Where the hell is Sherry? John thought to himself. It wasn’t like her to be quite so late. We had plans. This is quite strange for her to forget. Hell, she keeps me in line. The high mechanical sound of the doorbell cut through his thoughts. Who the hell is that? Wait, maybe she lost her keys. John got up and answered the door, only to be greeted by a small box, sitting on the cliché Welcome Home mat.
“The hell is this? Did she order something?” John wondered. Upon further inspection, he noticed the little package was addressed to him. He looked down the block for UPS or FedEx, but there was no sign of either. Curious, he tucked the box away, and returned inside, eager to open his new mystery box. He reached in his pocket for his father’s pocket knife, cut open the tape, and inside was a single envelope. He reached in and picked it up, feeling that it was rather light. Probably one of those stupid, over the shipping weight mailers, he thought.
John tore open the envelope, and inside was a letter and what felt like a picture. As he turned the picture over, he saw it was an image of his wife, Sherry. A very candid shot at that. He remembered the letter and turned it over to read it, and scrawled in unfamiliar handwriting a message was written: If you ever want to see your wife alive, you are to follow my instructions. First, find a weapon, and set it out in your kitchen. Second, convince your neighbor, Rodney, to come over. Do whatever it takes, and don’t listen to a thing you hear. Rodney lies. When you both arrive, I want you to kill him. I will know when it is done. Then, and only then, will you see Sherry again.
A cold panic settled over John. Someone took my wife! But why kill Rodney? What does he have to do with this? Rod was his best friend, from the time they moved in eight years ago. This has to be some kind of joke. What if it wasn’t? A terrible thought crossed his mind. How could he choose? Do I do the selfish thing and save my wife, or do I call their bluff?
John sat and contemplated for a moment on what to do. Maybe if I go over there and get him to come back here, I can have him lay low for a bit, then the person will think I killed him.
The little voice in his head playing devil’s advocate countered with a but what if they want him dead for a reason? Maybe, just maybe, Rodney isn’t who you think he is.
With that, John decided he didn’t have a choice, and went to the basement to retrieve a weapon of some kind. He quickly returned with a long crowbar, and set it just inside the doorway. With that, he left for Rodney’s house. Getting Rod’s attention was simple enough. He was already outside checking the mail.
“Hey John! How’s the day treatin’ ya?” Rod said.
John, having gone a pale shade of peach, responded, “Oh, you know, same as every day. Say, would you want to come over for a second, I, uh, I seemed to have made my, uh, leak worse.” He hoped his voice was calmer than it sounded.
“Oh yeah, sure, I would love to help with your ‘sink’ problem,” Rodney said with a wink.
John led the way back to his house, barely able to stand, let alone drag one foot in front of the other. Rodney followed close behind, and when John opened his screen door, he let Rod go in first. As soon as they were both past the threshold, John reached for his crowbar, and quickly swung it at his friend’s head. Rodney turned in time to feel the crowbar whizz by his head.
“Jesus Christ! What the hell?” Rod shouted.
“I’m sorry man, I have to! I don’t have a choice! They have Sherry!” John said as he took another a swing. He caught the cabinet of dishes, ceramic plates exploding outward like shrapnel from a grenade.
“John, hasn’t Sherry gotten ahold of you? She is fine dude, seriously, it’s just a prank man!”
“I don’t believe you! The letter said you would lie!”
Rodney’s face took on a new shade of terror, as he realized what Sherry had done. Nothing would convince John now. His fate was sealed. How could she have done this?
John took another swing, this time hitting and shattering Rodney’s collarbone. Rodney screamed in pain and crumpled against the refrigerator. John took another swing as Rodney ducked and ran, the adrenaline coursing through his veins. He followed him into the dining room, taking another swing, this time shattering the glass chandelier over the table, a shower of sparks and glass raining down around them.
“Why you, Rodney? Why do I have to kill you? What did you do?” John screamed.
“John, I’m telling you, it’s all a joke! I promise. Sherry wrote the note. She planted the package!” Rodney’s voice quavered. He pleaded with John, desperate, as his life hung on every word he spoke.
“Rodney lies,” John whispered to himself, as he raised the crowbar above his head. He brought it down and connected with Rodney’s face, blood exploded out like a can of red spray paint. It littered the floor and walls with a grotesque red, mixed with flakes of skin and bone. Oh God, what have I done?
When John raised his eyes, standing in front of him with a look of unbelievable satisfaction on her face, was Sherry. She stood there, unmoving as her eyes drifted to Rodney who was lying on the floor, and then back to her blood-soaked husband. A smirk flashed over her lips in response to the carnage before her.
“April Fools,” she said.