Daily Prompt: Irrelevant

via Daily Prompt: Irrelevant

‘Your irrelevant, you don’t matter now, you never did  and you never will’.
The scream was deafening. He looked at the mother who had born him, not so many years long ago, and asked, how could she hate him. What is it, he had done. All he had done, was to actually be born. Certainly, not a crime of his making.

‘I hate you, I wish to Christ you’d never being born’. So it continued. Although young, he could still tell when to leave others alone and walk away. Which is what he did. He left her with the ever present half empty bottle of red wine on the kitchen counter, and she near slumped over it. Her hair, a mess. Uncombed, and dirty. Black mascara following the trails of her self pitying  tears that flowed down her face. She was more than willing to attack and blame whoever came into her orbit. But it was usually just him. He went back to his bedroom, and began to play with his toys. Hoping and praying that she would fall asleep, and not come into his room. To physically slap and beat him, as she had done many times before.

‘Don’t worry Mark, it will be okay. There is no need to be afraid. We will be together soon’.

He had not heard that voice, in quite some time, but recognised it instantly.
He had spoken to her almost nightly since she went to heaven, although she never answered him. He wept many times, as he missed their play time together, and cried even more when he saw her in the hospital getting more sick, and weak as every day passed. So wishing he could help, but not knowing how.
He looked round the room for the source of the voice. Laying his toy action man figures on the floor. Outside the window, in the dark evening, he saw his sister shimmering outside the window , and smiling. She looked so happy, healthy and content.

‘We’ll be together soon, don’t worry, it will be okay’.

With that her image from outside the window disappeared. Mark, felt safe, secure and happy. More so then he had done in a long time, and clambered into bed, after carefully locking the door, not someting he usually did.

After she had finished the remained of the bottle of wine in the kitchen, his Mother was her usual angry self. Inhaling deeply of the cigarette, as she stumbled upstairs. Swearing loudly, her voice raising. As he was the only other occupant in the house, she went towards his room to vent, to off load her venom. Finding the door locked, she screamed and kicked loudly at it. But the door held firm. Her screaming and kicking of the door, had awoken Mark, and he snuggled down under the covers, his body shaking slightly, and his breathing rapid. The butterflies breaking free in his stomach. He waited expectedly for the door to break open, and his Mothers assault to begin.
Again she attacked the locked door, screamed and swore. Quietness, followed by a heavy series of thuds, akin to trees being felled. As her head hit the final step, at the bottom of the steps, she fell backwards, unconsciousness and the cigarette rolled out of her hand, and under the nearby curtain. It did not take long for the curtain to fully catch ablaze. Starting slowly, then gathering momentum and speed. The yellow and blue flames easily setting the wall alight and reaching up to the ceiling. The cracking sound, and burning stench, quickly engulfing the lower ground floor. The carpet around the fallen drunken Mother, soon alit too, burning all in its path.

‘Come Mark, it’s time to go. She gently touched Mark to wake him’, and roused him from his bed.

She took his hand as they exited the room together, through the calm night, out into the fresh cooling air, and skyward. Past the dark night sky. Past the glistening stars, and on into a beautiful, tranquil and peaceful garden. Where to his delight he ran into the open welcomong arms of his beloved Grandfather, and Grandmother, who embraced him warmly, and that favourite labrador dog, he believed was gone forever.

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Thomas.

Thomas.

He wouldn’t have being the first, and rather doubtful he’ll be the last. Many had chosen this hiding place. It was a respectable hiding place, At least in the view of the older people. The true believers. Yeah,those ones with the blinds pulled firmly down in front of there eyes. It wasn’t like it was a prison sentence, although to some it wasn’t far from it. No women. Not much alcohol. A false front, of caring, compassion, and interest in others. But what happens behind the doors of a religious order, never has to reach the knowledge of the outsiders.

