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"A golddigger gets her comeuppance"

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Carine Blanchard sat quietly in the passenger seat of her new Cadillac. She hadn't said a word the entire ride home from the hospital where her husband, Michael, was staying. As a matter of fact she hadn't said anything since her visit with Michael's doctor about the diagnosis.

Carine checked Michael into the hospital almost a week before for the third time in four months. Lately Michael seemed to be forgetful and would often drop things. He would even get lost when walking around the block and be gone for hours. Several times Carine would have to ask her neighbor to help her look for him; there were even a couple of times when she had to call the police because Michael was no where to be found. The last incident was when he wondered off and was missing for two days. The police finally found him behind a restaurant. He was asleep in the alley and the owner of the establishment had reported him for vagrancy. That was last week; it was also the day that Carine checked him into the hospital.

When Dr. Burke greeted Carine that morning his face was grave and his voice was heavy. "Carine, I'm afraid the news isn't good." Carine felt her world jerk as if someone had slammed on the brakes. "We ran a battery of tests and the results leave no doubt as to the cause of Michael's problems." Dr. Burke paused for a moment to look into Carine's eyes. He instantly regretted it. They were filled with something that he could not quite put his finger on, but it was not the sadness nor the pain that one might expect from someone in her situation. It was hard, almost cold. A shiver ran up the doctor's back before he continued. "I'm sorry, Carine, but your husband has Alzheimer’s. His condition is rapidly progressing and will only get worse. He will need round-the-clock attention to ensure that he doesn't hurt himself and to ensure that he is taken care of physically."

Carine had sat silently through the doctors explanation of her husband's disease, when he finished she asked him if it would be possible for Michael to stay in the hospital until she could make arrangements for his care. Dr. Burke told her that he could stay as long as her insurance would continue to pay his bills. It was then that she decided that Michael would stay until his coverage expired, however, she didn’t mention this to the doctor.

Carine didn't feel up to driving so her sister, Sarah, took the wheel. She had come with Carine to the hospital this time and every time before. Sarah was concerned about how her sister would take the doctor's news. It's a good thing I came, she thought to herself as she looked over at Carine. Carine was completely lost in her own thoughts as she stared out the window, not even seeing the beautiful scenery as it passed by. Sarah couldn't help feeling sorry for her older sister. Carine was too young at the age of twenty-five to be burdened like this. But then what did she expect to happen when she married a man forty years older than her?

There had been a lot of speculation in their family and among their friends as to Carine's motives in marrying a man so much older then her. Because she was so young and beautiful they just couldn’t understand why she would want to tie herself down with a man that obviously would not be able to keep up with her. But Carine surprised them all by being a loving and doting wife. She never went anywhere without Michael except for her charity events later; Michael couldn’t tolerate these functions because he simply wasn’t comfortable in crowds. She had even fired all of his house staff because she felt it was her duty to take care of her husband. She once told Sarah that she did it all to prove to everyone that it wasn't his money that she loved but him. Looking at her now, sitting so quietly next to her with her eyes closed, Sarah was convinced that Carine truly loved Michael. But then she couldn't see the coldness that the doctor had.

* * * * *

For the next six months Carine played the grieving wife role perfectly. She would visit Michael daily until his condition became so bad that he didn't even know she was there. Then she cut her visits down to once or twice a week. Whenever family or friends would come to their home she would cry and tell them how much she missed Michael and how she prays for him every night. Everyone told her that she needed to stay busy, that there was no reason for her to give up her life just because Michael was ill. He would not have wanted that, they would tell her. Carine would always nod in agreement and tell them that they were right that maybe she should take up tennis or something to keep busy.

After Michael had been in the hospital for about three months, Carine started living again. All of her friends and family applauded her decision to stay active. She began taking tennis lessons and art classes. She was even working with her favorite charities again. She managed to stay busy. Especially at night.

Most of the people who knew Carine suspected that she was having an affair. But who could blame her, they would say, after all she was so young.

Carine couldn't have been happier. She had her life back. She didn't have to pretend that she loved the old codger any more. God, how she hated taking care of him and pretending to love him. It was all she could do not to vomit after they would have sex. The only thing that kept her from running from that house forever was the millions that would be hers when the old geezer finally died. When Dr. Burke had told her that Michael was going to be an invalid with no awareness of his surroundings she could have jumped up and yelled hallelujah, but somehow she managed to control herself. Everything was going as planed. Soon Michael would be declared incompetent and she would have complete control of his money.

