I’m cooking steaks for us; it would be good to have a nice evening for once. Things haven’t been right for a while now. I hear him come in the door. I hope he’s hungry.
“Can’t you put the extractor fan on? It stinks in here.”
“Will do, sorry. I don’t like to when you’re not here. It makes me think someone is going to sneak up behind me.”
He rolls his eyes. “You’re a total nut job. Who exactly is going to come and attack you at the cooker with the door locked?”
“I know it’s stupid. It’s just…”
“Give me that, you can’t cook steak for shit anyway.” He overacts switching the cooker hood on. He is such a prick sometimes.
“Open some wine, would you, if you can manage that.” I suspect this isn’t going to be a nice evening but I’m not ready to give up on it yet. I step away and my foot disappears from underneath me. At first, I think he’s pushed me. I’m horrified, he’s a cantankerous old bastard but never violent. I realise too late that I’ve slipped on grease. My arms grab out frantically, but they can’t save me. He doesn’t even hear it happen with the cooker hood on full blast. The last thing I feel is my head and neck striking the counter. I feel the break, deep down inside, everything goes black for the shortest of moments and then all feeling is gone. I’m floating to the ground, the noise of the cooker seems far away somehow and the outline of Ian’s back is blurry and his movements slow. He still hasn’t seen me and I can’t move or talk.
“I can get it my...” He stands on my outstretched arm as he turns to tell me off for being slow with the wine. I don’t feel it; it’s only at that moment I realise that I’m not really me anymore, I’m just watching. He looks shocked but not upset. He looks scared, terrified in fact, and I think he’s also a little annoyed at the mess. He’s never had what I would call normal emotions or responses. He’s wired up wrong.
“Fuck.” He looks around, I’m not sure what for. I thought he might check my pulse but when I look at me again, it’s obvious I’m dead. He stops cooking and turns the cooker hood off, then leaps over me and runs into the hallway and out of the front door. I hear the garage open, but he doesn’t get into the car. I think I could follow him, but somehow, I know I’ve got eternity to do that. I think I’ll stay here with my body; she won’t be around much longer. I don’t feel sad about that, and maybe that’s part of it all. I hear Ian clattering around. He doesn’t seem to have called the police. I hope he’s not going to do anything stupid. He’s a grumpy old shit with a foul mouth but he’d never have laid a finger on me.
He comes back with a saw, hammer, tarpaulin, bin bags and a rope. He’s about to make a huge mistake, and I can’t watch. He dumps his makeshift dismembering kit onto the kitchen floor and runs off again. I pray he’s coming to his senses. This was an accident, and he’s not in any trouble, but the longer he leaves it, and if he does anything other than call the police, he will be. There’s no instruction manual that comes with this, but somehow I know what to do.
I close my eyes and pull myself back down. It’s like trying to remember something you’ve forgotten but you know is in your brain somewhere. I feel a shift, I open my eyes again and I’m on the floor. I know I haven’t got long to fix this, and I’m definitely dead, but I know I can communicate from here. He comes running back in with a change of clothes for him and my handbag. I don’t know what he’s thinking. I concentrate again and turn my head towards him. I plan my message very clearly and play it in my head, willing my dead lips to move. “Ian, please, I fell, just call the police, please.”
My head is slow, and my neck is broken. It cracks and wobbles towards him, my eyes staring and lifeless. My words come out slow and pained, like a mixture between a growl and a scream. It’s a hideous noise and a horrifying sight.
“Ia... Ian...” I see my already terrified husband become struck with horror; he is visibly shaking. No other words will come. I’m not strong enough, I can’t hold my head anymore and it hits the floor with a sickening thump. My face is grotesque and twisted from my failed attempts to warn him. He grabs the phone and dials frantically, then shouts down the phone.
“Mum, oh Mum, help, please help!”
Oh no, not that old bitch. Well, at least it beats watching yourself be chopped up and put in plastic bags. He runs out of the room and I wait. I start to feel lighter, the room starts to blur a little more, I can still see everything but I know I’m getting ready to leave and I know that where I’m going is good. I can feel warmth and a kindness upon me. I don’t know how long I wait; I don’t feel time passing. The room is a blur now and I feel myself slipping away towards the kind and gentle place that is waiting for me. I know I can leave; he’s getting help and he’ll be fine. I hear him crying and I can sense his mother in the room with him. She’ll make sure he’s OK. I hear her voice before I drift into eternity.
“You grab her legs, I’ll get her arms. We need to do this in the bathroom. It would be too messy in here.”