She felt nothing and everything. An explosion of panic juxtaposed with the terror of what she had just done drove her mindlessly along the slippery and dangerous path once again. Wind driven rain smashed against her face. Her hands had been washed free of his blood but her mind still saw it.
She couldn’t take it back. She couldn’t undo it.
She grasped the knife tighter.
Her action had been a terrible, grievous mistake. A temporary rigor mortis of the soul. Now it was filled with stinging, profound shame and guilt.
She had loved him. She had trusted him.
Whitecaps danced at the rocky shoreline; beckoning her, entreating her to join in.
She slowed her pace.
Her breath arrived in gulps as she began to pick her way sideways down the last fifty meters to the water’s edge.
Unnoticed by her, the knife had dropped from her hand.
Once bathed in the sunlight of joy, what was supposed to have been her dream home glared, menacingly down at her. She saw it anew through dark, deeply recessed shadows.
The neighbors had warned them. Tragedy would be your ill-fated companion. Don’t buy it. The water is treacherous, its depth comes quickly.
Seductively, the cold water slipped across the gravel and embraced her bare feet and back into itself.
His blood clutched her body through her rain soaked summer dress and weighed her down.
She stepped forward. So cold, it was so cold. And, she gasped.
Hypnotically, the water churned as it formed ankle chains below her gaze.
Still, she was drawn deeper.
Water circled her thighs.
Like an absurd umbrella, her crimson spattered white dress rose as if to be washed and bleached in the sun.
Stumbling, she felt a hint of her resistance but the wicking water drew her deeper. When its blanket lay across her head she spread her arms wide about to embrace it.
“Judith, wake up!” he screamed. He shook her with such fury that the bed’s headboard slammed against the wall. When he stopped, tears streamed down his cheeks. “I thought I had lost you.”
She lay there, quite still, staring up at him, her pajamas soaked in perspiration. “I’m still here,” she finally replied. A smile barely registered on her face.
“These nightmares of yours…they’ve gone on far too long, Judith. You must see the doctor.”
“Must I?” Her words were said hesitantly but enunciated slowly for emphasis.
The bridge of his nose pinched together. His eyes peered at her through slitted lids as he scrutinized her. “Is there something you’re not telling me? Heaven knows how secretive you are about your thoughts, your emotions. Come to think of it, you haven’t even told me what your recurring nightmare is about.”
“Would it matter?” she replied in an accusatory tone.
The slight smile which had been etched on her face vanished.
“Well…yes…of course it matters.”
She turned on her side, away from him. “Patience…tomorrow…all will be revealed tomorrow. Until then, I will still be here.”
“Still be here, what the hell does that mean?”
She did not reply.
There was a time when she fell asleep cradled in his arms. Distance between them had now become the norm.
He could not wash out the scent of the other woman. And, it sickened her.
Sleep had become elusive as she waited for the morn. “Sweet dreams, Phillip,” she spat out. His angry grunt made her smile. She knew he too would get little sleep tonight. And, what sleep he did get would be in a nightmare of his own making.
Under her pillow, her hand rested on the handle of a knife.