INBOX by Carla Buckley – 25th March 2013


                      “Expecting a call?” I gloated, as he took his phone with him to the toilet. Grunting a response, he locked the door behind him. I placed my head against the door where I heard the frantic beeping of the phone’s keys as he punched at them. Then, flush, the chain distracted me. Out he charged causing me to fall against him as he pushed passed.
                    “I didn’t do anything wrong, it was you. All you! You thought I was stupid.” I howled as he turned away without saying another word. The front door slammed hard; another argument had ended with a slam. I heard Alan’s car speed down the drive.
An hour had passed; bored, I ambled over to the computer ready for a day of surfing the net. Ping, a little envelope appeared in the corner of the screen. Ignoring it I grabbed an apple and bit a large chunk. Ping, another one. Ping again and again and then again. I opened my e-mail. Strange, there had been several pings but there was only one mail. Staring, I could see it was from the mysterious S. He only ever addressed her by S. She was S in his phone, S in his e-mails and S constantly in my thoughts. With trembling hands, I opened the mail.

Annie, Those things hurt. I know you’re hurt, but I have lost something too. More than you, I loved him in a way that you never could; and him me. But he still chose you. S

                 Closing the e-mail I grinned as I bit again to reveal the apple’s core and pips before discarding the rest into the bin.
                There had been no love for at least seven years. Even then it wasn’t that good. A drunken few weeks had led to moving in, then to marriage, then to mutual dependency. Both lonely, we made the vows and aimed to never be lonely again. But the loneliness of being two that ensued thereafter was far deeper than the loneliness of one. “You can’t leave me, you need me. I know things about you that no-one else does,” I reminded him and he dutifully stayed.
               After all, I couldn’t let him go, he was mine. After not leaving the house for years, I depended on him; he sympathised with my pain and jumped to my whims; following his vows to the book. I hadn’t told him that I had started going out, in fact I had been fine for ages; the new tablets had really controlled my anxiety. Life couldn’t be better.
Alan would be back later, probably angry if he managed to speak to S. Did I care? No, he never did have a backbone, one of those people who cares too much. He needs me. He needs validation and it is my duty not to allow S to do anymore validating.
              Now I had caught him, he would be angry for a few days; same pattern as before. But then he would be so burdened by the guilt he would forgive me – after all it was him who strayed, him who lied and deceived and I had caught him.
             “Our relationship is not based on love” I would explain, “It’s more. It is a vow so deep; based on your secrets that tie you to me for eternity. I know what happened. That is more than love.”
             “It’s all my fault – I have to live with it” you would cry as I held you in my arms and convinced you that confession was not the way to go.
              And I would gently reply, “It’s me and you now, we have to live with it.” Then you would recall what happened in your past, the shame – oh the shame you felt. “Not your fault – but it’s us that will have to live with it if it comes out. Us; not just you anymore, but us.” I would never let him tell, he would never tell. That’s why S had no place in our lives.
Ping, then ping and more pings. I looked, once again only one mail.

Annie, .                I          hurt                                                                                            More than you,           I loved him in a way that you never could.                    And him me,                      S

                 What game was this S playing? The same message with missing words. It was pathetic. I deleted it. S would soon be gone, the same as J and P and the other one before them. What was I not giving him that he was seeking so actively elsewhere? Take away love; that was never part of it. Ping, ping, another e-mail.

Annie,                                                                                                                                 More than you,                                                                         could.                                                                 S

                I hit the reply tab. S was going to get it now; but the page, it would not appear. As I clicked frantically, the command did not transpire. It remained static as if laughing at me. Who was this S and what had they done to my computer? I began to sweat, my cheeks flushed as I hit all the keys with my hands. “He’s my bloody Husband, who the hell do you think is to blame in all this?” I shouted. It pinged again, just once this time.

Annie, you,                                                                                                                                                    S

                 My heart beat rapidly and my chest tightened. Blood pumped loudly through my head and saliva built up in my mouth. Feeling sick I tried to breathe deeply but this caused me to hyperventilate. A creeping heat was working its way up from my chest to my neck and then finally my face. I hadn’t suffered a panic attack for years. I grabbed the paper bag from my pocket that Alan had always made me keep on me and began to breathe into it.
               The door banged loudly. I continued to breathe into the bag as I had done so many times before. In, out, in, out, in, out. I had to answer the door. Still red and flustered, I staggered across the lounge and fumbled clumsily with the catch.
               “Mrs. Simpson?” it was two policewomen.
               “Yes” I replied with a forced smile. I hoped that they hadn’t noticed how red I looked or how shaken I seemed.
               “May we come in?” I let them in. They followed me to the lounge and we all sat. The shorter one looked at me for a few moments and shuffled in her set.
              “What have you come for?” I asked.
              “I’m really sorry to tell you that we’ve found your Husbands car in the river.” She answered.
              “Was…” I stammered. “I mean he wasn’t in it, was he?”
              “I’m so sorry Mrs. Simpson. Can we call anyone to be with you?”
              “No” I yelled, crying hard and loud. I cried like the breath had been yanked out of my body, I cried relentlessly; uncontrollably. The short police officer came and sat next to me and offered me a tissue. Shaking I took it. They spoke; I didn’t listen, the next few minutes passed in a blur. Thoughts swam through my head. Why would he do such a thing? It was only a little argument, one we had been through so many times before. Yes, he left angry but no angrier than the other times.
               The short officer’s radio cracked and she went in the kitchen. “Excuse me a moment” the other officer said as she followed her. Why had they left the room? I stood and listened to them from behind the door. Some mention of a Simon found dead this morning, dead at least sixteen hours, overdose. All hushed whispers, not for my ears.
              “It’s not the right time to ask her about this Simon, we need to find out more first” the officer whispered to the other one. I heard them walk and I sat quickly back on the settee.
              “S, Simon” I whispered under my breath.
              “I loved him in a way that you never could” those words from S ran through my head.
               I then recalled my e-mail that I had sent late last night:

