512 Words

After Eighteen Months

M. Stanley Bubien

I sat in the chair, unable to take my eyes off the decayed body on the bed.

"How long's it been?" The detective asked, bending close to examine the corpse. "Eighteen months, huh. Hard to believe." He lifted the bottle of pills from the nightstand, blew the dust off and read the name, "David Hansen. Humph."

As he replaced it, the photographer came in and exchanged greetings. I remained in my seat, watching the flash pop several times.

"Can't understand it," the photographer said after he'd finished. "How's a guy be dead for eighteen months---I mean, that's a year and half---and no one notice?"

I'd been asking myself the same question. Asking myself, all the while trying not to cry, not to yell, not to scream as I sat here alone.

"I don't know," the detective answered. "Landlady said his rent was deducted automatically." He pointed to a picture on the wall directly over my chair. "And his dance troupe. Looks like they broke up a few weeks before."

"What about family? Friends?" The photographer gestured toward the corpse. "C'mon! Nobody's that alone, that cut off from the world!"

The detective sighed and nodded toward the bottle of pills, "Maybe that's why he did it."

I jumped to my feet and cried, "Yes! Yes!"

"Hey there!" Another voice hollered from down the hallway. "You guys call for us?

"In here," the detective responded.

A uniformed man stepped into the room pulling a gurney followed by a second attendant. He glanced at the body. "Pretty decomposed. We're gonna have to take it sheets and all."

"Whatever," the detective responded with a wave.

I remained standing as the ambulance attendants gathered the sheets around the body, lifted it gently from the bed, and laid it softly onto the gurney.

The photographer, eyes upon the departing attendants, said, "You know, it's tragic when a man has to kill himself to get such kind treatment."

The detective blew a breath through his nose and shook his head. Silently, the two of them left the room.

When they disappeared out the front door, I collapsed back in my chair with head in hands. Alone again. Just like I'd been the last eighteen months. Just liked I'd been all my life.

"That's why I did it!" I yelled. "And now... I'll be alone for the rest of eternity." I began to sob.

"David," A voice said.

As the tears ran off my face and disappeared into the air, I looked up, and there, from the doorway, a hand beckoned.

"Come David. You're not alone any longer."

"Who cares!" I screamed.

"I do." The hand continued beckoning, but I shrank back, seeing the horrible scar upon its wrist.

"You're scarred too."

My body was gone, but yes, I had to agree.

"Come. We can be scarred together." The hands reached out, wrapped round, lifted up.

And crushed!

I fought. They crushed further. I fought, but they were too powerful---and slowly, tentatively, I gave in.

Finally, I gave in.

And finally, I returned the embrace they offered.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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March, 1997
Issue #11

512 Words