat. One and two, and three, and four—a bar of rhythm came from his door. Someone was knocking.
He shot up from his awkward vertical position to fake a face, even a smile. With semi-steady hands, he turned the knob to reveal a person standing outside. What greeted him was a smile he knew in an instant.
His coworker slash girlfriend Alice couldn’t stay put. “Crap!” Ted said to himself.
“Well this is an early morning,” he said.
“I was just worried. And you know I miss you,” Alice replied.
“Did you drive all the way here?” asked Ted. “It’s the middle of the night, something could’ve happened to you.”
“I just really wanted to tell you something.”
“Could it wait until tomorrow?”
“Well I’m already here,” said Alice.
They shared a cup of coffee over Ted’s brown, fur-filled sofa. “I’m sorry for all the uh… hair. You know how Persians can be,” said Ted.
“Speaking of your cat, he’s been acting weird tonight has he? He keeps trying to get out,” she said. Ted was just happy she wasn’t as keen as the animal—this visit wouldn’t be so peaceful.
“Have I told you this house was were my grandfather died? He might be peaking through a window” Ted joked. The two laughed it off. “What did you want to talk about, Alice?”
“Yeah. About that,” she said. Alice looked down at her mug and took a very long pause. She inhaled deeply. “I’m breaking up with you.”
Ted took a slightly longer pause of his own. “Okay,” he said. “I appreciate you for coming all the way here to tell me, but I don’t think I can let that happen, Alice.”
“It’s not your choice, Ted. I don’t want to do this anymore,” she replied.
“Can I ask why?” asked Ted. He began clenching a fist, a very shaky and unstable one, in the handle of his mug.
“I feel like it’s not working out anymore. You’re always so busy and we don’t really talk to each other,” said Alice. “You’re always so distant. I try and try to reach you but you keep pushing me away. That hurts me.”
“You call paying for your rent ‘distant’?” Ted’s heart rate began to rise, along with his temperature. He began taking deep breaths of frustration. “Or maybe your friend Jack Smith told you this?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she replied.
“Oh I think you do. I dismissed the idea because I trusted you but right now I’m having strong second thoughts. You regularly text him, you’ve had several late night calls, and you’ve been receiving flowers in your office. Do you think I’m an idiot, Alice?” said Ted. His voice kept getting louder and louder with every word. “Do you think I’m an—“
“He was there for me,” she interrupted. “I only get to see you once a week, twice if I was lucky. What was I supposed to do? I felt so lonely, like you didn’t care for me at all.” Alice started tearing up.
“I bet you felt ‘care’ when you fucked him, huh?” asked Ted.
There were a few minutes of silence in the room, in the whole house. He felt betrayed. He felt angry. For Ted, the thought of another murder didn’t seem so far off.
“Get out of my house before I do something regretful.”
“I’m sorry.” Alice brought down the mug. She wiped her face, as if they were genuine tears.
Like Ted, Alice was good at faking emotion. It was the reason he thought they were romantically compatible. He was attracted to the thought that they could see through each other’s masks and be “real” for a change. That proved to be terribly wrong.
Ted tried to discover genuine connection but ended up buried in a mountain of lies. And tonight, as Alice’s tail lights fade away in his drive way, that mountain had collapsed once and for all.
An hour passed since Alice left, and three hours since Ted’s crime. The drama from his relationship was an unfortunate event at an unfortunate time—one that genuinely broke his heart. However, he faced more pressing matters at the moment. It was twelve midnight and Ted Marshall needed to figure out what to do with the body he hid in his car.
The initial panic has waned off. He was thinking much clearer now. A river of thoughts flowed through his mind, each wave trying to conjure up a scheme designed to dispose the body in a discreet and efficient manner. That is, after all his mistakes, the only option he had left.
“I should have left her there!” Ted screamed to himself. A short burst of regret and frustration fuelled his words.
He knew his decision making was compromised as soon as he felt fear seeing the dead girl. He knew he had just killed someone. He knew he’d face consequences if authorities ever found out. What scared him most was the lack of evidence to support his claim.
The road was practically in the middle of nowhere. There were no witnesses. No one had passed by during that time. There were no video cameras in that area. He knew that if he reported the accident, a career hungry cop would’ve made a completely biased investigation.
