‘Till Death Do Us Part

Sunset​ ​Boulevard​ ​woke​ ​to​ ​the​ ​sound​ ​of​ ​truck​ ​engines​ ​whirring​ ​and goods​ ​being​ ​unloaded.​ ​All​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​stuff​ ​such​ ​as​ ​home​ ​appliances, suitcases,​ ​boxes​ ​with​ ​trophies​ ​and​ ​all​ ​things​ ​usually​ ​found​ ​in​ ​a household​ ​were​ ​unloaded.​ ​The​ ​new​ ​owner​ ​of​ ​number​ ​13,​ ​Malcom Townsend​ ​had​ ​just​ ​moved​ ​in.​ ​The​ ​neighborhood​ ​was​ ​most​ ​interested in​ ​Malcom.​ ​He​ ​had​ ​a​ ​charming​ ​aura​ ​about​ ​him,​ ​and​ ​his​ ​’devilishly good​ ​looks’​ ​were​ ​the​ ​talk​ ​of​ ​the​ ​townsfolk.​ ​Especially​ ​in​ ​the​ ​women’s groups.​ ​Talk​ ​of​ ​the​ ​town​ ​was​ ​that​ ​Malcom​ ​had​ ​had​ ​his​ ​heart​ ​broken by​ ​a​ ​maiden​ ​back​ ​home​ ​and​ ​he​ ​made​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​move​ ​to​ ​Sunset Boulevard​ ​to​ ​start​ ​afresh.​ ​

Rumor​ ​has​ ​it​ ​that​ ​the​ ​maiden,​ ​going​ ​by​ ​the name​ ​of​ ​Candice,​ ​later​ ​met​ ​with​ ​an​ ​unfortunate​ ​end​ ​as​ ​her​ ​body​ ​was found​ ​in​ ​her​ ​apartment,​ ​with​ ​the​ ​neck​ ​cut​ ​open​ ​with​ ​a​ ​knife.​ ​A​ ​brutal affair​ ​it​ ​was.​ ​But​ ​it​ ​was​ ​only​ ​a​ ​rumor.​ ​And​ ​the​ ​townsfolk​ ​love​ ​to​ ​talk.​ ​It is​ ​also​ ​true​ ​among​ ​us​ ​maids.​ ​The​ ​gossip​ ​is​ ​never​ ​ending,​ ​dios​ ​mío. Nevertheless,​ ​I​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​head​ ​up​ ​to​ ​number​ ​13​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​my​ ​services. The​ ​conversation​ ​was​ ​quick​ ​and​ ​to​ ​the​ ​point.​ ​He​ ​said​ ​he​ ​did​ ​want​ ​a maidservant.​ ​I​ ​said​ ​I​ ​am​ ​the​ ​best​ ​in​ ​town.​ ​Said​ ​he​ ​needs​ ​someone​ ​who can​ ​cook,​ ​wash​ ​clothes​ ​and​ ​keep​ ​the​ ​house​ ​tidy.​ ​Said​ ​I’d​ ​do​ ​it​ ​5​ ​days​ ​a week.​ ​We​ ​talked​ ​salary​ ​and​ ​that​ ​was​ ​it.​ ​He​ ​paid​ ​extra​ ​for​ ​carrying​ ​the stuff​ ​inside,​ ​which​ ​I​ ​rejected.​ ​It​ ​didn’t​ ​feel​ ​right​ ​to​ ​take​ ​money​ ​from​ ​a gentleman​ ​like​ ​him.​ ​

