by Cody Schmucker


           Jim opened the door and walked into his dimly lit house. He hung up his hat and jacket on the coat rack next to the door after he put his suit-case down. He closed the door. 
          “HHoney, I’m home!” Jim yelled. 
          “Where the hell were you!?”
           Jim flinched. He hated it when his wife yelled at him, usually because of what follows. He kicked off his shoes and briskly walked into the kitchen to find his wife waiting for him.
          “I’m sorry honey, Joey wanted me to fill out more paperwork so I
          She slapped him across the face hard. Jim closed his eyes and faced away from his beloved because he knew if she saw tears running down his now burning cheek, that she’d hit him harder for being a wuss. 
          Jim took a shaky breath, “I’m going to take a shower.” 
          He took two steps towards the kitchen door before he felt his wife’s arms wrap around his waist. He felt her stand on her toes and a kiss on his neck.
          “I’m sorry Jimmy; you know how I feel about you coming home late. I get worried sick.” She said as she walked towards the microwave, “Look, I even made you your favorite.”
          She opened the microwave door and pulled out a bowl of beef stew. “I even kept it warm for you… Do you forgive me?”
          Jim took a sharp inhale and turned around. He walked to the kitchen table, making sure that he didn’t make eye contact with her on his way. He sat down in the chair facing away from the microwave. 
          “I forgive you.”
          “What?” Jim asked. 
          “What what?” “Did you just say something?”
          “No, Why?”  Jim’s wife asked as she sat the bowl down in front of him.
          “There it is again!” Jim stood up looking around.
          Jim’s wife picked up the bowl and dumped the stew over his head then threw the bowl down and shattered. She then stomped out of the room. 
          “You know how I feel about playing jokes on me!”
          Jim looked down at the stained table cloth and sighed. He got up and took off his dress shirt and tossed it in the trash along with his new tie. He started picking up the pieces of shattered bowl.
          The spinning ceiling fan brought no comfort to Jim tonight. He tossed and turned on thelumpy, worn out sofa.
           Jim sat up. “Who said that?” He whispered out into the darkness.
          “… we did …
          “Who’s we?”
          He heard pounding on the ceiling followed by the angry, inaudible shouts from his wife. Jim sighed.
          “Who’s we?” he asked again, making sure to whisper this time.
          “… you know very well who we are …
          “… you have to do it …
          “Do what?” Jim asked.
          “Stop that…” Jim demanded.
          “Please stop”
          Jim looked up at the clock with his bloodshot eyes, it read 3:00 a.m. Now the voice has gotten so loud that it sounded as if it was screaming in Jim’s ear. Jim decided that he haenough. He threw the blankets off of him and ran into the garage.
         “STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!” Jim screamed.
         Jim grabbed the chainsaw and revved it until it started. The loud growl of the chain saw was deafening but it was drowned out by the voice getting louder and faster. Jim sat down the chainsaw and grabbed a hammer and ran over to a pile of metal scraps. He started hit the metal scraps as hard as he could but it was useless. The voice just got louder.
          “WHAT’S GOING ON IN HERE?” Jim turned around to see his sleepy wife at the door of the garage.
          Jim quickly turned off the chainsaw. Once he did, he looked up at his not-too-happy wife and began to apologize.
          “I’m sorry Karen, it’s that…” Jim stopped to listen. Jim grinned.
          “… it’s gone…” He whispered to himself.
          “What is?”
          “The-” Jim looked down at the hammer in his hand, “The voice.”
          “What voice?”
          Jim looked up at his wife. Then down at the hammer in his hand.
          “II’m not sure if I understan-” She was cut off by the hammer hitting her head with a sickening crunch. Karen crumpled to the floor.
          Jim laughed manically as he walked over to his wife’s unconscious body and picked up the hammer he threw.
          “Crunch!” Jim yelled as he brought the hammer down on Karen’s head with another wet crunch.
          “CRUNCH!” Jim yelled again as he repeated his previous action.
          Jim repeated the process again and again until the sound of wet splashes replaced the sound Jim was familiar with. He dropped the hammer and fell to his knees with tears in his eyes. He cradled his wife’s headless body and wept.
          “I’m so sorry” Jim sobbed, “Please don’t hurt me again.



          Jim sniffed and got up. He knew what he had to do. He grabbed a nearby rag and wiped off his wife’s blood. crunch. He walked over to the kitchen and dug his dress shirt and tie out of the trash can and put them on.  crunch . He walked to the front door and slid his shoes on. crunchHe put on his suit and picked up his suitcase. crunchHe opened the door and walked out of his dimly lit home.
          That night, Jim went to town to rent a hotel room in the tallest building he could find.



Author Biography: Cody Schmucker is a Junior in Warsaw Community High School in Warsaw, Indiana. He’s spent his entire life adding “Schmucker” to the dictionary in Microsoft Word and is currently taking Mrs. Freehaufs’ Creative Writing class. He enjoys working at the local Frozen Custard shop and going to his church youth groups on Wednesday nights.