Last Act of Friendship
By Joseph Logsdon
As Harold drove into her driveway, he already knew something wasn't right. At first glance, it seemed like no one was home. For one thing, the lights were off. Ava needed his help, according to what she had said on the phone. She was suicidal, totally unbalanced. There was a gun in the closet, just inches from where she could access it. It appeared, like it had never appeared before, that she was actually serious.
The house was silent as Harold approached the entrance. It was an old house, valued at about one million dollars. Having not seen Ava in years, Harold didn't expect to find her in such a place. Harold tugged on the door, and instead of being locked, it opened very gently. Harold paused for a moment, hesitant to go inside the strange house.
He walked straight into the living room, the door shutting behind him. Ava stood at the edge of the room, mostly unaware of what was occurring around her. She stared out the window, deeply fixated on something invisible. Cautious by nature, Harold slowly approached her.
"Ava, what's wrong?"
She didn't respond. She remained motionless, the gun in her hand. Clearly startled by her behavior, Harold took a step back.
"Are you hurt? You have my word, I'm not going to harm you. It's you and me, alone and with no one to interfere. You are alone, aren't you?"
"He's wicked, magnificently wicked," she cried.
"My husband," she answered.
Harold paused for a moment. Drained of ideas, he took another step back. Ava finally looked him in the eye. Even through the darkness, all the tears and pain, her beauty still shined bright.
"Husband? What husband?"
"He's upstairs, fast asleep. He'll be down soon, the weather permitting," she remarked.
"What does the weather have to do with anything?"
"He's been sick, especially of late. With all this cold weather, he might never get better. Then again, that might not be such a bad thing," she remarked.
Harold could see lunacy in her eyes. One wrong move, they both could end up dead. Noticeably deranged, Ava began to walk closer towards him. Too frightened to react, Harold remained motionless.
"What's the matter, are you afraid of me?"
"What's with the gun? You're not planning on using it, by any chance?"
"I've already used it, as a matter of fact. The gun isn't anything to be afraid of. It will liberate you, set you free," she chuckled.
"You're not yourself, Ava. Where's that girl I used to know? We were friends, once upon a time. We loved each other, in a way that no one can understand. Where's my kind, compassionate Ava? The woman I knew, that I loved, would never do this to herself. In the first place, what brought you here?"
Ava walked towards the corner. She breathed, slowly and gently. The room got darker and darker, ultimately creating a very tense atmosphere. Somewhat unsure of herself, Ava sighed as Harold stared at her beautiful face.
"Leaving school, I had nowhere else to go. My mother, as you know, never cared about me. I didn't have anyone to turn to. I stole, became a criminal. I traveled from place to place, using stolen money, mostly. Half the time, I didn't even know what I was doing, saying, thinking. I was lost, both mentally and spiritually," she cried.
"What do you think happened? I was caught, sentenced to three years in prison. Believe me when I say, it was actually very generous, when you consider what they could've given me. To this very day, I remain grateful for what he did," she stated.
"For what who did?"
"Father Charles, of course. He took away my pain, made me a Christian. While I was in prison, we fell in love, to my surprise. He gave up on being a priest, just as I gave up being a criminal. We've been happy here, enormously happy. That is, until I saw them together," she cried.
Harold soon realized what she had done. Ava held the gun in her hand, all too willing to use it. In the face of danger, Harold contemplated his next move.
"You killed him, didn't you? He's upstairs, dead and in a pool of blood. There's no point in denying it; it's pretty clear what you did. Now, give me the gun, let me protect you from yourself," he begged.
"One step closer, I'll blow my brains out, so help me," she cried.
Harold reached for the gun. He grabbed her hand, twisted it with force. Ava screamed as he attempted to take it away from her. During the course of the struggle, there was a loud banging sound. Blood spattered on the floor, on the wall, on just about everything. The scream echoed, journeyed into the abyss, and was never heard again. Harold looked down, horrified as he glared at her dead, lifeless body.
Harold could hear someone coming down the staircase. He stared into space, misery slowly overwhelming him. Her husband, Charles, entered the living room, alive and well. He appeared shocked, in the sense that he didn't say one word.
"It was her own fault," Harold sighed.
"Who are you? What are you doing in my house?"
"Buddy, listen, this isn't what it looks like. She made you out to be dead, the way she talked about you and all," Harold stated.
"She'd like to think that, I'll bet. She's been very sick, these last few months. I was contemplating getting rid of her, but now that you've come along, I don't have to. It's legal, perfectly permissible," he laughed.
"What about the gun? What was she going to do with it?"
"She was going to kill me with it, I assume. The gun only had one bullet in it, so in case you're wondering, don't even think about threatening me," Charles hissed, picking up the phone.
"Who are you calling?"
"The police, naturally," Charles exclaimed.