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06 February 2012 @ 08:59 pm
Ficlet: Time's up, Mary Sue!  
Note: Original short story. Mary Sue is named as such just because I think Mary Sue needs to get away from the raven-black, lavender-tipped hair, the red eyes, the corsets...
Not betad, written on a whim mainly because I'm forcing my pupils to write short stories now. I had to try out the concept myself.
Feel free to rip it apart.

Time's up, Mary Sue!

The question was; was it enough or should she add some more? Mary Sue looked thoughtfully at the simmering casserole, it smelled gorgeous and she was sure it would be absolutely delicious. Not that she was going to taste it, but Billy Joe deserved something tasty for his last meal. After all, he had been a decent husband for nearly 20 years.

In the beginning, they had been so happy. But the years wore you down. No amount of jewellery and the latest fashion could wipe away what he had done. When she had heard it the first time, before she had known for real, she hadn't believed it. Something like that was just not possible. Now though, she believed.

She should have known, really, there had always been something odd about Billy Joe. At first she had been charmed. He had had the looks then, that was for sure, to be honest he still had them. And that was part of the oddness. Billy Joe was not a young man anymore; he should have thinning hair and at least the beginning of beer gut. He hadn't lived a healthy life, there had been no expenses spared on fine dining and vintage vine. On their second date he had bought her the restaurant they ate at. She liked the food, she got the entire package. No one could accuse Billy Joe of being cheap.

But that didn't matter, not anymore. For a good, long while –many years- she had been lulled by his generosity, by his boyish looks, his good humour. The memory of her own poor upbringing had disappeared in a haze of money-coloured, glittering extravaganza. No one had gotten it as good as Mary Sue.

She looked around in the spotless kitchen. The housekeeper had done a brilliant job, as always. It had taken Mary Sue some time to find the right one, but after many tedious interviews she had met Mrs. Hobson.

Mrs. Hobson was a true find, a diamond amongst the coal. There was no one Mary Sue trusted like Mrs. Hobson these days, she always seemed to have the exactly right solution to whatever problem Mary Sue had. When the 'thing' with Billy Joe had crept up from the hidden, she had been the one to comfort Mary Sue, to give her advice.

The casserole truly smelled excellent. Mary Sue took a deep breath, inhaled the sweet fumes and had to grab a hold of the sink. She was so very dizzy all of a sudden. She shook her head; the dizziness must depend on what she was doing. Only her nerves playing up, not the liquid she had poured into the casserole. There was no telling what Billy Joe would do if he caught her in the act, but she had a good idea. She had seen him after all, when he had come up from the cellar.

That night, when Mrs. Hobson had told her what she had seen, what she had found in the cellar, Mary Sue had laughed at her. But at the sight of the jar Mrs. Hobson had brought with her, she had begun to cry. Her tears had never really dried up after that. Whenever she tried to think of something else, that jar slammed into her memory. She could not forget.

The pot bubbled quietly, almost taunting her. Without a second though, Mary Sue grabbed the small bottle and poured some more into the casserole. Seasoning, Billy Joe would get the meaning of proper seasoning when he had taken his first bite.

Her house had never been frightening before, it has always been her refuge. From the gossiping wives of Billy Joe's contacts, from the pointed look she was given at the beauty parlour. Knowing that she could go home and slam the door after her, close the world out, had helped her ignore them. All of them. Even the ones that she saw leaving Billy Joe's rooms late at night. They walked carefully, reeling a little. But they looked happy. And so did Billy Joe. He was always so affectionate when he had had his little visits. She knew she wasn't supposed to know about them, but Mrs. Hobson had showed her and then she couldn't pretend anymore. Especially after Mrs. Hobson had brought up the jar. After that her house was a terrible place. She would pack up and leave, as soon as this retched business was dealt with.

There were sounds in her house, small sounds she had never noticed before. These days they echoed, multiplied. Sometimes Mary Sue thought she heard groans, sometimes sobs. She had never found the source of the sounds, in spite of searching the house from top to bottom. She had even gone down into the cellar. The sounds she had heard there, those were her own cries, when she had seen.

He would be home soon. The table was set; candles, white linen cloth, the next best china –not the best, that would make him suspicious- a nice wine. The setting was perfect. The only thing missing was Billy Joe himself. Mary Sue straightened her dress, it was a nice flowery one, complemented her hair and her eyes. She knew she looked her best.

