My Husband Came Back From the War

📅 Published on May 7, 2020

“My Husband Came Back From the War”

Written by Laura Lee
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by A.J. Ferraro

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. A.J. Ferraro)

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 8 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 4 votes.
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My husband went overseas as part of the military for a few years. The entire time I anxiously awaited his return. I constantly wondered if I would ever get a phone call notifying me that he would never come home. It was strange being alone in this big house for so long, but I got by. As the end of his tour neared, my days were consumed with preparation. Everything had to be in perfect order for him. It had to be just right.

In an unexpected twist of fate, I did get a call a week before he was scheduled to return. My husband wasn’t dead, but he was very badly hurt. I didn’t want the gruesome details, but he lost his legs and suffered a bad head injury. They told me to expect changes in his memory and behavior when he came back. They explained that recovery was a long road, that he’d need a lot of support from me, and a lot of other stuff I’m sure they’ve told to countless spouses waiting back at home.

Even knowing all this, nothing could prepare me for what was coming.

By the time I was finally going to be able to see him, I had practically picked my fingers raw from anxiety. He had to be medically stable enough to ship back, so I wasn’t expecting the worst, but I clearly wasn’t expecting the best either. I was scheduled to meet him at a doctor’s appointment so they could go over all the details with me.

I have never been fond of hospitals or doctors or anything like that, so this certainly wasn’t how I wanted to see my husband for the first time. My anxiety was debilitating, but I knew he needed me, so I swallowed my apprehensions and urged myself through the doors. I signed in, and the doctor met me in the office soon after. He gave me essentially the same basic rundown I’d heard before. I would notice “deviations” in my husband’s personality, he’d probably forget some things, and he had made a lot of progress, but there was still a long way to go in terms of both physical and mental recovery… I tried to pay attention, but I was so nervous to see him that his words all seemed to blur together.

The doctor stopped abruptly to knock on one of the doors stretched along the hallway. “Mr. Hart, I have your wife here, I’m sure you’re very excited to see her!” He flashed me a big smile before opening the door and ushering me into the room.

He looked just like I remembered, just like all the big glossy pictures that lined the hallways of the house, with the exception of his lower half. He sat in a wheelchair now, and both legs had been amputated above the knee. Their ends were concealed by tight bandages.

“The wounds are pretty healed up now, the bandages are just to keep the swelling down in preparation for future prosthetic fitting,” the doctor reassured me.

My husband looked up at me, disoriented and confused. His expression rapidly morphed into a look of rage. “That’s not my fucking wife,” he said, glaring up at me.

My heart seized in my chest. “Honey…” I started to say.

The doctor cut me off. “Ryan, this is your wife. She provided ID at the front desk. Just look at her, you know this is your wife. You just showed me a picture of you two twenty minutes ago.” He turned to me, a sorry expression on his face. “I heard he had trouble telling the nurses apart in rehab, and he still gets confused sometimes. This is actually pretty normal. It’ll get better as you talk to him. Remind him of all the memories you shared before all of this happened.”

My husband still looked a little skeptical, but I could tell he was at least somewhat aware of how his brain injury had affected him. He knew he wasn’t “all there” anymore. The doctor educated me on how I could care for my husband and make sure he was safe around the house. There was a lot to remember, but I took careful notes. Finally, I was allowed to take him home. I sheepishly gripped the handles of his wheelchair and pushed him out of the office. I helped him transfer into the passenger side of my car before getting into the driver’s side.

“I missed you,” I finally cautioned after several heavy minutes of silence.

“Yeah, I missed you too,” he replied, looking at me with a glimmer of recognition.

I eased up a bit in my seat, hardly realizing I had been tensing my entire body. I hit the brakes a bit too hard as we approached a red light. We both lurched forward in our seats, straining against the seat belts. “Sorry, babe,” I offered meekly. “Brakes are a little touchy.”

“You’ve had this car for years,” he shot back, turning to look out the window.

“I know. Just haven’t been driving much lately,” I returned with a sigh. I knew it was going to be difficult to get him to trust me.

It’s only gotten worse in the weeks since he’s been back. The doctor has been no help. Every time I call, he writes my husband’s erratic behavior off as a normal reaction to traumatic brain injury and probably PTSD.

There are moments when he responds to logic, admitting that I must be his wife because I look exactly like he remembers. We flip through photo albums together each day and laugh over our shared memories. I fill in the gaps when he’s forgotten something. We hold hands and sometimes he even initiates a kiss. If I happen to forget the smallest detail he remembers (or thinks he remembers, really) a switch flips and I know the chance for reasoning with him is gone. He can’t seem to accept that it’s normal for me to forget things, too.

Even more frustrating is his constant nitpicking over the small ways I have changed over the years. After spending so much time alone in this house, naturally, I’ve picked up a few new hobbies. My husband can’t come to terms with this fact, expressing disbelief in my “sudden” love of gardening the most.

“You fucking hate the dirt,” he snaps at me. “You hate the way it feels under your nails.”

“I still do,” I reply, trying to keep my composure. Be patient, the doctor always says. “That’s why I wear gloves, honey. I like the feeling of growing something out of nothing. I get to plant my favorite flowers instead of buying them for the vases like I used to.”

Sometimes things are good, but most of the time they aren’t. It truly is one step forward and two steps back. Sometimes it feels like twenty. The doctor says he’s likely projecting; he feels so out of control of his own life that he needs to control mine. Be patient, he always says as we end a phone call, and I scream internally each time.

