A man's quiet evening at home turns out to be anything but routine.


A Night to Remember

The apartment was quiet, except for the sound from the television. A man with graying hair sat alone in the room with a TV tray in front of him. If you were to tell him that he was going gray, he would look straight at you, run a hand through his hair and call you a liar. Always vain about his hair, he would then go home and have his wife use one hair dye or another on it. That way no one could say anything.

On the left side of the tray, was the television remote and the TV guide. The label on the front reads Frank Thompson. It was all ripped, from all the folding and unfolding he does to the corners. Next to the remote, in the middle of the tray, was a bowl of potato chips. Plain, no added salt. If you asked Frank, he would tell you they taste horrible, but he eats them anyway. His doctor had told him to cut all the salt out of his diet as his cholesterol was too high. So it was mainly bland food he eats now. He cursed his doctors for it rather than taking responsibility for it himself. It wasn't his fault he likes to eat foods that actually taste like food instead of food that tastes like paper.

Frank sat, cursing the fact that his wife wasn't there to make him something to eat. It's not my job to cook, it was hers. She's the one who was supposed to be here to do this stuff. That's her place and after so many years together she knows it too. Why did she have to go out anyway?

He cursed her again under his breath, even though he knew she would return shortly. Since she normally went out during the day to do errands because she doesn't work. Tonight she got that phone call from her sister begging her to come, one of her bratty kids was sick. It could have been worse, she could have brought them brats here.

"If I hadn't let her go, I never would've heard the end of it." He mumbled. "Why couldn't she have waited until after dinner to go? I don't care if she promised not to be long. She knows I don't like waiting on dinner." He talked to the television, knowing he wasn't going to receive an answer, yet he half expected his wife to walk in and respond anyway.

He sat there, watching the television when the sound of running water caught his attention. He hadn't heard his wife come home yet, who the hell could possibly be running water in the bathroom? Worse, did a pipe burst in the bathroom? Again? They had a pipe burst only a few months ago in the kitchen. What a mess that had made with water everywhere, the tile floor got destroyed. It took the landlord months to get off his ass and fix it.

He got up from his chair, stormed to the bathroom, angry at the thought at having to put out money, if that was in fact the problem. The landlord will have to replace any cost that I have to pay out. Since it was late in the evening and there was no one at the office, Frank would have to try to get a hold of either the emergency maintenance or hire someone himself. Then again, if it isn't the pipes, it could very well be that my idiot wife left the tap in the tub running, the fool that she is.


He opened the bathroom door carefully, not wanting to take the chance of flooding the carpet. That would just be something else for the landlord to whine about, that pompous ass hole.

When he was sure the carpet wasn't going to be damaged, he stepped into the washroom and walked to the bathroom sink. Quickly realizing that the sink was not the source of his aggravation, he went to the bathtub. The curtain was drawn, so he put his hand on the side of it, pulling it open slowly.

He thought about how stupid his wife was for picking out such a hideous shower curtain, how he ever let her persuade him to hang it, he wasn't sure. It was hideous, but she loved it. She must have caught me on a good day.

He was overcome with the sensation that his wife was lying dead in the bathtub. He didn't know why, yet nothing he did seemed to shake it. He could feel it all through his body.

My wife is dead and I can throw out this god-forsaken ugly curtain. His thoughts went from the fact his wife was probably lying there dead to the hatred of the floral curtain. It was not my choice, if I had it my way it would be a plain white. There was no need for such frivolous things in the bathroom as far as I'm concerned anyway. Sweat was running down the back of his neck.
Why should I feel nervous? After all I wasn't responsible for her death. If she was stupid enough to sneak into the house while I took my nap that was her problem not mine. He stopped moving. What if she fell into the tub? Perhaps while trying to close the window which never remained closed.

Again, he cursed his landlord. Lazy prick. Now he was going to be responsible for cleaning the mess. I hate to clean. Why couldn't she have gone later?

The scent of her perfume fills the room. Should I just leave her and call the cops? No, if I do that without even checking to see if she was alive they would wonder why. Why did she have to go do this tonight? If she would have waited until tomorrow night, I would have been out of the house and at my weekly poker game.

Extremely angry now, he pulled it wide open, almost pulling the curtain from its rings. A few of the rings broke from the force and fell to the floor. He paid no attention to the sound they made.

At first he stared blankly at the tub, disbelieving what he saw. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to focus his thoughts. When he opened them, it was the same scene looking back at him. There was no way he was seeing this, it just was not possible.

He couldn't get over the blank stare, the glazed look gave him the feeling that the body in the tub had been dead for days, instead of the short time that he knew it could have only been.

He moved his eyes from the unseeing ones in the tub while, subconsciously, he lifted his hands to his hair, his gaze went from how the hair was parted down to the clothes. The man in his tub was fully dressed, wearing plaid shirt and dress pants. Similar to those that he had on. How many times, when him and his wife began dating, did she say how much she hated those things? She doesn't say that anymore, now does she? She knows better.

The man in Frank's tub was not wearing any shoes but his socks were white, brand new, like his own. Why can't I stop comparing myself to the man in the tub? I'm alive, not dead like this man obviously is. He had no brothers, no cousins. His parents decided to stop after he was born, they had enough more than enough to deal with him, they had told Frank that repeatedly when he was younger.

Who was the man laying dead in his bathtub? It had finally dawned on him, he was looking at himself. Dead!

