Short story: “Haunted”
He opened his eyes and was surprised to see her laying next to him in the bed, face down, with her long brunette hair splayed over her naked back and around her on the white bed sheets.
Her work alarm should have gone off before his. Had she overslept?
Still eyeing her, senses spiked wide open by a hidden fear breaking to the surface, he realised he couldn’t see the rise and fall of her back.
Horror raked paranoid claws deep into his spine.
Now he held his own breath, the bedroom spinning away with the rest of the world as his sole focus was on the love of his life.
He reached out gently with his hand, the cold skin of her shoulder blade barely felt through panic so acute it was like being in the perfectly calm eye of the storm.
His world had fallen.
The million things he needed to do were overridden by this eternal moment, hand resting on death, the cold stillness petrifying him as he lay beside her body.
Shattered, but the pieces still together. Scared to move, as movement would mean stepping forward, over the abyss into Hell.
She moved, barely perceptibly, and coughed gently…
He never did tell her of that morning – as if revealing it would recall the doom from which he had escaped. His silence was his thank you.
But it haunted him every day.