    As he lay in front of the Bishop, on the altar. He and the three other victims, or should I say cowards. Well he and the other men running away and hiding from life. From themselves. Their friends and families in the Church looked on with pride. What an honour to have  a family member in the priesthood. Surely that would ease the passage of all associated with the new religious entrant into heaven. Hardly going to work against them.
               As Thomas lay on the altar, while the bishop conducted the very long, drawn out ceremony. Thomas with his arms outstretched to his sides, and his face down in the red carpet. Striving to cope with the current discomfort. The coldness of the Church. The hardness of the ground he was laying on. He reflected on what had brought him to this situation. To this choice. Was it really the only choice he had. Could he yet run from the scene before  it was too late. Before he was inducted into the priesthood.

That Certainly Would Be Unheard Of, And A Total Unforgivable Scandal In 1930’s Ireland. His Mind Turned To Her. She Was Never Far His Mind Now. The Forbidden Love. She Was Older, A Lot More Mature Than Her Fourteen Years. In Looks, Manner, And Outlook. But It Could Never Be. Not Now, Not Ever, He Told Himself, Many Many Times, As He Twisted And Turned alone in his bed at night.
                                 But The Deep Feelings Of Love, Or Was It Just Lust, He Wondered, Were Impossible To Hide From Himself. True Yes She Was The First Female To Show Any Real Feelings Of Warmth Towards Him. But He Had Heard Of How Many Young School Girls Fall In Love With There Teachers, But Very Seldom Would They Fall In Love With A Guard. Solid,Upstanding,Member Of The Community. This Was One Secret He Knew He Could Never Let See The Light Of Day.
                His Mind Travelled Back, How On That Sunny Day, As They Walked Along The Clifftop, Alone And Out Of Sight Of Others. That’s The Way It Had To Be. She Spoke Of Her Wishes For The Future. How Happy She Was, The Prospect Of A Family With Him, A Long Life Ahead Of Them.
           She Reached For His Hand. He Hesitated, And Suggested Instead, She Loop Her Arm Through His.

’It Will Look More Innocent’,

She Smiled And Laughed In Response. As They Continued To Walk Along The Cliff Top In The Warm Sunshine. Valuing Their Time Alone Together. He Teased And Chided Her For Missing Out On School To Spend Time With Him. She Laughed At His Mock Teasing, And Ran When He Chased Her In Jest. Catching Up To Her, She Turned And Softly Put Her Arms Around His Neck And Kissed Him Gently On The Lips.
              He Turned Back Towards The Clifftop Path. Feeling He Was Being Watched, And To His Utter Disbelief He Saw, The One And Only, Mrs Delia Murphy. Who Was Better Known As The Local Town Gossip. Standing And Watching Them. With Her Long Three Quarter Way Coat, And Large Handbag, Dangling From Her  Arm. A Small Hat Upon Her Head. She Had Never Married, And Had Taken Her Bitterness About That Situation Out On The World, On The Village By Spreading Scandal And Rumour. Overly Exaggerating Half Truths , About Anyone She Chose Too In The Village.
                                She Very Much Fitted The Image Of A Bitter, Aging Spinster. With A Large Physical Frame, Hair Always Tied Tightly In A Bun, In An Angry Manner. A Plain, Always Stern Face, And Less Than Pleasant Demeanour. She Eyed The Scene Of  Thomas And The Young Girl, And Her Mouth Dropped Open In Shock, Consternation, And Some Envy. But She Also Smiled, Because She Certainly Had Some Scandal To Spread In The Village Now. She Hurried Along The Clifftop Walk Towards The Village.

‘Mrs Murphy’, Thomas Called After Her, Releasing Sinead’s Arms From Around His Neck, As He Followed In The Footsteps Of Mrs Murphy’s.
‘i It’s Not What It Looks Like’, He Pleaded.

She Have Turned To Face Him,

‘Get Away From Me Guard Thomas Brennan, I Know What I Saw, And Soon Everybody Else Will Too…..’

Her Face A Picture Of Triumph, Joy, But Also Envy, As She Again Hurried Along The Path Towards The Village, With Her Self Righteous, Indigent Walk. He Knew It Was Pointless To Reason And Argue With Her. He Returned To Sinead Where She Stood By The Cliff Top Edge.

