50% of all marriages end in divorce. Hmm. Wonder if the odds get any better if there's only 50% of you left?
Blood Money by E. A. Irwin
Blood flew from my mouth as a fist connected with my jaw for the thousandth time. Hands grabbed my hair, wrenching my head backward as another set of fists pummeled the slab of meat previously known as my battered face.
“Where did you hide the money, Larry? Tell us now and save yourself the inevitable.”
The many possibilities regarding the unspoken inevitable made my head swim when I shook it. I wasn’t going to pony up information. A foot assaulted my gut. I cringed and sank lower in the chair to avoid having my lungs explode from their perforation by broken ribs. The hands entwined in my hair jerked me upright, assuring I’d experience the full pounding to my body.
Shrill screaming met my ears. “Leave him alone. He doesn’t know anything!”
Through swollen eye slits, I stared at my wife twisting in a chair across from me, her efforts futile as she attempted to free herself from her bonds. The man behind me walked to her, grabbed her hair and jerked her face to within inches of his. “If he doesn’t know anything then I suggest you start talking, Mrs. Moneybags. I’ll give you one second to tell me where he’s hidden the money he stole from us.”
Sheila’s attempt at bravery by spitting in his face ended with him backhanding her across the jaw, causing her head to ricochet against the wall. “That will be the last time you do that, bitch. I’m through playing nice; either tell me where old Larry stashed the cash or you watch him die piece by piece.” His eyes flashed with malice. “Or perhaps you hid the money without Larry knowing.” The flick of a switchblade against her neck produced another scream. “Is that what you did, Mrs. Moneybags? Did you find out Larry’s been a naughty boy and wanted to get back at him for not sharing his misdeeds and the loot? You two in this together? That why you’re holding out on me? Not a good idea, sweet thing; my blade doesn’t like liars.”
Blood trickled from a fresh wound on Sheila neck, her voice strangled as she spoke. “I don’t know anything about any money Larry allegedly stole. Give me a figure. I have the money; all you have to do is give me an amount and I’ll make good on whatever you want. We won’t go to the police. They can’t trace cash. Just don’t hurt us anymore. Please.”
“That so?” His beady black eyes bored into mine. “Is this how it works in your marriage, Larry? You let the little woman pay for your mistakes? Figured you for a loser.” He rubbed the front of his pants with the switchblade while vulgarly laughing. “Maybe we can up the ante here, hey Sheila baby? Looks like you need a real man in your life to show you how it is, not some puny-assed thief making you pay for his crime. Want to bargain by spreading your legs and doing me in front of that piece of crap you call a husband?”
“Stop it! Get away from her!” My words grew incoherent as my tongue swelled.
He bent and whispered seductively in her ear, the calmness of his voice chilled my spine. “I’ll get off more if you scream when I’m riding you. Could be worth a discount on the debt if you go the extra mile with my friend over there too, kind of a two-fer-one deal, you know?”
Hyenas sounded saner than his friend when he laughed. Sheila’s eyes reflected the terror shifting through her brain as she weighed the idea of being violated simultaneously by two savages. Her sudden outburst shattered my reserve. “He’s lying, Larry. Tell them where the money is! They’re going to kills us if you don’t, no matter what I do!”
A rivulet of red seeped down Sheila’s arm, her shrieks matching the depth of the cut her assailant delivered.
Another slam rocked my head. “She dies now if you don’t start talking.”
Breathing deeply, I watched blood spatter spurt from Sheila’s mouth and hit the wall as her anguished cries filled the room. “I told you!" I shouted, "I didn’t steal your money. I don’t know anything.”
“Have it your way, Larry. She gets cut until she dies while you watch. I warned you. You’re next.”
They sliced my wife into bloody strips of flesh barely attached to bone while her banshee screeching ran along my ear canal in a frenzied death song. I watched with gory fascination until the last swipe of the knife stilled.
“Is she dead, Stan?” I asked.
He kicked the chair containing my wife’s remains to the floor. “Yeah, she’s dead.”
I motioned with my head to Stan’s buddy in crime. “Untie me, Tony. Why the hell did you beat me so badly? This could have been accomplished without practically killing me.”
Stan ripped off the latex gloves he’d worn while murdering my wife. “You wanted her dead. Had to make it look real for the cops. Same reason we can’t untie you. You need an alibi.”
I spit broken enamel and blood clots from my mouth. “You broke my teeth.”
Derisive laughter filled dead air. “Buy new teeth with your inheritance. We’ll call the police after we leave and inform them we heard screaming. Should give you enough time to work up a few tears for your dearly departed.”
I smiled despite the pain and Sheila’s growing stench. Yeah, the inheritance would buy everything I wanted … including a new wife. Who said liars never prospered?