This is a short story that came about because of a woman in the park. She was sitting on a bench and looked so dejected, I invented a story for her. Here is the results…enjoy
She sat in the hallway watching. Her back was against the wall and she was hugging her knees to her chest. From there she could see it in the living room. It wasn’t really a hole although it was black and seemed to be pulsing, growing. A hole would have swallowed up the TV, the couch, the other things. She knew that it would swallow her, it was hungry. It had always been with her, sometimes small sometimes big but never this size. When did it get is so big? She knew the answer. She knew that it had been growing, getting hungrier and hungrier, bigger and bigger. It had gained momentum when Brett had come over for dinner last night.
Sue had rushed home from work. She had taken her shower, straighten the apartment up and put the bottle of good Merlot she had bought on the way home on ice. As she put the pasta in the pot of boiling water, she could feel her excitement growing. Brett has said he had something very important to talk to her about. Life changing, he called it, something he had finally decided. He was going to pop THE QUESTION. She just knew it. As she absently cut up veggies for the salad, she practiced her new name. “Mrs. Sue Charles. Mrs. Charles. Mrs. Brett Charles. Dr and Mrs…” A knock on the door interrupted her
Skipping to the door, she flung it open and jumped into Brett’s arms, kissing him soundly. He gently disengaged her and said “come on we have to talk”
“Okay” Sue followed him into the living room,” Don’t you want to eat dinner first? It is about ready?”
Brett shooked his head, “no I can’t stay”
Sue was confused “You can’t stay? But I thought”….
“No I can’t. Look Sue we had a good run and I see you more than any other chick, but I aint ready for this type of commitment. I think we need to take a break from each other”
Brett grinned. “I knew you would understand. You are such an awesome chick.”
“Awesome? But?” Sue wasn’t sure she heard right. “But I thought…a break…but”
Brett kissed her on the cheek and got up from the couch.
“Thanks, maybe we can get together for sex later. Friends with benefits. You do have a banging body” He walked to the door, Sue trailed behind him, forehead wrinkled.
“Sex, friends” she stammered.
“Yea soon”, Brett replied waved and closed the door behind him as he walked out.
Sue stared at the door until the smell of burning tomato sauce shook her out of her trance. She walked to the kitchen, turned off the stove. Poured everything into the sink and started to walk to her bedroom. She got to the hallway and sank to the floor. As the tears tracked down her cheeks, she saw that it, the blackness, was in the living room, growing, reaching for her.
She peeked at the blackness. It seemed as if it was even closer than it was the night before. Soon it would reach her and she would no longer be. She would cease to exist. Maybe it would be better to let the darkness have its way. She had fought it for so long, for as long as she could remember. In fact, she barely remembered a time without it. It seemed that it always showed up when bad things happened.
She was pretty mad at her older brother. He didn’t take her with him to the concert last night and he didn’t even come home to kiss her goodnight like he promised. He said that you had to be 13 years old to go to a concert and she was only 9. Completely not fair and, boy, was she going to tell him when he got home.
She had just finished her breakfast when two soldiers in their dress uniforms came to the door. The knocked on the screen door and she ran to answer it. She stopped short when she saw them. It was unusual to see soldiers in their fancy uniforms this time of morning. Those guys usually only wore them to the parties at night or if there was a parade or something. She felt that something was horribly wrong.
The men asked for her mom who came out of the kitchen. They said something to mom, low so she couldn’t her. Mom told her to go to her room now. All of the kids were sent to their rooms. She was angry; not only at her brother, but also at her mom cause she hadn’t done anything bad. She was exiled forever until her mom came in and told her brother had been killed last night, murdered in an elevator. She felt horrible and all her angry left….she was sad and ashamed that she had gotten mad at her brother. She lay on her bed for a long time crying. When her tears ran dry she looked down on the floor an there was the nothing, the blackness, the dark, waiting for her.
The ringing of the phone brought her back to the hallway. The darkness had reached her feet. She pulled them in closer to herself. If the blackness came closer, she would have no choice but to fall in. Maybe she ought to beat it. She thought of the pistol she kept under pillow. She could use that but it would leave a mess and that thought distressed her. She would not leave a mess for someone to have to clean up. She had pills in the bathroom. Maybe if she took everything she had she could just go to sleep. It would definitely be cleaner. If she could only move…in a minute, she would try…
Sissy closed her phone. It was unlike Sue to not answer her phone or her door. It was Saturday they had plans to go shopping and maybe grab some lunch. Sissy started to walk back to her car but stopped halfway down the walkway. No, something was wrong. Sue would never stand her up. At least not without a call. Sue’s car was in the driveway. Sissy made a decision and dug out the key Sue had given her. She walked back to the front door unlocked it and walked into the foyer.
“Sue?” she called out.
There was no answer.
“Sue?” again, no answer.
Sissy walked forward into the house. When she turned to the right, she saw Sue huddled up against the hallway wall, tearstains on her checks, her hair disheveled.
“Oh God Sue!” Sissy went to her friend and kneeled down. She wiped the hair from her face and upon seeing the sad, distant look on Sue’s face, reached forward and hugged her.
“It’s gonna be okay” Sissy crooned, “it’s going to be okay”
She was trying to move, to go get the pills, but her body wouldn’t move. Guess she was going to have to wait for the blackness, the darkness to swallow her. It wouldn’t be long now anyway. She hung her head down and waited. Soon. Suddenly she heard her name. The blackness had never called her by name before. She knew the end was near. Her name was called again, from far away. Then hands were moving the hair out of her face. She looked and saw Sissy. Sissy. Her friend. And then Sissy hugged her. She peered around Sissy and saw the black starting to shrink, getting smaller. Maybe, maybe, this time she would be okay.
©TL Whitaker 1/10/2012