Posts Tagged ‘Door’

Delirium Tremens (Short Story Excerpt)

December 20, 2016

author-3January 4th, 2017
Stark City, Oregon.
5:53 a.m.

“JESUS CHRIST!” Daniel Jax screamed as four large security guards began strapping him to a hospital gurney. Lightning cracked the air above him, and black spiders swarmed beneath his dirty clothes. Each of the guards had seized a limb, applying hard rubber cuffs for Daniel’s—and the nurse’s—own safety. “I HAVE TO SAVE ZOEY!”

“Easy, sir,” the guard securing Daniel’s right arm said. “We’ll be done in a second.”

“IT’S GONNA EAT HER SOUL!”

Daniel convulsed, turned to the guard with bulging, bloodshot eyes. He wanted to scream, I’m not crazy! but couldn’t find the words. He wanted to tell him about his family, about the beautiful Cape Cod home he’d bought by becoming one of the top insurance salesmen in northern California.

But most of all, Daniel wanted to tell him about the lightning.

“Man, he stinks!” The guard securing Daniel’s left ankle shook his head. “Gotta be wearin’ at least three layers!”

“Okay,” a tired, gray-haired nurse said. “What’s the story here, guys?”

“Looks homeless,” the guard securing Daniel’s right ankle said. “Medics found him in an alley downtown, screaming about demons. Seems very dehydrated.”

“Uh-huh. Name and age?”

“I.D. says, Jax, Daniel. Forty-three years old.”

“Daniel.” The nurse laid her gloved hand on his shoulder. “My name’s Blanche. There’s no demons. You’re having a psychotic episode brought on by severe alcohol withdrawal.”

Having screamed himself hoarse, Daniel turned his bulging eyes to Blanche. The guards had finished strapping him down and he felt helpless. Unable to sit up. Unable to reach out. Unable to do anything but gape and shudder beneath the pale overhead light.

“I know it hurts, but I need you to hold still while I insert your I.V.”
With a sad groan, Daniel shut his eyes, still squirming as thousands of spider legs pricked his flesh. “It took her!” he whispered. “I saw it!”

Nodding, Blanche slid the needle into Daniel’s arm. Daniel hissed, looked up with fear and pain etched into his face.

Another whisper: “I have to save Zoey!”

Blanche shook her head. “Alright, Daniel. Now it’s fluids, fluids, fluids. I’m gonna order a Thiamine boost, and a heavy dose of Diaxepam to help you sleep.”

Fists clenched, Daniel strained to sit up. “I have to save her!”

“You’re gonna be here for awhile, so just lie back and ride it out. Once these DTs pass, we’ll get you evaluated and outta here. I’ll do everything I can to help you, but right now I’ve gotta go check on my other patients.”

Daniel flinched from another crack of lightning as Blanche left, shut off the light, and closed the door. They’d put him in one of the rooms reserved for psychotic patients. No T.V., no sink; nothing which could excite or harm him. A beam of light shone through the observation window onto his face. Already, the shadows in the corners had begun to writhe and swirl. But they didn’t know. Medics, security guards, nurses; normal people. They couldn’t see the true horrors which lived in darkness. Daniel knew because he used to be like them—used to be normal. Then the lightning came, shattering every bit of normalcy he’d ever known.

“I’ll find her, goddamnit! Before it sucks the life out of her forever!”

Still squirming, Daniel took deep breaths. It didn’t help. The lightning still cracked. The spiders still swarmed. And he craved alcohol as never before; like a cramp in the center of his being. If not for this mission, Daniel would’ve killed with his bare hands for a sip of beer. But he couldn’t save Zoey drunk. To save her, he had to bear this agony.

The agony of Delirium Tremens.

“Great news!” Blanche said, pushing through the door. “Got your meds. How are you feeling?”

Gasping, Daniel looked at Blanche. How long had she been gone? A minute? An hour? Daniel had no clue.

