The Parting Gift

The Parting Gift

Love was in the air, sweetly concocted with the moist breeze gushing into the van. The couple inside was on their way to the Honeyvalley resort that they had planned to celebrate their honeymoon in. The drive through the pine forests was refreshing. Anita had rolled the window down and had put her head out, experiencing the warmth of the woods. 

“That stings. Close it,” Peter muttered as his shoulder blades tightened in response to the chilly gales. She ducked in and looked at him.  

“You’ve no idea how long have I waited for this moment, Pete. You’re mine now. Only mine. I’ve never quite liked playing second fiddle, sweetheart,” she gave one of her lopsided smiles with a menacing glint in her eyes.

“Tch! I…It still haunts, you know. The whole thing..,” he whispered. 

“Calm down. It’s a suicide. Nothing to do with us,” she winked. 

Another blast of squally winds hit them, flowing through the open window. A strange chill ran down his spine. He shivered. In a shot of reflex, he bent forward and rolled the window up.  

“Gosh, your skin is cold to the touch,” she sounded concerned, when his bare skin brushed against hers. “You okay?” 

“I’m. Just feeling a little cold,” he tried to smile. 

He drove deeper into the forest, with his phone guiding him with the route. 

“C’mon, Pete. It’s time to relax and enjoy. I’ve planned a surprise…,” she broke midway as another eerie gust of wind blew in through the window. 

“Didn’t I just…” His voice trailed off as he coughed, fumbling at the steering wheel. He lost control of the van as it was veered towards the cliff. 

“Pete…are you alright? The van…,” Anita screamed as he hit the brakes right on time to prevent a steep fall. 

His entire life flashed in front of his eyes for a moment, with a familiar face laughing at the background. He coughed heavily. 

“I could feel a hand close in on my throat and strangle me,” he managed to utter amid wheezy coughs. 

“Let’s get down. May be you are feeling claustrophobic?” Anita said. The two of them alighted. 

“The window? Did you open it again?” He asked, pointing at the glass which was fully rolled down. 

“I did not…,” she replied, when a sudden mist seemed to engulf them from all sides. They held each other’s hands and stood close to one another. Pleasant winds creepily turned blustery as the sky painted itself with a gloomy shade of grey. 

“It’s spooky. Let’s get in. We still have half an hour’s journey,” Pete suggested.  

They struggled to open the door as the swirling mist rendered the van almost invisible. Once inside, they felt safe. Only until a noose fell down from the van’s roof and their heads were shoved into it roughly. The knots tightened as they shrieked and gasped for breath. Their hoarse screams were quickly muted to a sinister silence. 

The last that their eyes captured was a shadow of a cadaver hanging limp from a branch, seen through the van’s windshield stained in blood. 

‘Infidelity’s gift. Love, Steffi’ was written on it.
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