Nex Saluto Vos

Nex Saluto Vos

A Story by toews19
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A woman, in love with her married lover, must face the consequences of her actions when the wife comes for revenge

"

The door. It was locked. My sweaty hands hammered the rusty bolt over and over again, but it wouldn’t budge. The mist crawled along the ground, searching for its prey. I dashed into the blackness, knowing it stalked me. My lungs wheezed for life. My feet ached and stung. Something, cloaked by the darkness, sent me falling...

Squeaking.

I squinted my eyes. Candles dimly illuminated the room. Shadows crept from the bed, desk, and walls. I raised my head from the pillow. Pounding angrily, my head scolded me for the previous night’s events. The ringing in my ears was deafening. My achy legs struggled to find the strength to take those first few steps as I began the scavenger hunt for my clothes. Once I found my dress, I carefully pulled it over my head and leaned into the wall. Massaging my temples, I noticed one of my earrings was missing. D****t. Not again. The cracked mirror judged my appearance. My hair was a mess. My makeup was smudged and the rip along the seam of my dress was twice the size it was before.

We always get this room, but I don’t know why.  Same old floral curtains, wrinkled sheets, and broken-rabbit-eared-television. His clothes lay just as we left them last night, but he wasn’t there. The ringing subsided, and then I heard the running water abruptly stop. I walked to the broken mirror and attempted to detangle my hair with my fingers.

The bathroom door opened.

Steam from the shower sent shivers up my spine. To fight the urge to look at him, I concentrated on my hair. Maybe just a peek … I pretended to look for my brush, and glanced at him. He stood there with a white cotton towel wrapped around his waist, holding a razor, admiring me. The water trickled down his muscled chest as heat pulsated his charming crooked smile.

“Good morning, gorgeous.”

I blushed. Remember he ALWAYS calls you that… nothing’s changed. “Hello, handsome,” I said trying to mimic his deep manly voice.

He smiled. “How’d you sleep?”

Oh, awkward morning conversation. Nothing but mere small talk. “Good.” I grabbed my brush. "How about you?"

"Pretty good," He nodded as he faced the mirror.

Silence entailed as he started to shave. I nervously tapped on the counter then began to brush my hair. It was a mess anyway, may as well do something. The alarm clock buzzed once then an overly cheerful man exclaimed the time and the next song he was going to play.

"It's only 7:30?" I moaned as I gave up on my hair.

He chuckled. "That clock is never right. It's actually," he checked his watch, "7:35.”

I nodded thoughtfully for a long moment. "Does, um," I wanted to word this right, "does she know?"

No smiles. No jokes. Nothing. He stopped shaving to look straight into the broken mirror. "No."

"Do you think she suspects... us?"

"How would I know that?"

"I don't know, Caleb!" I walked away from him and sat on the bed. The unmade sheets and thrown covers reminded me of last night, so I stood up and leaned against a chair. I don't know why I was being so emotional, but all I wanted to do was cry. My eyes burned a hole in the floor. I bit my lip so hard I tasted blood. I wanted to say more, but crying was not something I wanted to do right now.

I was so concentrated on not crying that I didn't even notice Caleb walk over until I felt his arms wrap themselves around my shoulders. He was still wet, but I didn't care. I pushed my face into his. 

He pulled away, sighing heavily. "Nothing's changed."

I stopped, and slowly backed away. Tears came and I didn't even try to stop them. "I know. I know."

It didn't make sense that after a year of sneaking around, lying, and spending more with me than his wife, he still wouldn't leave her for me. I mean, he's a lawyer. Mr. Caleb Green, Attorney at Law. But still he doesn't even love his wife anymore. I'm not even sure she loves him.

He got changed. I fixed myself, but left clean clothes at home, so I walked shamefully to my car in the ripped dress I wore last night. My car wouldn't start. I begged Caleb for a ride back into the city. For a regular car, the trip normally would take twenty minutes. But in Caleb’s car, it took ten minutes flat, which is good because we didn't talk much on the way back. He just mentioned the rip in my dress.

As soon as I got home, I walked into my shower without a second thought. The hot water washed Caleb off of me. Steam clouded the bathroom once I stepped out. It was impossible to see my own feet. I groped the walls, feeling for my robe. I wrapped it around myself as my teeth chattered. My apartment was surprisingly cold. The floor was ice. The windows crystallized. Once the fog cleared, I left the bathroom and sat on my couch. My eyes closed. Just then the door knocked. Twice.

