Devil Cares: Chapter Seven

May 14, 2008 at 5:00 pm (Devil Cares) ()

Had a bit of a coding problem, but I fixed it.

Mackayla Byrne had been having a bad day. The insurance firm she worked for had been crazy busy ever since the start of December. With all this unexpected rain it seemed like there were a dozen new claims every week. And then the Mossbergs died, and there was a police investigation on top of the insurance claim. She had no idea what was holding that up, seemed like an open and shut to her. They hadn’t been expecting the rain, and had slid into the guard rail of the bridge. Tragic, yes, but hardly police investigation worthy. Thankfully, all Mackayla’s firm handled was the car insurance. Apparently they’d been life insured from some big company out of state. Just the car insurance was enough, the work was hectic as it was.
She would never admit this to her family, though. Her father had said she wasn’t cut out for something like insurance the entire time she’d gone to school. She was beautiful, she knew because her father always told her not to waste her looks. Her hair was a gentle brown naturally streaked with gold. It went nicely with her honey eyes, and her round, Old Hollywood Starlet face. Her father had also told her never go by Mack, it was always Mackayla. No famous supermodels were named Mack.
But Mackayla was not going to waste her life on something as superfluous as modeling. She wanted to do something that helped people, get their life back on track. Ideally, she wanted to be a social worker, but her job at the insurance company would pay the bills until she had everything in place. It wasn’t a great job by any stretch of the imagination. She had to sit in a little cubicle-like office and take phone calls all day. Even so, she had to admit, it wasn’t the worst job she’d ever had either.
Finally it was time to clock out, and Mackayla hurried from the little block building to her car with a newspaper overhead to shield from the rain. Clenching the top of her trench coat tight with one hand, she was glad she hadn’t worn that new skirt she’d bought. It would have been ruined from all the rain.
Sinking into the driver’s seat Mackayla shook her hands to remove the water from them before starting up the engine. Her car wasn’t exactly a dream either, an old sedan, but it was cheap. Any money she could save while she took her online college classes would help.
As she drove, Mackayla sang along to the radio, the simple catharsis this provided helping to wash away the cares of the day. Her husband Jim’s car wasn’t in the driveway, so he wasn’t home from work yet. She couldn’t imagine a construction manager would be very busy on a rainy day, but then there was probably paper work or something.
In a similar way to how she’d entered her car, Mackayla left it by dashing up the steps of her house with the same newspaper on her head. It was a bit soggy by the time she got inside, so she hoped Jim picked up another one.
Her favorite TV programs came on at six, so in the hour until then she whipped up some potatoes and gravy and chicken. If Jim wasn’t home by now then he wouldn’t be ‘til late, so she filled up her plate right then and walked out to the living room.
She watched her sitcoms until seven, cheered when her least favorite player got evicted at eight, and caught a late movie she hadn’t seen in a while. In no time at all it was ten thirty and Jim still wasn’t home. For a second Mackayla thought about calling, but Jim always said that no news was good news so she resisted the impulse.
Instead she went to put her plate and fork in the sink and then headed upstairs. She shrugged out of her skirt and blouse and into her bathrobe instead. The master bathtub was the size of a small Jacuzzi and Mackayla couldn’t wait to sink into it. Reaching down she turned the faucets, getting the water as hot as she could stand.
While she waited for the water to fill, Mackayla headed back into her bedroom and pulled out the night slip she’d be wearing to bed. She laid it out nicely so it wouldn’t wrinkle and then headed back to the bathroom. The tub was filled so she turned it off.
Letting her robe fall to the floor, Mackayla slowly sank down into the hot water. It was positively luxurious, the steaming bath. The cold and dreary water sinking down the outside of her window was a distant memory while her body warmed in the tub.
Mackayla’s eyes were closed, her head rested against the back of the tub, she was perfectly relaxed. Then out of nowhere she was going under.
Reflexively, she let out a gasp and bubbles flew out of her nose and mouth. She fought to gain purchase, her arms flailing against the sides, Her hair had become a dark cloud around her face, obscuring her vision.
The surface of the water rippled, bubbles swam to the top, and then it was still. The arms breaking through the surface went limp and ceased to thrash about. And then the body floated to the top.
It was about an hour later when Jim finally arrived home. He was a tall, fair haired man, an All-American Boy.
“Honey?” he called out as he came inside. “I brought the paper.”
He saw the TV was off, and when he wandered in the kitchen to hang his keys on the rack he saw the food his wife had prepared.
Instead of dishing himself up a plate, he headed upstairs first. Mackayla would be glad to know he was finally home.
“Babe, you won’t believe what happened,” he said as he came up the stairs, “after I got off I was driving out here and my tire blew. Can you believe the luck?”
Jim rounded the corner to their bedroom. “I had to wait for Carl to bring his tow truck to jack the company truck high enough to replace it.”
There on the bed was the black nightie Mackayla knew he liked, and he saw the light on through the bathroom door. “If it weren’t for that, I would have been here hours ago.”
He pushed the door open, “Honey?”
For the first few seconds his mind was utterly unable to comprehend the scene. A defense the mind has against terrible images, if he could just look away fast enough the mind would be spared the horror of the scene. But Jim Byrne didn’t look away. He stared at the sight of his wife floating lifeless and pale in her giant bathtub until his mind caught up with what he was seeing. And then he started to scream.
Miles away, on the outskirts of town, Kimber Mossberg awoke from his dream with a scream of his own.



  1. Zappaz said,

    OooOoo… And the plot thickens. Again!

    Very good job of making Mackayla a realistic, interesting character with motivations, rather than just “cannon fodder”, as it were.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter!

  2. Yahrlan said,

    I art bad Yahr again…ah well…
    Very– odd.

    Devil Cares Chapter Playlist

  3. jekloneo said,

    Hmm, I wonder what Kimber was dreaming about… And who or what killed Mackayla.

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