Moving On. Short Story.

Hope everyone is having a good week, mine is progressing pleasantly enough. I had a bit of Disney/Pixar movie kick the other day, there were a few of them on Netflix so I figured why not? Beyond that I haven’t been up to much. It’s a little strange not having class, plus, it’s almost summer! What the hell has happened to the year? It feels like only yesterday it was New Years. I remember being a kid and everything took forever, a week was endless, a month was a year, a year was an eternity. I miss that. The only thing I can figure is that kids have some kind of time slowing device that you forget about once you hit a certain age, somebody should get a few scientists on that right away.

Damn kids, always hoarding futuristic technology, with their UPhones and Playboxes.
On with the show!

———————————————————————————–

Ghosts.

She closed the lid of the music box, the thin tinkling continued for a few seconds before stopping. Alison didn’t know what she was doing in this room. Why after all this time she came here, but then it always drew her back. She breathed deeply, the smell of perfume seemed to fill the room, it was light and floral. The box itself was small, and stained a deep brown, small golden clasps clung to each corner, while a small gold catch kept it closed. Once opened it would reveal the red velvet covered insides, two short but deep spaces. The jewellery that was once nestled in the box was long gone. Alison moved it back further on the dressing table, worried she might knock it off. The makeup was still in the same place, as were the perfume bottles, Alison didn’t pick any of them up, no doubt they were all useless by now. The bottles themselves were pretty and she planned on using them for something else, when she could. She stood for from the small seat, and turned from the mirror. The room hadn’t really been touched in years. Not since it happened. Her father had moved out of the room and into spare room. He didn’t want to be there without her. The room became her shrine. Alison went to the wardrobe and opened it, only her clothes remained, her father had removed his own. Alison leaned into the dresses. It was a pity none of them would fit her, but then wearing them might be a bit macabre. Alison left the room, the wardrobe doors still open.

The house was filthy, absolutely filthy. Clothes were strewn about the place, both Alison’s and her fathers. Sometimes she felt bad and tried to clean but it only lasted a few days before she grew bored with it. Dirty dishes filled the sink, empty cans and bottles of beer littered the sitting room floor. She sometimes half expected an overflowing ashtray to be sitting beside the couch, even though her father had stopped smoking years ago at the insistence of Janice, she had expected him to start again once she was gone. Neither of them worked, they just pottered around the house, staying out of each other’s way. It seemed best. Her father never really looked at her much, always avoiding eye contact, though she never understood why. Everything was fine until she died, that’s when it started. He would avoid Alison, then he would refuse to meet her eyes. Alison thought he blamed himself for her death, though it wasn’t his fault, there was nothing anyone could have done. Janice, her mother, had been crossing the road when she was hit by a car, she hadn’t crossed at any lights, the driver hadn’t seen her until just before the car stuck her. Alison didn’t blame the driver, how could she? Janice was the one who hadn’t looked before crossing. Sometimes she wondered if Janice had done it on purpose, but the witnesses said she stepped out into the road while changing the song on her phone. She always liked to listen to music when she went for her walks.

The had been close once her and her father, before it happened. Her death had driven a wedge between them. She had tried, really tried to make things better, but it didn’t work, everything she did just made it all worse. She spent most of her time in her room now, watching movies or reading. Alison had changed since it happened. She knew that, but she never really saw how much. Her friends did. They didn’t want to hang out with her. They always had plans, they couldn’t go out to dinner, or to the movies. So she was stuck here, like this. Where could she go herself? Occasionally she went for walks, but not that often. Mostly it was just to get out of the house for a little while, get some fresh air. The money coming in wasn’t much, but enough. It wasn’t like she had any expenses either so they were able to stretch it out a bit. He could always afford his beer though, he made sure of that, even if it meant he didn’t eat any food. Though she still tried to get him to eat when that happened.

He sat in the sitting room, watching old movies. It was easier this way. He had tried to continue working after it happened, but he couldn’t. He regretted leaving now, now he wanted to get away more than anything, but her couldn’t leave her alone, she wouldn’t do to well by herself. He knew that, so did everyone else. He considered maybe sending her to a home, but he couldn’t just abandon her like that. They lived together still and they would until one of them died, he knew that in complete and utter certainty. He didn’t know what kind of mental break she had, nor did the therapist she had went to briefly. After three sessions she returned home crying and refused to go back. They had argued about it, extensively, but after a week of constant shouting, he had given up, maybe she was right, maybe it was best if she didn’t go back. After all, she wasn’t hurting anyone, not really. Well, no one other than him and he could deal with it. He had gone to therapy himself, but that didn’t work out either, no shock there though. He never liked talking about his feelings with anyone, least of all some stranger. He didn’t understand her transformation, not at all, but he could live with it. The woman he had loved for so long had died the day their daughter had. Janice would no longer acknowledge that name, she looked in the mirror but she didn’t see herself, her wrinkled skin and stained teeth, instead she she saw face of their daughter, smooth and fresh. Everyone had different ways of coping, maybe someday she’d snap out of it, maybe she’d return to normal. He moved out of their room, it didn’t seem right, still being there without her. He drank deeply from the can beside him, draining it, then he opened another. Things would work out in the end, they’d have to. The front door closed over gently as she left the house, he raised the volume of the TV, he just hoped that whatever happened, she would find peace in the end.

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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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