Habits are easy to develop if they bring you a sense of comfort. These can be good habits or they can be bad habits. Whether we like it or not, these habits define who we are in some way, to a point where even those close to us can subconsciously recognise them. A shift in character, even so slight, can be spotted almost instantly.
Jamie Anderson saw such changes in her husband, which grew into deep suspicion and eventually she took action. Robby Anderson was a farmer, late thirties and hardworking. Jamie noticed he came home late one day, but Robby didn’t explain why despite her questioning. Of course, this is always concerning for every young wife. However, it began to grow darker with each successive night.
Robby would come back with a sterner face, grumpier demeanour. However, what bothered Jamie was Robby’s change of habits. He never wiped his feet when he came home, but after his first late-night, he always did. He stopped drinking a nightcap, he started eating seconds, sometimes thirds. He even started watching Jamie’s shows with her.
Small things that meant so much to her and to most wives it was a blessing.
Jamie saw right through the new habits and decided to follow her husband one day. She followed him to work, watching him work tirelessly and eat his lunch in the company of his two friends. The three didn’t say much, Robby especially. Eventually, the working day ended and everything started to take a turn for the sinister.
Instead of going home or joining his friends for a drink, Robby would drive his truck out of town and down a dirt road. Jamie felt kept her distance ensuring Robby didn’t know he was being followed. It was dangerous driving as Jamie had the headlights off. Jamie knew that Robby could only be going to the river, which wasn’t too far on foot. She stowed the car out of sight and followed.
Jamie told the police Robby met with many other people she recognised from town. Every one of them was digging a pit, wide and deep. Watching them so close became dangerous, as it took only one to turn in her direction and see her. She kept her distance, staying low to the ground and waited.
Everyone dug without saying a word and at some point, they all decided it was time to stop. Everyone dropped their spades if they weren’t using their hands and left in whatever vehicle they came in. Some simply walked back to town.
Jamie had to investigate further. She approached the massive pit and stood at its edge, staring down into the darkness. At the very bottom, she saw an assortment of objects, but it was too far and too dark for her to make out what they were. As she lifted her head, she saw that nobody had left and all stood at the edge of the forest watching her. Their pale faces seemed to be made of stone, but the feeling they gave her was not so neutral.
Jamie didn’t spot her husband, but she need only have turned to see him swing his spade and knock her unconscious and into the pit. There was a snapping noise as she hit the bottom and Robby considered that to be the end of it.
However, Jamie lived.
Jamie awoke atop a pile of bodies, cold and lifeless. Her left arm broken, she was still able to push herself up from her right and examine the faces beneath her. Among them, she claims to have seen her husband.
“And that’s when you decided to kill your husband?” the officer asked from the other side of the bars.
“No...that man was not my husband,” Jamie told him softly. “I climbed out of the pit and walked back to town.”
“With a broken arm?”
Jamie scowled at him.
“It wasn’t easy, but yes.”
Jamie made her way home on foot, ragged and in pain. It was nearly morning by the time arrived, seeing the imposter sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast. She considered confronting him, or going to the police, unaware that he was the one who knocked her out. Jamie almost made the mistake of confronting him, but then she saw a woman in the kitchen with Robby.
Jamie’s eyes widened in deep horror, the same way they did when she awoke on the heap of death. She saw herself, drinking coffee with the man that wasn’t her husband.
“Aliens...demons...government conspiracy,” Jamie whispered softly.
“Pardon?” the officer replied. “I didn’t catch that.”
“It was me...a woman that looked exactly like me with a man that looked exactly like my husband. I don’t know how...I just couldn’t stand there, afraid. I went to the shed, I found his shotgun and I shot them both through the window.”
“Why through the window?”
“I didn’t want to be in there, in case I missed.”
The officer nodded with fake sympathy, but couldn’t help but smile.
“What?” Jamie snapped.
“I’ve heard many stories in this line of work, ma’am, and I’ve only really started. Tall tales and bald-faced lies. Every one of them pleaded innocent with blood on their hands.”
Jamie looked away, not wanting to hear anymore or waste her breath arguing. It wasn’t until the officer turned the key for her cell and opened the door did she look back at him.
“Every one of them told more believable stories than yours,” the officer continued. “Now, you don’t seem crazy to me, or stupid, so I’m going to give you just one chance.”
The officer placed cuffs around Jamie’s wrists and led her to his car. He still put her in the back, putting a wall between the two.
“Give me directions, show me where the pit is,” the officer told her.
“What’s your name?”
“David Rice,” the officer replied with a smile.
“Take the next left, David.”
Jamie fed directions to the officer and in moments they were going down the same dirt road that Jamie did. Rice helped her out the backseat and told her to lead the way, while she bombarded him with questions.
“Did you see the bodies?”
“No, not my job.”
“What are they saying?”
“That you killed your husband in cold blood.”
“And the other woman?”
“They didn’t mention anyone else.”
“The only body they found was your husbands, no evidence of another.”
Jamie turned to look back at Rice, her eyes wide.
“She definitely isn’t alive,” Jamie told him shakily. “Why would they lie and say I only killed my...that thing.”
“My thoughts exactly. Doesn’t make sense for you to admit to a double murder with there being only one body.”
Jamie and Rice soon reached a steep decline, at the bottom, it levelled out along the river. There was no pit insight, but they’re certainly was evidence of one. It had been filled in, but the dirt was still fresh, forming a lighter circle, easy to distinguish.
“See? See? They tried to cover it up, but it’s definitely still here,” Jamie told Rice victoriously.
David was already raising his radio, calling the station. Jamie approached him slowly, holding out her handcuffs. He shook her head, she wasn’t getting off that easily.
“...hello? This is Officer Rice, can anyone..?” Rice began to repeat but was immediately cut off when Jamie wrenched his gun from his holster.
Rice reacted quickly, but not quickly enough. Jamie shot his leg, then his stomach. Rice fell, blood pouring from his wounds. It’s at this moment that his radio began to crackle to life, hissing and squeaking.
David cringed at the noise as he clutched his stomach, trying to stop the blood.
“Yes, that’s the last of them,” Jamie seemingly told the air.
The radio hissed once more, this time louder.
Jamie stared down at David. His skin grew pale, but it wasn’t due to loss of blood. He saw in her eyes everything Jamie told him about. An abnormal lack of humanity, a cold uncaring soul. He saw more emotion from the barrel of the gun in his last moments.