“Still riding it out, I see. Well, this’ll help…”

As Blanche injected the Thiamine and Diaxepam into Daniel’s I.V., Daniel again closed his eyes. The Thiamine didn’t matter, but the Diaxepam would be his savior.

God’s mercy, coursing through his veins.

“Alright, Daniel. Nothing left to do but lie back and try to rest.”

As Blanche left, Daniel twisted in his restraints. Lie back and rest? No way. Not when he had a life to save. A life more important than his own.

I’m coming, Zoey! Just hold on a little longer…

Propelled by his racing pulse, the Diaxepam slammed into Daniel’s brain with locomotive force. All at once he ceased writhing and his eyelids began to flutter. His sharp exhalations dulled, becoming deep, almost contemplative sighs.

Hold on…Zo…ey...

One last sigh, then Daniel went slack. Head turned, eyes closed, lips parted. Not quite snoring. Several minutes of blessed nothing passed before Daniel began to dream. The same dream he’d had for the last twelve years: rummaging around his attic on a muggy March evening. His daughter, Caroline, has found a large black widow spider in her room, and he’s vowed to cleanse the house of all insects. Outside, the sky has darkened and the wind has risen; very apropos for the impending holocaust. Bug spray in hand, he’s found a small infestation of creepy crawlers in a dusty corner. As he advances upon the large, silken web, Daniel hears a clap of thunder. A storm, he thinks, taking aim. And as he pushes the spray button, a bolt of lightning strikes the roof above his head. So fast, so sudden, Daniel doesn’t feel the jolt, but collapses beneath the dry explosion—

BOOM!

“Shit!”

Daniel’s eyes snapped open. Leaving his sleeping form behind, the homeless drunk’s ethereal self sat up and slid off the gurney. He always felt the same after the dream; anxious, drained…and in serious danger of slipping into the bad place. The realm of spirits, shadows, and demons.

But this time, he wanted to go.

God help me.


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Thank you for reading!

JLR

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Epicenter (Short Story Excerpt)

