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The Letter – by Henry Hatchet

The Letter

by Henry Hatchet

The envelope, containing the letter, was pinned to the inside of my back door with a large kitchen knife. She had used my old typewriter to type–‘Please read this tomorrow.’–on the front of it.

Every tomorrow has its own tomorrow, and I was never one to follow instructions too well. The door was brand new. I had thrown her husband through the old one, for what he had done to her.

I grabbed the knife and yanked it from the door. Her subtle perfume lingered in the still air, as the letter dropped to the floor. It flipped as it fell, revealing a simple but beautiful love-heart on the back. I picked it up and held it to my face, inhaling the alluring fragrance. I used the knife to open it; the sharp, shiny blade made short work of slicing the envelope open.

Dear Tom,

You opened it right away, didn’t you?

I know you’re going to hate reading this and call me a coward for not doing this in person. It’s usually done over a cup of coffee at some obscure cafe, so please make yourself a cup of that horrid black coffee, you love so much, and read this at your leisure.

We are over, Tom.

There, I wrote it.

By the time you read this, I’ll be back with my violent husband and his two kids that hate my guts. I do want to thank you for our great time together and also the tough times we had. I particularly want to express my gratitude for your loving care, nursing me back to health.

The night you found me beside that lonely road, beat up and almost dead from blood-loss, was the luckiest night of my life. Not just because you saved my life, but because it allowed me to meet you. The quick trip to hospital was one thing, but for you to take me in, after they discharged me, when I had nowhere else to go, really showed your selflessness and compassion.

I know you so well that I can tell what you’re thinking right now. If I was sitting with you right now, you would say, “Anyone else would have done the same thing. Pfftt, it was nothing.” That’s why I love you so much.

I do want to make one thing very clear. I didn’t leave because of your writing all the time. I actually got used to playing second fiddle to that damned book of yours. Your weird habits will remain a secret between the two of us. The way you lied about taking a break from it, only to sneak off with your laptop in the middle of the night, was quite funny, now that I think about it.

I know you will always love writing much more than you could ever love me; the left over love you had for me was more than enough.

I put the knife and the letter on the kitchen bench and removed my glasses to wipe my eyes. I could see the grape vines outside losing their golden-brown leaves. A cold, bleak winter was on its way. I had always loved and looked forward to wintertime. Now, the thought of it made me shiver, chilling my very soul.

I picked up the fragrant paper again, wondering how long the scent would last. It was all that remained of her.

It’s easy for me to see everything clearly, now that I stopped taking my medication. There is something I must do, and I must do it alone. The only person that can fix this is me, and I hope you won’t think ill of me afterwards. I couldn’t bear it if you hated me.

I did learn to stand alone and to stand tall. I learned that from you, my love. Nobody is going to hurt me anymore–ever.

I can’t recall the name of that Chinese guy that you used to quote all the time. Hell, I can’t even remember the quote. Something about keeping your enemies closer. That’s why I left you to move back with him. Nice and close.

I stole your Colt 1911 from the gun-safe…

“Shit!” I said, dropping the letter again and made my way to the bedroom with long strides. The door to the safe was open, keys still in the lock. I felt helpless. I rushed back to the kitchen and grabbed my phone from my pocket to call the police, but I had to know what else she wrote.

…I only took one bullet. I’ll only need one for him.

Oh, and by the way, I suppose I should thank you for teaching me to shoot. Don’t bother calling the police; I’m sure they will call you soon. As a matter of fact, it’s probably a good time for an overseas holiday, and if I were you I’d pack my bag fast, if you know what I mean, after all–this is your typewriter and it is your gun.

Love Linda.

About the Author:

Henry Hatchet grew up Brisbane and as a teenager, his quest for work led him to the Country. He fell in love with the Australian Outback and although his work led him overseas for a time, he never worked in a city again. He experienced the trials and tribulations of rural life, first hand: the droughts, the floods, the fires, the accidents, the joys of happiness, and love. He now resides on his property in Queensland and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Other work by Henry Hatchet on Flashes:

Dark and Dreaming

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Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.
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