Old lady Maude had been brought up much different than most children in her area. Her parents were suspicious of everyone. Dogs and cats weren’t even allowed as pets. The fear was they may become rabid and bite through the full moon nights, and someone wouldn’t wake up.
The odd family lived down a long lane at the edge of town. At night; the curving road would send shivers down your spine, just staring down the long, empty vine. The owners felt like they mattered to no one because people just didn’t seem to understand their views on life. They went about their business and seemed to only exist in the world.
When Maude grew up; she became her parent’s likeness. She lived in the old house her parents had left her. She lived alone within the walls. The spiders and anything that crept through the house on the darkest of nights, became her friends.
She hated people in general; except the one neighbor on her right side. When she would walk to the mailbox, and if he was outside, he would wave and say good day. At first; she ignored him, but after repeated gestures, she did wave and eventually said her first hello.
Maude was in the attic one day and came across some trunks that had been her parents. She opened the hunched lids and found various clothing. She spent the better part of the afternoon trying them on.
She took the best ones and the next day when she went to the mailbox, she was wearing an A-line dress, with a brooch and matching shoes and hat, which had a big, floppy flower dangling off it.
The neighbor was out and instead of doing his usual good day, he stared and said nothing. She noticed, but said nothing, making her way to get the mail. When she was about half-way back to the house, he met her.
He stuck his hand out to shake hers. “I guess we have never been formally introduced. I am Jake and of course you know where I live. It is my pleasure to meet you, and your name is”?
She let a small smile sneak out and said, “Maude”. From that day on, the two kept company at the mailbox, chatting about nothing, and then without thinking she invited him to supper, and he agreed.
It came to be that on Wednesdays and Saturdays, they dined at each others homes. Each gave a guided tour of their homes, and it was a month later, the intimacy followed. Maude had never felt that way in her entire life.
This was love, she just knew it, and she fell hard for him. On the other hand, he had had many relationships in his life. He was what we would call a “gold digger”, and he wanted her gold. Stories had been told that her parents hid money all over their house. They never spent any money on anything other than necessities. He wanted it, he tasted it, and he would do what ever he had to do, to get his grubby hands on it, even if it meant courting Old Lady Maude.
As the months passed, the invitations passed by, and Maude made her presence known by a knock at his door. It was a blustery day in March. It was Monday evening. He wasn’t expecting her and when she knocked; their was no answer.
After waiting became a problem, she turned the handle and it opened. She walked in and without calling his name, she walked the rooms until she happened upon the door to his bedroom.
There, she heard moans. Raised voices, pleading for more. Maude listened until she could stand no more. She quietly turned the brass door knob and opened it just enough that her eyes could take in the view.
There on the bed was a woman and her man. Her face became hot. Her heart started beating fast and hard. She quietly closed the door and exited the way she had entered. Once back in her home, the words of mistrust came rushing back to her.
Her parents had been right. You could trust no one in life, not even the people you thought would never hurt you. She had to pay him back. She had to get revenge. She thought and thought. She paced the floors.
She thought of the most painful ways to hurt him. Should she make him suffer? Should she make it quick and clean? She went to bed with no supper and continued thinking out her plans.
It was on the next planned date night, he was to have supper at her house. He arrived on time. She smiled at him as she let him in the front door. She led him to the familiar dining room where an already pulled out chair awaited him.
He sat and she began bringing him the planned menu. A bowl of soup, with a trace of arsenic in it. Next came a tender slice of roast beef, with a spice of rat poison sprinkled on top. A salad of greens with just the smallest trace of anti-freeze, mixed in with the salad dressing.
She sat with her plate and watched eagerly as he ate bite by bite. After his plate was cleaned, she saw his face turn pale white, then blood red. She smiled as he grabbed his stomach and then vomit a green, foaming mass onto the floor.
“What? What did you give me? Are you trying to poison me”?
Maude asked him one simple question. “Aren’t you trying to poison me? You with your skilled words and manners. Reeling me in like a fish on a hook. The moment my back is turned, you have your penis in another”.
He tried to stand. He wanted to choke her. How dare she accuse him of such things. Look at how he had wined and dined her. He even bedded the old woman, and this is how she returned his favors?
As he stood, he fell to the floor. White foam dripping from his nose and mouth. He lay there lifeless. Maude checked his breath; there was none. He was dead. She rose and cleared the dishes. She rinsed everything in the hottest of water and washed them in bleach.
After the evidence was erased, she rolled the body onto a rug and drug him out to her back yard. She pulled him to the edge of the cliff and with a giant push, he went cascading over the edges; bouncing off of rocks on his way down.
The wild animals would eat him alive. She smiled and rubbed her hands against her clothes as if to erase all fingerprints. She walked back to the house, and took a bath. She knelt at her bed and thanked her parents for showing her the way people were. She promised her parents no one would ever touch the money hidden in the walls. After her prayer, she crawled into bed, covered up and went to sleep without another thought.