Zach whistled casually as he walked into his kitchen carrying multiple bags of groceries with each arm. Once he’d put all the bags down, he went back to close the door, hearing the AC hum to life as the afternoon heat seeped into the house. Zach kicked his shoes off and headed back to the kitchen, smiling to himself as the cold air soothed his overheated body.
“Florida in July: heat stroke fun for the whole family,” Zach said as he pulled a gallon of milk from a plastic bag. As he opened his fridge and placed the milk inside, he heard the doorbell ring. Zach closed the refrigerator door, his head cocked slightly to the right in curiosity. Brushing a lock of dark brown hair off his forehead, he opened the front door to find…no one.
Zach glanced back and forth, narrowing his eyes as he scanned for whoever just ding-dong-ditched his home in the middle of the afternoon. He took a step forward, but before he’d put his foot down, his toe bumped into something solid. Zach looked down, discovering a small cardboard box at his feet.
“I…didn’t order anything,” Zach said, bending over to read the sticker on the top of the box. His name and address were all correct, so it was definitely an intentional delivery. To Zach’s dismay, there was no address for whoever had sent this package, leaving him with nothing to go on. He took a few steps back, observing the dimensions of the package. It was relatively small, only coming up to the middle of Zach’s shins. Suspicion drove Zach to pull his cell phone from his right pocket and search for recent news stories regarding unknown packages and explosives. When his Google search only yielded results from years past, he decided to take the package into his garage.
Zach sat in a lawn chair, his brown eyes staring intently at the plain cardboard box sitting on the concrete. His thumb and index finger ran through his recently-trimmed beard as he thought about what could be concealed within the package. Was it poison, a bomb, or something entirely harmless? The possibilities made Zach’s stomach churn, and he forced himself to take a deep breath.
“Alright, Zach,” he said to himself, “stop being a baby and open the package.” He stood up and exited the garage, returning moments later with a box cutter. His thumb exposed the tiny blade, and he knelt down next to the box. Zach’s heartbeat quickened, and he felt beads of sweat forming on his forehead. Something about this package made every hair in his body stand on end, but he still drove himself to drag the blade through the tape that sealed the box shut. The top two flaps lifted slightly, and Zach pulled them back. He shifted the final two flaps as well, revealing the contents of the box.
Within the box was an envelope with a red wax seal, and Zach cautiously reached into the box to retrieve the envelope. He did his best to gingerly open the envelope, and once he had, he pulled the paper from within it. Zach unfolded the paper and began to read.
“I haven’t forgiven you. I won’t be forgiving you, not after what you did. We were together for six years, Zach, and you cheated on me. You’ll never know how many hours I spent wondering why I wasn’t good enough for you.”
“What the hell?” Zach said, feeling a pulsing pain in his chest as he continued to read.
“You haven’t spoken to me since the day I found out. You cut me off and left me out to dry. I’ll never be the same after what you did to me. You left me with nothing but pain, Zach. I hope you’re happy.”
The letter came to an end, and Zach sat quietly for a moment. He flipped the letter around, and what he found nearly made him drop the paper altogether. The words “Join me in the hell you deserve” were written on the back in blood, and as soon as Zach had read the crimson text, he felt something come over him. His entire body began to shake, and he was drawn to the box once again. There was a black cloth in the bottom of the package, and Zach quickly yanked the cloth away, revealing a shining silver revolver. His right hand reached for the gun, and his fingers felt cold metal as he pulled the firearm from the cardboard.
“N-no…” Zach said, his voice unsteady, “what’s…happening to me?” His thumb hit the button to release the cylinder, revealing five empty slots out of six. Zach clicked the cylinder back into place, and his thumb pulled back the hammer. “Please,” Zach said, his face contorting as tears formed in his eyes. “I’m not ready to die yet.”
His hands continued to act against his will, pressing the revolver’s barrel against his right temple. His shaking grew more violent, and every inch of his body was drenched in cold sweat. Zach’s brown eyes widened, and his vision darted around the garage, searching desperately for something that could help him get out of this.
“Stephanie, I swear I never meant for it to end this way. Please, you have to believe me. I can’t do this.”
Though Zach begged, his right index finger flexed, filling his garage with a loud bang before everything returned to silence.
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