Never Too Late To Die
were rainy days and Norman detested the rain; that sullen wetness got on his
nerves just like his wife’s continuous visits.
stone dead, Alyssa, what do you want from me?” he shouted on seeing the spectre
plummet into his room.
you rot would be great, I didn’t like your dirty trick at all.”
out of here,” he pleaded, exhausted.
tragedy had occurred years ago on a bleak evening exactly like that one. She
insisted on spending the weekend at their holiday home by the lake. No cottage
cosier than theirs with the garden full of flower beds, willow trees with
exceptionally long drooping branches and a private dock where their motor boat
waited for them. He loved going there but not when he had to hand in a
manuscript to an unforgiving editor and needed to remain in his studio and
write till his eyes were red and fingers hurt. Alyssa always had it her way;
her insistence was so unnerving that he ended up giving in.
had been love at first sight, probably too much at first sight for after the
second month of marriage, they found out they were totally incompatible. Alyssa
was impulsive, whimsical and hated whatever her
husband did. Writing was a waste of time, not profitable and most of all it
estranged him from her world where shopping sprees, dinner parties and all sort
of leisure were predominant. She was a gorgeous lady with enticing eyes and
affable manners and flirting was her favourite pastime, despite being married.
never doubted she had cheated on him, but he didn’t care much… His work
absorbed him completely. It needed tranquillity and even a good dose of
solitude. Marrying a woman like Alyssa had been a big mistake.
the time spent stabbing the keyboard wasn’t as unprofitable as it seemed. One
best seller followed the other, two films were made out of
them and fame and, most of all, lots of money rolled in. That was when he
purchased the cottage.
had he seen his wife so pleased; she turned as caring and dedicated as to be
you needed my money to make you love me, baby, I don’t like it that way, I
so fussy? We all know that riches make life easier. Besides, who said I don’t
care for you? I absolutely love you, darling,” and she kissed him passionately
as though to assure him of her feelings.
Norman pushed her away. “It won’t work for me,” and went out just in time to
miss one of her lovers’ call.
he didn’t love his wife anymore and that’s probably why he fell for Raven, a
pretty starlet who had a role in one of the films based on his novels. She
played a young runaway who gets in trouble and ends up with her body horribly
girl was cheerful, sweet, dressed like a hippie, did lots jogging and had long
hair held up by a silver hairpin.
belonged to my granny,” she said once and invited him to take it off.
ebony curls fell upon her shoulders and he couldn’t avoid stroking them. Then
his fingers touched her lips… he was dying to kiss her.
can’t forgive you for what you’ve done to me,” she giggled one evening while
they had a drink together.
I had known you before, I’d have changed the end,” he smiled, his eyes fixed on
guess that’s enough to pardon you and invite you to my place.”
night was theirs and also the ones that followed until
the shooting of the film was over.
had been a long time since he felt so relaxed and had more fun than pressure
while working. He wondered if Raven considered the fluctuant affair serious.
Probably not, for she was very young and never talked about settling down.
image kept flashing before him during his journey home and
also afterwards; the girl had bewitched him.
did his best to resist her and it took him a while to get back to his usual
life. His editors gave him a hand as his late success made them greedy of his
talent and they commissioned other books; he had to work incessantly while
Alyssa was relishing the huge amount of money available.
ever talked about divorce; for sure, she would never give him up.
recalled when a few months before the tragedy, while going through the pages of
the book that made him so famous, a scribbled note caught his attention. ‘Come
back to me, I love you.’
was Raven’s handwriting. Why didn’t she tell him before? Had she given him the
time to find out about his true feelings and be free from any ties?
were the questions, doubts and, most of all, regrets. He should have divorced
long ago. Everything around him appeared unfamiliar, distant; Alyssa seemed
even more superficial and insensitive and shamefully naughty. A sudden, intense
hate for her seized him and, for the first time, he wished she were dead.
thought was horrid, terrifying, but he couldn’t help it.
he really killed his wife after all?
free, he would have searched for Raven, perhaps, in some youth hostel, flea
market or on a solitary beach; she was waiting for him and he had to find her.
darling, doesn’t this rain remind you anything?” Alyssa’s ghost asked showing
up once again.
away; you’re out of my life now.”
to you, love,” she sneered and vanished.
leaned forward to put his head in his hands. How could he go on like that?
her apparitions, memories crammed his mind and a severe headache always
followed. Everything happened so suddenly, accidentally, that damned night… He should have never consented to her
have the time to talk things over, to ponder if it’s worth going on together,
darling…” his wife said while packing.
words surprised him. For the first time she said something sensible… Norman
didn’t trust her, though.
at the cottage, she showed him a revolver.
brought it along in case some weirdo shows up, with all that we hear in the
news, we’ve got to be cautious.”
place was isolated, but he didn’t like the idea of Alyssa having a gun. Could
she wish him dead too? She spent lots of nights out these days; surely with one
of her toy boys who made her have fun and sex at her own expenses. Had they
conjectured something together?
evening was spent dining on the terrace and sipping martinis and champagne. Now
and then there was a tight smile, an inquisitive glance deep into one another’s
soul as if ever they had a soul… The alcohol wasn’t enough to soothe their
weather didn’t help much as dark clouds were billowing above and the lake’s
delicate breeze was turning into chilly gusts.
the moment Norman found the note, he hadn’t get Raven out of his mind. He even
made her the protagonist of his latest novel just to feel her closer. He would
have done anything to have her.
were about to retire when Alyssa smiled alluringly and moved next to him, “It
would be fun spending the night on the lake and so romantic…”
tone was exaggeratedly mellifluous.
she did have a plan… Once out there, she would kill him and gain possession of
his money, free to squander it as she liked.
weather isn’t good and I’m quite tired,” he replied, visibly tense.
on now, what can be more exciting than sailing through a storm?”
got hold of a bottle of champagne, headed towards the dock
and jumped on the boat, followed by her husband, eager to find out what she
really had in mind.
ripples weren’t exactly waves yet and a few stars shone above; the weather
looked as moody as his wife and he wished he were miles away, in Raven’s arms…
on board, Alyssa began drinking heavily and when they were far from the shore,
she muttered, “I know you’ve fallen out of love with me, but I still care for
you, sweetie, couldn’t imagine my life without you.”
words upset him. She was lying.
you say that to your lovers too?”
foolish, I simply have some fun once in a while.”
Was she diverting herself by provoking him before firing? He definitely
began raining heavily, strong gusts shook the vessel and the waves unbalanced
it. Alyssa, already unsteady through many drinks, was thrust into the water.
Immediately, she started shouting and gasping. Norman seemed paralysed; he kept
staring at the lifebuoy while his wife was imploring him to launch it…
Norman, what’s keeping you? She’s drowning,’ a voice inside cried, but he
didn’t move… A sly smile only showed on his face. His wish was coming true…
night grew very dark, the stars had vanished and Alyssa had disappeared into
the murky depths.
he recovered, he was lucid enough to throw the buoy into the water… just to
avoid unpleasant suspicions.
the researches, the body was never found and Norman was not charged with
murder, but never would he have imagined that his only witness would become his
first apparition occurred a few nights afterwards; Alyssa’s body was swollen,
like a grotesque carnival inflatable; the lips, blue and enormous, revolting.
did you do this to me?” the spectre cried, “I’ll find out and get even with