Rotten Love

Her husband is hiding a foul secret.

Vee Forshay, Special Contributor

My husband has been acting strange lately. 

He’s been staying out way longer than he should; he comes home smelling like fresh cologne, and he refuses to kiss me, or give me any affection for that matter. And in fact, he forbade me from using our master bathroom, which may be the strangest change of all. 

I have a strong feeling that he’s cheating. There’s just no way that he could be doing anything else, everything lines up. 

So, I’m going to start doing the same, and hopefully he gets jealous and stops.

* * *

Last Friday, I told my husband that I would be working later than usual because my coworker called in sick. Instead, I called up my girls and we went clubbing. I hid a dress and shoes in my car the night before so he wouldn’t see me leaving with them. 

That night was amazing, we danced, we sang, and I definitely had a few too many drinks. Of course, I never actually cheated on him; I just wanted to make him think I was.

I returned home close to two in the morning, and while walking through the front door, the most putrid smell smacked me in the face. It was horrid! I’ve never smelt a thing like it. 

Jack, my husband, came barreling through the garage door and tripped over a shoe, landing face first. He sprung up and looked at me with an angry expression—at least that’s what I assumed; it was too dark to tell. He very frantically asked where I had been, and before I could process his question, he began to walk around the dining room looking for something. Even in my drunken state I could tell his actions were strange. How could he not be bothered by the smell? Almost as if on cue, I hear him gag and ask about what the god awful smell was. 

“Where is that damn can of air freshener?” He asked, half talking to me, half himself.

“Here uhm…let me..turn on this light. I can help.. you find it.” I offered, slurring most of my words.

“No!” Jack got up fast and ran toward me. “Don’t turn on the light! The place is a mess, just uh—look why do you go upstairs and sleep in the guest room? The house is a big mess and I’ll clean it up while you get rest?” Jack tells me while forcefully turning me toward the stairs. I was way too drunk to protest, so I just let him guide me toward the room. 

It suddenly hit me that he said the guest bedroom.

“Wait—why do I need to sleep in the guest bedroom—” Jack spun me around, almost making me fall. I grabbed onto his arm for balance, and that’s when I felt something wet and slimy. It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t cold either. I guess he noticed right away, because he took my hand and wiped the liquid off with his shirt. He kissed me goodnight, and slammed the door shut. 

Now I definitely knew something was wrong, because he hadn’t kissed me in at least a month. 

I would’ve gone back out and asked about it, but I blacked out.

* * *

The next morning, I woke up with the biggest hangover I’ve had in a while. I crawled out of bed and downstairs to get coffee, not really remembering what happened the night before. 

Jack was already downstairs, making eggs and toast, shirtless; I spotted some scratch marks right away, really pissing me off. He just doesn’t care if I see. Whatever, I needed to get to work anyway.

 * * *

At around three pm, I’m working in my cubicle, and my coworker came to me to ask about a project that we need to get approved. As I turned around to look through an email, she gasped and looked rather grossed out.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, pretty confused.

“Uhm. . .it’s just—you have a rash on your mouth. It looks pretty bad,” she responded, taking a small step back.

“What? Really? That’s so odd.” I grab my phone to look into the camera and queasiness immediately washes over me; the rash is red and inflamed, and I desperately rack my brain over what could’ve caused such a rash—it clicked. I bet Jack gave me an STI—I knew it! 

I thanked my coworker for telling me and dialed my doctor right away. I knew an emergency appointment would be much more expensive, but I’d rather not let the infection spread. I called out for the rest of the day and sped off toward his office.

* * *

When my doctor walks into the room, he sees the rash.

“I assume this is what the emergency appointment is about Ms. Osborn?” He asked with a stern tone. 

“Yes. I believe that my husband has been cheating, and he gave me an infection.”

“It does look painful. Do you mind if I take some swabs? I need to run some tests.” 

“Of course, do whatever you need to.”

After he left the room, I concocted an explanation to text my husband: I told him that I was at the doctor’s office because I had taken a fall at work, and that I might be here for an hour or two. 

But I wasn’t there for an hour; I was there for four. Playing games on my phone became boring, so I decided to get up and look at the diagrams hanging on the walls. After a few more minutes, I hear a knock at the door. It’s about time, I thought to myself.

“Come in!” I shout, expecting the doctor, but it was a police officer. 

