Categories > Original > Drama1 Reviews
Response to Stephen King's "On Writing" challenge. A man is stalked by his possessive ex-wife.
He had only himself to blame. His fault for not bringing his prescription sunglasses. There was just so much on his mind lately that he forgot the little things. Yeah, it was all too much.
Without even realizing he was doing so, Logan threw a nervous glance about the parking lot. All clear. He pressed the "Lock" button on his key chain and entered the building.
"Daddy!" The voice rang out through the small, toy-cluttered room as the small girl jumped into Logan's arms.
"Hey there, baby," Logan whispered as he patted his daughter's back. "Were you a good girl today?"
Carol the supervisor of the daycare center, nodded. "Oh yes. Nell made lots of new friends today, Mr. James. And she even helped clean up after snack-time."
"Uh-huh," Nell said.
"Really? Well, I hope so. Otherwise I can't let her go to Sally's birthday party this afternoon. She'll have to stay home with nothing to eat but cabbage."
"No!" Nell's eyes nearly popped out of her head at the mention of her most hated food. "I have been good today. I've been really, really good."
Logan laughed and gave Nell's stomach a tickle. "Okay, I believe you. You can go to the party."
"And no cabbage, right?"
Logan and Nell waved Carol and the other children good-bye, then stepped outside. Nell's sad brown eyes looked up at her father as he took another worried glance around the parking lot.
"Daddy, she's not here anymore," Nell said when they got in the car.
"I..." Logan's Adam's apple leaped on his throat. "I know."
"And she can't hurt us anymore, right Daddy?"
"Yes Nell," Logan turned on the car. "She can't hurt us anymore."
As the car left the parking lot and moved out onto the busy street, Logan thought of how desperately he wanted to believe that.
From the moment he first saw Eve Sharp he was in love. She was a beautiful woman with piercing blue eyes, dark brown hair that fell over her shoulders in waves, large, full breasts, and wide hips that swayed whenever she walked. But she wasn't "just a pretty face." Her sharp wit could make the most uptight palace guard laugh and her irresistible charm and flirtatiousness could lure him to bed.
Logan certainly didn't resist her. How could he? Ever since high school Logan bounced from failed relationship to failed relationship, and the last break-up was the worst yet. He didn't know what it was, but he seemed to attract troublesome women like a magnet. Every one of his old girlfriends was moody, spiteful, or just plain cruel. And no matter what, if anything bad happened in the relationship, it was always his fault.
Eve was nothing like that, or so Logan thought. She was the first woman who ever approached him, not the other way around. It was a great feeling and for the first time in his life, a woman made Logan feel special.
Not like the other women. Whenever they consented to a relationship with him it was done in a manner that was almost begrudging. They enjoyed his company, but all seemed to be easily tired of it. It was as if they all said, "I could do far better than a scrawny shmuck like you. Enjoy your good luck, Bucko."
No, Eve was nothing like that. She enjoyed him as much as he enjoyed her. Whenever Logan spoke, she was always completely engrossed in what he had to say. And oh in the bedroom, he couldn't say enough.
For their first few months together, Eve was the kindest person in the world. However, as time went on, Logan discovered that Eve was as volatile as she was charming.
This became clear on one of their dates out to lunch. Eve's BLT arrived, complete with the Mayo she specifically asked to be absent, and Eve went absolutely ballistic. She shot to her feet and screamed at the waitress.
"What the hell is wrong with you? I said 'No Mayo!' Are you deaf or are you just incompetent? Why don't they get us someone who actually knows what they're doing?"
Logan tried to calm Eve down, but that only angered her further.
"Don't you tell me what's going overboard! And don't you dare contradict me in front of other people again. Do you hear me?"
Logan nodded that he heard her, and out of love and exhaustion, didn't dare contradict her again.
But despite Eve's fierceness, Logan still loved Eve with all his heart. Sure, when she was mad, she was mad, but Logan figured that was just something that comes with being the daughter of a general. Mr. Sharp was kind to Logan, but with his family members he could be extremely harsh, sometimes (Logan thought) extremely so. Yes, Eve just picked that up from her father. It didn't really mean anything.
Besides, for the most part, Eve could not have been kinder or more generous. She was constantly buying Logan tickets to the latest baseball game or making him breakfast in bed. Logan often insisted she did too much for him.
"Oh, don't be ridiculous," she cooed. "I think that every woman should take care of her man."
Six months after they first met, Logan asked Eve to marry him. Her reaction was still a joy in his memory. Eve leaped from the chair with an excited squeal, then ran to the phone.
"Dad!" she shouted into it. "I'm getting married. I'm finally getting married!"
Why did he ask her so soon? He didn't really know. He feared being alone all his life, he guessed. Logan was nearing forty-five and his aunt called him on the phone constantly asking, "Are you engaged yet? Are you at least dating?" He wanted to answer "yes" for once.
