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Death by Daffodils

by Roy Dorman

Late Summer

“That’s where I’d plant him; right back there by the fence. I’d do it in fall and then put in a whole mess of daffodil bulbs over him.”

Jackie Lawter had a glass of Merlot in her hand and was staring out the kitchen window into the backyard.

She had married Kyle Lawter a year ago and soon after realized it had been a mistake.

Although he had been a widower for just nine months, he had started talking marriage on their second date.

“Stay away from people who are on the rebound,” she said to herself. “Didn’t I read that in one of those women’s magazines once?”

Kyle had told her a sad story about how his first wife had been abusive to him and had left him in the middle of the night, taking only two suitcases and the emergency money they had kept in a small wall safe.

But Jackie soon learned it was Kyle who was the abusive one. After the honeymoon his true personality showed itself and it was ugly.

“I should have known something was wrong when his kids wouldn’t fly home for the wedding.”

Kyle and his first wife, Sandra, had been married for twenty-six years, and there were two adult children who wanted nothing to do with Kyle. They had grown up watching him belittle and push their mother around. As soon as they graduated from college, they moved to the other side of the country. Allan was in Tucson and Mary Beth was in San Francisco.

When their mother “ran away,” they both told the police they didn’t believe it, but after six months, the investigation had started the journey to the cold case file.

* * *

Early Fall

“Can I do this?”

Even though Jackie believed Kyle was a horrible person who didn’t deserve to live, she knew she wasn’t the type of person who could commit cold-blooded murder. But her mind always returned to fantasies of doing away with him.

“I could push him down the stairs,” she mused while staring out the kitchen window yet again. Jackie spent more and more time there in the late afternoon drinking Merlot.

“But what if he didn’t die? I could go to prison, or worse, spend the rest of my life taking care of him.”

As the weeks passed, that sunny spot along the back fence continued to draw her thoughts to it.

“I could bury him there, put a light leaf cover over the spot after planting the bulbs, and let the snow over the winter cover any traces.”

She worked on her story to tell the police when they came to question her as she knew they would.

“Nobody liked him and plenty of people didn’t like him,” she would tell them. “I suppose it’s possible somebody could have killed him, but I’d think that would be a little much, don’t you? I mean, he wasn’t a nice person, but there are a lot of people who aren’t nice who don’t get themselves murdered.”

* * *

Late Fall

Jackie walked to the spot by the back fence. She rarely went into the backyard; that was “his” domain. Kyle mowed the lawn every weekend without fail throughout the summer and meticulously trimmed the bushes whether they needed it or not.

She had decided she needed to plant the bulbs before it was too late. She would still have her fantasies about killing Kyle, but they would be just that: fantasies.

But as she got nearer to the spot, its pull became even stronger than it had been when she was in her kitchen looking out the window. The spot seemed to be urging her to do something, but what?

She felt dizziness come on and she fell to her knees on the spot. And she suddenly knew what she would find if she broke ground for her daffodil bulbs.

In a panic, she looked around the yard as she felt she was being watched. If Kyle didn’t stop at the bar after work as he usually did, he could be here any minute. The urge to hurry was very strong.

She got a spade from the tool shed and began digging. After just a few shovelfuls, the spade hit something solid. More gently now, she scraped a few more layers of dirt from the place where she had felt something and uncovered what appeared to be the floral print of a woman’s dress.

“You nosey bitch!” Kyle growled as he grabbed Jackie from behind by the throat.

Jackie almost fainted from fright, but strength and the determination to live suddenly surged into her. She jammed the spade down viciously onto Kyle’s instep causing him to howl in pain and lose his grip on her.

Jackie turned to face him and stepped back a couple of steps. Swinging the spade like a baseball bat, she connected with the sharp metal part to the side of his head.

Kyle fell to the ground and died instantly from the wound to his temple.

Jackie walked slowly into the house and called 911. “My husband tried to kill me, and I think I may have killed him. Please send the police and an ambulance to 314 Poplar Drive.”

Jackie didn’t think she would have much to tell the police. She would just lead them to that spot by the fence where she had been going to plant her daffodil bulbs.

Copyright © 2019 by Roy Dorman

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