In the entire world, throughout all time, there couldn't have been a stronger, more supportive marriage than the one that Rick and Jill Wilson shared. Yet their Sundays had become nightmares, filled with tears and senselessness the likes of which they'd never known or even imagined. It had been more than a year since Rick and Jill, along with the waitress, Connie, had escaped from Parrish and the ever-watchful eye of the alien pastor, Ezekiel, and yet they could not completely escape by creating distance between them alone.
There hadn't been any repercussions from Rick's efforts to report the alien infiltration of the group of community churches, because no credence had been given to his claims of the grassroots invasion. He'd vowed to live with the knowledge of the situation he seemed unable to affect and had managed in his actions to do just that. Nevertheless, best intentions and efforts aside, he could not stop his frustration from growing within, even as he invoked and repeatedly, silently chanted the serenity prayer.
His concession of acceptance wasn't working. It had also taken a toll on his once unflappable marriage, and Sundays had gone from a day of rest to a day when Jill's moods swung from a feeling of restlessness to all-out fury without provocation. Rick knew this to be a leftover from her susceptibility to and her time spent under the alien control. Shoot, Jill knew it, too, but she'd been powerless to control the outbursts and usually spent Mondays trying to atone to Rick for whatever vile language she'd hurled his way the day before.
They'd tried to get her help from doctors and generally they'd been told to expect this as a normal part of the aging process in women. Mood swings and menopause are synonymous in their nature. They tried going back to church, too, but it wasn't the same without the alien influence. At least the really violent episodes had passed, and they both hoped that the angry tantrums would eventually subside with time as well. However, it had begun to feel like wishing for the winning ticket in a multimillion-dollar lottery.
Rick had done his best to fight the urge for revenge and tried to find solace in his freedom. He made every effort to shut off the memory of the reverberating laughter of the alien pastor as well as the barely contained snickers of anyone with whom he shared his story. The best revenge is said to be living well, but it's all just talk, and he'd had enough.
These thoughts all swirled around and through his mind as he sat on the edge of his bed and looked over at his now sleeping wife. His beauty and the light of his life had been scarred by the Community Church of Parrish and the Reverend Ezekiel. It had been just another Sunday, and her tirades and uneasiness ended for another week. Whatever itched at her skin and drove the moods that compelled her each week had exhausted her. Barely half past nine, and the energy she'd expended in her tumult on this day had her done in and in a sound sleep earlier than her norm. Thankfully.
He leaned over, brushed her hair off her cheek, and gave her a gentle kiss before he stood and tiptoed out of their bedroom. He eased the door closed and crept to Connie's room down the hall. He knocked and asked, "You decent?"
She called out, "Come on in."
Connie lay on her bed propped up by an elbow, flipping through the Sunday magazine section of the newspaper with the TV on. Rick stepped in. The three of them had formed a special bond. Whether based solely on the common experience of getting out of Parrish alive or whether it just became convenient in the aftermath of their ordeal didn't come up for questioning. Connie found work as they set up housekeeping. She turned out to be a fine waitress now that she'd come clear of the losing proposition in the alien-controlled town.
"I'm going out for a while. I'll be back late."
She gave a glance at the clock on her dresser and asked, "Where you going on a Sunday night?"