by Joshua Williams
Was everything as Laura described? Candle lit; check. Knife; check. Words, utter gibberish; check. Altar that's just a giant piece of wood; check. Crazy friend that better stay true to her word; Lord almighty, check, Tory thought. She glared down at all these pieces. Bells and whistles to her. The hunk of metal off to the side, shining and bursting with potential? The real deal. Two to the chest, soon as he comes in the door. Hi, honey. Bang, Bang.
She needed alcohol. Strong alcohol. Laura, you crazy bitch. She poured amber liquid into a shot glass. Whiskey or brandy? The yellowed and rubbed label kept that secret. She swallowed it in a gulp and felt fire course through her. Whiskey. Definitely Whiskey. Good damn.
Once again at the altar, she eyed it with loathing. The cuckoo-clock on the wall squawked five times. Stupid, annoying, little, shit bird. An hour and fifteen minutes till the bastard is home. She put her greasy black hair into a ponytail, letting it hang limp against her back. This is for you, Laura. First, she drew the pentacle on the table as Laura had. It looked odd, that black shape against the harshly painted white of the wood. She spoke the gibberish Laura wrote down. We need an exorcism, father! She's speaking in tongues!
She broke out laughing. The candle flame flickered and vanished. Time for another drink, ol' Tory. Fire in her veins again. Wait an hour. Sixty minutes. Three -thousand -six -hundred seconds. Each one ticked slow as she settled into a bath. The steam licked her skin with caressing, warm tendrils. Her skin was pruned and the water cold when the alarm at last rang.
Downstairs once more, she rushed to the bay window beside the front door. Excitement was in her, buried deep and festering no matter how much alcohol she drowned it in. She pulled the heavy curtain back with a slight tremble and looked out onto a clear night sky dotted with twinkling eyes. Dammit, Laura. You promised a blizzard from Hell. Her jaw clenched as she let the curtain slide back. She spotted the gun, winking at her, a fellow conspirator. Howdy, partner. She grabbed the bottle of whiskey and brought it with her.
She dropped it down next to the pistol. Las Vegas's Adam and Eve. She grabbed the chair at the altar and turned it to face the door. Never got around to staining these things. Does blood stain well? She thought with a smile. She settled into the chair, picking up the gun and the whiskey. She stared at the door, ready to aim and pull. How hard could it be? This end towards him and pull.
She waited and waited. Where the hell is he? She checked her phone. 6:20 AM glowed back at her. Goddammit, Tory. He said he wouldn't be back until seven. Probably meeting that woman again. She swore and sloshed her whiskey around.
She woke up sprawled in the chair, pistol dangling loosely, whiskey on the floor, and face crusty with spit. Was that a car? Her phone burned her hazy retinas with 7:14 AM. Sweet Jesus here we go. A door slammed outside. A beep echoed into the dawn silence. The key slid lazily into the lock, clinking and scraping as it bore in. A man opened the door, face down, languidly easing the key out of the lock. He glanced up, hardly registering his wife before him, awake and armed, reeking of whiskey.
“Honey, why are y-"” Bang, bang.