Dad arrived at the hospital and anxiously sat with me, asking me dozens of questions in the lobby while Mom underwent more tests.
The blood drained from his face when he saw Misty standing outside. Despite having his heartbeat speed up until it sounded like loud drums, he managed to keep himself calm. And surely he did it brilliantly—I would never, not even in the slightest, have suspected he knew that stranger standing outside.
He told me he needed to make a call to his work before bolting out of the hospital.
He whipped around like a mad person until he spotted Misty. He made sure no one was around, and signaled for her to follow him into the wooded area. Luckily, it was dark enough that no one could see the two of them together. At least that was what he thought.
“What do you think you’re doing exactly?” He whisper-shouted.
“I wanted to see how your wife was doing.”
“Come on! I thought you understood. We had an agreement. We said our goodbyes.” He paced, becoming infuriated. Taking a deep breath to restrain his sanity, he told her, “My daughter saw you.”
“What? What do you mean, ‘So’?”
“Maybe that’s a good thing. She should know the woman you’re in love with.”
He stared at her, doubting his ears. Misty had switched back to being the evil ice queen. Maybe she had dissociative identity disorder.
“You can’t be serious,” Dad replied and his voice shook with unbounded frustration. He was mostly frustrated at himself for letting her fool him repeatedly. “I made it clear that I would not leave or ruin my family.”
A sneer spread across her face, “But you already did.”
He remained silent.
She took his hands into hers, staring deeply into his eyes. “Come on, you don’t love her. She’s a bitch. She keeps you trapped in the shotgun house when she’s a millionaire. If she was gone, you could be with me all the time. And the money is yours. I mean, come on, look at me. Are you seriously choosing her over me?”
He stared at her silently as he momentarily lost the ability to think. Then the doubt lifted and a horrible realization crossed his mind. “No, no, no. It wasn’t you… You couldn’t have…”
The corner of her lips lifted into a subtle smile.
He yanked her hands off him and grabbed the purse off her shoulder before emptying the contents of it. The hundred dollar bills he’d given her scattered like confetti. His eyes froze upon seeing something familiar—the silly potato man magnet from our Idaho trip, a souvenir which he remembered being stuck on the fridge.
He picked it up and shoved it into her face. “Where did you get this?”
“In Idaho. As you can see.”
“You said you’ve never been anywhere.”
“I have. Here and there.”
“You didn’t tell me anything about it when I talked to you about my trip there.”
“Sometimes I forget the memories from my childhood. It was a long time ago.”
“Cut the crap!” He growled through gritted teeth. “Tell me the truth.”
“Fine. It came from your house,” she said. “I took this stupid magnet from your house.” She put her chin up like she couldn’t have been prouder of herself. “So what?”
“Really? You broke into my house and that’s all you have to say?”
“I didn’t steal your wife’s money. I didn’t steal anything except that piece of junk. So what’s your problem?”
“What’s my problem? You broke into my house! Why? How? When? How did you even know where my house was?” He had to gasp for air, as if his respiratory system suddenly ceased to function.
She cast a sneer at him as if this were some kind of a game—and she surely didn’t try to conceal how much she enjoyed it. “I’m pretty good, aren’t I?”
“Answer me,” he glared at her. “Now!”
“There’s nothing so complicated about it. I got your address from your driver’s license and went over there. While you were asleep. Passed out drunk.”
“While I was asleep…? What? W-W-What about the security alarm?” He was losing it.
“Yes, you sleep like a baby,” she tapped the top of his nose, adding, “Maybe even better with a little help from my goodies. Like, say, roofies.”
Dad’s eyes widened in disbelief.
“Alarm,” she continued. “You have the code saved on your phone.”
“What? But my phone’s locked!”
She lifted up his thumb. “Technology’s not always good, is it?”
He felt as if all the blood were being drained out of his body.
So she drugged him to make him pass out for hours, during which time she did whatever she wanted—from pressing his thumb to his phone and reading everything that was on it, to breaking into our house. How stupid could he have been? Why did he trust this woman who was capable of murdering her own lover without any remorse?
Dad just stared at Misty in disbelief, unable to utter a single word.
Why was she doing this?
