The guilt was becoming increasingly unbearable. I couldn’t take the strain on my mind anymore; images of that night and what I had done kept flashing before my eyes every time I blinked, every time I closed me eyes to think for a moment and every time I shut my eyes and tried to sleep. I couldn’t, I couldn’t sleep because their faces kept haunting my mind – I was becoming an insomniac. His betrayal was the cause of my pain and personal anguish. His cunning and deceptive ways were what drove me insane and react in a violent and cold-blooded manner.

Her innocence was no longer her beauty, her deceit was more than heartbreak for me – my world, my life, my dreams were shattered. Disloyalty, unfaithfulness and distrust had driven me to the height of insanity – I was losing control of myself. I couldn’t bear the guilt any longer. I had to tell somebody. I had to confess my sin, my wrongdoing. She was the most beautiful girl that I had ever seen; oceanic blue eyes that you could dive into, hair so fine it seemed as if you were caressing silk and her skin was as smooth as velvet.

She had a radiant glow and charm about her that far surpassed any other. We were introduced at a wedding ceremony and we hit it off big time. We connected and bonded at an amazing rate that it was unbelievable. Sooner than we both knew it, we were engaged and a wedding would follow after six months. Joy and happiness were racing through my, our lives at incredible scale – it was almost, as the saying goes, too good to be true.

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In time however, as the months rolled by, I began to experience a change in myself – unaware of what it could be due to, stress and tension from work I guessed or perhaps due to an insatiable work environment and the decline in stimulus in general. The duties of work seemed tedious and routinely, I realised that I had lost interest in office work and employment within the company. Everything there was repetitive and monotonous. I used to get irritated and became easily agitated at the most insignificant issues that surrounded us both.

Claire was worried about me and reasoned that I may need to consult a shrink. I was NOT going mad. I had no reason to take any such step into consideration – I was merely stressed out with work and wedding preparations – surely it wasn’t abnormal to experience what I was going through at the time, was it? It was pre-wedding jitters I was sure. However, Claire and I soon found that we argued and quarreled incessantly over the most minor and meaningless things. We had ups and downs in our communication but despite all of this, I still loved her. Only a few months remained till the wedding.

There was indeed a lot of pressure and requirement on me as the groom to be. Stacks of “to do and to finalize” duties needed to be chased up. The wedding arrangement, a sacred and holy institution of the uniting of man and women who would encourage, strengthen and care for each other in “sickness and in health” was ironically seeming like a burdensome affair now what with all the arrangements and organising that had to be accomplished. This event was to be the happiest and most significant day in my life yet at this moment in time I did not get that feeling. Was it the pre-wedding jitters?

Was I experiencing cold feet? Or was my decision to marry irrational? What was happening to me, why was I feeling like this? Had I really changed? Only a month remained to the wedding. Our families adored each other and interacted as if they were all part of one big family already, prior to our wedding. Our parents had lots in common, the mothers shared similar interests and pass times whilst the fathers would discuss the issues surrounding the political system of the nation and the world as a whole. Our siblings too enjoyed wholesome association and recreation with one another.

From what I could see and pick up on, our brothers and sisters quickly formed cliques, which was commendable. However, a flirtatious brother of mine who had a playboy reputation formed a unique chemistry with Claire – they would childishly laugh and joke with each other as if they were school or college buddies. I didn’t think much of it at the time as I knew that Mark had a girlfriend whom he had been with for the passed six months now so I continued to mingle with the crowd – after all, I was getting married in a few weeks.

Nothing could possibly go wrong for me, for us. Claire and I shared a cosy two-bedroom apartment away from the industrial and commercial scene. The surroundings amplified the naturalness and tranquillity of the area so much that waking up each morning to the sound of birds chirping and the fresh evergreen pastures made it all worthwhile moving out there. However, our, my peacefulness was short-lived. I suppose it was fate that brought the truth to light. Claire was having a shower early one evening. She was getting ready to go out with a few of her “girlfriends”.

She asked me to come along with her but I realised that I would be amongst man-eating, hungry for pleasure seeking young women therefore I made a pass this time ordering Claire to go out and to have a good time with her friends instead. I had complete trust in her that she would not do anything that she would regret. How wrong I was. As I sat watching the football highlights for the week, I noticed that Claire’s mobile phone was flashing as it lay on the coffee table. Claire was in the shower at the time so I checked to see what the mobile phone screen read.

It was a text message from a new contact because the telephone number had not been recognized by the phone book. I assumed that it was a message from one of Claire’s “friends” so I thought I’d read it and tell Claire the message from outside the bathroom door as it may have been important. I was shocked at what I had just read. The text message read, “Don’t forget, 8pm sharp at Holiday Inn Express hotel, room 128”. My hand was shaking as I held Claire’s phone. My palms had become sweaty. Claire having an affair was the obvious conclusion. We were engaged and the wedding was only a few weeks away now, our big day.

