Another rejected story (by me) about a horrible man.
A Committed Man
By Ron Cypress
Ernest Buckle was a committed man. At the age of sixty-four, he had been with the same woman for thirty years. It was just the two of them, and no one really knew that they were together. Their relationship became a clandestine affair that was never revealed. No one knew what had happened, not even after the whole thing went up in flames.
Ernest had been living alone for about a year before he met Lorraine. Prior to residing alone in a two story house, Ernest had lived with his father. It had just been the two of them in the house since Ernest’s mother had passed away. He had enjoyed the living situation, though he was often frustrated with the way his father frequently intruded on his personal affairs. It was hard to develop “special” relationships while his father was alive. Eventually, Mr. Buckle passed away and Ernest was left alone.
Once he inherited the house, Ernest was able to do as he pleased with it. The few people who knew him and communicated with the thirty-two year old believed that the house would be put up for sale after his father passed. They couldn’t imagine Ernest living in the house by himself.
“Yes,” Ernest told them whenever they asked about it. “I will probably sell the house in a year or so. Right now I’m not really thinking about it.”
The last statement was true.
Ernest’s mind was on other things besides the fate of the house that he had inherited. For the first time, he was able to live with a feeling of complete liberation. Both of his parents were gone, and he was alone and able to do as he pleased. One of the first things he engaged in was talking to more women. There were several women who entered his life after he inherited the house. None of them were particularly special. Ernest knew that most of them would just be partners in short-term relationships. He was simply out to have fun. It would be a couple of years before he would feel like settling down.
One of the women that he began talking to was Lorraine. The two had met while Ernest was working at a clothing store.
“I’m looking for a coat,” Lorraine told him. “It’s going to be for my father. His birthday is coming up pretty soon, and I happened to see that the coat he is wearing now is all worn-out.”
That day Ernest assisted her with picking out a coat for his father. As she was purchasing the coat, the two had a brief conversation. Lorraine mentioned that she was working as a waitress at a local restaurant. After she left, Ernest knew that he would be visiting the restaurant by the end of the week.
He went to the restaurant and found Lorraine working there that day. She saw him and greeted Ernest with a smile. Though she wasn’t his waitress, the two talked some more and Ernest asked for more of her time. She agreed to meet him at a coffee shop the next day.
Several dates took place before the two became intimate.
Ernest was pleased with the relationship, though he began looking for other women after he and Lorraine consummated their relationship. He didn’t realize that Lorraine wanted to settle down even after she began discussing marriage. Ernest didn’t take her serious and just brushed the talk aside. Ultimately, he was a free man and he was determined to keep it that way.
Ernest was seeing two other women when Lorraine gave him the news and her demands. The two were sitting in her dark, one-bedroom apartment when she informed him that she was pregnant. As soon as he was told, he instantly became confused and furious.
“You lied to me,” he said. “You said that you were taking the pill. That’s what you said.”
“I am taking it,” Lorrain told him. “But you weren’t completely safe. I told you that the pill wasn’t a guarantee.”
Ernest looked at her with bewilderment. He couldn’t tell if she were being honest with him. Lorraine had already showed signs that she was forming a strong attachment to him. He thought about how he should have paid better attention to what she was doing. After the news of her pregnancy came out, Lorraine began to let her demands be known. She was going to have her child, and Ernest was going to be the father. He wasn’t going to escape from what he had helped create. Lorraine finally insisted that they get married.
“Of course,” she said with a scowl on her face. “That means those other women are going to have to go. They can’t be in the picture. You look surprised. Did you really think that I didn’t know about that? The town is small, Ernest. Just about everyone knows. And you’re not very good at covering things up.”
Ernest began to feel overwhelmed.
He could see his parents face. They were both staring at him and laughing. In a way they were mocking him, but they were also happy that a woman had finally got him. She was going to make him feel like a captured animal again. That was how he had felt with his parents. Lorraine was going to keep him locked up. Ernest could see the whole future forming. He would be enslaved to Lorraine and the child. His freedom was going to be taken away. He would have to be committed to her, and that sort of commitment pretty much meant being a captive. The freedom was going to vanish.
That was what he needed in order to survive.
“All right,” Ernest said as he prepared to leave Lorraine’s apartment. “I think I understand. I know what I have to do. It’s all right. Everything is going to be all right. We’ll take care of this.”
By the time he stepped out of her apartment, Ernest was mostly talking to himself. He would have to do something. Lorraine and the child couldn’t ruin his life. He was just starting to enjoy it.
