Short story: When She Finds Out…

The television was on loud. It was the late evening news, and all in all, it brought the same news it did every day. Rowen sat next to his wife Klara with a beer in hand. Both his feet laid stretched out on the side table. And with his hard eyes fixed on the screen, he avoided any kind of conversation. Klara knew his way of approach by now.

Like many other nights, he had arrived home late again without really explaining himself. And the fact Klara hadn’t asked why kind of left the both of them speechless on the couch.

“So, how was your day?” Rowen finally spoke when the commercials began.

“It was okay. Did some groceries, went to get us something for dinner and-…” for a moment Klara paused, she did not mean to bring up the awkwardness and remind them that he had been away yet another evening, missed out on yet another dinner. The confrontation was to be avoided. Quickly she added, “And our sweet Veronica is doing great in class. I spoke to her teacher after school today and aside from talking too much in class, she is actually outdoing most of her classmates.”

Usually, it helped to raise this topic, their daughter. She was their main subject of dialogue, if not the sole subject these days. It was like she was the only topic they seemed to be able to talk about, without it taking an awkward or ambiguous turn.

“Oh-“ he said weakly, still staring at the washing powder’s capacity to keep clothing white, even after the 10th wash. “Well, she must have gotten those qualities from you.” A compliment, out of guilt, not honesty or love and affection. But Klara did not respond. “I’m glad your day went well. How was Veronica feeling when you put her to bed? Did she miss me?” He asked, turning his head to face her.

At that moment Klara was completely lost in his silver eyes. She saw the gleam of his familiar hues return to her, like how it had been when they were happily together and deeply in love many years ago. But before long his empty crisps of eyes returned and were staring right at her. “She did ask where you were,” Klara responded curtly, yet equally eager to know the answer as she left behind a silent pause. A pause, suggesting she would be expecting of him to come up with something different than the same old, lie of an excuse.

“You know how work is keeping me busy, and doing overtime… We told her that, she knows this, right?” Rowen said stricken with insecurity he tried fighting back.

“Yeah, she does know this, yet she asked me again.” She said, but whether Klara was insinuating a new and more truthful answer of him like before or that she was simply in consent with his argument, was not really clear. For neither of them, that is. Because Klara did not want to hear out loud that which she already knew deep down, and Rowen did not want to speak of that which already was so obvious. And so he took the opportunity to escape further confrontation and ended the night with a deep sigh before departing from her and their awkwardness, off to bed.

By the time the commercials had finished, it became deadly silent in the house. Rowen was already in bed and Veronica vast asleep.

A tear rolled from Klara’s cheek onto her cuddled knee when from the corner of her eye a faint blue light flicked on. It came from Rowen’s cell phone, forgotten on the couch. He must have left it behind on accident hurrying his way upstairs. He never left his phone lying around, especially not these days.

It was now or never, Klara thought grabbing for his phone. Her heart hammered through her chest as she turned the phone to break one of their golden rules; Respect each other’s privacy, but she didn’t care.

The message read: “I’ll make sure to wear your fav color next time 😉 bye til then. ~ur kitty”

A primal rage surged through Klara’s vitals at the word ‘ur’ and she squeezed the phone as if she was about to break it. Automatically her finger went for the home button but a code blocked her from access. “Shit,” she scream-whispered, “You piece of shit!”

Klara wrote the number that was visible on top of the message down on a little paper and kept it in her jeans’ pocket. She didn’t want to read more than what she already had and she wasn’t going to call in the middle of the night all freaked out either. No, she would take care of this like the freak she was. And first, she needed sleep and a plan. And then, him out of the house…

After only a little sleep but a thoroughly fleshed-out plan, Klara slid out of the bed early the next morning. She hadn’t heard Rowen when he’d vanished from under the covers an hour prior but she rarely did anyway, so today wouldn’t be any different.

Now, before we continue on, it is important to mention certain things about Klara, more specifically about her past, when she still used her real name. You see, Klara, infamously known as $uuk1, wasn’t your ordinary teenage girl when growing up. Unlike many of her age living and growing up in the U.K., her childhood had been rather different. Born and raised in China as a girl, she had been either found or sold to the CR Company when a baby. The CR Company was a Chinese underground corporation that -simply put- raised an army of parentless child hackers mid-90s. But then not long after the Chinese recession was the company accused of several claims, mainly regarding hacking and attacking American intelligence platforms. And so after the CR’s removal, like many of the other kids, Suki or Klara, was set free, to live a normal and mundane life elsewhere, as far away as possible, yet still monitored by the American CIA.

To Klara, having that cell phone number was like possessing the key to a door. A door that would lead to some safe, Kitty’s safe.

How much Klara hated the fact it was part of who she was, though she now loved the power it would grant her. They would pay for this. Rowen should’ve belonged to her, and her alone.