Three months after her "coming out," Carine was getting ready for her visitor. She had just taken a shower and was slipping into a very flimsy nightie when he walked through the door.

"Hello, Darling," Carine said as she slipped her arms around his neck. "Doctor, I have this terrible aching inside and I was wondering if you could help me with it," she said coyly.

"Carine, I'm not here for that. I'm afraid I have some bad news about Michael," Dr. Burke said, slipping out of her arms.

"Oh, who cares about that old coot!" Carine said frustrated that even as an invalid Michael could manage to spoil her fun.

"You will care about this. Sit down, Carine. I'm afraid that Michael's coverage has expired. His insurance company will no longer cover him."

"So, I'll pay his bills. No problem, no let's get down to business."

"That's not all. The hospital's board of directors has decided that we can no longer keep invalid patients. They say that they use up too much of the hospitals resources. As soon as I heard the news I began calling all the nursing homes in the state. None of them have any openings until someone dies. He'll have to come home, Carine."

Her famous "please don't annoy me with these petty problems" smile slowly faded from her flawless face. It was replaced by a look of total disbelief as a tidal wave of thoughts ran through her head. Several minutes passed before anything was said. Carine paced the room lost in her mixed up thoughts, the good doctor stood passively by the door. Their months together had taught him not to interrupt her when she was trying to think, or rather scheme.

Jefferson Burke was a man of average height with the beginnings of a spare tire forming around his middle. He had never been particularly attractive but as he always pointed out, "I've never sent the girls a-screamin'!" Having been a child prodigy, he had started his career as a doctor when he was only fifteen years old and had grown to be very successful in his field. But now that he was approaching fifty-five he felt that he needed some new spice in his life, a little adventure per se. So when Michael came to him with his plan of---

"Damn it, Jefferson, are you listening to me?" Carine's sharp cat-like tone cut into his thoughts like nails on a chalkboard. He instantly jumped to attention.

"I'm sorry, Dear. What did you say?"

"I said," her voice dripped with barely restrained annoyance, "That if Michael has to come home, he has to come home. I mean, what's the big deal? The man is a vegetable, right? How hard can it be to take care of a human potato? The best part is that we can still carry on our "relationship" without Michael ever being aware of it. After all, he isn't even aware of his own urge to piss, so how will he know that we're in the next room fucking like wild beasts?" Carine's wicked laughter filled the room. A familiar heart-stopping chill ran up the doctor's back. He felt a fury of opposing emotions welling inside of him. On the one hand, he was repulsed by Carine's cold-bloodedness, but on the other hand, he could feel his penis growing with every word she said. Maybe it was the excitement of knowing what he knew.

* * * * *

The next day Dr. Jefferson Burke pulled his car around the circular driveway in front of the Blanchard's lavish home. Only this wasn't a conjugal visit, it was business. The doctor unloaded the electric wheelchair from the trunk of his BMW and brought it around to the passenger side of the car. Michael Blanchard had lost about ten pounds during his stay at the hospital but he still was not a feather-weight. Dr. Burke broke into a light sweat trying to transfer his patient from his car to the wheelchair. After he finally got him strapped in he mumbled, "You could at least help a little, you son-of-a-bitch."

They were halfway to the house when Carine finally appeared in the doorway. She was dressed in a modest black skirt with an ivory colored blouse. She dabbed her eyes with a tissue and called out to her lover, "Oh, please hurry, Dr. Burke. I don't want my Michael to catch a cold," a sad laughter, "Oh, I know that sounds silly but I still worry about him."

By now doctor and patient had reached the house. Dr. Burke looked at Carine and whispered, "Who are you trying to kid, Mrs. Blanchard?"

Not to be undaunted, Carine responded with, "Please take him upstairs to our room. He loved that room so much." Before closing the door Carine gave a quick glance around the yard to see if anyone had seen or heard her fantastic performance. Shit, she thought, not a single fucking person around. Figures.

Once the front door was closed Carine's personality went through a complete metamorphism: she went from being the stricken wife to a flaming Lolita. "Where the hell do you think you're taking him?" The razor-sharp edges in her voice caused the doctor to stop his mission of getting Michael upstairs. Instead he stood straight up almost at attention. He looked like a young boy who had just got caught trying to sneak into the local Boom-boom Room by the preacher's wife. "You cannot really believe that I want that human spud in my bedroom, do you?" Dr. Burke lowered his eyes to the floor, momentarily ashamed.

