She sat in her living room reading a book about poisonous mushrooms. Paranoia egged her on, fraying her very last nerve. If only her anxiety had no foundation. If only she hadn’t searched through Brent’s phone. If only the idiot had erased his texts to Karen, the bitch, the home-wrecker. If only she hadn’t moved in next door.
Amanita phalloides, the death cap, seemed to be Lela’s most perfect solution. The bitch was having carpal tunnel surgery; it was only neighborly for Lela to bring over a casserole, or perhaps chicken marsala, Brent’s favorite meal.
“Let’s go Theo,” she called to her Labrador. He slowly unfolded himself from the small bed he’d used since he was a puppy. She scratched behind his ears and snapped on his leash. Perked up, the dog jauntily pranced toward the front door.
Theo was the best thing to come from her marriage, Lela realized. As she walked past Karen’s house she peered into the living room on the off-chance of finding her husband in there. Theo’s tail swished against her leg, reminding her not to look, not to appear suspicious. He kept her moving forward at an even pace and when they approached the dog park he waited patiently, never pulling the leash.
“You are my favorite boy.” Leah whispered. She entered the fenced-in area and unclipped the lead and Theo took off running in search of a stick. It didn’t take long and Lela was able to throw the stick closer and closer to the line of live oak trees.
If only it was some other season than spring, then the mushrooms wouldn’t be growing, waiting for Lela to extract her justice. But they were, and it took no time to gather a bag full of toxins.
If only… Brent hadn’t eaten dinner with Karen that night. If only Brent he closed Karen’s back door properly then Theo would never have consumed the leftovers.
If only she didn’t have to play the grieving widow, when really, she only missed the dog.