Well, this is my first attempt at posting a short story on here; I'm sure it isn't the best you've ever read, I'm still kinda new at this whole
"writing" thing. I'd really like some input on it though. I've got a fairly tough skin, so don't be afraid to tell me "This sucks, man." All
I ask is that you can point out a couple of things you have problems with, even if it's just showing me what sentence or paragraph doesn't work--not
even why it doesn't. Any comments at all would most appreciated.
A Kiss Goodbye
The last of them went home at 9. He appreciated their sympathy, and even though he didn't want to be alone right now, he needed to sort some things
out a little. That and he had a date with a bottle of Glenlivet he didn't want to miss. He watched his sister-in-law (former sister-in-law?) drive
away, then grabbed a fresh pack of Camels, a tumbler he filled with ice, and his bottle, and walked out to the garage.
Like any red-blooded American, the car was the last thing he ever thought about putting in the garage. Oh sure, there had been a time, many years
ago, when there was room for it, but gradually the garage became more and more cluttered with things too important to throw away, but not important
enough to win a place in their home. They had cleared away a small area near the outside door, where they put a couple of lawn chairs so they could
sit and talk while they enjoyed the cool night air and a cigarette or three. That was where he was headed now.
He tapped the pack of cigarettes on his hand a few times and sat down. "14 years," he said to the room. "14 years and now she's gone." He
opened the bottle, and the smell of scotch greeted him like an old friend. He filled the tumbler and took a drink as he leaned back.
The service had been beautiful; he knew she would've loved it. Pastor Reynolds did a fine job presiding over it, reciting a few Bible verses that
he guessed were appropriate. He wasn't religious by any stretch, but she had been--not devout, but she thumbed through the Bible at home every once
in a while, and lived by many more of the rules than he did. He knew she would've approved.
"Charlie..." a voice whispered in his ear, making his breath catch in his throat. The ice rattled in his tumbler as he brought it up to his lips
with a shaky hand. "Just your imagination," he thought to himself. "Just been...been a rough day, and..."
"Charlie. I need you." This time he jumped, spilling half his scotch.
"Liz?" He hated how scared his voice sounded. "Elizabeth? Is that you?"
"Charlie. They're coming." The voice was starting to fade. "Charlie..."
"Liz? Don't go Liz! Liz!"
"Charlie... I need you. They're coming." The last word was only barely audible.
"Liz, wait! Come back!"
"Charlie..." His name came almost as a word thought more than spoken.
"This is crazy," he said to himself. He noticed that he was wearing more scotch than was in his glass, and went inside to change his shirt.
He was quite thankful that the journey to and from the bedroom was uneventful, save pausing at every lamp and light switch he passed to turn it on.
He stopped at the computer in the spare room and checked his email (more out of habit than desire), deleted two Viagra ads and a mortgage pre-approval
notice, and went back to the garage.
He sat down, lit another cigarette, and refilled his glass as he surveyed the garage. "So many memories out here," he thought. There were Liz's
craft supplies, which she hardly ever used. The shovels, pruning shears, and potting soil they had bought when they'd first moved in--still
pristine, never used once. On the shelf across from those sat the puzzles she used to be obsessed with. Standing in the corner by the large double
door was Liz in her wedding dress. Over the garage door was... He looked back at the corner.
She was still standing there, looking exactly as she did before she took her final drive to the store last week, but wearing the dress she'd worn 10
years ago, almost to the day. She seemed so real, not like the ghosts he'd seen in movies. She reached a hand out to him.
"Charlie..." It was the same voice--her voice--that had whispered in his ear earlier, but slightly stronger now. "Charlie... I need you.
Before he could say anything, she was gone. She didn't fade, and he didn't blink or look away. She just disappeared.
He stared at where she had been, unable to look away. Without thinking, he raised his glass to his lips and took a drink, then set it back on the
table. The scotch helped bring some life back into him, and a deep drag off his Camel got him to look away. He flicked the ashes off onto the floor,
stubbed out the last half inch of the cigarette, and pulled another one out of the pack. As he lit it, the chair next to him moved.
It was a slight move, little more than an inch, but it moved. He stared at it for a moment, his cigarette forgotten. It moved again, more
noticeably this time, but still not very far.
"Charlie..." He looked around the garage for Liz in her wedding dress again, but could see nothing.
The chair jumped again.
"Charlie..." The whisper was starting to grow faint again.
The table with the ashtray and his glass started to tremble, the ice in his scotch making a light tinkling sound, as the chair started moving in
"Charlie... I need you."
The table was shaking violently now, and the plastic ashtray made a loud rattling as it landed on the concrete. The overhead light started to pulse,
growing dim then bright, as if someone kept turning a large appliance on and off.
The scratching of the chair on the garage floor, the clinking of the ice in his glass, and the ashtray rattling to a stop from its fall almost
completely drowned out the whisper, which now seemed to be coming from inside his head rather than from the noise filled garage. The light stopped
dimming, and grew brighter and brighter.
"I need you..." As the last word came to him, the light bulb shattered with a loud pop and the room fell silent.
He sat in darkness for what seemed an eternity, the silence broken only by his ragged gasps for air. He wanted a drink, he wanted a hit off his
cigarette, anything that might calm him down a little, but he couldn't move. He was safe if he didn't move, nothing could see him if he didn't
move. They'd go away if he didn't move. If he could slow down his breathing, nothing could hear him, he'd be even safer then.
"Relax, Charlie. Slow down, calm down," he told himself quietly, trying to get a grip on himself. "Nice and easy, just relax, you're okay."
It was working. He was calming down, his breath returning to normal. "Relax. There you go. Nice and easy. That's it. You're okay." He
almost felt human again, and while his breathing was still too fast, at least he was not gasping anymore. "Just...relax."
Then the walls screamed.
The loud, piercing sound of terror drove him out of his chair and into the house. He ran as fast as he could, not seeing or hearing the lights
bursting as he ran past, or the doors opening and slamming shut, or the books and trinkets flying off the bookshelves behind him. He saw a white glow
coming from under the door to their bedroom as he turned down the hall.
"Liz is in there," he thought. "She's there, and she'll save me, she'll protect me." He ran down the hall as pictures fell off the wall
He opened the bedroom door and closed it tightly behind him before he noticed the glow was gone. Bewildered, he called out for her.
"Liz? Liz? Where are you Liz?"
"Charlie... I need you."
"Liz? Where are you?" He looked around in the darkness for her, but could only see the dim outline of the bed and their dresser. Only then did
the silence outside the door make him realize the noise that had followed him to the threshold of the room he had shared with her for so many years.
Yes, he'd be safe in here; she was in here, and he'd be safe with her.
"Charlie..." again, her voice faded.
"Liz? Where are you?" He was calmer now, having found safety, and realized how tired he was from the terror he had left in the garage. He called
a few more times, but when there was no response for many minutes, he lay in the bed that had been theirs until last week, and, his fear outweighed by
his exhaustion, sleep quickly took him.
(continued in next post.)
(edit: minor spelling correction.)
[edit on 7/16/2006 by MCory1]