Ashamed of what, his inner-self screamed back at him. You are a fucking doctor for God's sake! You were only trying to take care of your patient. Is it your fault that bitch is the Ice Queen? Doctor Burke looked up into Carine's eyes, his total disgust of the woman barely disguised. "Then where would you like me to put him?"

"In the garbage for all I care!" Carine snapped.

Burke turned away from his lover before she could read the emotions in his eyes. Shit, the woman may look like a goddess and fucked like a tigress in heat, but she was as cold-hearted as an iceberg in Antarctica! Instead of responding Burke pushed Michael's wheelchair into the guest room on the first floor. He took Michael over to the window and opened the curtains so that he could feel the sunlight on his pale thin face. Then he returned to his car and brought in Michael's suitcase and unpacked it for him. He was about to turn down the bed for his patient when he heard Carine's voice.

"Jefferson, what the hell is taking you so long? Get up here now!" Her wicked voice was coming from upstairs. Burke guessed that she was in her bedroom. Yeah, he thought, she's probably naked and horny as hell from the thought of doing it with me while her husband suffers in the same house.

Burke bent down to his patient's ear and whispered as if he were afraid that the witch upstairs would somehow here him and said, "This isn't fun any more, my friend."

* * * * * *

Michael Blanchard was a very rich man. He wasn't always rich, he grew up in the ghettos of Chicago, one of only a few white children in the neighborhood. His life was hard. His father was a drunk who's idea of prime time entertainment was to beat a different family member every night, and the entire family on Saturday night--Frank Blanchard's Saturday Night Special he would call it. Michael's mother was a simpering wimp that was so terrified of her husband that she would allow her children to be beaten rather than protect them and get beaten herself. Both of his parents were dead; his mother by suicide when he was sixteen and his father shot to death in his bed by an unknown assailant. But not unknown to Michael.

Michael started his own messenger service when he was seventeen and then eventually expanded that to include a temp service agency. By the time he was twenty-five, Michael Blanchard was the youngest millionaire in Chicago. He divided the company into two separate agencies--messenger and temps--and then went nation-wide.

His personal life was never as successful as his businesses, however. When he was thirty he married a young woman by the name of Joanne McCarthy. She was pretty but certainly not glamorous. She didn't need to be, her personality made her more beautiful than any cover girl. They were married only six months when Joanne became pregnant. They were both ecstatic about the impending baby. They spent the first trimester designing the nursery, the second trimester decorating the nursery and the third trimester shopping, attending Lamaze classes, and picking names.

Then it happened.

Joanne went into labor four and a-half weeks early. The doctors tried to stop the labor with medication but it didn't work. After twelve excruciating hours of labor Joanne gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Louisa Marie. She held the baby in her arms and gave her a kiss. Then Joanne died. The labor and delivery had been too much for her.

Two days later Baby Louisa joined her mother. Her lungs were underdeveloped and the doctors simply couldn't save her.

After that Michael went crazy. His whole world had caved in on him in three short days. He no longer cared about his businesses; or for that matter, life. He sold his companies and became a recluse. He seldom left his house except for the rare occasion when he attended a function for a very close friend. That's how he met Carine Shore.

It was fifteen years after the deaths of his wife and child. He was attending a charity fund-raiser for the one cause he believed in--the prevention for premature births. Of course he knew that it was too late to help his wife and daughter, but if he could somehow help stop another husband's pain at losing his family due to early labor and birth then he would do it, even if it meant leaving the sanctity of his mansion.

A mutual acquaintance introduced them during pre-dinner cocktails. Carine was an advertising student at the state university with one semester left before graduating. Michael was struck by her beauty and charm. It had been years since he had noticed any woman and suddenly he found himself unable to take his eyes off this young--very young--college student. His rational mind kept telling him that she was far too young for him but his lonely heart ignored all the warnings. It was love at first sight, at least for Michael. Carine never really loved him, he soon came to realize. She was only interested in his money.

They dated for almost a year and then Michael proposed. Carine accepted and even suggested that they have a prenuptial agreement drawn up to eliminate any doubt from his mind that she only wanted his money. But naturally Michael wouldn't hear of it. He assured her that there was never any doubt in his mind that Carine loved him and didn't care whether he was rich or poor. So they were married on the one year anniversary of their first meeting.

That had been four years ago. Carine was twenty-one and Michael sixty-one. There had been a lot of talk about "the golddigger" and "poor lonely Michael" and how she was after his money and he was blinded from years of being alone. Carine would cry when she had heard these things and Michael would comfort her and assure her that he knew she wasn't a golddigger.

