She left the party as the long hand of the clock inched towards twelve and made her way towards the gazebo where she knew he would be, a pair of rings nestling in a heart-shaped cushion on the table before him. The renewal of vows.
She flipped open her phone as it buzzed in her purse, shoulders bunched, then sagged in relief. She strode ahead, her stilettoed legs gleaming in the half-light, as they thrust through the slit in her gown. He would pay for it all tonight—the number of times he’d held their daughter outside the window when she threatened to leave him, for each time he said Sorry I didn’t hear you, say that again, for all the welts on that small defenseless body every time she refused to do his bidding.
He would pay for them all, and then some. Their daughter was now beyond his reach, and of those who lived to obey him, even if he be no more.
Switchblade at the ready, she stepped before him as he stood unmasked, clouded in his cigarette smell. He kneeled to kiss her hand, following a decade-old ritual, Happy Birthday my darling, will you be mine?
I’m yours, her lips answered before she could stop them. Warm blood spattered her gown, scenting the air as he gurgled and fell, clutching at his throat. No more cigarette smells.
Say what, darling? she bent her head a little and smiled, Sorry I couldn’t hear you.
If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year.