Chapter no 63

The Teacher


WHEN THE MORNING sun dawns on the horizon, I am momentarily surprised to find the space next to me in bed is empty.

Despite my recent lack of affection for my spouse, her companionship is something on which I had learned to rely. Every morning, she was beside me in bed—me on the left and her on the right. Her absence is so disconcerting that for a moment, I feel around her side of the bed, searching for her silhouette.

And when my hand touches only the cold sheets beside me, I feel a rush of relief.

Eve is gone.

She set out to destroy my life, and in the course of one night, I managed to solve this problem. Eve is dead—Addie has either buried her in the ground or was caught attempting to bury her after I drove off. And the photographs Eve took on her phone have been deleted from her device, which is buried in the ground with her.

I am a free man.

I rise from the bed, stretching luxuriously. If things had gone differently last night, I would be stumbling out of a motel bedroom, likely clutching my aching back. When Addie called me, I was sitting at a bar, nursing a glass of scotch, contemplating my next move. I didn’t realize that phone call would solve all my problems.

Out of curiosity, I reach for my phone, which is charging on the nightstand. I’m not surprised to see several messages from Addie at around three in the morning. Some of them are slightly different, but they all amount to the same thing:


Where are you?

Poor, wretched Addie. Stuck in the middle of that pumpkin patch in the middle of the night. Truly, I hated to do it to her. I am not a monster. I do hope she made it home in one piece, although it would make my life easier if she came to a bitter end last night while trying to hitchhike with some

trucker. I stare down at the phone, wondering if I should risk one last message to her.

No, I can’t. I don’t know who has her phone right now. I’ll simply have to trust that she heeds my final words of wisdom.

Deny everything.

But even if she cracks—and it’s hardly unlikely—there’s no proof of my connection to Adeline Severson. Eve was the only one who knew the truth, and she didn’t tell anyone. The photographs have been deleted. And Addie has proven herself to be unbalanced. She already stalked a teacher, and she got him fired, despite a distinct lack of evidence of wrongdoing on his part. And the girl has no friends whatsoever.

I find myself whistling as I stride in the direction of the bathroom. I have it to myself this morning—Eve isn’t here to drain all the hot water, leaving me with a shower that is tepid at best. I should have ended the marriage ages ago, although I did have reasons to keep it going. Eve knows a little bit more about me than I’m comfortable with.

After I relieve my bladder, I rip open the shower curtains to get the water going. But just before my hand descends on the faucet, I freeze.

What the hell?

There’s a pair of Eve’s shoes in the shower.

I stare down at the pair of red pumps sitting in the bottom of the bathtub. I have discovered Eve’s shoes in every nook and cranny of the house, but the bathtub is novel to me. I cannot conceive of why she would have left them there.

Clearly, my wife was even more unbalanced than she let on. All the more reason it’s good to finally be rid of her.

The temptation to let the shoes drown nearly overwhelms me, but at the last moment, I rescue them from the tub. Based on our credit card bills, Eve’s shoes are worth a small fortune. I can figure out a way to sell them on eBay. I may even turn a profit.

As I am pulling the shoes out of the tub, I hear a sound from behind me. I turn around to look at the closed bathroom door. It almost sounds like somebody is right outside the door. But that’s impossible. Eve isn’t here, and there’s nobody else who has a key.

I am certain I heard something though. It almost sounded like a tapping sound.

I adjust my boxer shorts as I step toward the bathroom door. Gingerly, I pull it open and gaze at the master bedroom. Not surprisingly, it is empty. For a moment, I am reminded of my favorite poem, “The Raven,” by the famous Edgar Allan Poe.

Darkness there and nothing more.

I let out a breath and march over to the closet, where I throw Eve’s shoes inside. Last night was stressful, and I slept poorly, so it should be no surprise that my ears are playing tricks on me.

I jump into the shower and let the scalding hot water rain down on my bare skin. I have a busy day ahead of me. After breakfast, I have a stack of papers I need to grade. After that, I may go out for a bite of lunch. Perhaps I’ll make a stop at the supermarket.

And then after that, I’ll be calling the police.

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