I’m really not sure what’s gonna go on this blog with no sporks. I might start doing reviews again and I’m gonna try to get NekoShogun to post the haiku he’s been writing. In the meantime, I wrote a 1,000 word short story that I will share now.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Adam’s breath was ragged, even as he slept. It seemed he was asleep most of the time, anymore.
Malcolm sat in the hospital room chair. Past the bed Adam laid on, the room’s small table stood laden with wilted flowers, cards, books—but Malcolm’s gaze rested on Adam.
He lifted himself off the chair and stood over Adam, eased his head up off of the pillow and slipped it out, set his head back down. Malcolm picked up the pillow and gripped it, hard, till his fingers were numb. He took a long breath and brought the pillow down on his son’s face.
Malcolm stepped out of the hotel lobby. The street outside was deserted, save for a figure lounging on the bench outside the hotel.
“Can you leave me alone?” he said. “Just this one time.”
She turned to face him. Long, bronze horns glinted in the moonlight. “This was your choice, Malcolm.”
Malcolm weaved through the crowd, eyes darting to take in his surroundings. There was no reason for someone to recognize him, but he felt conspicuous in the bright red jacket—just the first thing he’d grabbed at the store. He kept the hood up and figured no one would get a good look at his face, anyway, and why would they suspect him? Nobody trying to stay hidden would wear something so noticeable.
There were two cops to his right. He ached to quicken his pace, to glance at them as he passed.
“Hey!” one of them called. Malcolm delved deeper into the crowd, just in case.
His gaze was fixed on the alley he would take, narrow and empty, then his eyes flicked to the alley to the right. The horns towered over the crowd. No go.
Malcolm blinked. The policewoman stood in front of him, face steely, hand on her gun. Why, Malcolm didn’t know; he wasn’t dangerous. He wasn’t a murderer.
She spoke again, but her words fell on deaf ears. He took a step forward. His foot found steady ground in the sky and the city was just a distant mass far below.
Malcolm was drenched by the rain. Nobody else was even out, umbrella or no—not in this downpour, and all he had was the jacket. He shivered, his teeth chattered. His arms were clenched, hugging himself not to gain warmth but to avoid the cold. He felt like death.
“What does it matter?” Malcolm said, interrupting the previous speaker. “He’s dying either way.”
All eyes went to him. The already serious atmosphere turned morbidly somber. The whole thing was morbid.
“Let’s change the subject,” Pete said. Uneasy smiles. Ignoring Malcolm.
Brush away the expectation of pain: it’s the only way to cope. Malcolm could never bring himself to do it.
White rooms. Adam’s bedroom. It wasn’t long before the former were more common. It felt a shame, to Malcolm, for his son to waste away in a place that wasn’t even his own. Slowly, the former was filled with the contents of the latter.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Malcolm hadn’t seen the end that time. It was the best part and he’d been punished on top of his punishment to not see it.
His hands were clenched on the pillow. He cursed her, inwardly, and brought it down.
Malcolm was in the crowd. Every time he blinked he saw the horns, tormenting him. Blocking his escape.
He passed the policemen, stopped. Pulled his hood down and turned to face them, but neither were looking his way, springing in action to chase a purse snatcher. Malcolm watched them for a moment before walking away.
Malcolm stepped out of the hotel lobby. It was drizzling. His jacket hung from the balcony above his head, meant to dry in the sun. It wasn’t as waterproof as expected.
“You chose this. You should have anticipated the consequences.”
Her sharp fingernails dug into his neck. She stared into his heart for what felt like an eternity as he spluttered and clawed at her hand, should have passed out from lack of oxygen but just stood there, conscious every moment of the pain. And not just that in his neck.
“You’re weak,” she said, tossing him aside. He fell into the sky.
He stared at the stars above him. His neck ached. He looked away.
He went back in the house, stood in the doorway of Adam’s empty room. Pete was with Adam tonight. He said that Malcolm had been spending too much time at the hospital. Malcolm knew he was right, but it was another thing to admit it.
Pete understood, and he didn’t pry. Let Malcolm bottle it all up and, gradually, wilt. His empathy was letting his husband die with his son.
Malcolm stood on the balcony and looked down, over the railing, just in time to see a police officer enter the lobby. He pulled off the jacket and draped it on the railing and turned around.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Malcolm sobbed. Adam’s breath rasped, in, out, in, out, dead in every languid pause.
Blackness surrounded him. Then the horns emerged, the vacant eyes, the teeth protruding straight from lips.
“I…” he said. “I won’t repent. But, I…”
Malcolm stared at the policewoman. She flinched at his gaze, tightened her hand on her gun. Tears fell from his cheeks and pattered on the ground, the pathetic things they were.
“Sir,” she said, and he stepped forward and she pulled her gun and he shoved her to the ground and ran.
And fell. He watched the stars as the hotel room balcony, distinct by the red jacket laid on its railing, found itself farther and farther away. His back cracked against the ground and his head hit and pain exploded.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Malcom’s tears fell on the pillow. His breath was nearly as painful as his son’s and his knuckles were white but he didn’t loosen his grip.
Then, slowly, he did just that. His hands shook and he nearly dropped the pillow and he squeezed it to regain his grip. He carefully, slowly, laid it on the bed, put his hand under Adam’s head and slid the pillow underneath.
Malcolm let out a deep breath and took a step backward, placed his hands on the chair’s arms, sat down.
And he would go on sitting there.