It was a couple’s wedding day. They planned a beautiful wedding with all the bells and whistles. The ceremony was held outside on the property of the couple’s new estate. It was a wedding gift from the bride’s wealthy family. On the happiest day of her life, the bride addressed her new husband over and over, “My love! My darling! My king! Together forever!”

But the groom had other plans. He orchestrated the murder of his wife on their wedding night. They were on a cruise in the ocean. For the amount of money it took to buy his tuxedo, the groom hired his best man as an assassin to kill his wife. The assassin tied her up and threw her overboard into the deep, dark, unforgiving ocean.

The next morning, the groom reported his wife missing. The killer had done the deed quite well. The authorities tried to find her on the ship, but there was no trace of her. No trace of him. No sign of struggle, or kidnapping, or murder.

Days went by, then weeks, then months. Although the groom was initially considered a person of interest, there was no evidence connecting him to the crime, and so he was dismissed. The case was never solved. The police classified it a cold case. The family held the funeral a year later. The groom inherited all the bride’s wealth.

On a cloudy gray afternoon, the family held the burial ceremony. The groom felt no grief, remorse, or sorrow. He felt free. Free as the birds that flew overhead. He kept glancing at his watch as his wife’s empty casket descended into the ground and a river of tears flowed down her family members’ faces. He then left without saying a word to anyone.

Late in the night, while the tide was high, and the flower girls from the wedding stirred in their sleep, the bride emerged from the water hundreds of miles away from where she drowned. She was mostly bone but still wearing her cocktail dress, which clung to her corpse. Her wedding ring was now too big for her bony finger. She began to limp through the shallow water and then onto the mainland toward the estate twelve miles away.

Listening to the pitter-patter of rain on the windowsill that night, the groom laid in bed, drawing back his lips in deep thought. His eyes sparkled like fine diamonds. He thought about what he would buy with the blood money.

Another mansion, a vintage car, a yacht, a jet plane… But his thoughts of grandeur were interrupted by a gentle voice off in the distance. It was hard to make out at first, but then it became a bit louder and clearer. “My darling! My love! My king! Together forever!”

The groom froze. Did he just hear his wife’s voice?All he heard was the pounding of his beating heart. Surely his mind was playing tricks on him. It was just the rain. Water from the gutter. His bride was dead. He was sure of it. Her true grave was the deep, dark ocean floor with the sunken pirate ships and the ghosts that laid therein. The groom’s heartbeat returned to normal, and he fell asleep. He dreamed of the finest things money could buy.

The bride was coming for her groom. It didn’t matter that she was dead. It didn’t matter that their love story was a star-crossed one. Together forever meant together forever. Not even death could do them part. She reached the mansion estate by sheer will, despite what was left of her body. She dragged herself across the grounds that held her wedding reception a year ago. Even though she was dead, she could still hear the clinking of champagne glasses and smell her strawberry mousse wedding cake.

When she got to the stone wall of the mansion, she climbed up on all four limbs. That was a talent that came with being dead, though she didn’t care for it. She had a mission. She reached the top master bedroom and opened the window. In one giant leap, she landed on the bed. The groom jumped up like a jack-in-the-box. He saw a dead woman. Was this a nightmare?

But the black hollow eyes staring back at him were real… His heart began pounding once more. The shape of the face he’d seen before. The bride drew close to the groom’s trembling body. Her breath reeked of saltwater and seaweed. She leaned in to kiss him… The groom was so taken by seeing his dead wife, his heart stopped immediately and refused to beat again. Death caught him with his eyes wide open and mouth ajar. The bride then lay down beside her love, her darling, her king, and kissed him goodnight.