This is an official entry in the 2007 Literotica Halloween Story Contest. The contest runs from Oct 1st -- 22nd. The winners of this contest are decided solely by the votes of you the readers. Please enjoy what follows and then, please, take the time to vote.

Big thanks go to Brett for his editing.

* * *

"Let go of my arm!" Shelly hissed, her pale grey eyes flashing with anger.

"Well quit flirting with all the men and I might think about it!"

Liam knew he was being unreasonable, but his jealousy refused to slink away into a dark corner of his mind.

Several people were staring at them curiously now, but the alcohol he'd consumed threw a blanket over his sense of embarrassment.

"I wasn't flirting you asshole. I was networking! You know damn well my job depends on the contacts I make at these parties."

Shelly sighed heavily and for a second Liam felt the stirrings of regret. Then he recalled the way her hand had been resting on Patrick's thigh as she regaled him with some amusing story and the familiar green-eyed monster leapt out of the closet again.

His fingers tightened on her arm and he heard her wince with pain. "How about fucking them? Does that count as networking in your book?"

As soon as the words left his mouth, Liam knew he had gone too far this time. Her face registered a fleeting hint of hurt and then she slapped him, hard. His cheek stung, the heat rising almost as fast as his temper.

Without pausing to consider the implications of his actions, his fist flew through the air and connected sharply with her jaw. The sound reverberated through the room and for a millisecond they were both stunned into silence. Their arguments had never spilled over into actual physical violence before and they both recognised that this time a line had been crossed; it was a line they couldn't step back from.

Shelly stared at him in shock, tears beginning to streak her thick black mascara.

"I'm sorry..." Liam tried to say as the alcohol-fuelled rage began to diffuse.

"No," Shelly whispered brokenly. "Sorry won't cut it this time. This time you've gone too far."

And he knew she was right. He'd blown it big style. Oh God.

His hand fell away from her arm. With a deepening sense of horror he noticed the bruise beginning to flower on her pale skin. She began to sob quietly and out of the corner of his eye he saw two burly men approaching. Now was perhaps a good time to make a swift exit.

Liam left his girlfriend standing alone in a bleak shadow of bitter regrets as the music continued to play discordantly. Ignoring the looks of disgust from his fellow guests, he staggered out of the front door and into the frigid night air.

Row upon row of cars glistened with frost and for a moment he scanned the assorted vehicles, searching for his run-down estate. His keys jangled comfortingly in his pocket and he ignored the faint voice in his head warning him he was too drunk to drive.

Would anyone actually care if he hit a tree on the way home? "Not likely," he muttered as self pity threatened to overwhelm him. There was no way he was forking out for a cab at this time of night. As for Shelly, she could find her own way home. No doubt one of her admirers would offer her a lift; Patrick had certainly looked interested enough.

Liam viciously kicked the tyre of a large, black car as he walked past. The thought of Shelly writhing under Patrick's muscular body made him want to vomit. Nobody else had the right to touch her beautiful curves. The fact Liam had brought this all upon himself failed to register at all on his consciousness. In his world, blame was something that could always be attributed to somebody else.

The windscreen of the ancient Ford was covered in a thin sheet of ice when he finally climbed inside. Cursing under his breath, he turned up the heater to maximum and wished for the zillionth time he could afford a car with air-con.

Shelly's car had air conditioning. Her company had provided a sleek coupe as part of the employee package. The job had been a bone of contention ever since her promotion last year. It didn't matter how many times Liam told himself he was pleased for her success, he knew that deep down inside he hated her for it. His own job as a lowly supermarket manager meant he earned peanuts compared to her. But it wasn't just the shame of that. It seemed everything was a flashpoint these days.

His fingers gripped the steering wheel as he thought about all the times they'd fought recently. The last occasion had been when he'd found the expensive lingerie in her drawer.

* * *

"This is pretty," he stated calmly as he held up the scrap of black lace and ribbon.

"Yeah, I thought so too," Shelly smiled as she applied her lipstick. "It was in the sale at La Senza."

"Looks expensive to me -- I thought we were meant to be saving for the house, not frittering cash away on crap like this!" he said icily.

"Actually it was meant to be a surprise -- I was going to wear it for our anniversary night out, but once again you've spoilt it." Shelly threw her lipstick into the small bag she carried her makeup in and glared at him in the mirror.