‘Now Do You See What You’ve Done’, He Voice Raised, And Face Reddened. ’You Know We Have To Hide Away From People. You Know Who That Was ?’

.‘Yes, I Know’. What Can We Do ?’

‘I Don’t Know What We Can Do, But We Have To Stop Seeing Each Other, For One. You Will Just Have To Find Someone Your Own Age, We Cannot Carry Any More’.

With That Sinead’s Face Reddened, And She Hung Her Head. Thomas Reached Out To Touch Her Hand, But She Pulled Away. He Reached Out Again, Again She Pulled Away And Ran. Her Tears Blinding Her View.

‘Wait’,

The More He Moved After Her, The Faster She Ran, In A Disoriented Manner. He Watched, As If In Slow Motion, As She Got To The Cliff Top Edge. He Looked At The Clear Blue Sky, And Asked God For Help. God Didn’t Answer. He Watched Her Eyes Widen, And Her Lips Parted To Scream, But No Sound Came Out. He watched in the silence, As She Moved Forward Into The Clear Blue Sky. He Ran To The Cliff Top Edge, But It Was Too Late. He Didn’t Want To Look, But Forced Himself. A Quick Glance At Her Broken Body, Lying Bent And Misshapen On The Rocks Below.

       As He Lay Prostrate On The Floor In Front Of The Bishop, Again He Thought Of Her. She Would It Seems Never Ever Be Far From His Mind And Soul……

 

 

 

My Guilt.

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Photo Credit : Ian Espinosa.

It was with these hands I did it. That damp night in the forest. She had to go. My mind was made up. Problems and issues as long as your arm. I was saving her from a life of toil and misery, at least that’s what I told myself, and of course, setting myself free from an unbearable situation.

I didn’t think too far ahead. I just grabbed her from that place, and made a dash for it. Made sense all round. I was sure I could be forgiven, maybe not now. But given time most would see, it was the right course of action. I watched my wife sleeping. The effects of the medication she had being given, enough to knock out a horse. Along with the tranquilizers, to help her deal with the situation. The room was quiet, aside from the bleeping of the bedside monitor. The attached tubes, monitors and syringes, like some form of grotesque accessories, only ever available in hospital trauma wards.
Her face red, and blotchy. She perspired heavily, as she twisted and turned in the bed. Her nightdress damp. As was her hair, as were the sheets. He constant moans an indication of her troubled rest. We were alone now, in the semi darkness, as I reflected on what had brought us to this situation. I watched her in the bed, unsure if I still loved her. If I ever really did. Were we just two lonely people holding onto each other out of fear.
To be fair, the Doctors had advised us against children. The risk of damage too high. With her previous career, if you could call it that. Her love of the high life. The travel, and the illicit substances, and rubbish diet, that went alongside a life in the music industry. The cigarettes, and the numerous love partners she had entertained, and liked to boast about from time to time, especially when we argued. I had begged her to have an abortion, but she refused. I was unsure if her refusal was just another measure to inflict pain and torture on our increasingly loveless sham of a marriage. The more I thought of our past together, the more angry I became. I watched her breathing, and asked myself would it not be better if she did not breath any more. I watched her for a long time, before I made my move. Reaching into the glass covered incubator, I removed my sleeping newly born daughter from it, after removing the tubes, and syringes attached to her precious body.           Placing her in the dark rucksack I ever so gently carried her from my wife’s hospital room, and out of her life. Stopping briefly at the door, to view her sleeping body, very probably for the last time.
Luckily the corridors were near enough empty at this late hour. So I made my way swiftly towards the hospital exit, only to be waylaid by the night matron. I never liked the woman, although I understood she was just doing her best. I was forced to listen to her ramblings and nonsense, and did so, to be polite. So not to raise her suspicions. Thankfully on this evening she didn’t feel the need to drone on and on, about whatever nonsense was in her head.

