Where is the damn key? Will Wallace thought to himself as he hoisted his friend Jim's green welcome mat high above his head. He had just jogged from his house to Jim’s. He began shaking the mat around, and the key seemingly fell form nowhere in particular, landing on the concrete step with a ding. Although he was exhausted and sweaty, he was rather excited for the Halo tournament they were scheduled to have in a hour when Jim got off work. Jim had told him to let himself in early, to make sure all the cords and Internet worked. Upon stepping into the house and being harshly battered by the soothing air conditioning, he saw the magnificent Harbis coat of arms. It consisted of a centered golden triangle, with a triangular gap that split the golden one into three congruent pieces. Below that was a red bird, as if you were viewing it from the top as it would fly, also centered perfectly below the triangles. In the birds talons was yet another golden triangle, and it was the exact size of the omission in the large one, almost as if it had been taken out of the middle. Besides the metal border, the background was a brilliant blue. Will had a soft spot for epic shields, and gawked at it for a few minutes before making his way to the living room. After checking the internet connectivity and controller battery levels of the Xbox, he decided to clean the house a little bit. Shortly after finishing the bathroom, he got a call from Jim himself.
“Hey, Will! I take it you’re at my house, since you answered the call, yeah?” Jim said, his voice partially distorted by the phone.
“Well, yeah, I cleaned the bathro-” Will began.
“Well, I’m in a small hurry. You see, I forgot to grab the game from Jack’s house when I was over there last Thursday, so I’ve got to swing by there before I get back.” Jim interrupted.
“Jack? You mean Jack Harkness? The guy from your work who devised a control scheme for piloting a starship?” Will asked, holding back a laugh.
“Yeppers, that’s the one! He’s not too bad to hang around with, if you can get past the starship noises he makes.” Jim said, chuckling softly, followed by an imitation of Jack. “Vssheeeroo!”
“Alright. So I have a bit of time still. You want me to make something to eat?” Will asked, having wandered to the pantry as he conversed.
“Yeah, go ahead. I’m pretty hungry. Make anything you want except the-” Jim started, before a dial tone filled Will’s ears. Note to self. Threaten AT&T at gunpoint to provide better coverage.
Will pondered for a while, trying to imagine what Jim could have been saving. Looking in the freezer, he saw a huge turkey. Here’s the perpetrator, your majesty! He thought humorously. Grabbing the turkey with both hands, he looked it over. Plump. Also frozen. Bleh. Please! Your omnipotence! Have mercy! Will continued, rolling his eyes at himself. He carefully set it back in the freezer and grabbed some lasagna from one of the other freezer shelves. He followed the basic preparation instructions and slid it into the oven. Why am I going through all of this trouble, anyway? He shuddered as a fast recollection went through his mind. Who was he remembering? He stared down at his finger where, nine months prior, a ring had been. He truly had loved her. Reua T’nerb. And so, an internal conflict began.
God, she was beautiful. So why did you screw yourself over so horribly? I didn’t! It’s not like I could help it! These things take time to develop! So letting her find out you were boinking someone else wasn’t screwing yourself over? And a man at that? Who are you trying to convince? Will cringed as he remembered the acidic sting Reua’s nails had left on his face. I swear she soaked them in vinegar... He was sure that many vile terms were verbally applied to him, but he didn’t remember which ones they were. Reua had just ripped up a photo of Travis and him holding hands by a pond. It was all just a blur, and anything he heard was muted except for one thing.
“Daddy, make mommy stop yelling! I’m scared!” his daughter’s voice pierced, resounding above everything else. Oh, how he missed her. Little Agitha Fura Wallace. One thing he loved most about his daughter was her obsession with small, golden bugs. She always tried to collect them, but usually became sidetracked and began to play other things in her roomy backyard. The last day Will had seen Agitha was at court, as his wife provided the judge with substantial reason to divorce him. Yep, Reua had gotten the best thing of all. I haven’t told Jim anything... why not? Time flew for Will, and soon he was taking the lasagna out of the oven, turning his head as he heard a noise from the door.
“I hope you didn’t cook the - oh. I was gonna say not to cook the turkey. Nice!” Jim said as he waltzed through the door, holding his cherished copy of Halo 3 out in front of him. He began snuggling it against his face, making Will laugh.
“Oh, will you stop?” Will hardly managed. “You’re such a dork! Go put it in the room, then get back here and grab a plate!” Jim put the game case sideways in his mouth and clapped his hands, as if he were about to dance. Suddenly, he did a spin, grabbed his crotch (uttering a muffled “Ooh!”) and moonwalked into the living room, earning more laughter from Will, who was clutching his sides. Eventually, Jim made it back into the kitchen, and plopped himself down onto one of the stools that rested in front of the island. He grabbed the fork, licked his lips and took a giant sniff, catching the great aroma of Stouffer’s.
“Now don’t just inhale it, Halo will always be there. Be careful; it’s hot.” Jim said, placing the plate of lasagna in front of his hungry friend.
