Angela drives through the storm and listens to the radio, which reports that the suspect is heading for the border, and is considered armed and dangerous. The car goes off the road and Angela crawls out of the wreckage. There's a piece of wood from the rail in her side and her left hand is torn up. Angela grabs her revolver and staggers off. She finds a funeral home and inside, Avery Whitlock looks at his wedding photos of himself and his wife Marjorie, and clutches a mummified monkey's paw. He mutters that it's not much longer, and hears Angela knocking at the door. Avery opens the door and Angela collapses in his arms. Looking at her, Avery admits that she's not what he expected.
Later, Avery undresses Angela and puts her on a mortuary table. He puts an IV in her arm and tends to her injuries including cutting off her near-severed fingers. Angela wakes up later, gasping, and realizes that her fingers are missing. She pulls out the IV and finds her wedding ring on a nearby tray. Angela remembers taking it off her husband's finger as he lay in a hospital bed. She puts it on and picks up the gun on the tray as Avery comes back, whistling.
Angela goes into the next room where Avery is working on a corpse. She aims the gun at him and tells him to turn around, and Avery suggests that she thank him. Avery notes that he saved her hand by taking her fingers, and tells her that he's counting on her killing him. He introduces himself and warns her that she won't get far in her condition because the interstate is flooded. Angela asks if Avery wants to die, and he says that he does. Avery figures that in the morning he'll be dead and she'll be on her way, but first they should have a glass of wine. He says that she'll need her strength for the journeys ahead, and he has a gift to give her.
Upstairs in the parlor, Avery pours wine that he's been saving for a special occasion. He explains that it's about love and fate, and wonders who hurt her. Avery notes that she has a wedding band, and Angela tells him that her spouse is dead. He tells her that her visit wasn't by choice but a grand design that he perpetrated. Angela doesn't believe him, and Avery says that it's the night of his wife's birthday. He tells Angela that he loved Marjorie every day, and that makes what he did all the more unthinkable.
Avery takes the paw out of a locked drawer and shows Angela his "gift". He explains the paw was smuggled out of Mumbai by a former client, and how an Indian fakir cast a spell on it granting its owner three wishes. The fakir wanted to prove that Fate ruled people's lives and those who interfered did so at their own risk. The paw's three fingers are clenched, and Avery explains that means the three wishes have already been granted. Avery admits that he didn't believe in the paw's power, but Marjorie couldn't resist so made a couple of frivolous wishes. The wishes came to pass, and it was her third wish that convinced Avery the paw had power.
The mortuary soon drew close to bankruptcy, and Marjorie wished for all the money they need and more. The paw's third finger closes.
Within a week, Avery was wealthy... because of the insurance payout on Marjorie's death.
Marjorie decorates the Christmas tree and climbs up on a ladder to reach the top. Avery hears her scream as she falls, and runs in to find her dead on the carpet.
Avery tells Angela that the paw squeezed their fate, giving him all the money he needed.
Avery spends his life alone, and finally figures he can use the paw to resurrect Marjorie. The paw's fingers are unclenched, and Avery wishes Marjorie back from the dead. Avery hears Marjorie calling to him, asking for her help, but he finds nothing. Night after night he holds vigil but Marjorie never returns. Several weeks later while testing a new coffin's integrity, Avery hallucinates a zombie Marjorie coming for him. He realizes that Marjorie couldn't escape her coffin and drives to the cemetery, then digs up her coffin. When Avery opens it, he helps the still-living but rotten corpse of Marjorie out. She attacks him, and Avery grabs the shovel and knocks off her hands then shoves her back into the grave. As the severed hands crawl toward Marjorie, Avery takes out the paw and wishes Marjorie as she were.
The mortician says that he dreams about Marjorie every night, seeing the horror of her being trapped in the coffin for all eternity. Angela tells him that he's full of shit, and Avery shows her the scar where Marjorie bit him in their struggle. She declines, and Avery tells her that it's up to her and walks out of the room. Angela picks up the paw and looks at it contemplatively.
The next morning, Angela tells Avery that the interstate's open. Avery gives her the keys to his hearse, and finally explains that he asked the paw to send him a killer to relieve him of his life misery. He can't kill himself, and has followed Angela's story about how she's killed before. Angela remembers her husband in his hospital bed, begging her to end his life. Angela puts on his wedding ring, kisses him on the cheek, and shoots him dead.
Avery says that it's their destiny and they can't fight it. He gives Angela the paw and she throws it in the fireplace. Avery reaches in to grab it and sets himself on fire. He begs Angela to shoot him and stop his agony, and she finally does so. The fire goes out and Avery drops to the floor as Avery thanks Angela. Angela insists that she's not a killer, takes the paw from Avery's hand, and watches as the fingers unclench. She confirms that there's a bite scar on Avery's leg, just as he said.
Angela runs to the hearse and tries to find the keys. She wishes they had them, and they drop from the visor as one of the paw's fingers clenches. The hearse doesn’t start at first, and Angela makes an unspoken wish. As the engine turns over, the paw's second finger clenches and Angela drives off.
At the hospital, Angela goes to the morgue and looks for her husband's body. She finds it, a bullet wound in one eye socket, takes out the paw, and says "get up". The lights flicker and when they come back up, Angela discovers that all of the bodies have gotten up. Her husband "kisses" Angela, biting out her tongue... and on the floor, the paw's third finger clenches.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 3, 2019