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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Hillary Lyon: Nobody Puts Liza in the Closet

93_ym_nobodyputslizainthecloset_wisemanrose.jpg
Art by Sophia Wiseman-Rose 2022

Nobody Puts Liza in the Closet

 

by Hillary Lyon

 

 

 

“Oooh, babe, you are such a delight, such a luxury—” He smiled his boyish smile and ran his fingers through her tousled hair. “Do you realize what I would do just to—”

Carl’s romantic babble was interrupted by the sound of a car door slamming, shortly followed by the rattle of keys in the front door lock.

“God dammit!” He hissed, jumping out of bed. He grabbed Liza by the arm, roughly pulling her up and off the bed. “You gotta hide!” He frantically scanned the messy bedroom. Carl kicked a pile of dirty clothes away from the closet doors.

“Here—get in here.” He shoved Liza inside and closed the closet’s louvered doors. “And don’t say a word—no matter what you hear. Got it?”

Naked Liza worked her way to the back of the closet, behind the hanging shirts, slacks, and dresses. She pressed herself up against the wall and held her breath.

Carl grabbed a wrinkled t-shirt and soiled jeans from the laundry pile and quickly pulled them on. Just as he was zipping up the fly, Jessie pushed the bedroom door open.

“Hey, babe,” Carl laughed awkwardly when they made eye contact; his mind was careening like a poorly shot pool ball, zooming and clacking against other balls, trying to locate a believable story. “What are ya doing home so early?” He mentally kicked himself; that was the absolute wrong thing to say.

“Me?” Jessie’s eyebrows knitted together; deflection was one of his tired tricks. “I thought I’d come home for lunch. Work is making me crazy.” But not as crazy as you make me, she added to herself.

Jessie looked at the rumpled bed and sighed. She’d made it up before she’d left for work this morning. She always made up the bed. Carl knew this; he shoved his hands into his jeans’ back pockets, thrust his shoulders out. He hoped the pose would distract her. He knew what she liked.

“Question is, Carl, what are you doing home? Why aren’t you at work?”

“You know what?” Carl answered, adopting his seductive swagger and slowly moving in close to her. “I wanted to surprise you, babe. Engage in some afternoon dee-light.” He was such a bad liar. Carl chuckled and slid his arms around her to bring her into a close, warm hug, hoping she would melt, like she used to. Jessie put both hands against his muscular chest and gently pushed him away; she could smell another woman on him. It was not the first time; more like the 50th. An exaggeration, but not by much.

“You surprised me, alright,” Jessie murmured as she slid her purse off her shoulder. But not really, she said to herself as she opened her bag. “Well, I—” she said as she dug around inside her cluttered bag, “have a surprise for you.”

Jessie looked up at Carl and smiled. “And here it is.” She withdrew her little pearl-handled two-shot derringer, the one her grandmother gave her when she moved to the big city. For protection. Well, Jessie reasoned, I have to protect my sanity and self-esteem, don’t I.

“Hey, babe—no!” Panicked, Carl waved his hands before him, as if this lame pantomime could stop the roaring juggernaut of his oncoming fate. “Uh uh. You don’t wanna do this!” His terrified mind scampered from excuse to excuse, from appeal to appeal, like a rat trying to escape a feral alley cat. “You know how much I love you!”

“Yeah, ‘in your way,’ you once told me.”  Her eyes were cold and distant as she recalled that conversation. It was from the first time she caught him cheating; the other woman was hiding in their bathroom, cowering like the skanky coward she was. Though Jessie chased her out of their apartment with a steak knife, she had no intention of stabbing the stupid woman. No, she would save her murderous intention for the inevitable next time. For Carl.

But he had been so careful in the intervening years; Jessie never again caught him with another woman, but she accrued plenty of evidence that there were others. Like the lipstick she found under the couch when she was vacuuming; a color she’d never wear, much less own. Folded love notes left in his jean’s pockets, childish notes not written in her hand. Then there were the tiny g-string panties she’d found under her seat in the car; must’ve belonged to the previous owner, Carl insisted, as the car was bought used.

Uh huh.

There were so many other instances, Jessie grew weary recollecting them; each memory just added more kindling to her smoldering ire.

“Babe, you are my everything—my delight, my love, my—do you realize what I would do just to—” Carl was maneuvering himself close to Jessie, in hopes of snatching the derringer from her hand. She was on to him; she stepped back.

“Oh yeah, babe, but do you realize what I would do just to—” Jessie pulled the trigger, and boom!, Carl crumpled to the floor, landing in the pile of dirty laundry. “—be rid of you?”

She poked him in the ribs with the toe of her loafer; he didn’t twitch or groan. She wiped the blood off the toe of her shoe on his jeans, adding yet another stain. “Aw, who’s gonna do your laundry now, babe?” Jessie scoffed. She put the warm derringer back into her purse.

She turned towards the closet. “You can come out now, Liza,” Jessie said with a soft lilt her voice.

Liza pushed the louvered doors of the closet open. She poked her head out, wide eyed and biting her lower lip; Jessie melted inside when Liza did that. “Is it done?” she whispered excitedly. Liza had donned one of Jessie’s floral summer dresses. It fit her perfectly.

“It’s done, babe,” Jessie said as she took Liza in her arms. “And you played your part perfectly—you sweet little scamp.” Liza blushed.

“Now what?” Liza asked. She looked down at Carl’s body and grimaced.

“No need to look at that mess, sweetheart.” Jessie took Liza's face in her hands. “Now I grab my suitcase, we hop in your car, and we get the hell outta here.” Gently, reassuringly, she kissed Liza. “We’re free.”





Hillary Lyon founded and for 20 years acted as senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. Her stories have appeared lately in 365tomorrows, Black Petals, Sirens Call, Night to Dawn, 50 Word Stories, Legends of Night drabble series anthology, and Revelations drabble series anthology. She’s also an illustrator for horror & pulp fiction magazines.


https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/


Sophia Wiseman-Rose is a Paramedic and an Episcopalian nun. Both careers have provided a great deal of exposure to the extremes in life and have provided great inspiration for her.  

 She is currently spending time with her four lovely grown children and making plans to move back to her home in the UK in the Autumn.  

 Sophia had a few poems in the last edition of Black Petals, and she is thrilled, as this is her first time illustrating for Yellow Mama magazine. 



In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022