After​ ​spending​ ​an​ ​hour,​ ​the​ ​house​ ​looked top-notch.​ ​I​ ​cooked​ ​him​ ​the​ ​finest​ ​Spanish​ ​dish​ ​I​ ​could​ ​prepare;​ ​the first​ ​impression​ ​must​ ​be​ ​excellent.​ ​He​ ​seemed​ ​to​ ​enjoy​ ​the​ ​food.​ ​After a​ ​quick​ ​dinner​ ​and​ ​watching​ ​a​ ​few​ ​TV​ ​shows,​ ​he​ ​asked​ ​me​ ​to​ ​prepare a​ ​hot​ ​bath​ ​for​ ​him​ ​as​ ​he​ ​felt​ ​a​ ​comfortable​ ​bath​ ​will​ ​ease​ ​his​ ​mind.​ ​I agreed.​ ​The​ ​trip​ ​must​ ​have​ ​been​ ​long​ ​and​ ​tiring.​ ​I​ ​prepared​ ​the​ ​hot bath​ ​and​ ​started​ ​cleaning​ ​up​ ​the​ ​windows​ ​as​ ​Mr.​ ​Malcom​ ​climbed into​ ​the​ ​bathtub.

“Sofía!”,​ ​he​ ​called​ ​out. “Yes,​ ​Mr.​ ​Malcom?”

“I​ ​wanted​ ​a​ ​hot​ ​bath.​ ​The​ ​water​ ​is​ ​cold.​ ​Did​ ​you​ ​check​ ​the​ ​heater?”

“Yes​ ​indeed,​ ​Mr.​ ​Malcom.​ ​I​ ​did.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​working​ ​as​ ​it​ ​always​ ​does!”

“I​ ​think​ ​it​ ​is​ ​malfunctioning.​ ​The​ ​water​ ​is​ ​cold,​ ​no​ ​doubt​ ​about​ ​it.”

I​ ​stepped​ ​up,​ ​embarrassed.​ ​After​ ​all,​ ​Mr.​ ​Malcom​ ​had​ ​draped​ ​a​ ​towel and​ ​nothing​ ​else. “Would​ ​you​ ​mind,​ ​señor,​ ​if​ ​I​ ​checked​ ​the​ ​water​ ​myself?”

“By​ ​all​ ​means”

Sure​ ​enough,​ ​the​ ​water​ ​was​ ​completely​ ​cold.​ ​Like​ ​the​ ​heater​ ​was non-existent. “I​ ​will​ ​call​ ​Mr.​ ​Banks​ ​right​ ​away,​ ​señor.​ ​Mr.​ ​Banks?​ ​He​ ​is​ ​the​ ​local electrician.​ ​Fixes​ ​things​ ​in​ ​a​ ​flash,​ ​he​ ​does​ ​señor!”


Next​ ​day​ ​Mr.​ ​Banks​ ​arrived.​ ​He​ ​first​ ​checked​ ​again​ ​to​ ​see​ ​if​ ​it​ ​was​ ​just a​ ​one​ ​time​ ​occurrence​ ​and​ ​the​ ​water​ ​again​ ​was​ ​cold.​ ​As​ ​Banks​ ​got​ ​to work,​ ​I​ ​prepared​ ​some​ ​hot​ ​tea​ ​for​ ​Mr.​ ​Malcom.​ ​An​ ​hour​ ​or​ ​so​ ​passed. Mr.​ ​Banks​ ​had​ ​now​ ​caused​ ​quite​ ​a​ ​ruckus​ ​with​ ​the​ ​heater.​ ​Nuts​ ​and bolts​ ​everywhere.​ ​Finally,​ ​after​ ​reassembling​ ​the​ ​setup​ ​he​ ​said, “Nothing​ ​is​ ​wrong​ ​with​ ​the​ ​heater​ ​sir,​ ​the​ ​problem​ ​might​ ​be​ ​in​ ​the plumbing.​ ​I​ ​suggest​ ​you​ ​call​ ​a​ ​plumber​ ​and​ ​have​ ​it​ ​all​ ​checked.”

“Of​ ​course.​ ​Thank​ ​you.​ ​Sofia,​ ​pay​ ​the​ ​man.​ ​And​ ​find​ ​a​ ​plumber​ ​will you?”

“Certainly​ ​señor”

As​ ​soon​ ​as​ ​Mr.​ ​Malcom​ ​was​ ​out​ ​of​ ​earshot,​ ​Banks​ ​whispered.

