Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Ruth Carter would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Happily Ever After

By Ruth Carter All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Horror

Happily Ever After

Thin rays of light penetrate cracks in the shutters, painting stripes on the rough floorboards of my attic room. Dust motes dance drunkenly in the beams, and I don’t like it. When the morning dance starts, they come. I don’t like the dark, either, but they leave me alone then, my single candle burning, burning, burning until it gutters in a pool of molten wax.

The dust motes dance faster and they come: the man with the paper and the ink, the woman with the tray of porridge, tea, and hot water, the black cat with the blank, unwavering stare.

The man slams the paper and ink on the table and looks at the night’s work: three pages. He picks it up, reads it, crushes it in his fist. “Trash,” he says, and throws it on the floor where it joins other crumpled pages.

The woman dumps the tray on the table. She looks at nothing and everything. She trudges around the room, gathering the crumpled wads of paper from the floor. She says nothing.

The man looks at me. “Trash,” he says, and leaves the room. I like it when he leaves; he’s too mean for my small room. Besides, he smells—even above the pong of my chamber pot.

The woman doesn’t look at me. She picks up the chamber pot and, wads bundled in her apron, leaves. She says nothing.

The cat stays. Staring, staring, staring, it says nothing.

I know what I’m supposed to do now: wash, drink, eat. I do all three.

The woman returns with a clean chamber pot. She collects the dishes and leaves the water jug. At the door, she turns and grimaces. “Trash,” she says. I shudder. Those teeth! Black, some missing, others worn to nubs. She leaves.

I listen. She’s gone. I try the doorknob. Locked. It’s always locked, but I always try it.

The cat noses the pile of ragged blankets that comprise my bed. It sits, staring at me, green eyes fixed and accusing. I stare back. It says nothing.

I stare at the blank white paper on the table, at the pen, at the ink. I pick up the pen, dip it in the ink, and write. A word. Two words. Three. That’s what they want, the man, the woman, the cat. They want me to write. They want me to write a story—a story with an ending. They want happily ever after. I write stories. I write stories that intrigue, thrill, horrify, even amuse, but I don’t write stories that end. Stories don’t end. I write the story and then I stop. There’s no happily ever after. There’s no end. Horror succeeds upon horror, time without end, never-ending.

I write some words. I sit a bit. I write some more words. I ball the paper into a wad and throw it on the floor. I sit some more. I fill a page. I fill another page and wad it up. Balls of wadded paper surround my chair. The cat comes over, bats a ball, watches it roll. Bats another and another, watches them roll. I watch them roll. The cat scatters the balls about the room. I stare at the cat, it stares at me. It wants me to write more. I write more. I ball up another page. The cat swats it into the chamber pot. “Trash,” I think.

The woman comes in with soup. It must be noon. The dust motes no longer dance. I see strips of daylight through the chinks of rotting wood, but no dance, no stripes on the floor. Too bad. I miss the dance when it’s gone.

The woman gathers the wads. She sees the wad in the chamber pot and grunts. She picks up the chamber pot and leaves. First time she’s taken the potty out at lunchtime. I’m usually stuck with the stink.

I drink the soup. Vegetables cooked beyond recognition. No meat—just a chicken bone. I spit it out. The cat paws it, sniffs it, stalks away.

The woman returns with the empty pot. It still stinks. “Write,” she says. She leaves with the soup bowl. I go to the door and try the knob. Locked. The cat hoists its back leg toward the rafters and licks the base of its tail.

I write, I sit, I wad. Write, sit, wad. The cat sits, stares, swats. Sits, stares, swats. Alliteration. I write it down. Write, sit, wad. Almost alliteration. Scribble, sit, scrunch. No. Don’t like it. Rhyming alliteration, then. Sit, spit, sh—. I cross it out. He hits me when I swear. Sat, spat, sh—. No. He’ll hit me. Write, wait, wad. It works. I write it down. It’s a story. It’s my story. It’s what I do. Stories come, stories go, but they don’t end. Stories never end.

Supper comes: bread—hard, dry, stale. I eat it. I’m hungry. Always hungry. The cat leaves when the woman comes for the empty plate and I am alone with a candle and more blank, white paper.

I try the doorknob. It turns.

I sit, pick up the pen, dip it, write a word. Two words, thr—

The doorknob turned? The doorknob turned!

It never did that before!

I go to the door and try the knob. It turns. I stand there. It turned. This hasn’t happened before, not since they brought me here, the man, the woman, the cat. I pull. The door opens. I step out into a long, dark corridor. I steal along it, quietly, quietly, quietly. I go down the stairs, one step, two steps, three, more, more, down, down. They’re in the kitchen, the man, the woman, the cat. I hide in a dark corner and watch. They are eating. Meat, sizzling and juicy; potatoes, steaming and fluffy; vegetables glistening with melted butter. My stomach gurgles. The cat is eating. Meat, gravy. A surge of saliva fills my mouth. I’m hungry. Always hungry. I want their food. I want the cat’s food. I want any food.

The man and woman are looking at pages. Crumpled pages, the edges curled and ragged. Pages with my writing on them. Pages I had wadded up and thrown on the floor, now piled on the table.