Also, Eve always pushed Logan to be what she called "committed" in their relationship. Logan tried to prove his commitment to Eve with his own gifts for her, but she was unconvinced more often than not. Eve flew into fits whenever Logan mentioned that he talked to one of his female friends, and glared whenever he so much as glanced in another woman's direction. Logan believed that the marriage would prove to Eve once and for all that she was the only girl for him.
Their marriage started like a fairy tale. Eve's father (who was a millionaire as well as a general) brought them an extravagant wedding in a grand ballroom, as well as a honeymoon cruise in the Bahamas. The wedding was beautiful and the honeymoon passionate. They made love every day, often more than once.
However, a week after the honeymoon, things began to change. Eve was a highly successful stockbroker, and a crash in the market could ruin her day. And if her day was ruined, well...
It was barely anything at first. A scolding after Logan broke a glass, an insult if he changed the channel when she was watching something. Then, Eve's insults became more brutal. She called him a pathetic man. His stupid finger-paints he called "art" would never sell; of course that's why she was earning all the money. He would never amount to anything. No, he'd never be like her father.
Logan thought he could handle it, but then the abuse became physical. Eve was an uncommonly strong woman and when she was mad she was near invincible. It started with slapping, then slamming his face against a door or window. Later, on a few really unlucky occasions, Eve would go so far as to smash a chair over his head.
Sometimes Logan would fight back, but usually he hadn't the strength nor will. He thought of leaving Eve but he just couldn't.
Logan sighed now, remembering how his own father had left his mom when Logan was just a baby. It hurt his mother to the core, and she took her anger out on her son, beating him and yelling at him whenever she was upset. Logan knew he was beaten because she was angry about the divorce, and he swore never to leave his wife. He didn't want to do what his father did to his mother.
As it turned out, he didn't have to leave her. When Eve became pregnant with Nell, all of her anger and viciousness faded away. From that time up to Nell's third birthday were the happiest years of Logan's marriage. He and Eve barely fought, and never with the harshness that pervaded their first months. The old Eve, the funny and caring Eve, was finally back.
But again, it didn't last. After Nell turned three, Eve became not only abusive, but also paranoid. Although Logan rarely left the house (partly because his work as a painter kept him at home, partly because Eve rarely let him go out), Eve became convinced Logan was cheating on her.
The beginning of the end came a few months ago. Logan painted a nearly finished landscape while Nell played in a nearby crib. Suddenly, Eve stormed into the house. She knocked the paintbrush out of Logan's hand and smashed the portrait over his head, ripping it.
"Who is it?" she screamed. "Who is the god damn slut? Tell me, you worthless sack of shit! Tell me or I'll fucking fix you, you hear me?"
As Nell's cry of fear rang out through the room, Logan realized this had to stop. By marrying Eve, he was allowing her to do what his mother did to him. Logan could live with the punishment for Eve, but he couldn't allow his daughter to live through the same.
That night, Logan wrapped little Nell in a blanket, packed his paintings in the back seat of his car and drove to his sister's house. The next morning he filed for divorce.
Unfortunately, the horror was far from over. First came the harassing phone calls and e-mails. Then Eve began to stalk him, showing up where his sister and he worked and shopped. Logan's sister suggested a restraining order. He got one, but it did very little, if anything.
Then one day, in the parking lot where Logan brought most of his art supplies, it happened. Logan had just exited his car when a high-pitched screech rang out through the lot.
Logan heard, rather than saw, Eve's long, black Porsche as it pummeled towards him. He froze, then ran. Too slow. Eve drove up besides him and leaped from the car.
"Argh!" Logan screamed as Eve jumped on him. The back of Logan's head slammed against the hard, black pavement, nearly cracking in the process.
Eve must have realized this. Her long, red fingernails dug into Logan's scalp as the knocked him, again and again against the pavement. Logan tried with all his strength to push her back, but she was far too strong. Her fists pummeled his jaw.
Logan moaned. He coughed up blood. His glasses were broken and he was sure some of his bones were, too. But it still wasn't enough. Eve ripped down Logan's pants, then pulled a red pocketknife out of her jeans. Her mouth curled into an evil leer as she pulled out the smooth, silver blade.
"Wh-Why are you doing this?" Logan stammered.
"Why?" Eve growled. "Why do you think? You left me, you rat bastard. That's why. You're mine, Logan. Do you hear me? Mine! From the first moment I saw you, I knew, no matter what the cost, I had to make you my husband. I tried to give you everything I could.... No, I did give you everything I could. I was a good wife to you, god damn it! And what did you give me in return? You cheated on me. You stole my daughter. You ran away from me."