“Sofía.​ ​Sofía!​ ​The​ ​heat,​ ​it… I​ ​can’t​ ​explain… will​ ​you​ ​listen…”

“Calm​ ​down​ ​señor​ ​Banks.​ ​What​ ​is​ ​it?”

“The​ ​Heat.​ ​The​ ​bathtub​ ​won’t​ ​have​ ​hot​ ​water​ ​and​ ​the​ ​room… the room​ ​temperature… it… it… it’s​ ​not​ ​right.​ ​The​ ​whole​ ​room​ ​is​ ​cold!​ ​As if​ ​never​ ​touched​ ​by​ ​a​ ​ray​ ​of​ ​sunshine!”

He​ ​was​ ​right​ ​in​ ​saying​ ​so.​ ​I​ ​too,​ ​felt​ ​cold​ ​when​ ​cleaning​ ​up​ ​the bathroom.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​sinister​ ​feeling,​ ​like​ ​all​ ​happiness​ ​had​ ​vanished from​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​But​ ​I​ ​dismissed​ ​the​ ​thought​ ​and​ ​went​ ​on​ ​with​ ​my work. The​ ​next​ ​day​ ​the​ ​plumber​ ​arrived,​ ​and​ ​he​ ​pretty​ ​much​ ​had​ ​the​ ​same thing​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​about​ ​the​ ​problem;​ ​Absolutely​ ​nothing.​ ​And​ ​so​ ​he​ ​left. Señor​ ​Malcom​ ​had​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​to​ ​say​ ​about​ ​the​ ​incident: “You​ ​country​ ​people​ ​sure​ ​are​ ​inexperienced​ ​in​ ​your​ ​work.​ ​Not​ ​a​ ​single one​ ​of​ ​your​ ​people​ ​found​ ​the​ ​problem.​ ​But​ ​not​ ​to​ ​worry.​ ​Not​ ​to worry!​ ​My​ ​cousin​ ​Charlie​ ​will​ ​come​ ​over​ ​in​ ​a​ ​month.​ ​He’ll​ ​fix​ ​it!​ ​Hasn’t faltered​ ​uptil​ ​now!”

I​ ​wasn’t​ ​so​ ​sure While​ ​he​ ​waited​ ​for​ ​Charlie​ ​to​ ​arrive,​ ​señor​ ​Malcom​ ​had​ ​started taking​ ​baths​ ​in​ ​cold​ ​water.​ ​He​ ​didn’t​ ​care,​ ​he​ ​said.​ ​But​ ​something changed.​ ​Everyday​ ​that​ ​he​ ​took​ ​a​ ​bath,​ ​his​ ​manner​ ​became​ ​restless, as​ ​if​ ​an​ ​entity​ ​had​ ​possessed​ ​him.​ ​I​ ​wonder​ ​what​ ​it​ ​is​ ​that​ ​is​ ​troubling him?


Malcom​ ​had​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​take​ ​a​ ​bath​ ​in​ ​the​ ​cold​ ​water.​ ​It​ ​didn’t​ ​matter much​ ​anyway.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​water​ ​ran​ ​into​ ​the​ ​tub,​ ​he​ ​undressed​ ​and climbed​ ​in.​ ​Slowly,​ ​he​ ​sunk​ ​into​ ​the​ ​water​ ​and​ ​took​ ​a​ ​relaxed​ ​breath. Sheesh!​ ​What​ ​a​ ​long​ ​day​ ​it​ ​had​ ​been!​ ​He​ ​relaxed​ ​his​ ​head​ ​back​ ​and closed​ ​his​ ​eyes.​ ​Some​ ​candles​ ​and​ ​relaxing​ ​music​ ​would​ ​have​ ​been perfection.​ ​He​ ​suddenly​ ​fell​ ​into​ ​a​ ​trance,​ ​as​ ​if​ ​he​ ​had​ ​lost​ ​his​ ​senses for​ ​a​ ​while.


“Candice… Candice!!!!”

