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Vidal Martinez

As I gaze at the living room clock, I reach for the bottle on the coffee table. I take a drink, staring at the Roman numerals, listening for the ticking sound, but then I hear something outside. I get off my chair and peek out the window. I see them get into their car and drive away. If my wife is right, the fifteen thousand dollars is hidden in their den, above the fireplace. I'm about to sit back on my chair when the front door swings open.

     "Hello, I'm back." My wife walks into the living room and sees the wine bottle. "Oh my God, it's almost empty. I paid fifty dollars for that."

     "And it is so good," I add.

     She then pulls out a map from her back pocket.

     "Why do you keep looking at that map?" I ask.

     "I want to make sure our plan is bulletproof."


     "Yeah, I don't want any mistakes."

     I walk up to her and point at the map. "We're going through the backyard."

     "Oh, I know, but I'm having second thoughts about going inside with you."

     "I knew you were going to say that."

     She walks to the couch and sits on the edge. I peek out the window again.

     "They're from Albuquerque," she says.


     "Joe and Kathy, the neighbors."

     "I don't think anyone cares."

     I look at my watch as the numbers become somewhat blurry.

     "What's wrong?" she asks.

     "Nothing." I shake my head. "I just feel a little weird."

<  2  >

     She laughs and says, "It's the wine."

     "Instead of laughing at me, you should hurry and get the truck. It will be dark soon."

     "Oh… yeah, I'll be back."

     "But hurry."

     "I will."

     As she walks out of the house, I sit back on the chair, thinking about the fifteen thousand dollars and where I plan to take Sophia on vacation. Maybe Vegas or Miami… no, somewhere quiet… a cabin near a lake to have her all to myself. I lean back, but my eyes become heavy, and then I hear the ticking from the clock. I stumble off my chair and look out the window. I see no wife and no truck. She did have second thoughts. The ticking becomes louder. Why wait? There is no more time to waste! I rush out the front door and cross the street, sneaking around the neighbor's house. I walk onto the back porch and notice the door is wide open. I walk into a dark room.


     I stumble back and see the shadow of a woman.

     "It's me," she says.

     For a moment, she looked like Sophia – tall, slim, with long black hair- but I realized it was my wife.

     "How did you get in here?" I ask.

     "I thought I would surprise you. I've been waiting. I saw you almost trip over the curb when you crossed the street."

     "You saw that?"


     I lean against a table, feeling pain in my stomach and a tingling sensation in my arms and legs.

     "Are you okay?" she asks.

     "No, I feel awful." I lose my balance and grab her arm.

<  3  >

     "Can you stand?" she asks.

     "Did you already find the money?"

     "No, I was waiting for you."

     "Don't lie."

     She pulls her arm away from me. "Joe and Kathy will be back soon," she says.

     "I thought you said they're out of town for the weekend."

     I move away from her, placing my forearm on the wall. I become light headed then I get the spins. I try to hold onto the wall, but I fall uncontrollably. My body and face slam hard onto the wooden floor.

     "What's wrong?" she asks.

     "I can't feel anything," I murmur.

     "I think you drank too much."

     "What's wrong with me?"

     "It's the drug I put in your wine, but don't worry, very soon everything will be fine."

     I look up into her dreadful eyes. I know something is wrong. She then grabs my wrists and pulls me. I see pictures on the wall, and a door opens. The last thing I remember is being dragged down a stairway.



     I slowly open my eyes and hear someone whistling. It is somewhat dark and musty; my hands are handcuffed to a steel bar sticking out from a concrete wall. I pull. The cuffs are tight around my wrists. What is this? I look around. I'm in a tunnel of some sort, in a corner, stacks of bricks around me. The whistling stops.

     "Hello, is anyone there!" I yell.

     Someone approaches.

     "Well, well, well, I see that you finally woke up. I'm so proud of myself," she says.

<  4  >

     "Wait, is that you?"

     "Who else would it be?"

     "Why am I handcuffed? Get these off me!"

     "I'm afraid I can't do that."

     "What… what's going on?"

     "I'm sorry."

     "No, no… let me go." I pull on the handcuffs.

     "Don't struggle."

     "Just get these off!"

     "Sorry, I can't."

     "What? Let me out now! I swear if you don't."

     "Poor you… you will never learn."

