Short Stories 008: excerpt from ‘The Crossing’

She always put freshly cut flowers on the dining table, it helped soothe his mood. Awake from the tremor of persistent nightmares, they always reminded him that there still was beauty in the world. She had become accustomed to hearing him speaking in his sleep, at times even barking orders and shouting for her – or the other inhabitants of that stormy world – to take cover. She had watched as his hair had grayed and his eyes slowly sunk, the spanning time being marked solely by the changing scents that occupied their breakfast. I suppose his increasing silence encouraged her. The tears in solitude, that he used to succumb to in the early days, had slowly vanished. Occasionally he’d smile when he noticed her soft hands as they spread out the blanket over his legs. She’d cry when she recalled how they used to go for walks, swim in the hidden rivers, and climb trees. His speed then, was mighty. It would not have been wise for him now to see her in those sorrowful moments so she chased the nights and let her books welcome the mornings. The sun would send her out again in hope of coaxing a smile; she knew he had an affinity for orange roses.

© Denis Adide 2011

Short stories 005: Crossing (intro)

He took the ring off. Placed it on the table. The palm of his hand was still itching from the cuts that the hasty opening of the brandy had dished. It was a quiet house for now. “The sirens will break it; someone will hear”. Heartbeats and breaths turned seconds to an hour spent staring at the window: the curtains were drawn. She was dead. The doors were shut. Bar the empty bottle, he was alone. Like slow tears the fading lights trickled through the gaps in the curtains – caressing his sweating brow: dusk; and darkness.

She was dead. The thought, once ejected, resounded off the guitar in the corner, the low chandelier, the oak coffee table – that she had picked out, the leafless bonsai – a birthday gift, the clock…and the clock – she was dead.  Breaths consumed themselves, heartbeats chastised, and the second hand nailed him to the dusk: to the darkness. Dead!

He scratched his itchy palm, pulling more of the grazed skin off, winced, sighed, and yielded to sleep.