tagNon-EroticThe Red Herring

The Red Herring

byCallMeBambi©

Author's Note:

This is the first story I've posted to Literotica and, for some reason that defies all of my intuitive reasoning, I have decided to lead with a non-erotic story. Oh well!

This one turned out differently than I had planned when I sat down to write it, and didn't exactly work out with the ending I originally wanted. To that end, I think the ending may end be found to be too "out-of-left-field". If you feel like braving a somewhat choppy story though, please do! I hope you enjoy my first foray into the Literotica community!

Thanks for reading! :)


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How do you begin a lie? To tell a lie is easy; you need only a few words, though no words are best—for the best lies are told in the fewest words. But lies do not begin when they are told. Even the most innocent of lies, like children, are not without fathers or mothers—but where does it begin?

"You wouldn't dream of it!" My wife of seven years sneered, and I began to wonder just how her professional career had flourished as well as it had. A trained therapist herself (though not quite smart enough or motivated enough to have become a psychiatrist), I would have imagined her comprehension of such a situation to be more grounded.

Here is a man of wealth and status, standing naked on a $2,000 couch, a red petrol can lying on the floor beside him, emptied of its contents only moments ago. On the table in front of him, his clothes are neatly folded and stacked, his cell phone beside them. He holds in his hand a packet of cheap matches, which he could strike to life at any moment and turn the room into an blazing inferno. It would an absurd scene to any onlooker, with her draped in a fur shawl and evening gown by the door, and him, naked but for a book of matches.

And yet, she does not see the direness of this situation—of my situation.

It is an ornate library, one that we built, decorated and kept together. It is the most beautiful part of the entire house, with two floors of books and furniture, and bay windows that catch the sunrise on one side and the sunset on the other. It is like a heart where we put all of our treasures, all of our memories—all of our secrets.

"Oh, I would, I would!" I told her matching her sneer with equal devastation, and shaking the matchbook in my hand. "I would see this whole house burned down to the ground before I left any of it to you!"

I could see a kind of recognition in her eyes then. It was a distant kind of recognition, perhaps toying with the idea of an insignificant memory; perhaps it was a recognition of the room we both stood in; or perhaps it was the passing recognition of my body that she once knew better than me, now naked and slick with gasoline, glistening in the room's soft light. Perhaps she was inebriated—she told me she had been attending a gala, or a social, or some kind of well-to-do, "Save the Something" event that night. Whatever she recognized in that moment, it changed her.

"John ... " she whispered. "This is not how we should be discussing this. Please. Put the matches down."

"You tell me, Andrea—you tell me where you were tonight!" I touched the match to the strip, showing her just how serious I was. She took it as an invitation into the room, her hands outstretched towards me, as though trying to calm me—as though I, her husband, was one of her patients! She continued moving towards me like Cruella de Vil cornering a helpless Dalmatian.

"I know where you were!" I told her, as she took another step closer. "I know where you go—to that bar. I know you go with him. I know what you do!"

"John, you need to put the matches down and we can talk," she spoke again and took a few more steps towards me, her eyes flickering towards the matchbook. Her voice was soothing.

Despite how it might have looked, I was no loony. I knew everything. I knew she was involved in a particularly torrid affair with a doctor from the hospital where she worked. I knew his name was Conrad and his address was local; I knew his wife was named Pepper, and his daughters Maggie and Sophie. I knew they had met at the Red Herring, a respectable bar for married singles looking to shed the inauspicious vows of wedlock. I knew, during seven years of marriage, she had been faithful for two. I knew she loved him, and I knew she planned to leave me very soon.

"Just—just tell me why!" I demanded in my most frantic of tones.

"It's okay, Johnny," she whispered to me, moving closer and closer—she was near enough to touch. "Everything's okay, just put that down and we will talk, okay? I'll tell you whatever you want to know." She was at least calming to listen to. I looked far beyond her, into the empty black bay window. It was dark outside, only a single street shone, somewhere far in the distance. There was no moon, no stars—and then suddenly, a glimmer of light—a sign!—and I knew exactly what had to be done.

"No!" I yelled, startling her. She was less than a meter from me and lunged at me with an uncanny proficiency. Andrea grabbed me by the waist and wrestled me onto the floor. The matches flew from my hands and slid across the carpet, well out of my immediate reach. I clawed and kicked at her, and she scratched at my naked body. I could smell alcohol emanating from her as she fought with me on the ground. I managed to move out from under her for a brief second and lunged towards the matches. At every second, she clawed and scratched and struck my body, trying to get an advantage. She was much stronger than I imagined, or perhaps simply had a much stronger rush of adrenaline than I.

In the chaos of struggle, amidst her barrage of kicks and scratches (and I think there was even a bite) she wrestled me to the floor again. She sat on top of me, trying to tie my hands with a nearby electrical cord. I could feel the burning of skin where she had scratched and clawed at my body. My nose was bleeding and I and could already feel bruises developing across my body from the fall to the floor.

"Help! Help!" I yelled, as she scooped up the matches and rose to her feet just out of my reach. "Help me!" I could hear the pounding of footsteps, and shouting from distant figures. "She's going to kill me!" I yelled louder. I looked up at Andrea, at my sweet wife, and our eyes met. At last, she understands.

From my view on the floor, the smell of gasoline and the sound of gunfire, the memory of what happens next is obliterated. All that is clear to me in the next moment is my wife—my darling wife—lying calm and still on the gasoline-soaked carpet. Her mouth is agape. Her hand, outstretched, clutches at an open book of burgundy matches.

On the inside, it reads: Conrad (347) 555 1205. And on the outside: The Red Herring, Bar & Grill.

Oh, my darling wife—you should know I think of you often. I keep your matchbook tucked away in a corner of our library. This place is like a heart, my love. This is the place we keep all of our treasures, and our memories; this is the place where we keep all of our secrets.

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