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Morbid and murderous moods
For the past few months or so Eric had been plagued with morbid thoughts of how to kill his wife; some of these thoughts came to him from nowhere while he was doing mundane tasks in the garden and others only surfaced while he slept; these were the best ones, a product entirely of the unconscious mind.
Sometimes he had the urge to write down these ideas, the seeds of which were sown while his wife snored peacefully beside him, her vast, sweaty body taking up more than its fair share of their king-size bed. But Eric was not the type to put such wicked thoughts of premeditated murder into practice however much he hated the great hulk of a woman he shared his life with.
He decided he was incapable of ever carrying out such a dreadful deed. An average "Whodunit" usually left him confused as to who the true culprit was, even after he had re-read the final chapter several times.
Ruth had changed over the years, and sadly not for the better; her once almost sylph-like frame had soon begun to disappear under mounds of flesh even before the advent of their first anniversary. Her attitude, too, became deplorable as were her constant demands for unhealthy takeaways which caused Eric to despise her very presence.
"Would you like mushrooms with your bacon and egg dear?" he would ask when she requested a late-night fry up, his mind immediately turning to the unusual looking fungi growing at the bottom of his allotment.
Eric had always been a dutiful husband and Ruth never realised there was perhaps a more sinister side to some of his seemingly harmless comments. He lived on memories of happier times with her - times when he had looked forward to returning home from work each day, bringing her some small token of his affection, but now all she wanted was something edible. Had she admitted she had a problem and decided to join Weight Watchers he would have supported her every step of the way but her overwhelming desire for food had long since destroyed any love they had between them.
One night, again disturbed by troubled dreams, Eric awoke and decided to look through some old photograph albums. Pining for the person beside him in his wedding photo, who had changed so dramatically in both personality and appearance, he began to long for former days when he had been proud to say she was his wife.
He fondly looked through the photos of their first home, a little cottage a few miles out of town, 3 Oakfield terrace; he recalled their former address with a distant longing in his heart and a tear in his eye. Ruth had wanted to move since it was too far from the vast new supermarket which had sprung up virtually overnight and offered a huge selection of her most favourite foods. The discount store on the corner of their terrace was no comparison.
It was already daylight by the time Eric became sleepy again. He took Ruth her heavily sugared morning cup of tea before crawling back into the small, cramped space which remained beside her in their bed. He laughed inwardly that it would be even worse had he grown fat too.
Just as he was dozing off Ruth got up to go to the toilet, flinging the duvet to one side, and startling Eric. He began to hear retching noises coming from the bathroom and imagined he had laced her early morning cuppa with some dreadful undetectable poison, which would slowly, but surely, take its toll.
Suddenly there came a strange, strangled cry followed directly by an almighty thud as Ruth's gigantic frame hit the cold vinyl flooring.
Leaping out of bed, Eric went to see what had happened. Had Ruth been frightened by one of those crane flies that she hated so much and slipped on the bathmat?
But when his saw his wife's motionless form he knew it was far more serious.
"A B C...Airway... Breathing... Circulation..." Eric repeated to himself out loud, remembering every detail of the first-aid course he had once taken, "simple as A B C."
He felt for her pulse but couldn't detect one. "Four minutes, five at the outside before the brain becomes starved of oxygen" he muttered. What should he do first? Try to revive her or phone the emergency services? He didn't know what to do and for a brief moment his darker thoughts surfaced. Why didn't he just go back to bed and leave her to die? After all that's what would have happened if he'd still been sound asleep. But some inner goodness persuaded him to do otherwise.
With considerable effort he managed to heave her heavy frame across the landing and back into the bedroom where the telephone was as he intermittently attempted to get some air into her lungs while he did so.
He dialled 999. Ruth's lips had turned blue.
"Hello, emergency services which emergency services do you require?"
"Ambulance... ambulance come quickly my wife has collapsed. I've tried to resuscitate her but I can't detect any vital signs...please come quickly! The address is 3 OAKFIELD TERRACE..."
© 2014 Stella Kaye