Horror Suspense Sad

 TRIGGER WARNING: Violence, Gore, Domestic violence

Travis slumps into the tattered recliner and kicks his feet up. Though the mud on his work boots will no doubt smear the fabric, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t have the energy to remove them. There’s a knock at the door, but he ignores it. They’re just trick or treaters, he saw them on his way home.

He shifts, trying to find a comfortable position in the squeaky, decrepit chair, and gazes longingly at the sofa. The mustard yellow shams wink at him, begging him to come and lay against its unused surface. But he won’t. Whenever he tries to use the turquoise couch, visions of his vacant wife consume him.

She’d chosen it while on a shopping trip with her sister. Had called him, apprehensive to ask, but thrilled when he’d conceded. Of course, he’d only said yes because he was in the emergency room at the time and wanted to soften her reaction. He’d neglected to wear the safety gloves she’d bought him after the first accident. What did she know about chainsaws? Nothing. A frivolous purchase done by his frivolous wife. But now he’s missing the tips of two fingers. Perhaps he should have listened to her.

The doorbell rings. “Damn trick or treaters,” Travis grumbles. He ignores them, again.

He glances back at the couch and remembers the day it was delivered.

She was so excited. “It looks so good,” she said. Tried to kiss him, but he’d pushed her away.

“It’s a yuppy couch,” he’d spat. “What a waste of money. You never should have bought it. We’re sending it back.”

“We are not,” she said, stomping her foot. “I love it. We needed a couch and I bought one.”

He wrapped his hands around her throat, pushing her back onto her precious couch. It was just to teach her a lesson. As soon as her eyes bulged in fear, he’d let her go. She had coughed and sobbed as he watched with mild contempt.

“Keep your fucking couch.” He stomped away.

There were some good memories, though. Like sitting together with a home cooked meal, watching television. Watching her cuddled up under a blanket knitting, or the few times they’d made love on the sofa. Those memories are the most painful because they make her absence even more noticeable.

There’s another knock at the door. Travis sits up. “Fuck off!”

He doesn’t know why they’re coming to his door. The lights are off and there are no pumpkins or spiderwebs. In the past his wife would’ve had the front step decorated. She would’ve left a bowl of candy out before leaving for the annual costume party.

His stomach growls. Lumbering over to the fridge he remembers there’s no point. If it weren’t for the 12 pack of beer, it would be empty. Cursing, he slams the door shut. How dare she abandon her commitments. Just because she’s chosen to leave him doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have to keep the house and make the meals. As long as they’re married, it’s her duty.

If it weren’t for her family advising her, she would never have left. They ruined his life. He never liked them, but over the years the hate grew and now he despises them. He’d once told her that her family was “a waste of oxygen”, and he meant it.

Sawing her father’s skis in two was one of the most satisfying things Travis has ever done. As the skis split in two, he had imagined that he was severing through his father-in-law’s abdomen. He loved it, even though he had to say sorry for the damaged belongings. In fact, he’s sent the family many apology letters. His wife told him that if he wanted her to come back, he would need to ask forgiveness from everyone in her family. Not that he’s sorry. He has never understood why his wife admired her father so. He’s an incompetent man, and Travis loathes him most of all.

Travis had sent the first letter months ago, one to each of them. She’d thanked him for apologizing but said it hadn’t been long enough. So, he’d done it again, and then two times more, until she had a ‘no contact order’ put in place. That was a week ago.

The doorbell rings. Travis grabs a beer from the fridge and throws it, watching as it shatters against the front door. “I said fuck off,” he yells. He hates Halloween—always hated how much she loved it. She always tried to drag him to that costume party. Finally, he had enough. He slapped her across the face and told her the bruise matched her stupid costume. She never asked him again.

And then it dawns on him. The whole family will be at that costume party. Travis’s face twists into a manic smile. There will be hundreds of people there. If he wears a mask, they’ll have no idea he is there. All he wants is to talk to her, to tell her he loves her. If he can see her face to face then maybe, just maybe, she’ll come back.


An hour later Travis is staring at his reflection through the leather mask he rigged up. He chuckles and revs his chainsaw. It looks pretty good. She’ll never recognize him. He could probably even win the best costume award.