“You​ ​don’t​ ​understand…”


“’Hey​ ​there!​ ​How​ ​may​ ​I​ ​help​ ​you?’

A​ ​much​ ​younger​ ​Malcom​ ​stood​ ​in​ ​a​ ​pastry​ ​shop,​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​a​ ​cake​ ​to
give​ ​to​ ​his​ ​mother​ ​on​ ​her​ ​birthday.

‘Hi,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​a​ ​chocolate​ ​cake​ ​for my mom. It’s her birthday tomorrow you see.’

‘Sure​ ​sir,​ ​if​ ​you​ ​would​ ​just​ ​wait​ ​a​ ​moment?’

The​ ​woman​ ​went​ ​inside,​ ​presumably​ ​to​ ​arrange​ ​for​ ​the​ ​cake.

Meanwhile,​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​woman​ ​walks​ ​inside.​ ​Her​ ​features​ ​catch​ ​young Malcolm’s​ ​attention.​ ​He​ ​just​ ​stares​ ​for​ ​a​ ​long​ ​time.​ ​It​ ​makes​ ​her uncomfortable.​ ​She​ ​speaks:

‘Excuse​ ​me,​ ​is​ ​there​ ​something​ ​you​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​say​ ​to​ ​me?’

‘Ah… Umm… Yeah… the…’

He​ ​musters​ ​some​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​courage.​ ​An​ ​outburst.​ ​Something​ ​he​ ​had​ ​not seen​ ​in​ ​himself​ ​before.

‘I​ ​was​ ​hoping​ ​you​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​come​ ​with​ ​me​ ​for​ ​coffee​ ​sometime’

Surprised​ ​and​ ​yet​ ​amused,​ ​she​ ​laughed​ ​but​ ​had​ ​a​ ​surprise​ ​in​ ​turn​ ​for.

‘Sure.​ ​Where​ ​and​ ​When​ ​do​ ​you​ ​want​ ​to​ ​head?’

The​ ​couple​ ​had​ ​a​ ​really​ ​good​ ​thing​ ​going.​ ​For​ ​two​ ​years​ ​they​ ​had​ ​been on​ ​good​ ​terms​ ​after​ ​which​ ​they​ ​got​ ​married​ ​with​ ​the​ ​blessings​ ​of​ ​their parents.

‘Till​ ​death​ ​do​ ​us​ ​part,​ ​they​ ​had​ ​both​ ​said.

All​ ​was​ ​good​ ​and​ ​happy,​ ​until​ ​Candice​ ​got​ ​a​ ​job​ ​as​ ​a​ ​model​ ​under​ ​a leading​ ​fashion​ ​designer’s​ ​wing.

‘There​ ​is​ ​nothing!​ ​Nothing​ ​between​ ​us!​ ​You​ ​don’t​ ​understand! Malcom​ ​please!’

But​ ​how​ ​could​ ​he​ ​understand?​ ​He​ ​had​ ​seen!​ ​ ​Seen​ ​her​ ​going​ ​to​ ​that photographer’s​ ​house!​ ​At​ ​Midnight!​ ​ ​And​ ​all​ ​those​ ​photo​ ​sessions!​ ​Oh what​ ​has​ ​transpired​ ​between​ ​the​ ​two!​ ​No.​ ​No.​ ​He​ ​can’t​ ​let​ ​this happen.​ ​She​ ​belongs​ ​to​ ​me!​ ​ME!​ ​NO​ ​ONE​ ​ELSE!​ ​ONLY​ ​ME!

He​ ​was​ ​not​ ​himself​ ​when​ ​he​ ​went​ ​after​ ​the​ ​Swiss​ ​knife​ ​in​ ​his​ ​pocket.

He​ ​was​ ​not​ ​himself​ ​when​ ​he​ ​sliced​ ​her​ ​neck​ ​in​ ​a​ ​murderous​ ​rage.

‘What​ ​have… What​ ​have​ ​I​ ​done!​ ​OH!​ ​Candice!​ ​CANDICE!!!!!!’”

