Just Before I'm Gone - One Death and an Appearance

Written By KnighT, Thriller Story

The detective slams his fist on the table.

“Tell me!”

She looks him in the eye, unafraid of consequences.

“I don't know where he is.”

He stands up abruptly.

"How does that even make sense?"

"I don't know, okay? What would you have done if your husband was in love with another woman and she was having his baby?!"

"He...he was in an open relationship?"

She recoils. "What...what kind of detective are you? That's not what I meant! We were talking about me!"

"Then why'd you bring it up?!"

"Because that's what happened to me! And how do I even know this is all real?! Maybe this whole thing is just some nightmare I'm having when what actually happened is that my husband never cheated on me at all! Maybe he's over there right now watching TV or making dinner while at the crazy wife who thought her husband cheated on her with some other woman!"

"If I'm hearing you correctly, that's what your imagination wants to believe, but it's not the truth. So please answer me this question: do you want to know where he is?"

Knowing he asks questions whose answers he already has, she tosses it back at him:

"Do you know where he is?"

"Why not?!" Maybe she isn’t wrong.

"How do you mean why not?"

"If I could figure out the motivation behind your making him disappear–rather than die–what else do you think I wouldn't piece together here?"

She grabbed her forehead with her fingers as though to knead away the nagging headache therein.

"I thought you wanted answers."

"I do. I just don't want them from you."

She flinches again at the harshness of his tone and looks up at him. "Then what should I do?"

"If he's so much in love with this other woman, why did he come back to you after she died giving birth to his baby girl?"

"Wait, what?"

"Let me put it this way: why was he willing to come back when you could've just kept him under lock and key in your basement?"

She's shaking her head, smiling bitterly.

"I'm not in love with him. I don't know if he's in love with me, either."

The detective slams his fist on the table again and stands up abruptly, eliciting a startled reaction from his subject.

"What did I ever do to you?" she moans dramatically.

"You lied to me."

"What do you mean?"

He leans forward, placing his palms on the table and using them as leverage for him to lean over her like he's trying to break into her mind. "When I asked where your husband was, you said 'I don't know!'"

"Well, I didn't know then!"

"Yes you did. And I was just trying to help you find him, even though he didn't want to be found. Even though you're not in love with each other anymore! You can't tell me that wouldn't be a relief for someone who might've cheated on the person they loved so much they were willing to make them disappear!"

She didn't say anything, but her face told him everything he needed to know.

"So what happened? What changed your mind? Why'd you stop doing all this to try and catch up with him again?"

"He's gone now." The detective stands up straight as though he got electrocuted.

"I understand what you're doing. I know it's not my fault he disappeared, but..." she rubs her arms as though she were cold, "But I can't help feeling guilty."

"Why would you feel guilty?!" he exclaims in disbelief. "I thought you didn't even love him anymore!"

"But I do love him! Or at least, in the beginning when I started this whole thing, I did."

He places his hands on his hips and grimaces like he wants to hit something.

"So then what about now? You claim that your husband disappeared, not died. But why are you still feeling guilty?"

"Because...because I think maybe it's my fault he was gone in the first place."

"What?!" He yells, throwing his hands up. "I don't understand! What could you have possibly done to make him do that?!"

She closes her eyes and exhales, as if she was psyching herself up to make a difficult confession. After a moment of silence, she opens them again and looks at him with an expression of wary regret.

"He asked him to make me disappear."

The detective takes several steps back like he was punched in the gut.

"The last thing I remember before he left was a conversation we had over a year ago where I told him that if he ever cheated on me, I would make him disappear."

He can feel himself gulping for air as it escapes his lungs. He isn't sure what to say or how to react or even understand what the hell is going on. "But you said..."

"I know what I said." She interrupts him, her voice level and controlled despite the heat of the emotions she must be feeling.

The detective runs his fingers through his hair in an attempt to calm down. He wasn't expecting this at all; everything was suddenly spinning out of control.

“There is no mistress, is there?” He cannot shake his head, but his eyes told it all. She continues. “much less a child.” All he has for her is a blink.

“And you were the undercover agent I hired via phone who told me he did have a mistress, isn’t it?”

More shocked blinks.

“Call it a woman’s intuition or whatnot but I knew you will appear someday.”

There is only so much being stoic and well-trained can keep one’s facial expression from giving it all away, because not only has everything she figured out stunned him–the next thing she said floored him.

“You are the mistress, aren’t you?”

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