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The After Effect
By C.M. Humphries
10AM flashes on the face of her cell phone rather quickly, and Missy finds herself frozen in front of the clinic. A bone-chilling drizzle spits from above. For some reason, the rain feels colder than ever. She shivers before she can even take a step, meaning she nearly convulses standing up.
The first step stretches out an eternity like a bad nightmare. Her legs, though the kind of petite most young women desire, feel like they weigh more than her little hybrid car. She meanders towards the vehicle, worried that she has lost her keys. With that in mind, she searches her purse.
Rummaging through make-up kits, assorted pens, and various things she once considered necessary, Missy struggles to locate her car keys. With her free hand, she pats her jeans. They are damp and start clinging to her legs, which is useful for checking pockets. Despite the aid of the rain and her persistence, she fails to locate her keys. Switching her hands, Missy begins to search the purse again. It’s not a knock-off; no one dared to even insist that. Said the purse was classy.
Cling cling. She hears the clatter of keys and panics when she cannot find them—Ah ha! They were in her hands all along. My god, she tells herself.
Key in door, then key in ignition. She is off, but not quickly. She drives hesitantly; well below the speed limit. The clinic falls into a blur of buildings in the distance, but it stands out like a diamond amongst crystals.
Not a minute past 11AM, she arrives home. Rolling up in the driveway, she notices the garage door closing. “Damn,” she mutters.
Turn the key, take it out, lock the door. Swinging her purse over her shoulder first, Missy heads for the front door. Before she can unlock the deadbolt, the door swings wide-open, and standing in front of her is the man she made too many vows to.
“How’s it goin’ honey?” he says with glee in his eyes and true excitement in his voice. It’s pure happiness, uncut like a good drug.
“Well, you seem excited,” Missy mutters as she steps into the house, which is full of towering furniture and exaggerated immaculateness.
“Certainly am. Two years dry, cold turkey. And now . . .” He steps towards Missy and leans over to press his ear to her belly. His eyes narrow and his smile sags.
Missy just stands in the doorway for a few minutes, her eyes filling with hot tears. Her lips quiver.
In one fell swoop, Missy yanks a few slips of paper out of her purse and shoves them into his hands. He takes one look at them while Missy sprints past, up the stairs, and into the master bedroom.
Her husband stares at the pages for a long time. His feels his face growing warmer. His gag reflex teases him. His stomach churns. The slips fall out of his hands and onto the expensive, oak flooring. Missy picked out the flooring. Said it was classy.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.