Welcome to my writing corner. Here you'll find stand alone stories and tales that stretch much longer. You'll find tales ranging from medieval adventure to modern stories about real people with a sci-fi twist. If you like/hate what you read, drop me a line and let me know.

You can find the stories grouped by the labels just to the right.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What If? - Chapter 11

Seconds stretch into minutes as I watch Laina in the machine, rubber and plastic strapped to tanned skin. At first she is still, after a few minutes she trembles slightly, soon her body’s wracked with sobs, tears stream from the corners of the thick dark goggles.

Just as I contemplate trying to shut the machine down, it’s over. The electric hum weakens, Laina jerks suddenly. She yanks the gloves and helmet off; they fall to the cold cement. She gags and unleashes a stream of vomit onto her shirt. Two towels and a glass of yellowish tap water later and she’s cleaned up.

I can’t hold it any longer, “What did you see?”

She stares straight ahead, like she’s looking past everything, through concrete walls, through time and into infinity.

“I… I saw…” her tiny hands ball up, her arms wrap around her waist, she breaks down, crying uncontrollably.

We leave the lab exactly as we found it. I can’t take my eyes off of her the entire ride home; she just stares out the window.

Three days pass, she won’t talk about it. After some unsuccessfully coaxing I give up. We soon avoid the subject completely and try to pretend it never happened. I wear a mask over my concern, it’s a thin veil and every touch or sigh threatens to shatter it. The awkward silence is the worst, I pray for any distraction and dread our time alone together.

I wake up to my phone ringing, Blocked Caller. I silence the call; it’s the fifteenth time since Laina’s vision. Groggy eyes shoot to my alarm clock, red glowing numbers laugh at me, ten minutes until the buzzer will erupt to cut the stillness of morning. I stare at the ceiling, normally white, but it's now colorless in the dark. For a moment I try to forget what day it is. Then I feel my wife’s warm hand run through my thick hair.

“Are you okay?” her voice full of concern.

I hesitate, telling a lie would be easy. “No, I’m not”, the truth stings my dry lips as it leaves my mouth. I dread this day every year. Like an old wound that acts up, it’s the pain that never goes away, the sadness that tightens around your heart.

My eyes close and I remember, sitting in the hospital. The half sterile smell of sickness, everything is white. Tall slender machines beep, the lights always dim. Thick sheets that never smell clean or dirty. Flowers everywhere, flowers trying to bring life to the lifeless. His hand feels small in mine, it used to feel big, strong. Now it’s frail and limp.

Tubes climb up his cheeks and into his nostrils. I want to hope but I can’t. His face is gaunt. Lips spread by plastic tubing as gruel drips into his throat. The sad stillness breaks occasionally when his mindless body flails in pain as unseen specters haunt him.

I open my eyes again. The ceiling still colorless, my heart filled with anguish. Today is the day, three years ago that my Father died.

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