Short Story: A Conversation with Death

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Alyssa’s eyes fluttered closed, she couldn’t take the argument’s anymore she just wanted to sleep, was that so difficult for them to understand?

A warm hand on her shoulder had her eyes opening again.

“It’s you,” she breathed with a smile.

A nod of a dark head, shrouded in darkness his features weren’t easy to distinguish, but she knew this man, trusted him, with her life, which was ironic really, considering who he was.

“You are still decided then.” It was a question but like everything he said it sounded like a statement, an absolute truth.

Alyssa sat up and nodded eagerly, the people around her bed ignorant of her actions, still arguing and reasoning amongst themselves, over her. Her opinion wasn’t sought, it didn’t matter to them what she thought.

“Please,” Alyssa pleaded.

A slow shake of his head, sending his dark hood shifting slightly, even though the room was brightly lit, he stood in darkness, it clung to him like the robes he was wearing.

“Why do you dress like that still? I’m not afraid of you.” Alyssa said tilting her head to the side. She had seen him wear casual clothes, but he was back to his robes again as though he wanted to remind her who he was.

“But you should be,” he said quietly.

“I’m not, I’m ready –”

“You are not, you think you are, but you are not. You are too young to understand that; you will miss out on things, you have not even realised you will miss.” He said.

Alyssa just stared at him her face stubborn.

He held out his hand.

“Come with me,” he said.

Alyssa eagerly complied; stepping out of her body came naturally to her now, like it no longer belonged to her. She looked down at the stranger, hooked up to the life support machines, surrounded by her family and the best Doctors and Nurses she had ever known, but still it was easy to step away and leave them all. It was far easier for her to take his hand.

He took her to a house she knew too well, a bedroom she hadn’t seen for almost a year. It hadn’t changed; a picture that her sister had brought to the hospital was here in her room before she had gotten really sick. Her bed never as neat as her sister’s had her teddy bears assembled on her bed waiting for her return.

“Why have you brought me here?” She asked him a catch in her throat as she slowly touched the light pink walls, she remembered having an argument with her sister over the choice, they had settled on painting two sides of their room yellow and the other two sides pink.

“I want to show you, all you will leave behind.”

Alyssa gasped as her sister stepped into the room. She looked happier than Alyssa had seen her in a long time. At thirteen Penelope was two years older and being tall always looked more mature. Alyssa took a step back as she, or rather a projection of her walked into the room. It was strange seeing herself so vibrant and full of life. Alyssa’s projection and Penelope’s began painting their nails.

Alyssa’s eyes shimmered as she looked away at the scene; so normal and yet something she had been longing for.

The scene shifted, Penelope and Alyssa’s projection were older in their mid-to late teens. They were chatting excitedly as they made their way downstairs. Alyssa followed the duo as the doorbell rang. The house was different, the pictures on the wall depicting the passage of a life she couldn’t know. She stopped short at the sight of her parents, they looked exactly the same, except Dad’s hair was greyer. Mum whispered something in Dad’s ear a smile on her lips as Dad narrowed his eyes at a boy who looked to be sixteen; he was shifting from one foot to the other.

Alyssa glanced at her companion.

“The first boy you ever love.” He explained.

The scene shifted again and she was graduating, she looked so different, the hair she had always struggled to grow, had been cut very short almost pixie, but it suited her older face; she’d even pierced the top of her ear. The older version of her smiled as she went to hug her sister and her parents who were applauding and beaming at her.

Alyssa wiped tears out of her eyes at the image.

“I don’t want to see anymore.” Alyssa said, the tears wouldn’t stop as she kept wiping her face over and over again.

“One more.” He said.

The scene shifted and it was her and her sister’s bedroom again, except everything was different, the walls were painted a dark plum and a deep purple, even as they grew older they would always disagree on the colours. The shelves were empty; boxes lay around everywhere as though they were moving. An older version of both of them lay on separate beds but they had both closed the divide by reaching out their hands to each other.

“Ally?” Penelope said softly.

“Yeah?” Alyssa’s projection said.