However, if he just left the body there… There was a high probability no one would’ve known.
But guilt got the better of him. He took the girl, hoping to get to the nearest hospital and free up his conscience. Then he reached that dreaded intersection—one way led to the city, the other to his home. Although disoriented, he made a choice of pure self-interest, pure selfishness.
He took the body home with him, hoping he could take care of things himself—without anyone ever knowing. He carried the bloody corpse from his car to his house. The darkness proved to be his friend, allowing him to move undetected.
He prepared his dining table for the…guest. The rectangular furniture was covered with layers of newspaper he had collected from months of subscription to a local publication. Like a fairytale, the sleeping beauty had a place to rest—somewhere Ted could examine her.
There she was, lying in the table of her murderer. Her short brown, bloody hair covered the girl’s face. Ted pulled it back, revealing her fair complexion and elegant black eyes—eyes that seemed to stare. He felt a slight chill in his spine and immediately closed them with his hand.
Ted took a step back to pause. He looked her slim body wrapped in white dress and decorated with black doll shoes. She was young, barely even past her teens—a college student, perhaps. He rushed back to his car and grabbed the small red bag she was carrying.
He found a phone, a broken make-up kit, and a wallet. Even if the device was password protected, it was clear no one has called her yet, which was good. Ted searched her wallet for an ID.
“Emily Watson,” he said under his breath. He looked at her, feeling pity and guilt.
“Emily,” said Ted. Although louder, his voice was shaking. His eyes were tearing up. “I’m truly sorry—”
He choked. He felt his heart beat faster and faster as he slowly became dizzy. He leaned towards his sink; afraid he might fall and pass out again. He opened the faucet and let running water calm his head. He stood straight, grabbed a couple of meclizine, and swallowed them dry.
“Alright, back to work,” said Ted. Like a bloodthirsty hound, he sniffed Emily’s body.
“Your perfume smells beautiful,” he said. Along with the alluring smell of fresh roses, he could smell booze.
“You’ve been drinking,” said Ted. “A lot.” He closed his tired reddish eyes to process the information, and took a deep breath before re-opening them.
“So a severely drunk college student from a local university, after partying, got lost and wandered off to an empty road,” he said. “Emily I don’t think you’re a bad girl, but I might be inclined to think you’re stupid.” He looked at her lifeless body and flashed a smile.
Yes, Ted was aware he was conversing with a corpse. And no, he wasn’t going crazy.
Would anyone be looking for this girl, and if so, when will they start to notice she’s gone? This was the question Ted needed to answer. He opened his laptop.
This electronic device served as the window to the truth he sought. Well, this, and Facebook. He typed her name with a flourish and found a profile. Luckily, kids today are more… public, about their interests and addresses—they’re more stupid.
Like a lion vetting the gazelle through the fields, Ted stalked Emily in social media. Based on recent posts, it confirms her ID. Emily was a freshman at Saint Eucledes University. She was enthusiastic about her new college life, given the number of updates to her status. She lived at a dormitory just outside the campus.
Ted let out a sigh of relief. This was perfect. She didn’t live with her parents, which meant there aren’t any paranoid guardians looking after her. Her roommates might notice she’s gone, but it would take a while before they build up alarming concern. Ted estimated a few days at maximum before any serious investigation about her absence would come up.
The coffee he drank earlier felt like water now. His temporary state of alertness had gradually declined. Ted couldn’t continue on much longer. He leaned back to his sofa, feeling the air come up his nostrils into his lungs. He slowly closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.
Slipping back to consciousness never felt good for Ted, maybe even for most people. He thought this might be the indication of an innate desire in all of us to not face problems. When you wake up, you remember all the inconvenience of life—your work, your debts… a dead body. But this time, Ted remembered something else.
His phone rang. Barely awake, he answered the call.
“Hello. It’s Carla,” said the person on the other line. Carla Winterson was the wife of his now deceased colleague, Mark. He almost forgot Mark’s funeral was this morning.
“Oh. Hey Carla,” replied Ted.
“I sent texts but you didn’t reply,” she said. “I thought maybe you hadn’t read them so I just called. It’s about Mark’s funeral. We just cancelled it like an hour ago. His parents missed their plane and it just doesn’t feel right to go on without them.” Carla spoke in a soft monotone voice. She used to be livelier speaking, but then again, death does tend to traumatize people.
