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  • Anna woke to an all embracing darkness. The once-white drapes on the window blocked out the sunlight naught for a few rays squeezing through the now-brown tint of the cloth. She rolled out of bed, stumbled to her feet and shuffled her way to the lightswitch only for the light bulb to quietly reject the orders of the switch.

    Fucking fantastic, her hand on her head and a sigh left her lips. She felt her way through to the door. Opening it didn’t do much for the dark hallway, which reached the small kitchen and living room combination they had. She reached the kitchen and ripped a page off the calendar revealing it was Friday. The clock in the kitchen read half an hour before work. After looking at the frozen chicken in the fridge and moldy bread in the pantry, she poured herself a bowl of cereal with the last of the milk. At least today is payday! She stacked her bowl next to the other from a day ago before going back to the room.

    “I’ll be sure to get some groceries,” she flicked the switch a couple more times, “and a new light bulb.” She felt her way through the darkness and found her work uniform, flats and apron.

    No response came from the darkness inside the room. She turned and looked in the direction of the bulge of covers on the bed, on the opposite side of the room. “I’m leaving now.” She felt her way to the door.

    No response.

    “Look, I’m sorry last night I was so defensive but you forced me. You’ve been talking to me less, calling less. I always check up on you so why can’t you do the same?” She pulled up her red hair in a ponytail.

    “I’m sorry.” said a mouse whispering from the direction of the sheets.

    “I’ll be back after work.” She looked at their table on her way out and noticed the previous morning’s eggs on the table. ”And clean up the house,” She paused. “Please.” She slammed the door on her way out.

    Inside, Louie sat in the darkness of his room, breathing the musty air. He reached for his neck but felt nothing on his cold damp skin. The cross necklace which hung there once had found its resting place somewhere in the house, forgotten. He chewed on his thumb for a while before attempting to get out of bed. Slowly he moved his lanky body to the edge of the bed before hesitating. He crawled back to his original position and repeated the process.

    Chew. Crawl. Hesitate. Repeat.

    The process continued up until the few rays of sunshine from the window turned from a bright yellow to a dying orange.

    The sound of keyes softly rang from the front door.

    “Louie, baby! I’m home!” Anna walked in, her messy Save Mart apron swayed under the bags filled with food at both sides of her.

    No response.

    She walked to the kitchen and set down the bags with groceries.

    “Baby,” she said as she put some of the stuff in the pantry, “did you know that the bread was moldy? I hope you didn’t eat any.” Silence lingered. “You didn’t throw away the scrambled eggs from yesterday. I thought I told you to clean the house.” She finished putting away the stuff at the pantry and walked her way through the dark hallway. “Shit. I forgot to buy that lightbulb.” She said as she reached the door only to find it locked.

    “Louie...” She knocked. “Louie. Louie you know how I feel about locked doors. Open up baby.” Her breathing became panting. “Louie! Open the damn door!” The sound of the door unlocking came. She opened the door and rushed in.

    “Louie what the fuck!?” The skeleton in the sheets sat paralyzed.

    “I bust my ass off every day. We barely make ends meet and this is how you treat me? All I asked of you was to clean up the house. I thought we agreed on that baby.“

    Louie sat and listened intently. What could he say if she was right? She had managed to protect him from all the toxic people in his life —some acquaintances, friends, even his mother smothered him— she deserved his attention. He wanted to make her happy above all else.

    “I don’t know what you want me to do, Louie. I’m tired. I’m tired because I care for you so much. I care for you so much it hurts sometimes. Don’t you?”

    “You know I do.” A tear rolled down his cheek. He hated himself for failing to bring her happiness. His own happiness depended on it. His breathing shivered and even though she couldn’t see him in the dark, she knew he was crying.

    “Oh baby I’m sorry.” she said, kissing him softly.

    “I love you Anna. With all my heart. You know that.” Louie said.

    “I know, I know and I’d never doubt it. I just… It’s just I’ve been so stressed out lately with work and my coworkers. I’m afraid sometimes out of the blue too. Going through so many disappointments in life will do that to you.”

    “I know.” He laughed. She laughed too. She crept closer to him, undoing her uniform apron and blouse. “I’ve been thinking about you all day baby.” She said, licking her lips

    “Me too.” He pressed his.

