The Broken Pendant

A woman can perceive the dead and that is still not the darkest part of her existence.
Reading time: 7 minutes.

The Broken Pendant
She moved around the dark living room, trying to get to the hall without bumping into anything and surprisingly, she did. It was as if she had moved through the furniture. The clouds rumbled over her head in the sky although the rain had stopped. She put the dish in the sink and went back to the living room ignoring the young woman who stood in the hallway, with her torn up dress and her face hidden behind her messy hair, both covered in dirt and blood.

She sat on the couch, in complete darkness and dead silence. The only thing that could be heard was the remnants of the storm that had now calmed down. She moved her head towards the window and looked outside. Another woman stood just outside the window, old, this one but with somewhat the same appearance—clothes, dirty, torn-up, and bloodied; face, hidden behind her bushy hair also covered in dirt and blood. She ignored the woman as if she wasn’t even there. She was waiting for someone. 'How long would it take him?' she wondered.

He, on the other hand, stood by the road near his pickup truck in the middle of nowhere as he zipped up his dirty pants and looked around to make sure that nobody had seen him. He then got back in his truck, reached into the pocket of his sweat-soaked shirt and pulled out a gold bracelet. He admired it for a few seconds, wiped the blood off of it and then he threw a quick look at the two small feet peeking out of a bush and a dress with flowers on it before firing up the engine and driving away.

He pulled up in front of the wooden shack of a house that had somehow survived the storm but was still in the dark. As he entered, he heard rushed feet and the accompanying voice, melody to his ears.

“What took you so long?” she asked.

"Sorry, hon, got stuck due to the storm,” he replied as he kissed her and went towards the darker part of the house, probably to the bathroom.

She too went into the kitchen and ignored yet another young woman, who had just appeared at the entrance. She wore a beautiful dress with flowers on it and that too, like the dresses of all the others, was covered in dirt and blood.

The next hour was spent silently as they both sat on the opposite ends of the dining table and enjoyed a cold and not-so-delicious meal. He wondered why she had even gone into the kitchen if not to heat the food. Halfway through their dinner, she broke the silence.

“Honey, did you get my pendant fixed?” she asked, ignoring the dark figures standing all around the table. The tone of her voice was evident that she had been waiting to ask him all day but didn’t want to seem too eager.

“No, dear. Couldn’t get to the shop. The storm. Besides, he said he'll call me when it's fixed."

“Oh, okay.”

She hung her head down and didn’t say anything for the rest of the night.

After the dinner, he grabbed a warm beer out of the fridge that had shut down since the power cut and sat on the couch, waiting and hoping that they’d fix the line soon so he could catch a thing or two on the television. He sat in the dark, sipping away the memories of the day when she walked in and sat beside him. The dark figures followed.

“Is everything okay sweetheart?” he asked, placing a hand around her neck.

“Yeah, it’s just—can’t sleep in the dark all by myself,” she answered as she leaned and put her head on his shoulder.

Nobody said anything for what felt like an eternity before they drifted away into nothingness.

The next morning was dull and grey. The clouds didn’t leave just yet, they seemed to have one or two arrows left in their quiver. The thunder accompanied them. He woke up alone on the couch and went straight to get ready for work. After half an hour later, when he had put himself in cleaner clothes and had had toast for breakfast, he marched to the door.

“Okay, hon, see you in the evening,” he said without looking in the living room but then he did. His gaze locked onto the empty couch, he smiled and walked closer. He reached out and waved his hand in the air as if he was caressing someone’s head and then he leaned in and kissed the empty air on the couch before leaving.

He got in his truck, reached into his pocket and pulled out the gold bracelet, clean and shiny. He stared at it for another minute and then fired up the engine and drove away.

He seemed to have been driving aimlessly but he wasn’t. He had a destination in his mind. The grey sky stood witness as he pulled over near a very old tree. He stepped out and walked through the blankets of cold strong winds and sat down at the base of the tree. There was a hole at the bottom of the trunk in which he reached and pulled out an old wooden box. He then reached into his pocket one last time to take out the bracelet and he put it among all the other pieces of jewellery in the box. He sat there looking at his memories, running his fingers through all kinds of jewellery—rings, nose pins, anklets, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and bangles; gold, silver, platinum, even fakes but all clean and shiny.

Suddenly, he stopped and took out the only piece of jewellery that still had some blood on it. He held it in front of his eyes that had tears in them and remembered that doomed night, the night of the storm.

He had come home late, not because of the storm though. He had stepped in and the first sound that fell into his ears was of distrust and hatred.

“You son of a bitch! You did it again, didn’t you?”

He had forgotten now when it had all started but he remembered that it started with her seeing grey figures around the house. He tried to calm her down and managed to persuade her to stay in that house. He couldn’t do what he did anywhere else but it became difficult when she said that those grey figures had started whispering to her. He thought that she was going mad, that she was losing her mind but one day she asked.

“Are you hiding something from me?”

“What? Nothing sweety, I’m not hiding anything from you.”

“These women told me that you did horrible things to them, is that true?”

“What women, dear? There’s no one here. It’s all just in your head.”

But she didn’t believe him. She never believed him after that and then the night arrived.

“Tell me the truth? You killed another woman, didn’t you?”

“Are you out of your mind? Do you realise what you are saying? I did not kill anyone!”

“Then who is the woman behind you?”

“THERE IS NO ONE BEHIND ME?” he shouted. Though he didn’t believe in any of this crap, he was scared to death because he didn’t know how she could have known this.

“Ahan, then what is in your pocket?”

Nothing but the roar of the thunderstorm followed.

“There’s nothing in my pocket, just LEAVE ME ALONE!”

But she didn’t leave him alone. She lunged at him and frisked the pair of earrings out of his pocket. She held the earrings in the air between them and asked, “What the hell is this? Which innocent woman do they belong to?”

“Give it back!”

“No, you murderer! They told me everything you did to them you sick fuck. They told me you like them when they are dead. Is that what you like? Is that why you do this? You disgusting—”

Before she could finish, he jumped and tried to get the earrings back but she was quick. “No! It’s over, you monster!” she cried as she stumbled across the dark hallway towards the living room. “I’m calling the cops!”

He wouldn't be able to tell to the present day what had come over him. He grabbed the first thing he could and followed. Unfortunately, the thing happened to be a bar wrench. A few minutes later, her lifeless body laid on the living room floor, blood spurting everywhere and he stood up and zipped up his pants when he saw something glimmering in the dark. He leaned in and picked it up along with the pair of earrings.

He looked at the blood-covered pendant and the time seemed to have stopped. For him, the night never ended, the storm never calmed down and even though it was a very beautiful sunny day, he sat at the base of the tree holding the broken pendant and for him, everything was still just grey and deprived of joy.

A few meters away, another middle-aged woman was just strolling out in nature. She hadn't been out of her house in a while so she was trying to enjoy every second and catch every tiny ray of this warm and comforting sunlight but her eyes laid upon a poor fella, who sat under a tree, away from the light holding a box in one hand, and a piece of jewellery in the other, crying.

“Excuse me? Are you okay?” she asked.

He snapped back into reality, turned his head towards his wife who stood there, cursing at him. Her necklace glimmered even under a grey sky covered with heavy clouds.

“You sick motherfucker! You disgust me! I can't believe I ever loved you, you sick—”

She didn’t finish her sentence. She couldn’t. How could she? He didn’t let her.

Soon enough, another grey figure of a middle-aged woman appeared in the living room and the glimmering necklace joined the others in the wooden box where it would stay—forever.

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