Well, evidently she was after our money. Or perhaps she was obsessed with Dad for some strange reason.
“Did you poison her…?” He asked.
“You could have killed her. You could have killed my kids.” He murmured, his face steaming with rage.
“Not the kids. I know you love your kids. I made sure to narrow my target exclusively on her. I put some cyanide pills in her prescription bottle. That way, no one else would get to them. See? I’m a good planner. Would you give me some credit for once?”
He glared at her. “My wife has nothing to do with us. Stay away from her! Stay away from my family! If you ever break into my house again, I’ll—”
“You’ll what?” She said, cutting him off. “Call the cops? I don’t think you’d do that. Because you know I’ll expose everything you’ve done. Nobody’s going to believe a fragile, little girl such as myself could kill a big thug like Frank. Same old story and it goes like this—my ex came to our hotel room while we were busy fucking. You got jealous and thought I was still with him, so you killed him. Then you stole your wife’s money to clean up the whole mess. They’ll believe me, not you, and your wife will know how terribly you betrayed her. Not only by fucking someone else, but also stealing from her. She’ll know all that.”
“That’s a damn lie!”
“Does that matter if the police believe it? You’ll be locked up and your wife and the kids will hate you forever.” She moved closer with a devilish smirk on her face. “I know you still love me. I know that deep down, you’d rather be with me. I know how much fun you had fucking me.” She pressed her lips to his while reaching for the zipper on his jeans.
“Stop!” He yelled as he yanked her off. “It’s over! Whatever it was. It’s all over!”
“Fine. Then I’ll start talking,” she snapped before she turned around and began walking away. Looking over her shoulder, she added, “I’ll start with your wife.”
“No!” Dad grabbed her wrist from behind, turning her around forcibly.
“What? Did you change your mind? Are you choosing me now?” She ran her index finger along his chest.
He remained silent. Only his grip was getting harder.
“You’re hurting me. Honey.”
He glared at her as he squeezed her wrist even harder.
She fought against his unrelenting force. “Let go,” then she screamed, “Help!”
He covered her mouth with his other hand.
Her shriek was muffled under his palm. She shifted a bit and sunk her teeth into his palm, hard enough for him to jump back in pain. She slipped away from him and dashed off. “Someone! Help me!” She screamed into the night air, playing the victim.
He tackled her from behind and pressed his palm over her mouth, only this time, much harder, and shoved her to the ground. He got on top of her, holding her down with his other hand and his knee pressing on her. She fought as hard as she could but he was stronger. His hand that was covering her mouth obstructed her breathing when he covered her nose as well. Her eyes widened in disbelief. Her body shook and flopped like a fish caught in a net, but it was all in vain. Her widened eyes began to turn red before her body stopped moving or trying to resist any longer.
Dad jolted, as if he’d just awoken from a bad dream.
He stared down at Misty’s immobilized body for a good minute or two. Then he slowly took his hand off her face. Her eyes were painfully wide and they gazed at him, but saw nothing.
He looked around in the darkness. Conveniently, they were on a cliff. And a river ran down below it. He rushed to gather up all the contents from Misty’s purse that he’d dumped on the ground. He collected the hundred dollar bills and stuffed them into his pocket. There was the memory card on which she copied her phone’s files. He put that in his pocket, also. Her wallet, makeup pouch, comb, and sanitary items were all picked up.
He put the rest of the items back into her purse hurriedly. Spotting a zipped-up pocket inside the purse, he opened it and found some pictures—the same pictures that were missing from our family photo albums. With a trembling hand, he shoved them into his pocket.
His eyes kept whirling like a lunatic’s as he tried to make sure no one had witnessed anything. He dragged her body to the edge of the cliff and stuffed rocks inside her underwear before throwing her corpse into the river. He stuffed rocks inside her purse before dumping it in as well. There was no way the police could link him to her.
He checked his phone and saw a couple of missed calls from me.
He rushed to go back inside, then—
He stopped, paralyzed from head to toe.
Kyle stood before him.
“K-K-K-Kyle…?” He stuttered like a child with a speech impediment. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he also peed in his pants.
Kyle stood motionless without saying a word.
“How… How long have you been standing there?”
Kyle silently picked up the potato man magnet from the ground and held it out to him.