The sky was a silent black slate, peppered with millions of tiny white dots. Amy was on her way home from work when she felt a cool breeze on her brow. A misty, chilly exhale followed every time she drew a breath. She enjoyed the crisp weather as she gazed around at the swaying leaves. The moon shone bright and was the only light source visible for miles. Soon, her path was obscured by darkness. Amy was exhausted. She’d had a long day.
Amy pushed the heavy gates of her house, her hand entirely seized by the touch of the iron bars, which were as cold as ice. The old cobblestone path beneath her was rough but smooth compared to the crunching of the dead leaf she stepped on. As her house got closer, everything around her became discreet and more distant. The murmurs of the trees had faded, and the cold iron gates were far in the distance. In front of her was the doorway.
Outside, her house appeared tall and thin, built out of large, dark grey stones with a rough texture, all sandwiched together by crumbling cement. Climber plants grew up the house, snaking around the drainpipes, soaking up the scant sunlight that reached this deserted location. The windows in the house shook violently in the wind. A few potted plants sat next to the door, once there to make a lovely appearance but now floppy and brown, almost certainly dead. The door was left ajar. William was desperate to see her.
Usually, Amy preferred to spend her Sundays curled up against her pillows with a bottle of beer, a crumpled bag of chips, and a Netflix series to watch with her husband. Instead, she had to spend the day burying her nose in documents and tossing the papers around restlessly.
She would have been able to enjoy the delicious dinner her husband had prepared for her if her co-worker didn’t back off the assignment at the last minute. She knew her husband would be angry at her for being late, but she needed to get to work. She decided not to stew in bitterness today because nothing could ruin her good mood.
It was half past ten by the time Amy arrived home. William was enraged because he had spent the entire evening waiting for her. He was about to call her when he heard the door in the hall open, and his wife called out to him, “Baby, I’m home; I am so sorry for being late; now, where are you?” But William was annoyed at her for being late even today.
Today was different from any other day; it was the couple’s second wedding anniversary.
When Amy returned, the festive atmosphere had vanished into thin air. The excitement he had catapulted to surprise her with a gift suddenly felt like a vacuum. Not only was he in a distasteful mood, but he also stormed down the stairs, looked at his wife, and began yelling before she could explain. “Did you notice the time? Do you know what makes today so special? Why are you so late?” William went all guns blazing on her. At the very least, he expected her to tell the truth today.
Amy had seen this coming. She wanted to avoid sulking and squandering the time until their anniversary was over. The following day was Monday, and she would return to her usual routine.
“Baby, I’m sorry; I know you’re upset, but I had important work at the office, please understand!” said Amy curtly.
Before William could question her further, Amy quickly went to her bedroom to dress -up. Her romantic side hoped that William wouldn’t make any more commotion.
Amy smiled as she set the table with a beautiful tablecloth and centerpiece, lit the candles for ambiance, warmed the food, and placed it on the table. She then plonked on the chair as if she was having dinner only for eating.
They ate silently, and she could tell he was still mad at her. So she decided they needed to do something different to lift their spirits, and what could be better than a dance. Amy played a song, and they danced for a while. It felt good to lose herself in him as she slipped her arms around his neck. But her efforts had little effect on William.
Soon, they decided to call it a day because it was already midnight. Amy fell asleep quickly as they lay in bed. William took a long gaze at her face, the night light making her look more beautiful by the minute.
William had been anticipating this moment for a long time. The sweet love drama had already consumed so much of his time that he didn’t want to waste it any longer. For the past month, Amy’s night routine had become more frequent. Every evening, she made a new excuse. Sometimes it would be hour-long traffic jams, a flat tyre, or her work keeping her in the office for long hours. But William had overlooked these things until one day, he saw Amy in the arms of her boss. It felt like a joke for a split second. He couldn’t believe what he saw.
He wanted to confront Amy and give her another chance if she could start over. He couldn’t think of a better occasion than his wedding anniversary. But even today, she had lied to him. William had yet to learn how long she had been doing this. She’d gotten quite good at it by now. It was difficult to tell when she was lying and being herself.
“How could she do this to me?” William thought. He had loved her with all his heart. This, however, was the final straw. William knew exactly what he needed to do at this point.
William looked down upon his sleeping wife, carefully picked her up in his arms, taking care not to wake her up, and went inside the bathroom to relieve the emotional burden. His lips curled into a sneer at the thought of soaking her pretty little nightdress in a pool of cold water. And with that, very firmly and slowly, he drowned his wife in the already-filled bathtub, a psychotic decision. Amy awoke, startled to find herself drowning and her husband murdering her. She gasped for air, but the handgrip on her was too tight. She frantically struggled to get out of the water but in vain.
“I’m sorry, darling, but I believe this is the only anniversary gift you deserve. I trusted you so much, I had no idea you’d cheat on me,” said William, and with that, he bid Amy goodbye before she could respond. She tried to scream, but her voice was cut short by a terrible pressure against her throat, which obstructed her breathing. A few minutes later, she lay motionless in the water. Finally, the emotional burden felt light. William was now a free man. He swiftly grabbed her and hid her body in the basement.
At once, he dashed into the hallway. Not long before he moved towards the stair, he noticed, from the corner of his eye, that the chair in the dining room had been jolted back and tilted towards him. He pushed those thoughts aside, wondering if he was hallucinating. But then he felt a sudden puff of air on his earlobe. He shuddered slightly, and his heart began to race, for he knew he had committed a crime. He stood still, petrified, unable to make any movement. Was something haunting William?
He turned around, but all he could see was dust floating in the air. With no time to waste, he dashed up the stairs, cringing at each creak, but this didn’t deter him from reaching the second-floor bedroom. He changed his clothes and packed his belongings for his departure from the city. He had already disposed of all the evidence. No one in the neighbourhood had heard any screams coming from his home. It was the perfect gift or the perfect revenge for his sweetheart.
William approached the bedroom door and attempted to turn the knob, but it fell off as soon as he touched it. This scared him a little. His heart began to tick-tock like a clock. He inhaled deeply and punched the door, but it refused to budge an inch. After a five-minute struggle, he finally pushed the door open, only to hear a crackling voice.
“Aren’t you forgetting something, Honey?” said the voice.
He froze, startled by the sudden noise, and his pulse quickened. His teeth began to chatter, and his knees started to jelly as he turned back to see a greenish-white light flickering from the corner of the room. The light gradually grew larger, taking on the shape of his now-late, beloved wife. Mist obscured his vision, but he saw her moving towards him in the shadows. As she came closer, sweat trickled down his body, his spine stiffened, her cries echoed in his head, and his heart raced as her dark eyes blazed with agony. As she moved, water dripped down her hair. William took a big swig.
“Where is my anniversary present, my darling?” the phantom howled.
William tried to speak, but his mouth was so dry from fear that he could only make soft gasping noises. Amy’s once beautiful face had turned into a hideous green mask as the glowing phantom approached William. “You killed me, Dear Husband. Don’t you expect a return gift now?” she smirked.
“Happy Anniversary, darling,” said the phantom. “This is my gift for you.”
The phantom then pulsed with a wild green light, closing in on William as the noise grew louder and louder. After that, it pounced on William, pressing his face against a pillow. He then felt a sudden twitch underneath him. At that moment, William realized it would soon be over. The world quickly darkened.
The following day, when the maid arrived, she discovered William’s body lying in a pool of blood in the bathtub, his neck twisted. Amy was nowhere to be found.
Nobody will ever know what happened in that house, but if you were the maid, would you be able to sleep at night?