petunia

Submitted into Contest #96 in response to: Start your story in an empty guest room.... view prompt

24 comments

Crime Sad Thriller

Psychopath. Psychopath. Psychopath.

You’re sitting in a small room with paint peeling out from the walls. The only thing talking back to your physic talks is your echo. You look around for water and get up to fetch some, only to realize there is nothing around.

They call you a psychopath. Your shirt is always torn and the pants you wear are too baggy for you. There are dark circles underneath your eyes and your once blue eyes look almost colourless now. Your teeth are yellow and rotten for you only dine in on squirrels and dead rats. Your nails are long and dirty. They hate you.

It was a December morning when it happened. You had gotten into a fight with your wife, Petunia again. All she had asked you was for some money and you had hit her again and again and again. You had chained her up and left her, bleeding and begging for her life up on the attic only to find that she had died, two days later taking along your unborn child with her.

There is a slight push on the door and there at your feet lies food: uncooked fish and stale bread. You push it away with your right foot. Ungrateful, a frail voice whispers from inside you, like it has been all these years. You deserve it.

There is darkness all around you and the only light you’ve been able to see in these five years is the little bulb that lights up your room, dim yellow. Your stomach growls in hunger and your throat aches with thirst but there’s no water around. The only normal food you’ve got is the stale bread and uncooked fish from earlier. You look around for your bag, your only belonging. It has the dead squirrels, the only food you eat nowadays. Someone knocks on the door lightly but without waiting for your answer, comes in. It is the same maid who has been serving you for the past five years. She hasn’t changed a bit. The brown in her eyes and the freckles on her face are still the very same like they were all those years ago. She smiles shyly, the same way she has been doing everyday, for all these years. She has brought a water bottle for you. And that is when you remember that you’re thirsty. Sighing, you gesture for her to come forward and give the bottle to you. She quickly moves forward, hands over the bottle to you and leaves. Your God always creates a way out of little troubles for you. He doesn’t hate you. Not yet.

You often wonder why hasn’t your God forgiven you for the crime you committed five years ago? Why have you been kept captive for all these years when there are so many criminals roaming around freely with nobody to look out for them. Suddenly, there is a spark in your room and the bulb that had been the only source of light in your room, finally goes off. Darkness engulfs you once again and all you’re left with is an empty room, staring right back at you.

Petunia was beautiful and smart, lively and happy. She was everything you wished for in your partner. Where did the things go wrong? You can’t remember now. The only things that you remember are that you had lost interest in her, the once jolly Petunia who used to appeal you had become a mere responsibility to you. A responsibility that felt more like a burden back then. If and only if  you had treated her right, the circumstances would’ve been different now.

You smell awful: of the rotten squirrels, of the smell of the dirty sewerage which is somehow linked to your room. You smell of everything bad. You can’t remember the last time you took a shower: maybe a week or two ago. You remember how Petunia never let you miss a day without a shower, how she never let you go hungry to your work. You remember how she took great care of all your needs. If and only if, you had treated her right, things would’ve been different now.

You’ve been sitting on the floor with your back facing towards the door. There is a ‘thud’ and without looking back, you know. You know that this time it isn’t the same maid who had been coming since all these years. You try getting up but fail. Someone grabs you by your neck and pulls you backwards. The strength by which you’re being pulled backwards tells you that the person pulling you is a guy. The guy then tells you to stand up. After a lot of efforts, you stand up but as soon as you do so, the guy slams your head in the wall. All you can see before passing out is Petunia’s face: bruised and damp. All you can see is her begging for life.

Even though, they know that you’ve been long awake, they kick you and slap you again and again.

“Get up, you loser,” one of the guys calls out.

“I think he’s dead,” says the other.

He’s a tough nut. Don’t think he would die that easily,” laughs the other.

There’s too much light around you: so much to which you haven’t been accustomed to. Before they can hit you again, you get up. You stop the punch aimed your way with just one hand and in return, hit the guy on his legs. All of a sudden, there’s strength in you: not only to defend yourself but to fight off these people by your own self. It feels unreal to be this strong. It feels as if you had been robbed off this power but now it has been given back to you.