    “Louie!” she giggled as she ran her hands over his chest. “Don’t tell me you’ve sat naked in bed all day.” she said laughing. “Wow. You’re so cold! Poor baby. I’ll warm you up.” She said, taking off her shoes and pants, leaving her only in her bra and panties. “You should at least take care of yourself baby. At least take a shower,” she said in between kisses, “hm although I will say I enjoy the musky smell. Maybe don’t.” She kept kissing while her hands expertly lowered themselves down his bony frame to his manhood. Both of them knew what they wanted that night.

    There is a schism between having sex and making love. Both involve the same parts and actions but differ in context and the goal. Tonight they both wanted to make love. They intertwined like snakes and didn’t finish until late at night when both of them fell asleep in each other's arms in a tender embrace.


    “Louie don’t forget to clean up this time baby.” Anna rushed through the same morning routine.

    Wake up. Saturday on the calendar. Breakfast. Change. Walk to work.

    “I love you baby.” Louie sat up on the bed. He reached for his neck, looking for something out of reflex.

    Anna made her way down a couple blocks. She walked in the blazing morning sun and reached the local grocery store with a groan. Let’s get today over with. She proceeded to help lost customers, re-stack racks, collect carts in the parking lot, rearrange products and dust off aisles.


    Louie sat again in bed. He chewed on his nail and tried to make his way over to the edge of the bed when the landline rang.


    The noise rang for a while but Louie sat. His breathing quickened. On the other side Anna sat on the designated break bench on the phone. She dialed again.


    “Oh Louie. What are you doing now?” She said to herself under her breath.


    Louie heard the phone ring. His breathing quickened; his cold hands felt clammy. He lay in bed hearing the phone ring until it didn’t. Then it rang again after an eternity and then another eternity passed before it rang a third time.


    Anna’s face took on a red tint. She sat panting, sweat on her brow, awaiting to hear the only person who kept her going.


    “Aw, Anna. Boyfriend not picking up?” One of her female co-workers questioned with a smirk.


    Anna rolled her eyes and prayed the phone would get picked up.


    “Hello?”


    “Oh my god Louie are you ok?”


    Silence.


    “Louie, baby you scared the shit out of me. I called so many times to check up. Why didn’t you pick up?”


    “I… I...”


    “Look, don’t talk. We’ll talk when I get home. I love you baby.”


    Louie had tears running down his face as he hung up the ceceiver. Anna wouldn't be long.


    The sound of keys softly rang from the front door.


    “Louie! I’m home. Where are you?”


    The home wasn’t big so she quickly checked the kitchen and living room.

    Again the eggs, now green with mold and the dishes stacked up. She directly went to the room.


    Locked.


    “Louie, I’m only gonna ask this once nicely. Please open up.”


    No answer.


    She heaved puffs of breath in and out.


    “Louie open the door this instant!”


    Inside, a quiet mouse tried to control its breathing for it felt like he was choking while sitting in bed.


    “I said open this door!” Anna screamed. She pounded her fist on the door only to hear the lock slide. She barged into the room.


    “Louie, this is the last straw.” She couldn’t see and hit herself on the bed’s frame while rushing him but as soon as she got there she reached for him and proceeded to punch and slap him repeatedly. Louie didn’t stand his ground. He didn’t even flinch. He just took the beating as he felt the downpour of blows.


    “Why are you like this Louie?” Anna said with tears in her eyes. “I love you so much.” She stopped hitting him.


    “Because… you made me this way.”


    “Oh don’t start with this Louie. Don’t tell me it’s my fault out of the blue. We agreed to this before we got married.”


    “No, you told me what you expected Anna.”


    “Don’t say that.”


    “But it’s the truth. You pushed me. You push me. You keep pushing me, every day.”


    “Look, I told you why I wanted you to stop working. I didn’t want any of those bitches to talk to you.”


    “I did that for you. I stopped talking to everyone for you. I thought you’d eventually mellow Anna. I thought I had proven myself trustworthy. I thought I’d be able to talk to my family again.”


    “I don’t wanna lose you” She said bawling. “I can’t lose you. You’re the best thing that’s happened to me.” She resumed hitting Louie, hitting him all over. She reached his groin, only to discover he was hard.


    “You’re such a sick bastard. Well, if you like this so much then have it your way.” She undressed completely, freeing her curvaceous body. She stopped to allow him to enter her but resumed the onslaught right after.


