Lynne Hendricks and Herman Schubert got married almost immediately after graduation from high school. It seemed to most that this marriage was way too hasty, yet his and her parents saw, demonstrated every day in the couple’s sincere, enthusiastic love for each other, a true, bedrock commitment.
Besides, Lynne and Herman had no desire to have kids, so if it ever came to a divorce, there was no fear of custody battles complicating things.
They went to the same university, renting an apartment just a few blocks from the campus, and their commitment to each other extended to a commitment to focus on their studies; because without a wish to chase after sexual encounters with any other members of the opposite sex, neither of them had the temptation to party in bars.
This monogamous commitment of theirs, so unusual in kids in their late teens, was nonetheless explicable: the apparent suicide of Megan Fourier drove the two into such sexual guilt that their monogamy was meant as a kind of atonement.
Herman had been getting nightmares starting just a week after Megan’s disappearance. He dreamt of himself raping her, a vivid reliving of the actual event, of him raping Lynne, or of Megan with a strap-on raping him. He’d dream one of these variations at least once a week, if not almost every night.
As a Catholic, he went to confession and told the priest everything with his face soaked in tears. The priest advised him to turn himself in to the authorities, but Herman of course didn’t want to face that; so he decided never to have sexual relations with anyone other than Lynne, for the rest of his life. To him, such a sacrifice of so many potential partners, with his good looks making temptation easy, seemed an acceptable form of atonement.
Lynne had nightmares, too. She’d witness either the rape as it had happened to Megan, or she’d see Megan watching Herman rape her, or she’d see Megan with the strap-on raping her, with Herman watching and laughing. Her nightmares were less frequent than his, around once a month, but they were no less intense. When he proposed to her, she agreed that their giving up of sex with anyone else would be a sufficient punishment.
Of course, neither of them could have even imagined that it was Megan’s ghost that was visually narrating their every nightmare.
Lynne’s guilt increased upon taking a Women’s Studies course during her first year in university. Hearing the shocking rape statistics her professor quoted invariably triggered her memory of what she’d had Herman do to poor Megan. At the same time, though, the guilt motivated her to commit to her marriage all the more, resisting every pass handsome guys gave her on and off campus. Given her beauty, she got lots of those passes, almost every day, often several on any one day.
Lynne and Herman never changed their minds about not wanting to have kids, and their hard work studying paid off, with Herman getting into Law School, and Lynne getting a degree in psychology. Eventually, after their post-graduate work, he joined a successful law firm, and she became a psychotherapist, often listening with tears of compassion to her patients’ retelling of such traumas as child sexual abuse. His proudest court case, him as prosecutor, resulted in the conviction of a rapist.
Over the years, Herman and Lynne found that their nightmares about Megan were becoming fewer in frequency, until by the time they’d reached thirty years of age, they were no longer having them at all. During their thirties, therefore, their married life had become nothing less than a blissful one.
Indeed, they remained no less in love than they’d been as teens. With their successful work, they used their plentiful money to buy a beautiful house in a quiet neighbourhood in North York. Every year, they’d have vacations in such places as Florida or Europe. Life was good.
Megan the ghost had been monitoring their marital bliss the whole time.
She grew conflicted over whether or not to get revenge on them. First, she noticed how the simmering hate in herself and in Alexa and Tiffany was eating them up, hence Megan’s easing up on Herman’s and Lynne’s nightmares. Also, she sensed how her tormentors had grown repentant of what they’d done to her, making her less eager for revenge.
Still, seeing the boundless happiness of that couple irked her, for she remembered how she’d originally wanted Herman for herself.
She was especially irked to see their passion and joy when making love, which was every time they did it.
So one night, twenty years after her rape and her disappearance with Alexa and Tiffany, Megan decided to make her presence known to Lynne and Herman…in their bedroom.
It was just past ten PM. Lynne, still quite beautiful at 38, had just showered, perfumed herself, and prettied her face with makeup while Herman lay in bed waiting for her. It made no difference to him if she were eighteen or thirty-eight years old: she was still the sexiest, loveliest woman in the whole world.
She came out of the bathroom with only her bathrobe on. She went into the bedroom with a grin for Herman, who grinned back at her.
“Take the bathrobe off, honey,” he said. “Let me see you.”
“No,” she said bashfully.
“Oh, come on. I know how you look under it, and that’s why I wanna see. You have a beautiful body.”
“Don’t be shy. Give us a look.”
“C’mon, don’t be such a tease.”
“Oh, OK.” She undid and dropped the bathrobe at her feet. One hand covered her breasts, the other, her pubes.
“Lynne, what’s with the covering up?”
“Well, I’m not as young as I used to be.”
“What’s that got to do with anything? You’re still the hottest, sexiest woman in the world. Let’s see it all.”
“Oh, alright.” She moved her hands away in all timidity.
He grinned as his eyes feasted on her lovely flesh.
“What are you so shy about?” he asked. “Your body is as perfect as it’s always been. Now, get in bed with me. I’m as hard as a rock, and I’m gonna show you how much I like that body.”
Giggling, she got under the covers with him. He took off his underwear. They held each other and began kissing.
Megan scowled, burning with envy, as she watched them together, so happy.
So undeservedly happy.
It’s time I took away your happiness, she thought. Her spirit descended on Herman as he entered Lynne.