Going Grey

It wasn’t just Marcie’s hair that went grey overnight. It was all of her: eyelashes, eyebrows, skin—even her lips had an ashy tinge to them now, a pigment-sapped dullness beneath the moisturizing gloss. It was as if the shock had sucked the color clean off her bones.

The rest of the village rallied round with casseroles and sympathy cards, even while they were thrilling inside with the grisly excitement of it all.

Imagine finding him like that, they murmured, over endless cups of tea. (Everyone needed tea at a time like this—all that imagining was thirsty work.)

Her own cat sniffing him out like leftover chicken, they said. Was a cat better or worse than a fox? No one was quite sure.

A bloodied mess of bits in a black bag (an extra strong garden waste one by all accounts, but even so), dumped on his own front drive. And Patrick such a big bear of a man too. It makes you think, doesn’t it? It really did. It was all anyone could think about, their drab little lives painted bold and colorful by their neighbor’s misfortune.

Poor Patrick.

And poor, poor Marcie. Just as cut up as her husband, only in a less physical way. Less permanent. Nothing that a bottle of chestnut hair dye and a splash of rouge couldn’t put right.

Yes, a brave face, that’s what she needed to put on now, they said. It might not feel like it now but there were brighter times ahead. Light at the end of the massacred-husband tunnel. Not that they weren’t a bunch of lily-livered yellow-bellies themselves, double-locking their front doors at night—back doors too —in case the killer struck again.

They needn’t have worried. Once the shock had passed—the shock of discovering those naked au pair photos on Patrick’s phone—Marcie had sworn off men for good. She had better things to do with her evenings than scrubbing down chainsaws. And besides, she was clean out of black bin bags.