It was just around their third anniversary when Michael began to get suspicious of Carine for the first time. His lawyer had come to him and told him that Carine had offered a substantial bribe to his secretary if she would look at Michael's will and tell her how much she would be inheriting and who else he was leaving his money too. Michael was shocked. He didn't want to believe that Carine, his beautiful loving wife would be interested in his will for any reason other than curiosity, and he told his lawyer exactly that.

"Then why would she offer my secretary a bribe instead of simply asking you, her husband?" Tom Lewis had asked Michael in a too calm of voice.

Michael couldn't answer. He knew why just as much as his lawyer did. But he couldn't bring himself to admit it. But there was always that little seed of doubt ready to grow into the mighty oak of reality at any possible moment. And when that moment finally came, Michael was anything but ready for it.

It was a Wednesday night and Carine was upstairs getting ready to go to her one of her many charity meetings (after two years of her being a recluse with him, he had insisted that she start developing her own interests because he didn’t want her growing resentful). Michael was downstairs reading his favorite author's latest bestseller when he realized that he had forgotten to call his accountant about a tax matter. But when he picked up the phone it wasn't the dialtone that he heard. It was a man's voice. Michael tried to convince himself that it was nothing--probably just one of Carine's charity co-workers confirming something or other for an upcoming fund-raiser.

But the tone of the man's voice told him otherwise.

"So, is it all set?"

"Yes, darling, don't worry." It was Carine's voice. Michael's heart froze--she had called this man "darling." Michael felt himself growing cold from the inside out; it was the same felling he had felt after the deaths of his wife and baby. Carine was continuing. "I'll meet you at the hotel as usual."

The man's voice again. "I can't believe that old codger still believes you're doing charity work!" He laughed. Michael grew colder.

"I know! After all, anybody that really knows me knows that my favorite charity is me!" she laughed. Michael began to freeze over.

"It's a good thing that you married a recluse. It sure has made it easier for us to carry on our relationship during your marriage." Michael was quickly becoming an iceberg, his heart was almost solid ice by now. "You know, when you first came to me with this plan of yours to marry the old man I thought you were crazy. But now I know just how cunning and smart you really are."

Michael was now as cold as the iceberg that sunk the titanic.

He had heard enough. He quietly replaced the phone to its stand and returned to his chair. He couldn't believe it. Everything people had said about Carine was true. Had been true all along. His mind raced with memories that suddenly made sense. Why Carine was always so understanding of his need to avoid society and why she always insisted that he not worry about attending any of her charity functions because of that. And how she had always cried when she knew he had heard a rumor about her being after his money or having an affair. What an actress she had been and what a fool he had been! She should have studied acting instead of accounting in school.

He felt betrayed. Worse, he felt stupid. She had made a fool of him and everyone knew it. But before his mind could take him any further into his cold fury, Carine came downstairs.

She had come to tell him she was leaving. Michael's mind worked fast, probably faster than it ever had before.

"Would you like me to come with you?"

"No, darling, I know how much you hate these things so don't bother yourself with it. You just stay here and enjoy your book." Nothing; she hadn't even batted an eye. The lies had become second nature to her; she was playing the role of the understanding wife as though she had rehearsed the part several times. Which is what she had done, right? Hadn't she played that role for the last three years? And hadn't he always went along with it? So why should she be concerned that he would suddenly interfere with her plans?

But Michael wasn't satisfied. He pressed on. "Oh, it wouldn't be such a bother really. I've been planning on getting out of the house more. And this will give me the first step in doing so."

Michael saw the first flash of concern in Carine's eyes. He had never taken this scene this far before. It had always ended with her reassuring him that he needn't bother himself by coming. She was momentarily stunned. Michael took it even further before she could regain her control of the situation.

"I'll just grab my jacket and we'll go." Michael rose from his chair and went into the foyer to get his coat. As he passed by his wife he saw the confused and scared look in her usually alert eyes. She had no choice; she had to play along whether she liked the sudden rewrites or not. And Michael wanted to see how she would squirm out of this one. I swear to God if she faints from a sudden illness I'll laugh in her face, he thought to himself while closing the door behind them.

Once they were on the freeway she finally made her own rewrite. "Darling, why don't we just skip this meeting. After all this is the first time you have really wanted to get out of the house so I think this calls for a celebration, don't you?" There was no hint of apprehension in her voice, she fully expected him to play along. She must have really believed him a fool if she thought that this was truly a sudden need to rejoin society on his part.