By the time he arrives at the party he’s got a good idea of what he wants to say. He spots her vehicle near the main entrance and her family parked right beside it. Not wanting to be too obvious, he pulls into a spot at the far end of the lot.

Striding with purpose to the front booth, he demands to buy a ticket.

“$20 please. Awesome costume by the way,” the woman says.

Travis forks over the cash and scoffs, “that’s a bit cliché, isn’t it?” He gestures to her Harley Quinn costume.

“Dick,” she mutters. He pays her no mind. She’s not who he’s here for.

With the chainsaw heavy in his hands, he pushes into the crowded room. The music is loud and there is a throng of costumed people dancing.

“Fucking yuppies,” Travis mutters as he squeezes past them. He imagines sticking the live chainsaw into the mass of dancers—the terror that would ensue would be thrilling.

Finally in an open space he’s able to look around at the different faces. For a moment he’s worried he won’t be able to find her.

Everyone is wearing elaborate costumes and it’s nearly impossible to know someone’s identity without speaking to them. His eyes are drawn to a tall slender woman dressed as the Corpse Bride, sipping on a cider. Travis’s heart skips a beat. It’s her.

He’s almost there when a man wraps his arm around her shoulder, it’s her father. Travis clenches his hands in rage. Beside them, her sister and brothers appear to be trying to dance. They’re howling with laughter and his heart swells with hatred. They are idiots. He imagines tearing his chainsaw through each of their necks. It would be so satisfying.

Instead, he waits, watching her every movement. After what feels like an hour, the two women go to the bathroom. The sister is a mild inconvenience, but she won’t be able to keep him from speaking to his wife. She’s a weak, stupid bitch. He follows them to the bathroom and walks straight in.

“Andie,” he says forcefully.

“Oh my god,” Andie says. Both her and her sister exit the stalls, fear in their faces.

“Travis, what the fuck are you doing here?” Her sister hisses.

“Shut up, Mariah,” he growls. Facing his wife he pleads, “I need to talk to you, Andie.”

His wife backs away, shaking her head.

“You’re not allowed to be here,” Mariah says. She steps in front of her sister and spreads her arms wide.

“I said, shut the fuck up!” Travis revs the chainsaw and both women’s eyes widen in fear. To his annoyance, Mariah doesn’t move. Her fear is masked with stubbornness. He recognizes this look, Andie did it often. “I just need to talk to my wife.”

Mariah begins to tell him no, but Andie squeezes her shoulder, “it’s okay. Let him say what he wants.”

“Fine. But then he has to leave.”

Travis smiles at his wife, but she doesn’t return it. “I just want to know why. Why you ignored my apology letters. Why you started the no contact order. You didn’t give me a chance to—”

“Travis, you had lots of chances. It’s over. I will never feel safe with you again. I will never trust you. Please, let me go.” Andie sighs, crossing her arms. She looks exhausted.

“But I love you, Andie. I’ve done everything you’ve asked. You said I had to apologize to your family. I’ve done that. Several times.”

“Your apologies were bull shit,” Mariah says. “You can’t apologize three times in a row and say it’s because you didn’t mean it the last time.”

Her words make his blood boil. “Mariah, I swear to god if you speak again, I’ll rip you in two,” he growls and ignites his saw.

“No,” Mariah yells, startling him. “You hurt my sister. I will never stop speaking up.”

Travis lunges at her, his face twisting in rage

Mariah screams at her sister to run, but it can barely be heard over the roar of the machine. She turns to flee behind her sister, but he slashes out. The chain cuts into her spine, sliding through like butter. Blood spatters from the entry point, but he presses on. As it arches down it sinks deeper, the flesh bursting out through the fissure of her skin.

There’s a glint of white shimmering through the chasm of blood and he smiles realizing it’s her spinal cord. He must tighten his grip as the weapon convulses against the bone. There’s a sickening crunch as he pushes the chains through the vertebrae. Then, with one last satisfying snap, the chainsaw slides out. Her limp body slumps to the ground, blood pooling around it. Crimson droplets have spattered across his face. The smell of copper fills the air, copper and gasoline. His hands are slick with warm red and yet, he feels nothing.

He is pulled from his fascination by the sound of Andie shrieking. She grabs her sister’s hand and tries to pull her out the door.

