Helping Hand. Flash Fiction

Stephanie looked at the glass of water on the counter, all ready to go. Did she really dare do it? After all it wouldn’t be her fault, not if Jason had asked for it. She wouldn’t be making him drink it, she would just put the glass onto his table and walk away. That was all.

She didn’t know who had bought it, such things were easy enough to find if you had contacts, but Stephanie had none of those. She had thought she was the only one who visited Jason still, but some of the others must. They would know where to get this, it must be one of his druggie friends. She picked up the small plastic baggie and threw it in the bin. Nothing was stopping her from emptying the glass and refilling it with fresh water. Who would know besides her? Did she have the right to make that decision? She reached out for the glass and brought it over to the sink. It was supposed to be painless, if he didn’t get this would he find some other way? He could still move, not much but maybe just enough. At least this way he wouldn’t be alone, and he would just drift off into sleep and never wake up.

Stephanie picked up the glass, took a deep breath and started walking towards his room. Before she reached the door she could already hear the machines beeping and whirring. She didn’t know what any of them did, the day nurse took care of all that stuff. Stephanie just came for the hour of her lunch to keep Jason company. She opened the door and stepped inside, Jason smiled up at her. She hadn’t noticed before how thin he had gotten, his cheeks were jutting out, his eyes were sunken. She smiled back, but if felt like it was too bright, to cheerful. “I was worried you wouldn’t come back.”
“I wasn’t sure if I would either.”
“You don’t have to stay. You can just leave the glass down and leave.”
“No, I’ll stay.”
Jason nodded once, his eyes watering a little. Stephanie carefully handed him the glass. His thin fingers gripped it tightly, his arm shaking with the weight of it. “Do you need help?”
“No, you’ve done more than enough.”
He took a sip of water, then another. Stephanie realised she should have gotten him a straw, but it was already done. He was drinking faster and faster now and then the glass was empty. He put it onto the table, dropping it the last few inches and sighed.
“Thank you.”

It didn’t take long, after a few minutes he was asleep, his chest rising and falling slowly. He looked so sickly, so weak. Stephanie picked up the glass and brought it to the kitchen, she put it into the dishwasher and turned it on. That should clear any residues and fingerprints. She opened the bin and fished out the plastic baggie before slipping it into her pocket, she would burn it later. The sound of the door closing made her jump, she turned to see the nurse walking into the kitchen, “Abby, hey, you startled me, I didn’t expect you back for a bit longer.”
“Sorry, my friend cancelled on me for lunch so when I was done I figured I’d head back.”
Stephanie nodded and smiled sympathetically, “Well, there’s nothing to report really, he fell asleep a little while ago and I thought it would be best to let him nap.”
“Ok, great. If you want you can head off, I’ve got everything covered, usually if he’s asleep this early he’ll be pretty much out of it until tomorrow.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, We’ll be fine.”
Stephanie always got the impression that Abby didn’t like people around when she was working. She never kicked Stephanie out of the house in any explicit way, but Stephanie was always able to take the hint.
“Ok, well I’ll be back tomorrow then, same time?”
Abbey smiled at her, “I’ve told you before you don’t need to be here every day, he’ll be fine by himself for a while, you need to look after yourself too.”
Stephanie smiled back, “That’s ok, it’s only an hour, besides I like seeing him. I’ll be here tomorrow.”
“Ok. I’ll see you then.”

Stephanie made her way down the hall and went into his room, he was still asleep, she leaned over and gently kissed him on the cheek, his skin was cold and clammy, “I’ll see you later, ok?”

Stephanie gripped her steering wheel, she had done a good thing. It was what he wanted. It was much better for him to go this way, the doctors said he could still have another year or two left. Two years of watching him rot away, he didn’t want that and a small part of her didn’t want it either. They had been friends since they were children, she owed him this much. She took a deep, slow breath. It wasn’t her fault. It was his choice. It had always been his choice, ever since the day he had told her of his plan and asked for her help. He was certain that it would just go down as a natural death. After a few hours of dozing it would happen and he would be free from all the pain and misery. She took another deep breath, and her grip on the steering wheel loosened a little, it was for the best, it was what he wanted.


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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