You’re awoken from your midnight sleep in your favorite chair to your dog barking wildly in the living room. Pulling her aside, you look out the window, only to see a face staring right back at you. Whose is it? Why are they there?
* * *
Ah distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December; New Year’s Eve to be precise. I’d fallen asleep reading the 10-year old copy of Poe my grandson had given me when Max woke me up. A Newfoundland is not usually a vocal dog but something had him totally riled up and he was barking continually. His nose was against the french doors, leaving wide trails of doggy snot on the glass as he tried to sniff his way through it.
I moved the book off my lap, shifted the blanked aside, and pried my body out of the armchair. When you’re 103 years old you’re allowed to take your time. The arthritis in my right knee was acting up again and I leaned heavily on my cane as I hobbled over to see what had got Max going.
I looked out and into the face of a raven; a raven-haired young woman, that is. It was Lenore, my ex-wife. I hadn’t seen her in nearly 60 years, and some shred of a memory tore at my mind. I was certain she had died years ago, so maybe she was a ghost and this was my time.
Lenore didn’t look a day over 30. Her straight black hair hung down just past her shoulders. The red trench coat highlighted her lithe figure nicely. Her aquiline features were still as pretty as I remembered them and, just like usual, the brilliant red smile on her face ended long before it reached her cold green eyes. The gun in her hand was a vintage 1945 Luger, the one she’d picked up on our first foray.
“What brings you here, Lenore? I thought you were dead.” In fact I’d taken steps to ensure she was dead.
“Your grandson Carl got nostalgic and rebuilt the time machine. He wanted to see his grandma. I can’t believe that boy’s mother came out from between my legs.”
“What did you do to him, Lenore?”
“I killed him. What did you expect? Just like I’m going to kill you tonight.”
“I’ll stop you, you know. I always do.”
“Not this time.” The report of the gun was deafening in the small den. Three shots into my chest. “See you in ten years, Ed.”
There was a rapping, as of someone gently tapping at my french door. Max, my Newfoundland puppy, was giddy with excitement. I put down the copy of Poe I’d been given by my grandson Carl the week before and took the revolver out of my reading table. Lenore was nothing if not predictable, and I didn’t live to the age of 93 by letting her catch me off guard.