Halloween Hijinks or Hell

Toby stepped out of his cruiser and put on the hat the Sheriff’s Department made him wear. For once he was glad to have it. It would hide his eyes from Marissa.

“What the hell,” Marissa said. She was startled awake from the sound of pounding at the door mixed with the incessant ringing of the doorbell. She reached over to wake up Mark, but her hand touched empty space.

“I’m deeply sorry for your loss, Marissa,” Toby said catching her shoulders just before she collapsed in the doorway. He gently guided her to the floor and knelt beside her.

“I don’t understand, Toby,” she said, “Mark was sleeping right beside me and now you’re telling me he’s been killed in a car accident? How is that possible?”

“I just don’t know,” Toby replied.

Marissa sat on the floor sobbing.  She held Toby tightly knowing he, too, must be devastated. He and Mark were best friends.

“I’m sorry to do this to you, Marissa, but I need you to come down and identify Mark’s body,” Toby said, his voice barely audible.

Toby helped Marissa to her feet and she walked up the stairs to get dressed.

Nothing was making sense. How could she not have heard Mark get up? How could she not have heard him leave the house? Something wasn’t right. She sat on the corner of the bed. Her long brown hair brushed against her cheeks as she bent down to tie her shoes. Just then her thin lips began to curl upwards and a sparkle ignited her blue eyes. There was a giggle trapped in her gut.

“I know what this is,” she whispered, “Toby and Mark are playing a Halloween prank.” She let the giggle escape her lips and quickly covered her mouth so Toby wouldn’t hear. “Well, I’ll show them. I’ll play along and see how far they’re going to take this.”

Marissa put on her best distraught face and walked back downstairs to meet Toby.

***

Toby pushed the large metal button that opened the double doors to the morgue. Marissa was sure this prank couldn’t go on much longer. Toby led her into a cold room with mint green walls. There were several large metal carts covered with white sheets. Toby stopped at one in the back of the room nearest the wall.

“Are you ready, Marissa?” he asked.

Marissa tried to stifle a laugh. Was Mark going to jump out at her? She tried to prepare herself. This had to be a prank. She couldn’t imagine this was proper procedure for a body identification.

“Yes, Toby, I’m ready.”

Toby lifted the sheet and Marissa stood silent, stunned. It was Mark, but he looked waxy and grey. His face was blotched with blue and there was a deep cut in his forehead. He looked…dead.

Marissa walked over and touched Mark’s face. He was cold. She fell to the ground. This time Toby didn’t catch her.

***

Marissa walked into her bathroom and opened the mirrored cabinet trying to avoid her distorted reflection. She grabbed the bottle of sleeping pills and emptied them into her hand. With a large gulp of water, she swallowed them all then laid down on the bathroom floor sobbing. She could not live without Mark. They had been together for over twenty years, since they were teenagers. He was her whole life. She couldn’t understand why he would have left in the middle of the night, on Halloween of all nights. What was he doing? It didn’t matter anymore. Marissa was going to be with him. This calmed her and darkness took over.

***

The alarm was piercing. Marissa reached towards the nightstand and hit the snooze button. She rolled over and wrapped her arms around Mark. She’d had a horrible dream that Mark had been killed in a car accident. It was all so crazy. “Thank God it was just a dream,” she whispered in Mark’s ear. She inhaled his scent – like kindling on the fire mixed with a hint of her favorite soap. She ran her hands through his soft, black hair and drifted back to sleep.

***

“What the hell,” Marissa said. She was startled awake from the sound of pounding at the door mixed with the incessant ringing of the doorbell. She reached over to wake up Mark, but her hand touched empty space.

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4 thoughts on “Halloween Hijinks or Hell

  1. Wow! Is this spooky or is it spooky? Is Mark dead or alive…and what about the pills…did she actually take them or did she dream she did? There has to be more to this story, or is there? I’m going to be pondering this one all day. :-O

    Vi

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