"But Eve, I always appreciated what you did for me. I loved you, I did! But-"
"But nothing! You left me! You were mine, but you left me anyway, and now motherfucker," Eve raised the blade above her head, "I'm going to do to you what I should have done a long time ago."
Logan closed his eyes and screamed as he waited for the knife. Yet all he heard was a shriek and all he felt was Eve being pulled off him. Two strong arms picked him off the ground.
The cashier at the art shop saw what was happening and called the police. They arrived just in time. Eve was arrested on charges of assault and harassment and found guilty. Shortly after the trial, the law placed her in a correctional facility just outside of town.
Logan sighed with relief as he pulled up to Sally's house and Nell waved him goodbye. She was out of their lives forever. He had to remember that, he told himself. No matter what happened, it was over now. All over.
Some time had passed since Logan first picked up Nell, but the sun was as annoying as ever when he pulled up into the driveway of his sister's house. Oh well, a little sun was the least of his worries.
A smile crossed Logan's lips as he locked the car and walked to the door. His sister was away on a business trip, so he had the house to himself for a few hours.
"Maybe I'll take a nap," he thought. "The game starts in an hour, but I think for now I'll just relax."
Logan fiddled through his keys. When he found the right one, he stepped up to the door.
Something wasn't right.
Logan's eyes scanned his surroundings. Nothing. He listened. Nothing. What could be wrong? Logan didn't know, but he felt something. Something strange...
"It's just nerves," Logan murmured. "Nell said it herself. 'She can't hurt us anymore.' Eve's in prison. I have to keep telling myself that."
Logan did. He told himself that as he walked in the house. He told himself that as he hung up his jacket. He told himself that as he made a pot of coffee. And when he sat down on the easy chair in front of the TV, he finally believed it.
Content, Logan yawned, took a sip of his coffee (black and straight: just how he liked it) and flipped on the TV. None of his favorite shows were on, but he had some time to catch up on the news.
The TV flicked and a teddy bear rolling around in towels was replaced by a short-haired blonde woman with perfectly applied make-up and bleached white teeth.
"Hello, I'm Angela DiYanni with Action News at Three. This morning around eight a.m. at the Summerfield Women's Correctional Facility, three of the prisoners stormed the entrance, killing the guard in the process. Two of the women were captured. However the third prisoner is still at large..."
Logan choked as he turned off the TV, the remote nearly slipping from his sweating palms. He didn't want to believe it. He didn't want it to be true.
But he knew. He knew it because he now realized what had made him so uneasy when he stepped into the house. It wasn't just a feeling; it was a smell.
Calvin Klein's "Obsession."
Eve Sharp's perfume.
Then he heard it. Faint at first, then slowly growing louder. The sound of Eve's footsteps as they descended the stairs.
The smell of her perfume, that smell which used to ignite such passion in Logan, already began to waft into the living room. "Only Eve would make sure she had perfume in prison," Logan thought. He tried to get up, tried to run, but he couldn't move.
He just... couldn't...
The kitchen knife's blade just missed his head as Logan leaped from the chair, tripping over the coffee table. His head whirled around. Eve ripped the blade from the chair and lunged at him again.
This time, Logan wasn't so lucky. Eve knocked against him, pushing Logan out the window and into the backyard. Logan cried out in pain as the glass shattered under his weight and his back slammed against his sister's deck.
Logan looked up as Eve leaped after him, tightened her grip around the knife and thrust it down into his shoulder. The pain ripped through him once. Twice. Three...
No! Logan grasped Eve's hand before she could stab him again and grabbed a nearby flowerpot. The pot made a glorious crash as it shattered against her head.
Using all of his strength, Logan threw Eve off of him and began to run. The wounds from the knife were excruciating, but he didn't care. He had to get away. He couldn't die.
Nell needed him. He couldn't abandon her. He wouldn't be like his father. No matter what the cost, he would not abandon...
All the neighbors would say they heard it. All would say they heard a long, bloodcurdling scream. Then more, one after the other, as if the man was being ripped apart by some sort of animal. Then there was just a long, eerie silence.
But all Logan could hear as the knife plunged into his back again and again was his mother's voice. His mother's voice telling him again and again that he was evil and horrible. You'll never get anywhere in life. You were never good for anything. You call those overblown smudges a career? You're a loser, Logan. You're a worthless loser.
Sometimes when he was bad Logan's mother would lock him in the hall closet. It was dark in there, and all he could see was the thin ray of light from the doorway opening. He would stare at the light for hours as it mocked him. "You're a bad boy, Logan. A bad, bad boy."
It was mocking him now. The sun's light was piercing his eyes as everything went black.
"You're a failure, Logan," said his mother.
"You're a loser," said the mocking light.
Only this time, the voice was not his mother. The voice was not the light.
The voice was Eve.