S- or whoever you are. I will never let Alan go. He is mine. You won’t be the first, you won’t be the last – you are nothing to him, nothing! What a shame for you, you think you’re special. I bet you don’t know about his past, do you? Not like me. We have more than love. He has me and I have him forever. He will not be meeting you again; I will make sure of it”

                And I was sure then he never would. The shame I had reminded Alan of everyday made sure of that the other times. His secrets were for me and me alone. I knew what was best for him and it was to not tell any one else. I reminded him that he was tainted and no-one could ever want him, only me. And I had him until the end, till death us do part.
              Minutes passed in a blur. “Are you sure we can’t call anyone?” the officer asked.
              “No, I just need to be alone” I replied as I looked at my feet trying to control the next stream of tears.
             “Alright, if you need anything call this number and ask for me. We’ll be in touch about the identification. Once again, we’re very sorry about what’s happened” she said as they left.
            Their car pulled away, I watched it through the net curtain as it turned left off my drive and onto the main road. I ran back to my computer to re-look at all the e-mails. No sign of them; gone. We’re they real or was my anxiety coming back? I went into my outbox; the computer seemed to be working now. There was no e-mail. Had I even sent the e-mail last night? No trace what-so-ever. No ‘in’ mail, no ‘out’ mail. I fell to the floor and wept for what seemed like ages. Then I looked again, still no e-mails. Confused, I sat and rocked my body gently. All day I sat. Night fell and I still sat. The room was now dark, all but the light emitting from the computer screen.
             Ping, ping, ping, ping. It continued. I fell to the floor and cowered to the side of the desk. Heart beating fast I inhaled deeply. Ping, it continued. What was happening to me?  There had been no e-mails, nothing at all and Alan was gone. Tears began to fall again, partly self pity, partly grief. The pinging continued but it was now much louder, the sound boomed through the room forcing me to cover my ears with my hands and cower on the floor against the settee. Ping, pig, ping. Then suddenly the screen went blank and left me sat there in darkness. I moved my hands from my ears and sat upright. Silence, I could hear nothing. I couldn’t even hear the traffic coming and going on the main road. Then the screen lit up. It’s presence so loud it filled my head. One message sat in my inbox. I could see the envelope. Tempting me; calling me. I stumbled as I stood and with trembling fingers I clicked on the message.

S-                                                  let Alan go. He is

                special. I                   know about his past .                          We have                     

            love. He has me                                 forever. He will not be meeting you again

                Ping, ping, the screen lit up; not again. “No” I cried as I smashed the key board on to the desk and threw the monitor onto the floor. Lost and defeated. I couldn’t keep him; all I ever wanted was to keep him forever. He was mine, he took his vows, I needed him, how dare he? A question I could never answer. I looked back at the computer monitor. Its power lead ripped out of the wall; the screen cracked across the middle but the light still remained. I clicked on the mouse that wasn’t pugged in and opened my e-mail.

S –                                                       Alan


PS –He says bye.

                 Then the light disappeared and the room went dark. It was me alone. Lonely and in the dark as it always had been. Maybe Alan had been lonely, alone and in the dark too. Maybe the darkness had drowned him, maybe that darkness was me. The answer I would never know. I curled up in a little ball and wept.

The End.

Check out my YA supernatural novel Flame.

Flame by Carla Kovach.

Suitable for young adults and adults who enjoy young adult literature.

Fifteen year old Sophie is a lonely girl whose father died. A lonely girl whose mother cares more about drinking than she does about Sophie. Tormented by dreams of her Father Ben’s tragic death, a ghostly boy and a blue door; she dreams of another world residing behind that blue door. At a new school, where she’s not popular with the teachers or the other pupils, Sophie meets Leila who suffers the taunts of the school bullies. Together they develop a close friendship, bonded by their unpopularity and unhappy home lives.

Spending time walking across Mill Fields to avoid going back to their miserable homes, Sophie leads Leila to an old derelict house ‘Sunflower Cottage.’ The house inspires much curiosity in the girls and promises to be a safe haven from their everyday lives. After a bad few days at home the girls decide to return to the house, not as curious visitors but as runaways. To Sophie’s surprise they find the blue door which draws them into a dangerous world with no obvious way of return; where danger resides in the house’s very foundations.

About Carla

Welcome to my blog! I’m the author of the DI Gina Harte Series, first book is called The Next Girl. I love and live for writing and reading (and sketching - haha). My other passion is filmmaking. My feature film 'Penny for the Guy' is a work in progress. If you enjoy a bit of horror, look out for it in the future. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Feel free to join me on other platforms. I blog about many random things but books, travel and art are my favourites.
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