My hand twitched as I grabbed the door handle. As I opened it, I wished Caleb was there on the other side to sweep me off my feet like in the movies, but to my dismay, stood a short woman. Her hair was tied back tightly underneath the bandanna and her eyes were dark. Black like ash. Her skin like snow. The lights in the hall flickered spasmodically. Her lips curled back into a smile. Evil. Hate. She said nothing. She stood there like a statue, fixed on me.

"Can I help you?" My voice croaked, choked up from the emotional letdown.
Her eyes darted from me to the floor, fixed on something else. I looked down. Nothing. I groaned and looked back to see she was gone. I peered down the hallways. Empty, as if she was never there.

I shivered.  The air grew colder by the second. Retreating back into my apartment, I closed the door.

Stars danced around the corners of my eyes. My head pounded and pounded. Pain shot through my legs, buckling them at the knee. I grovelled to my bed, praying for the sweet release of sleep.

God knows I need it.

The door. It was locked. The mist crawled along the ground, hunting for my life. I dashed left into the blackness. I really hoped Caleb was okay. My lungs wheezed for my next breath. The ringing deafened me. Running full speed ahead, something hidden in the shadows sent me falling. I struggled to my feet, but it dragged me to the ground. Its nails dug into my skin. Piercing.  I screamed and cried and wailed. Writhing in pain on the dead earth, the claws sliced down my leg. Cold whispers breathed against my ears a warning. Nex saluto vos, nex saluto vos, nex saluto vos, nex saluto vos. I covered my ears. My voice shrieked out his name�"

“Emma. Emma! Wake up!”

I jumped out of my bed and scrambled to the floor. My heart pounded out my ears as Caleb stood over me, out of breath.

“Caleb, what the�""

“No time. Explain later. Let’s go.” He grabbed my arm and started pulling me up.

“But, I�""

He dragged me out of my apartment before I could finish. The windy day was angry as it shoved trees and threw garbage everywhere. The clouds painted the sky grey and cried onto the streets below. His hands shook as he rushed to find the right key for his car. The jingling of the keys nearly triggered the ringing to nothingness. Caleb shook off his sweater and gave it to me as I shivered. I grabbed it and wrapped it around myself as we got into his car and peeled away from the scene.

The engine hummed, feeding the silence. Rain beat hard against the windshield. The rumbling of thunder washed out all noises while flashes of lightning danced across the sky. I clenched my eyes closed to focus.

“Caleb. What's going on? What's happening?”

Nothing. He glared into the road and tightened his grip on the steering wheel.

I slid into my seat and sighed. My hand shivered as I zipped the sweater higher.

“It's my wife.”

 “What?”

“My wife, she found out about us... somehow.”

I gasped. My hand covered my mouth and let that sink in. But why would Caleb…

“Is she why we're running away?” …Together?

He shifted in his seat. “Yeah.” Caleb sighed. “My wife, she has a bit of a, dark, past, might I say...” he glanced at me before continuing, “and a temper. So, when I came home, she lost it. I’m not going into detail, but she made it clear that she doesn't want to see me or you.”

I frowned. “Wait, what do you mean 'dark past'? Like...”

His lip twitched.

I turned away from him to look at the window. Heavy raindrops rolled like an avalanche collecting everything in its path. Dead droplets marked its destructive route, waiting for the rain to sweep it away again. I shivered.

Caleb’s warm hand surprised mine. “I’ll explain later.” He squeezed before letting go. “I promise.”

His soft voice was so sincere I didn’t bother questioning it. It just made me scared for what was to come. I watched the rain fall to the ground as Caleb cussed under his breath. My lazy eyes could barely lift any higher to look at him. “What’s wrong?” I yawned.

He pulled over and said nothing.

As he reached into his pocket, a dark figure darted into the bush. The branches rattled.

Caleb opened the door with his hand holding his phone high. He put his phone away while climbing out the door and cussing some more. He popped the hood, meanwhile leaving his door open. Each second it was open sent shivers down my spine. Unable to control my shivers, I zipped the sweater as high as it could go and pulled the hood over my head. It was winter out there.

Caleb climbed back in and shut the door. “Well, I don’t know what’s going on with my car. Gas is good, engine’s fine…” he shook his head. “I think we’re gonna have to check out that house and see if there’s a phone or something.”

House? Caleb pointed in the same direction where the dark figure once stood. In the clearing of trees sat an old abandoned Victorian house. Alone. He opened his door. It looked harmless, but something didn’t feel right… “I don’t know about that…”

I trailed off when I saw the look on his face as he got out of the car. He was not negotiating. Not wanting an argument, I followed him into the weather. The icy rain dropped from the sky and the wind whipped my nerves into a shivering frenzy. I peeked at Caleb. He looked unaffected by the wintry temperature. My eyebrows furrowed at the thought.

