By Lance Gray
It’s Christmas Eve, and I sit here alone, without my spouse.
Today he said, “We’re through. I want the kids. You keep the house.
I’ll be back in the morning for our last Christmas together.
Then I’ll take them out to do something, depending on the weather.”
He packed a bag and left me wounded, plotting my revenge.
I was in love. I AM in love, and now I feel unhinged.
The presents that we purchased, with our jar of “Christmas cash”,
Are burning in the fireplace, and will soon be soot and ash.
My actions may seem harsh, but prepare, for it gets worse.
Burning gifts was not my final task, nor was it first.
It started with the smallest thing, the moment that I snapped.
A mouse was in the kitchen, so I had to set a trap.
And just like that it was the cat’s fault for my lousy mood.
So, I crushed some blown glass ornaments, and mixed them with its food.
Kitty’s death seemed painful, and was difficult to watch.
To calm my nerves, I poured myself a tumbler full of Scotch.
I took the body outside so the children wouldn’t know,
And I buried it behind the shed, under a mound of snow.
The missing cat (actually dead) left the kids perplexed.
Their sadness fueled my darkness. Yes, the canine would be next.
To make this pet death different, I searched for inspiration.
In the garage I found the means for its annihilation.
My mind goes on, without me, and I’m feeling ill at ease
As I pet the dog and fill it’s water bowl with antifreeze.
While waiting for the pooch to pass, I had a thought or two.
To decimate his Christmas, I still have some things to do.
I put dead dog next to dead cat. With them out of the way
I told the kids, “I need some quiet. Go outside and play.”
Scissors firmly grasped in hand, I went up to our room.
Ruining his wardrobe would add chaos to his gloom.
I shredded all his clothing, shirts, pants, socks, ties, underwear,
And left them on his closet floor, like us, beyond repair.
Feeling no sense of relief, I began to cry.
It was then, I realized the children had to die.
Some Christmas plants are deadly but their poison level varies.
I chose to make a pie of mistletoe and holly berries.
The pie was topped with ice cream, and I served it without waver.
They gobbled both their pieces, no complaint about the flavor.
It wasn’t long before the children started to get sick.
I tucked them into bed with promises of Old Saint Nick.
I gave them each a pill, or three, or ten, to ease their head.
After burning all our gifts, I checked, and they are dead.
I finished all the pie myself; except a single slice,
Which I left for him beside a note, containing this advice:
“Your choice has caused this sorrow, from which you’ll never hide.
Just have this piece of pie, and join us on the other side.”
Feeling sick, I took the pills and Scotch and went to bed.
Now I’m staring at a photo of the day we wed.
Briefly, a thought crossed my mind, “Oh God! What have I done?”
And just as quick, I was distracted by the rising sun.
Would he be here soon? He knows the children cannot wait.
It doesn’t matter. We’ll be dead, and he will be too late.
The last sound that I hear as I fade from this silent house
Is the snapping of the trap, and the squeak of a dead mouse.
Lance Gray was born and raised in Martinsville, IN. In his 20’s he was well known on Indianapolis stages. He lived on the East Coast for 22 years, in NJ and CT, performing, writing and directing for 15 seasons at Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport,CT, and Fairfield Center Stage in Fairfield, CT. After the death of his husband, Lance briefly moved back to IN to start his own theatre. In April of 2021, he left everything behind but his dog, Ithaca, and moved to Wailuku, HI, on the island of Maui. He is already a part of the local theatre community, and will be appearing as Wadsworth, the butler, in CLUE, and works at Maui Veterinary Clinic. Lance has written the book for five musicals and two short plays. HUNT is his first short story.
You can find Lance, and whatever he’s up to at @LanceGray on Facebook, @LanceAGray on Instagram, and @LanceGray515 on TikTok.