“Sorry, I’ve been...up late. I didn’t notice your text. But thank you for calling, I appreciate it,” said Ted. “I hope you and your children are doing better.”
“It is what it is,” she replied. There was a brief moment of silence. “Sorry for the trouble. I’ll see you tomorrow, Ted.”
Mark was a good, honest, and respectable man. Ted knew him, and all of his co-workers did too. It was such a disappointment to everyone when he lost his fight against cancer. Just like poor little Emily, he didn’t deserve to die.
However, empathizing wouldn’t contribute to Ted’s current situation. He leaned back to his sofa, taking a big breath once more—this time noticing a mild scent that wasn’t there before.
Emily’s corpse had begun to emit a very slight odor. It’s been nearly 12 hours since her death. Ted went to his dining room to check the corpse. Her body stiffened up a lot more, limiting its range of motion and becoming harder to move.
“What’s the matter Emily, you like your new home?” he asked. “I’m sorry but I can’t let you stay here. It would be in our best interest if you were somewhere else. I just don’t know where… and how.”
“Do you want some coffee?” he said.
Ted’s five-year-old coffee maker hadn’t seen the light yet. He scooped three, no, four tablespoons of premium grounded Arabica coffee beans he had bought online—expensive but worth every penny. Perhaps more than anything in the world, he loved freshly brewed coffee in the morning.
While the waited for the coffee maker did its thing, Ted stared silently at Emily’s resting body. He admired the shapes of it, its curves, and its flawless skin highlighted by the morning sun. Her silky brown hair suited the beautiful face, complimenting a round shape by giving it sharp, defining edges. Her dress looked simple yet elegant, and somehow reminded him of Alice.
How could he hurt something so pure, so innocent looking? He slowly closed his eyes, imagining the youthful life ahead of her. He could see her studying, having fun, and even graduating college. All of this was possible, now only wasted by the recklessness of an idiot who couldn’t drive safely. Ted began to hate himself. He kept his eyes closed for a few minutes before the little machine stopped.
He poured himself a cup of coffee. He added sugar into his favorite dark, magical liquid—a drink that often granted him enlightenment amidst the challenges of hangovers, late nights, and general stress.
He took a big sniff out of the invigorating aroma of his beverage. Like traffic slowly freeing up, his mind gradually became more awake. He took an almost dramatic sip through the edge of the white ceramic cup, filling his mouth with coffee. He indulged himself with the flavor—rich, strong, and perfect.
As the coffee moved from his mouth, to his throat, and towards his stomach, he felt a short sense of clarity. He stared again at Emily’s body, enlightened.
“Emily, we’re going to attend a funeral,” he said.
Ted waited patiently for the night. He thought of a masterful plan but needed the help of darkness in order to put it into action. He had a few more hours before the sun sets. Perhaps a time to say good bye, he thought.
“Our…unexpected companionship will end sooner than I thought,” said Ted. He talked to Emily again. “I’ll be getting rid of you shortly.”
“But since I’ve know a lot about you, I guess it’s only fair I tell you a bit about myself, as well.” He sat on the chair just beside Emily’s corpse. He notices the tiny changes in her skin, a few spots of ruptured blisters started to appear, and her skin didn’t seem as fresh as it was before.
“I am a college professor in a University not for from yours,” he said. “I teach English. I make my students write about things they don’t want to write about,” he continued
“I’m guessing you can’t see me but guess what? I’m bald.” He starts laughing hysterically at himself while he touched his head. “And I live alone. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this conversation.”
He felt his mouth widen, reaching his eyes. The bald professor was smiling at a very inappropriate moment, having an inappropriate conversation with an inappropriate person.
“I’m not married. I used to have a girlfriend though. Yesterday,” said Ted. “But she left me for an idiot— a very attractive, caring, and emotionally open idiot. That sonuvabitch.
“You know, I’m divided between my urge to murder my ex and the fact that I miss her. Yes, I freaking miss her. Somehow someway, I feel like I can forgive that bitch if we tried getting back together. And I want us to get back together. I know I’m not the most open person in the world. I just don’t want anyone worrying about problems. But if there was someone I’d want to share my problems with, then it’s Alice.”
