Deaths for a Happy Box
The man's left hand twitched as he sat in a basement flooded with his happy lights. He put the hand in his pocket. He hated it everytime the twitching happened, it made him feel helpless and he hated that feeling even more. He was a man who controlled everything in his world. He had just the perfect mix of power, respect and money to do that. He liked to think he had control over the lives of the persons in his employ. They did not seem to mind as long as he kept them happy with fat cheques.
A-ha! Happy. He loved happy people and filled his small world with them. The lapses into sadness at intervals were okay by him as long as they got over it soon enough as not to affect his happy box. When they couldn't get over it, they had to leave his happy box before they tainted it. Of course, they never understood why they had to leave.
Sarah, his first victim, had questioned the reason behind the termination of her employment furiously. She had been going to make trouble. He had grown tired of her reluctance and taken her out himself. Killing Sarah had kept his happy box stainless and ended her suffering. He had done her a favor. No one should be that sad. It had been his first time but it had taught him how much power he had. He could not only exercise control over happy and sad, he also had control over life.
His box was in danger of being tainted again and his hands twitched often to remind him. He had to take care of Lucy before it was too late. He had given her ample time to get over her sadness that shrouded everywhere she went in clouds of darkness but she was yet to. It had been four months since she had had her heart broken by her fiance who as rumours had it, she had caught in bed with her best friend. Not that he did not sympathize with her plight, he did. He had given her two weeks off work to get over it hopeful that she would resume her gay self once more but she hadn't. She had come back with a constant frown and defeated shoulders. Heck, he had given Sarah just two months which proved that he had been overly patient with Lucy. Four months was more than generous. He couldn't wait anymore.
He knew her routine by heart. He had learnt it by watching her like a hawk these past few weeks after it become clear that it may be left to him to uproot the diseased weed before it infects others. He stood up from the rocky chair he had been sitting on. It was his favorite chair and it had felt right to put it in his favorite place. He looked at his wristwatch. Perfect timing. He had to be back before bedtime. His live-in housekeeper knew better than to disturb him whenever he was in here. He was out of the house in seconds. He started walking in the direction that would see him to Lucy's place. He never drove on these missions. He would take a cab at some point but would arrive his destination on foot.
Lucy sat curled up on her couch with a book in her hands. She had read only one sentence repeatedly since she began dozing off and on some twenty minutes ago. She would have retired for the night but she hated turning in early these days. It only got her to dreaming about her ex-fiance sooner and she hated that she did with every fiber of her being. She would help it if she could but she couldn't. Tonight was worse, although she had put off going to bed for a long time now, her body was being uncooperative. It had been a stressful day at work. She put the book down, uncurled herself from the couch and stretched lazily as she stood. She went into her bedroom and got in bed. She paused when she thought she heard a noise. The silence that followed told her she had been mistaken, she lived alone after all. Lucy took off her reading glasses putting it within reach on her bedside table, she put off the lights then threw the duvet covers over herself and was fast asleep in a heartbeat.
Lucy awoke with a start. Something was choking her. She needed to come up for air but she couldn't. A pillow was pressed tightly against her face. In her struggle to relieve herself, she encountered hands. Strong determined hands for which hers were no match. Her last thought was of her ex before she stilled in death.
The hands removed the pillow from her face and rested her head on it. They arranged her body in the position she had been sleeping and threw the covers over her. Mission accomplished! The owner of the strong hands started to leave the bedroom but stopped on hearing the front door open with a click. Quickly, the owner hid behind the curtains.
The man came into Lucy's bedroom. He was surprised she had turned in for the night already. Usually, she would be curled up on her couch sleeping more than half the time she pretended to read. He had thought it funny those days when he watched her. The change in her routine was good for him, it meant his task at hand will be a lot easier.
He approached her bed and lifted a pillow. He paused to watch her sleep peacefully. He would miss her but she was no longer the lively Lucy he used to know. She was poison eating slowly away at his happy box. He was the antidote. He touched her face slightly with two fingers running them down to her neck. It was there he noticed the absence of a pulse. He checked again, her wrists included but found the same answer. Lucy was dead. How could she be? His left hand twitched.
The man suspected foul play. Someone or something had robbed him of his prize. He intended to find out who or what.
He made to leave but something smacked him hard across his face. He landed on the bed and had a pillow pressed against his face before he could collect himself. He struggled against it. He needed air. He kicked and scratched but the hands that pinned him down were too strong. His hands fell loosely to the mattress. His left hand twitched for the last time. Like Lucy, he soon stilled, forever silent.
The owner of the strong hands lifted the man and lay him next to Lucy leaving them both in a state of undress. This time, the duvet covers were rumpled and their clothes were scattered across the floor of the bedroom. It was the perfect scene for a secret romance gone wrong.
The owner of the strong hands picked up a newspaper at a newsstand two days later. It carried the story of his latest accomplishment just as envisioned. An investigation was still ongoing into the cause of their death.
The owner of the strong hands knew what the autopsy would discover but that was it. Like others before this, they would never solve this case.
All images were obtained from (pixabay)[www.pixabay.com].
Original fiction authored by @royalrose
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