The Black Widow by Newton Webb
Dark Horror Flash Fiction: Dining in an exquisite French bistro in Soho, Susan and Gerry's romantic date night unravels into an unexpected, heart-stopping climax.
The Black Widow by Newton Webb
The restaurant was beautiful. An old French bistro in Soho. Susan had spent ages researching it online so that she and her boyfriend Gerry could dine in luxury. The linen cloths, etched wine glassware, and thick, white candles set the scene magnificently. In the background, lilting music played.
She was wearing his favourite dress, a backless red number that she had worn the day he’d asked her out. The memory caused her to smile.
They took a seat at the corner table by the window. Their waiter took their order and brought them two glasses of champagne. It was cold and bubbly. Perfect. Susan looked at Gerry and beamed at him. He smiled back, looking tired. He’d come straight from work, still in his suit and tie. Or at least that was what he claimed.
They had not been finding things easy between them for the past few months. They rarely had sex anymore. He was never home and when he was. He was exhausted. Gerry always looked at his phone during dinner, an unusual habit for him.
“It’s been a long day, hasn’t it?” he said.
“You work too hard,” Susan replied, reaching for the free bread.
Gerry was checking his phone, even in a restaurant like this.
“Could you leave the phone, just for one meal,” Susan said. “I want this to be a perfect date. Please, just for once.”
Gerry put the phone away without complaint.
The starters arrived, smoked salmon for Gerry and a veal paté for herself.
She looked closely at him.
Does he know I know? Stop it.
She berated herself.
One perfect date, don’t ruin it.
Gerry was her life. She had dedicated the last six years to him, catering to his every need, hoping that one day they’d have children, get married, buy their own house.
Gerry finished chewing on a slice of smoked salmon,
The waiter came back to check on them and they ordered two main courses. As they settled into their meal, Susan felt a sense of sadness, like something was slipping away from her. She focused hard on Gerry. She had promised herself she wouldn’t ruin tonight.
Gerry looked up at her, his eyes twinkling. She smiled back.
“So how was your day?” she asked politely. “Anything exciting?”
“Just the usual,” Gerry replied. “How was your yoga class?”
“Excruciating. My body just doesn’t flex that way. I wish it would. The other girls in the group all look amazing.”
Gerry looked up from the last remnants of his smoked salmon. “I think you look amazing. I wouldn’t want you any other way.”
Really? Then why am I climbing into bed alone each night?
“I always want to look the best for my man,” she cringed as she said it.
You are too needy. You always have been.
“I think you look a million dollars.” He beamed at her.
How do you do it? How do you look so loving? Do you look like this with your other woman? Or is it women? Is it… a man?
The waiter collected their empty plates. “Are you ready for your main course?”
The meal seemed endless. Neither of them managed to finish the heaped plates. The waiter cleared their plates.
As soon as he left, Gerry’s phone went off. He tapped the button to silence it. “I’m sorry, I’ll turn it off.”
When the main course arrived, he was wheezing. “I’m so nervous, my heart is pounding.” He smiled.
This is happening too quickly.
Susan could feel her heart pounding in her chest.
“Susan, I wanted to tell you something. I haven’t been one hundred percent honest—” Gerry started.
“Don’t,” Susan interrupted. “This is a beautiful restaurant. Please don’t say anything that will ruin it.”
Gerry pulled out a jewellery box.
“I was going to wait until your birthday to propose, but when you booked this place, I knew it had to be here and now.” Gerry went down on one knee.
“I’ve been working a second job to pay for the ring.” He opened it up. It was magnificent, a large diamond set in a platinum ring. He rubbed at his chest. “I am sorry. I think I have indigestion.”
Susan burst into tears. Drool ran out of the side of her face. Horror was etched upon it.
He isn’t having an affair. He isn’t going to leave me.
Screams echoed round the restaurant and calls for an ambulance.
“I’m so sorry. I couldn’t bear to live without you. I thought you were leaving me. I just wanted one last perfect date.” Her paralysed face mangled her voice as she tried to explain to her beloved, now lying on the floor. She took one last look at the poisoned champagne flutes as she too collapsed.
Death wrapped them both in a black shroud as she cursed her paranoia.
If you enjoyed this free short story, then please consider Tales of the Macabre, Vol. 1. My first collected works on Amazon containing sixteen short stories and novellas by Newton Webb.