"Are you sure you didn't buy it for somebody else's benefit?" Liam watched as her face flushed pink.

"If you're talking about Patrick, then you're completely out of order!" she fired back in anger. "He's my boss for Christ sake. How many more times do I have to tell you -- there's NOTHING GOING ON!"

Liam threw the lingerie on the bed and stared at her accusingly. Her silky dressing gown gaped open and he could just about see the swell of her firm breasts. For a moment he allowed his imagination to picture Patrick's meaty hands pawing her flesh. He wondered whether she would cry out with pleasure when Patrick fucked her. Or would she just lie there passively, as she seemed to do more often than not with him. Despite his jealousy, he was unavoidably aroused at the mental image of Shelly bending over the bed while Patrick rammed into her cunt.

Reluctantly he returned his gaze to her face. "Do you really expect me to believe you're not fucking him when you work late nearly every night?"

"Frankly Liam, I'm beginning not to care what you believe any more. I'm just tired of all the arguments." She turned her back on him and sat down on the chair, cradling her head in her arms.

Abruptly the tension dissipated and Liam wondered what the hell he was doing. Why was he behaving like this? Nothing made sense any more. He loved Shelly so damned much, yet here he was, pushing her further and further away.

Banishing thoughts of Patrick firmly from his head, Liam forced himself to concentrate on the facts. Okay, so she'd been working late rather a lot. But she DID have a new job with new responsibilities. Maybe he was being paranoid and unreasonable.

He pushed his fingers through his hair and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Shelly," he said softly. "I just can't help feeling jealous that you spend more time with your boss that you do with me."

Seeing the tears glistening through her lashes he felt a deep sense of shame at the way he was behaving. God he was an arsehole at times.

"I can't take much more of this, Liam," she sobbed. "WE can't take much more."

She was right, he thought bleakly. The cracks in their relationship were spreading dangerously close to the foundations. And it was all because of his jealousy and insecurity.

"I love you, Shelly."

"Then why do you treat me this way?" Her face was wan and miserable, her carefully applied make-up ruined now.

"I don't know," he admitted helplessly.

* * *

Sitting in his car with the engine ticking over, he still didn't know why he had behaved so atrociously. It felt like his life had slowly been spiralling downhill for a long time. Shelly was the only good thing in it -- and now even she was gone.

There was no way back from what he'd done tonight -- he knew Shelly would never forgive him. Miserably he pondered this as he shivered helplessly in the freezing interior of the car. His exhaled breath swirled in clouds around his face and obscured the window screen in mist.

Suddenly all he wanted to do was head home and drown his sorrow in the bottle of whisky that resided in his desk. Conveniently he forgot that alcohol had been the main cause of his problems tonight.

Liam fired the ignition and crunched into first gear, pulling away unsteadily from the car-park. The wheels skidded slightly by the entrance to the main road, but he managed to avoid sliding out of control. Gradually he picked up speed and before long he was cruising steadily through the deserted countryside, oblivious to the icy beauty of the November night.

The lights of the country house hotel soon faded, smothered by the dense blackness of a starless sky. The car's headlights picked out eerie shapes and trees lurking in malevolent huddles of shadows beside the road as the fight with Shelly continued to intrude in his thoughts. Every now and then his concentration wandered dangerously and the car meandered off its course.

When the old woman appeared in the road, seemingly from nowhere, he was upon her before he even realised what was happening. Liam tried to steer away from her, but the tyres lost traction on black ice and his senses were too dulled by alcohol to react quickly enough. It was hopeless. For a second her face was frozen in an expression of abject horror before the car cannoned into her frail body with a sickening thud.

By the time he ground to a halt beside the hedge, his heart was hammering in his chest and he felt certain he was going to throw up. For a crazy moment he wondered if it was all a terrible nightmare. Maybe he'd wake up in his bed, Shelly beside him, and none of this would have been real. But when he glanced in his rear view mirror and saw the dark shape sprawled in the road, he knew it was no dream.

Oh God, he'd killed someone.

Adrenaline raced through his veins and he began to shake violently. It took him several attempts to open the door; his trembling hand kept slipping on the handle. Eventually he managed to stagger across the road, his body soaked with sweat despite the sub-zero temperatures.