The first thing she would be checking after having brought Veronica to school that morning was where this woman worked. If it was at the same company Rowen did it would be simple and stage two of her plan could proceed.

Klara sipped from her first coffee when her laptop was turned on. By this time the woman should be at work. It was a regular Thursday, most people went to work on Thursdays.

She traced this Kitty’s telephone number, which was then connected to the local server and fairly easy to code past. In all, it took Klara only five minutes to track down this woman.

And yes, right she was! GAR Ltd, 1712 Dallington St, London. A closer look on both Kitty’s and her husband’s exact location showed her they not only worked in the same building, they seemed to be located rather near to each other in office as well, as in being only a couple of meters apart. An urge to breach into their camera system overthrew her, her fingers went to type some incomprehensible codes but, thankfully, her mind decided against it not too long after and she quickly deleted it. A breach would leave her only two minutes before their security system would catch up with the loop she created. And in order to let her plan come to fulfillment, she needed more than just two minutes. Panic was no option, on the contrary.

Honestly, this plan would only work if Rowen was with Kitty the way she had known him to be with her years ago. Rough, always willing and unstoppable. A disgusted feeling rotted deep inside her when Klara came to think of it, her spite ever growing sour.

Into her computer, she programmed an alarm that went off whenever their locations would come in close contact, approx. one meter. And weren’t coffee breaks the best? To the intermittent signaling of her computer, they most certainly were. Klara decided to turn off the volume and simply throw her eye every once in a while at the screen to see if they were stupid enough to let her plan come true. She would show no mercy.

It was past 1 pm when she peaked her head from around the doorway to take a look at the monitor when she noticed the sudden change. The two dots that represented their exact location were no longer where they had been earlier- at their desks. Now, they walked up a corridor, within the building, together. She put the volume back up, her computer ringing annoyingly loud. Klara’s heart dropped to her feet. The rage that had been building up all morning long suddenly dropped into a complete void and her eyes felt like drowning, her chest like caving in. Pain settled deep even though she had known this moment was to come. She just never had expected for him to throw away their memories so easily. As if 15 years of love and 10 years of marriage could be deleted within a matter of seconds and no one should care about it. Briefly, Veronica came to mind, but Klara assumed she would be too young to realize any of this happening around her anyway. It was best to leave the child as ignorant as possible, at least that’s what Klara thought.

Her phone lay beside her on the desk when she hesitantly stared at it. This was it. Her plan. Stage One would be completed.

She bit back her tears, reminding herself of the words Kitty had sent him.

A desperate and almost inaudible voice in the back of her head started screaming, ‘What if this was all coincidental? What if you are wrong?’ Though, to prove this was fairly easy. Her mind went back to GAR’s surveillance system, and this time there was nothing stopping her from sneaking in because now, two minutes were all she needed.

By the time she was in their security camera and surveillance system, she had full access to all camera screens, the two suspects were in the male’s bathroom. A revolting urge to vomit all over her processors was abruptly halted by the overseer returning from his midday break. Even on the camera images, Klara could see the leftover crumbles on his shirt and the whipped milk hugging his mustache. It had taken him a full minute to realize their system had been breached. And by that time Klara was already on the phone with the Head Chief of Human Resources, obviously hack-called her way into his private telephone extension.

“Hello, Mr. DuBoix.” Klara said in a manly voice through her pitch altering software.

“Errr- Hello.” The businessman replied with a sudden gasp. “Who am I speaking with?”

“I’ve come to call you anonymously, this as one of your co-workers. But in the bathroom on the third floor, things are happening that shouldn’t. I won’t take any part in this profanity. But this is our company, and I will not stand this!” Klara yelled finishing her sentence before hanging up the phone.

The stress from hours of plotting and scheming overtook her and she suddenly burst into laughter. She tried calming herself but as she looked at the screen waiting for the dots to be separated, for once and always, her eyes watered irresistibly.

And separate they did, into two separate cubicles only minutes after the call. Too bad she couldn’t breach into their security system a second time, just to capture the look on their faces, and more so his face. She figured she might be doing that some other time since right now it was time to pick Veronica up from school. Of all things she had thought about, sadly enough her daughter had come through last. Klara eased her wary mind by thinking she would be too young to even grasp the ambiguity of everything that was about to happen.

The television played loud. It was the early evening news, and all in all, it brought the same news it did each day. Rowen sat next to Klara on the couch, with his hands in his hair and his elbows leaning on his slumped knees. His dark eyes were lowered to the ground. This time, Klara knew exactly what was going on but she didn’t utter a word.

Unlike many other nights, he had arrived home early this evening, yet again without explaining why. But the fact Klara hadn’t asked why left the both of them speechless on the couch.

But then Klara spoke when the commercials started, “Now, how was your day?”

– Written by me


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