They found the pamphlet in the seat next to you, crumpled and bruised, covered in your blood: 5 Signs Your Spouse May Suffer From Depression. I had watched you throw it away months before, after I brought it home. Things became chilly between us after that.
When the officer called to ask if I had seen you recently, I lied. I told him that the last time I had seen you was at the divorce hearing, when you threatened to take me for all that I was worth. The officer said he had to verify who was at fault for insurance purposes.
Six months before that, you began to blame possession. You led me down a rabbit hole of ghosts. There were gardens overturned with the husks of my tulips, and walls with strange noises that could not have been our pipes. The cabinets flew open like it was time for spring cleaning, but in the dead of winter.
The last time I saw you, you were silver-gray. Your eyes were sullen. You stood outside the kitchen window. You had already moved out, but our daughter and I chose to stay in the house where you said we were not the only inhabitants. When I saw you, you were encircled by a crown of broken glass, the shards exploded in slow motion, pushed back by invisible forces.
The next day, this morning, you crashed my hand-me-down sedan into the bay windows while we were out of the house for the day, our daughter at school and I at the hospital where I worked. When the officer called, he said we were lucky it was only property damage.
Six months ago, the medium came to our house. You had begged me to consider one. As she let herself into our sunken living room, she handed me another pamphlet: 5 Signs Your House May Suffer From Possession. She told me not to fret. Possession was not a referendum on my character. It happened all the time to perfectly well-meaning people who did not understand history and the signs to watch out for when buying a home. She examined my house like she was an art dealer, looking for signs where I knew she’d find none.
A week after you died, she phoned to tell me not that our house had been built on top of an Indian burial ground, but that there was nothing she could do to stop the evil that lived here. It was not something supernatural, as I suddenly wished it was. It was not a call coming from inside the house.
It was us.Meredith Smith’s fiction, poetry, and editorial work has appeared in lit mags, horror podcasts, science fiction blogs, music zines, and more. A recovering zinester and small press owner in Seattle, Washington, Meredith is currently working on her debut horror novel.