My hopes and dreams were instantly shattered. I could literally feel my heart break as does a pane of glass when a rock or brick strikes against it leaving fragments of crushed glass all over the floor. I genuinely loved Claire and perhaps this was what I derived my courage and strength from to carry out my actions that were to follow. I erased the affection for Claire from my mind for now and resolved to get to the bottom of this. Claire was ready and prepared to leave now. The time was 7. 30pm. I recalled the text message that I had quickly erased from the phone’s message inbox.

The appointment was scheduled for 8pm – she could not be late I thought to myself. I wished her a good evening and told her to enjoy herself. I began to sound like a psychotic person – I was encouraging her to go but little did she know that I was now aware of her philandering ways. I waited for the cab to take her into the distance for a few minutes and then I too got into our car and made my way to the hotel where I would catch Claire red-handed in the act of infidelity. Claire had cheated on me despite me showering my love upon her ever since we got serious about each other.

The facts were so plain and simple, so blunt yet so piercing to the heart. The truth had come to light now, just a few weeks from our big day. Was it fate or coincidence? I wasn’t sure what it was, perhaps divine intervention telling me, giving me a sign that Claire and I were not meant to be. Anxiety was pulsing through my body and mind. I had just passed through a red light and my speed limit was wavering. Was I breaking down? I had been emotionally scarred now. The consequences of Claire’s unfaithfulness would prove to be dangerous and devastating. I was not the same man any more.

I had become a vengeful individual. I could see my actions already coming to light as I was approaching my destination. I parked the car away from the hotel and got out and walked the rest of the distance. I was equipped. I headed towards the reception of the hotel. I made sure that I was unrecognizable by wearing a duffel coat with the hood covering my head. I scoured the ground floor in search of my “beloved”. I learnt that there were only rooms numbered from 50 – 100 there. I entered the elevator and discerned that rooms numbered 101 onwards would start from the first floor up. I got off at the first floor.

I slothfully walked down the corridor counting down the rooms running parallel to each other towards room 128. The time was 8. 10pm. I was equipped. At arrived at the door to find a “Do not disturb” sign hanging of the door handle. My rage fuelled at the sight of the sign. Thoughts of an estranged man cavorting with my Claire infuriated me even more. I tried to relax. I was equipped. I knocked faintly at the door. There was no response. I waited a few seconds. I could hear muffled chatter and indistinct laughter and giggling.

I knocked again however I made sure that I was heard this time. Who is it? ” Claire replied. “Room service ma’am. I have a fine selection of wines and spirits that you and your partner may enjoy in our executive suite”. Claire came towards the door and I could hear the chain coming of the lock of the door. I had covered the peephole so that she couldn’t see who was beyond the door. She opened the door. In the few seconds it took for her to open the door fully, I took a moment to reflect back on the times that Claire and I had once shared together, the dreams that we had both seen together and the life that we both looked forward to spending together.

I was equipped though and ready to face my beloved. “Surprise Claire! ” She was standing in front of me scantily clad, jaws wide open as if she had seen a ghost. Her face had GUILTY written all over it and she was so shocked that she couldn’t say a word. I pushed her inside and locked the door behind me. I could have forgiven Claire for infidelity until I finally saw his face. All sympathy that I may have had was gone in an instant. “We’re not brothers man… we’re like mates, best mates! ” Those were the words that he had spoken to me once when we were on holiday together.

It was the person I feared it to be… Mark, my brother. There is a saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold. ” I understood what that meant now. All those years, from teenage to adulthood, Mark always stole from me, be it my clothes, my books, my music tapes/CD’s or my girlfriends. He always had a way with girls. Could work his magic on any girl and have her screaming his name. He had done that again tonight. I had forgiven his past but I couldn’t forgive his present now. The thought of him being my brother had vanished from within me.

I was equipped. I pulled it out and lashed out at him slitting his throat with one blow. And in a vengeful frenzy, I stuck Claire too – a fatal blow to the head. There was silence. Nothing could be herd except for my own breath panting for air. I had killed two people who were “close” to me. “That’s my story and my confession gentlemen”. I was sitting in an interrogation room, three other men and me. “Sergeant Russell and detective Jones, can I see you both in my office right now! ” commanded the police chief. I had gotten it off my chest.

A burden that was weighing me down had finally been lifted off my shoulders. Nobody had known that I had killed Claire and Mark. They were discovered by the hotel’s housekeeping manager early next morning after my visit. I had gotten away with murder for three months but the guilt had become unbearable. It was driving me insane. I had become an insomniac. I sat there contemplating my possible demise after my confession. I was still equipped. I drew it and looking at it made me recall my sin. I smiled. “Goodbye Claire. I’m sorry. “

x

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