The Music Be The Food flash fiction event continues with round five. This time, the song is “Even In Death (2016)” by Evanescence.
Give a listen to the tune and then read the next flash fiction piece, by R.N. Drum.
I watched as her eyes closed for the last time. She had carefully spread her gown beneath her as she lay on the bed. It was black lace and was adorned with rubies and crystals. Madame Dufour knew how to dress for any occasion, and tonight was the most special one of all.
We had been together for more years than she could remember now, but I knew. I first met her when she and Monsieur Dufour were married and he brought her to the countryside. She seemed to be a fine young woman and I believed she would bring a much needed light into Dufour’s life. And that she did, for many years. She quickly gained a reputation for hosting the largest and most extravagant parties in the whole of Le Viala.
Things only changed when it became clear she could not bear children. Each miscarriage was another board in the wall that separated Renee from the Monsieur. I am the only one to call her by her given name. I earned the right, as I was present for every bit of laughter, for every tear that spilled, for every drop of blood. I was there to pick up the shreds of her dignity as the Monsieur tore at her soul for the remaining years of his life. His death brought little comfort to Renee, which saddened me greatly. I was quite pleased to see the world rid of that horrible man.
The Monsieur had sullied her once celebrated reputation shortly after her last miscarriage. The doctor who visited confirmed that she would not be able to cary a child, and that the Dufour’s should not expect to have children. Renee had tried to bring up the spirits of herself and her husband by hosting a dinner party a month later. The Monsieur, full of lamb, wine, and vitriol exclaimed loudly to their dinner guests that Renee could not give him children because she was paying the price for her “sins against God”.
“A whore when I found her,” he had laughed, raising his glass high in a toast. “To better choices!”
I never told Renee the truth about the Monsieur’s death. I never told anyone, actually. How could I? I couldn’t admit that I pushed him as he stepped out of the bath, or that I had watched as his blood spilled quickly into the grooves on the tile where he lay, his head split wide where it had struck the edge of the tub.
No. I never told Renee, but I imagine that she came to know the truth as the years went by and our relationship grew stronger. I couldn’t know for sure, of course, until the end, which we both knew was tonight.
She didn’t say a word as she prepared. She allowed me to watch as she bathed. She didn’t try to hide her body from me. I watched as she powdered and colored her face and lips. She swiped a bit of perfume behind each ear. She smelled wonderful. She was just as beautiful as the first day we met, I think. Her eyes were filled with just as much wonder tonight as they were when she walked in through the door.
We both heard the gears of the clock in the hall as they aligned just before it began to chime midnight.
It was time.
She lay in the bed and closed her eyes. Her breath came to a halt and her face became slack. She was gone before the last clock chime had finished echoing through the halls. I have to admit that I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
I closed the shutters and drew the curtains closed. There was no need for them to be open any longer. She would no longer look upon the moonlight with those eyes. I locked the doors and prepared the parlor just as Renee preferred. I placed her favorite book next to a glass of wine on the table, which sat next to her favorite chair. The fireplace cast a soft, warm glow, and I was beginning to stoke the fire when Renee walked in. She smiled at me. I had no words for how beautiful she was. She placed her hand on the mantle and gently drew her fingers along the length of the wood as she approached her chair by the fire.
I didn’t want to tell her it tickled when she did that, but I suspected she knew.
Read more from R.N. Drum at rndrum.net.