My legs wobbled and shook with resistance against my will as I forced my body to its feet. With the first step I took I instantly realized that my ankle was probably broken. I hadn’t even noticed the pain until then, but the moment I put weight on it the ankle buckled and a knife-like pain began to cut into my skin.
I cried out, almost thankful for the pain awakening me a little bit. I could breathe now, but it was still very forced. My eyes were wide open and I could see the road at the end of my long driveway. I had to make it. I had to go now.
Pushing myself with the toughest amount of iron will I could summon, I moved slowly across the yard. I decided to walk along the driveway keeping in the grass rather than on the actual pavement of the drive in case I fell. The ground was much softer.
By the time I arrived at the road I felt like I’d been blown up and the pieces stuck into some kind of a huge blender. I was moving on pure fumes at this point. I had no energy left. My body was broken. I was beaten. I was scared.
The cool air against my burnt skin somehow made it burn hotter, as if I was still stuck in the fire. What would become of me? Did I really want to live this badly? I was burnt over most of my body. I was a freak now and I’d never be able to go anywhere. People would laugh and point. My business would go under. Who would buy cosmetics from someone who looked like me?
I could never let my precious sons see what a monster their mother now looked like.
My life was over. I might as well have been dead.
I reached the road and stumbled to my knees, mostly from exhaustion, but a good bit just from defeat. I should have stayed in the fire and let myself burn. My life was over. I was over.
Ted had won. He’d always win. No matter what I did.
As I sat there on my knees crying, the tears stinging my charred flesh, I suddenly became aware of the lights ahead of me. Lights? Headlights…
Someone was coming. A car.
They were slowing down. I thought they were going to stop.
My last memory is of the road coming back up to hit me in the face before everything went dark.
I thought the nightmare was over, but in reality it was all just beginning.
The lake house had been like a home away from home for me ever since Leia and I had started dating. It was a quiet refuge about two hours north. It was peaceful, full of serenity, and there was some of the best fishing this side of paradise. The lake was picturesque and huge. It was a great place to canoe, or even pop out the motorboat for a little joyride.
I came up here way more than Leia realized when I just wanted to get away from her and the kids. Sometimes I had parties up there and sometimes I entertained women. It was a good enough location far enough from home and out of the public eye that I didn’t have to worry too much about being caught.
Of course now, I would never have to worry about that.
I still couldn’t believe I’d finally done it. It had all gone down exactly the way I dreamt it could. Since the first month of our marriage I had toyed with the idea of killing Leia and having it look like some kind of an accident.
And the fire had been a nice touch. I hadn’t originally thought of something that violent, but she’d pissed me off at exactly the wrong moment and she had to learn the lesson. It seemed the easiest thing. Fire destroyed everything and it would have covered up any evidence. The story was simple. I’d come up here for a fishing trip with the boys and Leia had decided to stay behind to get caught up on some work. Things weren’t going as well as she’d liked at work (which was always the case; it was a big company after all) and then she’d plugged in the old lamp she’d had since childhood–which I told her had a short in it—and it had sparked and caused the fire.
It wasn’t a perfect plan but from everything I’d read and all the forensic shows I’d seen about fire deaths; it would have been good enough.
Of course I knew I might come under some scrutiny in the beginning. After all, I was the husband, and I did have a motive that anyone could see. That motive was money, which was the number one reason spouses killed each other. But nothing could be proven and soon it would blow over as a careless and tragic accident.