Absinthe

Absinthe

The air was chilly as the cold breeze blew. Deke quickly wound up the car’s window, and rested his head on the steering wheel. His mind was brimming over with thoughts of his wife: his dead wife. He wished he was with her when the danger lurked around and finally hit her life. He blamed himself for not always being around. He clenched his teeth, tightened both fists around the wheel, and stifled a cry.

The previous day, he was dismissed from work. He was always absentminded, perhaps thinking about Abby. Sometimes he’d mumble unheard words, shout at the top of his voice or even try to harass his colleagues. The managing director had called him to order several times and when nothing changed, he decided to release him. And Deke, he seemed okay with the new development. Now all he had to do was brood over his wife’s death, blame himself more for her death, and finally drink himself to death. That was his plan; a good one at that.

He opened the door of his Mercedes-Benz and stirred out. He shut it with a loud slam, paced down the steps that led to the counter of the police station, and entered. He asked the constable at the counter if detective Olly was back, but he got a negative answer. He fumed, stamped his right hand forcefully on the slab, and cursed under his breath. The constable looked in awe as Deke made his way out.

Detective Olly was the one handling his wife’s case since two month ago when she was murdered in cold blood in their home by an unknown assailant, according to the police. About a few weeks ago, detective Olly has been avoiding him. To Deke, he had a feeling the police wasn’t going to help anymore. Or perhaps the assailant was a ghost who killed at will and disappear.

“To hell with you police officers! God damn you all!” he shouted, his voice went off shrilling. He staggered towards his car, entered and shut the door.

His head was spinning and he felt a rush of blood go down his loins. He breathed heavily and hit the steering wheel incessantly that too much force on it could bring it all down. When he was done, he decided to go sleep his eyes out at home after having a crazy drink. Sleep appeared to him a comforting partner. And to do that, a bad drink was all he needed.

His Mercedes revved to a halt in front of a sturdy brown building. It was a bungalow flat. He got out, holding a paper bag containing a bottle of absinthe which he got from a liquor store on his way home. The drink had been banned in the area because of a murder that occurred owing to its intoxication. A woman and her only child were stabbed to death by her husband after he had gulped down a lot of the green devil (as everyone do refer to the absinthe). He got in the house and probably the wife annoyed her, and he strangled the woman and her child. And since then, the liquor had been banned. But Deke got it anyway from Joe’s place. Joe was a friend who only sold the drink to known and reliable customers, and Deke appeared to be one.

He went up the steps, unlocked the front door and was met with a fully furnished room. The flat-screen TV and pretty wallpapers hung on the wall, the coffee table was in the middle of nice and soft cushions, and the floor was tiled.

He sank in a cushion, uncorked the bottle and rushed down a gulp. It had a somewhat different taste like that of Sambuca, only that it was much stronger. He watched the green content of the bottle keenly and without further ado, he belted down another gulp.

His vision got blurry and he felt a weird kind of drunk. He had more than his usual potion and he knew he shouldn’t have. But he seemed not to give a damn, after all he wanted to have a nice and sound sleep.

He made to get up and the bottle slipped out of his hand, crashing on the tiled floor in a whooping sound. The remaining content went sprawling on the floor. He laughed loudly and sighed.

The room was reeling and he rubbed his hands on his eyes. His room was just around the corner down the corridor and he started down there like a blind bird trying to find its way home. He tried really hard not to walk into the wall and slightly succeeded. He got in the room and staggered towards his bed.

“W-what? Ab-bby?” he muttered. His eyes were popping out of their socket.

He could tell it was Abby sitting on the double bed, but she was a grotesque shadow of how he remembered her. Her eyes could be said to be simply black or completely gone, and the sockets held nothingness. Her skin was pale it had a blue color, and her hair which appeared drenched fell in front of her shoulders in thin strips.

She was wearing a nightgown the color of fresh snow, her drenched hair hung tightly to her skinny body. Her legs were so frail they’d give in under the weight any moment from then. She stretched her wiry hand towards Deke, signalling him to join her.

Deke tried getting his mind in order. Was that his wife that died two months ago? Was that Abby he placed other girls above? Was that Abby she ignored several times? Yes, that should be her. But this one looked strange and horrible… Horrible? That wasn’t a word he should use for his wife. Anyway, he believed she was Abby.

Deke rushed over, stumbling a few times before he eventually got on the bed. He wanted to hold her in a tight hug and beg for neglecting her. He wanted to say he’d be a good husband afterwards, but he couldn’t find words. He stared into her empty vacuum of eyes, they were cold and lifeless and her angular face was almost white.

“Hello Deke,” she finally whispered. Her voice went into the air like the tunes of soul singers.

She spoke, she spoke! He thought and a smile blazoned his face. She was supposed to be dead, but here she was smiling back at him. Finally, his wife was back to give life to his home.

“I-I’m s-so sorry. I-I don’t k-know…” his voice trailed off as he stretched his shaky hand to touch Abby. His hand went through her. He tried again, and his hand went through again. He was popeyed, his face white with amazement.

The next moment Abby was standing by the bedside table. Deke wanted to cry out but he couldn’t. Why would she want to punish him by striding away?

“A-abby, pleease! Don’t leave m-me. I-I still love y-you,” he pleaded, trying to get off the bed.

“You let me die! You let the guy kill me! If you hadn’t been away all the time, I’d still be alive.”

“I-I was an i-idiot then. I-” he managed to say as tears glistened his face.

“Had you been there, you’d have stopped the guy from forcing himself on me. You’d have stopped him from driving his knife in me. But you were always away! Doing this or that! Frolicking around whores! You killed me, Deke. You killed me!”

That wasn’t his Abby. The one he was staring at could kill him with a wave of her hand. She produced a double edged knife with six-inch blade, and her eyes were bloodshot.

For a moment, everything was still. There was no sound, except for his heavy breathing and the cold wind blowing outside. She surged towards  him in a flash like a charging bull. Deke turned, screamed, and fell hard against the tiled floor. Everything else was blank…

He lay awake on a bed in a curtained cubicle. His head was heavily wrapped in bandage, eyes were pale and his hands that clasped both sides of his body were protuded under the blue cover. A faint print of dried blood ran from his head and blazoned his temple.

The curtain flew open and a man in white coat entered, obviously a doctor.

“You’re awake, Mr Lodge. How do you feel now?”

Deke nodded his reply.

“Whenever you see Miss Piggy, thank her. She called the police when she heard you scream. Also, traces of absinthe were found in your home and the police want a word. It might as well have caused your hallucinations.”

Deke watched the doctor leave. And again, the strange image of his wife grinning her scattered dentures blazoned his mind. It tormented him until he let out a cry of rage.