He awoke, finally. Another uncomfortable, barley slept night. A thirst, that no amount of water could ever quench. In the darkness he lay on the bed, listening to the silence. Slowly his mind began to clear a little. Images of the previous few days passed through his mind.
Acquaintances, strangers. Alcohol, pubs. Airplanes, city lights. Heavy traffic. Laughter. Dancing, darkened nightclubs, Thumping music. A mishmash of images and recollections, fading in and out of his memory. Brief and unclear. His head was heavy. Stomach empty and aching for food.
Never again, he promised himself. It’s just not worth it. Never was. Foolish, inane, conversations, with forgettable, ridiculous people he hardly knew or cared for. False camaraderie and human closeness. A brief interlude from an empty life. The paranoia as usual was ever present, greatly exaggerated by the copious amounts of alcohol.
His memory was patchy of the previous few days. Unsure how long it had being this time. One evening, a few days, or maybe a week or two. He knew the gaps in his memory would eventually be filed. He made his way to the bathroom, unsteady on his feet, tripping over en route. The bloodstained light coloured carpet, of little surprise to him. His bloodied hands, unexpected. Through bloodshot eyes, he glanced at his face in the low lit bathroom mirror. Sickened, and angry at his own inability to control his addiction. He quickly looked away. Dried blood on the newly scratched scars on his face and neck. He slapped himself hard about the face, encouraging this dream to end. He threw water on his face, to awaken his consciousness.
He again checked himself in the bathroom mirror. Still the bloodied facial scars. He looked at his hands. His body was tense, and tightly held. His fists clenched. Swollen veins protruding through his muscular arms. His once lean and trim torso now beginning to show the signs of alcohol abuse. The unsightly swollen area covering his liver. His stomach losing its muscular definition. He watched himself, through narrow, piercing, angry eyes, the veins throbbing either side of his head in the bathroom mirror. How had his life come to this, he asked himself.
Snippets’ of angry words, surfaced in his memory. Screaming, tearful, hysterical and pleading. Thoughts and a determination to avenge her disrespect. She would be made to pay. He would see her weep, and be distraught, and only then would he be at peace. He would take from her, what she had taken from him. He swaggered from the bathroom like the wealthy, powerful successful man he was. He had not finished with her yet.
‘Come here’, he demanded. ‘I want to speak to you’. His loud voice vibrating around the house.
He roughly opened the bedroom closest to him, and slammed it closed loudly when he found it empty. In his disoriented hung over state he found it hard to navigate his own home. Doors appearing where they did not belong. Rooms not where they should be.
Like a savage beast intent of finding sustenance, he marauded around the first floor of the house. Again he tripped over it, on the way back to his room. This time switching on the landing light. He looked down at the bare leg protruding from the door, and followed its shape as he pushed open the door to the room. The cream coloured silken nightgown that covered the body, was torn, ripped. Drifting in and out of consciousness, she moaned softly. The bloodied nose, bruised ayes, matted hair, she lay at an awkward, unattractive angle.
He did not recognize her at all. Cursed himself quietly for drinking so much. He searched his mind for recollections, which were not forthcoming. The light from the landing illuminating the scene before him. The upturned chairs, clothes scattered untidily on the floor. The overturned, broken child’s cot. The non moving, non breathing form on the floor. He moved towards the child’s form on the floor, noting the blood matted hair on the back its head. Turned it over, and recoiled from the slightly tinged small blue face, and obviously broken bones in its jaw line. Congealed blood visible under the innocent skin. Thankful it was not his child, but also fearful and afraid.
His breathing now rapid, heartbeat thumping hard in his chest. Perspiration forming on his forehead, back and above his lip. Images of police officers. Court cases, vile newspaper headlines. Prison, for ever.
Standing up, now energized with the adrenaline pumping through his body, his legs shaking. His mind screaming and begging for it not to be so.
He quickly returned to the bedroom from where he came, slipped on his crumpled jeans, and a white t-sheet. Searched underneath the bed for his shoes, and ran down the stairs and out of the house at speed, leaving the front door open. Into the still dark early morning, he ran. Along, somewhat now familiar streets. The shock helping to clear his mind. He ran as fast as he could, as far as he could. Pass the other detached houses. Down the tree lined streets, with the expensive cars outside. In the early morning, birdsong echoed softly.
He could not find his way out of the large, select cul-de sac, passing the same properties, again and again. He stopped outside a detached house, exhausted after his intense running, breathing hard. That dark Mercedes looked quiet familiar, with the sticker from the French holiday campsite on the trunk. He moved closer toward the car in the driveway, the gravel crunching under his feet. Peered into the backseat, at the two property magazines laying there. Further examined the the front passenger seat, and the child seat, with the recognizable rag doll toy, resting on it. The security light from the house, activated by his movement, illuminated the area.
She opened the front door quietly, and peered out. Recognizing his, rather disheveled appearance, she marched out in anger. In the cold morning air, her breath was visible, as she moved closer to him. Her baby daughter on her hip, crying loudly. He continued to peer into the front seat of the car, leaning on the car roof for support. Breathing hard, and gently weeping. Thankful some memory was returning.
She moved closer to where he was leaning on the car, and glared and him, taking him in fully.
‘What have you done’, she snapped at him. More an accusation, then a question.
Her face contorted into an ugly combination of anger, disgust and fear, so close to his. Her screams were loud, piercing, in the quietness of the early morning.
‘What have you done’, again, she screamed.
‘Look at your hands, look at your hands. They are covered in blood’.
Written in response to writing prompt : ‘Trying to make sense of the events of last night’.