It's Secret Subject Swap Day! This month 15 bloggers submitted and were given prompts to interpret in our own style. Today, we are all posting those interpretations simultaneously. At the end of this post you'll find a list of all the participants so be sure to check them all out.
My prompt is: No one knew what lay beneath the....
It was submitted by: http://www.someoneelsesgenius.
Lydia stands over him, shovel in hand and grinning ear to ear. There would be plenty of time for congratulations for a job well done later, though. For now she needs to get to work. She has to be long gone before daylight which only leaves her 3 more hours. 4 tops. She starts on the digging making a mental list as she goes. Everyone saw the together which was what she intended, but she still needs to plant the note (the one that says the two of them ran off together that would give the neighborhood the juicy story it so desperately needed), clean up her kitchen, pack enough to make the story look believable, and disappear. The disappearing was the easy part. She just had to get through the next few hours without fucking up.
Earlier that day Lydia had crossed the well-lit suburban street she had been living on for the past year with her famous seafood casserole in hand. She was wearing her matching pink paisley oven mitts on her hands to shield them from the heat of the deep violet, oval-shaped Le Creuset casserole dish. It’s one of the most expensive pieces she owns and perfect for neighborhood pot luck parties. Likewise, the beige A-line skirt, pale green button-down shirt, and navy cardigan she had on were nondescript and pretty much a standard uniform for the ‘burbs. Altogether, it was a perfect costume for the evening no matter how much she hates the way she looks in these conformative atrocities.
As she deepens the hole she’s digging, she figures she probably looks remarkably better in these paper coveralls that she could ever look in a beige skirt. She laughs to herself and replays the events of the evening as she tends to do when a stint in suburbia is over. She’s a bit of a perfectionist and needs to analyze what she might have gotten wrong, where she can improve on the process.
When she got to Gloria’s house, her hands were otherwise too occupied to be able to reach the doorbell, so she tapped lightly on the door with one knee hoping someone would hear without her having to bang harder. She needed to keep her unassuming, unobtrusive image intact, so kicking the door until one of these pretentious assholes answered her was out of the question.
Gloria’s husband, Bill, answered and offered to take the dish out of her hands.
“Now, Bill, you know if I let you take this and you drop it, you’re going to have to give me a kidney to sell on the black market just to start making things even. “
He laughed heartily never once suspecting she might be serious and held the door open for her as she stepped into the foyer of the house.
“Gloria and the other women are in the dining room setting up the buffet. You sure you don’t want any help with that?”
She smiled and thanked him for the offer then headed towards the dining room, a well-disguised fox among the hens.
The cackling from the henhouse could be heard well before she made it to the dining room and already had a tinge of a slur to it. These particular hens have a penchant for wine—all except Heidi from the end of the street. She isn’t allowed to touch a drop. Heidi doesn’t like to admit in public how much control her husband has over her, but the women talk about it nonstop when she isn’t at their monthly gatherings. Heidi isn’t all that good at hiding truths. Or black eyes. If you happened to take a look at her medical chart as Lydia had done, you’d find that Heidi seems awfully clumsy--always falling down the stairs or running into doors. One time, she even missed a book that her darling husband Lloyd happened to toss to her resulting in quite a nasty split lip.
Lloyd is an alcoholic or at least he was. No one knew this in the neighborhood besides his wife and now Lydia. Not really. They had some suspicions, but it wouldn’t matter if they did know…the only thing they’d ever do about it is gossip anyway.
Lydia had put her most charming smile on her face as she made the right turn into the dining room from the hallway, “well, hello, lovelies!”
“Lyd!” the raucous and muddled voices of the women in her neighborhood had replied out of sync and far too loud but warm and inviting all the same.
She can’t help, even as she digs, feeling a little bit of camaraderie with these ladies despite the fact that they remind her far too much of The Stepford Wives. These women aren’t bad people; they just can’t think for themselves. They’ve done what people expected them to do or told them to do all their lives. It’s all they know. So, she doesn’t blame them for not noticing what was painfully obvious about the relationship between Lloyd and Heidi. She didn’t blame them for not doing anything about it. That’s why she was here. People like her were needed to take out the trash. That’s her justification for the last several years of her life anyway.
She set her casserole on the buffet and slid her hands out of the mitts. Her smile never wavered as she took the lid off the dish and deposited both the mitts and it onto the bar separating the kitchen and dining room--the parking lot for such things at these neighborhood gatherings. She had barely set them in place before Gloria was shoving a glass of wine in her direction. It took her all night long to finish that one glass, but she did it. Before too long, most of the people there were too drunk to notice that she hadn’t poured herself more…except Heidi who was too worried about not pissing off Lloyd to give a damn.
Oh well. That poor woman won’t have to spend her nights walking on eggshells anymore.
The hum of the party buzzed all around her as she sipped her wine and pretended to make rounds. She’s more of a watcher than a mingler when she’s in character, but she always makes sure to smile and nod and pretend to give a shit about the small talk and latest gossip when someone stops her. She’d rather avoid these neighborhood functions altogether, but she has an image to keep up. When she’s living among others, she can’t afford to be the subject of petty gossip because she didn’t show up which assuredly would happen in her absence. It’s what Stepfords do.
