He watched his neighbour silently, his neighbour was on his hands and knees, pulling weeds from the garden, oblivious. Charles knew his wife would be inside, probably helping herself to some wine, wine they couldn’t afford. It didn’t matter anymore though, they would be dead soon enough.
Charles walked downstairs, the cold, wooden floor in need of a carpet. His gown didn’t drag along the floor like it used too, it was becoming short. His house was small, they could hardly afford one with two floors, and he crossed the length of the building in a matter of seconds. Charles preferred calling his house’s style “minimalistic” but he knew that wasn’t it. The lounge was bare and so was the kitchen except for the minimum of what you’d expect from a middle class house: a TV, one couch, an oven and a sink, it wasn’t much but it suited Charles. Apparently that wasn’t enough for Jen, she needed more. The only thing that had drawn her was the acres of land that they owned, but she had grown bored of that. He stopped, anger burned in his chest, so much of it he felt dizzy. At the same time the anger kept him going.
He reached for the door and pulled, sunlight obscured his vision temporarily, his eyes stung. He stared at the ground as he walked. He knew the way, he had been going the same route five times for the past two years. He chuckled, it seemed like a joke that had been used to many times, turning it stale. A two year revenge plot that would change her life forever. In fact, it would end her life. By this point his vision had been adjusted, to win seemingly less bright now. He reached the shed, an old rundown peice of junk that creaked every time someone set foot in it. It’s windows were barricaded with planks, messily nailed into splitting wood, Jen didn’t notice. The “Ol’ Shack” as Charles’ father had called his sheds throughout the years was supposedly Charles’ study, where he wrote and made miniature models of whatever he wanted. That’s what it was for, until Charles found out about Zac.
Zac had moved next door fairly recently, maybe four years ago, and everything about him was better than Charles, even his name appealed more to his wife. Charles got jealous, that was that, Zac didn’t cross his mind until half a year later. Jen had been having chest pains all morning, hard punches that made her recoil from the pain. Charles tried to convince her to stay home but she said it was an important day and she didn’t want to miss it. They both left for work, going their separate ways. Charles decided it was a good idea to call her work, as Jen might lie about her condition as she did in front of her dentist.
“Hi, my wife works at your offices, her name’s Jen Michaels. She was having stomach problems and I was wondering how she’s doing.”
” Sorry, nobody named Jen works here sir, you must have the wrong number. A muffled women spoke through the phone
“No. That’s impossible.” He said in a deadpan voice
” Is it possible she works at another office, maybe in a neighbouring city. “
“I don’t think so.” His voice rose to a cry of help.
” I’m sorry, we can’t help you. “
“Thank you, I’ll check around.”
He hung up, hands shaking and slick. He searched for a Jen Michaels all afternoon, phoning anything similar in the surrounding area. He found none. That day he felt the anger, the unrelenting anger. It never really seemed to stop burning, like a fire in a forest of coal. He felt it now as he opened the door with the same sweat-ridden hands. He opened the door and there was darkness, the light wasn’t used very much. As he scoured the darkness for any signs of life, two emerald eyes appeared. As big as ping pong balls, they stared into him, deep into his eyes. He was sure the animal knew his darkest secrets. Little did it know, this secret would top all of them. Next he was a spark of orange, then the swish of a striped tail and finally a growling mouth, full of teeth the size of his thumb. The tigers face emerged from the black, bringing colour into the monochrome environment. Charles hadn’t bothered to give it a name, he couldn’t risk becoming attached. It would become a liability. Now to tiger came into the light it’s front paws downwards and it’s head low, in hunting position. It was tall, taller than Charles at around seven feet tall. Eleven black strips ran down it’s muscled back, ending in a tail that glided back and forth, unlike a dog’s rapid wagging. He loved the tiger, whether he liked to admit it or not.
He went past the tiger, holding his hands in the air as if surrendering himself. The tiger leaped up and grabbed a cuff of his shirt, tearing it off his outfit. It was getting restless, exercise was coming soon. Using the land that made up the back garden and the kilos of meat that Charles bought with Jen’s salary (he didn’t know where the money came from and frankly, didn’t want to know either) he made the tiger trust him and follow his command. Charles had bought it without Jen knowing from one of the various sellers of “Exotic Pets”. Owning one wasn’t illegal, killing with one was different. He lead it out of it’s cage, the eyes burning with wild fury. He brought out Jen’s maroon jumper that sat in the shed. He held it to the moist nose, it sniffed.