     She starts to walk away.

     "Wait, wait, come back! I'm sorry. I don't know why you're doing this. We can work it out."

     "Oh, now you're nice. You want to work things out?"

     "Okay, very funny, the joke is on me. No more messing around — give me the key. Let me out so we can get the money and get out of here."

     She walks back towards me, stepping over what seems to be a portion of a brick wall. She stands still next to a wheelbarrow. There is an awkward silence as a dark shadow covers her face.

     "I'll share the money with you," I add. "But like you said, we must hurry before Joe and Kathy return. Now, take these cuffs off."

     She flicks on a lighter while holding a trowel in her other hand.

     "What are you doing?" I ask.

     I got this idea from your favorite story.


<  5  >

     "Poe, silly, remember the Cask of Amontillado."

     I exhale, feeling a chill down my back. Now I know exactly what is going on. "Let me go," I whisper.


     "Come on, please," I add.

     "Did you know that the old Victorian home was built a long time ago when the railroad came into town? It's been vacant for a while, and before Joe and Kathy moved in, I decided to look around. That's when I found this underground tunnel. If you look that way, it leads to the old town plaza, and where we are is a secret room. Interesting, don't you think? I also found out that the house used to belong to a wealthy land speculator." She slowly lifts her arm, pointing down the tunnel. "Down there is a catacomb," she says.

     "This is fucken stupid!" I yell. "No more fucking around!" I put my foot against the concrete wall and pull as hard as I can. "Fuuuuuuck!" The cuffs cut into my skin.

     "See what you did? Now you're bleeding," she says.

     I stop pulling and whisper, "You better let me go."

     "No, you will die down here."

     I put my head down. "Someone will find me. They will know I am missing."

     "You have no family, no friends, and your mom hates you. You're an asshole. And if someone does ask, I'll say you left with your girlfriend."

     I lift my head, staring at her.

     "Yup, your girlfriend," she whispers.

     "Sophia will look for me."

     "Oh my God, you finally said her name. You don't know how long I've been waiting for this moment — to finally hear you say your girlfriend's name. But don't worry, dear husband, sweet Sophia will not look for you either." She points down the dark tunnel. "Your dirty whore is down there, tied up, already dead — with her throat cut."

<  6  >

     I look at her, my gut twisting, horrified, as I try to think of something to say. She starts to whistle, lifts the trowel, and turns off the lighter.

     "But Joe and Kathy will be back soon!" I yell.

     "No, they won't."

     "I saw them leaving in their car. They'll be back soon, so hurry and untie me."

     She flicks the lighter back on. "Yes, I saw them too, but they won't be back, silly. You never pay attention to what I say."

     "Why are you doing this?" I ask.

     "You know why."

     "Sophia is not my girlfriend."


     "I'm serious."

     "Liar, liar."

     "Damn it! Let me go!" I pull on the cuffs as blood starts to run down my wrists. "This is murder, you fucken bitch!"

     "Oh, yes, it is."

     The lighter goes off. I hear her footsteps, then the sound of stacking bricks.

     "Please stop. I'm so sorry. I've been bad… not a good husband to you. I'm just a man. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes."

     She starts to whistle.

     "Please. I'll change my ways. I'll do anything you want. Okay, if you uncuff me, I'll leave you alone. You can have the house, the car, everything, please don't do this. I will run away, leave town, never to return. You can have the fifteen thousand dollars."

     She stops whistling.

     "Oh, you poor fool, there was never any money."

     "Wait," I say.

<  7  >

     "Bargaining is not going to work. You committed a crime, and your punishment is death."

     "Don't do this."

     I can't help but cry as I hear her build the wall.

     "I love you," I whisper.

     She flicks the lighter on. She then crawls through the unfinished portion of the wall and glares into my eyes. "I love you too," she whispers. "Before I lay the final bricks, I just want to let you know that you went through the stages of grief. You were first in denial, then angry, bargaining, and depression. Now, you must accept your fate."

     I try to kick her, but she is too quick and moves away.

     "Shame, shame, you almost got me," she whispers.

     "Please, don't do this to me."

     As she walks through the unfinished portion of the wall, the flame from the lighter goes off. In complete darkness, I put my head down. There is no need to say anymore. She starts to whistle as I hear the placing of the final bricks.


-The End-

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