"Actually, sweetheart, I do want to go to the meeting. What charity is this for anyway?" The pregnant pause before her answer was just a little too long, but just long enough for him to realize that he had caught her off-guard again.

"Oh, it's nothing really. Just a local cause. Nothing that would really interest you. So what about that celebration dinner?" Carine was getting anxious.

"Oh, I just might surprise you." In ways your devious little mind never thought of, he thought. But he did agree to dinner and let her off the hook for now. He had something much more unpleasant in mind for her than a panicked confession of an affair. Michael was going to give his beautiful wife exactly what she had coming to her.

The next day Michael went to see his accountant and his lawyer.

* * * * *

Four days had passed since Michael was brought back to his home. And in those four days Michael was ignored, neglected, unfed, and tortured with the sounds of animalistic sex upstairs. The bedroom that he and Carine had shared was directly above the guest room that his wife had insisted on him being left in. Carine was so busy with her affairs--besides the doctor Carine was still carrying on the original affair--that she didn't even notice that while she had never bothered to hire a nurse to care for Michael he somehow was always bathed. If she had noticed then she probably would have figured that the part-time maid had taken it upon herself to care for the vegetable that was once her husband.

On the fifth morning Dr. Burke came into the room to check on Michael. Michael was sitting in front of the window, his bed was neatly made and his hair was still damp from a recent bath. None of this went unnoticed by the doctor.

Burke greeted his patient as he sat down on the window ledge in front of the invalid. "Good morning, Michael." There was no response; Michael's eyes remained fixed on some unknown object beyond the window. This puzzled the doctor. "What? Are you giving me the silent treatment today?" Still nothing from Michael. "Oh! I get it. You aren't going to take any chances. You're afraid that Carine will--"

"That Carine will what?" Jefferson Burke jumped quickly to his feet at the sound of her voice. "That I will what, darling? What do you think that lump of rotting vegetable could possibly fear from me?" She sauntered across the room to stand in front of her husband, who was still fixated on something outside the window.

"Nothing really. I was just assuring Michael that he didn't have to worry, that you would make sure that he was well taken care of," Burke answered his domineering lover nervously.

"You'll do nothing of the sort. First of all, the man is a vegetable, he can't understand a thing you are saying to him. And second of all, even if he does have any fears, I could care less. For the last five years I have pretended to care about his insecurities, fears and about the loss of his family. Boo fucking hoo! And I even endured the sex. Lord, fucking him was like having sex with a bag of hairy marshmallows!" Burke felt pity for Michael. How could she humiliate him this way? Even if he couldn't comprehend what was being said--Burke's line of thought cut itself off. But then he--

"Jefferson, are you listening to me?"

"What? I'm sorry, dear, I was just thinking about a patient of mine." Well, it wasn't exactly a lie, was it?

"Well, I would appreciate it if you would pay attention to me and not think about any awful diseases while you're with me. I was asking you if you had time to go upstairs with me. You know, a nooner?" She slipped her hand between his legs and gave its bulge a gentle squeeze.

Actually that was the last thing that Burke wanted. It was getting harder and harder for him have sex with her. Sure he still found her desirable physically but when he thought about the way she so cold-heartedly referred to her husband, he just couldn't get it to perform to its usual standards. "I'm sorry but I can't. I am due in surgery in less than an hour. I really must return to the hospital." Burke left quickly before Carine could start her whining.

After he had left Carine turned to her husband. He was continuing his watchful vidual of nothing in particular. There were no emotions showing in his eyes, no expression on his face. He reminded her of a wax dummy in a museum. Carine felt only cold resentment towards her husband.

"Why don't you just hurry up and die? Quit dragging out my misery already!" She looked into his eyes--nothing. He continued his blank staring. Carine grew impatient and anger welled up inside of her. She jumped to her feet. "I swear, Michael, you're doing this on purpose, aren't you? You have somehow found a way to make my life as miserable as yours was. If I didn't know better I'd swear that you were faking it. But then there's Jefferson. Maybe you could fool me but I know that you couldn't fool your doctor." Carine was talking more to herself then to her husband. She knelt beside him, placed one hand on his knee, and whispered in her most seductive cat-like voice, "Michael, if you ever loved me please make me happy now. Please make it all end. Just die."