“Even if we are miles apart, promise me that we will always find our way to each other?” Penelope asked.

“Always,” Alyssa’s projection responded.

The scene shifted and she was standing in the bedroom again, the one she had left behind.

“Why are you doing this?” She asked.

“You are too young to die.” He responded.

“You have taken younger, why are you hesitating?” She asked.

“Because you have a choice to live, take it.” It was as close to a plea she had ever heard him make.

Alyssa shook her head.

“Let me show you something.” She reached out for his hand, “take me back.”

Suddenly they were back at the hospital again and her broken body was before them, her parents were still arguing with the doctors and Penelope was sat in the corner, doing her homework, but every so often she would look up.

“Listen to them,” Alyssa said softly.

“I know what I said but I can’t bear to give up on her, I want to keep her on life support for as long as possible!” Mum said angrily.

The Doctor sighed.

“That’s fine Marianne, it really is, but Ally will still be in pain, we are talking about multiple organ failure, she’ll be in constant pain until the end, if she doesn’t want to prolong things –”

“She’s eleven for Christ sakes! What does she know about a decision like this?!” Mum said.

“We will not take any action without your consent, but –”

“You’re damn right you won’t!” Mum said and she glared at Dad who hadn’t yet spoken.

“We won’t, but,” Doctor Anthony said slowly, “please re-consider, think about it from her point of view –”

“I am, and she is a child!”

“For a child to even be considering this option, says something about her mind-set, she’s spoken with the therapist –”

“I don’t care whose she’s spoken with, who in their right mind would sign off a child on their decision to die?” Mum said glaring at Wilson, the therapist, in disgust.

“We don’t want to upset you anymore,” Doctor Anthony said placidly and she and the other Doctors left the room.

Mum burst into tears as she turned to Dad, and Alyssa watched them with a lump in her throat and a heavy feeling in her chest. She looked up, but her companion was staring at her parents with a sad look in his eyes.

“See how much pain I cause them, and I’ll only cause them more and more, even after I’m gone I’ll cause them pain, so why should I prolong things any more than I have to. Every day I will be in pain, and they’ll be miserable watching me in pain. I can put an end to this right now, right here, I can choose, I can die and set them free.”

“You are too young, to speak so easily of death.” He said turning to her.

“I wouldn’t speak to death if death didn’t speak back.” She said.

She could already feel the pull of her body again; she had been away from it for too long.

“Think about it,” she asked him, as she slipped once more into her body.

“I will if you will.” He said before he vanished.

The monitors began beeping as soon as Alyssa fully merged with her body. She didn’t know how she could forget this level of pain, she gasped for breath even as the tubes fed her oxygen, was in agony even though the medicine numbed out her body. She felt pressure on both her hands and she slowly opened eyes, it was funny how much such a small movement cost her, when she had walked and talked so easily in spirit form.

“Penny?” She asked softly, her vocal cords raw and rough from abuse and disuse.

“I’m here,” Penelope said from the foot of her bed, she was blinking rapidly and Alyssa felt herself beginning to cry before she stopped herself.

“Mum,”

More pressure on her left hand.

“I’m here baby, I’m here,” Mum said, her voice thick with emotion.

“Dad?” Alyssa tried to turn her head, but the movement was too painful and she stopped as she felt a tear slip down her face.

“Shh, don’t move Ally, I’m here.” Dad said softly kissing her right hand and he pressed something on the machine so it would give her another dose of medication.

“Please, please, I can’t do this anymore,” she paused as she took in a ragged breath, “you have to let me go, please let me go.” She pleaded, and she felt the tears rolling down her face.

“Don’t ask that of us Ally, you don’t know what you are saying.” Mum said crying.

Alyssa looked at Dad, after weeks of asking, they had both agreed with her yesterday.

“How can I let you go?” He asked, tears in his eyes.

“I understand,” Penelope said slowly, “I don’t accept it, but I understand.” She wiped furiously at her face.

Mum began to cry harder.

“You have to fight Ally, you have to fight this.” Dad said squeezing her hand a little harder.