“Goddammit,” he said to himself. He leaned back to his chair and stared at the ceiling. “Should I call her?” Ted let out a long sigh. “Maybe I shouldn’t.”
“I’m just really frustrated, you know. This was one helluva week,” said Ted. “I lost a good colleague. I lost a great woman. And yes, I killed you.”
Ted looked at Emily’s body, almost expecting her to talk back. Well, if she did, she’d be freaked out. Ted was just happy he had someone to talk to, and he thought that somehow, in a weird and twisted way, he was connecting with this girl.
“I’m pretty messed up am I?” said Ted.
Ted’s shiny scalp reflected rays of the late morning sun. It attracted a few staring eyes but not to a great extent. They were, after all, at the cemetery for a more honorable reason.
He wore a well-tailored black suit that highlighted his lean frame and broad shoulders. Ted’s majestic beard went well with classy dark sunglasses, all in matching colors of black. Everyone wore that color today. Ted, along with fellow coworkers, close friends, and family of the deceased Mark Winterson, waited patiently for his casket to arrive at the grave—despite the aggressive embrace of summer heat. It was the least they could do to honor a great man.
Ted felt compelled to approach the mourning widow. He got close her and lightly touched her back. “Carla, I am truly sorry for your loss,” he said. “Mark was the man I wished I’d become. He didn’t deserve this.”
Carla was listening but failed to reply. Perhaps she found it difficult to respond in words and Ted understood this. He began stepping a few inches back. To his surprise, she spoke.
“He kept it a secret. We didn’t know, but he was sick. He was really sick, Ted.” Her voice was silent and shaky but Ted heard her. “If only he’d told us sooner,” she continued. Tears fell from her tired eyes.
“Maybe he thought it would be best,” said Ted. “Sometimes, people keep secrets to spare others from pain.”
Carla looked at Ted and forced a thankful smile. He nodded slightly. The crowd grew silent as an overweight priest read verses of scripture, and prayed for Mark’s soul. Slowly and theatrically, Mark’s casket was brought down from the surface of a sinful world—a world he made little bit better. His body was returned to the soil. People gathered to see this, to see a man leave, to say goodbye. This was art in its own way, Ted thought.
However, this wasn’t the only thing in Ted’s mind for he too, had kept a secret. Mark’s funeral masked the terrible, terrible sin he committed. To his own surprise, he couldn’t thank his colleague more for this opportunity. Everything was perfect.
The postponement of Mark’s burial was a gift from god himself—who Ted never treated seriously. The grave was already dug yesterday, but there was no one to be buried at that time. For a whole day, a fresh, unused grave was open. And Ted had a dead girl’s body.
Yesterday, he waited for the sun to fall and the night to come. Unseen, undetected, without anyone even caring, he had successfully laid out his plan. Ted never knew he could pull it off.
And today, in Mark’s funeral, Ted carries with him the loss of a friend, and the guilt of a secret. Everybody else was oblivious, blind to the truth. Only Ted knew that three feet from Mark Winterson’s casket was the body of a woman named Emily Watson.
Ted smelled the fresh scent of soil being poured over the grave, and took a taxi home.
submitted by ZcynelF to KeepWriting [link] [comments]

[RF] Ted's Secret (Beta)

He drove swiftly through a dark summer night, unaware of the figure in front of him—a living breathing human, ignorant of death to come. He felt the collision. He heard the sound. Panic kicked in as he burst out of his seat to check the damage, or perhaps the tragedy he had caused.
Ted Marshall just came from a funeral viewing to mourn a colleague scheduled to be buried tomorrow. It was not in his intentions to mourn another person. He stood paralyzed a few meters from his black sedan as the woman stared at him. In a crimson pool of her own blood, she begged Ted for help, slowly crawling towards his direction. She wore a white dress, now tainted with the grotesque painting of body fluids and torn flesh. Somehow her face had endured very little mutilation.
Like a spotlight in the climax of a theatrical play, Ted’s headlights shined through the woman in pain. It helped Ted see every line of anguish and excruciating pain she felt. A big gasp for air followed several shallow breaths of despair. Then she stopped moving, and evidently, stopped suffering.
Ted puked. Every muscle in his body seemed to shake. His own clothes were soaked with sweat, piss, and god knows what else. Driven by fear, he committed a subconscious act of recklessness—he picked her up. He carried the body all the way towards the back seat of his car.
