Monday, 29 October 2012

THE PERFECT WIFE by Allan Watson

To perpetuate your horror happiness we bring you the second of the two joint runner up stories in one night! 

This time Allan Watson bids you welcome to his world, and invites you to share The Perfect Wife.

Allan first graced TK'n'C's stage back in June with his wicked tale The Red Devil; when I saw his name in the list of competition entrants I hoped his story would tickle me as much as the last one. I wasn't disappointed - and neither were my fellow editors.

THE PERFECT WIFE by Allan Watson

You can find anything on the internet these days. Web pages with lists of household cleaning products that, when combined with plant food and a glass jar full of nails, transform into lethal bombs. Experts who’ll happily show you the ten most reliable ways to commit suicide. League tables (with starred rankings) informing the browser which plane crashes yielded the highest number of fatalities. There are sites out there in darkest cyberspace whose only purpose is to educate the public on the best ways to amputate their own toes, groom children, inject heroin, or even grow their own anthrax spores. But what I was looking for was something more specialised. I wanted to create the perfect wife.

I already had a wife called Clara and she was nice enough, a slim brunette with better than average legs. But there’s always room for improvement, isn’t there? Clara’s voice for instance. There was something definitely shrill and shrewish in her tone when she nagged. Howard, when are you going to get a decent job? Howard, remember to clean the shower. Howard, when was the last time you cut those horrible toe-nails? Yes, indeed. Definitely room for improvement.

What I needed was an on-line e-Grimoire, something that would instruct me on how to make her more docile, more compliant, and much less lippy. I’d read about this Italian Count from the Middle-Ages who was supposed to have murdered his five wives and brought them back to life as obedient, servile companions, happy to indulge his every whim and need. But I had no idea how to accomplish this. I spent weeks checking through hundreds of websites dealing with black magic and necromancy but most of them were either written by deluded cranks or over-imaginative teenagers. I then posted requests on likely-looking message boards and chat-rooms and finally got a reply from someone called Baal666. He asked me lots of questions, probably to find out if I was serious or not, then finally sent me a link to a page on a website called Necrobyte.

Sure enough, what I needed was right there on the screen and I wrote everything down with a feverish, shaking hand. And just as well I did, because the web site crashed my computer after five minutes. It didn’t just wipe the hard-drive, it somehow made my motherboard catch fire and caused my monitor to implode in a shower of blue sparks. But I had what I needed and all I had to do was carefully follow the instructions. The first step, of course, was to murder my wife. I did this by crushing a handful of sleeping pills and putting them into the warm milk Clara drank every night before going to bed. Once she was snoozing well and good, I taped her hands to the headboard, tied a plastic bag around her head, and simply waited until she suffocated.

The next stage I won’t go into too much detail over. It involved dumping Clara in the bath, cutting her open, draining away the blood, then removing all those eel-like, blue and purple innards normally best kept away from the light of day. When the job was complete I did as the instructions said and stuffed Clara full of sawdust, goose-feathers and horse-hair, then stitched her up with thick black twine. My needlework isn’t so good and a trail of sawdust kept leaking out when I moved her back into the spare room, so I used superglue to fix the troublesome loose seams.

Then came the anointing with unguents. The list of ingredients looked initially daunting, but the author had appended an alternative list of essential oils containing things like sweet almond, juniper, magnesium, and marjoram, all easily obtainable from the Body Shop. These had to be heated to a certain temperature, then mixed in a certain order with a scattering of graveyard dirt before being rubbed over my dead wife’s skin. The standard arcane mumbo-jumbo stuff was involved here, chanted incantations, burning candles and waving my hands in the air to create pentagrams and inverted triangles. The whole operation lasted three whole hours but finally everything was done. Except for one omission. There was the small matter of spilling my own blood as a tribute to Lucifer, but I thought that was just a touch too theatrical.

I got myself a stiff drink and enjoyed just sitting there admiring my new, much-improved, perfect wife. There was no animation at that point – the e-Grimoire claimed it would be at least two full days before she was back on her feet and ready to do some cooking and cleaning. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t put her to other uses. Putting on some smoochy Michael Buble music, I hauled her up and whirled her around the room. She didn’t weigh much to start with, but now filled with only sawdust, feathers, and horse-hair she practically weighed nothing at all. It amused me to think how much she would have hated this. Clara was one of the few women in creation who hated dancing. Every time we went to a party it would always be me urging her to get up and shake her stuff, but she never did. As I swung her up and down in time to the music I nuzzled my mouth close to Clara’s ear, telling her how much I loved her and how beautiful she looked. Then with one last graceful pirouette I swept her off to bed.

Making love that night with Clara was like nothing I had experienced before. We did things the old Clara would never have consented to. Dirty things, sick even. And not once did she mutter a word of complaint. I loved the sharp contrast between the burning rage in my groin as it ground into her own cool, vapid sex. When I was spent, I carried her back to the spare room, sat her in a chair and wished her goodnight.