The door slammed shut and she heard his happy "Honey, I'm home!". Just like any average day; he came home, hollered, she served him a drink, they ate. Billy Joe went down to the cellar. He had some handiwork to do. Every night. Tonight he wouldn’t even reach the stairs. Mary Sue put on her best smile and went out into the hallway.

She had given Mrs. Hobson the night off. This night was for Mary Sue and Billy Joe alone. Then it would be only Mary Sue, and maybe Mrs. Hobson. She wasn't sure about that. No matter that Mrs. Hobson was a great support and had helped her find out all the terrible things, set her up with the little bottle and instructions, there was something odd with Mrs. Hobson too. Sometimes Mary Sue thought she really was going insane, on the other hand-anyone whose life had turned into a Hitchcock movie would think so.

The drink she made Billy Joe was perfect, as always. She knew by heart how he liked it, and she got the expected thank you-kiss on the cheek for it. Mary Sue smiled and announced that dinner was almost done. Billy Joe only needed to taste the food to see if it was seasoned enough, this was their anniversary after all and everything should be perfect.

There was a moment when Mary Sue thought her heart would thud its way through her chest, when Billy Joe took the spoon she offered, sniffed and tasted. After that she only stared blankly. Nothing had happened.

"What's the matter, dear?" Billy Joe looked at her, spoon still in hand. "Didn't go as you expected?"

She had a fleeting sensation of the floor tilting under her feet. Something was wrong, not just with Billy Joe still standing, but with Mary Sue herself. She didn't understand, Mrs. Hobson had explained in detail what would happen. The small bite Billy Joe had taken should have made him a little wobbly, not really there. This would have made it so much easier to sit him down to finish his meal. But he looked as clear-eyed and alert as ever. Maybe he hadn't taken enough.

Mary Sue had to reach out for the counter when her head began to spin, the floor tilted slightly under her again. And this time she thought she saw the walls bend too. This couldn't be possible, she had been so careful with the little bottle, not gotten anything on her hands, not touched her mouth, nothing. She shouldn't be feeling faint.

"Looks like you need to sit down, my love. You've gotten all pale. Maybe you've inhaled too deeply over the pot, have you? It sure smells good." Billy Joe's face blurred into focus right in front of her, his hands gently gripping her shoulders. What did he mean? Inhaled too deeply? The fumes weren't supposed to have any effect, only if you ate it. That was what Mrs. Hobson had told her and it had to be true. Mrs. Hobson wouldn't lie, would she? And Billy Bob couldn't know, that was impossible.

"It really does smell good, and I'll be enjoying it in just a short while. Don't worry, your hard work won't go unnoticed."

Mary Sue could only stare at him when he placed her on a chair, her body didn't respond anymore.

"It surprises me that you've never come down to me, to see what I'm doing in my cellar. But of course, you have always been a coward. You have never questioned anything. Not the money, not the house, not my hours."

He crouched down to arrange her legs, neatly crossed at the ankles. When he was satisfied, Billy Joe looked up at her, looking so very much like the young man he had been all those years ago when he proposed. He had gone to his knees that time too.

"You don't even know what I do for a living. Just like every other woman before you, you have chosen not to see. Like all of them, you are trying to kill me. And like all of them, you have failed."

She tried to turn her head, towards the hallway, tried to shout to the person she heard there. Billy Joe just smiled at her and shook his head. " Silly little goose, you can't move. Paralysed. You're breathing will stop soon, you know. Mrs. Hobson made sure to give the potion a bit of a kick this time. It gets so tedious, the throat cutting and the whatnots, messy. We don't like messy, Mrs. Hobson and I, we never have. Sometimes it's fun though, especially when we're dealing with someone who's been extra hysterical about our doings."

Billy Joe smiled again, more teeth than anything else, and softly stroked her cheek. "People just don't understand, you know. Now, my dear, time's up."
Current Mood: accomplished
inyadreems on February 6th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
This is fun! In a creepy sort of way. You really are good you know.

and at least the beginning of bear gut I think you mean "beer"!

Vesta: dietrichbiggelois on February 8th, 2012 05:25 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you!

You know, I htink I did :) I've changed it now. I had also managed to change Billy Joe to Billy Bob at the end. Jeez. Sorted too.
Thank you.