“Excuse the intrusion, ma’am. But could you come with me down to the station? We need to ask you a few questions.” Now I’m scared, because I didn’t do anything wrong—right? I just nodded my head and followed him to his car.

* * *

I’m provided a disposable mask before we go into the station, and we sit down in a little room to the right of the front desk. It smells of cleaning products, clearly it had just been sterilized. The officer sat down across from me, and narrowed his eyes.

 “So, you think your husband gave you this. . .rash on your mouth?” He tiredly asks.

I gulp and respond, “Yes.”

“What’s his name, Miss?”

“Jack Osborn.”

“Okay. And has he been acting strange recently. Any odd behaviors?”

“Yes. That’s why I’ve assumed he’s been unfaithful.” Then I remembered the night before. “Actually, last night I came home very late, and it smelt awful. All the lights were off, and he seemed agitated when I tried to turn them on, saying ‘it was a mess and he doesn’t want me to see.’”

“Go on,” the officer prompts.

“He made me sleep in the guest bedroom. He grabbed me and spun me toward it and I almost fell, so I grabbed onto him for support. His forearm felt…slimy? And the liquid wasn’t cold, like room temperature.”

The cop just stared blankly at me, waiting for me to finish.

“He grabbed my wrist and wiped my hand off with his shirt, then kissed me. That was very odd, because he hasn’t kissed me for a while.”

“Is that all?”

“Basically. Why do you need to know all this stuff?” The officer’s blank stare returned until he let out a heavy sigh and rubbed the bridge of his nose a few times before looking back up to me. This time, his eyes were filled with sorrow.

“Is your husband at home?”

“Yes. He should be.”

“Okay, ma’am. This is going to be hard to hear. That rash you have there, it’s not an infection.” I began to say something but he went on. “At least not an infection you’re thinking of.”

“What do you mean by that?” I was even more confused.

“There’s only one thing that causes a rash like that to occur.”

I gulped again, unsure if I wanted to hear. “W-what’s that?”

“The rash…can only be caused by consumption of, or direct contact with a rotting human corpse.”

To say I was stunned is an understatement. I didn’t even have anything to say back. I just stared at him in shocked disbelief as fear crawled up my spine

“It’s very possible that the smell was a dead body. And the liquid on his forearm was blood.” 

“Oh. . .my. . .wait—no! There’s no chance he would actually. . .do. . .THAT!”

“Ma’am, it would also explain his odd behavior. This is a very serious matter, so we require further investigation.” 

I began to tear up. No way MY husband would do such a thing; Jack would never. Nevertheless, the police were going to investigate whether I thought he had done it or not. The officer let me have a few minutes to myself to process. After about ten minutes, I had almost changed my mind. It would make the most sense. I mean, I definitely hadn’t been eating dead bodies. I decided that I would help out the best I could with the investigation.

* * *

The police car stopped in front of my house, and we all got out. There were five or six officers, and me. The plan was for me to go in first, and up to the bedroom—to that forbidden place—and the officers would follow after a minute or so.

Walking through our bedroom door—for what’s probably going to be the last time—I begin to smell something foul, the same smell of that night. It was as if someone had blended rotten eggs and spoiled milk together, spraying it everywhere like essential oils. My husband, whom I’m assuming heard the door squeak when I opened it, sprinted from the bathroom and up to me very quickly. The look of panic spread nicely across his face. 

He began to ask piles of questions: “Why are you home early?” And “Why are you in the room? Did you forget something?” And most unnerving, “I can get it for you, don’t go in there please.” All of the words blurred together as I pushed past him, speed walking to the bathroom. He grabbed my wrist roughly and squeezed, so hard it felt like it could have popped off. 

I looked back at him, then to my wrist. That’s when I noticed the small red smears scattered up his forearm. Tiny scratches and burn marks that looked recent. I looked up into his eyes, now filled with rage instead of panic, and I still couldn’t understand what he was saying; all that was clear was the pairs of loud footsteps running toward us. The first two officers tackled him before he could react, shouting orders at him left and right. Two others pushed past me to get to the bathroom, and I went to look as well. 

Horror washed over my body when I saw the blood. It was everywhere, walls, floor, the sink. One officer yelled, “We got one!” 

I didn’t need to see what she was talking about, I already knew.