Hello, my name is Isabel. I have a dark story to tell. For fifty years on end, I have been in the space between the living and the dead, watching the man I used to love slowly become a empty and demented shell. Alone he sits in his room, surrounded by white walls; nurses and doctors regularly patrol the halls.
Little do they know, he is not alone; he is with me. The doctors' records state that he suffers from an incurable insanity, for his ranting and raving of, "Can you not see her, standing next to me? She's right there, by the bed!" The doctors only shake their heads, and tell him, "I'm sorry sir, but there is no one by your bed." They said he was driven permanently insane over the incident at Willow Lane; that is where police found him, next to his wife that he had brutally slain.
My love, he was so quiet and reserved; but also, deep inside, he was deeply disturbed. I overlooked how it was that he liked to drink heavily, and he always screamed and swore at me that if I tried to leave him, I would get what I deserved. I loved him, but I was also sometimes terrified; many nights I went to my room to hide. There were nights he paid no mind to me, and he stewed in his drink, drowning his self-induced melancholy.
Then came the day when I went to the grocery store; the car broke down, and I was stranded for three hours or more. The hour was quite late when I finally made it home; and little did I know what was about to — my life was about to end, all over a flat tire.
My love, he was quite enraged that I had been gone half the night. It wasn't long before he picked a fight. No matter what I told him, how I insisted and plead the truth, there was only one thought in his head, about how I had been gone three hours or more; and I was out cheating on him, like some common whore. A odd look came into his eyes and I was filled with dread; his fist came down on my head with a crack, and I crashed down the bedroom stairs, and landed on my back.
"You think you can leave me, and not come back?" My love said, and once again I saw stars in my head, I felt his hands fist in my hair, and I was hauled up off the floor. He shook me violently and said, "You will pay, you dirty little whore." I was flung aside, and left a battered heap on the edge of the door, and he went outside. I had no time to get up, or move away, as a hatchet swung down and bit deeply into my spine. Froth spat from his mouth as he screamed, "You will never leave me again, you're mine!"
Two days later, I was only barley alive; my face was unrecognizable, I couldn't feel my legs, and I was naked, bound hand and foot to the bed. My body was used and broken, but violent thoughts wracked my head. If I made it out alive, I was going to haunt him until he laid on his deathbed. My love, now the man I hated, sat beside me, whisky bottle in one hand, a gun in the other; food lay spoiled on a nearby plate. His clothes were stained with my blood, and his tears; he wasn't drunk enough, he couldn't face the horror and unbearable shame of what he'd done, but he couldn't escape his demons anymore. They had eaten him alive for too many years, and they had finally taken him over.
He stood, and swayed heavily. His mouth slurred out, "I told you, if you left me, you would get what you deserve." He bent down over me, looking into my slowly fading eyes, and smiled in a maniacal way, his hand ghosted over my hair. "I love you, my Isabel," he said, and held the gun to the side of my head. He said, "Until death do us part."
I stood beside my body, and watched him pull the trigger repeatedly, emptying the gun. I watched blood and gore splatter like macabre paint across the cream walls, and the man I now hated stared in bewildered shock; he knelt on the floor and vomited, casting aside the Glock. Straight alcohol came up in bilious streams, followed by piercing screams. His mind unraveled and ripped apart at the seams.
The police sirens wailed down the street. I stood there, invisible, as state troopers pounded on a heavily-locked door that swung open, opened by a unseen hand. They found a blood-soaked drunken man, babbling and shouting words they could not understand, and a grisly scene that was horribly indescribable. A woman lay, bound to the bed, gone was half of her head, the walls were dripping red. Gashes from the hatchet on the floor, and a Glock told the reason for bullet holes everywhere, even through the adjacent bathroom door. There were unmistakable signs of sexual trauma, a pool of congealed blood smeared her thighs and half the bed; they all momentarily averted their eyes, and turned their heads.
Neighbors stood outside watching; a lady sobbed into her hand, a body bag was wheeled outside, and a still-shrieking man was hauled out. What had happened they just could not understand. Headlines made the local paper: "Violent Murder on Willow Lane, Woman Tortured and Shot Multiple Times, Husband Pleads Insanity." I went along with the ambulance which held my battered body, watched in the coroner's as my body was examined, and a cause of death determined. I stood beside my husband, watching him sweat and shake in the courtroom as his sentence was handed to him: life without parole, in a maximum security mental asylum.
That was a fifty years ago. I've watched many a-change come and go with the times, but what has not changed is the fact that my husband has watched me come and go every day; for I am here with him to stay, and I said that I would be here on his last day. I stood beside the bed and smiled, my half of a face twisted and grotesque, and watched my husband shrink onto his bed into a ball of fear. He knew his time had come, as I bent down over his bed, and laid a cold and lifeless hand over his head. I whispered the words he had once said: "Until death do us part."