“Sits, stares, swats,” he reads. “Clever. This one’ll bring in quite a bit.”

She nods and smiles with her ghastly teeth mocking me in my dark corner.

“How many is that now?” he asks.

She goes to a cupboard and brings back a stack of magazines. She counts them. “Ten,” she says.

“Twelve,” he says. “Don’t forget they published two stories in one issue. Twice.”

“Twelve,” she says. “And this will be thirteen. Lucky thirteen.”

They both laugh.

I climb the stairs, back to my room, and close the door. I go to my table and write, sit, wad. No. Write, wait, wad. The candle dies and I go to the blankets on the floor and I sleep. In the morning, the dust motes dance and they come, the man, the woman, the cat. He throws my night’s work (another “clever” story?) on the floor, she gathers the wads. The cat sits, stares. The man and woman leave. I wash, drink, eat. The day continues as all the other days before, except I don’t try the doorknob. I write, I wad, but mostly I wait. The woman brings my supper. More bread. I drag my chair beside the door. I stand on it with the water jug in my hands. I wait. The woman comes back for the empty plate. I hit her over the head with the jug. She falls to the floor and doesn’t move. She might be dead. I move down the corridor quietly, quietly, quietly. Down the stairs. I smell dinner. The cat sits in the kitchen, staring, unblinking. The man smooths out my wads, stacking them. His back is to me. I see a knife on the counter. I pick it up and creep behind him. He hears me and turns just as I lunge. The knife plunges into his belly. He falls to the floor and doesn’t move. He might be dead.

Dinner is on the stove. I stand there, dripping with the man’s blood, and eat from the pots. Meat, potatoes, vegetables. Pie. Pie! I am full, very full. I haven’t been full in a long time. I go to my room and wash. I exchange my blood-drenched clothes with the woman’s. She’s heavy and limp. I wash again. I leave my room, go down the stairs, through the kitchen, and out the door. The cat darts past me and I stagger after it. The food, so much after so little, heaves in my belly, and I lurch from side to side. I spew and fall into the gutter. I don’t move. The cat pads away down the darkened alley and I lie there in my vomit, a story that doesn’t end.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Ruth Carter
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

smile4me: Exciting page turner. I was barely able to put it down to go to bed. I can usually figure out the twists before they are revealed but not this time! Such a thrill to be surprised. I can hardly wait for the follow up!!

JanThompson: This book gives a beautiful description of a country which one rarely gets to see. The contrast between rich and poor is very evident too.The storyline actually sheds a compelling light on why women in certain countries sell themselves just to help their families or even to survive themselves. I ...

Jan Imonti: Loved the story, but didn't like the delivery...had to read this on my computer on line. Wasn't able to download it to my kindle. Excellent story, lots of twists and turns. Fairly quick read. Love the versitility of Mitchell's writing. Keep up with the great mysteries.

C J Lawson: Nicely done. Good story with good characters, as well. I was very entertained by the story line, from beginning to end. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

alias: I loved the reason the two of them got together - it was different and very sweet! The pace of the story was good, the characters were well-drawn, and the plot was not overly complicated. There was some good humor, and Flinn's family was a hoot. There were a couple of doubled words, misspelled wo...

M.L. Bull: Hello, Aalia!Your story compelled the emotional pain and struggle of a teenage girl very well.. The imagery was also convincing and well-written, showing the different personalities of your characters and their actions. However, I do think that many of your sentences are too lengthy and could use...

Jordan Young: *ALERT FOR POSSIBLE SPOILERS* Where to start? I don't know how to sum up this review, this story was absolutely sensational. Brilliant. Flawless. I loved every single bit of this story, it is truly amazing. I read this story in fifteen hours, it is magnificent. I loved everything about it, the p...

Tony Lee: Great ideas. Some mistakes here and there, but not too much to break the immersion :) This was my second book here, and I'm pretty satisfied! Well I can't think of anything else to write so I'm just gonna fill the space up with random words. Magazine holder sidney sheldon first bible shack tom ha...

More Recommendations

Karl12: This is a very unusual sci-fi mystery. I enjoyed the suspense which was present throughout the story. I loved how I never knew what to expect from the characters. This made the story thrilling and made me suspicious of everything and everyone. You have a great style of writing – one which captiva...

lopezmariana97: I loved everything about this book. I read it in a weekend because it was so hard to put down. I real liked that it wasn't a typical demon story and that It didn't involve vampires. I pictured the cast for this book if it ever becomes a movie. 100% love

ChristianHooks: D'graive is the conduit the whoooole time. Can you believe that? DAMN NATURE YOU SCARY! WHAT IN TARNATION

Someone: This was a fun, entertaining read. Although the novel wasn’t stylistically polished, and although the first couple of chapters struggled to hold my attention, the rest of the novel was engaging and beautifully done. You had me fooled until the end. The rest of this review will contain spoilers fo...

kaac127: Personally, I loved this novel so much. You developed characters well, and your plot advancement was at the perfect pace. I've recommended it to several people so far and will continue to recommend it for some time. I want a sequel!!!!