* * * * *

That's when it started. Strange things that had no explanation began to happen in the Blanchard household. Things that were beginning to drive Carine crazy. Whenever she was with Jefferson there would be strange banging sounds coming from different places in the house. Some times the banging would come from the kitchen, other times it would come from the living room, and some times it would come from Michael's room. There were times when Carine would leave off screwing Jefferson and run downstairs to her husband’s room naked as a jay bird only to find him sound asleep in bed. Of course she knew that it was crazy to think that Michael was doing it, could do it for that matter! The man is a vegetable; he's a radish for God's sake! She would constantly remind herself. It was probably just a rat in the wall or something.

But it wasn't just the banging. On the nights when her lover wasn't there she would hear different kinds of noises. Moans, groans, and what sounded like her name. Every night it got worse. The groans became louder, the moans longer, and her name more wicked, almost like a hiss. And it would go on all night.

Her conscious mind was in turmoil with itself. The creative side that let's one's imagination run away with itself kept insisting that it was Michael. Somehow he had fooled the doctors and was really his old self. He was torturing her. But how could that be? Her logical side would always argue. How could he fake all of the test results? And more importantly, why would he fake them? He loved her. He worshipped the ground she walked on. He was so blinded by his love for her that he didn't even know that everything she ever told him was a lie. He didn't know about her lovers. So, why would Michael go through all of the trouble of pretending to have Alzheimer’s?

Carine was lying in her bed arguing the two sides with herself. Her mind was going back over every detail of their relationship. Searching for any clue that Michael had caught on to her. She thought about all of the times she went out on him. Her charity events, the dinners, the meetings.

The meetings!


Before her thoughts could continue on that line, a loud crash came from downstairs. It sounded like breaking glass. A lot of breaking class. Carine grabbed her robe and flew down the stairs. Silence. Dead, cold silence.

Carine looked around. She couldn't see a thing. She couldn't hear a thing. She eased her way over to the light switch, her hands gliding across the wall in search of it. After what seemed like an eternity, she found it and flipped it on. She was momentarily blinded by the sudden bright light. When she was able to focus she turned around. She was facing the living room. She walked slowly towards the entry way. Suddenly she knew what the sound was. The breaking glass--a lot of breaking glass! Her pace quickened but she stopped dead in her tracks when she could see that her fears were confirmed.

Shattered glass was everywhere. Her beautiful blue plush carpet was covered with bright glittering glass. Her beautiful and priceless collection of antique crystal was destroyed. Fury raged inside of her. Michael! He knew how much that collection meant to her! Carine turned and ran to his room. She slammed the door against the wall, hard enough that the doorhandle left a hole the size of a baseball in the wall. The light flooded in the room. He was there, sitting in his wheelchair in front of the window. Exactly where she had last seen him days ago.

Carine went and stood in front of him.

"I don't know how you did it, but I know you did. How could you, you worthless piece of shit?" Smack! Carine brought the back of her perfectly manicured hand across his expressionless face. Michael's head just lobbed to one side, totally lifeless. His face still held no expression. His tongue slipped out of his mouth, drool oozed down his chin. Carine screamed. She ran from the room and upstairs. She locked her bedroom door behind her.

* * * * *

And so it went. The unknown harasser continued his vigilance over Carine. It continued for two weeks until one day it finally stopped. Carine wondered why but didn't question it any further. She was just grateful that it had stopped. And she never went to see her husband again. As far as she was concerned he was exactly where she had left him: in front of his window with his head hanging to one side and his tongue sliding down his chin.

Then, without warning, Carine's world changed forever.

She had just climbed out of the shower when she heard someone in her bedroom. Her heart stopped. She held her breath and tip-toed to the adjoining door. She could hear hushed footsteps on the thick carpet. She could hear heavy breathing coming closer to the door. Carine backed away from the door. Still not daring to breath. Maybe he, it, whatever it was, would go away. Her slow retreat was halted abruptly by the cold wall against her naked back.

Carine could see the doorknob turning. She could hear the breathing. Her heart was in her throat, she couldn't breath now even if she wanted to. The door was being pushed open. Slowly. Inch by inch. It was as if he or it wanted her to die from suspense and fright. Carine was about to scream when she saw a man's shadow on the wall. His head came slowly around the edge of the door. Carine felt the blood rush from her head. The room began to spin around and around and around........

* * * * *

When Carine came to she was lying in her bed. Jefferson Burke was standing over her. A look of concern covering his features.

"Carine, are you all right? What happened? I looked in the bathroom to see if you were there and you fainted dead away. Are you feeling all right?"

Carine felt relief wash over her like a tidal wave. It had only been Jefferson. It wasn't him. Who? Who did she think it was? She didn't know.

