Warren was pleased with himself.
After months of struggling, he had finally reached the end of his journey.
His latest drive into town for his reward and subsequent spur of the moment detour had given him the inspiration he needed to finish what he started.
He always loved late night, or rather, early morning drives. It helped to clear his head. Being the only soul out in the sleeping town gave him a sense of peace and calm. Knowing hundreds of people were tucked in their beds while he was out roaming the streets, stopping at the local twenty-four hour grocery store to pick up his favourite nachos and guacamole, made him feel as if he were part of some great secret. Maybe he was.
Warren stood staring through the huge picture window in the study. It was still dark. The cool Autumn sun wouldn’t rise for another few hours.
He sipped his chocolate milk and turned back to his computer on the other side of the room. His arms were still a bit sore from lugging the packages out of the car.
After setting down his glass and rotating his shoulders a few times, Warren decided it was time to finish what he had started back in March. After all, he was on a deadline.
He sat at his computer and poised his fingers over the keyboard. This was a special moment and he wasn’t about to rush through the end of his novel just to please his publisher. The end of a satisfying and lucrative career deserved special attention. And since this would be his fifth and final novel, he had taken great care to convey each character’s experiences just enough for the reader to feel their emotions along with them yet not so much as to draw out an endless scene and lose interest.
Warren began typing the last pages of his thriller suspense. He was actually surprised at how well it had unfolded. He had taken great pains to make sure there was drama and intrigue to appeal to the male population while at the same time incorporating romance and of course, the detailed sex scenes for the female population.
Uncontrollable crying broke his concentration.
He glared across the room, annoyed at the unwelcome interruption. Now, he would have to leave and deal with settling his nerves. Crying always unnerved him.
He decided to wander the grounds; maybe roll in the dew covered grass. That always settled his nerves and hopefully by then the crying would have quietened. He only had one more day to finish his book before the deadline.
Warren lay on the lawn and played with the ring dangling from the chain around his neck. It used to belong to the most perfect woman he would ever have the pleasure of meeting.
He had brought her to this very spot, underneath the willow tree, and proposed. The wedding was under the willow tree. Years later she died under the willow tree. He loved the willow tree.
That’s when he decided to write his fifth and final novel, to capture forever the best and worst parts of his life. He realized experiencing happiness differed with each life event. Happiness from marriage wasn’t the same as happiness from winning the lottery, or enjoying nachos and guacamole. It was the same with sadness. Feeling sad over the death of a loved one wasn’t the same as feeling sad over spilling your chocolate milk.
That’s how he had written four bestsellers, he lived most of them.
He stood up, brushed several blades of grass from his trousers and headed back inside.
The house was quiet.
He returned to the study and walked over to the fireplace. After several minutes he succeeded in starting the fire. He repositioned a log with the poker then decided it was now or never.
Time to finish his novel.
He typed out the final scene, the one with the victim and the perpetrator. The victim was sitting on a rather uncomfortable chair, no…couch, no… chair, yes, chair. Her hands were tied behind her back.
His fingers flew across the keyboard. He couldn’t type fast enough, the words were racing from his mind to the keys to the screen.
The victim, Sophie, would regain consciousness and be confused. She wouldn’t be able to talk, an old teddy bear would be stuffed in her mouth.
Oh, that’s good. Creepy old teddy bear.
The perpetrator, Peter, would sit grinning in front of her. He would explain how sorry he was for her. This wasn’t supposed to happen but she left him no choice. If she had just left him alone, stopped bugging him, laid off with the casseroles, then maybe she would still be in her tiny little home in the city instead of in the middle of nowhere.
Warren stopped his flurry of typing and left the room. He had to pee.
He avoided looking into the mirror. He knew what was there. There was no reason to see the hollow face staring back at him. After his book was finished there would be time for sleep, and maybe some real food other than nachos and guacamole and chocolate milk.
He shook himself, flushed the toilet and washed his hands.
He walked back to the study and picked up where he left off.
The victim, Sophie, worked herself into such a state that she toppled over backwards and lay staring up at the ceiling, gagging on the teddy bear.
Good, that was good. Now did the perpetrator right the chair?
Warren thought about that for a moment. He took a sip of his chocolate milk.
Yes, the perpetrator would be the gracious host and right the chair. Maybe, for ole’ time sake, he would remove the teddy bear?
Warren didn’t have to think about that. His fingers typed so fast he had to go back a few lines to fix a spelling mistake.
The perpetrator, Peter, removed the gag.
The victim, Sophie, begged and pleaded, apologizing for bothering him, asking what she could do to make things better. Anything he wanted, anything.
Now Warren was beginning to bore of the scene. Time to close out the book, end it.
The victim, Sophie, finally realized there was nothing to be done. She started to scream over and over. Somehow she managed to fall forward in the chair, her face smushed against the carpet. Her screams would fall on the shadows of the room, echoing into the night, perhaps bouncing from tree to tree.
Oh that was good. Warren couldn’t wait, almost done. Then he could reward himself with nachos and guacamole.
The perpetrator, Peter, would lay down beside her and stare at the green eyes red from crying. He would smile but do nothing to help.
The victim, Sophie, screamed over and over.
And now for the final paragraph.
Warren’s heart was racing, his palms were sweaty, the keys on the computer were moist.
Her screams ended with the fireplace poker smashing her skull.
Warren wiped his hands of blood and sipped his chocolate milk.
Time for nachos and guacamole.
Warren was pleased with himself.