He drove as fast as he could through the empty road, almost thinking he could preserve his innocence and save the girl. But the curtains have already been closed. The music had stopped playing and the lights were turned off. She’s gone now.
“Hey. You home?” said the woman through Ted’s phone. A calming sound, but not what he needed right now.
“Yes. I’m opening the door as we speak,” replied Ted. “It’s been raining like crazy.”
“Can I still come over? You sound tired,” the woman said.
“I am tired. It’s been a long day,” said Ted. He was praying she’d just stay right where she was. He didn’t want Alice to see what he’d brought home. Or what he did.
“Okay. You should rest. I’ll just come tomorrow.”
“I will. Goodnight Alice.”
Faking calm, normal voice was challenging. Ted had just started to gather every bit of calm he could find in himself, and his trembling hands were barely serving him to end his phone call. He wanted to tell his girlfriend Alice about his current...problem, but she wouldn’t be a solution. He closed the door and collapsed to his living room carpet.
Ted woke up to the sound of an almost musical beat. One and two, and three, and four—a bar of rhythm came from his door. Someone was knocking.
He shot up from his awkward vertical position to fake a face, even a smile. With semi-steady hands, he turned the knob to reveal a person standing outside. What greeted him was a smile he knew in an instant.
His coworker slash girlfriend Alice couldn’t stay put. “Crap!” Ted said to himself.
“Well this is an early morning,” he said.
“I was just worried. And you know I miss you,” Alice replied.
“Did you drive all the way here?” asked Ted. “It’s the middle of the night, something could’ve happened to you.”
“I just really wanted to tell you something.”
“Could it wait until tomorrow?”
“Well I’m already here,” said Alice.
They shared a cup of coffee over Ted’s brown, fur-filled sofa. “I’m sorry for all the uh… hair. You know how Persians can be,” said Ted.
“Speaking of your cat, he’s been acting weird tonight has he? He keeps trying to get out,” she said. Ted was just happy she wasn’t as keen as the animal—this visit wouldn’t be so peaceful.
“Have I told you this house was were my grandfather died? He might be peaking through a window” Ted joked. The two laughed it off. “What did you want to talk about, Alice?”
“Yeah. About that,” she said. Alice looked down at her mug and took a very long pause. She inhaled deeply. “I’m breaking up with you.”
Ted took a slightly longer pause of his own. “Okay,” he said. “I appreciate you for coming all the way here to tell me, but I don’t think I can let that happen, Alice.”
“It’s not your choice, Ted. I don’t want to do this anymore,” she replied.
“Can I ask why?” asked Ted. He began clenching a fist, a very shaky and unstable one, in the handle of his mug.
“I feel like it’s not working out anymore. You’re always so busy and we don’t really talk to each other,” said Alice. “You’re always so distant. I try and try to reach you but you keep pushing me away. That hurts me.”
“You call paying for your rent ‘distant’?” Ted’s heart rate began to rise, along with his temperature. He began taking deep breaths of frustration. “Or maybe your friend Jack Smith told you this?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she replied.
“Oh I think you do. I dismissed the idea because I trusted you but right now I’m having strong second thoughts. You regularly text him, you’ve had several late night calls, and you’ve been receiving flowers in your office. Do you think I’m an idiot, Alice?” said Ted. His voice kept getting louder and louder with every word. “Do you think I’m an—“
“He was there for me,” she interrupted. “I only get to see you once a week, twice if I was lucky. What was I supposed to do? I felt so lonely, like you didn’t care for me at all.” Alice started tearing up.
“I bet you felt ‘care’ when you fucked him, huh?” asked Ted.
There were a few minutes of silence in the room, in the whole house. He felt betrayed. He felt angry. For Ted, the thought of another murder didn’t seem so far off.
“Get out of my house before I do something regretful.”
“I’m sorry.” Alice brought down the mug. She wiped her face, as if they were genuine tears.
Like Ted, Alice was good at faking emotion. It was the reason he thought they were romantically compatible. He was attracted to the thought that they could see through each other’s masks and be “real” for a change. That proved to be terribly wrong.
Ted tried to discover genuine connection but ended up buried in a mountain of lies. And tonight, as Alice’s tail lights fade away in his drive way, that mountain had collapsed once and for all.