"Carine, Darling?"

"What? Oh, I'm sorry Jefferson. I guess I am still a little dizzy. Honestly, I don't know what came over me," she lied. She was embarrassed by her irrationality and didn't want Jefferson to know it. Of course it was Jefferson. Who else would it have been? Michael? She could have laughed at the thought.

"Well, in that case, I guess I'll be going so that you can get some rest."

"Oh, Jefferson, you don't need to go. Please stay." Jefferson turned and looked into her eyes. What he saw there shocked him even more then the first time he looked into her eyes in his office the day he told her about Michael. She needed him, and it seemed with great urgency too. Burke came back to her and laid down next to her. He could already feel himself becoming aroused by her presence.

Soon they were both naked. Sex was always great between them. Carine knew exactly how to please a man. She used it all, her hands, her mouth, everything. She knew no limits. Burke was fighting back an early orgasm as Carine sat on top of him, riding him slow at first and then quickening her speed. Every time she felt him tense she would slow down again to prolong his pleasurable agony.

Carine was just about to let herself climax and allow Jefferson to follow when she looked into the mirror above the bed and saw him. She screamed like a banshee calling her dead home.

It was Michael. He was sitting in his wheel chair at the foot of her bed. Burke looked around her to see what had frightened her. Terror ripped through him, he could feel himself go limp.

"Oh shit! How the hell did he get up here?" Carine continued to scream unable to answer. "Shut up, Carine! You're not helping!"

Michael's wheelchair began to move around to Jefferson's side of the bed. Carine screamed again. Louder, shriller. Jefferson turned to her and told her to shut up. His mind was racing. How did this happen? The plan. That was it. Michael's plan. Oh, God! How could he get so caught up in it that he forgot that Michael was--

His thoughts were cut off as he caught a movement in the corner of his eye. He turned his head just as Michael, now standing, raised his arm above his head. There was a knife in his hand. Dr. Burke looked from the knife into Michael's eyes. There was no expression at all. His face was a void of emotions.

Jefferson started to plead but his words were cut off in his throat as Michael plunged the knife into his chest. Jefferson died before the fifth blow came. But not before Michael whispered to his friend, “You enjoyed her too much, my friend.”

Carine was still screaming. But now she was on the floor. She was crawling backwards across the floor. She stopped when she reached the corner. She curled her legs up around her, hugging them to her chest. Tears streaking down her face. Across the room Michael sat back down in his wheelchair. The chair maneuvered itself around the bed and moved ever so slowly towards the corner where Carine was curled up and crying. The terror grew inside of her as she realized that she was next.

Michael's chair stooped at her feet. The rubber wheels barely scrapping her toes. Carine looked into his eyes. There was nothing, no emotion, no sign that he was even alive inside that body. But in an instant there was a flash of recognition, a minute sign of consciousness in his eyes. It was very brief but Carine was able to put it all together in the few seconds before she lost consciousness--it was all a set up. He faked the illness. Dr. Jefferson Burke was in on it. Yet he couldn't have known it would end like this. One last thought entered her mind, "You bastard," she mumbled.

Then all went black.

* * * * *

When Dr. Burke failed to show up to work for three days, his nurse notified the police. Reluctantly she informed them of her suspicions that he was having an on-going affair with Mrs. Blanchard, the wife of one his critically ill patients. The police went to Carine Blanchard's home to question her about the whereabouts of Dr. Burke. But she was unable to answer their questions. But then they didn't need to ask any. The found the missing doctor.

And then some.

When they didn't receive an answer to their knock, two police officers went around to the back of the house. The back door was unlocked. A horrible order assaulted their senses as they walked into the kitchen. Being experienced officers, they knew immediately what the smell was. They radioed for back-up as they followed the offensive odor to the stairs. They climbed the stairs and saw that the bedroom door was open. They could here the buzzing of flies. Stomach bile threatened to spew from their tightly clenched mouths. The officers covered their mouths and went in. However, nothing that they had ever seen in all of their years on the force could prepare them for what they found.

On the bed, laying in a pool of dried blood was the missing doctor. He was naked; a look of confused horror was frozen on his already decaying face. The buzzing that they had heard was originating from a swarm of flies crawling all over the doctor's genitals. But when the flies were shooed away the officers were horrified to see that the doctor's genitals were severed. Actually, they were completely missing. One of the officers ran to the hall to vomit. He knew he would catch slack for possibly destroying any evidence but he couldn't control it.

