Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you’re doing well. Welcome back to another short story. I wrote this as a quick writing exercise to help motivate me to work on my book. Spoiler Alert: It didn’t work. But I hope you enjoy it anyway, if you do, let me know in the comments what you thought 🙂
“Due to personal reasons I will be disappearing under mysterious circumstances.”
When I posted the status, I never thought things would turn out like this. On some level, I knew people wouldn’t believe it straight away. Within seconds of it going live, friends and family members had already “liked” the status, and comments began to flow in.
“LOL Rachael, can I come with you? Sick of these bloody kids running around! Xx”
Hilarious, I thought. Another comment appeared a few minutes later, this time it was a co-worker.
“Make sure you give in your notice then Rach! 😊 Lol.”
I remember smiling behind my laptop screen and feeling elated. People thought it was a joke. They laughed together at my apparent humour, tagged other family members and friends, who were in awe of my comedic talents. A month had passed when the first roots of doubt began to sprout.
“For real though, has anyone actually seen Rachael at all?”
The comment was made by a close-ish family friend, Callie. I clicked on her profile and was met with a grinning face adorned with wrinkles and makeup that only served to punctuate her ageing facade. For a while, nobody replied. I envisioned them frantically scanning their memories, in search of the answer to Callie’s question. Of course, only I knew the answer.
“Come to think of it I ain’t seen her at all this month…”
Someone else finally commented, though I forget who.
“No, she hasn’t been to work. I thought she must have taken a holiday or something…”
Another co-worker added, her inference seemed to calm the other commenters down.
Of course, I must just be away on a lovely holiday, frolicking in a clear sea, drinking mojitos and loving life. I remember laughing a full bellied laugh at their stupidity. It’s astonishing how humans will try to boil everything down to such simplistic terms, just to make themselves feel better. To ignore reality and carry on living their lives. Pathetic.
After many days that seemed to bleed into one another, everything finally came to a head. People posted links to various news articles on the status.
“HUSBAND OF MISSING RACHAEL STANHOPE FOUND DEAD AT HOME.”
My work had finally been discovered, and all it took was a little talent and a lot of patience. When I read the article, I obsessed over every word, every tiny detail again and again. I couldn’t believe how much they’d revealed to the public. They even included screenshots of my status and hundreds of comments. It was comical, watching the fear and worry increase with every new comment.
Though after a time, the excitement fizzled out into nothing more than a soft buzz. Her screaming and fruitless attempts of escape had even come to an end. It was time. I opened Facebook, clicked on the status bar and began to type. My fingers were furious, my ears were whistling, and my mind began to clear. I checked the monitor; saw she was asleep and posted the status without hesitation. Before I could wonder what was going to come of it, my legs had already taken me to her room. I unlocked the bolts, one by one, making sure to do it as loudly as I could. I needed her awake.
“Hello little miss sunshine.” I said, momentarily taken aback by the unusually deep tone of my voice. Buying that voice changing device seriously changed the game, but it always took me by surprise. The skeletal woman said nothing. A few months ago, she would have tried to get to me, in spite of the short chains she was held prisoner by. Though that day, she simply looked at me. Secretly praying to develop x-ray vision so she could see my face. What a fool she was.
“Well, I don’t appreciate silent treatment. Especially as today, I’ve decided it’s time for you to go.” I held my breath as a twinkle of hope burned in her hazel eyes. Though the ember died before it had the chance to ignite properly. I smiled tightly behind my mask and waited. She averted her gaze but as I took a heavy step forward, she cowered in the corner and silently pleaded for mercy.
“Oh, don’t be such a little baby Rachael. I’m not going to kill you if that’s what you thought.” I laughed and took another step. My heavy boots left large footprints in the dust that had built up since she got here.
“Before you go though, be a dear and clean your room, will you? Gotta leave it all clean for the next guest.” I pulled a needle from my pocket, without looking away from her. I wondered for a moment if she had any veins left at all. I wasn’t sure where to inject her when she so rudely interrupted the thought.
“No! Not that, please. Let me go home without it!” Rachael begged while tears pooled in her eyes and her body shook violently.
“But you need it. Look at you, your body knows what this is” I said, flicking the needle to pop any air bubbles, “You’ll feel better for it.” She screamed as I lunged towards her before she could reply. Her frame was so tiny I feared I would snap her in half, but sheer willpower kept her solid. I overpowered her easily of course, but she gave me as good as she could. I respected her for that. The dose must have been a little high, as almost instantly, her grip loosened, and her body could be likened more to soft spaghetti than a person.
After an hour, it was time. I scooped her unresponsive body into my arms, bundled her in the boot of my car and drove. Alongside Rachael sat the clothes she wore the day she left and in her jacket was a baggie of heroin. It was hidden within a new pocket I’d sown, so she wouldn’t find it and throw it away. I braced myself against the winter air, opened the boot of the car in a back alley and simply walked away. She was still passed out but I was hopeful someone would discover her soon. The thought of her discovery calmed the butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach, for a while.
I had to physically restrain myself from checking the status. I needed to be sure she had gotten home. I left it a week before I built up the courage to see what had become of little Rachael. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.
Rachael Stanhope says:
“Due to personal reasons I will be reappearing under mysterious circumstances.”
It had over 1000 likes and almost matched that in comments.
“OMG I can’t believe you’re back!”
One person said, while others were not nearly as relieved.
“I heard she’s a junkie, she probably offed her husband!”
Another said, though after further inspection, she wasn’t even friends with Rachael on Facebook.
My personal favourite was posted by one of her husbands’ friends. It was a link to an article published by The Guardian.
“MISSING WIFE RETURNS AND SUSPECTED OF MURDERING HUSBAND”
“Rachael was a friend. I never thought she could be capable of such a crime. She killed Harry, ran away and has returned a heroin addict. Maybe she always was one. But she’s trying to evade justice, saying she was kidnapped. Though she never saw their face, she doesn’t know where they live or why they took her. She claimed to not even know he was dead until she came back. Let’s give Harry the justice he deserves.”
I’ve read it so many times, its like the Lord’s prayer. Forever imprinted in my memory, forever on the tip of my tongue and forever my guiding light.