January 19, 2016

author-1

September 1st, 2016.
Stark City, Oregon.
7:09 a.m.
On his way to the bus stop, Martin Jericho decided to have breakfast at The Stark City Cafe. The tired old man knew he’d been under constant surveillance since the last incident—which resulted in several broken windows—but refused to live his life like a hunted animal. Besides, it had been almost two years.
Just a quick bite before I go home, damnit. In public. Like a normal person.
Of course, the P.O.P. team in the van across the street wouldn’t be too thrilled, but Martin didn’t care. They could always deduct the cost of his meal from his next isolation check.
“Miss?” Martin asked for the third time, prompting the teenage hostess to raise her finger like a disapproving schoolmarm.
“We’re full right now. It’ll be at least a ten minute wait.”
Would it be asking too much for you to look up from your phone tablet or whatever it is while we talk?
“Alright.”
“Name and number of people in your party?”
“Jericho. Party of one.”
“Jericho, okay. You can wait over by the door.”
“Thank you.”
Sighing, Martin turned and walked to the waiting area. Two wooden benches faced the restaurant, both already taken by customers. Martin smiled. No one smiled back as Martin leant against the wall. Feeling self conscious, he reached into the front pocket of his gray parka and extracted a small book of classical poetry. Soothing, comforting; just what he needed.
Good old Longfellow…
All in all, Martin had a pretty good life. Not a life he’d ever envisioned for himself, but a decent one, nonetheless. He worked for the government as a nightwatchman downtown. He had his own office in an empty building surrounded by a chain-link, barbwire-topped fence. The place didn’t need a guard, which made it ideal for Martin. He didn’t even have to patrol the floors, though he often did for the exercise. From eleven at night to seven in the morning, Monday through Friday, Martin sat in his cozy office, reading or watching T.V. The P.O.P. paid him well for this and gave him premium insurance. At first, they’d insisted on giving Martin an armed escort to and from work each night. But after eighteen disaster-free months, Martin had begged for the autonomy to ride the bus like a grown, free man. Wanting to keep Martin content, the P.O.P. acquiesced. He’d earned it, they felt, and Martin agreed.
“Jericho, party of one. Table’s ready.”
Martin looked up, smiled, and walked toward the hostess.
“Hey, wait a minute!” a young woman called. “We’ve been waiting longer than that guy!”
Finger raised, the hostess looked past Martin. “Sorry, but this guy’s by himself. You have three people in your party, and a two-seater just opened up.”
“Well, give us the table and grab another chair from somewhere! It’s not rocket science!”
The hostess gave Martin a weary look. Embarrassed, Martin looked down.
“Just hold on. I’m sure a three-seater will be ready soon.”
The angry young woman snickered. “This is bullshit!”
“You don’t like it,” the hostess replied, “go to McDonald’s.” Then, to Martin, “Come on.”
“Thank you, miss,” Martin muttered, following the hostess through a maze of tables. Behind him, the young woman cussed and argued with her friends about whether or not to leave. But Martin hadn’t meant to cause any trouble, and wished the hostess would’ve given them the table instead.
Too late now, I guess.
Before this decent yet isolated life, Martin had lived an ideal one. He’d met and married his high school sweetheart, Alma Rankin, in Eugene, then moved to Stark City after Alma got hired as a librarian for the Stark County School District. Martin also worked for the school district as a bus driver. He and Alma loved children, and had two of their own. Dennis and Dianna, who both married in their twenties and blessed them with grandchildren. They’d lived in a beautiful brick house in the Dibert District, the children and grandchildren visited often, and their golden years had indeed seemed golden. Then Alma got sick, and the luster began to fade.
“Here ya go,” the hostess said, gesturing at a table in the middle of the restaurant.
“Thank you.”
The hostess didn’t reply as she plopped a menu down and walked away. Sighing, Martin peeled off his parka, draped it over the chair, and sat facing the entrance. Waiters and waitresses bustled around him. To his left sat a married couple; she heavyset and fussing with their three children, he sullen and cowed. One of the kids had smeared grape jelly all over her face, one had begun banging a fork on the table, and the third screamed for no apparent reason. Resisting the urge to smile at the parents, Martin looked away. He knew how they felt, but they didn’t seem too agreeable at the moment. To his right sat a couple in their thirties; both slender, well dressed, and somehow detached from their surroundings. The din of rattling silverware, idle banter, and smacking lips filled the cafe.
“Good morning. What’ll it be?”
Martin looked up to see a thin young man standing beside him. Flushed. Out of sorts. Pen and notebook in hand. Picking up the menu, Martin smiled.
“Hello. How are you this morning?”
“Busy.”
Martin’s smile faded. “Oh. I see. Well, I’ll start with coffee, please.”
“And for breakfast?”
“I just sat down, sir. I’ll need a minute.”
“Right.” Rolling his eyes, the waiter left.
Guess I’ll just order the special, whatever it is.
Feeling somewhat guilty, Martin set his menu aside and moved his cup to the edge of the table. Trying to make this harried young waiter’s life a little easier, whether he appreciated it or not. Ahead of Martin sat two large bearded men wearing dirty overalls. They looked like farmhands; mean and hungry in the soft light. Martin looked down, reached into his coat pocket.
“Okay, coffee…”
Martin smiled as the waiter began to pour. “Thank you, sir. I’ll have the breakfast special.”
“Sure.” The waiter didn’t make eye contact as he walked away.
Martin frowned at the table. This was a mistake, he decided, pulling a small, framed photo from the pocket. I should’ve just went home and made my own damn breakfast. Or sent the P.O.P guys to get me something. It’s not like they’d ever say no…
Martin stood the photo against the condiment rack. In it, Alma smiled, frozen in time at age thirty-one. Her hair hung in dark blonde curls, her blue eyes sparkled with delight. Remembering, Martin’s frown became a grin. Whenever he felt stressed or anxious, Martin either read poetry or gazed at Alma. It always helped, just as his doctors had assured him.
Good old Alma. Always there for me...
Gazing at his late wife, Martin warmed his hands around the steaming cup.
The world is so cold nowadays, Alma. People are too damn busy with their gizmos to just sit and talk anymore. And they can be so rude. It’s like they’ve forgotten how to be decent to each other...