The other officer turned towards the corner. There he found Carine. She lay there like a rag doll carelessly thrown into a corner. She arms and legs were thrown out in front of her as limp as a ragdoll’s. Her once beautiful naked body exposed to the sickened eyes of the police. There were no wounds on her. No bruises to indicate an assault resulting in internal injuries which would explain her death.

The police officer walked over and examined her. The look on her face was completely different from that of the doctor's. Hers was a frozen look of realization. It was as though she had one final miraculous thought before she died.

It was then that the officer noticed it. Her face was blue. Her cheeks and neck were swollen. She had choked to death. Ignoring all of the warning signs sounding off in his head, the officers pried her mouth open. What he saw caused him to join his partner out in the hall.

Carine Blanchard had choked to death on her lover's severed genitals.

* * * * *

Within minutes the house was swarming with police investigators, forensics specialists and a few friends of the two victims. Outside, reporters from every local news source covered the lawn. Word had quickly gotten out that a prominent local doctor and his lover, the wealthy Carine Blanchard, had been brutally murdered, obviously while in the act of procreating.

In all of the confusion, it had slipped the attention of the investigators that Michael Blanchard, the invalid husband was supposed to be in the house. It wasn't until Dr. Burke's nurse arrived to identify the bodies that it was finally brought to their attention that he was living in the house.

An officer was immediately sent to Michael's room. Once there he found the wheelchair in front of the window overlooking the backyard. It was tipped over. There was a small pool of dried blood that would later be determined to belong to Michael. But there was no Michael. He was nowhere in the house. After a brief investigation, it was determined that Michael was abducted by the killers and then later killed. His body has never been found.

* * * * *

The even motion of the waves combined with the hot sun and cool rum drink, were working together to loll him to sleep. His mind drifted back through the last year. It had been several months since he had put his plan into motion and two months since the dramatic climax. He smiled to himself at the memory of the end of Carine’s twisted life.

After that night when he had unintentionally overheard his wife and her lover on the phone, things began to click in Michael’s head. Little slips of the tongue by Carine, endless doctor’s appointments without billings, her constant dedication to one charity after another, the time they went to the country club together and the tennis coach had asked him why Carine hadn’t been attending her lessons when she left every Tuesday afternoon for the club. Little things that had always nagged at him but which his naiveté and blinded love for her had denied.

That’s when his little plan came to him. The first step was to visit his lawyer and have his will changed. This was done in secret out of the office so that not even the secretary wouldn’t know. He couldn’t take the chance that his wife would discover that she was removed from his will entirely or else his plan would fail. The next step was to visit his accountant. He had all of his money transferred to an account in the Caman Islands. He had left instructions that Carine’s bills would be paid for one year and then she was to be cut off. He never had any intentions of letting the charade continue for a year but he figured that would take off some suspicion. He had told both his attorney and his lawyer that he was intending to leave the country and Carine. It just seemed like poor luck on his part that Michael was suddenly afflicted with a debilitating disease.

The next step in his plot for revenge was to convince the doctor to help him carry it all out. Carine was uneducated in medical matters and would never be suspicious of his sudden affliction if his doctor explained everything to her. But if he didn’t, if he refused to play along, then the entire gig was up. It wasn’t too difficult to obtain the doctor’s cooperation. Dr. Jefferson Burke had never forgiven himself for not recognizing the signs of early labor in Michael’s wife. He had always blamed himself for the deaths of her and the baby. Michael always knew this and played on the good doctor’s guilt in order to enlist his aid. He instructed the doctor as to what he was to tell Carine. He also asked him to have an affair with his wife in order to keep an eye on her. Given Carine’s history of adulteress affairs, he didn’t figure the doctor would have too much trouble with this. He had told the doctor that he would want him to bear witness at the divorce hearing later. What the doctor didn’t know was that Michael had never forgiven him either. He was also clueless as to the true outcome of the scheme.

His nap was to be short lived as a shadow passed over his face. He opened his heavy lidded eyes and glanced up at his companion. She was wearing the skimpiest of bikinis—it would probably be considered illegal on most public beaches. But then they weren’t on a beach. They were on his personal yacht.

“Darling,” she said in a voice heavy with the local pidgin, “the Captain said that we are ready to sail.”

Michael reached up and grabbed her hand and gently pulled her down on top of him. He had removed he bikini in just a few movements of his hands. God, it felt good to live again, he thought as the Vengeance set sail on the Caribbean Sea.

Written by Celeste
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