LJ Kentowski always wanted to be an FBI Agent. She pursued this dream for most of her formative years, throughout college, and passed the first round of tests. She also met her husband to be, and when the choice came to stay or go to the FBI, she stayed. Luckily for readers, since that time she has decided to work toward her second dream of writing. Finding time after work, after tending to family, and after everything else, she writes. Her first novel, Guardians of Fate, has just been published and the second volume is due in August 2012.
Horror comes in many forms. It is somewhat easy to comprehend when it is a gore filled scene, limbs hacked, screams emitted; somewhat less so when it is something seen, yet unseen, when the participants in said event are no longer sure where truth lies and possibly worst of all when that truth is revealed to unseeing eyes.
Submitted for your approval, in its entirety, Kentowski’s short story: “Torn Apart”.
Stacey secretly watched the lovers lay breathless, yet sated in her bed. Her heart crushed with every whispered endearment they spoke to one another. Their bodies molded together as if they belonged that way, a perfect fit.
It didn’t hurt any less that there had been signs of Jason’s betrayal. There had been more emergencies than usual at the clinic keeping him late or taking him away in the middle of the night. Of course, with less time together, there was little time for sex. She couldn’t remember the last time they made love.
She chose not to heed the signs because Jason was her husband and she trusted him. She assumed that this was normal after five years of marriage.
Stacey felt the urge to charge into the room and confront them both, but her fear of hearing Jason declare his love for this other woman held her feet in place. She didn’t know if she could live without him if he decided to leave her. She’d never been alone. He’d always been there. Was she better off pretending that she hadn’t seen them together or living with a man that shattered her heart?
The emotions were getting to be too much for her. She started to feel light headed as her mind spun with everything she just realized. She tried to brace herself, but everything went black.
Jessica lay in Jason’s arms, feeling complete. She knew that this was where she was meant to be. When they were together it felt like there was nothing else in the world but the two of them. She never wanted the moment to end, but she knew that it would each time. It had to.
They never discussed his wife, and Jessica forgot about her every time they were together. It was always in the aftermath of their lovemaking that Stacey would creep into Jessica’s conscience. She never discussed it with him though. She didn’t want to ruin what little time they had.
Someday he would leave Stacey. Their love would continue to grow and there would be no other alternative. Soon they would no longer be satisfied with these little fragments of time.
She wanted to be a normal couple so badly, but she had to have patience. Jason needed to do this the right way, at the right time. Stacey wasn’t a bad person; she didn’t deserve to be crushed with this. She just didn’t know how to be a good wife to Jason.
Jessica put these thoughts out of her mind and decided to savor the moment with Jason while she had the chance. That conversation with Jason would happen another time. Not today. Today, she was satisfied with just being in his arms again.
Stacey walked into the bedroom. Looking down at Jason sleeping peacefully in bed, she seethed with rage. How could he sleep so soundly knowing what he had just done?
Her hand trembling, she brought it down hard on Jason’s cheek. He woke with a start, jumping up from the bed. With eyes still focusing, he grabbed her upper arms, pinning them to her sides.
“What are you doing?” he yelled at her.
“How could you do this to me Jason? Where is she?” she questioned, looking around him.
Stacey didn’t see the woman anywhere. Where could she have gone? Unless she left through the window, she had to still be here in the room somewhere.
“There’s no one here but me and you!” he tried to convince her.
She relaxed the tension in her arms. “Jason, I saw you in bed with her. Where is she hiding?” She broke away from him and began looking in the closet and under the bed, to no avail.
“Did she go out the window? How could you do this to me, Jason?” she started to cry.
“Please calm down. There was no other woman.” He pulled her down to sit on the bed and looked up at her as he kneeled on the floor in front of her.
“Are you saying I’m crazy and just imagined seeing you with another woman in our bed? Is that really how you are going to plead your case, Jason? Can’t you show me an ounce of respect and admit what you’ve done?”
He hung his head down for a moment. When he looked up, there were tears in his eyes. He searched her eyes weighing how much he should reveal. She knew this was it. What was left of Stacey’s heart was destroyed.
“Ok, Stacey,” he said softly, “you’re right, I was here with another woman. I’m sorry you had to see that.”
“Who is she?” Stacey asked.
“Her name is Jessica,” he answered.
Terrified of his answer, she asked, “Do you love her?”
“Yes, but you don’t understand right now. I love you too. More than anything in
this world, Stacey, I love you.” Crying now, he looked so hurt and torn, as if he were the one that had been betrayed.
“How can you love me and hurt me like this? You can’t love us both. Love doesn’t work that way Jason!”
The reality of this was too much for Stacey to deal with. She needed to think this all through. Starting to stand up, she felt light-headed again and sat back down.
Jason noticed her falter. He grabbed her trembling hands in his. “Stacey, I need you to come with me. I think I can help you understand all of this. Will you try to understand for me? For us?” he pleaded desperately.
She looked at him. He was everything to her, but he had cheated. What more was there to understand? There couldn’t possibly be an explanation to make infidelity acceptable. She had now choice, however, there was nothing else but him.
Jason led her into his clinic. What was she doing here? Did the woman work with him? Was she another psychologist? Was that why he spent so much time at work lately?
“Jason, what are we doing here?” she questioned him.
He stopped walking and turned to look at her. “I need you to hear this from someone else. It’s the only way I think you can begin to comprehend what is going on. Please, just let down your perceptions of what you think happened until you hear what this person has to say. Can you do that for me, Stacey?”
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll hear it out.” She didn’t want to give in to all of this. She was the one betrayed. She owed him nothing, but she wanted to hear this explanation.
The nurse nodded at Jason and he led Stacey into an office she had never been in before. A woman stood up from behind her desk and came to shake hands with Stacey. “Hi Stacey. I’m Dr. Statton. I know that you are very confused right now, but I’m hoping that I can help you with that. Please have a seat.”
Stacey sat on the couch with Jason next to her, her hand in his. Dr. Statton sat in the chair opposite them.
“Stacey, do you remember seeing Jason in bed with another woman?” the doctor asked.
“Of course, that’s what this is all about! I don’t understand what is going on here,” Stacey replied confused.
“I know, Stacey, hear me out please. Do you remember what you did after you saw them together?”
She thought about being light-headed and blacking out, but that was a second before she confronted Jason in the bedroom. She explained this to Dr. Statton.
Dr. Statton nodded her head, as if in agreement. “When you were in the room, did you see the woman anymore?”
“I assumed she went out the window before I came in.”
“But how could she have gone out the window without you seeing her?” Dr Statton questioned her.
What was she getting at? “Maybe I blacked out longer than I thought. I don’t know. Why are you asking me these questions?”
“Stacey, there was no other woman in the room with your husband,” the doctor said slowly.
“I saw her! Jason even admitted it to me. He said her name was Jessica. What are you trying to do to me here?” Was this a conspiracy against her?
Dr. Statton looked at Jason and then to Stacey. “Stacey, I need you to listen carefully now. That woman was you. You are Jessica.” She waited for Stacey to react. When she saw the look of total confusion, she continued. “You have Dissociative Identity Disorder, Stacey. You have had this for several years now. I know this is hard to comprehend, but we are here to help you.”
Stacey’s face changed from confusion to complacency. It was a look that Jason had not seen before. She turned to the doctor, with a smile and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Sharon, and you are?”