He hurled the phone against the wall. It had been ringing incessantly for the last five minutes, so he knew it was urgent, but he had checked the phone and it was a withheld number. He presumed it was “him”.
The last twenty minutes were a blur. He had returned home from work early, not feeling well. Surprisingly, his wife’s car was up the driveway. As he opened the front door he saw her up at the top of the stairs, visibly shaken to see him home so early. Then he noticed the suitcase in the hallway, and the letter from her addressed to him on the hall table. He picked it up, looking at her quizzically.
“Don’t open it yet,” Janice had said. “I was hoping not to do it this way, but I have to move quickly. I am very sorry, Tony, but I am leaving you. I’m booked on a flight to Los Angeles tonight. I have to be at the airport in half an hour.”
“What do you mean? You’re leaving me! Why? I don’t understand,” Tony quizzed.
“Well, you must have realised that things haven’t been good between us for the past few months. I’m sorry, but I don’t love you any more and I have met someone else – an American. He’s going back to America, and I’m going with him.”
By this time Tony was up the stairs. “You can’t go. You can’t leave me. Not like this. We can work things out,” he pleaded.
“No we can’t. It’s too late for that now. I’m pregnant, and it is his child.”
Tony was stunned. He sat on the bed with his head in his hands. Janice moved towards him to comfort him but he pushed her away roughly. His head was buzzing. He felt faint as he followed her out of the room. He was not going to let her go. He would bar her way to the front door. He would confiscate her car keys. He tried to push past her as she headed for the stairs, but she was too quick for him and beat him to them. He caught her wrist but she managed to snatch it away. But then, in one horrifying moment, she tripped and was falling headlong down the stairs.
She lay still in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs, blood oozing from her head over the marble floor. Tony rushed down the stairs after her and felt for a pulse, but there was none. Then her phone rang. By the time he found it in her pocket, it had stopped ringing – a withheld number.
Tony was about to dial “999” but then thought how this would look. He needed to do a few things first. It didn’t take long to unpack her suitcase. Janice was only taking a minimum of her things, and they were soon hanging back in her wardrobes, undies back in her drawers, passport back in the filing cabinet, letter burned and ashes disposed of. Janice’s mobile phone, which hadn’t stopped ringing all the time, now lay smashed to bits on the marble floor.
Now for the emergency call. Or was there more he should do first?
A follow up to this story is “The Full Mailbox” for my serial called “The Cottage“.
March 2012 Creative Writing homework from first line prompt.