An hour passed since Alice left, and three hours since Ted’s crime. The drama from his relationship was an unfortunate event at an unfortunate time—one that genuinely broke his heart. However, he faced more pressing matters at the moment. It was twelve midnight and Ted Marshall needed to figure out what to do with the body he hid in his car.
The initial panic has waned off. He was thinking much clearer now. A river of thoughts flowed through his mind, each wave trying to conjure up a scheme designed to dispose the body in a discreet and efficient manner. That is, after all his mistakes, the only option he had left.
“I should have left her there!” Ted screamed to himself. A short burst of regret and frustration fueled his words.
He knew his decision making was compromised as soon as he felt fear seeing the dead girl. He knew he had just killed someone. He knew he’d face consequences if authorities ever found out. What scared him most was the lack of evidence to support his claim.
The road was practically in the middle of nowhere. There were no witnesses. No one had passed by during that time. There were no video cameras in that area. He knew that if he reported the accident, a career hungry cop would’ve made a completely biased investigation.
However, if he just left the body there… There was a high probability no one would’ve known.
But guilt got the better of him. He took the girl, hoping to get to the nearest hospital and free up his conscience. Then he reached that dreaded intersection—one way led to the city, the other to his home. Although disoriented, he made a choice of pure self-interest, pure selfishness.
He took the body home with him, hoping he could take care of things himself—without anyone ever knowing. He carried the bloody corpse from his car to his house. The darkness proved to be his friend, allowing him to move undetected.
He prepared his dining table for the…guest. The rectangular furniture was covered with layers of newspaper he had collected from months of subscription to a local publication. Like a fairy tale, the sleeping beauty had a place to rest—somewhere Ted could examine her.
There she was, lying in the table of her murderer. Her short brown, bloody hair covered the girl’s face. Ted pulled it back, revealing her fair complexion and elegant black eyes—eyes that seemed to stare. He felt a slight chill in his spine and immediately closed them with his hand.
Ted took a step back to pause. He looked her slim body wrapped in white dress and decorated with black doll shoes. She was young, barely even past her teens—a college student, perhaps. He rushed back to his car and grabbed the small red bag she was carrying.
He found a phone, a broken make-up kit, and a wallet. Even if the device was password protected, it was clear no one has called her yet, which was good. Ted searched her wallet for an ID.
“Emily Watson,” he said under his breath. He looked at her, feeling pity and guilt.
“Emily,” said Ted. Although louder, his voice was shaking. His eyes were tearing up. “I’m truly sorry—”
He choked. He felt his heart beat faster and faster as he slowly became dizzy. He leaned towards his sink; afraid he might fall and pass out again. He opened the faucet and let running water calm his head. He stood straight, grabbed a couple of Meclizine, and swallowed them dry.
“Alright, back to work,” said Ted. Like a bloodthirsty hound, he sniffed Emily’s body.
“Your perfume smells beautiful,” he said. Along with the alluring smell of fresh roses, he could smell booze.
“You’ve been drinking,” said Ted. “A lot.” He closed his tired reddish eyes to process the information, and took a deep breath before re-opening them.
“So a severely drunk college student from a local university, after partying, got lost and wandered off to an empty road,” he said. “Emily I don’t think you’re a bad girl, but I might be inclined to think you’re stupid.” He looked at her lifeless body and flashed a smile.
Yes, Ted was aware he was conversing with a corpse. And no, he wasn’t going crazy.
Would anyone be looking for this girl, and if so, when will they start to notice she’s gone? This was the question Ted needed to answer. He opened his laptop.
This electronic device served as the window to the truth he sought. Well, this, and Facebook. He typed her name with a flourish and found a profile. Luckily, kids today are more… public, about their interests and addresses—they’re more stupid.
Like a lion vetting the gazelle through the fields, Ted stalked Emily in social media. Based on recent posts, it confirms her ID. Emily was a freshman at Saint Eucledes University. She was enthusiastic about her new college life, given the number of updates to her status. She lived at a dormitory just outside the campus.
Ted let out a sigh of relief. This was perfect. She didn’t live with her parents, which meant there aren’t any paranoid guardians looking after her. Her roommates might notice she’s gone, but it would take a while before they build up alarming concern. Ted estimated a few days at maximum before any serious investigation about her absence would come up.
