Run. I had to run. If I stopped, even for a second, Erika would find me and that would be the end of me. I couldn’t allow it; I didn’t want to die. Especially at the hands of my wife.
The apartment was pitch black, the only source of light coming from the full, bright moon. I could hear only my heavy breathing and the sound of my footsteps, and farther away, high heels clicking against the floor. Coming closer and closer to me.
Logically, I should have been able to outrun Erika from the start; I had longer legs and unlike her, was wearing flat shoes. But the fact that I had a bullet in my clavicle and it was bleeding so badly meant I was leaving a trace on the floor.
That bitch. That psychopath that I called my wife had shot me—her beloved husband—out of nowhere. I had just arrived at our loft after a hard day of work—and other things—and was relaxing in the living room, drinking a beer and waiting for Erika to cook dinner when she came to me, still in her work clothes with a gun in her hand. At first, I thought maybe she wanted to try something new and exciting, something kinky, so I smiled at her and loosened up my tie. Oh, how wrong I was.
“I’m so done, Adrian,” she said, and aimed the firearm at me.
BOOM. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor, my left arm hurting like a bitch, and my new Armani suit slowly getting soaked with blood. I got up, trying to stop the blood flow with my right hand.
“I’m going to give you three seconds before I shoot again, this time at your gut. I suggest you run,” she announced, in a voice I had never heard her use before. It was like she was a completely different person.
Still, I did as she told me to and sprinted down the hallway. That’s when every single light went off; Erika must have switched off the power. I ran as fast as I could while throwing furniture to the floor to slow my wife down. But I knew it was hopeless. I was wounded and she had a gun. It was not a fair fight, at all.
I was so focused on getting away from Erika, I didn’t even realize where I was going. Too late I noticed I had arrived at the maid’s bedroom. I closed the door and studied the room I was in; there were a tiny nightstand and a bed. That was it. No window to climb out of, or somewhere to hide. I was about to flee the room when the sound of the high heels grew louder. I took an ornament from the stand, something that looked like a gray, shimmery rock. I knew it wasn’t going to help much against a gun, but at least, it was something. Not that there was any possibility of walking away from this alive.
There was no escaping now.
I was trapped.
The door knob started twisting and I murmured a curse to myself; I should have locked the door. Erika entered the room, her Barbie-blonde hair in a perfect ponytail and her bright pink heels without even a tiny scratch on them. The gun in her hand and the crazy glimmer in her hazel eyes looked completely out of place. She had always been the perfect trophy wife, someone I presented proudly to my colleagues at office dinners; it was so surreal seeing this part of her.
“I’m guessing you were never too great at hide and seek,” she said, with a half-smile on her face. She was mocking me, waiting for me to reply the same way. Unfortunately for her, I wasn’t feeling like playing at the moment.
“Why are you doing this to me, you psychotic bitch?” I exclaimed. “What have I ever done to you?”
“What have you done to me, Adrian?” she asked sarcastically and gave me a dry laugh. “Let me help you with your memory. Why don’t we start with the fact that you have fucked every single living female you know? You have cheated on me more times than I can remember. Your secretary, your gym coach, my own cousin! And everyone knows! People laugh when they see me!”
“You cheated on me too!” I accused her. “With that guy from your office.”
“And what did you do when you found out? You got completely drunk. And then you hit me until you passed out! You are the most despicable, hypocritical, cruel person I’ve ever met. You deserve to pay for everything you’ve done.”
“With death?! You’re fucking mad! This is murder; you’ll go to jail for this.”
“As long as you pay, I don’t care,” Erika looked at me, her eyes reflecting both anger and amusement. She, then, said softly, “Any last words, my dear husband?”
“No words. Just a request.” She raised one eyebrow at me but didn’t say a word. “I want one last kiss. If you’ll kill me, at least, let the last thing I taste be something sweet.”
She studied me for a second like she was trying to figure out if I had ulterior motives for asking what I asked. Apparently, I looked innocent enough, because she walked to me, so our faces were only inches away. Erika placed the gun to my temple.
“Kiss me, Adrian. Kiss me like you kissed every single one of your lovers. Everyone but me,” she murmured.
I looked at her mouth, painted a light shade of pink. I leaned in and our lips met. The kiss was hungry, passionate even, a kiss that, in other circumstances, could have lead to hours in bed. But Erika’s finger never left the trigger and my eyes stayed wide open.
I briefly gazed the rock I had taken before. It was pretty heavy, but was it enough to knock Erika unconscious? I couldn’t tell for sure but it was my only chance. Without thinking, I hit her with it in the head, with all the strength I could gather. She didn’t pass out like I expected but she did stumble a little bit. And that was all I needed.
Due to the knock, for a split second, she lowered her guard, allowing me to steal the gun from her hand. I aimed it at her.
“Looks like the roles are reversed now,” I said to Erika, who was looking at me, shocked. “Any last words, my dear wife?”
I honestly didn’t want to kill her but what choice did I have? If I looked away from her to call the police, she was going to find a way to take the firearm from me and end what she had come for. I had to do it, it was pure self-defense.
“You can’t do this!” she yelled and for the first time that night, her eyes were filled with fear. “I’m going to kill you.”
She lunged forward to catch me—or the gun, I can’t be sure—when I pulled the trigger. The roar of the shot was a million times louder than what I thought it could be. She fell back, her blouse stained with blood.
I’m going to kill you, I thought. What ironic last words.
“And that’s all that happened?” Officer Tobias Rivers asked. He didn’t trust Adrian Markovic one bit. First of all, he was a first-class jerk; an egomaniac ass. He had some tears in his eyes and his hands trembled but Tobias didn’t buy it. Yes, he did have a bullet in his left arm but that could have just been part of his scheme; of his plan to kill his wife. “You don’t remember anything else?”
“I swear,” Adrian answered, raising both of his hands. “It was purely self-defense.”
“Okay, Mr. Markovic. That’s it for today. I’ll let you rest now,” Tobias left the room.
Since Adrian had been shot and needed urgent medical care, the police couldn’t just question him in a room in the police station like it was usually done. They had had to send Tobias to talk to him in Markovic’s own room at the clinic.
Outside waited for him his partner and recent girlfriend, Zoe Benson. She pecked his lips as soon as she saw him exit the room but he didn’t even flinch. His mind was far away, still in the maid’s room of the Markovic’s loft. Tobias’ instincts were practically yelling at him, telling him not to trust this guy. But there was no proof of that, at least none he could see. His story seemed coherent, Erika’s motives reasonable—well, as reasonable as murder can be—and his acting perfect.
“Still don’t believe a word he’s saying?” Zoe asked him.
“I know I must seem insane but, I promise, I know he’s not being sincere. I think he planned everything to make it seem like it was self-defense but, actually, he was the one who wanted to kill his spouse.”
“Are you suggesting he shot himself?” Zoe asked in disbelief.
“I…I don’t know. It could be. He knew that we would never suspect him if he…”
She interrupted him. “You really need to let go. It’s one in the morning and your shift started at eight; you’re tired and you’re seeing things where there aren’t any. I know he’s a piece of shit but that doesn’t mean he’s a liar. Maybe his wife was crazy.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Tobias said with hesitation.
“You know I am,” Zoe hugged his waist. “Let’s just go to your place now so you can rest.”
“That sounds nice. Let’s go,” he agreed but, still he couldn’t stop himself from looking once more at the open door of Adrian’s room.
He was there, lying on the bed with the blue hospital gown on. Some blood was leaking from the bandage in his shoulder. His eyes were closed, but the heart monitor revealed he wasn’t really unconscious.
And he had a smile on his face. A small, smug smile.