Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Picture Perfect By Eli Auslender

They were the perfect couple, beloved by their friends and looked to as the goals to which all other couples should strive. Their friends loved every single picture they posted, every single self-made smooch, every smiling face beneath the lights of a foreign city; it was all there, their relationship laid bare, for the world to drink and remind themselves that love was possible.

Love was written across every caption, every twinkling eye, from every corner of their friends and families; each picture was something to behold. A new house, a new car, a new trip, and then another photo from inside a plane; a candle-lit dinner of his face from a rooftop restaurant, tipping a glass of scotch towards the camera.

As they grew older the pictures continued, but the content changed: there were more landscapes and fewer of their faces, with only the occasional one showing them up close. Their bodies were shown from some distance, to ‘show where they were, not just who they were’ as the couple said.

They traveled abroad so much that both of their parents complained that they were impossible to talk to over the phone or over a video chat because of the time disparity. Their friends and family still loved each and every photo though, because they were envious and openly stated as much.

And then the photos stopped for several months. Both their friends and families contacted them individually to see if anything was wrong, and both responded that they were fine. She told them that she needed some time apart from him, so she left to travel on her own for a bit. He told them that he needed some time apart from her, so he left to travel on his own for a bit.

Photos of both of them individually appeared on their social profiles in various places around the world, some of which they had traveled to before, some of which they hadn’t. Their respective ‘sides’ liked and commented on each, though in each photo they were always far from the camera.

One day, the picture stopped completely. Friends and family sent them messages, asking them what happened, asking them if they were taking a break from social media, if they had divorced, pleading them for an answer, but there was none.

Until the local news reported that a man had been arrested, living with the decomposing corpse of his wife locked in a box in his attic while he edited pictures of them traveling all over the world over the course of several years. An autopsy of the body revealed she had died from blunt force trauma, which he admitted to doing after he became intoxicated and began beating her. She threatened to finally leave him, he admitted, and he panicked.

They were the perfect couple.

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