Gertrude | by Gianna Rosina

She often felt eyes on her. There would always be signs near her home, Don’t go out past midnight, don’t stand out, don’t show that you are resisting. When she would pick her flowers in her garden, an iris would stare back at her. Some would say she’s going mad. Her attire was only added with lace around the edges, never underneath, and she lived in a small home, maybe with no lurking eyes, made sure her nose was clean.

Am I going mad?

She thought,

I can’t have any thoughts.

Everything must be in order, nothing out of place. Eyes track her daily, don’t mess up, don’t mess up-

The clock chimed, the hands twisted and turned. 11:00

I am going mad, what did I eat last? Oh wait, no thoughts, no thou-

She crumpled her dress on her fist and made her steamed skirt wrinkled.

The tea cup she was holding-
the glass broke, the painted hydrangeas bleed.

I am truly mad, damn it. Oh my god. Is someone watching me? Oh no, maybe I need to leave England. I can’t come back, I have some spare money in the backroom, I only need the check it’s cupboards and buy a train ticket-

She twisted her hair in her other bloody fist as her heart raced in her chest.

The room felt smaller, her corset cinched her waist tighter, If she could only get up from the loveseat-

Was there knocking at the door? Yes, there was knocking, faintly. A cat meowing? No, no.

Her hands shook as the blood on her forefinger dripped down onto her polished boot. Her body was frozen, in a confused shock.

11:30

I need to check the calendar, maybe it’s been a year? Claude would be home by now. No, no.

She clutched a framed photograph of her husband Claude, dresses smartly in a suit. His eyes watch her as well.

11:40

Wait what was the year? 1889? 1896?

A candle flickered in the room, someone at the door kept a-knocking, the cat kept meowing, someone or something had to be watching her! It had to, the hairs at the back of her neck raised, she felt clammy.

Claude, where did he go? The picture kept smirking at her, it knew something.

She got up from the loveseat, the room was dizzy. She felt someone tap her shoulder.

“Gertrude my darling, what has you so distressed?”

She turned around, those eyes! Those were the ones!

11:50

“Claude my dear, when did you get home?” her chest still didn’t feel right, her brain was telling her that something was off with her husband-

His clothes were torn, his eyes a dull tea rose colour.

He chuckled, “why, Gertrude, I just got home from working, from the law firm-

The clock hands kept spinning, the cat kept meowing, a candle kept flickering, wait, she thought, Claude had died four years ago! I’m hallucinating! I’m mad! I remember because I was the one who poi-

“Remember when you lovingly put poison in my glass of champagne, my dear Gertrude?”

His phantom fingers hovered over the clock face, the hands stopped-

12:00

“My lovely dear, darling, love of my life, it’s 12:00. Let us celebrate our honeymoon, get the champagne glasses, like old times.”

Her eyes watered. Those were the eyes that watched me, he’s come for reveng-

“Oh yes, wife. You can never get rid of me, I have traced your every move, your every thought, Oh yes, Gertrude. I have come back for you, every whisper telling you not to think, every chill up your spine, I will never leave you since you have ripped this youth from me-”

He raised his glass gayly,

“Cheers, poppet. May you never recover from this nightmare”.

 

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Gianna Rosina is an artist and aspiring costume designer. Her artwork has been featured in Porridge Magazine, and has a poem featured in Occulum.