At last, free. I placed the rucksack on the passenger seat, and headed out into the night, and onto the highway.      A plan that had being forming in my mind over the past few days, soon began to come to fruition. The sky was clear, as were the roads. I reckoned on it taking two hours approximately to get to the forest. I listened to my daughter laboured breathing as we drove through the night. My mind focused. I knew what I had to do. Eventually we arrived at the forest clearing and drove as far as possible into the darkness of the trees. I always loved the silence of the forest, even more so at night. Affording the time and space to think, focus and clear one’s mind. I gently lifted the black rucksack, in which my daughter sleep and walked deeper into the forest. The large pillow under my right arm.

When I felt safe and hidden, I opened the rucksack and lifted her out. The movement woke up, and she began to cry. Just what I didn’t want, nor need. I wanted this over quickly and silently. So I did what I could to soothe and comfort her, and held her closely. Gently I laid on her blanket while I began to dig at the earth with my bare hands. I knew it would not take long.
In the quietness and silence of the forest I placed the pillow over her smiling and gurgling face, with her small hand reaching for, and grasping tightly my little finger, with all her strength. I told her I loved her, and placed the pillow over her face, until she released her grip on my finger. In the silence, I knew it was done. I laid her in the shallow grave I had dug with my own sordid hands. Sank to my knees, raised my hands up to God and asked for his forgiveness and understanding, and also cursed him for delivering to us a child destined to have nothing but a very difficult, and torturous life. Thanks to the myriad mental and physical disabilities she was born with.

‘Why Jesus, Why have you done this ?’ In the silence of the forest, my cries of despair went unanswered.

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

The Beach.

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Photo Credit : https://unsplash.com/@venegas?photo=OhIfU2AczOg

She had threatened long enough, although no one had believed her. Just a call for attention. Nothing more, nothing less. they had decided. An old womans empty, and at times, humorous threats.
But obviously beneath the humour, there was hurt, and distress. No one had bothered to investigate. Everyone busy with their own lives. There careers, children, and business. Had someone actually taken the damn time to sit down with her, and sincerely ask her, what life was like for her. Had they show  more consideration and kindness, and maybe spent more time with an old lonely woman, life would have turned out differently. Perhaps many would have spent more time with her, aside from the one solidary visit a week, for the Sunday lunch. Nobody considering how the rest of the week was for her.
It was of course, too late now. The chance had disappeared. She lived for the weekends, and the once weekly visit from her children, and newly born grandchildren. Laughter and energy and happy voices once filled her household, just as it had been, when her own children were grown up. But there were always strains between her and her grown up, and now adult children. Did they really like each other , as people. Would they actually want to spend time in each other’s company, were they not related.

Some had taken sides, when the separation from her husband was first enacted, and then the divorce. Allegations and counter allegations flew between the two parties, and none of it pretty. Lies, distrust, and anger followed. Made up stories of abuse, and cruelty that may, or may not have had a grain of truth in them. Loyalty and kindness to her children, soon forgotten and dismissed by them, as they took the side of her husband.

The final straw for her, was the cessation of contact with her children, who were convinced by her husband, that she was the villain in all of this. That and the denial of access to her grandchildren, that she had helped care for, soon after they were born. No viable reasons given. All the love, kindness, and generosity she had shown them, and their Mother, her daughter, throughout the years. Amounted to nothing, it seemed. Kindness granted, soon forgotten.

It was that dull overcast November afternoon, that she headed to the isolated beach alone. With the tablets to hand, and a last small bottle of whiskey to encourage her bravery, she laid her reading glasses in the sand, and headed towards the ocean, and into the cold, uninviting waves. The mixture of the tablets and whiskey having the desired effect. As she stumbled and swayed, as she walked toward the sea. Her vision blurred slightly, and  feeling quiet light-headed. As a non swimmer she struggled and panicked at first, as the powerful waves, did with her as they wished. The whiskey and tablets helped to quell her rising fears, somewhat. The waves, and weight of her own clothing soon pulled her out and down, to the ocean bed, where she waited for God to take her.
In the cold, dark church, the priest stood at the lectern, gazing upon the congregation of mourners. Having conducted most of the formal ceremony, he could no longer hold himself back. Behind him the magnificent altar, towering upward. To him, they were nothing but hypocrites. He was well aware of the family history, having had been closely and connected to them for years. From births to marriages, to baptisms and confessions. He had heard and seen it all. They were here in this place of worship now to mourn her, with their crocodile tears, and false sadness.