“Hut!” Jim heaved as he stabbed his lasagna with his fork. The guys ate as much as they could handle, and Will put the remainders of the lasagna into some plastic containers. He turned around and saw Jim’s leg dissapear around the corner, followed by a yell of, “The Banshees will be mine!”
“You cheap bastard! Wait for me!” Will called back as he put the little tubs of food into the fridge and slammed the door shut.
Thirty-seven headshots and twenty-three team kills later, Jim and Will said their goodbyes, and will headed out the door. Such a beautiful night for a walk home... Will thought as he held his hands int he pockets of his tan trenchcoat. ‘Twas a beautiful autumn night, and there was no denying it. As he passed under various streetlights leading back to his house, he took many satisfying sniffs. As he reached his house, he sighed happily. He went to unlock the door, but found it unlocked already. Meh. Must’a been in a helluva hurry... As he entered his foyer, he was reluctant to take his coat off, as it was his favorite, like a child’s safety blanket. He hung it on his coatrack and smiled. I love this coatrack. It’s so sleek... He yawned and stretched, starting to walk into his living room. He reached for the light, and fumbled around before he finally hit it. Will heard and felt a blistering crack and everything went black again.
Blow after blow rattled Will’s head and ribs, and he was crying. Oh, how he cried. Everything was a black confusion. Then he smelled it. Nuit Brillant de Pompadour. He would never forget this perfume; no sir, never. Instantaneously, his mind shot back to the only other time he had been so unlucky to smell the wretched brew. On Reua and his 6th anniversary, (which had been the last before the divorce) Will, at dinner in his home, had presented to her a bottle of Nuit Brilliant de Pompadour. It was a French perfume, and was quite expensive. Normally, he wouldn’t have spent so much money on a mere gift, but Reua had gotten rather... unfriendly over their 6-year marriage. Will had hoped to impress her and make her act less bitter. As Reua had ungratefully opened the small, wrapped box, Will sat nervously, sweating and pulling at his collar.
“What is this garbage?” She asked him in a shockingly hateful tone.
Will was caught off guard. “It’s a-a Fre-French p-p-perfume, and I though you w-would enj-joy it...” he stammered in a manner quite ungraceful.
“Well, you could have done better by not wasting money on this shit!” She screeched, throwing the box to the ground, utterly destroying the fine glass bottle within. She then jumped from the table and sucker-punched poor Will straight in the stomach before walking to her room and slamming the door. Will lay on the floor, gasping for breath, when Agitha wandered out of her room.
“Oh, Daddy, what happened?” she cried, tears welling in her eyes.
“Nothing, sweetie, Daddy just hurt his stomach.” he choked out.
She knelt by her rasping father and kissed his forehead.
“You should be more careful from now on...” she said, allowing her tears to fall. Will looked up and tried to smile.
“You’re right, Agitha. Go on back to sleep, now, alright?” He said, getting to his knees and hugging her.
“I love you, daddy.” she sighed.
“I love you too, little Agitha.” he said, kissing her cheek.
He heard her go up the stairs, and after about three minutes, a music box began to play from Agitha’s room. It was a lullabye, and it was the only one that played that particular song. Will had made the roller himself.
He blacked out once more as he recieved another harsh blow to the cranium. When he awoke, he was lying on his kitchen table, completely stripped of his clothing. His feet and arms were bound behind his back, and then together. The light above the table came on, and he saw Reua standing awkwardly next to the lightswitch; the same one he had trouble locating.
“Well, now...” Reua began, an evil smile spreading across her face. “You’ve met with an unfortunate fate, haven’t you?”
“Reua, what are you doing here? Who’s watching Agitha?” He sputtered, not caring about his nudity in the slightest.
“What am I doing? Nothing much, just... ridding my life of the things that plague me...” she looked thoughtful, but then donned another grotesque grin. “Agitha, eh? Well... have you read the obituaries lately? There was quite a horrible car accident...”
Will’s eyes widened. “No! Reua, no! Tell me she’s alive!” He began to cry.
“Well, I can’t say that. You don’t want me to lie, do you?” She began cackling, as if she had lost her mind.
“You traitorous bitch! Damn you, vile woman!” Will struggled to free himself, but to no avail. Reua had stopped laughing.
“Traitorous? Me? You’re one to talk! Look back at us, married... and all of a sudden I find out that you’ve been sleeping with a MAN?” She produced a meat cleaver from behind her. “It seems that you’ve gotten yourself into some trouble with your... member... wouldn’t you say?” She eyed him carefully.
“N-n-no! You stay away from me with that, dammit!” He screamed.
She grabbed a washrag out of a bucket on the counter. Holding it, she advanced and held it to his face.
“Tell me, dear Will, does this smell like chloroform to you?” she asked him, eerily peaceful as she did so. Once he stopped struggling, she eyed the knife, then his naked lowers. Grabbing said lowers, she raised the knife.
“Think of it as a favor!” she yelled, bringing the knife down.
Author’s Notes: The above story was written as an assessment to Stephen King’s assignment he gave in his book, On Writing. Also, Nuit Brilliant de Pompadour means “Brilliant Night of Pompadour” and I do not believe it is a real perfume.