Vincent ran, faster than he’d ever managed before; scared, yet also elated he’d managed to out-manoeuvre his wife’s murderous attack on him. Darkness engulfed him as he continued his flight down the endlessly long, dark tunnel. Too nervous to slow down—even though his senses told him she’d not followed him this far—he carried on running as swiftly as he could toward the pin-hole of light at the end. As he continued his flight the circle of light grew ever larger, ever welcoming and he knew he wouldn’t rest until he reached it.
Half laughing to himself despite his breathlessness, he remembered the guilty look on his wife’s face when he’d confronted her with his knowledge, the fact he knew she was trying to kill him. He had to concede that she’d been clever. He could hardly believe that the woman he’d married was capable of planning and executing anything like that. He wouldn’t have even known she was slipping him tiny doses of poison in each meal if he hadn’t fed his left-over scraps to the cat next door. That had been his lucky break; unfortunate for the poor cat but a life saver for him. If his neighbour hadn’t told him about the animal’s demise he would never have suspected. A week had passed since then and he’d made sure he ate out while he searched for evidence of the substance she’d been using.
Vincent found it hard to believe she could be so ungrateful. He had guided her all through their married life, advising her, correcting her mistakes and always taking the time to show her the right way of doing things. He’d even encouraged her to take needlework classes so they could economise on clothes and soft furnishings. Without his foresight they would not have the nice little nest egg put by. Yet she constantly complained that it wasn’t in a joint account. Really, how could he trust her not to withdraw some of it when she had a history of over-spending. Over the last couple of years he’d even had to stop giving her house-keeping money because she frittered it away on face creams and such frivolities. He’d helped cure her worst excesses by writing out grocery lists complete with prices and giving her the exact money when she went shopping. Yet she’d screamed and squealed like a wild thing each time he’d thought of new ways to help her.
Of course, Vincent had always known Paula had a peculiar streak, a side of her nature that was totally unpredictable. Hadn’t he told her several times that she needed to see a psychiatrist? Yet she would never go to see one, even when he made appointments for her. She’d thrown his suggestions back at him saying he was always criticising her. She could never see that he was only being helpful. Why couldn’t she admit she was useless at some things? Well most things actually.
He knew for sure now that she was definitely unbalanced. He’d just have to force her to go to the shrink no matter how much she protested. The last straw had come today when he’d arrived home from work. If he’d told her once he’d told her a thousand times she should only use the washing machine twice a week. That way the detergent lasted a good three months. As usual, she’d not listened and so had run out of powder much too soon. She’d become really agitated when he refused to pay for more soap powder, ranting and raving like he’d never seen her before. Then quite out of character she’d become really aggressive and had pulled a gun from her needlework box, threatening to pull the trigger. He’d no idea where the gun came from but he knew he couldn’t argue with it. Judging by the way she’d held it, he knew she was no novice, and so he’d felt it best under the circumstances to remove himself from her line of fire as quickly as he could. As the first bullet zipped close by him, he suddenly knew his wife had not been going to dressmaking classes all these months, but to target practice. Twisting and ducking he fled from her as she gave chase and his long manly strides soon out-paced her short quick steps. Yet somehow, he couldn’t stop running, even though he knew she’d long given up the chase.
The tunnel went on forever but at last he reached the opening and the bright light at the other end. Stepping out into a beautiful area of green fields littered with scented wild-flowers he caught sight of a gently flowing, tranquil stream. He slumped exhausted against a tree stump soaking up the beauty of his surroundings. Intending to mop his sweating brow, he felt in his pocket for the handkerchief he always carried. His searching hand felt a damp patch and looking down, he was surprised to find his trousers red, wet and sticky. Blood! He was covered in it.
Realisation finally dawned on Vincent as the bright, white light increased in intensity and finally swallowed him.