Mind Over Matter

Photo by Johnny0101 via Flickr
Photo by Johnny0101 via Flickr

The migraine had lasted for three days. Paul begged his wife to go see the doctor, but she just glared at him in the bathroom mirror as she swallowed down another Excedrin.

“Honestly, Paul,” she said, once the pill had been pushed down her throat, “you’re like an old woman. It’ll be fine.” She ran her hands through her rust colored hair. “It sucks, but it’ll be fine. I just have to put mind over matter and ignore it.”

Paul relented; but in his heart he knew something was wrong.

He would try to explain the events of that night over and over again, to cops, to lawyers, to psychiatrists; until, after a while, even he didn’t believe it anymore.

Startled awake by a loud crack, Paul had assumed a thunderstorm had begun in the middle of the night. Turning over with a sleepy whimper, he reached out to hold his wife’s hand. Even in her soundest sleep, she would squeeze his hand back, as if by instinct alone. But this time her hand just sat in his, limp, like a doll’s hand.

Paul called her name. She did not stir. He touched her shoulder and jerked back, scrambling out of bed. His hand was covered in something warm, wet, and sticky.

What happened after that was hazy in Paul’s mind. Somehow he made it to the light switch. At first, his wife looked like she was still asleep, laying on her side unmoving. But as Paul forced himself closer, he could see that the red which bloomed from his wife’s head wasn’t her long, red hair, but an ever-expanding pool of blood, saturating the pillow on which she lay and staining the sheets around her.

Her head was split open down the middle, as if someone had cracked her skull like an egg. From what Paul could see of her face, it appeared she never even woke up.

The police would later claim that he had opened up his wife’s head himself; cleft it in two with an ax he somehow disposed of before they arrived, or even used his bare hands. Her brains he had, for some reason, eaten. It was the only explanation, as there were no trace of it left in the body or at the scene.

It comforted Paul to imagine that this was what had happened. Anything was better than the truth.

He had heard it before he saw it – a rhythmic squashing, like stepping on wet carpet. When his eyes followed the sound, he spotted it, perched on the sill of the open window. Wrinkled, wet, and pink, like a wad of chewed bubblegum, the brain stared back at him, two of its six tentacles already hanging over the window’s edge, curling into the branches of the tree.

Paul tried to scream, but couldn’t even take a breath. It’s rose-colored tentacles wiggling goodbye, the brain climbed out the window and into the freedom of the night. He thought he still heard it sometimes, tapping on the window of his cell. But the nurses told him it was just his imagination. All he had to do, was put mind over matter and it would go away.

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Published by rsjeffrey

Robin Jeffrey was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a psychologist and a librarian, giving her a love of literature and a consuming interest in the inner workings of people’s minds.

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