Mystery Suspense Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

“Joe…I need you to sit down,” Seth said as he gingerly stood in the kitchen of his best friend’s home.

           He’d specifically picked this time to show up unannounced. He knew that Tina would not be home. In fact, beyond that he knew exactly where Tina would be at this time on a Tuesday night. The same place she’d been going for the last several months. Not every Tuesday, but most Tuesdays. She would blame it on work. Say there was some sort of emergency and that it was all hands on deck. Perks of being and RN, he guessed, always having an excuse to leave the house.

           “What’s wrong? Did something happen?” Joe asked becoming visibly concerned.

           This was not typical of Seth. The tone of his voice and the clear evidence written on his face that something was wrong. It wasn’t out of character for his friend to show up unannounced with a twelve-pack of beer and a pizza. Those were some of the best nights of Joe’s life. They’d been happening since the two men had been boys. But not tonight. Tonight there was just Seth, standing there, awkwardly, in the middle of the kitchen like he were in a talent show and forgot his act in the middle of it.

           “Dude can you please just sit down?” Seth asked again, this time allowing his voice to fall from pleading to desperate.

           “Jesus Christ,” Joe said turning from his friend and quickly making his way to the couch and having a seat on it before looking back at Seth expectantly. “What is it? Tell me.”

           Seth was having a hard time with all of this. The truth that he was about to unload on his friend. The facts about Joe’s life and marriage that he had no idea were in existence. It would ruin him. It was going to break his life into pieces. Suddenly Seth found himself wishing he wouldn’t have walked through the front door. Wishing he would have just driven right past Joe’s driveway. Wishing he wasn’t in his friend’s house right now. Wishing he wasn’t the one who was going to have to give Joe this news. But all the prayers and wishes in the world couldn’t change what had happened and what Seth knew.

           What made it worse, he knew, was that he had known for weeks. It wasn’t that he had been purposely keeping it from Joe, but more that he had been trying to decide the best way to tell him. It was delicate. Telling him the wrong way or at the wrong time could have devastating results. If nothing else, Seth wanted to control the fallout. He wanted to shield his best friend from as much pain and suffering as he possibly could. Realizing that he was stuck in his own head, and that Joe was looking at him with pure irritation at the delay in the news, Seth sat down on the loveseat opposite Joe.

           “We’ve been friends a long time. And you know that I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you. But there’s a situation that is going to hurt you no matter what. And I have to choose the path that leads to the least amount of pain,” Seth said.

           “Damnit Seth! Enough with the fucking riddles! Just tell me! What is going on?”

           “I’m trying to fucking help Joe! It’s not good, okay? It’s really, really bad!”

           “What is? Just tell me man. Whatever it is, we’ll work through it. Just tell me”

           Seth took a deep breath. He felt like the walls of the house were slowly moving in on him. He was about to ruin his friend’s life and his marriage. To destroy his mentality towards the concept of marriage altogether. He was about to alter Joe’s future forever and the painful part was that to do so was truly the least painful option. To leave things unsaid would be to knowingly allow Joe to continue being taken advantage of. To allow him to continue having these unspeakable things done behind his back without him ever knowing.

As his friend, there was just no way that Seth could do it. To look at him day in and day out knowing that he was remaining the shit storm because Seth was too weak to tell him the truth. The realization didn’t make telling Joe any easier. Joe’s voice booming in the silence broke Seth out of his internal dialogue.

“Seth! For fuck sakes dude, tell me what the hell is going on! You’re starting to scare me.”

“It’s…it’s about Tina.”

Joe paused. He didn’t respond right away. Something in his eye told a story. It was like he was anticipating that whatever it was that Seth had to say had something to do with his wife Tina. He adjusted in his seat before asking.

“What about her? Is she hurt?”

Seth was slightly thrown off by the way Joe asked the question. It didn’t come from a place of concern. Almost as if Joe was already aware that his wife had not been harmed, yet he asked the question anyways. Seth put the odd sentiment out of his mind to continue moving forward. They had already taken the first step, now they had to finish this awful journey together.

“No, she’s not hurt. She’s…she’s not…at work,” Seth managed to mumble.

“What do you mean she’s not at work? Yes she it. Its all hands on deck, it has been for weeks. Nobody want to work these days,” Joe said rolling his eyes.

“No. She’s not at work Joe. It’s not all hands on deck or whatever else she told you.”

           Joe sat forward letting his arms rest on the tops of his knees and clasping his hands together.

           “What are you getting at dude? You’re not making any sense,” he said.

           “Joe…Tina is…fuck!” Seth said forcing his fingers roughly through his hair.

           “Tina is what? Just tell me. Whatever it is just tell me!”

           “She’s having an affair!” Seth screamed before he had to time to think it through.