But for the fact her head was twisted at an unnatural angle, the woman could have been asleep. Long stringy grey hair was matted against her head, one patch dark with blood where the impact had broken the skin. Her body was clothed in a worn coat and one of her scuffed shoes was lying incongruously beside her. Gingerly he knelt down and touched her bony wrist with his fingertips. Her skin still felt warm, but there was no discernible pulse. A trace of scarlet dribbled out from the corner of her mouth and her dull eyes stared into the night vacantly.

Liam stood up and looked at the corpse with a sense of disbelief. He kept waiting for her to sit up and yell obscenities. Surely this couldn't be happening to him. It wasn't his fault. She had come from nowhere and it was dangerously icy. There had been no way of avoiding her.

The trouble was he didn't think it would look too good when the police arrived and breathalysed him. He was way over the limit and regardless of the circumstances he could easily go down for this. Oh what a fitting end to a wonderful evening, he thought bitterly.

He began to giggle helplessly as hysteria bubbled up manically from within. The tears streamed down his face as he stood on the deserted stretch of road, his mirthless laughter echoing through the frosted trees.

A mournful howling from somewhere in the distance soon brought him back to reality and he suddenly realised that he needed to do something, fast. He could call for an ambulance, but the fact was, it was too late. She was clearly dead. Quickly all the options flashed through his bleary brain and he discounted each and every one.

It was no use. He couldn't afford to be sent to prison for such a senseless accident. It was hardly his fault the stupid cow had stepped in front of his car. Christ, she'd practically been begging for someone to run her over!

Liam wiped the sweat from his face on his sleeve. Gingerly he nudged the body with his toe, just to make one last check she was really dead. Nothing happened. No noise or movement. She was most definitely deceased.

He spun and practically ran back to his car. Without examining his actions closely, he revved the engine and turned the car back onto the road again. Not daring to look in his rear view mirror, he sped away fast.

* * *

On Monday Liam called in sick. He wasn't lying; he had felt sick all weekend. His assistant, Marie, sounded concerned when she took his call; she knew he very rarely succumbed to illness.

"Have you been to the doctor?" she asked in her breathy voice.

"No, I'm sure it's just a virus," said Liam with a guilty cough. He only wished it were that simple. Every time he turned round he thought he saw the old woman watching him with her dead eyes.

"Well, tell Shelly to take good care of you," replied Marie.

Liam almost laughed. He hadn't heard from Shelly since Friday night and under the circumstances, he knew he wasn't likely to. No doubt at some point she'd come around and collect her stuff, but she would probably do that when she thought he wasn't there.

"Thanks, Marie, I will do," he said with a deep sense of irony. He knew Shelly would be more likely to stick a knife in his back than tend his imaginary sick bed.

He replaced the receiver in its cradle and sank back down on the chair. Now that he had the day to himself, he didn't know what to do. If only Shelly was here...

It was a dead end thought. Shelly WASN'T here and that was that. He decided to walk down to the corner shop and buy another newspaper. He couldn't help wondering if there would finally be a mention about the accident.

All weekend he had scanned the local news and...nothing. There had been no reports of any hit and run victims whatsoever. He had also checked his car on Saturday morning and to his surprise there hadn't been a mark on it. Not even a scratch. Frankly it was weird -- he could clearly recall the whole incident, but as time went on, he began to doubt his memory. Maybe it was all a product of his delusional mind.

The days passed slowly. Every time the phone rang or somebody buzzed the front door his heart jumped and he broke out in a sweat. He was torn between hoping it was Shelly and dreading it was the police. Gradually the fear abated and eventually he allowed himself to believe that the accident never really happened.

"I was drunk," he told his reflection in the bathroom mirror. His reflection nodded agreeably and he rubbed his bristly chin. "God you look a fucking mess," he said in disgust. His eyes were bloodshot and his skin was sallow. Spending all week at home feeling miserable was doing nothing for his looks.

It was Friday night and rather than sit at home dwelling on all the crap, he had decided to go out and find some company. Shelly hadn't been in touch and he was still far too ashamed to call her. He had hoped that maybe she would come back, but so far it wasn't happening. In his less lucid moments he imagined her with Patrick, sharing Patrick's penthouse apartment in the City. Of course that just induced him to drink even more, so he tried not to torture himself with such thoughts.

