Elise – The Not So Sane Wife

Nathan looked across the park at his bride-to-be.

 

Elise stood next to a fence overlooking a beautiful waterfall. It was fortuitous that they met, and it was fate that they are here now. She glanced over her shoulder at him, smiled and motioned him over.

 

“Come and join me.” Elise said, as she turned to face the view again.

 

Nathan studied Elise’s body as he approached. Sunlight reflected off of her white hair, flowing down the contours of her thin back, down past her hips. She always wore her hair down, and it made Nathan’s stomach flutter. She kept her hair dyed his favorite color: which was platinum blonde. He approached her from the right and wrapped his arms around her waist. She returned his embrace as they looked out at the view.

 

There was a small white fence, three feet off the ground, surrounding the water, as it flowed around the half circle and over the waterfall. Mist rose up from the water below, spraying anyone near the fence. A rainbow arced from one side of the waterfall to the other. The mist distorted the colors, adding more life to an already ethereal scene.

 

“The water is beautiful, isn’t it, sweetie?” Nathan pulled her closer, as he leaned on the fence.

 

She didn’t respond. Elise just stood there in silence, with a look Nathan couldn’t quite understand, as if she was in another world. Her body was stiff and her head tilted to the side, as if she was trying to focus on something out in the distance.

 

“Hello?” Nathan asked playfully, as he waved his hand in front of her eyes. She turned to look at him, but maintained that blank stare. Like her mind was a million miles away. As he looked deeper into her eyes, chills ran down his spine.

 

Elise shook her head and the glazed look vanished. She smiled, “Sorry, I was just lost in thought. Of course it is.” She went back to looking across the water, as if nothing had happened.

 

They married swiftly, at Elise’s home. They had an outside wedding, with hundreds of guests. Elise baked the cake and put a statue of her and Nathan on top of it. The wedding was paid for by Nathan’s parents. He tried to convince Elise to bring her parents to the wedding, but she insisted that they didn’t want to come. Beyond that she didn’t give any reason.

 

They wrote their own wedding vows, and ordered custom rings. Elise acted a little odd during the reading of the vows. When it was her turn she sat and stared at Nathan for a while. Blankly, as if something was on her mind. He had to touch her gently to bring her back to reality.

 

Everyone they knew came to the wedding; the festivities buzzed with gossip about their whirlwind engagement, none of which bothered Nathan. He was in love, and he longed to spend the rest of his life with his effervescent bride.

 

Nathan couldn’t explain what made him fall so deeply in love with her. It was love at first sight. Most of his friends found her strange, and told him to stay away from her, but there was something about her that he just couldn’t get enough of. The way she talked, her personality, and even the annoying little habits like spacing out sometimes and not paying attention.

 

Nathan came home from work one afternoon and Elise had bought and cooked over one hundred dollars’ worth of food. She made a grand meal that resembled a spread at an all you can eat buffet. They ate one meal with the food and she threw the rest away. The next morning it was as if she had forgotten cooking the previous evening.

 

The nocturnal behaviors always seemed to happen at night. From time to time, Nathan would wake to find Elise sitting up in bed staring off into space. Other times, he found her standing at the foot of the bed, staring at him. These events left him restless, and unable to return to sleep. One night, Nathan awoke late at night, and the bed was empty, Elise nowhere to be found. He searched the house before finding her huddled in the corner of the garage in the dark. She didn’t talk, and just returned to bed. The next morning, she remembered nothing. She attributed it to sleepwalking, which she claimed had plagued her since childhood.

 

Nathan was concerned to the point where he took Elise to a sleep specialist. After he described all the nighttime events the therapist diagnosed her with sleepwalking disorder, and prescribed medication to help her sleep better, advising them not to worry about it.

 

One afternoon Nathan came home from work and found their dog Sasha, whom he had for over two years, beaten to death on their front porch. When he told Elise she almost had a breakdown. She loved that dog a great deal, and it made her sleep problems even worse. Within weeks of that happening, other animals in the neighborhood started turning up the same way.

 

Things settled down when a new couple moved in. Within two weeks, Elise became friends with the neighbors. She and Janette hit it off quickly. Janette’s husband travelled on business, so Janette was home alone when he was travelling. Elise began spending a lot of time with Janette, keeping her company, especially when Nathan was at work

 

One afternoon when Nathan returned home from work, Elise, who was normally home when he arrived, was not. Instead he found a note waiting for him on the refrigerator.

 

Nathan,

 

Something horrible happened. Janette’s husband died in a car accident. She’s upset, I am going to stay with her tonight and keep an eye on her. She really can’t be left alone. I am worried that she might be suicidal. I need to stay over to make sure she’s safe. I cooked something unique for you. Something I’ve never tried before. I left it in the microwave.

 

I love you, hunny.

Elise

 

He went to the microwave, as soon as he opened the microwave the rich smelling sauce filled his nostrils. Nathan smiled as he sat down at the table, eating as he watched the news. The pasta tasted great, but he had a strange feeling that something was wrong. Terribly wrong. A feeling of unrest that he couldn’t shake.

 

Nathan grabbed a beer and sat down to watch one of his favorite shows. His stomach started burning and a feeling of vertigo washed over him. Normally he would have stayed up much later but he felt like he was getting sick. He decided to turn in a few hours early. He drifted off to sleep in a sickly daze.

 

Nathan’s body jumped in shock when he heard a sound in his bedroom. He was groggy and everything in the room was spinning. He looked at the clock beside the bed: 2am. The room was pitch black. A passing car’s headlights illuminated the room, revealing a silhouette standing beside the bed with an object.

 

At first, his mind wasn’t able to register what was going on. He thought that perhaps Elise had slept walk from Janette’s back home and was standing there. But then he remembered he locked the door. Terrified, muscles stiffened, he leaned over and turned the lamp on. Elise stood there, covered in blood and holding a knife. His heart raced.

 

Visions flashed in his head as memories flooded in. She had lost her rolling pin a few days before Sasha was found beaten to death. It’s something he had noticed, but at the time he didn’t relate the two events. He recalled the grin. That sick grin she had every time he found her sleep walking.

 

He screamed as the knife came down and entered his throat.

 

***

 

At the funeral, everyone who knew Nathan gathered, including Elise’s family. In the back row sat an elderly couple.

 

Elise’s father looked at her mother and whispered, “Do you think they know who did it?”

 

“No, the police mentioned that they found both the neighbors dead. I told them Elise had been staying with us because of…You know… marital problems.”

 

“We should warn the next one.”

 

“You’ve said that the last four times. She is such a warm, accepting wife… until she has one of her blackouts.”

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