Chapter 7

Written by: Ray Stone

Shirley walked out of the living room and caught sight of a figure she hardly recognized in the hallway mirror. She stopped and brushed some stray red hairs from the collar of her white woolen jacket. Hazel eyes that once sparkled now lay sunken into a face that had turned gaunt. That and the loss of over thirty pounds, she now appeared older and smaller than she actually was.  She turned away, and strode down the narrow hall. Visiting Gary was now a weekly routine. No-one else came anymore. A small yellow post-it, stuck to the worn door jam, flapped in the draft as she stepped outside. It was the perfect place to park a failing memory. A reminder to contact Gary’s doctor, she peeled it off and put it inside her purse.

                                                                           

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A year and two months was a long time to wait. The little fat nurse kept telling one of her young colleagues he was lucky to be alive but was he? His sight, limited to seeing through open eyelids without movement of the eyes themselves, gave him a view of the bottom half of the bed and the sparsely furnished room as he lay propped up, but not enough side view to see through the entire window overlooking the lake and the woods beyond. He remained, as always, motionless; the nurse bathed him every two days and combed his graying hair each morning. He couldn’t eat either, not that he was hungry. His life was over. If only he could talk he would tell Shirley how sorry he was; ask for forgiveness. He wanted her to know but couldn’t cry to show her. His days and nights consisted of jabbering nurses, cleaning staff, and the soft regular clicking of the breathing equipment by his bedside.

His mind cleared as the small bird returned, pecking at the lichen on the window sill. He couldn’t see it but heard it fluttering, the motion just visible out of the corner of his eye as a small dark shadow on the other side of the window.

That’s how they came to him, suddenly appearing from that side of the room, climbing onto his bed, taunting him. They came at all times, mostly at night but always when she was there. Sometimes he heard them first, singing out of tune to ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star….’ But the words they sang hurt; cruel words that made his heart beat faster – ‘Daddy, Daddy, Here We Lie, You’re The One Who Made Us Die’.   

Their first visit didn’t last long. Earlier in the day the doctor had told Shirley he was responding to treatment and a full recovery might be possible. As soon as she left, Michael climbed up onto his bed and sat on his chest. Michael was annoyed. Daddy tried to take Jason away on an airplane. Leaning down until their noses touched, he rubbed his finger along Gary’s lips before disappearing. Since then, all body movement had ceased.   

Raymond Stone (USA)    

 

Comments

The twins are taunting their dad for killing them. Kids can be cruel without really knowing it. A very dark corner has turned in this story. Scary, haunting work.
I like the way the twins are turning retaliatory holding the father responsible for their untimely deaths. The chanting to the tune of "Twinkle, twinkle little star" is very creative. I would give this one a vote for the top spot.
Interesting turn of events. Barely anything I can say that's negative about this, and the ones I'm thinking of are so trivial that I'm not going to bother.
Nice work.