Dearest, Darling, Decay by J.H. Laird

So this short story was written by our very own Jenna Laird for Ravenfest, a two day festival which took place on October 29th and 30th 2021. This event celebrates famous American author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe and so entrants were encouraged to write a piece of fiction, approximately 500 words in length in the style of the horror icon. The contest was split into to age categories, ages five to 17 and 18 and over. Jenna was in the 18 and over category and won the first prize of £50. They were also featured in the local newspaper, and I will include some photos of that at the end. In addition to that the story was featured in the online version of the newspaper, and you can read that by clicking here but for now enjoy the story.

It has been seven days and my mixture of perfumes along with the containers of strong coffee have covered the smell of your decomposing flesh extraordinary well. Although my friends complain that the plethora of scents have given them headaches so they refuse to be entertained in my home. I wonder if they would have preferred the smell of rot now.

I shall not apologise for my little crime. My love for you disintegrated when you laughed at the idea of marrying me. 

The humiliation you caused me sent me into a catastrophic rage so you only have yourself to blame. But not to worry. The satisfaction I got as I mutilated your body, chopping off your digits, slicing your limbs apart and scarring your torso comforted my anger. I left your head for last. I grasped your blood soaked hair and held you high to admire how I turned someone so beautiful into something so grotesque.

In a moment of passion I pulled more from your body. My hand was a claw around your heart and I brought it to my lips and devoured it in delicious mouthfuls. Consuming your heart was the closest I ever felt to you and I wanted to hold on to it despite my hatred.

I lifted the floorboards and placed your delicate carcass inside and flipped the boards so that there was no blood shown and now, my dearest darling, dead, I can keep you forever.

He hears scrapes in the night and he assumes that it’s the rats in the walls and floors. If his eyesight were better, he’d have noticed the nail marks on the floorboards the last time he gazed at my corpse. 

He watched a spider escape from underneath my eyelid and find another home within my remains.  I can tell that he’s curious and confused by the slow, slow pace of my decomposition and he will come to the conclusion that it must be scientific but the truth is far more spiritual.

Inch by inch, day by day, I was able to reattach my fingers, my head and limbs piece by piece. At night I’d use the strength that my decaying body could muster and scratch, scratch scratch, to drive his dreams into madness. 

I hear him toss and turn and cry within his nightmares. He calls my name. Helena…Helena forgive me…

You took something of mine, my love. It is only fair that I take yours to replace what you stole. I rise from my burial pit, my footsteps silent like the grave I rose from. The rodents and insects follow behind me, I have been home to them and they remain loyal unlike you.

Your eyes stay shut, lost in your nightmare that I orchestrated. My mouth opens, salivating and my hand reaches out eagerly. I hover for a moment to savour the wickedness before my revenge is complete. I ready my nails, trace over your hideous heart and bare my teeth for the devouring.

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