If you enjoyed this excerpt, please subscribe, like, and share.

A revised version of “Epicenter” was featured in Empty Sink Publishing, Issue #18.

Read it here: http://emptysinkpublishing.com/fiction/epicenter/


“Epicenter” was reprinted by The Rye Whiskey Review @ http://ryethewhiskeyreview.blogspot.com/2018/06/epicenter-by-jesse-lynn-rucilez.html


Thank you for reading!

JLR

Blurring The Edge (Short Story Excerpt)

January 30, 2015

October 19th, 2015.

Stark City, Oregon.

9:01 p.m.

Well, today was just like any other day. A struggle. Again. Another uphill climb with only the thought of getting it all over with to keep me going. And once the long day is finally over, I can get on home and relax the best way I know how. By playing with myself.

That’s right.

Some men like to go out after work. They like to hit the bars, hoist cheap beer, watch sports, drool over trashy women, shoot pool, and shoot the shit. I guess that gives them a reason to keep on keeping on. Know what I say? I say they might as well shoot themselves right along with the pool and the shit.

Can’t say just why, but none of that appeals to me. Bars and women. No, sir. What a waste of time. For me, from the moment my eyes snap open in the morning until the moment I sign out in the evening, my mind’s on one thing and one thing only:

Playing with myself.

Nothing else feels quite the same as playing with myself. Not that I don’t love my booze and an occasional joint, cause I most surely do. But then, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me tell you how each day begins and ends so you’ll have a better idea of what I’m rambling about. The beginning is always shitty, of course. Goddamn alarm clock sounds like a warning buzzer at a hockey game. It sure does the job of waking my tired ass up, though. So as soon as I can muster the energy to haul the load below my shoulders, I roll out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. After I finish my business with the commode I step into the tub and take the longest, hottest shower the water heater allows. Even in the summer. And to save time, I brush my teeth under the hot spray. Afterwards, I’m able to move like a man and not a zombie, which makes getting dressed a bit more pleasant, what with all the bending and twisting involved. Then, before I leave, I make myself a cup of instant coffee with plenty of sugar and cream.

Now, I have to admit, sometimes I wake up with a strong urge to play with myself before I hop in the shower. Especially when I was younger. Sometimes it’s all I can do not to stumble into the living room, plant my bare ass on the couch, and shoot off right there. Sometimes, I have to stand in the bathroom and tell myself over and over, “Wait ’til you get home, boy. Wait ’til you get home.”

So far, I’ve never caved in and done it before work, which is something to be proud of. I mean, after all, I’ve been playing with myself for a long time.

Anyway, let me tell you about work. I’d like to say I have a really interesting job, but I sure as hell don’t. It’s at a big old dirty factory in the Industrial District. Stark City Manufacturing. Job level two, full time with benefits. Been on that damned assembly line for thirteen years now. I put two cogs and one spring on each part that slides my way. These parts are then fitted to valves that attach to hoses in car engines. Foreign engines in slick foreign cars. The kind the kids all drive these days. The details are kind of boring, I guess, but the pay’s good and the work’s easy. Maybe too easy. That must be why my mind always drifts off to my one and only hobby.

Now, you might think a guy like me, who gets off on playing with himself so much, would keep it quiet. And you’re right. I do. For the most part. But once, a long time ago, I let my dirty little secret slip, and I’ve been paying for it ever since. Being a loner type who usually keeps to himself, the guys and gals I work with were always trying to goad me out of my shell. “Whaddya do for fun?” they’d ask. “How do ya unwind after work?”

