‘500,000 dollars or she dies. Call the police and she dies. You have until Sunday.’
I can end our marriage here—call the police or fail to prepare the money, either way, it’s my ticket out. I won’t have to spend a single cent on our divorce, and I’ll benefit from her life insurance. Is this a blessing in disguise?
No, don’t judge me. I can sense your disapproval, as if you have any clue on what my wedded life has been like. From the second I roll out of bed to the moment I shut my eyes, I am living in a nightmare—no meat, it’s bad for my health, no going out on the weekends, I have to help around the house, no guys night out, it didn’t include her. The last one is the straw that broke the camel’s back. And to think she was always accepting of my friends, and the time I spent with them, before we said, ‘I do’. So what changed? Nothing did. It was all an act—a ploy to tie me down and keep me from the rest of the world.
So, should I call the police or… play pretend? Which choice will make me a victim—lest I become a suspect in her death—as I weep over my wife’s lifeless body? You’re right, I should call the police. After all, where would I find five hundred grand? I’m not the one with the money.
‘You called the police. Do you think this is a joke?’
A blood-caked ear in the mail—the police dusted the letter and the severed organ for fingerprints, but came back with nothing. Yes, it was her ear. Whoever that’s holding my wife hostage knows what they’re doing. And, I’m kind of glad. It would mean she will never return. Unfortunately, I can’t celebrate just yet. The police have devised a plan—two black duffle bags of fake hundred dollar bills. We are to wait for the kidnapper’s next letter, as they haven’t yet disposed of my wife. But honestly, what difference will it make? If only I didn’t have to play along.
‘Drop the money under the slide in the playground on fifth avenue.’
I did what I was told but found another letter by the slide. The letter tells me where my wife is. Apparently, she’s at her family’s holiday home outside of town. But… that’s not the weird part—the letter tells me to go on my own. It says, if I tell the police where she is, I’ll find her dead. As bizarre as that sounds, it only makes sense to show the police the letter, right? I mean, we both know I want her gone.
No? Don’t tell the police? You do have a point—they’ll start to wonder why I’m not out of my mind, making rash decisions, because I’m desperate to save the love of my life. Very well, I’ll go to the holiday home on my own. I’m sure I can sneak away. Let’s hope the kidnapper sees the counterfeit dollars and kills my wife before I get there.
How nice of them to direct me to her. At this point, I do think I should call the police. I am here, after all. By the time they get here, it will all be over. And, if my wife is alive, I just wasted my only chance at being free of this marriage. I’ll call-
No? What do you mean, no? It’s over anyway. So why bother any longer? Wait, I think I hear something. I think… there’s someone else in the house.
‘500,000 as promised.’
That was easy. Who knew he would listen to you? Well, I’m just as surprised as you are. Make good use of the money. And yes, I won’t forget. Just send me a postcard when you’re ready. Also, you might want to get a sharper blade—trust me, two bottles of wine doesn’t help.
12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)