The following day I left her much to her own devices. I slept late and only visited the spare room once to anoint her with the oils as per the instructions for the ritual. I wondered how much of the old Clara would survive. Would she be capable of normal speech? Would I have to teach her how to cook and use the vacuum cleaner? I hoped not as my own cooking wasn’t up to much and cleaning has never been one of my strong points. I did however have to get rid of the unwanted offal I’d removed from Clara. These sweetbreads I tied in plastic bin liners and then spent a large part of the day driving around town, dropping them off at various locations. I was dog-tired when I returned home, and after eating a cheese sandwich for dinner I went to bed alone.

I awoke in the middle of the night to find Clara lying beside me. I switched on the bedside lamp, excited by the possibility of her early reanimation, but she just lay there stiff and unresponsive, her skin cold and dry to the touch. When I tried speaking to her, asking how she was feeling, she stubbornly remained silent. Too tired to puzzle it out, I switched off the light, made diffident love to her, and fell into a dreamless sleep. In the morning her side of the bed was empty, but on the bedside table there was a note that simply said, ‘Tonight xx’.

I checked through the ritual’s instructions again but it never mentioned anything about intermittent reanimation. Then again, I imagine everyone reacted differently to coming back from the dead. In the back of my mind I worried slightly that my omission of a blood sacrifice to Lucifer may have brought about some yet unknown side-effects, but it was too late to do anything about it. I made frequent trips to the spare room that day hoping to catch Clara by surprise, but each time I entered the room she was in the exactly the same position where I’d left her in the chair. I made a few small repairs to the stitching on her torso where some of the black twine had worked loose and I brushed off a small pool of sawdust and feathers that had gathered in her lap before applying the oils. The pungent scent which at first had smelled (and tasted) mysterious and exotic was now cloying and sickly.

After another makeshift meal of cheese sandwiches and a bottle of beer, I decided to make a special effort for Clara’s return to the living. I took a long soak in the bath before shaving and liberally spraying myself with after-shave she had given me at Xmas. In the bedroom I put on a clean shirt and dressed in my best suit, then nipped out to the supermarket to buy a bunch of wilting roses and a budget priced bottle of champagne. The flowers went into a vase and the champagne into an ice bucket. I stoked up the hi-fi with Michael Buble and sat back to await my perfect wife.

After two hours I had finished off the champagne and the music had long since come to an end. Even the roses seemed to have visibly wilted a few more degrees. I was on the point of dozing off when I heard the sound of bumps and muted crashes coming from the spare room down the hall. I sat up straight and listened carefully as Clara took her first fledgling steps into her new life. The bumps and bangs continued for ten minutes before I finally heard the spare room door open and soft slithering footsteps approach the lounge.

Clara eventually came stumbling into view and I almost burst out laughing at her clumsy attempts to dress herself. She’d pulled on a cardigan back to front with her bra twisted over the top, as well as an old pair of paint-splattered jeans that she only kept for gardening or decorating. The laughter stuck in my throat however when she lurched to within a few feet of me and I noticed she was carrying a small valise with badly packed garments leaking out the sides.

‘Clara, where on earth do you think you’re going?’ I asked.

Her pale face contorted into a ghost of a bitter smile. ‘I’m leaving you, Howard’ she slurred.

That was when I noticed what she was holding in her other hand. It seemed that before Clara had slid into my bed the night before, she’d also made a trip to the kitchen. Clutched between her pale fingers was a long, serrated carving knife.

Before I could react, she had thrust the knife into my chest causing me to tip over the chair and knock over the vase of roses as I crashed to the floor. As I lay there watching my life-blood spread across the carpet to revitalise the petals of the half-dead blooms, I realised I was paying that blood tribute to Lucifer after all. Then, faintly through the harshly hissing static filling my head, I heard the crooning of Michael Buble start up again. Slowly, oh so slowly, I managed to turn my head a few inches and saw a wondrous sight.

Clara was dancing.


Bio: Allan Watson is a writer whose work leans towards the dark and disturbing realms of the fiction spectrum. He is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories.


  1. You are one sick puppy, Allan (a compliment, of course). I knew we were in for a shit-storm the moment he mentioned there being "room for improvement." Funny too, especially since somehow the necrophilia managed to have an overall lighthearted feel to it (if you pardon my figure of speech). Congrats to you!

  2. Thanks, Angel. It basically sums up a typical fun weekend in Glasgow.

  3. I am quite sure that there are many men who would like to "improve" their wives in this fashion. I would hope they would receive a similar fate.

    I must grudgingly admit that I enjoyed the story, because it is so imaginative and well-written. Hmph!

  4. Disturbing, disgusting- but could not stop reading. Sometimes you get what you wish for, he learns. And the lady has the last dance. I like that. Congratulations on your win, Allan.

  5. I really like how this doesn't shy away from the details - especially after the opening that sets the scene, grounding it in the insane reality that really exists in the inter-web.

    Loved the just desserts that are rightly visited on the bastard at the end, and that you build in the means to his end so early on.

  6. From now on, every time I see a depiction of hell in one of those Italian technicolor cinema grue fests I'll be hearing Buble singing Sinatra in my head. At least there was dancing. Enjoyed this little bit of savage satire a lot.

  7. a great story, Allan, good to see such pure horror being written!

  8. Thank you so much for all the comments. Currently trawling the web for the Perfect Gin and Tonic. Found a promising site that demands I slice up my pet lemon before it supplies me with the elusive recipe. That lemon has been with me a long time but........ Sometimes you got to make sacrifices.