Suddenly​ ​everything​ ​faded.​ ​All​ ​was​ ​blackness… all​ ​dark​ ​and​ ​eerily quiet.


Malcom​ ​was​ ​drowning.​ ​Water​ ​filled​ ​his​ ​lungs​ ​and​ ​he​ ​was​ ​gripped​ ​by​ ​a fear​ ​he​ ​had​ ​never​ ​known​ ​before.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​noteworthy​ ​to​ ​say​ ​that​ ​Malcom drowning​ ​is​ ​an​ ​impossibility,​ ​having​ ​been​ ​swimming​ ​champion​ ​for three​ ​years​ ​in​ ​a​ ​row​ ​at​ ​the​ ​University.​ ​Malcom​ ​used​ ​the​ ​last​ ​of​ ​his strength​ ​as​ ​he​ ​hoisted​ ​himself​ ​away​ ​from​ ​the​ ​fatal​ ​bath.​ ​As​ ​he​ ​lay​ ​on the​ ​floor​ ​choking,​ ​calling​ ​out​ ​to​ ​Sofía,​ ​only​ ​to​ ​realize​ ​that​ ​she​ ​is​ ​on holiday.​ ​He​ ​felt​ ​cold,​ ​as​ ​if​ ​something​ ​dead​ ​and​ ​lifeless​ ​is​ ​gripping​ ​him. He​ ​slowly​ ​walked​ ​off,​ ​dismissing​ ​it​ ​as​ ​a​ ​bad​ ​dream,​ ​a​ ​nightmare,​ ​and got​ ​a​ ​towel.​ ​He​ ​needed​ ​a​ ​drink.​ ​Time​ ​to​ ​open​ ​the​ ​Brandy…


Señor​ ​Malcom​ ​is​ ​definitely​ ​in​ ​trouble​ ​of​ ​some​ ​kind.​ ​I​ ​arrived​ ​home today​ ​to​ ​be​ ​greeted​ ​by​ ​a​ ​man​ ​whose​ ​skin​ ​color​ ​had​ ​turned​ ​yellow, much​ ​like​ ​Sulphur.​ ​I​ ​know​ ​all​ ​about​ ​these​ ​materials​ ​you​ ​see.​ ​My brother​ ​is​ ​an​ ​avid​ ​admirer​ ​of​ ​Mother​ ​Earth’s​ ​gifts.​ ​I​ ​opened​ ​up​ ​about it: “Señor!​ ​Your​ ​skin… it’s​ ​not​ ​right!​ ​It’s​…​ ​it’s… ​it’s​ ​yellow!”

“Sofía,​ ​my​ ​dear,​ ​you​ ​worry​ ​too​ ​much.​ ​The​ ​country​ ​transition​ ​has certainly​ ​got​ ​to​ ​me.​ ​Don’t​ ​worry.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​alright!”

“Señor,​ ​I​ ​know​ ​a​ ​physician​ ​across​ ​the​ ​street…”

“Don’t​ ​you​ ​worry​ ​yourself​ ​dear.​ ​Now​ ​get​ ​on​ ​with​ ​the​ ​work!”

And​ ​that​ ​was​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​that.​ ​I​ ​couldn’t​ ​stop​ ​thinking​ ​about​ ​it​ ​though. Each​ ​time​ ​he​ ​took​ ​a​ ​bath​ ​he​ ​came​ ​back​ ​pale​ ​and​ ​disoriented,​ ​in​ ​a state,​ ​as​ ​if​ ​hit​ ​hard​ ​by​ ​a​ ​bat.​ ​There​ ​was​ ​something​ ​inexplicable​ ​about that​ ​room.​ ​Something​ ​I​ ​couldn’t​ ​put​ ​my​ ​finger​ ​on.​ ​Something…