“I have, and I’m tired, so tired. Please, I don’t want to fight anymore, I just want to rest.” Alyssa said slowly, her speech was slurred as she felt the effects of the increased dose.

“We want more time.” Dad said.

Alyssa tried to shake her head but her eyes were closing as the medicine overtook her compulsion to stay awake.

*

Alyssa came awake slowly to the sound of hushed but urgent voices.

“Just let me just hold her in peace.” Mum said.

“I know you do, but I can’t watch her dying before she actually dies.” Dad said sadly.

Alyssa tried to open her eyes to tell them to stop.

“She’s only a child, she…she can survive.” Mum said desperately.

“Stop this, she’s dying and,” Dad cleared his throat, “she wants to die, and as hard as it is for me to even consider, I have to let her go.”

“No, no, I need more time.” Mum said.

“We always knew we were living on borrowed time, eleven years, the Doctors didn’t think we’d even have one. Her sickle cell has ravaged her enough, we were only burrowing her from heaven, but we have to give her back.” Dad said.

Alyssa felt herself drift into unconsciousness.

*

Alyssa woke up again, she felt oddly peaceful as she opened her eyes and she saw the dark figure at the door.

“You’ve come for me?” She asked hopefully.

A slow nod.

“Say goodbye.” He said softly.

“I love you and thank you” she said looking at Mum, Dad, the doctors and nurses then finally at Penelope.

There were tears everywhere.

Alyssa smiled as she felt her eyes flutter close.

 

 

Short Story for Halloween: An Intruder

Dark Street

She’s sure and steady as she picks up the final blade. The blade is light almost weightless and she marvel at its beauty; made from obsidian and sharpened to absolute perfection it’s lethal. She tucks it into the small of her back where a small holder she designed eagerly receives its prize.
Dressed in black, she merges with the shadows as she steps out of her front door.
The night embraces her like an old friend, even the street light seems to skirt away from her, as though afraid.
She’s mapped out the route a hundred times in her mind and walked the path even more.
Her steps are measured but rapid, her focus an almost physical force.
She’s nearing her destination and here things become complex, but she’s prepared. She edges to a side of a building readying her body, which she has spent months priming for this very day, success her only outcome.
The bricks on the building have been dampened by the rain, but again, she’s made provisions for this, and has been setting aside time every day to file away at the mortar so there are groves for her fingers in several buildings along the way.
With a steadying breath she places her fingers in the groves, her path clear she begins to climb, she works her way up with a cool efficiency which though expected surprises even her.
She allows herself an almost smile at scaling the four floored building.
Up on the roof, though away from prying eyes; is far more dangerous and the rain has added a new challenge to her balance.

Short Story: So I accidentally kidnapped my teacher part 10

Sharlene smirked.

“How stupid do you think I am?” She said sarcastically.

Jamal mumbled something and she shot him a look.

“Well whatever, you lot want to act like half-wits, that’s fine by me. You were right, I should go.” Sharlene said walking towards the door.

“Wait Shar!” George said still panting.

“Let her go!” Jamal said angrily, standing up straight. “She’s been nothing but trouble.”

“Can you help us?” Drew said, sounding a little scared.

Sharlene looked at Drew for a long moment before rolling her eyes.

“Why should I?” She said quietly.

“Because we need your help, we could get into really big trouble, like prison.” Drew whispered back.

“O’ for goodness sakes Drew!” George said exasperated. “That’s why I don’t tell you anything, you can’t keep your big mouth shut!”

“Well it’s not his fault, Shiner shouldn’t even be here.” Jamal said.

They all started arguing at the same time; Jamal adamant that Sharlene leave the house immediately. George angry that Drew was about to reveal his secret and Sharlene angry at the way Jamal was treating her and angry that George wasn’t trying to defend her. Drew was mumbling something under his breath.

“All right! That’s enough!” Drew shouted.

They all jumped as they looked at him.

“Jesus Drew, you scared me!” Jamal said, jumping a foot.

“Sharlene, you know what’s happened don’t you? So can you please just help us?” Drew said calmly but firmly.

