Welcome to the Call Me MAYbe Flash Fiction Challenge!!
All stories begin with "The phone rang" and are no more than 1,000 words. Deadline to submit is May 31. For full contest rules and prize list, visit this link: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2013/04/next-month-call-me-maybe-flash-fiction.html
#7: Dirk's Ring
The phone rang. The receiver was only inches from her hand, but she'd never reach it.
Clarissa didn't bother to open her eyes to listen to the message on the machine. She couldn't open her eyes. It took too much work.
"Hi, hon, just wanted to let you know I'm working late tonight. I'll grab something to eat on the way home. Save me a kiss."
She tried to chuckle, but could only gurgle.
The knife was so sharp, and the slice had been so quick, she hadn't felt any pain. The blood flowing from her throat had made her too dizzy to stand, though. She'd tried to crawl to the phone, leaving a smear of blood in her wake—her oak floors. Could someone get the stains out? Lord, she loved this house. He'd tossed it to make her death look like a robbery gone bad.
Spots danced under her eyelids. She'd rub her arms, if she could. She was cold. Then something warm pressed against her. Soft fur caressed her skin. Cheesenip's purr rumbled, and she felt something inside her relax. Her orange cat had gotten away. Dirk had tried to catch him. The two of them never got along. That should have told her something right there. Her fingers itched to stroke him, but the spots were beginning to fade. Black seeped to erase them.
Oh, well, she'd known this might happen, hadn't she? Terri, the practical Virgo, had never been fooled by Dirk.
"Don't you think he's a little too perfect?" she'd asked.
Terri had planted a seed of doubt, one that had nagged at Clarissa before, one that she'd stifled. Dirk was so smooth. He always said the right thing, made the right gesture. Was he too good to be true? And then there were the little warning signs. When was she going to make her investments joint? Was her house ever going to be their house? And flashes of anger showed more often when she resisted.
Why had she resisted? Had she always wondered? Did Dirk love her or her money? Would he stick around if she didn't comply?
But they didn't have children. Dirk told her that he wanted to enjoy "couple" time before they had kids. She had no close relatives. Dirk must have decided the courts would award him, her husband, all of her properties, and he darted her looks lately. Looks that said that he thought things weren't quite right between them.
He always could read people well, but he was in for one heck of a surprise. Terri would care for this house—the house that she'd left her in the changes she'd made to her will. And she'd take good care of Cheesenip. She'd promised when Clarissa gave her the envelope with the words scrawled on the front, "In Case of my Death," that spelled out that the police should look closely at her husband. Clarissa had left Terri a chunk of money, so that she and Cheesenip could live in comfort.
And the rest? She'd willed everything else to a program that provided free neutering for stray cats—a catch and release program. If people took in kittens and then tossed them out when they were tired of them, sort of like Dirk collected and killed wives, her money might make a difference.
This time, as the black claimed her, she did smile.
Dirk hated cats.