TUNNEL VISION: Chapter Fourteen

Outside was a blur of white. Kinney stood at the window of his large home and watched the wind whip the snow into giant drifts. The snow covered rocks and benches, deck chairs, the wheelbarrow and eventually Kinney’s very own car. The world was swallowed whole. He returned to the fireplace, a smile spreading coolly across his face. With most of the staff, save Mallie Lyn Peters, away for the holiday, Kinney had his Rose all to himself and no one would be able to interrupt them.

He sat in his favorite green velvet chair and listened to the fire crackle. Rose was upstairs dressing. He’d given her a very special outfit to wear for this evening. One he’d had recreated from photographs. The one Rose…the first Rose had been wearing when she’d…

The fire popped, startling Kinney. He no longer wanted to think of the first Rose and the new Rose. He wanted one wife, one Rose, and he wanted her to be perfect. Tonight, his wife would wear the dress that she’d worn when she’d almost died. Almost. Yes! Almost! Because his wife hadn’t died at all. He hadn’t chased her into the frigid water and held her under until she stopped fighting him. He hadn’t cured her diseased mind with death…but with love. Why even now his Rose, now fully recuperated and looking more perfect than ever, dressed for him in a white gown upstairs.

He imagined her stepping into the gown, her bare legs smooth. He could hear the dress being pulled up over her hips and the image of the white fabric against her smooth skin caused his blood to roil within him. The dress slid over the curves of her hips, over her full breasts. She reached behind her back and tucked the buttons into the loops. Later, Kinney would tear those buttons free, rip the dress from her smooth body, and reclaim all that he had lost.

He heard the footsteps running down the hall. She was running to him! Running to him at last! His Rose! His wife!

And then he heard Mallie crying. It was Mallie, wasn’t it, and not his Rose? Kinney stood and turned to watch Mallie run to the stairs, stumble, and then roll completely down them, her body tumbling as much as a sack of laundry.

There was silence in the house, save for the crackling of the fire, and a great gust of wind outside swirling snow ever closer to the windows trapping them inside. Kinney did not run to Mallie immediately to see if she were all right. He was still processing the words she’d cried right before falling down the stairs: “She’s gone, sir! Rose is gone! He’s taken her!”

Mallie groaned and reached for Kinney.

He spun on his heels and went to fetch his jacket and gloves. The stupid girl could die there for all he cared. There was only one thing for him to do and that was to head to the asylum. He’d thought he could take her away from there, wipe her memory like a chalkboard, and start afresh. She had no idea what happiness lay in front of them and now…Now!

The sleeping beast within Kinney twisted and turned. Kinney took a breath and for the first time in over three years allowed himself to fully feel the rage that lived within him. He would make everyone pay. Everyone. If only they had left him and Rose in peace to live their life quietly. But they hadn’t, had they? No. The world was against him. It had always been against him.

Kinney swung open the door and ran into the white. It took only moments for him to leave the house and Mallie’s cries far behind him.