I’ve always been a man of few words. Don’t like to talk. Don’t like goddamn comedians trying to be funny. Especially when I’m the punch line. So their questions bothered me. A lot. I dealt with it by just shrugging and saying things like, “Nothing much,” or, “You know, the usual.” But over time, it got harder and harder to hide my aggravation, and the more aggravated I got, the more they kept up their bullshit. And one day I finally lost it with this big dumb parts polisher everyone calls “Jethro” on account of him being such a moron. “Jethro” kept asking if I had a life outside of work, and what kind of “lame hobbies” filled up my free time. The bastard wouldn’t stop, and when I couldn’t take it no more I just blurted out the truth:

That I like to go home and play with myself.

Well. Big mistake. There was instant laughter all around, and the news of my confession spread like wildfire. In a matter of minutes, I became known as “the guy who spends all his time jerking off at home.”

And that’s still how it is to this day. Everyone on the crew winks and smiles at me. Sometimes they whistle or slap me on the back. “Betcha can’t wait to go home and play with yourself!” is all I hear, all day long. Sometimes they dig down deep into their vocabularies for the most vulgar expressions they can find to describe what they imagine I do with my dick every night.

According to the assholes I work with, I:

Grease it.

Polish it.

Spit-shine it.

Stroke it.

Slap it.

Spank it.

Yank it.

Tug it.

Whack it.

Beat it.

Jerk it.

Or jack it.

And, of course, to them my dick’s not a dick. It’s a hose, a monkey (my personal favorite), a pipe, a rod, a tallywhacker, a schlong, a dong, a wang, a pinky, a knob, a salami, a wiener, meat, and pud. I guess they’re too juvenile to use grownup words like dick, cock, or penis. They also have other witty little sayings, like: choking the chicken, engaging in man-to-gland combat, and, of course, taking matters into your own hands.

Anyway. None of them know shit from Shinola. They are right about one thing, though. All day long, every miserable second of every miserable hour, I can’t wait to get home and play with myself. And that’s the only way to accurately describe what I do. I “play with myself.” I absolutely do not grease, polish, spit-shine, stroke, slap, spank, yank, tug, whack, beat, jerk, or jack any part of myself.

I just play with myself.

Every evening when I get home.

Yeah. I first started playing with myself around the age of seventeen. I’ve heard that’s kind of late for most guys, but I really wouldn’t know what other people get up to. All I know for sure is that I discovered it right about the time I started my first job as a bagger at Stark Grocery World over in the Dibert District. At first, I was just messing around…figuring the whole thing out…then it got serious. Playing with myself started to feel really good. Insanely good. Like an addiction.

What can I say?

It didn’t take very long before I was hooked.

Now I do it almost every day. And when I’m not doing it, I’m sure as hell thinking about doing it. Those idiots are right about that. But what might surprise them is that I never play with myself on my days off. Don’t know why, either. Just never feel the urge.

Now, over the years I’ve built up some discipline about the whole thing. When I was younger, I’d rush through the door and start playing with myself as soon as I could. Like a man possessed. But now I never rush. I take my time and enjoy it. I savor it like a delicious meal I might never have the chance to taste again. Hell, at this point, it’s become an honest-to-goodness ritual.

So what I do, is this:

Once I get home, I walk through the door of my shit-hole apartment as calmly as possible, and set my lunchbox on the counter in my kitchen. I know what’s waiting for me in the living room but I don’t dare look at it. In fact, I do my damnedest to totally ignore it as I walk past. I go into my bedroom, strip off my dirty work uniform, and slip off my boots. And I take my time with all this, psyching myself for the big event. Thinking about it all day long builds up a shit ton of anticipation, a shit ton of excitement. I know I’ll be playing with myself very soon, and even though I’ve done it thousands of times, I still can’t wait to shoot off on my couch.

Shooting off really is the greatest feeling in the world.


“Blurring The Edge” is now available in Ramingo’s Porch Literary Magazine Issue #3:

https://www.amazon.com/Ramingos-Porch-Issue-3/dp/1948920042


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