           Joe didn’t react at all at first. It was like the words hadn’t hit his ears yet, but Seth knew that wasn’t the case. He’d heard him loud and clear. He guessed what he was seeing on Joe’s face was pure shock and probably denial. After two full minutes of silence and the absence of any true expression on his face, he spoke.

           “What is this all about Seth?

           “What? It’s about Tina. I just told you.”

           “Yeah, I heard you. You said she’s having an affair. Where is this coming from?”

           “What are you talking about? I just told you that your wife is cheating on you!”

           “You’ve been different ever since we got married. Distant, short. Now you’re trying to tell me that instead of being at the hospital tending to patients, my wife is out cheating on me with some other guy? Come on man. What is wrong with you?”

           “Joe, I am telling you, she’s cheating on you! You think that I would make this up? Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to come over here? How hard it was for me to choose to tell you this?”

           “Stop it! I thought we were friends! You come over here uninvited and try to ruin my marriage? Are you serious? Who the fuck are you? Because you sure as hell aren’t my best friend.”

           “I came over here as your best friend to tell you a hard fucking truth. That your wife is having an affair. She is betraying you and I couldn’t just sit back with that knowledge and watch you get taken advantage of every Tuesday night.”

           Joe didn’t respond right away. Instead, he pulled out his cell phone, hit a few buttons on the touchscreen and put the phone to his ear.

           “Who are you calling?” Seth asked.

           Joe didn’t respond.

           “Joe! Who are you calling?”

           Again, he did not respond, but the recipient of his call answered before Seth could press him any further.

           “Hey babe. Yeah, I know, I’m sorry to bother you, but it’s important. It’s Seth…he’s over here and he’s saying some crazy stuff…I just think you need to come home. We need to sort this out.”

           There was silence in the house as Joe listened to the response from Tina on the other end.

           “Because it involves you too. Please just come home, I promise I will make it up to you. I love you.”

           He hung up and put the phone back in his pocket. He stood from the couch without a word and walked to the small beverage station on the other side of the room. He put ice in a rocks glass and began pouring whiskey into it. Seth was speechless. Joe didn’t believe him. It had taken everything in him to come here and tell his friend the truth and he was thought to be a liar. Now Joe wanted Tina here to witness this. Fine, Seth thought, if he wants to have it out with her here then fine by me.

           “I never wanted to be the one to tell you this shit Joe. I liked Tina. I really thought you guys had a future.”

           “Buddy, you’re confused. We do have a future. Let’s just wait for her to get here and we will get this whole thing straightened out.”

           Joe was oddly calm having gotten the kind of news he just had. Seth was beside himself with confusion. Confusion at how Seth could be so calm. Confusion at how he could be so certain that his best friend of over fifteen years would go out of his way to lie about something like this. Confusion at the lack of anger he was seeing on his friend’s face. He was almost angry at how unaffected Joe was by this news. Even angrier at the fact that he didn’t believe him. He decided to stay put and stay silent until Tina arrived. Once Joe could see her face as she tried to lie to him, he would know the truth.

           Time past slowly and it seemed to slow even more with the growing tension between the two men. Seth sitting on the loveseat, silently staring at a single spot on the carpet. Joe on the couch across the room sipping on his second full glass of straight whiskey. The both turned their heads when they heard the car door slam shut in the driveway. They watched as the front door opened and Tina entered the house and approached the two men.

           “Okay. What’s going on that’s so important you had to have me leave work?”

           “Seth has something he came here to say tonight and I think you should hear it,” Joe said.

           Seth just looked at Tina watching her face for a response. There was a hint of something. Guilt. She knew what he had come there to tell her husband. She knew that once it came out, there was no chance their marriage would stay intact. But she had to remain calm and control her emotions and expressions if she wanted any chance of lying her way out of this.

           “What is it, Seth?” she asked doing her best to seem genuinely curious.

           “I told him Tina.” Seth said.

           “Told him what?” she asked looking at Joe who was concentrating on his drink as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

           “I told him what you’ve really been doing when you sneak away in the evenings.”

           She looked at him curiously. Confusion swirling on her face.

           “What are you talking about Seth?” she asked.

           “You’ve been cheating on him!” Seth said, the words exploding out of him like he’d been holding them in for an eternity. “You’ve been cheating on him for weeks, maybe longer! He’s my best friend, and I’m not going to let you do this to him! He needed to know!”

           Tina didn’t respond at first. She looked away from him and to Joe who sipped quietly on his cocktail and refused to look at either one of them.

           “Joe,” she said wanting him to look at her.

           He didn’t look away from his glass.

           “Joe! Look at me!”

           Again he refused.

           “He’s lying! He feels replaced! You’ve said it yourself before that he has been different ever since the wedding! You can’t honestly believe him!”