” Hunt. “
It sprinted past him out onto a small dirt road. They lived in the country, the only other neighbours were elderly, bound to be in a care home soon. Charles rushed upstairs to watch what happened next. The tiger disappeared behind walls that confined the property. It didn’t return for quite some time. When he caught a glimpse of it again, it was dragging both bodies with some difficulty, it wasn’t what he planned for, but it would do. Unfortunately, where one part had gone better than expected, another had gone worse. From all the live chickens and turkeys Charles had bought, most had suffered a bloody death, with the tiger’s claws slashing their stomachs. Blood, and sometimes entrails, were hard to clean especially on grass. Jen had come home some days to a perfectly mowed garden, maybe with a picnic blanket covering an area. In the few weeks leading up to the kill, Charles had tried to train the tiger to snap the victims neck, as to not cause a fuss. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he did not. All he could do was hope. The mud path was covered with blood, he hoped the neighbours would not be out today. If they were, the tiger would have to kill again.
It brought the bodies round the back, dragging them through the grass, staining it red. By the time of arrived “home”, Charles was there.
” Good girl. “
He threw it some cut of chicken and immediately got his power washer. He had just finished when someone came out.
“Good afternoon Mr Michaels.”
” Good afternoon to you too. ” He plastered a fake smile on his face and tried to remember his neighbours name.
“What are you doing with that washer?” Butterflies appeared
“Well, Zac said he wanted his patio hosed, I’m letting him borrow mine.” Charles lied through his teeth.
” Have you been using it? ” She signalled to the path that lay wet and squishy.
“Yeah, never used one before, just curious.”
” Okay, say hi to Zac for me. “
He walked over to Zac’s house until he was sure she was gone, he put the power washer in the house and went back outside. He felt a lot more reassured now the blood was gone, the hard part was done. He put Jen’s body in a black bin bag and heaved her over his shoulder, he lay the bag down in the kitchen. He went back into the “Ol’ Shack” and grabbed his sledgehammer. He decided to get one so if the worst came to the worst, he could put down the tiger, and a tiger’s jaws weren’t strong enough to break bones. He went back to the kitchen and pay the body down on the dining table. He had covered it in paper towels before hand, paper towels which would be picked up tomorrow by the bin people. Jen lay there, lifeless, staring at the ceiling above her. Charles imagined himself to be a doctor about to perform a very important procedure.
He lifted the hammer above his head and brought it down on her left arm, then her right, then the rest of her limbs. They broke on impact, making it easier to cut the body with a knife, and that’s what he did. An hour later he filled the bin bag once again with Jen’s body parts, trying to ignore the foul agency that came from spoiled flesh. He opened the door to the shed once again, the tiger awaited him, licking it’s lips in anticipation. He took out peices one by one, throwing them to the hungry animal. It caught some in the air, reaching upwards with huge range out for show. After extensive research Charles had found that tiger’s stomachs could break down bones from the acidity, he just hoped it was hungry. If was very hungry indeed, eating every last peice of Jen. He did the same process to Zac, this time dumping the body into the cave instead of throwing it. The tiger was full but Charles hoped it would finish him off before the police arrived.
Finish it off it did, there was not even a drop of blood when he checked two days later. He opened the door and let it stay open, it was time for the tiger to go. After a moment’s hesitation the beast roared and leaped off into the jungle. Charles didn’t really think about the tiger after that, not until a month later.
After the police had cleared everything up Charles lived free of worry. The police had said that maybe they had ran off together, not for one minute did they suspect any foul play to be involved. Charles was clearing up dishes in the kitchen when he heard a clatter outside, it sounded as if pots had fallen over. He stepped into his trainers and went outside. It was dark, but he could still recognise those eyes. The emerald eyes that stared through him, now furious. There weren’t very many antelope in the middle of the countryside, maybe the tiger couldn’t feed itself, the reasoning was pointless, Charles would have died either way. He stared at it with wide eyes before he turned and disappeared into the thick wood. Thorns tore at his shirt, just as the tiger had. He heard crashing behind him, the cat’s dirty smell growing nearer, Branches snapped beneath his feet. He knew he couldn’t outrun a tiger, it was hopeless. Soon enough the tiger pounced on him and started ripping strips of meat from his back.