The First Piece

Serena was taking a last bite of the frozen ravioli she’d heated up out of impatient hunger,  she heard the SUV pull up out front and she knew Josh was home. As she always did on these Thursday nights when he arrived, she got up and went to the front door, unlocking both door and screen so he could come straight in. Looking out, she saw him backing the blue and slightly battered SUV into the driveway.  Even in the dark, his broad shoulders were bright in his white, chef coat. Knowing all was as it should be; she walked to the kitchen and put her dirty dish in the sink, grabbing a couple Oreos from the bag on top of the refrigerator and sitting back down on the couch, safe in the knowledge that he would come through the door any minute. As she watched her tv show, and finished the three cookies Serena realized that more time than usual had passed, Josh should have come inside by now.  She wondered what was taking him so long as she got up, and opened the door, peering out into the night. There was the SUV, nose out facing the street, blocking the sidewalk because it was still attached to the trailer, the street was silent and dark, and he was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he’d gone to the neighbor’s house, she thought, this would be unusual for him, but not unheard of. She picked up her phone to call, he was of course, at the top of her favorites list, above only her daughter, because he was her “in case of emergency” call.

As soon as the phone started to ring she knew something was wrong. She could not only hear the phone ringing in her ear, but his phone as well but from the other side of the SUV. Running across the yard, around the front of the car, it was if she were in a state of suspended animation, her heart beating in her ears, her feet and body disconnected from her mind.  Even as she saw him lying across the driveway, she had hung up and was dialing 911. Kneeling next to him, she immediately saw that his warm, brown eyes, eyes that had seen her in every way over the last ten years, were fixed. As soon as she touched his skin, already cooling, she knew he was gone, his eyes frozen in that last moment, as if he were surprised, yet not. With the realization he was dead, a cloak of crimson rage fell over her shoulders, engulfing her in its terrifying heat.  Even as she beat on his chest, trying to will his heart back into rhythm, she did so with fear and anger at her side, helping her breathe and preventing her from doing so simultaneously. Seconds, minutes or hours later,  she stood outside of her body looking down at desperate caricature of herself pacing in circles around this larger than life man she’d so dearly loved, who now lay, a mountain of cooling flesh, in the driveway, dead.


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