Blend. That is the crux to her mission. Fit in. Don’t do anything to stand out or seem suspicious.
No one knew what lay beneath the bland façade. Not this time or any of the other times. And she wants to keep it that way. When she is carrying out one of her hits, she is vanilla, boring, an average stay-at-home divorcee living off every drop of alimony she can squeeze from her dog of an ex-husband as far as anyone else is concerned which is perfect. That’s the way she wants things.
She’s finished with the digging, rolls him into the hole she has created, and begins the process of filling it back up. He groans a little which isn’t a shock to her. She didn’t hit him all that hard with the oversized pepper mill that lived on her countertop. The 32 inch tall piece made of beechwood and stainless steel had weight to it and with the calculated arc of her swing, she probably knocked him with the first blow to the temple, but she hadn’t kill him. Yet. She liked it better this way. He’d spent his entire life making other people suffer. It was his turn now . It was just unfortunate to her that said suffering would be so short-lived.
She had actually tried to take the prolonged route in the beginning of all this…her 3rd hit. She couldn’t stomach torture, though. It didn’t make her feel like she was turning the tables on these men that way…it felt like she had become them, like she’d become her own monster of ex—the real one, not the story she created. She didn’t want to be one of the Lloyds of the world. She wanted to eradicate them. It was one thing to take out the trash but something else entirely to be the trash.
She begins to toss the dirt on top of him. Shovelful after shovelful thumps onto his chest and spreads out filling the thin but fairly deep death chamber she had just finished digging. In a way she hopes he wakes up long enough to know what’s going on. It was all too easy to get him to her house-- to seduce him in her stupid navy cardigan of all things--for her to have much sympathy for the man. She had winked at him across the room and suddenly there he was hovering over her. She had laughed at his idiotic jokes even the racist ones while her internal rage grew to epic proportions. The two of them had spent half the party seemingly enthralled in conversation, flirting, and touching like no one else was in the room. When she told him she was headed home and that he should stop by for one more drink, he was chomping at the bit.
In a flash, he had instructed Heidi to go home without giving her so much as a hint of an explanation for why he wasn’t going with her. He didn’t have to and he knew it. Heidi was that beaten down, that worn. Maybe she even thought herself lucky that she wouldn’t have to deal with him for awhile. The number of drinks he had at the party was one ingredient of a perfect storm that would probably end with Heidi back in the hospital for one of her numerous accidents.
With Heidi out of sight, Lloyd hadn’t even bothered to cover his tracks. He had brazenly followed her right out of Gloria’s door and across the street, and when she paused to unluck her door, he had the gall to run his hands down her back to give her ass a good squeeze. He had whispered something in her ear at that moment, the stink of the booze on his breath hanging heavy in the air like a rain cloud. She was far too livid by then to really pay attention to the words, but she had gotten the gist of it.
When she finally had the door open, his hands were all over her, exploring and pulling at her clothes. One of the buttons on her shirt popped and plummeted to the floor. She pushed him away a little then moved towards the kitchen, “follow me if you want that drink, big boy.”
She had been at the counter making their drinks when he rubbed against her, spun her around, and leaned in for a kiss. That had been her cue—she grabbed the peppermill while he was otherwise preoccupied and cracked him in the right temple. Once, twice, and a third time after he crumpled to the floor for good measure.
The dirt is piling higher and higher now. His body is mostly covered. He has to be feeling the weight of it by now, but he hasn’t really come to yet. Fuck, she thinks. I’ve left my Le Creuset at Gloria’s. Well, forget it now. There’s no going back for that thing at this point. It had been with her for years making rounds at neighborhood functions for the better part of a decade. She screwed up. How could she have forgotten something that was such a staple to the image she needed to create? She’d have to spring for a new one before she moved on to the next place, the next hospital she volunteered at, the next hit.
But, first, she was going to have to take a few days to rest—once she got where she was going, of course. These late night trips into the woods dragging bodies and digging were hell on her body.
She pats down the last shovelful of dirt then. The job is done. She takes a few handfuls of forest
With that done, she heads back to Lydia’s house one last time to clean and throw some things in the few pieces of Vera Bradley luggage she had managed to collect over the years as part of the image. Tomorrow, she’d be someone else, somewhere else, but she would be damned if she’d be wearing that godawful beige skirt again anytime soon.
A little dark, but the prompt and the last few episodes of The Walking Dead inspired it. Carol would be an excellent Lydia, don't you think? Anyway, hope you enjoyed. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers below. Happy Reading :)
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
com Baking In A Tornado
blogspot.com The Bergham’s Life Chronicles
blogspot.com Spatulas on Parade
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy
blogspot.com More Than Cheese and Beer
com Southern Belle Charm
blogspot.ch Confessions of a part-time working mom
The Lieber Family
com Someone Else’s Genius
blogspot.com/ Stacy Sews and Schools
com/ Sp arkly Poetic Weirdo
blogspot.com Searching for Sanity
blogspot.com Silence of the Mom