The coffee he drank earlier felt like water now. His temporary state of alertness had gradually declined. Ted couldn’t continue on much longer. He leaned back to his sofa, feeling the air come up his nostrils into his lungs. He slowly closed his eyes and drifted to sleep.
Slipping back to consciousness never felt good for Ted, maybe even for most people. He thought this might be the indication of an innate desire in all of us to not face problems. When you wake up, you remember all the inconvenience of life—your work, your debts… a dead body. But this time, Ted remembered something else.
His phone rang. Barely awake, he answered the call.
“Hello. It’s Carla,” said the person on the other line. Carla Winterson was the wife of his now deceased colleague, Mark. He almost forgot Mark’s funeral was this morning.
“Oh. Hey Carla,” replied Ted.
“I sent texts but you didn’t reply,” she said. “I thought maybe you hadn’t read them so I just called. It’s about Mark’s funeral. We just cancelled it like an hour ago. His parents missed their plane and it just doesn’t feel right to go on without them.” Carla spoke in a soft monotone voice. She used to be livelier speaking, but then again, death does tend to traumatize people.
“Sorry, I’ve been...up late. I didn’t notice your text. But thank you for calling, I appreciate it,” said Ted. “I hope you and your children are doing better.”
“It is what it is,” she replied. There was a brief moment of silence. “Sorry for the trouble. I’ll see you tomorrow, Ted.”
Mark was a good, honest, and respectable man. Ted knew him, and all of his co-workers did too. It was such a disappointment to everyone when he lost his fight against cancer. Just like poor little Emily, he didn’t deserve to die.
However, empathizing wouldn’t contribute to Ted’s current situation. He leaned back to his sofa, taking a big breath once more—this time noticing a mild scent that wasn’t there before.
Emily’s corpse had begun to emit a very slight odor. It’s been nearly 12 hours since her death. Ted went to his dining room to check the corpse. Her body stiffened up a lot more, limiting its range of motion and becoming harder to move.
“What’s the matter Emily, you like your new home?” he asked. “I’m sorry but I can’t let you stay here. It would be in our best interest if you were somewhere else. I just don’t know where… and how.”
“Do you want some coffee?” he said.
Ted’s five-year-old coffee maker hadn’t seen the light yet. He scooped three, no, four tablespoons of premium grounded Arabica coffee beans he had bought online—expensive but worth every penny. Perhaps more than anything in the world, he loved freshly brewed coffee in the morning.
While the waited for the coffee maker did its thing, Ted stared silently at Emily’s resting body. He admired the shapes of it, its curves, and its flawless skin highlighted by the morning sun. Her silky brown hair suited the beautiful face, complimenting a round shape by giving it sharp, defining edges. Her dress looked simple yet elegant, and somehow reminded him of Alice.
How could he hurt something so pure, so innocent looking? He slowly closed his eyes, imagining the youthful life ahead of her. He could see her studying, having fun, and even graduating college. All of this was possible, now only wasted by the recklessness of an idiot who couldn’t drive safely. Ted began to hate himself. He kept his eyes closed for a few minutes before the little machine stopped.
He poured himself a cup of coffee. He added sugar into his favorite dark, magical liquid—a drink that often granted him enlightenment amidst the challenges of hangovers, late nights, and general stress.
He took a big sniff out of the invigorating aroma of his beverage. Like traffic slowly freeing up, his mind gradually became more awake. He took an almost dramatic sip through the edge of the white ceramic cup, filling his mouth with coffee. He indulged himself with the flavor—rich, strong, and perfect.
As the coffee moved from his mouth, to his throat, and towards his stomach, he felt a short sense of clarity. He stared again at Emily’s body, enlightened.
“Emily, we’re going to attend a funeral,” he said.
Ted waited patiently for the night. He thought of a masterful plan but needed the help of darkness in order to put it into action. He had a few more hours before the sun sets. Perhaps a time to say good bye, he thought.
“Our…unexpected companionship will end sooner than I thought,” said Ted. He talked to Emily again. “I’ll be getting rid of you shortly.”
