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The Return

It was much more isolated than he'd imagined. He'd pictured the cemetery by a church. Near a town. Near something. Not this - just a cemetery, in a forest, with nothing - and no-one - around.

The darkness didn't help, or the creeping fog. Despite this, and despite the pervasive atmosphere on impeding doom he felt, he quickly found the grave. A shiver ran through him as he read the epitaph. So young.

Though it felt quite macabre to be here - considering the context - he felt calm. Certainly much calmer than he had been when she died. Or rather, when he had killed her.

He leaned over the grave. Then came the thud.

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There were three thuds, each louder than the one before. Despite this, he managed - somehow - to remain calm. But enough was enough and he decided to return to the car, and then on to the house. Their house - their hideaway.

He parked just off the main road, the car hidden by the trees, and walked the rest of the way, as he always had. The walk was familiar and these woods didn't bother him, though as he approached the house the lack of noise started to. No breeze, no rustling, no animals or birds.

He let himself in and immediately felt her presence - he could smell her perfume! How could that be possible, she had been dead for four months and he'd cleaned - well, scrubbed and disinfected - the entire place. Yet there it was. Then as he approached the staircase it started again. Three times. Thud. Thud. Thud.

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It had been an hour at least since the thudding stopped and as he sat in the dark he felt he may sleep. Four months - had it really been that long? He slept - not for long, but he slept, and when he awoke daylight was just breaking. 

He could now see more of the living room. It became clear that someone had been in the house since he had cleaned it. In fact, as it grew lighter, he noticed photographs on the mantel. Not of the two of them, but of strangers. And the room had been repainted.

He rose from the settee and moved to the kitchen. More changes - different plates, a knife block, new cutlery, a big new toaster, something he assumed was a kettle and some equipment he didn't even recognise.  

Then he saw the newspaper - the 1st of November. 

2019. 

44 years to the day since he was last here.

 

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