Sunday, September 25, 2011

TRAPPED (continued)

(This is the continuation of the short story I wrote a few weeks ago…)

“What have you done?” she asked. The wardens were gone and the silence had swallowed the sound of running feet. I was standing at the front door without realizing how I got there.

“What have you done this time?” she repeated.

I closed the door, turned around to face the old lady and noticed a look passing through her eyes. A flinch of pain? A flicker of fear? I couldn’t be sure.

“Nothing,” I lied. It was tempting to assume the identity she had given me and pretend that I was her maid’s wayward husband. What could I say? Tell her any old story so she’d shut up? Or tell her my dreadful secret.

Picture from Google Images
I could unburden myself to someone who seemed prepared to listen but it would take the whole day and half the night to tell my story and in the end, what if she didn’t believe me?

For days I had been repeating myself to those shrinks at the nuthouse but they kept asking the same old, stupid questions. So I made up a story hoping they’d leave me alone. They must have believed the made-up story because for several days I was not locked up in the tiny room but could wander around the premises like the other ‘harmless’ patients. It wouldn’t have been too bad staying there indefinitely if only the crazies would leave me alone.

“What have you done this time?’

Her question was immediately followed by a coughing fit. After each burst of coughing she took a sharp intake of breath and that set her off again. I vacillated between letting her choke to death and saving her for one more day. But if she expired I would have to move immediately. I couldn’t be hanging around another dead body and make a lucky escape. However, I couldn’t go without changing into my own clothes. The shocking pink pajamas would be a beacon in a sea of green forest. I had no choice but to wait for my own clothes to dry.

So I hurried to her chair and stood over her. As I stretched my hands towards her, I noticed the veins on her neck. They were thick, greenish tubes underneath the loose transparent skin and reminded me of my grandmother’s skin, thin and wrinkled like dry leaves.

When my hands touched her clammy skin, her arms jerked suddenly. Then they dropped by her sides. Did she think I was going to hit her? To strangle her?

I turned the old lady onto her side and gave her a good thump on the back. She stopped coughing. A glass of water with a few drops of honey and lemon juice would relieve the dry throat. Too much screaming, I thought.

I was spooning the honey-lemon-water mixture into the woman’s mouth when the door burst open. Standing unsteadily at the doorway, a beer bottle in his left hand and a crooked smile on his sweat-drenched face was a man, drunk as a lord. The old lady and I gasped at the same time. I stared. It was my mirror image we were looking at.

1 comment:

  1. I love it. The descriptions are so meticulously written. A very surreal account.