           Joe swigged down what was left of the drink and stood. He didn’t reply or look at either of them. He turned and once again walked to the drink cart making himself another drink. Now both Tina and Seth were standing and facing him. Both of them holding a desperate look on their faces. Joe kept his back to them, but they could see him open a small drawer that resided on the drink cart. He retrieved a folded piece of paper from the drawer along with something else they couldn’t see. He set the items on the cart in front of him and went back to making his drink.

           “Joe, you have to believe me. We have been friends for fifteen years. You’ve only known this woman for two! You met her in a bar for fuck sakes! And didn’t she have a boyfriend when you two started sneaking around? You think that was a one-time thing? Once a cheater, always a cheater!”

           “I would never do that to you Joe. You know how my ex was. He was an abusive asshole! I would never cheat on you, you know that!”

           Finally, without turning around, Joe spoke.

           “You’re both lying.”

           Tina and Seth exchanged a glance but stayed quiet.

           “Why so quiet all of a sudden?” Joe asked keeping his back to them. “You are the two people I love the most in this world and you are both lying to me.”

           Tina and Seth were both trying to find the words to respond, but they would never get the chance. Joe chugged down his newest drink in three deep gulps before turning around to reveal the folded up sheet of paper in one hand and a revolver in the other. Tina and Seth stood as still as statues. Their feet frozen to the carpet beneath them. Joe raised the gun, aiming it at Tina. Before anyone could speak, the barrel of the gun lit up in the dimness of the living room. The bullet hit her directly in the center of her forehead. She didn’t fall immediately. Instead she had time to look at him in disbelief and then at Seth before her eyes could remain open no longer.

           Her body crumbled to the floor into a heap of bone and flesh as the blood quickly escaped through the wound in her head and created a deep red pool around her. Joe showed no sadness or remorse on his face. He was stone cold. He moved the gun and aimed it at his friend. His best friend. He didn’t fire the weapon at Seth, he just held it in the air with his finger resting gently on the trigger. He held Seth’s life in his hands and the slightest twitch of his finger would end it. With his other hand he threw the folded up piece of paper at Seth. It landed at his feet.

           Slowly Seth bent down, keeping his eyes on the gun, and picked up the paper. It was clear what Joe wanted. He wanted Seth to read it. Seth knew what was on the paper. He didn’t need to open it or read it. The corpse of his friend’s dead wife on the floor beside him was evidence enough of what the paper was.


           “Read it out loud,” Joe said calmly.

           “I know what this is.”

           “I said read it!” Joe screamed.

           Seth knew he didn’t have a choice. He unfolded the sheet of paper and began.

           “It’s an email.”

           “Who from?” Joe asked as if he didn’t already know the answer.

           “From Tina,” Seth said.

           “Read the email.”

           Seth took a deep breath before he did as he was told.

           “I think Joe is onto us. He keeps asking me questions about where I am going and why I am out so late. I told him that the hospital was short staffed, but I don’t think he bought it. We have to be more careful. I love what we’re doing just as much as you do, but I have a bad feeling about this.”

           He looked back up at Joe who was nodding slowly.

           “Who is the email to?” Joe asked slowly.

           Seth began to tremble, the paper fluttering in his sweaty palm.

           “It’s to me,” Seth said.

           Seth dropped the email to the floor keeping both of his hands up in the air.

           “You wanted to tell me the truth, just not all of it. Because the whole truth was that you have been fucking my wife behind my back. My best friend fucking the love of my life. I’ve known about this for a long time Seth. I wanted to give you a chance to come clean. I could have forgiven you. But you finally had the chance, and you lied to me again. You would have rather watched my world burn and my marriage explode than to just tell me the truth. You were willing to stand by my side as I went through the hell that you created.”

           “Joe…I don’t know how this happened…I just…I would do anything to change it.”

           “I might believe that if it happened once, but it didn’t. It happened over and over and over again, and you just kept lying.”

           “What can I do? How can I make this right?”

           Joe thought about it.

           “You can die.”

           The gun went off for the second time.

September 28, 2022 17:38

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02:21 Oct 06, 2022

The way the characters bounce off of each other is amazing to read. A great story!


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Anne O
16:46 Oct 05, 2022

What a great twist at the end! Great creativity.


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Mustang Patty
22:17 Oct 01, 2022

Hi Tyler, I see this is your first submission - Welcome to Reedsy! The story is constructed well, and you incorporated the prompt well. However, as I read the piece, several errors in writing conventions made me stumble. These are all things that can easily be overcome by investing in a good style guide. This will guide you through conventions found in creative writing. Just a few techniques I think you could use to take your writing to the next level: READ the piece OUT LOUD. You will be amazed at the errors you will find as you read. Y...


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