The priest gripped both ends of the lectern tightly. His face thunder red, and perspiring. ‘What does it mean, to mourn someone when they have died. It means very little when you showed them little kindness or understanding when they were alive”. He spoke slowly and loudly. The anger and frustration plainly obvious in his tone. Her children shifted uncomfortably in their seats, as did her former husband. One or two loosening their shirts collars. The females fanning themselves with whatever was to hand. One or two members of her family gazed quietly at the floor.
‘I have very little time for hypocrites like you people, I want you to leave this church now. Get out of my sight. I am sick of the lot of you. Go, and may God have mercy on your black souls. Get out, go’, his voice rising to a crescendo. His booming voice reverberating throughout the silent church. The congregation left the church as directed, for the most part, with their heads held low. In the sacristy as the priest changed from the formal clothing of the funeral mass, he gazed out onto the cold uninviting waves of the ocean, under the dull grey November sky.

Written in response to a writing prompt seen here : http://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Manchester 2017.

Sadness came to a city today,
While so many children were at play
That suicide bomber came and took so many lives away
On such an unforgettable day
Death, destruction and mayhem
That suicide bomber, came to slay them
Human bodies torn to shreds
They who will never again lay in their beds
Human bodies torn apart
Breaking so many hearts

Sadness, grief beyond belief
What is it, this brute did seek
Terror, fear, I’d say thats clear
Children who will never play again
A sadness descends……
When will this all end, so many alive no more
Families devastated by the score
Evil came to our city today
As those young innocent children, were at play
Now we are shrouded in sadness and despair

What the hell is happening here, to me it is all so unclear
What does this achieve, committing such an evil deed
Where is God, is he watching this
Where is Allah, can’t he see this is sick
How can these people do what they do
This is a question I ask of you
Politicians outraged, emergency services praised
But they will be devastated too
As they are only human, just like you

A city in mourning, as we wake today
The people of the city, had their say
Opening their doors to those in need
To be an antidote, to such an evil deed
Generosity and kindness to the fore
Letting the terrorists know the score
That try as they might, they will not divide decent people
Good will triumph over such an evil, even in the darkest of nights

A vigil for peace, where the religious leaders speak
The crowds listen in hushed silence, broken occasionally by applause
A man said it better, than I ever could, ‘ You ain’t no Muslim bruv ‘
To a would be bomber of his own race
These people are not representative of the Muslim faith
Acts such as this, should not exist
A city coming together to conquer this

Where does the blame lay, for this outrage
Far from Manchester I’d say
Try the corridors of power in the West
Try the Kremlin, and Beijing too
There you will find some answers
There you’ll find some clues
Foreign armies in foreign lands
Trying to gain the upper hand
Causing mayhem and despair, like they don’t even care
What are they even doing in their
This I just don’t understand

A sadness came to a city today
As so many young children were at play
Across the city streets, the people weep.

 

 

Substandard.