    Today, their desire was primal. It produced violent, rough and forceful acts. The pain changed. It originated as pure pain but pleasure and pain swirled together. The swings didn’t contain anger, but passion instead. Slowly but surely both of them reached their climax. That was what turned Louie on about Anna. Only one issue: now the question was if this turn on —the sex and the love-making— was worth all of her turn-offs.


    “I don’t know anymore.”


    “What?” Anna said as she drifted between reality and sleep.


    “Do you remember how we met?” Louie said as he cupped her body, which was wrapped around him.


    “Of course. Aisle five with the apples. You saved my life that day. You taught me to arrange the apples so fast no one noticed they fell.”


    “Haha. Yeah. What about the third night in our honeymoon?”


    “Oh my god yes! We got so kinky that night you almost fell to the right of the bed!” She said giggling. “Hun, tomorrow I need to get to work early. I’m gonna sleep. You wake up late. And, as much as I love your musky smell, you should probably take a shower now. Your smell is quite strong. Haha. I love you.” Anna said before drifting to sleep.


    The next morning Anna left without a word. Louie slept and after a night like that he’d want some rest. She didn’t bother to call for the whole day. She dragged herself through nine hours of work only to walk back home at the end of the day.

    She walked, opened the doors and shuffled in. She made her way to the room to find the door open this time.

    “Augh, Louie are you in here?” she said covering her nose. “It smells like death in here.”

    “I’m on the bed, Anna.”

    “Well come on, let’s go. Don’t stay here.” She made her way to the bed and reached for him. She felt his cold grasp and pulled him out of bed; he followed her through the hallway.

    It had been a couple days since he had seen the light. She pulled him to the kitchen talking about making dinner and talking about feeling terrible about last night but when she turned to see him, she noticed Louie’s body.

    There in the light stood a naked Louie, his once-pale skin blackened and bruised; his lively blue eyes now insipid white; he reeked of putrefaction and decomposition.

    Anna looked for a few seconds before rushing to the door yelling her lungs out.

    “Anna I need help,” Louie’s body reached out.

    She didn’t turn back. She left running and, with her gone, the memory of Louie.

    Louie felt his body go limp and fall, except he also stood and looked over it as if he was having an out of body experience.



    “Louie open the door right now! I’m worried sick! Did you even eat all day? I saw this morning’s eggs on the table! Open up damn it!” Tears flowed from Anna’s eyes. The calendar read Thursday.


    She heard the sound of the door unlocking. Anna rushed in and could feel Louie in front of her. She pushed him all the way to the bed and made him fall on it. She pummeled him with a shower of punches.


    “Why do you do this? I love you so much Louie! I don’t want you to leave.”


    Louie took the beating, his guilt piercing his heart harder than the pain of the punches. He felt one distinctly hard; one which sent his heart racing then stop. He went limp for a moment —paralyzed to the point of not breathing. His breath came back except the punches felt distant. Nonexistent. He could feel cold guilt piercing his chest and passive love for the woman on top of him and above all loneliness.


    He knew what came next.


    Crying. Sex. Sleep. Repeat.

      Loading editor
    • Ugh... I don't know how I feel about this. 

      At the first repeat, I figured out Louie is not exactly fine. What it was? didn't matter. Why? It doesn't go anywhere. 

      Okay, so she probably killed him in a fit of jealous rage, but then got him back as a zombie or something and now she sleeps with him every day... okay, so? I'm not particularly disgusted by this because there are zero details and because the whole story is predictable. Also, I don't really feel bad for Louie because he is a clearly one dimensional character with nothing I can relate to considering his tormentor is also basically a 2D fictional character that doesn't live a real life at all. She goes to work, does nothing at work, works seven days a week, wakes up, fucks her corpse husband, beats him up (for reasons unknown) and goes to bed... rinse and repeat. 

      Her fits of rage are just so unrealistic and beyond unprovoked. Does she believe he is a living being? that's not clarified. Nothing is clear about these two. Less is more, yes. Not enough, however, is not enough. 

      Give Louie a life beyond the sleep, beating, sex, repeat. Make him attempt to do all these things she asks of him to do and make it seem as if his failures stem from some emotional or real life physicial handicaps (not like he lost a leg, but for example, his wounds from her beatings making it hard to do anything physical) only to reveal at the very end that he's a corpse. 

      Or alternatively, have him turn on her, or almost turn on her in a classic zombie style "feed on brains" attack. 