As we got closer, the majestic Victorian resembled death. Abandonment had cast its spell over the house and left it to rot in its paint chips and boarded up windows. We were going to fall through the porch before reaching the door.

We approached the first step. “Caleb, no one’s here.”

He knocked twice. It echoed back out through cracks in the walls. Empty and abandoned.

I shivered convulsively. My numbed nerves burned through my skin. A small tear froze at the corner of my eye. Tingles shot through my spine.

The door swung open. I jumped up and out of my skin. My face buried itself into Caleb’s chest, protecting the eyes from seeing the alien host. Little hairs on the back of my neck stood tall, while electric currents trailed up and down my spine. My heart pounded and pounded until it fell into my stomach. The ringing returned. I squeezed tears out of my eyes. The face of the scary woman flashed in my mind like a strobe light. Scratching and screaming reverberated in and out of the ringing. I was there again. At the door. The little woman stood to my right, then bolted towards me. I ran left. Her footprints rang louder and louder, getting closer and closer. The darkness chanted “Nex Saluto Vos” over and over again. The ringing faded from ear to ear. I opened my mouth to scream, but nothing came out. The mad stars danced. I opened my eyes.

Caleb stood over me. Four quilts stacked on top of me. Candles kindled the dim room. Thunder rolled above, rattling the house to its foundation.

“Emma! Are you okay? What happened back there?” Caleb placed his warm hand on my icy cheek.

“I’m fine,” I said as I started to sit up.

He gently pushed me back onto the bed. “Shhhh, just lay here for a sec.”

A fresh layer of sweat flashed over my face. “Where are we?”

“We’re just inside the house now. But don’t worry about that now. Rest.”

I tried again to sit up. “I don’t need to re�"”

“Yes, you do! You’re pale as a ghost, shivering like it’s winter, and you scared yourself into unconsciousness!” The urgency in his eyes screamed for my attention and understanding. “Please, just lay down…” he turned around at the sound of a crack.

“What was that?” I yawned.

“Probably just the house. It’s pretty old.” He started to get up.

“NO! No, don’t leave me,” I cried. I couldn’t understand why I was being so emotional

Caleb sat back on the bed. “I’ll just be gone a second, okay? Just to see if there’s a phone or a computer around here.” He stood and started walking. “I’ll be back.” His steps shocked the house, squeaking and creaking as he left.

I closed my eyes. The ringing returned. Deafening. Piercing. My fingers dug into the pillow. A burning pain shot through my body. I wriggled and reeled, throwing the quilts off of me as if they were crawling with termites. My muscles tensed up. I couldn’t move. My heart quickened at the sight of her.

She stood at the foot of the bed. Her skin was twice as pale as before. Hair pulled back, white teeth smile, lips curled in satisfaction. She twitched. The black cloak she wore covered every inch of her body, except for her face and hands. The mystery woman walked over to the candles and gently picked one up. Her steps were silent, as if she wasn’t there. She kneeled down, her face inches away from mine. She pulled down my shirt, exposing my heart.

“Hello, Emma. I’ve been expecting you,” her soprano voice rang.

Fiery candle wax dripped onto my chest. The drips of wax burned through my skin, pulsating through my veins. Paralyzed, tears streamed down my face. I clenched them closed bracing for her next attack.

Seconds of silence passed before I opened my eyes again. She was gone. The candle was in the same spot from which she had kidnapped. Once I could move again and screamed for Caleb. Within mere seconds, he was at my side again. “She was here! She was here! She was here!” I wailed as I pointed along her path of terror.

“Who?”

“She had black eyes and pale skin and a black cloak and an evil smile and her hair was tied back so tight and and�"”

“Shh-shh-shhhh,” Caleb soothed me. He held me close, rocking ever so gently.

“You can’t ever leave me! You can’t! You can’t!” I blubbered all over his shirt.

“I’m here! I’m here!” he continued to comfort. I couldn’t see his face, but I guessed he was panicked by my behavior. Caleb rocked and soothed me until I settled down. He checked his watch. “It’s getting late.”

“You can’t be serious. Already?” I grabbed his wrist to see for myself.

“You were out for quite awhile. I had time to look around. Looks like nobody’s lived here for awhile. All phones are dead.” He sighed. “You need to sleep.”

“Nonononono, I am not going to sleep,” I complained.

He yawned. “I need to.”