My husband wakes up screaming almost every night. Sometimes he lets me comfort him, sometimes he won’t. I know this is hard for him. He will often say something like, “I don’t fucking get it, logically I know you are my wife. You have her eyes, her smile, her everything. You know everything about her, everything about us. Oh god, what the hell is wrong with me?”

I know he’s broken, but I can fix him. He is fundamentally different now, but I can build a life with this new man once he lets me in.

Today is actually going pretty well. We laughed over coffee this morning, and he kissed me on my way out to buy some more bulbs for the empty patch in my garden. I’ve spent most of the day running errands since I’m not able to get out much lately. I even stopped at the local winery to pick up my husband’s favorite red. It will go perfectly with his favorite meal, which I’m planning to cook tonight. I try to guard my feelings these days, but I actually feel good today.

That’s why my heart sinks when my husband greets me from the kitchen with that god-awful phrase again: “You’re not my fucking wife.”

Tears are streaming down his face, and he’s holding an old family photo of me in one hand. He’s not just angry. He’s devastated. I move swiftly to his side, ready to embrace him and give him the speech that is actually starting to convince him that yes, I am his fucking wife. “Babe, please, you know who I am.”

“No, babe, I don’t. You aren’t my fucking wife!” he shouts, completely out of touch and beyond reason. It’s at this point that I notice he’s also holding his gun, low in his lap, pointed at me.

“Ryan, listen,” I firm my tone, approaching him slowly. “You don’t know what you’re saying. You get confused. You know this.”

His expression softens, and so does mine. He looks down for a moment. When he returns his gaze to meet mine, his features have contorted into the most deranged and savage look I’ve ever seen. He aims and shoots. I brace myself, eyes closing instinctively, and hear the bullet speed past me. It burrows deep into the wall. His poor spatial perception, another effect of the head injury, has saved my life.

Terrified for my life, my primal survival instincts take over. In his confusion, I rush him with a knife resting on the counter. I plunge it deep into his chest, over and over again. Anger and frustration and disappointment bubble up and magnify my fear response. I already hear the sirens wailing in the distance by the time I’m done. In this neighborhood, police arrive immediately when neighbors report shots fired.

The police find me hysterical on the kitchen floor. I know my husband is dead but the EMTs work on him anyway. After the EMTs clear me, the police take me in for questioning. Luckily, it’s a pretty open and shut case of self-defense. They consider his condition. His doctor confirms that I have called countless times about his erratic behavior. They find gunshot residue on my deceased husband’s hands. The neighbors confirm they heard him shouting at me before the shot was fired. They called because they feared for my safety.

And so, they let me go. Back to that empty house again. I feel like a completely changed woman as I enter that house. I make my way back to the kitchen, floor still bloodied by my struggle, and drop onto the ground. And then I laugh, just fucking laugh, because of course this would happen to me. My life has been nothing but struggle, fighting to get by, and yeah, killing when I needed to.

Nothing has ever gone my way. I’ve worked myself half to death, but my sister had everything handed to her. None of that ever came my way, of course. She was too much of a stingy bitch to ever think about me. So when she finally reached out to me after all these years and I found she’d married rich, was sitting pretty in this mansion while I slaved every day away just to afford the measly rent on my barely legal apartment… I just lost it. I thought, why shouldn’t I take something for myself, just this once? I mean, nobody, not even my sister, ever showed me any mercy. It was my turn.

Her husband didn’t even know about me. I was an embarrassment to her, her failure of a twin sister. I think I just reminded her of what could have been, the miserable life she could have led if things went just slightly different for her. I spent the following months praying that Ryan would die overseas. I analyzed every last picture in the house. I pored over her diaries. She was so self-absorbed she wrote down everything that happened to her. The bitch made it so easy to assume her identity that I couldn’t believe it took me this long to kill her.

I guess the sentimental old cow actually kept a picture of the two of us hidden away. That’s what Ryan found, what finally sent him over the edge into attempted murder. I almost feel bad for him, but mostly I’m so infuriated that he couldn’t just let me have this one thing for once. Why couldn’t he just let me be happy? I was trying so fucking hard. I took care of him day and night. I spent so much time trying to get to know him, but he couldn’t be bothered to put in any effort to do the same for me. Hell, I don’t even like men, but I was still willing to give him a chance instead of just doing him in right away like I did to dear old sis. Somehow, I still couldn’t measure up to my perfect fucking sister even when I was her.

I laugh so hard my eyes well up with tears and my stomach aches. I reach into a cabinet and retrieve that damn picture, the picture that broke the illusion. I managed to shove it in there as soon as I was finished with Ryan. I push myself up off the floor and walk weakly over to the stove. I flick the burner on and let that damn photograph burn.

I gather the ashes of the last hint of my miserable old life in my hands and walk through the beautiful French-style doors into the sprawling and perfectly fucking manicured back yard. I spread the ashes of myself, the self I don’t want to be anymore, onto my beloved garden.

I smile down at the beautiful bunches of hyacinths bursting up from the fertile ground. It was so kind of me to plant my sister’s favorite flowers atop the pieces of her dead body.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 4 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: Chilling Tales for Dark Nights – YouTube (feat. A.J. Ferraro)


Written by Laura Lee
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by A.J. Ferraro

🔔 More stories from author: Laura Lee


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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