Sharlene blinked, looking at Drew in surprise.

“I want Jamal to apologise to me first.” She said turning to face Jamal.

Jamal glared at her.

“Jamal please just apologise, and Shar, your right, we need your help, so I’m sorry as well.” George said earnestly.

It was getting late and he was scared that everyone would have to go home soon, still leaving him with his problem downstairs.

Sharlene turned to George with a small smile and nodded once before turning back to Jamal.

Jamal glared at her. “Fine, I’m sorry, but only because we need your help.”

“That’s hardly an apology, but yeah.” She took a deep breath and said. “You’re not in any trouble George.”

“I knew she couldn’t help us!” Jamal said at once. “She’s just been playing us. What else do expect from Shiner.”

“If I can finish,” Sharlene said coldly, “Miss Levy came into your house without you inviting her in right?”

George nodded slowly, wondering how she knew. “She just barged in, saying she wanted to see my parents, even though I told they weren’t in.”

“Well that’s unlawful entry.” Drew said speaking up, a small smile on his face.

Sharlene smiled. “Exactly, and you haven’t bound her arms or her legs, she’s in your house, staying in your house on her own free will.”

“If anything she’s kidnapped you!” Drew said suddenly.

Sharlene beamed at him. “Well I wouldn’t go that far, but she’s basically a squatter, you have every right to call the police and remove her from your property.”

The sudden relief that George felt made him giddy, he wasn’t going to prison.

“Damn Shiner,” Jamal breathed, “thank you.”

Sharlene looked at him a smug look on her face. “You can thank me, by not calling me Shiner.”

“Okay, Sharlene then.” Jamal said reluctantly smiling at her.

“You didn’t kidnap anyone George.” Sharlene said as she confidently opened the basement door.

“Wait!” George said, “Miss Levy’s going to tell everyone that my parents left me home alone.”

“So that’s why you think you kidnapped her.” Jamal said, “I was wondering why you felt guilty. Your so annoying George, kidnap, you couldn’t kidnap a fly.”

George gave him a look.

“Open the basement door Sharlene, and get Miss Levy out of here, and I want an apology from here for scaring us all, she should know better than that.” Jamal said laughing.

“I want compensation,” Drew said walking towards the basement.

George laughed feeling completely relieved as Sharlene smiled at him.

Short Story: So I accidentally kidnapped my teacher part 9

George, expecting Drew to protest at the lack of light, took out his phone and switched the torch on, he dimmed the light and shone the light onto his face and put a finger to his lips, the others nodded, their faces serious.

The descent down the stairs felt longer than the fifteen steps George knew it was, they moved so slowly, stopping twice and waiting in fearful silence when a creaking floorboard was triggered by a poorly placed foot.

The trio stood at the foot of the stairs for a long moment, each one afraid to make the first move. After a long moment George relunctantly tugged them along. They slowly shuffeled to the left as one.

“She’s there,” George said on a whisper, shining the light to his left.

Miss Levy was sat in an armchair her head slummed backwards, her eyes closed.

“O my God! She is dead.” Jamal said, and he sounded like he was on the verge of tears.

“You killed her.” Drew said his voice hushed.

“George would you get that light out of my face.” Miss Levy said opening her eyes suddenly and pinning them with a stare.

All three boys screamed and ran upstairs, slamming the door behind them.

The trio sunk to the floor of the living room breathing fast.

“You. Killed. Her. Now. She’s. A. Ghost!” Drew panted.

George was still too out of breath to respond, so he settled on glaring at him instead.

Short Story: So…I accidentally kidnapped my teacher part 8

George looked over at the handbag. “We need to think of something.”

“No, you need to tell me why you still haven’t let Miss Levy go.” Jamal countered.

George looked away, he couldn’t say.

“George, kidnapping is serious, I know you’re not stupid…so what did Miss Levy see or what did she catch you doing.” Jamal smirked.

“Nothing.” George said at once.

“Yeah well nothing is probably tied up downstairs. A basement, seriously? You might as well be some crazy serial killer.” Jamal said edging towards the door that led to the basement.

