She was all alone. Then again, she was always alone.
Marigold set to work slicing her supper with precision. Knives she could handle. She knew every blade type intimately. She knew which blades were best for stabbing and which were better for slicing. She knew how to make someone bleed out quickly, and how to prolong someone’s suffering. She had her weapon of choice, and she would be crazy enough to bring a knife to a gun fight. Yet lately things had been fuzzy for Marigold. She wasn’t remembering things with ease like before. She made little slip-ups, and some big ones too. Memories came and went and the mechanics of things ebbed and flowed in her brain sometimes sharp like a lighthouse calling sailors home and sometimes lost at sea.
Her brute of a husband was away on some spur-of-the-moment vacation. Good riddance! A loving spouse wouldn’t leave behind his wife, but Max, he was cut from a different kind of cloth, the evil kind. If there was such a thing as evil cloth…I could gut him like a fish. But she wouldn’t because he was still too strong for her. She would have to overpower him first. At night, most wives didn’t dream about ways to off their husbands, but Max and Marigold weren’t typical husband and wife. They were criminal masterminds, or at least they were in their prime.
Chop. Chop. Chop. Marigold cut her lettuce head, thinking about another head she would rather slice. Max was over six hundred miles away. She could get some peace. The voices weren’t quite as loud when Max was away. She could think. Marigold stopped momentarily and rearranged the cutting board. Head of lettuce in the center. I was cutting it. Yellow pepper for color directly above the lettuce. Olive oil for dressing at a ninety degree angle. Purple eggplant to her left. Green pepper catching her sleeve. Lettuce. I was cutting lettuce.
The house was stone cold quiet. The housekeeper had gone home. Marigold could have asked her to order a pizza before leaving, but the woman already thought Marigold was nuts. Ordering a cheeseless pizza would sound pretty silly, but the lactose bothered Marigold. She didn’t know why. No cheese. No cheese. No cheese. She hummed to herself as she resumed cutting.
Her daughter-in-law, Rachel went on a trip and took her granddaughters. No, Hope is Rachel’s sister. No child. No she’s my grandchild. And Lolly? Marigold felt bewildered. Too many relations to remember. Rachel is Bill’s wife and Hope’s mother. Lolly is Dennis’ daughter and that good-for-nothing Silver. But where was Silver? Marigold couldn’t remember. Her other daughter-in-law hadn’t been home… for years, no months, no weeks? Marigold scratched her head. It didn’t matter. The woman was long gone and good riddance.
Her son, Dennis was working, and her other son, Bill… God only knew where that boy went. He was unpredictable, flitting from one partner to another, one job to another.
“Faithless bastard,” Marigold muttered beneath her breath.
Her grandson, Shark was working too. The family business. She hadn’t seen him either for weeks. Marigold felt a tear slide down her cheek. She touched the unexpected moisture in surprise. Thinking of Shark brought her pain but she couldn’t remember why. Marigold slammed her fists onto the counter, frustrated by her fuzzy memories.
“Ouch!” Marigold cried out in shock as she realized she nicked her finger with the knife.
How could she be so careless? Marigold lifted her finger to her mouth to suck the blood and stop the flow. That was when the knife slipped. The metal kitchen tool fell from her grasp and clattered to the floor, but not before slicing into her flesh. She felt the burn of the sudden sensation as the warm blood flowed freely from the side of her left foot. She bent and shakily lifted the instrument up and stared at in as if in denial that the tool had hurt her.
After the shock evaporated, Marigold began shrieking. She waved the knife around in her right hand like a mad woman and lifted her other hand to her head as she winced with pain. She groaned and moaned and released the knife. She cried and cried, the tears flowing fast and hard. No one would hear her. The housekeeper went home. Silver wasn’t home. Shark wasn’t home. Dennis was at work. Rachel, Lolly, and Hope were somewhere away. And Max was too. And Dudley… wait… Dudley hadn’t been home in decades. He couldn’t help her. No one could. She was all alone.
Unbeknownst to her, the knife had sliced open her other foot when she walked away from the cutting board. Marigold stumbled a few steps, and picked up her cell phone.
“Call for help, you idiot!” she berated herself.
“Zero-zero-zero, what’s your emergency?”
The operator’s voice sounded distant and strange. Marigold felt lightheaded, her head swimming in a pool of gelatin. She grabbed the counter to steady herself.
“Um… I… need help…” she whimpered.
“Can you tell me your name and location and what kind of help you need?”
“Um… Daisy…” she saw visions of daisies gliding through her brain, and she was twirling around in fields of daisies… beautiful white daisies.
“Okay Daisy, I have you at fifty-three Puddlewick Road, is that correct?”
“No…um…” Marigold stopped, puzzled.
Why does she think my name is Daisy?
“I’m not Daisy… I’m… um…I’m…”
What is my name? Flowers… pretty… I am a flower. She is a flower. My poor sweet baby girl. Taken care of before she could even exist really. Daisy. I’m coming for you… Daisy…
Sometimes she imagined flying away. She could fly away far above this house and above Twinbrook and above everywhere. She could just leave and not look back. But her wings were clipped. She couldn’t fly. Not really. She couldn’t leave. She was a broken bird, resolved to stay in its nest even if it staying meant death.
Marigold gripped the counter, sliding down the side, phone slipping from her grasp. The operator continued to talk to her, asking her questions, encouraging Marigold to stay with her, to not lose consciousness, to stay awake and alert, to tell her what was happening, but Marigold couldn’t do it. She just couldn’t do it. She kept thinking about Daisy and all the things she wanted to say to her lost child. She was going to see her. She knew it. She felt it. She almost couldn’t breathe. The operator continued talking, but Marigold didn’t hear a thing.