My wife strikes a match to light the candles. It flares, flickers, then dies. I hear her nervous laugh, the same sweet giggling snort she gave when I summoned the courage to ask her to the movies.
A second match flares, illuminating her face. Youthful excitement, undiminished by age, sparkles in her eyes. I remember running for the bus in the pouring rain, her laughter as it drove away, and that first kiss.
She touches the flame to the candle’s wick and the rising golden glow shows me the truth. A glisten track of tears runs down her pale cheek. She sees me watching and forces a smile. I do not smile back, and hers falters.
My wife turns away, dabbing her eyes with a napkin before she takes her seat. We look across the table at each other. She has chosen a meat dish, with a blood-red wine.
This is my blood.
My plate contains two small paper cups, blue for starters, red for mains, and my usual bottle of juice with its adapted spout. What harm would red wine do now?
My wife picks at a bread roll.
This is my body.
Except it’s not. Not any more.
Drinking a second glass of wine, she talks about our wedding day and how my dad fell asleep during the speeches.
Then she comes to my side and, as she has so often during the last few years, gives me my medication.
First the blue cup.
Outside, the sun is setting. She sits on the edge of my chair, her head on mine as we watch the sky burn red.
She gives me the contents of the red cup. Tears streak her face.
My eyes close.
I feel her lips on mine as I run through the rain.
Adam Baxter writes under the pseudonym Ash Hartwell. Born in Maine, Adam lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and muse, Nicki. His first novel, Tip of the Iceberg, published by Stitched Smile in 2017, won Best Horror Novel on Critters(.)Org. His second novel, A Cursed Bloodline, should be available from Terror Tract in the Autumn. He has recently completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He is still very much alive and therefore not yet famous. His books are available via Amazon.
You can find out more about him and his work here.
This creative piece was submitted as part of our August and September theme: FREEDOM. If you would like to submit your own creative work to aAh! Magazine, please email aAh.Editor@gmail.com, and be sure to check our latest “Letter from the Editors” to find out next month’s theme.