        Loading editor
    • BloodySpghetti wrote...

      So, I got you and sincerely appreciate the feedback.

      I guess some context would be nice: I wrote this more as an exploration of the manipulation of Louie. There are multiple sites exploring the behavior in toxic relationships (I'm just linking one of many) I hope it is clear that I'm trying to incorporate these into the story but if there is a lack of build up then I do appreciate you letting me know-- I personally feel like I have a problem with pacing.

      I wrote this strictly from a paranormal standpoint where Louie is manipulated so much so by Anna that he forgets his own death and his ghost, instead of moving on, stays manipulated by her-- that is, until the final scene. That's why I mention the out of body experience part. This is not a zombie story and I don't necessarily know why I would have to explain that Anna thought Louie was alive throughout this whole thing. That's especially the reason why she leaves running out the door at the end of the story

      My biggest issue with giving Louie something else to do is that if he were to see himself he'd know he was dead. That's why I made him stay in bed all day-- also a metaphor for the crippling toxicity of the relationship. That's why the room is kept dark for the whole story.

      It may feel like Anna and he may not do much outside of the cycle described but I'm coming from the school of thought of cutting out the "fat" or unnecessary details in the story. I just feel like explaining the intricate and exciting details of a worker at a grocery store is unnecessary for the story but I'm open to writing some more details for Anna if that will flesh her out.

      Lastly, in regards to predictability, my question is: would more unpredictabilitiy be better? I did input quite a bit of foreshadowing in the story (dying orange sunlight, using skeleton instead of skinny, cold skin, etc.) and intrinsically by being in a horror story website you're expecting some sort of distortion or horror twist. I feel like it is kind of like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet-- He literally spoils the plot in the first stanza. He's not trying to write an original plot-- he's trying to make you fall in love with the characters and feel that much more for them when shit does go down. If the characters are flat that's what worries me, not so much the plot direction. Let me know though. If I can make my story better, I'm more than happy to work on it.

        Loading editor
    • I LOVE IT ;3 keep writing man. you are  a great writer.

        Loading editor
    • Pssysmasher69 wrote:
      BloodySpghetti wrote...
      So, I got you and sincerely appreciate the feedback.

      I guess some context would be nice: I wrote this more as an exploration of the manipulation of Louie. There are multiple sites exploring the behavior in toxic relationships (I'm just linking one of many) I hope it is clear that I'm trying to incorporate these into the story but if there is a lack of build up then I do appreciate you letting me know-- I personally feel like I have a problem with pacing.

      I wrote this strictly from a paranormal standpoint where Louie is manipulated so much so by Anna that he forgets his own death and his ghost, instead of moving on, stays manipulated by her-- that is, until the final scene. That's why I mention the out of body experience part. This is not a zombie story and I don't necessarily know why I would have to explain that Anna thought Louie was alive throughout this whole thing. That's especially the reason why she leaves running out the door at the end of the story

      My biggest issue with giving Louie something else to do is that if he were to see himself he'd know he was dead. That's why I made him stay in bed all day-- also a metaphor for the crippling toxicity of the relationship. That's why the room is kept dark for the whole story.

      It may feel like Anna and he may not do much outside of the cycle described but I'm coming from the school of thought of cutting out the "fat" or unnecessary details in the story. I just feel like explaining the intricate and exciting details of a worker at a grocery store is unnecessary for the story but I'm open to writing some more details for Anna if that will flesh her out.

      Lastly, in regards to predictability, my question is: would more unpredictabilitiy be better? I did input quite a bit of foreshadowing in the story (dying orange sunlight, using skeleton instead of skinny, cold skin, etc.) and intrinsically by being in a horror story website you're expecting some sort of distortion or horror twist. I feel like it is kind of like Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet-- He literally spoils the plot in the first stanza. He's not trying to write an original plot-- he's trying to make you fall in love with the characters and feel that much more for them when shit does go down. If the characters are flat that's what worries me, not so much the plot direction. Let me know though. If I can make my story better, I'm more than happy to work on it.

      Yeah I saw the theme of a toxic relationship in this, but your emphasis on "well he's dead, so very much dead..." just kind of drowns it out. 

      Also, yes, the characters are flat, but you can't really expand their personalities without expanding the plot in this one. It's just a repeating cycle of events. 

      Maybe that's just not me... I don't know, if you can make the duo seem less static somehow, I guess it'll work better. 

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