“Nooo,” I whined, “stay awake. Please?” I tried out my best puppy dog eyes, still red from crying.

He hesitated. “Okay, I’ll try. But I need to lie down.” As he leaned back on the bed, he dragged me with him. I rested my head on his heart, counting the beats and steadied my breathing to its rhythm. Nestling closer to his warm body, I wrapped my arms around him. He clasped his hands together on my back.

“Why are you doing this?”

He shifted. “Doing what?”

“THIS. Everything. Why do you care what happens to me?”

Nothing. The wind hammered trees into the window, thunder rolled right to left to right, and the rain drummed on the roof. Nature screamed its fury but Caleb said nothing.

I eased one hand from behind his back, and rested it on his chest. “Caleb?”

Still nothing. I looked to see his face. It was preoccupied, exploring streets of thought miles away. His brows were slightly furrowed, his lips in a straight line. He blinked once, exposing the nakedness in his eyes. Right then, he looked at me, and his heart sped up. He placed one hand on my face, and swallowed hard. I played with a dark curl on his forehead. Our eyes met. A glow radiated from his face as he smiled. He opened his mouth to speak…

The house shook. Candles from the dressers dropped to the floor. A tree branch exploded through the window�"glass flew everywhere. The monster wind howled and growled as rain poured into the room. Caleb grabbed my hand and led me to the basement.

He slammed the door shut. The sound muted and my ears popped. The darkness hummed with an evil satisfaction.

“Oh, no,” Caleb murmured.

I clutched onto his arm. “What?”

No answer. His nimble fingers carefully opened the door to see the damage. He opened the door a crack as a light from the other side blinded us. The growling wind fought to open the door all the way to suck us out. Rain poured in, drenching us. Caleb struggled to close the door again.

“It’s started.”

I shot him a confused look, waiting for an explanation.

“I think it’s time to tell you about my wife.”

Here it came. I never met her. I didn’t even know her name.

Caleb sat down. “You’ll want to sit for this.”

I hesitated. I wasn’t sure how to approach him, so I sat next to him, held his arm, and then rested my head on his shoulder. “Okay,” I said as I closed my eyes bracing myself.

He sucked in a deep breath. “I met her about ten years ago in college. I was a law student and she was in some art program at a different school. We clicked instantly…”

I tuned him out. Listening to him talk about her like that was something I didn’t enjoy. Neither did the storm as thunder rolled angrily above.

“About two years later, we got married. She once told me that she was…” he trailed off momentarily. His heart sped up. “She was a witch.”

Silence. I wasn’t sure if he was waiting for me to say something, but he continued. “She told me that she quit it, wasn’t practicing anymore,” He took a deep breath, “I came home one day and she was in the middle of...”�"he hand gestured�"“…some witch thing. She said someone pissed her off and she wanted ‘revenge’. Since then, I’ve been careful to not get her mad or let her get too emotional.”

I frowned. “Then, why did you start things with me?”

Caleb shifted. He took a deep breath and then put his arm around my shoulder. “Because over the past few years, She’s been… distant. She’s not the same woman I married and whatever’s been going on her life… changed her. I don’t want to leave her because I’ll feel like I’m abandoning her in whatever’s happening.”

“So, why me?” I said as I leaned from him. “Why did you start this with ME?”

He looked away. “Because I…” He ran his hand through his hair. “Because you’re beautiful.” He took a deep breath. “I like everything about you.” His eyes met mine. “That’s why I started things with you.”

I bit my lip. Caleb smiled crookedly.

“But you don’t…” I blinked back a few tears, “…love me?” I bit my lip even harder and stared at the floor, waiting for an answer.

He grabbed my hand, and squeezed it.

“Emma.”

I didn’t answer. I just waited for him to continue.

His warm hand lifted my chin. His earnest eyes focused on mine. He stood up, leading me to my feet. He gulped, readying himself to answer my question.

“Emma,” he shifted some, “I’ve been lying to myself all my life about different things,” a layer of sweat flashed over my face, “but, this is by far the biggest, most important lie I could have kept from myself.” My heart started racing. “Emma, I�"”

The door swung open. Water tidaled into the basement, washing us into the wall. Bright lights shone from upstairs, summoning us as the water rose higher and higher. Caleb carried me out of the water, up the stairs, and through the door.

