Busy Day. Short Story.

I finished Gerald’s Game the other night, it’s a really good book and quite creepy to boot. I’d advise that you don’t finish reading it at 4 in the morning, it makes sleeping unnerving. I do have to say the ending was very good too, it was much better than the ending of Cell. Yes, that still pisses me off. It stopped mid-way through the story. It ended just before the climactic moment.

It’s strange, I’d gotten so many books for christmas that I’ve forgotten what I have, I stumbled across them the other night and am reading through them. I’ve finished The Giver and Gathering Blue both by Lois Lowry yesterday, they were quite enjoyable too.

Anyway!

On with the show!

———————————————————————————————-

Busy Day.

He was sitting in his study, sipping wine after dinner. There was work to be done, lots of work, but he was tired and enjoying the quiet solitude of the study. Here he would not be bothered by anyone, as was the rule. He was surrounded by many books which lined the walls, looking down upon him with ambivalence, gaps in the shelves provided short spaces in which paintings could hang, a few scenery pieces, one of a woman, standing forlornly in the rain and, the companion piece directly across from it, a man, storming off in a rage as the rain soaked him. He knew the painting choices were eclectic, he chose ones that spoke to him and usually cycled them out. The room was warm and lit pleasantly by soft lamps, his books lay open before him, his pen sitting diligently beside them, ready for work but he was not. He took a careful, thoughtful sip from the glass and let the flavour play across his tongue before gently setting the glass down. It had been a long day, but enjoyable none the less, he was mentally and physically tired now and was looking forward to the sound nights rest he would have.

Dinner was pleasant, if not a little stale, the same food, the same conversations they had had thousands of times before, problems rephrased or rehashed with minor tweaking to the characters involved. Still, it had been a nice meal, a calm meal. He picked up the pen, then began looking over the books, there was a lot to do, normally he would have had it done by now, but it had been a busy day. He sighed, then put the pen down. He didn’t want to do this. He was tired, he wanted to relax, just for a while. He sat back in his chair, thinking. Maybe they could go on vacation soon, they hadn’t been away as a family in a few years. Even if it was just him and Marie, they could go and leave the kids, they were old enough to look after themselves now. He could take a few weeks off work, they didn’t even have to go anywhere, they could stay here, really, he just wanted a few days of peace. He picked up the wine glass and gulped, draining half the contents. It was stupid thinking about that, he couldn’t leave, he was too important at the company, they wouldn’t let him go. But that was a lie, and some part of him knew it, they didn’t need him, not as much as he liked to think, they would have no problem with him taking a few days off. He was getting old now, he wasn’t blind to that, his stomach was getting larger too, he glanced down at the steadily expanding girth that hung over his trousers. He should really start to eat a bit healthier, he didn’t want to go away anytime soon. He smiled, it was a strange euphemism, but apt, his mother had used it when he was a boy, no one died, they just had to go away, maybe because that time was getting closer for him, he couldn’t quite bring himself to say death, death was just too final. He sipped the wine again, musing over his stomach, his health, he must have a talk with Marie about that, she was the one who cooked all the meals, the growing waistline was her fault really. He didn’t think about his lunches, usually take away or sumptuous meals in fancy restaurants. He sipped the wine again, enjoying the growing feeling, he was getting tipsy, no surprise there though, it was his second glass.

He kept sipping the wine, steadily draining the glass until he was looking at only the dregs. He contemplated getting more, then with more effort than it should have required, he heaved himself out of his chair and left the room, returning a few moments later with an unopened bottle. He didn’t need to sneak past his family, but that’s what he did. The kids were busy watching TV, god only knew where Marie had gone, but he was quiet and careful not to be seen. He twisted the cap off the bottle and generously filled the glass before sitting again, sighing in pleasure. As he took another mouthful, he looked closely at the bottle, then felt his cheeks burning with shame. Marie had been saving it, it was her favourite wine and he had to admit, it was quite tasty, though he had grabbed it merely because he wouldn’t have to dig through the drawers for a bottle opener. She had been saving it, or so she said, for their anniversary, as it was on their anniversary five years ago that she had first drank the wine. She could be sentimental at times. He drained the glass, while deciding what to do. His eyes were sparkling and merry and, grinning idiotically, he picked up the bottled and topped off his glass. He could always get another one, it wasn’t rare after all. He nestled back into the chair, enjoying the comfort of it and the warmth of the room. His breathing slowed and deepened as his eyelids drooped slightly, he was tired, he could always go to bed and finish everything in the morning. Yes. That’s what he would do. He swirled the glass slightly and carefully tipped the contents into his open mouth, quickly finishing the glass. He looked at the bottle, it was half empty now. Had he drank that much by himself? Well. He must have. He opened the bottom drawer and, after closing the bottle, slipped it inside. Best way to get rid of evidence, pretend that there wasn’t any. He’d replace the bottle tomorrow on his way home from work and Marie would be none the wiser. He began to get up, then settled back into the chair, confused. He tried to get up, he really did, but his arms didn’t feel strong enough, hell, weren’t strong enough to lift his weight. He tried again with little success. He was tired, that was all, he was just tired from the wine and the dinner. He’d wait a few moments and everything would be fine and he’d go to bed like always. He felt slightly light headed, but that was just the wine, wasn’t it? His breathing quickened as he tried to calm himself, he began to breath in and out when the pain struck.

They found him the next morning, still in his chair, the wineglass had fallen from his fingers, but the carpet had muffled the sound, prevented it from breaking, Marie had thought about that later, if he had of listened to her, if he had of went with wood rather than carpet they might have found him. Still. It worked out better for her that they didn’t. It was just like they said, it looked just like a heart attack. She had found the bottle of wine in his desk after it went missing. She wasn’t that surprised, he always was a greedy bastard, taking everything for himself. Still, it worked out better for her, that she wasn’t near the body. She had planned it for their anniversary, it was kind of symbolic, had a nice cyclical quality to it, the day she entered hell all those years ago would be the same day she escaped. It didn’t matter now, it was done. She was finally free of him.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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