There’s a Murderer in the House
Written by Nandini Sethi
I have a secret that I don’t know how to break to my sister. If I’m being honest, I’m a little afraid of how she will react because of her history of mental illnesses. One way to look at it is that as her sister, I’m just looking out for her, but others may disagree given the extent of the intensity of this little secret. Here goes: her husband was the one who murdered our little brother.
In my defense, I just got to know a little over a week ago, and I don’t exactly know how one can go upto someone and tell them that they have no idea who they’re married to. I was able to pick up on a few loose strings in his story, and his alibi to the cops was a little sketchy: he claimed to be at a café nearby with a friend, but the said friend had moved cities a few months ago.
There was always something off with him. Maybe it was his cat eyes, sharp and unafraid, following your every move, or maybe it was his clothes, all black and ever so crisp, making me feel like I’m attending a funeral on a normal day out. Sometimes I wonder if this is why my sister fell in love with him: the mysterious aura and sharp jawlines could also be considered attractive rather than intimidating.
It was last Sunday when they invited me over for lunch that I found out. The floors of their apartment were flimsy, and the dining chairs creaked with every breath I took. On the table was my bowl of spaghetti, piping hot and soggy, waiting to be seasoned and eaten. I took to the bread, slicing it with a chunky knife, filling the eeriness of the room with sound of perfectly baked bread, allowing the aroma of oregano and garlic to ventilate the humid room.
I was startled out of my thoughts by the flickering of the lamp in the room. With thunderous footsteps, I saw him walk towards me, and I couldn’t help the nervous tremble of my feet as I watched him. Slowly, as if he were the villain of a horror film, he picked up the bottle of ketchup and squirted all of its crimson red contents over my pasta bowl. His icy smile sent shivers down my spine and the sound of his loud breathing felt like a thousand nails on steel. In a voice no louder than a whisper he spoke, “it was me”, and put forth his hand to touch my shoulder, but I gasped loudly, enough to break him out of his ungodly trance or whatever it was.
As if nothing happened, he thwapped the lamp and once again it shone its golden hues in all its glory. I gulped loudly and turned to look at my sister who wore an expressionless façade throughout the entire encounter. The whole confrontation terrified me, and I announced in a low whisper that I was leaving.
“Already, sister? Won’t you stay for dessert?”
I felt pity. My sister was too innocent to realize her husband was a straight-up psychopath, but the thought frightened me even more because the responsibility of enlightening her fell completely on my shoulders.
“Actually, could I speak to you in private?” I directed the question towards my sister.
Her innocence once again ruined my chance of saving her, “anything you want to say, you can say it here.” She smiled sweetly.
I looked at her husband and he gave me a coy smile too. I stalled, “I just wanted to ask you the recipe for the pasta, it was delicious.” And with a nervous laugh, I ran out of there as fast as I could.
That was a week ago. Now, as I sat alone in my apartment, watching trashy TV and eating popcorn, I opened my phone to a phone call. My mother was frantic over the phone, sobbing and howling, asking me to get to my sister’s house as soon as possible. I pieced together some information through her hysteria and understood that she was in some sort of danger; and the police had just cracked the case: they found out who the real murderer was.
Not giving it a second thought, I grabbed my keys and dashed out the door. I must have broken at least ten laws while driving, but I reached the house in record time. Instantly I knew something was off: the door was flung wide open, and the house was completely engulfed in darkness.
“Hello? Anyone home?” I called out to no one in particular. Out of nowhere the lights turned back on. I crept into the bedroom, looking under the bed, hyper-aware of any jump scares that might happen like they do in movies.
In an underwhelming turn of events, I walked out to the living room again to see him waiting patiently on the couch. I expected to fight, throw a punch or even take out the pocketknife safely tucked in my jeans, but his calmness caught me off guard.
“Where is my sister?” I tried to feign anger and confidence, but a master-mind criminal could surely see through my façade.
“Are you sure you want to be in the same house as a murderer?” A voice called from the kitchen. It was my sister.
I ran to her, almost biting her ear off, “we have to get out of here, it’s not safe!”
“I will explain everything to you later but for now we need to run!”
“What do you want to explain?”
Her lack of fear and anxiety led me to my boiling point. I screamed at her, “Your husband is a murderer!”
She looked me in the eye- calm and unmoving.
“I know”, is all she said.
Confused, I looked at her for a moment. “What? What do you mean you know?”
Suddenly her innocence wasn’t so cute anymore. My trembling hands couldn’t locate the pocketknife soon enough.
“I know he is a murderer. I was waiting for you to come to me.”
“Just like our brother did,” she added.
All the neighbours were awoken by a piercing scream as the lights went out again.