via Daily Prompt: Substandard

The work he completed was below par. Not up to what it should have being. He knew it. They knew it. Everybody on the site knew. But nobody really cared. It was after all, more money for all of them. Even when the lowly paid government inspectors came to check out the work, many were open to the large brown envelopes which everyone knew would help smooth the way of the project. Help to avoid any awkward questions or very close inspections of the work completed.
‘Get it done, and get it done fast, and get it done cheap’. That was the order from the top. Another rushed job, another contract completed at speed. Everybody making money, everybody happy. In the Arabian peninsula, the heat sapping, draining weather was always the same. No let up. Life was good here in these foreign lands, with good money to be made in quick time. The only few drawbacks as he saw it were the the lack of available alcohol, unless smuggled in surreptitiously, and the lack of a pretty woman to catch a man’s eye.
The Arabs, as determined by their governments, were forbidden to drink alcohol, which to him seemed a nonsensical and cruel law. Secondly the women were forced to cover up everything except for their eyes. Another crazy law in his view. He had being in the country for close to six months , and was looking forward to his return to normality, back to America. Looking forward to seeing his wife and newly born child whom he had yet to meet.
He didn’t want to leave them, but with the lack of employment in ‘The States’, and the subsequent continual arguments that the lack of money, and boredom were causing with his long term sweetheart, and now wife. It just seemed like the best solution to a bad situation, at the time.
In Arabia, it was good to be working once again. His happiness and joy for the occupation, replacing the depression, that had dogged him for many months, in the past. The feelings of worthlessness and failure he felt as a man. Unable to provide for his wife, and family. The thoughts of ending it all. How different it was now. Those bad times behind him, a happily distant memory. But money making was very high on his agenda, after so many, many months of being without. He had a lot of catching up to do, financially, and he was determined to catch up, in whichever way he could. Regardless of the consequences.
The management back home in America, were well impressed how he was able to move the job along with such speed. While keeping costs way down. Congratulating themselves on choosing some a competent man to oversee the work. It was of course his decision to purchases supplies and materials from the unlisted, unlicensed companies. His choice not to question the low cost of such purchases. Again his choice to pay the immigrant workers just slightly above the national rate they were paid. An incentive to work harder, and faster, which they happily adhered to. Of course, the wage they received, a pittance, in comparison to the wage paid to the workers from the west.

He didn’t like him, when he first met him. Something about him. That upright posture, and purposeful stride. The dark business suit. The tanned face, and the neatly trimmed black hair. He exuded an inner strength, an inner belief in his own abilities, in his own worth, for such a young man. No more than early thirties, Jim guessed. A man not easily pushed around, or persuaded. Jim tried the friendly route first. When that was having little impact. He went for the brutish, loud, angry path. But the schools building inspector, remained quietly solid, strong and unmoved. He demanded to see the schedule of work. Demanded to know how the work was progressing at such speed. He further demanded free access to inspect any of the materials used, and see the records and details of the current suppliers to the school building project. Of course he could not be allowed to have his demands met. So as the young inspector was leaving the building project, Jim approached him.
As he was stepping into his shiny black cadillac, he placed a hand on the inspectors arm. The inspector looked down at the hand, and then at Jim , with a look of disdain.

‘Here, take this package. You’ll enjoy it. Will make life easier ‘, offering him the stout envelope.
‘My life is fine, I don’t need nor want anything from you’, and he pushed the envelope away.

Early the following morning just as the sun broke the horizon, and work began again on the construction project, the young inspector returned accompanied by two further car loads, of similarly diligent civil servants. They enforced an immediate cessation of the work, and went about examining the materials used, and the contracts signed. It did not take them long to come across anomalies. Materials not up to standards, and regulations. Works completed in a haphazard and unsafe manner. It was enough evidence to enforce immediate cessation of the project.
Jim watched from the portacabin office, where he liked to oversee the progress on the site. With his favourite coffee cup in hand, he watched the young inspector accompanied by two policemen approach his office.

Bursting through the door in the blazing mid day heat, disturbing the dust and paperwork in the office.

‘ I am closing down this project’, with immediate effect’. He spoke slowly, with much assurance and calm authority. ‘You, as the project co-ordinator here, bearing full responsibility for all that goes on in this project, are to be prosecuted for using substandard and dangerous materials, and engaging in unsafe  and haphazard working practices. Endangering the lives the the employees currently working here, and the further employees and children who would have attended this school in the future. Also you are further to be prosecuted for attempting to bribe a government official’.

