The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Read Online (FREE)
It was Kathy moaning.
I tried to get closer, but the branches caught me and held me suspended, like a fly in a web. I stood there in the dim light, breathing in the musty smell of bark and earth. I listened to Kathy moaning as he fucked her. He grunted like an animal.
I burned with hate. This man had come from nowhere and invaded my life. He had stolen and seduced and corrupted the one thing in the world that was precious to me. It was monstrous—supernatural. Perhaps he wasn’t human at all, but the instrument of some malevolent deity intent on punishing me. Was God punishing me? Why? What was I guilty of—except falling in love? Was it that I loved too deeply, too needily? Too much?
Did this man love her? I doubted it. Not the way I did. He was just using her; using her body. There was no way he cared for her as I did. I would have died for Kathy.
I would have killed for her.
I thought of my father—I knew what he’d do in this situation. He’d murder the guy. Be a man, I could hear my father shouting. Toughen up. Was that what I should do? Kill him? Dispose of him? It was a way out of this mess—a way to break the spell, release Kathy and set us free. Once she had grieved his loss, it would be over, he’d just be a memory, easily forgotten, and we could go on as before. I could do it now, here, in the park. I’d drag him into the pond, plunge his head underwater. I’d hold it there until his body convulsed and went limp in my arms. Or I could follow him home on the tube, stand right behind him on the platform, and—with a sharp shove—push him in the path of an oncoming train. Or creep up behind him on a deserted street, clutching a brick, and bash out his brains. Why not?
Kathy’s moans grew louder suddenly, and I recognized the groans she made as she climaxed. Then there was a silence … interrupted by a muffled giggle I knew so well. I could hear the snapping of twigs as they tramped out of the woods.
I waited for a few moments. Then I snapped the branches around me and fought my way out of the trees, tearing and scratching my hands to shreds.
When I emerged from the wood, my eyes were half-blind with tears. I wiped them away with a bleeding fist.
I lurched off, going nowhere. I walked round and round like a madman.
No one was at the reception desk, and no one came when I called. I hesitated for a moment, then went into the gallery.
I walked along the corridor to where the Alcestis was hanging. Once again, I looked at the painting. Once again, I tried to read it, and again I failed. Something about the picture defied interpretation—or else it had some kind of meaning that I had yet to comprehend. But what?