He clutched his chest, the pain was so intense. There was no way this could be happening. His heart felt like it was going to explode at any moment. His legs buckled underneath him as he collapsed into the bathtub. Falling in the exact position as the man he had just seen only moments before. Only now there was no other man, just him. Was this happening? Did I really seen anyone in the tub? Was it possible that I'm having what people call a premonition of my own death? He heard of such things happening when he watched Montel and never believed it, until now.

The creature walked slowly into the room. How it fit through the door Frank didn't know, but it did. He could hear the door frame grunt from the pressure of this massive thing coming through. He had never seen anything like this before in all his years.

The creature was tall standing on all fours, over four feet at least. Hair, or was it fur? He couldn't be sure but it was brown and its eyes were as black as coal. He could hear its nails clicking against the tiled floor and thought that this thing could rip him apart if it truly wanted to. Did it want to? One look in its eyes said yes, it does.

Frank's eyes widened in fear. What is going on? Why would this thing want me dead? What had I ever done to it? Or anyone else for that matter? Can it not see that I'm dying?

Slowly and with so much grace, it walked towards the bathtub then leaned in towards him. Frank tried to get away but his entire body felt paralyzed.

The creature only spoke two words. "Never again."

With that said Frank's ears, nose and mouth started pouring blood, as if every ounce was being drained from his body. He did not feel any of this for he was already dead.

The creature turned and walked out of the room never once looking back. The door closes, silently, behind it.

Some time later Frank's wife enters the house. It's quiet. Too quiet she thinks. Normally by now she would hear her husband cursing, "If I was on that show I would get them all right and you can bet they wouldn't be happy about it. I would make a fortune." She could hear her husband saying in her head. It would be hell for the rest of the night if they continued that way.

She walked around the small house and saw that her husband's television was still on, only, her husband was no where to be found. Oh, she was in for it now. She wasn't even home and she knew she was going to be blamed for him missing the final question.

The sound of the dripping in the bathroom caught her attention. She walked towards it knowing if her husband had stepped out hearing that when he returned, the pain she would feel would be like nothing she ever felt before. She opened the bathroom door, immediately regretting it. The blood, oh my goodness, all that blood!

She screamed and then fainted, falling into the bathroom beside the bathtub, on top of the bloody paw prints the creature left behind. Her clothes getting covered in blood that had pooled on the floor.

A neighbor must have called the police because only minutes later they screamed for someone to open the door. When no one answered, they broke it down. Then they went through the house, that's when they found the horrendous scene in the bathroom. With all the blood, they thought both persons in the bathroom were, in fact, dead.

While they were trying to assess the scene they heard the woman moan. "She's alive!" They called for the ambulance attendants to come upstairs.

Most of the officers stayed behind to try to figure out what had happened there, since neither of them appeared to have any marks on them. That was, if you don't count the bruise on the woman's face that appeared to be a few days old.

Probably got it from him, one police officer thought, as the woman was carried away.

Hurriedly, they rushed up the stairs and took the woman to the hospital. One officer rode with her, waiting for her to wake up, perhaps, then some light could be shed on what happened. The woman's eyes remained closed.

When they finished checked her over and realized that she was not injured, they concluded the shock of witnessing what she had was the reason for her fainting. They thought it best to keep her in the hospital overnight. Standing guard outside her room was the same police officer that rode in the ambulance with her. Although she was unaware of this.

When she woke up and looked out her window, she saw the same creature that only hours ago, her husband had seen. She was not afraid of it. She has seen it so many times before in her dreams so what was there to be afraid of?

She felt completely comforted by the sight of the creature now. Slowly, it walked through the window without breaking it, she knew it was not of this world. Even that thought, did not frighten her. When it gets close enough to the bed, it puts its massive head onto her lap. She sits herself up so the creature will be comfortable. It turns its eyes up at her. The eyes were so filled with love and peace, that the woman cannot feel anything but contentment. Even with everything that was going on at the moment.

The creature said one thing to her before disappearing. "Never again."

The woman starts crying, not tears of sorrow although anyone passing the room would have thought differently, it could have been a mixture of more than one emotion.

In fact they were mainly tears of joy, relief even. Never again would she have to be afraid when a door was opened or closed for that matter.

Downstairs in the morgue, the coroner was just finishing up with the woman's husband, Frank. He had never seen anything like this before in all his medical career. When he finished the autopsy, he just couldn't get over it. The official cause of death was ruled a heart attack. How could he even try to explain the rest of what apparently happened to this man? It appears that after his death, every organ in his body burst. There was no blood left in his body and the organs were completely destroyed.

There were no tell-tale signs of foul play though, that he was certain of, so it was case closed as far he was concerned. He cleaned up, signed off on the man, signed out then went home to his wife, never saying a word to her about what he had witnessed. There was no way he could. How would he find the words? Instead, he just prayed that he would never see it again.

Little did he know that he would. It was not the end, only the beginning.




Short story by christina
Read 326 times
star mini Editors' choice
Written on 2007-02-27 at 14:54

dott Save as a bookmark (requires login)
dott Write a comment (requires login)
dott Send as email
dott Print text



Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
This text has been chosen to be featured on the front page of PoetBay. Thank you for posting it on our poetry website.
2009-05-30


Individuality
another good piece, good to sit back sometimes and read a longer piece of work.

Language: 4
Format: 4
Overall: 4
Mood: 4
2007-02-27