By Charles Frierman
“Henry, it’s okay. You can come out now.” Margarite peered under the bed, only to find it empty.
Henry Willoughby was proving to be quite the challenge. He reminded her more of her original husband than any of the others so far, right down to the puppy-dog eyes that had lied to her face when she’d asked him where he was going that night.
The closet door burst open. A figure ran past her and out of the bedroom while she was still kneeling by the bed.
A few years back, she would have been agile enough to spin around and trip him, but thanks to Henry Kallow, her hip wouldn’t allow such actions anymore. Sometimes she wished they were all like Henry Hendrickson and would just sit there and cry—what a delicate flower he had been. It wasn’t as fun when they were weak, but so much easier on the body.
Margarite slowly straightened, grabbed the ax she had previously tossed on the bed, and followed the bloody trail down the hall. He had to be in pain with that much blood loss. Even Henry Brownage hadn’t bled this much.
Trying not to think of the cleanup, she walked past the guest room to check the kitchen. Standard procedure here. When they survived the initial assault, they always went to arm themselves—as if she were that stupid. Henry Gibson had fooled her, though—he’d dismantled a cabinet door and clubbed her good. Had he finished her off, there would be no Henry Willoughby or even Henry Tootshammer before him. Luckily for her, Henry Gibson had looked for a phone to call the police, which had given her more than enough time to recover. She had been bedridden with blurry vision and nausea for at least a week after that little ordeal, but oh, did Mr. Gibson pay the price. That had been quite satisfying.
Where was Henry Willoughby?
The trail ended in a big, sticky, crimson mess at the kitchen doorway, so unless he jumped halfway across the room to the countertop, he must have backtracked. This extra defiance was concerning…
Margarite retraced the trail to the guest room, but Henry wasn’t there, either. But she hadn’t really expected him to be. She would have run into him while he was backtracking.
She rushed to the end of the hall and glanced into the living room. Still no one. “Impossible!” she muttered.
A twinge of panic pinched at Margarite when she paused in front of the red couch and the two wooden chairs. Her painting of Henry Loontooth smiled tenderly down at her. He’d been so old, she almost felt guilty about what she’d done. To the left of the painting, the front door was still barricaded, and so were the windows. Good. She had turned to head back down the hall to the kitchen when she heard a thump, then footsteps behind her.
Before she could turn, the naked, bloody body of Henry Willoughby leaped onto her back and wrapped a forearm around her neck.
Time seemed to slow as the pieces clicked into place. He must have realized he had been leaving a trail, so he’d stripped down and thrown his bloody clothes over the kitchen counter. Then he would have hurried into the living room and lain down behind the sofa before any more blood could spill.
How funny. Never thought of him as stealthy.
Margarite’s bad hip gave way, and she collapsed under Willoughby’s portly frame, dropping her ax as she fell. His forearm dug even deeper into her throat upon impact with the ground, and she thought for a moment her windpipe had collapsed. She struggled for shallow breath, eyelids growing heavy. Had the Henrys finally won? All Willoughby had to do was…
He’s not moving.
She was being choked only because he was on top of her. She tried to squirm free, but pain exploded in her hip.
She pushed against his body. Too heavy.
I’m not going to make it.
Her hip was killing her, quite literally this time, although she felt surprisingly at peace. If only she could look into Willoughby’s puppy-dog eyes once more and think back to the good times with her first Henry, before all his cheating and lying.
Look what you made me do, you crazy fool.
In spite of the light from the ceiling fan, the world grew dark.
Look what you made me do.