With that the two policeman stood either side of Jim, and escorted him down from his office. The next few weeks passed quickly, and before he knew it, he was enduring the sweltering heat and blazing sunshine from the confines of an overcrowded Arabian prison cell. He was slowly coming to terms with the violent prison guards, who delighted in tormenting and torturing their prisoners, especially foreign prisoners. Coming to terms with his violent prison cell mates, none of whom he could dare to trust. Forced to stand for up to twelve hours a day, it was an impossible torture. The stench of urine, of continual perspiration. The sense of claustrophobia, of being unable to move freely, of being trapped, with no space of his own. With unfriendly people he did not know, using a language he could not understand. The continual pushing and shoving. The sense of violence waiting to explode at any moment. His very real fear of homosexual rape. The lack of sleep, his anxiety. Wishing now, had he being given his time over, perhaps he may have being a more honourable, honest man. Not racing headlong chasing money and wealth at any cost.

His only contact with another english speaker, was the weekly visit from the middle aged man from the American council. His job to keep Jim informed of the likely date of his court case. It could take years, he had being informed. Arabia was in no rush to release the inmates of their prisons. Jim in a strange way looked forward to these weekly visits. At least it was some human contact, without the fear of violence. A short sense of freedom. A brief thirty minutes out of the stinking , overcrowded cell, that had being his home for the last three months. With someone he felt he could trust.
He walked into the light grey plastered room, with the open windows, accompanied as ever by two severe looking prison guards. He noted the brightly colored  bird sitting on the tree branch outside the window, chirping away  happily. Jim looked at the bird, and smiled, envied his freedom. The ability to do what he wanted, when he wanted. To have his own space. To fly away and be free, anytime he choose. The man from the American council entered the room. Jim immediately noted his more than usual serious demeanor. His grey and  drawn face. The deadness in his eyes. He sat at the table, slowly, and opened his black briefcase. Hids movements were slow, as was his speech.
Quietly he began. ‘Jim, I have some news from home, and I’ll come straight to it. I’m very sorry, but there has being a fire  back home, and their have been fatalities. Jim held his breath, and began to perspire slightly. The veins tightened in his arms and shoulders, and he clenched his fists. ‘It’s your wife’, then he stopped, to steady himself,and catch his breath, and after a moment, ‘and your newborn child. I’m so sorry’. Jim listened, but didn’t really hear, and asked for him to repeat what he had said. He sat back in the soft chair trying to comprehend what had being said, his body feeling weak. ‘ The initial outcome of the investigation are, the fire was the result of the substandard materials been used, when the house was first built’. ‘If there’s anything I can do’, his voice trailed off.
Jim sat back in the chair, and quietly muttered to himself, ‘Substandard materials, substandard materials’, over and over. Precisely when the thirty minutes were up, the two prion severe, angry prison guards , roughy lifted Jim from the chair. Pulled and dragged him back towards the overcrowded, sweltering, stinking, violent prison cell. The man from The American council watched for a moment, as he stood underneath the ceiling fan, enjoying its cooling air, before taking his briefcase, and making his way towards the exit.

Fragrance

via Daily Prompt: Fragrance

He never believed her. Never in his wildest dreams did he think it was possible. Although she had told him many times she would do it. As he sat up in bed, the beads of perspiration were slowly trickling down his forehead. He pulled at his pajamas which were damp and sticky. Afraid to switch on the light, for fear of what he might see.
There it was again, the unmistakable scent of her favourite perfume. The third time this week. He cursed himself for the alcohol he had indulged himself with the previous evening, and the evening before that, and so many other evenings. In the darkness he called out to the Lord to protect him, and began to mumble what he could remember of the Lord’s prayer, which he repeated a further four times, at speed. He always asked of the Lord, but never gave to the Lord. He gripped the white bedsheets tightly, perspiration running down his forehead. He nudged the woman who lay beside him, but to no avail.  Her overindulengence in a variety of cocktails the previous evening, ensured she would be sleeping for hours. He glanced at her disheveled hair, her fading make up revealing a face ravaged by many years of heavy alcohol use. The black mascara fading from round her eyes, revealing a less than pretty face. At least not as attractive now, as it seemed last evening in the glamorous settings of the 5 star hotel, they had visited, with the other well to do people, they called friends.

