The Bitter Half: a short story.

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"You know what I think? I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch. " -Norman Bates, Psycho

"Until you spoke to [Estella] the other day, and until I saw in you a looking-glass that showed me what I once felt myself, I did not know what I had done. What have I done! What have I done!" -Miss Havisham, Great Expecations

October 22th 2008 was the day Rodger Standley Stephens decided to end his captivity. When detectives traced back the evidence, they found five pounds of cement, fifteen cinder blocks, one gallon of milk, and one bucket of sidewalk chalk charged to Rodger’s credit card that evening at 9:58pm. At lunch, while nuking a cup of instant tomato soup, Rodger made up his mind. As the temperature in the microwave rose, Rodger’s blood began to boil. His mind flashed back to every strike, every stammer, every misspoken word delivered by a woman who never knew love. The cup started to expand as he thought of all the hungry nights he spent in the cellar, of how he flunked out of his scholarship because she conveniently fell ill during important parts of his aborted college career. He thought about the lost ones. He thought about how they died, how she… let them die to make him stay close to her. His brother. His father. And his... Trapped. The cup exploded red gore all over the microwave. He blinked, shuddered, and inhaled the red steam billowing out of the appliance. He watched the entrails ooze down the sides. He calmly, as he had done twenty and one times before, grabbed a white rag and began to mop up the gore splattered microwave. He smiled to himself when a co worker walked in and said “Man, it smells like someone died in here”.

“Rodgie, come here boy.”

That’s how she called him, like some lap dog who popped into existence when he came home from work. He immediately walked to her bedroom and sat down in the wheelchair parked beside her bed. He looked intently at her sunken eyes. She was old, pale, fragile, sometimes he couldn’t tell where the faded quilts ended and she began. This was his ritual, to sit by her bed at night and wait for her to die or fall asleep. Really, there was no difference. Sometimes he just stared and willed her to stop breathing. Sometimes she did and he would think, finally, finally she is gone. The tears would well up in his eyes and he would start to feel a weight lift from his shoulders. He would check again. Then he would straighten up almost light headed with elation.

Reality comes crashing in.

“Rodgie boy, go and get mother a glass of milk”.

by Matthew "Alan Hayes", all rights reserved.

The story is finished, i have actually rewritten the above paragraphs to flow better and submitted to a local contest, i'll know the results sometime in april i think. If you would like to read the full story please contact me.

Updated 01-20-2013 at 08:09 AM by foulsoul



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