Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Your banner could be here! Find out how!
Posting the finest in science fiction, fantasy and alternative writing and artwork. For free. In our sober moments...
   Reader's login    |    Writer's login
Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

Harris Tobias
Time Wars & other SciFi Tales

Gordon Rowlinson

Maggie's Husband


Karin Kimberlin

I awoke with a start, the birds chirping their damn chorus outside my window, scaring the bejesus out of me. Why couldn’t they begin their symphony softly and build to the crescendo? That would be a damned nice way to wake up in the morning. Better than the heart attack inducing shrieking that I was hearing now. I briefly wondered about all those people that died peacefully in their sleep, and whether anyone had thought to check for birds outside their window.

I slid my feet to the ground and shifted to ask Maggie if she ever thought the same thing when I realized I was alone, and details from the previous night’s fight crept into my consciousness like wisps of a fog crept across a graveyard at midnight. Crap.

I reached for the still full mug I had placed bedside last night. The coffee was as cold as my wife’s side of the bed, but I grimaced and swallowed it down, congealed creamer lumps and all. Today was going to be one long-ass day.

I sifted through the wardrobe, pulling out a pair of jeans from all the way in the back, making sure they were the ones I wanted, comfortable, but splattered with paint; the ones Maggie never let me wear anymore. I wondered briefly why I’d kept them as I slid them up my legs, pulling at the fabric, still soft, even after being pressed under other discarded items in the back of the closet.

That’s the way it had been with Maggie for some time. She never let me wear them. Never mind that they had been my favorite pair of jeans; never mind that I didn’t like wearing the stiff khaki’s that she ironed so they had creases down the center; never mind that slowly over the years she had taken everything away that I loved and replaced it with shiny imitations.

No, I shouldn’t have said what I said. I shouldn’t have done what I did, but dammit, she kind of had it coming. Yes, she did. She had slowly, almost imperceptibly, turned me against myself. Made me a puppet to entertain her friends when she deigned to bring me out. She pulled the strings, and I danced when there was dancing to do, laughed when it was appropriate, and made all the other ladies in the neighborhood wish they had a husband as fine as Maggie’s. It was sick, she was sick. It wasn’t a marriage at all.

A rage began to fill the recesses of my mind as I pulled shirts off their hangers and threw them to the floor. Shirt after shirt, wrinkle free, buttoned all the way to the collar so they would hang perfectly straight, were ripped from their hangers and hurled to the floor. I found a polyester Hawaiian shirt with genuine wood buttons tucked behind the bland cotton blends, and put it on. How had this one shirt survived the purge my wife made year after year of donations to the local homeless shelter? Why wasn’t some loser bum, stinking of rotted meat and pickled in his own juice cavorting through town in my shirt?

Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was fate that I had finally had enough and let her know it. Maybe it was fate that I closed my eyes and concentrated on slowing my breathing. It was most certainly fate that when I opened them again, they immediately found the toe end of an old pair of work boots peeking out from under the bed, like a giggling child playing hide-and-seek.

I put my boots on with a blissful sigh and headed out to show my wife the real me. The blue tarp I had laid over her corpse the night before had been blown partway off, and she looked cold, heck, colder than the coffee I’d drunk not fifteen minutes earlier. The birds were singing as they lighted around her, gingerly hopping forward before pulling at small pieces of flesh. I grabbed my shovel and set forth. This was going to be one long-ass day.

Read more stories by this author

2009-01-15 08:14:28
I really like the way you did this. The musings of this man as he defended himself showed a touch of remorse. It's almost as if he's convincing himself of his actions. The only thing that bothered me was the fact she was outside and in nearly, plain view. I'm guessing that they live in a secluded area, but it would have helped it was mentioned. However, it was a terrific story.

2009-01-09 23:57:54
I wasn't sure where it was going which intrigued me very much.

2009-01-08 10:52:13
Nice piece of writing. First person musings are difficult to get right but this one created a character that was easy ot picture and with an economy of words. I was though expecting more, a suprise ending or something more of a punch as a conclusion. A story worth expanding.

This story has been viewed: 2278 times.

ball Did you enjoy this story? Show your appreciation by tipping the author!

Enter your tip amount. ($1.00 minimum)

Then click on the tip cup!

Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Alien Fruit

Harris Tobias
The Stang

Harris Tobias
The Wizard's House

Jeromy Henry