Jack was just drifting off to sleep when he heard a blood curdling scream through the open bedroom window.
“What the hell….” Was his thought, but that was the standard Jack reaction on unexpected events. He dragged himself out of the sheets and stumbled across to the window and looked out. The water in the swimming pool below was reflecting in the moonlight, but he saw nothing suspicious. Thinking it was another cat fight in the neighbourhood he went back to bed noticing that it was just five minutes after one in the morning. Jack saw his wife Hilda sleeping in her bed. He thought she resembled a sleeping angel, but how looks could betray.
He remembered their wedding day. She swore to be true for ever and never betray him but things had changed. Although he was twenty years older than his wife, his sexual fantasy and longings were still present and he longed to hold his wife in his arms and just make love to her. He reached out in the dark and touched her shoulder and moved his fingertips downwards towards her breasts, but there was no reaction. She just turned over and continued breathing deeply. He decided he was fighting a lost cause and tried to win back his interrupted sleep.
The next morning at breakfast Jack decided to try some conversation with his wife.
“Did you hear that noise in the night? It sounded as if someone was being killed.”
“I must have been sleeping, what was it exactly?”
“It was a loud scream. I thought it might be a cat fight, but saw no movements anywhere when I looked out of the window.”
“Must have been a figment of your imagination Jack. Before I forget, I have to go into town this afternoon to the hairdresser and afterwards I have to see the doctor about the headaches I keep getting. Don’t expect me back until at least seven in the evening” and she carried on eating breakfast, ignoring Jack.
Jack was rich, very rich. He did not have to work; his company existed without his help. The first few months of their marriage were just wonderful. He reflected on how they were one heart and one soul and how he felt at least twenty years younger. He was sure Hilda loved him, but since the last couple of weeks, he was not so sure any more. Her headaches always seem to appear when they went to bed. He now had his doubts about her faithfulness and whether it was him she loved or just his money. He decided to follow her to town. It seemed strange that a doctor’s appointment would keep her until late in the evening.
After dinner she put one of her narrow skirts on and a silk blouse showing as much décolleté as was decent to show, climbed into her car and drove off. This was the signal for Jack. He had told her he would be busy in the garden, but he was waiting in the shed for her departure. The second car was parked in the garage, a Jaguar, so he knew he would be fast enough to catch her up and follow. He was soon on the road and saw her car faintly in the distance. Eventually she arrived in town and parked just in front of the hairdressers.
She entered and Jack decided to have a drink in a near bye café and wait until she appeared again. Two coffees later she made her exit but left her car standing and started walking. Jack followed in the background, when she suddenly stopped. A young man with blond hair was standing next to Hilda. Hilda looked pleased to see him and then it happened. They kissed. Jack thought not just a kiss, something that radiated a feeling of longing, of love, and belonging. The couple walked into a side street, one of those alleys where there was no traffic and half in darkness. Jack followed and standing on the other side of the street he could see what was happening. Their kiss was no longer just a kiss, but something passionate and he could see that his wife’s partner, as well as his wife, wanted more than just a kiss. Jack decided he had seen enough and walked back to his car and drove home.
Hilda only arrived at eight in the evening.
“That was a long appointment at the doctors” Jack said “did he find out what the problem was?”
“It seems it is something to do with my blood pressure and I now have to see him every day to get my blood pressure taken. I am not allowed to do anything that might excite me, so I will just have to take it easy at the moment. Oh and Jack I think it might be a good idea if you go and sleep in the guest room for the time being. The doctor said it is important that I have a complete night’s rest, if you know what I mean.” She emphasized the last words with a biting tone.
“Well if you think so, Hilda. I just want to be sure that you soon recover from those headaches. I will be glad when we get back to a normal routine. I miss you so much.”
Hilda looked at Jack and nodded. “Yes dear, let’s just wait and see what the doctor says.”
Basically Jack was boiling inside. He moved over to the spare bedroom that evening and found it to be a good idea under the circumstances.
That evening Hilda went to bed early, but Jack fell asleep in the armchair in front of the television and only retired around half past twelve. He was just falling asleep when he heard the scream once again. This time it seemed to be louder, outside on the corridor. He once again looked out the window, but saw nothing. He then opened the bedroom door and made a quick examination of the corridor, but all was still. He entered the room that he used to share with his wife, and she was sleeping alone in the bed, breathing regularly. Jack decided to leave her and returned to his own bedroom.
The next day Jack followed Hilda again on her journey to the doctors. This time he saw that she was met by her blond boyfriend at the entrance of a well known town hotel that many couples were known to use for their happy hours. Jack had to really pull himself together that he did not approach his wife with the facts.
The evening came, Hilda arrived home and told Jack she was tired from her visit to the doctor and would retire. Jack just lost his temper.
“Does your doctor have blond hair and do you meet him in front of one of the town’s well known hotels for infidelity before you have your examination?” he asked with a sarcastic tone.
“I don’t know what you mean Jack. You know who my doctor is and he does not have blond hair. He has almost no hair and I certainly would not meet him at a hotel. And now if you would excuse me I am going to bed.”
“Hilda, I followed you yesterday and today and it seems that there was no doctor’s visit. Who is the albino you are meeting. You have a boyfriend it seems.”
“Jack I do not like being followed, but as you seem to know the truth then I will tell you. My friend is not an albino, but a young man who happens to love me. For him I am not just a young thing to show off to his business friends, but something he treasures.”
“I demand that you stop seeing him at once. I can forgive you but I am your husband and you belong to me.”
“Jack I do not belong to anyone, I belong to myself and Peter my friend realizes this. He accepts me for what I am and not just a status symbol to show off to friends; and now just leave me alone, I am tired and want to retire.”
“The lady wants to retire? If you continue this relationship I will divorce you.”
“No Jack, you will not divorce me. Think of the disgrace amongst your rich business friends and I can tell you it would cost you a lot of money to divorce me. I suggest we stay together as up to now, you do your thing and I do mine. Peter can give me a lot more in feelings than you can, for him I am not just a pretty young toy, but a person made out of flesh and blood and he loves me. He is quite happy to see me from time to time and I am sure you will invent some sort of story for your friends. Just tell them I am visiting my mother when they ask questions. They are stupid enough to believe it.”
Jack was completely destroyed by this argument with his wife. He had trusted her and even loved her in his own way, and this was the thanks. Perhaps Jack should not have expected thanks. He went to bed that evening tossing and turning but could not sleep. He now hated his wife, the humiliation he had to put up with; he saw the passionate kiss constantly before his eyes that this Peter person had given to Hilda and the way they stood in a dark alley holding each other. No, this could not be the way to be treated after all he had given Hilda. She could buy everything she wanted; he read the wishes from her lips. Perhaps Jack did not realize that by doing this he could not buy her love.
He knew what must be done. He had never felt so humiliated in his life. He, Jack the factory owner, being pushed over for someone called Peter with blond hair. No, if he could not possess Hilda then Peter was not going to possess her either. He left his bed and walked down the staircase to the kitchen. He was searching for something and found it at last. At five past one in the morning there was a genuine blood curdling scream which really did come from the house, from Hilda’s bedroom. It was the last noise that Hilda heard as Jack plunged a carving knife into her heart.