By the time he had showered, shaved and dressed in the last clean clothes he owned, it was well past nine o'clock. Feeling like death warmed over he headed off down the road towards the high street with its dismal selection of bars and restaurants.

He could have taken his car and gone further into town, but since that fateful night, he'd been unable to drive. Every time he sat in the driver's seat and turned the ignition on, he had a panic attack. He tried to pass this off as a stress-related symptom, but he had to admit he was becoming a little freaked out. Not driving anywhere was going to be damned difficult when he eventually returned to work.

All week he'd managed to fob off his boss rather successfully. When Mr Forsythe finally rang him at home on Wednesday morning (apparently concerned by whatever Marie had said), Liam had been vague and hinted at 'personal difficulties'. This was enough to persuade the old man he needed more time to 'sort himself out'.

"Just keep me in the loop, Liam," Jack Forsythe said in his best caring voice. "We wouldn't want to lose you."

"I'll be okay soon, Jack," replied Liam, trying to sound as sick as he felt.

* * *

Out of the corner of one blurry eye, Liam saw the redhead watching him. He tried to fix on her face, but the room kept spinning alarmingly.

After a while she sashayed over towards his table. "Hey," she said in a sultry voice, sliding into the booth beside him. "My name's Ruby. Wanna buy me a drink?"

He scanned her body with interest. The black dress she wore left little to the imagination and it took a huge amount of effort to lift his gaze from out of her voluminous cleavage.

"Hi Ruby," he said, feeling cheerful for the first time in ages. "Here," he said, pulling a crumpled twenty from his pocket. "Go buy us both a drink. Mine's a whiskey shot."

"Sure thing Hun," she grinned. As he watched, mesmerised, she licked her lips suggestively. Suddenly his spirits weren't the only thing that had lifted noticeably.

She wiggled her way back across the bar, black stockings evident beneath the very short hem of her dress. God, the woman was sex on legs, he thought admiringly. Shelly never dressed like that. She always wore very conservative clothes -- classy suits and tasteful dresses. He had often suggested she tried wearing short skirts and stockings, but she'd refused point blank to dress 'like a whore'.

Several drinks later and Liam felt his budding relationship with Ruby was going swimmingly and Shelly had been firmly banished to the 'ex girlfriend' list. He slumped against Ruby and nuzzled her neck. "Mmm you smell good," he muttered.

She giggled. "Maybe soon you can see if I taste as good," she purred suggestively. "Do you live nearby?"

"Not too far," he said. He glanced at his watch but the dial swam disconcertingly before his eyes. "Perhaps we should leave now." Before I'm too drunk to stand up, he thought. Ruby had downed a huge amount of vodka and he was rather surprised she wasn't as drunk as he.

"Good plan," she agreed. "Come on lover -- take me back to your place and let me show you a good time." She stood and tried to pull him up, but his legs refused to cooperate.

"Ruby I—"

He tried to speak, but the words got stuck in his throat as a sudden image of Shelly jumped into his head. Suddenly he wished she were here. She wouldn't have let him get into such a state.

His hip banged the table hard and a glass toppled over, shattering into shards when it hit the concrete floor. "Shit," he said, noticing the landlord glaring at them both.

"Miserable fucker!" Ruby said loudly, gesturing rudely at the landlord. She yanked Liam harder and this time he managed to stand up.

They staggered towards the open door together, oblivious to the amused glances from the other customers. Liam soon began to feel rather sick, but he tried not to think about it. Thinking was hazardous to his health. How he wished Shelly was here with him. In a blinding moment of clarity he realised that Ruby was only here because his money had paid for her drinks all evening. Not once had she bought any - she'd just dipped into his wallet every time.

When they finally reached his front door step, he flopped down and closed his eyes. It was freezing cold and suddenly all he wanted was to go to sleep, alone. The alcohol began to wear off slightly.

"Give me your key then -- I'm freezing my tits off out here!" Ruby laughed coarsely and Liam stared at her bleakly. She wasn't even that pretty; nowhere near as beautiful as Shelly.

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byrachlou© 28 comments/ 23807 views/ 2 favorites

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