You hit the guys so hard that they’ve all passed out. Two years ago, you had gotten the same opportunity but you hadn’t been able to avail it. The guys had caught you running and had locked you up in the guest room of the mansion, giving you stale food from time to time in order to keep you alive. You aren’t going to repeat the same mistake again. Now is the time to escape. So you run.

*****

You’re finally out of the mansion. Being able to see the sky, the grass and the outside world seems unreal but you’ve done it now.

Only you know. Only you know that it wasn't you who had stopped taking interest in Petunia. It wasn't you had hit her and locked her up in the attic. It wasn't you had killed her and your unborn child. It was her. It was Petunia who had started to like someone else. It was her who had stopped taking interest in you. It was her who had played the fake victim card. It was her who used to hit herself brutally whenever you stopped her from meeting her new man. It was her who had locked herself up in the attic and had killed herself along with your unborn child. It had always been her. Always

June 02, 2021 11:04

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24 comments

Rodrigo Juatco
11:41 Aug 05, 2021

Interesting story. A little bit of the classic Tell Tale Heart with a twist at the end. Nicely done. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Batool Hussain
15:11 Aug 06, 2021

Thank you for taking out your time and reading it!

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Rodrigo Juatco
18:28 Aug 06, 2021

You are welcome.

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Roland Aucoin
14:09 Jun 03, 2021

Good ending. Good story, being inside an unhinged mind. Liked the way your main character rationalizes the situation and 'rescues' his self at the end. and, of course, its all Petunia's fault. Well done.

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Deidra Lovegren
19:12 Jun 02, 2021

Great use of 2nd person POV. Loved the eerie mood and atmosphere -- nailed the ending! This must have been so much fun to write :)

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Keya Jadav
01:26 Nov 27, 2021

WOW! I liked how you deliberately put your story forward through the second person. The misery of the protagonist is very well shown and at last when the tables turned, it caught me off guard. Great story!

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Deidra Lovegren
15:42 Oct 10, 2021

Edgar Allen Poe has nothing on you. Any chance you'd like to discuss your work and your writer's journey on a laidback little podcast? https://www.readlotswritelots.com/wp/ Drop me an email if you fancy a chat @ lovegren.deidra@gmail.com I'd love to talk about your influences and how you craft these gems of yours :)

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. .
05:28 Sep 29, 2021

I feel like the way this is written enhances the storyline! I was engaging and it felt like I was a part of the story experiencing the confusion on why I was still compared to the crime committed 5 years ago or smelling malodorous being viewed as a Psychopath. This was engaging and interesting and I hope to read more of your stories in the future! -S.M

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Batool Hussain
16:05 Oct 01, 2021

Thank you! this means so much to me.

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Moon Fox
21:49 Sep 23, 2021

Like "IT'S NOT ME IT WAS HER! I'M NOT CRAZY!" or is he..

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Niveeidha Palani
02:00 Jul 13, 2021

It's been long Batool. Nice to have you back. :)

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Waverley Stark
16:12 Jun 23, 2021

Lovely, interesting and creative. You had a strong premise that carried through to your ending.

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Batool Hussain
11:25 Jun 24, 2021

Thank you! This means so much to me

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T.H. Sherlock
20:47 Jun 10, 2021

Wow! I loved the way this story really puts the reader into the somewhat unsettling shoes of the main character. The idea of escaping from a ‘mansion’ was particularly clever and the last paragraph really hits home.

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Batool Hussain
06:30 Jun 11, 2021

Thank you!

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Charlie Murphy
20:09 Jun 08, 2021

Great story! Love the twist!

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Zahra Naazir
12:56 Jun 08, 2021

I loved how you flipped it all in the end. The second person worked well here.

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Ashley Daven
11:46 Jun 07, 2021

I love your use of 2nd person! It really helps the reader explore the emotions of the main character and truly understand the feelings that the MC is thinking!

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Fatima Mirza
06:57 Jun 04, 2021

You use second person quite well. It would definitely be an understatement if I say that you are an amazing writer. You paint a picture so bright that the readers have no hindrance in putting themselves in the narrator's shoes. Good job!

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