“But since I’ve know a lot about you, I guess it’s only fair I tell you a bit about myself, as well.” He sat on the chair just beside Emily’s corpse. He notices the tiny changes in her skin, a few spots of ruptured blisters started to appear, and her skin didn’t seem as fresh as it was before.
“I am a college professor in a University not for from yours,” he said. “I teach English. I make my students write about things they don’t want to write about,” he continued
“I’m guessing you can’t see me but guess what? I’m bald.” He starts laughing hysterically at himself while he touched his head. “And I live alone. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have this conversation.”
He felt his mouth widen, reaching his eyes. The bald professor was smiling at a very inappropriate moment, having an inappropriate conversation with an inappropriate person.
“I’m not married. I used to have a girlfriend though. Yesterday,” said Ted. “But she left me for an idiot— a very attractive, caring, and emotionally open idiot. That sonuvabitch.
“You know, I’m divided between my urge to murder my ex and the fact that I miss her. Yes, I freaking miss her. Somehow someway, I feel like I can forgive that bitch if we tried getting back together. And I want us to get back together. I know I’m not the most open person in the world. I just don’t want anyone worrying about problems. But if there was someone I’d want to share my problems with, then it’s Alice.”
“Goddammit,” he said to himself. He leaned back to his chair and stared at the ceiling. “Should I call her?” Ted let out a long sigh. “Maybe I shouldn’t.”
“I’m just really frustrated, you know. This was one helluva week,” said Ted. “I lost a good colleague. I lost a great woman. And yes, I killed you.”
Ted looked at Emily’s body, almost expecting her to talk back. Well, if she did, she’d be freaked out. Ted was just happy he had someone to talk to, and he thought that somehow, in a weird and twisted way, he was connecting with this girl.
“I’m pretty messed up am I?” said Ted.
Ted’s shiny scalp reflected rays of the late morning sun. It attracted a few staring eyes but not to a great extent. They were, after all, at the cemetery for a more honorable reason.
He wore a well-tailored black suit that highlighted his lean frame and broad shoulders. Ted’s majestic beard went well with classy dark sunglasses, all in matching colors of black. Everyone wore that color today. Ted, along with fellow coworkers, close friends, and family of the deceased Mark Winterson, waited patiently for his casket to arrive at the grave—despite the aggressive embrace of summer heat. It was the least they could do to honor a great man.
Ted felt compelled to approach the mourning widow. He got close her and lightly touched her back. “Carla, I am truly sorry for your loss,” he said. “Mark was the man I wished I’d become. He didn’t deserve this.”
Carla was listening but failed to reply. Perhaps she found it difficult to respond in words and Ted understood this. He began stepping a few inches back. To his surprise, she spoke.
“He kept it a secret. We didn’t know, but he was sick. He was really sick, Ted.” Her voice was silent and shaky but Ted heard her. “If only he’d told us sooner,” she continued. Tears fell from her tired eyes.
“Maybe he thought it would be best,” said Ted. “Sometimes, people keep secrets to spare others from pain.”
Carla looked at Ted and forced a thankful smile. He nodded slightly. The crowd grew silent as an overweight priest read verses of scripture, and prayed for Mark’s soul. Slowly and theatrically, Mark’s casket was brought down from the surface of a sinful world—a world he made little bit better. His body was returned to the soil. People gathered to see this, to see a man leave, to say goodbye. This was art in its own way, Ted thought.
However, this wasn’t the only thing in Ted’s mind for he too, had kept a secret. Mark’s funeral masked the terrible, terrible sin he committed. To his own surprise, he couldn’t thank his colleague more for this opportunity. Everything was perfect.
The postponement of Mark’s burial was a gift from god himself—who Ted never treated seriously. The grave was already dug yesterday, but there was no one to be buried at that time. For a whole day, a fresh, unused grave was open. And Ted had a dead girl’s body.
Yesterday, he waited for the sun to fall and the night to come. Unseen, undetected, without anyone even caring, he had successfully laid out his plan. Ted never knew he could pull it off.
And today, in Mark’s funeral, Ted carries with him the loss of a friend, and the guilt of a secret. Everybody else was oblivious, blind to the truth. Only Ted knew that three feet from Mark Winterson’s casket was the body of a woman named Emily Watson.
Ted smelled the fresh scent of soil being poured over the grave, and took a taxi home.
submitted by ZcynelF to shortstories [link] [comments]

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