The first thing he did was invite Lorraine to stay at his house. That was the first part of the plan. Lorraine accepted the offer and began staying in a room at his house. She wouldn’t be there long. Ernest had already starting to work on getting rid of her before she even moved into the house.
The second part of the plan would be executed in the basement. That was where he had dug the hole. The basement was where he would keep her. It would be her final resting place. Ernest was determined to make it happen. He wasn’t going to let her take his freedom away.
The night that it finally happened, the two ate dinner together. Ernest remained silent through much of the meal while Lorraine was more talkative than usual.
“I really can’t wait for the baby to start developing,” she said as they ate. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the ultrasound and getting a good picture.”
Most of her talk was about the fetus that hadn’t developed for more than two months. Ernest sat, listening and nodding his head as she went on about the child. After dinner was over with, it was his time to bring up the basement.
“I was looking around there yesterday,” Ernest said. “I was really surprised. I haven’t been down there in years, and I wasn’t sure about what they had been keeping down there. So I went down there and looked. I was surprised. You’ll have to come see it. I thought they threw all of it away but there’s a bunch of stuff down there, a bunch of stuff that I had as baby. You have to come see this.”
Lorraine was excited as she followed him down into the basement.
The lights were on and the area was illuminated. Lorraine giggled as she reached the bottom of the stairs. Ernest led her over to where he wanted her. What he had told her hadn’t been a complete lie. Some of his childhood possessions were in the basements.
The two walked over to a small, rocking chair that had once been his. Lorraine stared down at it.
“This was yours?” Lorraine asked as she looked down at the chair.
She was no longer paying attention to Ernest. Lorraine didn’t notice him stepping away from her and going back over towards the stairs. On the side of the stairs was a thick, metal bar. Lorraine was too focused on the rocking chair and other toys that were around it to be aware of his actions.
“Those were all mine,” Ernest said as he quietly picked up the bar and began walking towards her. “I actually remember most of them. Isn’t that crazy? And now we can give them to our child. They can be a part of their memories.”
Lorraine smiled. “That would be wonderful. Passing them down to the next generation. I really can’t wait for it to happen.”
“Neither can I.”
Ernest set himself up and put more force into the swing than he had ever put into anything else in his life. The first blow caused Lorraine to stumble but she didn’t go down. The second crushing blow came quickly. That time she went down. Enraged over what she was putting him through, Ernest dealt several more hard blows to her head.
The hole was ready for her and all he had to do was wrap her body up in blankets and dump her into the hole. Ernest thought about leaving her uncovered for the night and waiting until the morning to complete her burial. He decided to cover her that night. There was no point in delaying what needed to be done.
When the hole was filled with dirt, Ernest went back up the stairs. Completely exhausted from what he had done, Ernest fell into a deep sleep that night. His dreams were filled with ghoulish images of bloody faces and enormous men chasing after him. He was going to have to pay for what he had done. They weren’t going to let him get away with it.
Life resumed for Ernest after the murder. He was anxious and fearful of being discovered for several months after the crime was committed. Ernest figured it would just be a matter of time before the cops approached him and began asking questions about Lorraine. He constantly worked on his alibi so that he would be ready for them when they came with their questions.
The police never questioned him, and there was very little talk about Lorraine after she was murdered. She hadn’t been a native of the small town and didn’t have any family in the area. Though she associated with several people, Lorraine didn’t have any real friends in the town. The only person she really connected with was Ernest, and their relationship remained between the two of them. When an investigation was opened for Lorraine’s disappearance, no one thought to direct the police towards Ernest.
“We don’t know what happened to her,” One of Lorraine’s coworkers told Ernest. The woman was waiting on him that evening. “She just didn’t come in one day. I know they’re looking around her apartment building. They asked us some questions. Her parents came down. I’m not sure if they’re still here. You could tell that they were really heartbroken. Lorraine was their only daughter. They’re only child. We’re hoping that she’ll show up somewhere.”
Ernest nodded. “So am I. I haven’t seen her in a long time. I was beginning to feel bad about that, so I thought I would come here to try and find her.”
“I see,” the waitress said. “Well, it’s like I said. Hopefully, she’ll show up somewhere.”
Ernest was relieved after the conversation took place. It just reiterated what he had come to believe. No one would be able to link the two together. She was just another woman who had a small part in his life and there was no reason for anyone to suspect that he was responsible for her disappearance.
The years continued to go by, and Ernest decided that it was safe to move on with his life. He continued to see various women around town, though he discovered that living a philandering life wasn’t as enjoyable as it had been before Lorraine came to stay in his basement. One reason was that Ernest was always tense whenever someone came over to his house. Even when the mailman, or anyone delivering a package, came to the front door Ernest felt slight trepidation about finally being caught.
