Lady Macbeth went mad from guilt, but I doubt I would. Beatrix set the book on the nightstand and blew out the candle, not smiling at the space beside her. He was late again, no doubt on one of his flings. At least he wouldn’t bother her tonight.
Beatrix closed her eyes and reminisced her childhood and how she’d dreamt of handsome knights and princes all vying for her love. She’d never imagined herself stuck in a loveless marriage.
Beatrix turned on her side and faced the space in the bed. Lady Macbeth lost her mind because she persuaded her husband to kill the king, but I wish…. She stopped before she finished the thought. It wasn’t the first time she’d stopped herself from wishing awful things on Horace, that disgusting husband her father had chosen for her.
“A daughter’s duty,” he’d said, “you have to fulfill it.”
The age-old reason: money. The haves and have-nots, and Beatrix was born into a family that used to have, until her father gambled it all away. To Horace. He’d gambled her away too; his daughter in a hand of poker.
Now Horace belonged to the haves and flaunted it. He gambled like her father and was a philanderer to boot.
Beatrix wiped away the angry tear that stained her pillow. She shut her eyes tight and waited for sleep…
Beatrix stood outside, the night dark around her and in complete silence. She peeked inside the lighted window.
Horace sat at a card table with a leggy redhead on his knee. Beatrix ran a hand through her raven hair, her breath formed a mist around her, but, to her surprise, it did not steam the pane.
A young man positioned himself at the window facing Beatrix, but seemed not to notice her. He looked straight at her, in her white nightgown, candlelight shining on her, yet he didn’t see. Beatrix locked eyes with him, but he stared ahead into the darkness…
Beatrix held a candle, the embers still warm and red in the chimney. The card table was empty, the room darkened, and the candles blown out save hers. Laughter and moans drifted from the rooms upstairs. The dying light of the fireplace cast her shadow on a wall. It was not her shadow. She stretched her hand out, soft and milky white, yet the shadow hand that mimicked her movement had twisted claws; the hand of a beast.
The shadow climbed the stairs, teeth and horns outlined on the wall. Beatrix followed; her mind and soul still and silent as the darkness. The shadow beast crept into the room where Horace “entertained” the leggy redhead. Beatrix stood at the door, ghostly in her long white nightgown.
The redhead knelt on the bed, her naked back to the door. The shadow beast handed the woman a knife. She raised it; the blade gleamed in the moonlight streaming through the window.
Beatrix counted seven stabs, one for each year of her hellish marriage. Horace groaned and gurgled, caught between pleasure and surprise. His blood stained the crisp white sheets.
The beast gazed at Beatrix, its eyes a cold, gleaming green. She gasped…
Beatrix sat up in her bed, the space still empty beside her. She held her head in her hands, trembling. What a frightful dream!
Dawn cast shadows on her wall, and for a moment, she thought she saw the beast, but it was only a fleeting image, an illusion caused by the silhouette of the bare tree outside her window.
Beatrix laid down and slept again. She awoke to the thunder of insistent knocking. The sun shone bright through the window. Beatrix tied her robe and opened the door.
“Mrs. Snyde,” a young man held his hat in his hands; Beatrix blanched, it was the young man from the window!
“I’m very sorry to say this, but Mr. Snyde passed away.”
Her heartbeat throbbed in her ears; her dream was all too real!
The young man blushed,
“In his sleep.”