It seemed so idyllic, so Secret Garden. We walked past the door a million times on our daily walks, a million times, and never once did we think to go inside. We didn't want the bother of navigating through all the bushes, I knew there were nettles. I hate stinging nettles.
It was her idea to dress in thick jeans and wear hiking boots on one of our walks, just so we can see what's behind that door, she said. She'd been curious about what was behind the door. She imagined a garden like the one from the story she loved as a child. She imagined the wildflowers, the smell of wet grass.
So we walked to the door, stepping through brush, my wife picking flowers. She used the knocker and banged on the wood, looking at me, smiling, sticking out her tongue. She pushed on the door, but it gave only slightly. She asked me to help her so I did. We did a three count and threw all our weight against the door. It flew open, rusted iron hinges groaning.
What was saw amazed us. My wife was right, it was fecund to the point of being as dense as a South African jungle. But all the foliage grew over what looked like an old living room. We were in a house, the walls had disintegrated over time, but the furniture remained, taken over by the flora.
Underneath a tangle of ivy was an old hearth. My wife crouched down and brushed aside tangles of vines. That's when she began to change. She screamed in pain and then I heard a series of crack and watched her double over. Then she was on her side, her body twisted, contorted. Her fingers were swollen and curled, like those of an arthritic old woman. She began to cry to me, but her voice was different. It was barely a rasp. She was calling me George and soon we were both crying. She was telling me to end it, to help her. If I (George) loved her, I would finish her off. It was an act of mercy. I told her, Marian, I called her Marian, I couldn't do it, I just couldn't. She begged me and her body kept writhing on the ground, a slug doused with salt. She screamed at me, demanded me to end it. Marian, I said, I can't do it. I can't! She said I was a coward, and I felt like I (George) was. I looked around for something, anything to end her suffering, my poor Marian.
Beside the hearth where my (George's) wife was writhing was rusty fireplace poker, strapped to the earth by decayed vines. I pulled it from the ground and walked over to my wife (Marian) whose eyes pleaded with me to end it. I raised the poker and brought it down on her head. I heard her skull crack, a burble of blood, and she was gone.
Then I was me again and my wife was my wife, not Marian. She didn't look sick, didn't look contorted, she just looked like herself, blue eyes, brown hair, except now her hair was matted with blood.
That's it. That's why I'm here. I needed to tell you that story.
I'm here to turn myself in.