Malcom​ ​was​ ​worried​ ​now.​ ​He​ ​knew​ ​for​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​the​ ​tub​ ​had something​ ​weird​ ​about​ ​it.​ ​He​ ​always​ ​felt​ ​the​ ​same​ ​thing.​ ​A​ ​trance. Followed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​dream​ ​and​ ​then​ ​drowning.​ ​And​ ​the​ ​words​ ​’Forever’. Was​ ​she…?​ ​No.​ ​That​ ​can’t​ ​be.​ ​She’s​ ​not​ ​anymore… she​ ​can’t be… As​ ​he​ ​lowered​ ​himself​ ​into​ ​the​ ​fatal​ ​bath​ ​again,​ ​he​ ​was​ ​frightened. Now​ ​that​ ​he​ ​had​ ​replaced​ ​the​ ​tub,​ ​nothing​ ​anomalous​ ​could​ ​happen, he​ ​reassured​ ​himself.​ ​Finally,​ ​he​ ​was​ ​in.​ ​He​ ​waited.​ ​For​ ​the​ ​longest time​ ​he​ ​waited.​ ​Nothing​ ​happened.​ ​No​ ​visions​ ​no​ ​voices.​ ​Just​ ​a normal​ ​bathtub.​ ​Like​ ​any​ ​other.​ ​Nothing.​ ​He​ ​let​ ​out​ ​a​ ​sigh​ ​of​ ​relief.​ ​It was​ ​all​ ​over…


I “Dispatch,​ ​this​ ​is​ ​Hopkins​ ​from​ ​Sunset​ ​Boulevard​ ​number​ ​thirteen. 911​ ​call​ ​about​ ​the​ ​body​ ​was​ ​made​ ​by​ ​the​ ​maid,​ ​who​ ​found​ ​the​ ​body. Vic​ ​is​ ​identified​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Malcom​ ​Townsend​.​ ​Age​ ​Thirty​ ​Four.​ ​Looks​ ​like the​ ​Bloke​ ​offed​ ​himself,​ ​over.”

“Hopkins,​ ​this​ ​is​ ​Helen​ ​from​ ​HQ.​ ​We​ ​hear​ ​you​ ​loud​ ​and​ ​clear.​ ​What’s the​ ​evidence​ ​that​ ​indicates​ ​suicide,​ ​over?”

“Guy​ ​looks​ ​like​ ​a​ ​Nut​ ​Job.​ ​Drowned​ ​himself​ ​in​ ​the​ ​bathtub.​ ​Wrote​ ​the word​ ​’Forever’​ ​in​ ​blood​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bathroom​ ​wall”

“Any​ ​sign​ ​of​ ​forced​ ​entry?​ ​What​ ​about​ ​the​ ​Maid?”

“She​ ​alibied​ ​out.​ ​She​ ​was​ ​with​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​her​ ​maid​ ​friends​ ​at​ ​the local​ ​bar​ ​at​ ​the​ ​time​ ​of​ ​death.​ ​Forced​ ​entry?​ ​Hold​ ​on,​ ​let​ ​me​ ​check that​ ​out​ ​for​ ​ya.​ ​HEY​ ​TENPENNY!​ ​CHECK​ ​THE​ ​DOORS…!​ ​YOU​ ​WHAT? OK!​ ​Nah.​ ​Locks​ ​are​ ​fine.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​something​ ​funny​ ​though”

“Go​ ​on​ ​Hopkins”

“He​ ​wrote​ ​the​ ​word​ ​using​ ​blood.​ ​But,​ ​here’s​ ​the​ ​thing.​ ​He​ ​don’t​ ​have cuts​ ​on​ ​his​ ​body.​ ​No​ ​bleeding,​ ​nothin’!”

“You​ ​checked​ ​DNA​ ​on​ ​the​ ​blood?​ ​Is​ ​there​ ​a​ ​match?”

“Yeah.​ ​It’s​ ​his​ ​blood​ ​alright.”

“Gory​ ​Business​ ​eh?”

“Yeah.​ ​I​ ​wonder…”

  • Heather Catchot

    Is there going to be more to this because it definitely seems like there could be and this story is awsome.