Flash Fiction | Romance | Mystery
We met in this coffee shop five years ago. A messy bun bobbed atop her head while she made my latte, humming along to a Cure song.
“What’s your favorite drink?” I asked her before placing what was likely my hundredth order a few months later.
“Rye whiskey, neat,” she winked at me.
“I don’t see that on the menu,” I said.
“Then I guess we’ll have to go next door when I get off,” she responded.
Three months later, we left our wedding ceremony in an old VW bus camper-converted van. I can still see Ann’s bare feet resting on the dash while she highlighted a route on the map. Our honeymoon was a lot like our marriage, spontaneous, wild, and full of joy.
I’ve avoided coffee since her disappearance, until today. The nutty aroma drains my hope and reminds me that she’s gone. But it’s our anniversary tradition to empty a flask into our fancy coffee and cheers to another year.
I pour whiskey into my cup, enough for the both of us, and stare at the door, hoping to see her bright auburn eyes. I know my optimism won’t bring her back to me. Giving up hope won’t either.
I can’t believe it’s been over a year. The house was quiet when I returned from a month-long overseas work trip. The downstairs lights were all turned off. Ann suffered from migraines, so arriving home to darkness didn’t surprise me. I pet our dog, Max, and made my way upstairs, desperate to hold my wife. Reaching out to find her in the darkness, my hand felt something wet where I expected to find her lying in bed. I continued to pat the bed, my hand now drenched in a watery, sticky substance. I whispered her name and asked if she was okay.
Her silence directed me to turn on the light.
Affixed to my eyelids is the image of blood splattered on our bedroom walls, a flashing memory every time I blink. A pool of dark blood dried on the empty sheets.
I swallow my spiked coffee to suppress the memory.
Ann is considered a missing person, but the detective assigned to her case lacks the urgency to find her. He thinks she died in that bed or shortly after, at least that’s the impression I’ve gathered.
I’m too biased and filled with wishful thinking to make a rational conclusion. I need her to be alive. Each passing day inches me towards mixing my blood with hers on our stained mattress.
I won’t give up today, my sweet wildflower, don’t worry.
I take a large sip of my diminishing coffee and hear something rattle in my cup. I grab a spoon from the counter and fish out the shiny object. My breath escapes me, and my eyes widen.
Ann’s wedding ring glistened in my hand.
© 2020-2021 Alexys Carlton. All Rights Reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.