George grabbed his hand.

“I said not to discuss anything!” Drew complained walking back into the room.

“We’re not discussing, we’re seeing. George is going to take us downstairs to see Miss Levy.” Jamal said decisively.

Drew’s eye lit up.
“You can’t see her, I don’t want –” George began.

“How’ve you kept her quiet all this time?” Jamal interrupted looking at George suspiciously.

George shifted from one foot to the other.

“O my God you haven’t killed her have you?” Drew said looking around fearfully.

Jamal’s eyes grew wide as he gasped and took a step back. “You’ve killed her haven’t you?!”

“No I haven’t, she’s very much alive!” George protested trying to keep his voice quiet. “Look, what happened was –”

“George let us see her right now!” Jamal demanded.

George sighed in resignation. “Alright fine, but don’t make any noise.”

Jamal and Drew exchanged looks as the trio quietly approached the basement door.

George turned the handle slowly.

They were plunged into darkness.

Short Story: So…I accidentally kidnapped my teacher part 7

George met Jamal’s gaze.
“I didn’t know you needed so much tutoring, but whatever,” Sharlene said, dropping the bag onto the table near the door, before she walked back into the kitchen, “Andrew, the butter,” she called over her shoulder.

Drew followed her reluctantly. “Don’t discuss any secret plans without me.” He said as he left.

“This is perfect,” Jamal said, his eyes alight as he looked at the handbag.

“What is? My life getting worse and worse, more people finding out, me being carted off to prison?” George said in despair.

“No, Shiner touched the bag, her prints are on it, let’s blame it on her.” Jamal whispered excitedly.

“We can’t do that!” George said angrily.

“Why not? Trust me George, no one would believe you would do something like this, but Shiner, she’s got criminal written all over her. She’s a rebel, people would believe she forced you. I’ll help you.” Jamal said nodding.

“No!” George said adamantly.

“O come on, like it didn’t pass through your head, when you saw her pick up the bag?” Jamal asked raising an eyebrow.

George shook his head.

“Yeah right.” Jamal snorted.

Short Story: So…I accidentally kidnapped my teacher part 6

“How stupid do you think I am?” Sharlene said, her arms crossed, her expression bored.

“Look Shar, I’m really erm –”

Sharlene suddenly pushed the door forward with such force that all three boys suddenly fell back.

“O you look really sick.” Sharlene said sarcastically as she glanced at them all. She stepped over the threshold and closed the door behind her.

“Look I get it, parents out, so you’re having a party, I don’t care, but my parents start asking me questions if I go back home now, you guys can get back to whatever you were doing. I’ll hang out in the kitchen for an hour, everyone wins.”

“Actually, not everyone wins, we don’t want you here.” Jamal said. “So get moving Shiner.”

“Last I checked this was George’s house, George?” Sharlene said expectantly.

George sighed, he liked Sharlene he really did, but at times she didn’t help herself, no one really liked her at school, and even though she insisted that’s how she liked it, George knew she didn’t, he liked her, but he really needed Jamal’s help and he didn’t want to drag someone else into his criminal activities especially someone he liked.

“Look Shar, I do want you to stay but –”

“Then it’s settled, I’ll be in the kitchen.” She said before turning and walking towards the kitchen.

“I don’t like her.” Jamal said staring after Sharlene with a look of disgust.

“She’s not that bad.” George defended half-heartedly.

Jamal narrowed his eyes, then shrugged as they all walked towards the living room.

“Andrew, this butter looks disgusting, can you get rid of it, I would touch it but I don’t want to catch anything – o and George why is Miss Levy’s bag here?” Sharlene said from the kitchen.

All three boys stopped and looked at each other.

“Tell her to leave right now!” Jamal mouthed.

George, his heart racing looked up, just as Sharlene came into the hallway, holding Miss Levy’s black bag.

“How do you know whose bag that is?” Jamal said coolly.

Sharlene gave him a bored look. “Her initials genius,” she turned the bag around where the letters, EL were itched into the bag in gold. “Her first name is Elizabeth.”