"What are you smiling about?" she asked.
Too slow."Nothing." He crossed himself and stepped into the kitchen, making sure to step squarely in the center of each floor tile. He sat down at the table and inhaled the savory smells. Steam slithered upward from his eggs and bacon and disappeared before his eyes.
Molly slowly worked her way around the kitchen. She was naked. Her skin seemed to glow in the morning light pouring through the windows. She was beautiful.
"Looks good, hon," he said, smiling again.
"Be careful. I just put it down—it's hot. Try not to burn yourself." The sarcasm lashed out from her voice like a biting dog.
There was little passion in her these days. Bill still couldn't quite accept that she was so unhappy with him, with their life. She wanted children. He didn't. That was the crux of their problems. She never listened to reasoning, though. He wasn't against having kids; he was against having as many as she wanted. It just wasn't practical.
Who could handle thirty kids at once?
Bill salted his eggs and used his fork to mix it evenly. He reached for a piece of toast and knocked over the shaker. "Shit!"
He tried to grab the saltshaker, but his hand was trembling so badly that he just continued to spill more salt—more bad luck—onto the table. Come on, I don't need this today, he thought, knowing that a fight was brewing due to his carelessness.
"What the hell are you doing?" Molly asked from behind him.
Finally, his fingers gripped the shaker and he righted it. He then poured a pinch or two—or four—into the palm of his right hand and tossed it over his left shoulder. Relief flooded through him.
"It's fine, hon. No prob—" His words stopped dead in his throat. Molly's piercing, anguished wail assaulted him. He cringed reflexively. He turned to see her writhing in pain on the floor. Her eyes twitched back and forth like weeds whipping in the wind.
"I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking. I didn't know you were there. I was trying to..." He trailed off. He wasn't quick enough. He was trying to avoid a fight, but he'd been too slow. "I'm sorry. Are you hurt?"
"Am I hurt? Are you a moron, Bill? Are you that stupid? Never mind. You are a moron." Molly began to rise; the open wound on her shoulder oozed. She winced. "Goddamn idiot. I knew this would never work."
Bill still sat in the chair, his eggs and bacon forgotten. "Knew what would never work? Have I missed something?"
"Yes, Bill, you have! I told you how dangerous salt was to me."
"But I like salt. You knew that going into this."
"Is salt more important to you? I love you. Is that not enough?" Her words came out raspy and labored.
"No, of course not. I love you, too." Bill sighed. "But I can't eat without salt. I'd have to change my entire diet!"
"So change it!" Molly was seething now. She was no longer beautiful. Not like this.
"You're right. This isn't working. I should never have..." He shook his head. "Forget it."
"No," Molly said, creeping closer to him, her eyes fixed and hate-filled. "What were you going to say? Go on. Say it."
Bill pushed back from the table and stood, careful to plant his feet in the middle of the tiles. Molly stopped her approach, but she was still furious. The wound on her now-disfigured shoulder was hideous.
He reached into his pocket and clutched his rabbit's foot, silently imploring it to bring him good luck.
He searched for the right words. He thought back and tried to remember all the admonishments his friends and family had thrown his way when he and Molly had married. They were right. He'd known it for a while now, but they were right. It was stupid to marry her. They just weren't compatible as a couple.
"I should never...I..." He paused.
"Go on, coward."
Coward. She never would have called him that a few years ago. Had it gotten so bad? How could she say she loved him and then call him a coward? It was a lie; that's why. She didn't love him—not anymore, anyway.
In that, Bill found his resolve.
He leaned forward and picked up the saltshaker. Molly's eyes went wide.
"Everyone was right, Molly. They were all right. I should never have married you."
Molly moved for the front door, but she was too slow. Bill caught up with her in just a few well-placed strides.
"Please, don't do this," she said.
She stopped in the doorway. Bill glanced up at the horseshoe right above her head and cursed his luck—no, her luck.
"I love you, Bill. I love you so much."
Bill reached out and knocked on the wood of the doorframe, then raised his arm and sprinkled salt over Molly's head and body, never forgetting to occasionally toss a bit over his left shoulder. Her body shuddered and she screamed until her words came out in tortured gurgles. She slumped to the ground, and Bill kept on sprinkling. When the shaker was empty, Bill grabbed the large salt container from the cabinet. Her poured it over her body until Molly was nothing but a glistening pool of Slug-goo.
She was silent—finally.
Bill waited for a wave of sadness to overcome him. A blow of shock that would send him into fits of grief and paranoia. But he felt nothing but odd satisfaction.
He looked out the window. It was turning out to be a great day.
The sun was rising high; the sky was bright and blue. Thirty minutes later, Bill was on his way to the beach for the first time in four years.
Thoughts: Occasionally I participate in monthly writing challenges/prompts. You can learn a lot from them, but mostly they're just fun. Years ago, one such challenge had superstitions as the subject. Late one night an idea—a very very stupid idea—popped into my head. Bored, I decided to write it out. Took me about twenty minutes. When all was said and done, I immediately declared it atrocious (because it is) and stuffed it away.
When I stumbled across it in my files recently, I found it amusing. So I decided to put it up here. Why not, huh? I have no shame. What you read above is the original one-shot result, no edits, no second draft, tons of telling—a ludicrous tale of sluggy-salty love and tragedy.