The second reason was that Ernest had an eerie feeling that he wasn’t alone in the house. Someone else was there and they were beginning to take over. He tried to keep the feeling away but he kept thinking about her. She was down there and he had to be cautious. One slip up and he would be locked away forever.
Ernest began checking on Lorraine’s grave everyday. He tried to stay away from it, but he felt compelled to make sure that it was still sealed and that her body remained hidden away. The hole he had dug had been deep. He had broken through cement and other small obstacles in order to make the grave. After she was in place, Ernest eventually placed cement over the place that she was buried.
He knew that she wouldn’t be going anywhere. Still, he couldn’t take a risk. He would have to make sure that no one ever found out about what had happened to Lorraine.
When thoughts about selling the house came to him, Ernest began considering what could happen after he was gone. The house would no longer be in his possession. Other people would come in and they would want to do stuff to the house. He was certain that they would work on it. The house was old and needed some repairs. Ernest had taken care of the more serious problems around the house, but he was certain that someone would want to come in and do more work on the house.
The thought was what kept him from going through with selling it.
Four years after he had buried Lorraine in his basement, Ernest considered selling the house and then made the decision that he had to stay for at least three more years. He had to keep watch over her grave. Ernest thought about adding more cement to area that was above Lorraine, but eventually decided to leave her grave alone.
He would just stay in the house a few more years before giving more thought to putting the house up for sell.
Three years passed and Ernest decided to remain in the house. He had to make sure that no one would come along and find her. The safest way to do that would be to stay in the house and keep guard the grave himself. So he stayed there and the years continued to go by.
Ernest found that he was completely alone. The guests stopped being invited over to the house as the years went on and he became even more paranoid about someone finding out his secret. He even became fearful of leaving the house and spent the majority of his free time at home. Lorraine and the child she had been carrying had to constantly be attended to or someone would find out about them.
That was how he viewed the situation.
Many people questioned his behavior as it became more and more bizarre. People who had once been friends griped to other people about the treatment they received from Ernest.
“All he wants to do is stay in the house,” one woman said. She was one of Ernest’s former lovers who had been cutoff. “He never wants to leave. Whenever I asked him to go out, he acted as if there was something that was keeping him there. Like he was afraid of losing something in the house.”
No one understood the changes in Ernest. They didn’t know about the woman and child in the basement. He would never explain it to them. Instead, the years would go by and people would see less and less of him.
In the house, Ernest remained with Lorraine. Sometimes, he would take his food down into the basement, sit down by her grave and eat. Often, he talked to her as he sat and ate his food. He spoke as if she were still alive and able to hear him.
Whenever he talked to her, Ernest often expressed remorse about what he had done. The years went by and his feelings of guilt increased.
“I shouldn’t have done,” he said as he stood by her grave. “I just shouldn’t have done that. I was just so afraid of being tied down.”
He stopped having thoughts of selling the house and came to accept that he would never be able to leave. Ernest would have to stay there and be committed protecting what was his. He had to be the one to watch over her. Finally, after thirty years, he snapped.
Just about all of his friends were gone and he knew that he was close to death. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer a few weeks prior to the fire occurring. The whole house would be ablaze and completely destroyed. Later on, after the fire was finally extinguished, the firemen would be able to piece together what had happened. Using gasoline, Ernest had started the fire in the basement. After that started to burn, he created another fire on the upper level.
The whole place burned, and later they found his charred body lying on his bed.
He was gone and many people had questions that would never be answered. Most people assumed that he had committed the act because of the cancer. They figured that he didn’t have much hope for surviving the illness and that he decided to end his life and destroy the house with him. The majority felt sympathy for him.
They never found out about Lorraine. Her grave remained where it was, and Ernest left no letter or notes behind that would give away her fate and location. Their relationship continued to stay hidden from the world.
What was left of the house was eventually taken away and an empty lot was left. About a year after Ernest’s demise, there was some talk around town about what was to become of the place where Ernest’s house had once stood. Through Ernest’s will, the property was handed over to a cousin that Ernest hadn’t seen since he was in his early twenties. The cousin gave the house to his son and that son made plans to build a new house in the spot that Ernest’s house had once stood.
The house would be big enough for his family of five. It would be their new home. People who had already met Ernest’s cousin only had kind words for the man.
“He’s a good guy,” one woman said. “And we’ll be glad to have him in the community.”
They would all see that he was a good man, one who was committed to his family.