No other doors were in sight. Just empty white walls. Lights lined the floor and ceiling. Shadows couldn’t hide. I grabbed Caleb’s hand. We started walking. Each step we took set cracks throughout the house. A cracked mirror appeared at the end of the hall. I looked like a monster. Wrinkles lined my face. My lips sagged and my eyes drooped from lack of sleep. Age attacked me mercilessly, unlike Caleb. He looked like an angel. More heavenly that reality claimed. He dropped his head, unable to face his own reflection. Ashamed.

Caleb twitched. His eyes rolled back into his skull as he collapsed to the floor. His hands grabbed his head. He screamed out, as if his soul was in pain. All lights pointed to him on the floor. He clasped his ears.

“Caleb! CALEB!” I screamed.

“He’s fine,” the sharp voice rang.

I scrambled away from her. Her reflection wasn’t in the mirror… “Who are you?”

“I thought you would’ve connected the dots by now. Emma.” Caleb continued to suffer on the floor. A new door conveniently appeared to my right.

I twitched with each shriek of Caleb’s. “Can you STOP hurting him?!” I cried.

“You know, I’d stop worrying about him and start worrying about yourself.”

I shivered. It was cold in here. “Why are you doing this?”

“You ask too many questions.” She sidestepped back into pacing. “But if you MUST know, no one hurts me and gets away with it. Did Caleb ever tell you about my affair?”

My jaw dropped open. Caleb’s grunts fed the silence.

“Well, almost two years ago, I met a guy. His name was Mike.” She smiled. “He was something special. But, it turned out he was in love with another girl,” she said as her smile faded. “Can you guess what I did?”

I didn’t answer. I watched the doorknob in my peripheral vision.

She stopped pacing. “I got revenge.” She pointed to Caleb. “Can you guess what I did to the other girl?” She pointed to me.

I bit my lip.

She started pacing again. “Oh, I put her in her place.” She smiled.

The door blew open and sucked me in like a black hole. I screamed until my body nailed a brick wall, back first. Electric currents ran through my veins on impact and sent my limp body to the cement floor. My lungs sucked in air, bringing me back from unconsciousness. An unseen hand wrapped its fingers around my neck. I gasped and gasped for air. The hand lifted me to my feet, getting higher and higher. I stood on the tips of my toes, fighting for my breath. It let go. My knees collapsed and I was sent reeling for the floor. Mist hung above the floor. It reached out for me. I scurried to my feet and dashed away.

Tears trailed the side of my face to my ears. My legs and feet screamed mercy with each stride. My useless lungs wheezed and coughed. The deafening ringing returned. Brick walls filed down the dungeon hallway, leading to a door at the end. I reached the door and raced to open it.

Locked. I shook the knob and banged against the rusty bolt. The mist stalked along the crawl, coming for me. I looked to my left. Darkness. I looked to my right. She stood there watching me with a smile on her face. She bolted towards me. I sprinted into the darkness.

Scratching droned through the ringing. Screaming echoed from ear to ear. Her footprints boomed louder and louder, getting closer and closer. The floor below turned into earth. Nex saluto vos echoed from wall to wall. I stumbled over a rock onto the dust.

Her hand pulled me to the ground as I struggled to get up. She dug into my skin with her jagged claws. I screamed and begged for her to let go.

I closed my eyes, screaming out air. Stars danced at the corners of my eyes. My throat swelled, cutting off my air.

“Now, Emma, any last words?” she breathed against my ears.

Caleb’s face danced in my mind. Those last moments I saw him broke my heart. This was all my fault.

“I’M SORRY!” I shrieked. “PLEASE! I’M SORRY!”

I dragged my knees into my chest, rocking slowly on the floor. She had taken her cold hands off my legs and arm. The darkness chants faded to nothing. My head pounded like a tribal drum. The ringing subsided.

I opened my eyes.

Candles. The dim lights were scattered across the room. I blinked.

The hotel room. The cracked mirror and the scattered clothes. The floral curtains and the broken television.  My weak legs struggled to carry me to the mirror. Four long cuts gushed down the side of my right leg. I gasped.

Caleb strutted out of the bathroom, steam rolled out by his feet.

“Good morning, gorgeous.”

© 2011 toews19


Author's Note

toews19
Dialogue believable? Is there any unnecessary sections that could be cut?

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Good job. The beginning was a little choppy, and it took me a little while to understand that she was dreaming. There were a couple of quote marks scattered throughout and I don't know why you added them? You might include what Nex saluto vos is in English :) Keep writing.

Posted 10 Years Ago



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Added on June 16, 2010
Last Updated on April 27, 2011
Tags: adultery, unexplained events, witch, jealousy, revenge, female protagonist, female antagonist, love, unrequited love, forbidden love

Author

toews19
toews19

Canada



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