Sherry's voice seemed to be piercing Alan like knives. Julia could only watch, spell bound, as her accusations escalated in the room. All of them were things she herself had thought in the middle of the night. Surrounded by all of her luxuries, luxuries brought by being his trophy wife. Now she almost regretted them, but not quite enough to stop her. She supposed it made her a bad person.

He was gasping now, entreatying her for his pills. She reached for them, but Sherry stopped her.

"You can be free, sweetie. Don't," she said

the serpent to Eve.

Alan seemed to be choking, and a good person would help him, would save his life, but the corrupt little part of her heeded Sherry's words. It was what she wanted. He was scrambling, on his knees, reaching, reaching, almost there—

for the apple, the forbidden fruit

He fell, rigid, to the floor.

Julia looked at him, eyes wide with horror. What have I done? What did I let happen?

Sherry grabbed her hand, told her what to do, simple instructions. Listen to her, you'll have everything you wanted, all your money, your security, and free of Alan. The thought whispered in her mind like a snake, and she couldn't help but be reminded of that story about Adam and Eve.

take it take it take it

The other woman put her hand on Julia's shoulder and whispered something in her ear. Then she was gone.

Julia crumpled up on the floor, at the eyes of her dead spouse. In the span of a few minutes only, her life was completely turned upside down. Soon the authorities would come, and the bereft wife would be the picture of shock and sorrow. It would be lovely. She had only

sacrificed for that sweet bite tear the skin so succulent

She had just witnessed a murderer at work, using words as her weapons, never laying a finger on him. And Julia had done nothing. If she could be like that, be so inhuman, she could do it again. After all, she reasoned, the deed was done. Wasn't it simply normal to make the best of it? Make the best for herself? Was that wrong

to want freedom freedom in the apple

She thought back to the words Sherry whispered

like a serpent slithering in my mind corrupting me poisoning me

"You'll look so good in black, sweetie."