As he sat there in shame, pondering his next move, he looked over at his work bench, untidy and messy and covered in tools. He notices a yellow handle poking through the debris. Puzzled, he slowly lifts himself from his blood-soaked chair and hopped his way to his work table. Clearing the debris and unveiling his next plan of attack against the hard, sturdy oak door. A yellow handle maul ax. Quickly grabbing the handle, he slowly made his way through the dark, damp basement and approached the staircase where he once fell earlier that day.
Looking at the ground below the stair case, shards of broken glass and blood filled the floor as a gut-wrenching feeling passed through his body as he relieved the horror of today events.
Slowly making his way up the staircase, step by step, he reaches the top and steadies his footing and with his ax in hand, he took one mighty swing at the door. Boom! echoed through the short of the hall when he was greeted with excruciating pain shooting through his body as the impact of the ax sending a crippling shock to his leg wound from trying to steady himself on the staircase, He dropped to one knees and began breathing heavy.
He stood up and tried again. Boom! he fell to his knee and hanged his head. Gritting his teeth, He stood up and swung the ax for a third time. Boom! He screamed as the pain rushes through his body, but he did not fall. Turning his body once again, steadying his footing, lifting the axe from his side, he swung for a fourth time at the hardwood door. Boom! In an anger rage, he exhausted the rest of his energy, swinging faster and faster, boom, boom–boom–boom, boom, screaming in hatred, swearing with each swing, you, boom mother boom, fucker! Boom!!
He fell to his knees, sweat falling from his brow, blood dripping from his wound, feeling defeated. Pressing his hand against his wound, he glares at the blood dripping from his hand glistening in the sunlight. Surprised, he looks up and sees the sun creeping through the hole in the doorway.
Placing the ax against the wall, he slipped his hand through the make-shift hole and reached for the door knob on the other side. Noticing the door knob turning but not opening, he reaches a little higher and finds the knob of the deadbolt was fully engaged. He turned the knob right and watched as the splintered, beaten up door slowly open and felt the warmth of sunlight shining on his face.
Relieved, he crawled his way through the door, laying on the hardwood floor in the kitchen, bathing in the sunlight. Hope was restored as he pauses for a moment in the contrast of the dark basement in comparison of the sunlit room.
Staring at the ceiling with his hands on his chest, he knew he was not done yet and lifted himself onto the kitchen counter and reached for his phone.
Quickly opening the contact list and finding his wife, he never hit that green button so hard and quickly before this moment. He waited. Ring. Ring. The phone rang several times before an automated greeting came up, he left her a message explaining the day’s events and ending the story with a simple “I love you”
As he laid on the floor, the sun became brighter, almost a blinding white light as images of his life fluttered past his eyes. His first steps, the loving look on his mother’s face, the echoing voice of his father’s words, his first day at school, the loving smile of his wife. Becoming distracted, he quickly tries to focus his eyes on the dimmed screen of his phone, he slowly dials 9,1,1. as he slowly slips unconscious to the sound of an unknown woman, he’s only able to say one word.
As he passes in and out of consciousness and if time itself has stood still, only briefly seeing the flickering of overhead lights as he is being pushed through a narrowing corridor. He feels the crashing of being pushed through two heavy doors into a dimly lit room. The room is filled with chatter as he can hear the mumbles of people talking to each other, racing around him. with what strength he has left, he cries “where am I? but that cry fell on silent ears as he is not able to speak, the people do not know he is awake.
Terrified, he tries to struggle but is unable to move, being able to feel everything that is happening to him, tears fall from his closed eyes as he feels every poke, prod and stitch until he inevitably passes out from the pain and settles into the darkness of sleep.
“Quite the day you have had son” a familiar voice echoes across the room.
“who’s there?” he said in a puzzled tone, “I can’t move, help me!” he pleaded to the voice.
“Get up son” as he felt a reaching touch, grab his hand and help him sit up from his bed.
When the familiar face of his mother emerged from the blinding light, with soft pale blue eyes and faded white hair, she stared at her son with a gentle smile as he quickly embraced her and felt something he hasn’t felt in several months since her passing
“Mom, this can’t be real” he said in a whimper
“No son, it isn’t” she said kindly as she places an open hands over the right side of his cheek, she smiles and says “This is the moment where you either come with me and rest forever or you be the man I thought you would be and go back, write your book, live an honest life and love those who love you, quit the drinking son, it’s not what I raised you to be”
“but mom, I’ve missed you so much, I can’t bare it” he pleaded.
” Son, that’s life, people die, I lived a good life and you need to as well” she said kindly
“I don’t want to leave you again” He pleaded once more
“that’s your choice son, but just know, you will be leaving those that love you, just like I had to leave you, the only difference was, it was my time to go. It’s not yours”
Hugging his mother one last time as tears stream from his face, he holds her tightly and gives his love. “Now blink son, it’s time to wake up” she says as she slowly disappears into the light.
Almost as if traveling through worlds in a blink of an eye, he awakes in a hospital room, on a bed that is too stiff, surrounded by lights that are too bright and the feeling of a warm hand touching his. He slowly fixes his gaze upon his beautiful wife. She sat there, and she was as perfect as he remembers her early on today. He takes a moment and watches her sleep upright in the chair. Her auburn hair shining in the moonlight, her hand gripping his, he gives her a gentle tug of his hand to wake her. As she wakes, her emerald-green eyes lock onto his as a relieving smile slips passed her lips as a tear gently falls from her eye while she exhales a relieving gasp at the sight of her husband smiling back at her.
She quickly leaps from her chair and into his arms and once again, time stood still as he felt the warmness of her body against his, as they sat there in silence, as they sat there in peace.
After a 3 day stay at the hospital, they finally made it back to their home and settled in. As he walks into the kitchen and sees the broken remains of the basement door, he feels a sense of panic rush over him until he is quickly calmed by the touch of his wife’s hand
“you go and rest, I got this” she said reassuring,
“No, there’s something I have to do” he states as he kisses her softly.
He stood at the top of the basement stairs, looking at the mess of the previous day, he takes one step down the narrowing staircase, then another and with each passing step, he relived the harrowing moment that not only changed him but changed the course of his life.
As he made his way to his office, He finds himself standing in front of the liquor cabinet, his wife watches behind the door with a concerned look covering her face. He reaches for his signature Rye and Whiskey. He walks over to the sink in his office, opens the cap and pours it down the drain. His wife smiles as she turns away and walks back up the stairs. He slowly walks over to his office desk, opens a word document, takes a seat, lights a cigarette and begins writing.
“As he sat in his Burgundy cloth high back chair, sipping on lukewarm coffee, taking small drags off his cigarette, he stares at the flickering white screen in front of him, wordless. He wipes his brow and takes another puff. The sound of smooth jazz playing on the radio behind him adds to the tension as he struggles to begin his sentence.”
The Writer – A Short Story By Lucas Durelle