While she was alive, she watched him over many years squander the family savings in a self indulgent lifestyle of illicit extra marital affairs. A hedonistic lifestyle of alcohol, the finest of food, expensive holidays, all without her. An uncaring attitude towards his family, and responsibilities he had signed up for when he had married her, and brought their children into the world. As they grew further apart, but because of religion and for appearances sake, they presented to the world, the picture of the happily married couple, and their lovely children. A couple whose life was wonderful, and harmonious. It was anything but.

‘When I die, I will come back to haunt you, You will never have any peace’.

Her voice reverberating around the dull, grey kitchen. Badly in need of updating. But as he was the breadwinner, he had steadfastly refused to spend any of his funds on anything but self indulgent activities and events.
He ignored her, while concentrating on the hearty breakfast he had fixed himself, hoping it would help with the severe hangover he was suffering from.

‘Mark my words ,’ she continued.

He laughed and scoffed at her words. Perhaps in hindsight, not the wisest choice of action. The day passed quickly, as he feared. His lady companion from the previous evening, arose from the bed come mid afternoon, and decided to return to her own home. The drunken fitful sleep, not helping her appearance , or mood in any way, whatsoever. Even though he had tired of her, and was ready to move on from her. Out of fear and insecurity, of what the night would bring, he begged her to stay. Even offering another alcohol fueled day at his expense. She briefly considered his offer. But decided against it.

‘Don’t bother coming back, then’, he shouted at her as she slammed the front door on the way out.

Another relationship, ready for the bin. Unable to settle as the evening wore on, he sat in front of the television, in the darkened room. Looking but not really seeing the flickering pictures. He poured himself a second glass of the red liquid. Holding the glass tightly. It’s strength burning his throat on it’s passage to his brain. He welcomed the effect the alcohol was beginning to have on his mind, his courage and bravado. If ever there was an elixir of life, this was it.
A miracle invention, he mumbled to himself. Contemplating had he being President he would most certainly have awarded these genius, as that’s how him viewed them, at the very least, The Congressional Medal of Honor. How he would have awarded to them the highest scientific accolades the country could offer. Such was his admiration for such a marvellous invention.
The evening passed quickly. Afraid to go to the bedroom alone, he sat in front of the television. Eventually the effects of tiredness, and a further two glasses of the red liquid, forced sleep upon him. Without him being aware of it, he was asleep.
In the dream, she stood before him, laughing. Just as he remembered her, when she was alive. How he hated her effervescent, her vibrant spirit. His attempts to destroy her lively spirit, a failure. How she would continually bounce back, was a complete, and very irritating mystery to him.

‘I told you I’d come back to haunt you’, she laughed.

With alcohol induced bravery and courage, he responded.

‘You’re only a dream, that’s all you are. When I wake up, you will be gone’.

Again she laughed.

The dream finished and he continued to a more peaceful sleep. He was awoken by his body calling to him to use the bathroom. He opened his eyes slowly, reacquainting himself with the room. In the semi darkness, her white shimmering figure, surrounded by a blue haze, hovered above the fireplace. Her vibrant laughter filling the room. He screamed, just like a woman. The more he screamed, the more she laughed. He ran from the room, perspiration dripping from his forehead. His heart beating as fast as it had ever being, if not more so. His legs shaking with fear. He called out to the Lord Jesus to protect him. He ran to the kitchen, now updated of course, and locked the door. He turned from the door breathing heavily and quickly. Again her white shimmering figure stood before him, hovering above the floor, and laughing. He ran for the door, unlocked it and ran upstairs to the spare bedroom. Entered, and locked and bolted the door behind him. Again breathing very heavily and quickly. The chemical concoction in his stomach, wild and on fire. He recognised her laughter, and her fragrance. He did not need to look. He unbolted the door at speed, and ran from the room.
Wide eyed he fled down the stairs taking steps two at a time. Her laughter and fragrance followed him. It was the last four steps that did it. The resounding thump, as his head hit the final step. The slowly seeping blood from his ear. His inability to feel his legs. His breathing becoming slow, and labored. His senses on their final journey. His hearing becoming very faint. But enough to hear her laughter and breath in the scent of her fragrance just one last time.