Travis watches the scene with mild interest, chuckling as she cries for Mariah to run. “She’s dead you idiot.” He raises the chainsaw and brings it crashing down through Mariah’s arm. That delightful crunch reverberates through his arm as he breaks through her wrist. Andie flies back, the connection broken. She screams, looking at the hand still entangled with hers.

“You made me do it,” Travis says, motioning to the bloodied corpse with his saw. “If you’d only listened to me none of this would have happened.”

“You’re crazy,” Andie whimpers.

“People do crazy things when they’re in love,” he shrugs. He grabs her wrist and rips the slick, dead hand from her grasp, tossing it on top of the body. She sobs as he drags her out of the bathroom.

“You’re coming home with me.”

He fights his way to the ballroom, her arm in one hand, the dripping weapon in the other. When they near the dance floor people begin to stare and point. Perhaps it’s unclear whether the blood belongs to the costume or not because, despite their shock, no one moves.

Travis begins to think he’s going to make it out, but Andie begins to scream.

Heads turn towards them, and her father’s face blanches in horror. He yells at his companions, “it’s Travis!”

The men all take chase and Travis panics. Pulling hard on his wife’s arm, he begins to sprint. But she falls to her knees, her free hand reaching back to her family. If he doesn’t let her go, he won’t make it out. He’s filled with fury by her resistance. All he wanted was to love her.

The steel toe of his boot connects with a thud against her temple, and she crumples. He swings her up over his shoulder and then races through the crowd. By now the guests have become aware of the struggle, and the hall has erupted into screaming.

A few courageous party goers put themselves between him and the exit. Travis groans and ignites his chainsaw. He’ll have to cut them down to make his escape. Several men back away, but a few remain.

With his wife hanging over his shoulder, he slashes his live saw through a man’s abdomen. Ropes of intestines spool through the open gash, landing with a splats on the floor. The man stays standing for a split second, looking almost comical with his innards hanging outside his body. He sways and lands in the pile of bowels, bodily fluids splash over Travis’s boots.

Chaos ensues but he doesn’t stay to watch. He makes it out the door and comes face to face with the Harley Quinn from the beginning of the evening. “Get out of my way,” Travis growls, holding his saw in front of him.

She holds up her hands, eyes wide and steps aside. But a cellphone is in her hand and the screen shows an active phone call.

“You called the police,” he says and lunges at her, swiftly tearing the roaring saw through her neck. Her scream stops dead as her head slides off. Travis kicks it and watches as the pink and blue ponytails roll away.

He gets to his vehicle and throws Andie in the back seat. Within seconds he’s on the road, speeding faster than ever before. The sound of sirens grows and then soften as he creates distance between them and the community center.

When they get home, he carries Andie into the house and lays her down on the couch. He stares at her for a few minutes, unsure what to do. It suddenly occurs to him that he’s not going to get away with what he’s just done. If it weren’t for her family, they could have been happy. It’s all Mariah’s fault. If she hadn’t stood up to him, none of this would have happened.

Andie begins to stir.

Sirens approach.

If he’s going to do it, he must do it now.

He gets a barrel of gas and a box of matches from the garage. They’ll go together.

He pours the liquid over the couch, his wife and himself. For the first time since she left, he sits down beside her. The couch is comfortable, even with the shiny damp settling over the turquoise fabric. The smell of gasoline fills his nostrils as he lays his head back on the yellow cushions.

There is the blaring of sirens and the flashing of lights.

He closes his eyes against it and lights the match.  

October 30, 2021 03:56

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Sabina Malik
18:13 Nov 04, 2021

I really like your rich descriptions of objects and settings. Felt like I was there!


Allie Guilderson
06:09 Nov 05, 2021

Thank you very much!


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06:16 Nov 04, 2021

I really liked the story. I felt like I was a part of the story from the start, and the ending was crazy. I didn't expect the party to go that way at all.


Allie Guilderson
06:08 Nov 05, 2021

Thank you so much! Yes it did go a bit crazy haha!


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Kayla Johnson
14:40 Nov 02, 2021

I really liked how the story was written ( even though i'm not a writer. ) and I really felt like I was in story. It was amazing. :)


Allie Guilderson
18:19 Nov 02, 2021

Thank you, that's a great compliment.


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