Margaret Atwood Freeze-Dried Fiction Contest

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He's still alive.

Exhausted, elated, spent. But alive.

Sam doesn't know what to do next though he wishes he could close his eyes and sleep - really sleep - though not the forever kind of sleep the blonde murderess next to him probably plans for him.

Just sleep. Is it too much to ask?

He doesn't even know her name. And she hasn't asked for his, not that it matters. He wouldn't tell her anyway. And it's probably for the best. The less they know about each other, the better. As it stands now, he knows more than he would ever want to know about her and her freeze-dried groom stashed in the unit that he just purchased. Sam wonders if she knows anything about him other than what she knows of his skill in the bedroom, or from what he told her back at the storage units. But then, does it really matter?

Outside the blizzard is still going and there really is nothing else to do - not after the last two hours they'd just had, him and the blonde murderess - for that's what she was, wasn't she? He can still smell the scent of sex hanging in the air, hovering over them like a sheet, a cloud, a shroud. But this one hums, just the way her body still hums, as if waiting for another round.

It must have been how she killed him, he thinks, just the way she described it. Killed him just when he was coming. Sam wonders if poor Clyde - sappy name to be born with, poor guy - knows he's already dead and not stuck in some orgasmic limbo somewhere, currently desiccated and wrapped in plastic garment bags complete with packing tape sealing the zippers. Sam's not the type to be all sympathetic, but he can't help but be curious. He's got nothing to lose now. He could be dead in the morning. And if he didn't move the stuff out of unit 56 by noon tomorrow, he'd be much deader - if that was even a word.

Sam plays with a strand of her long blonde hair on the pillow, twining it around his long finger. Would she really kill him if he did fall asleep?

Would she snuff the life out of him, maybe with a pillow pressed against his face though he's surely strong enough to fight her off? Or would she pull out a pen knife from her purse and slice his jugular, leaving a messy bed for the cleaning crew in the morning? At the second thought, Sam frowns and turns to look at her as she keeps her gaze at the window, watching the snow blowing outside. Or at least pretending to.

What about poison? Maybe she's got some drugs in her purse, a syringe ready to be plunged into his veins, delivering the deadly dose of whatever she could get her hands on. He'd read somewhere that you could kill someone by injecting air into someone, or maybe he'd seen it in some B-movie one night, when Gwyneth was buried in one of her books, too busy to notice him. He wonders if that is true - about a pocket of air in someone's veins, though he did read some factoid or other somewhere about the dangers of blowing into a vagina. He doesn't know if that's true either. Sam doesn't spend his time reading anatomy books. He's too busy trying to survive, putting up the facade of being this successful antiques store owner and doting husband, starving for one of his wife's measly handouts of watery sex on crisp clean sheets - sheets she'd promptly remove from the bed and toss into the washer right after, as if they offended her.

"How did he really die?" He asks, breaking the silence between them. There's a slight croak to his voice as he asks the question. He realizes that he's just filling in the pauses.

She turns to look at him, long lashes framing hazel eyes. She's assessing him, Sam thinks, wondering whether he can be trusted with the truth. Though after she does tell him the truth, would Sam end up just like her groom anyway, another prune sitting in some storage unit somewhere? She could easily pin Clyde's murder on him once the body is finally discovered. He wonders if anyone would even question her.  Probably not, after they'd discover what was in unit 56, which would surely launch an investigation into his business dealings. Maybe Miss Hazel-Eyes will claim that they'd been lovers in the past, that he got jealous of Clyde and killed him the day before their wedding.

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