Entry Eighty: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[The next many entries are the current story I am working on. This is ten of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Chapter Four

In every way possible, Adam Mahoney was a disaster. Physically he hadn’t bathed in days, his beard untrimmed and growing at wild angles off his face. His breath was offensive, carrying the stale remains of too many cigarettes and open-mouthed sleep. Emotionally he was lost. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t find a feeling to stand on comfortably. Everything he tried to latch on to—scared, confused, overwhelmed, even confident—was greeted warmly for a few minutes but soon wore out their welcome and were asked to leave. The emotionally revolving door left him feeling flat and lifeless, empty, with no desire to do anything but hide under his comforter.

The morning of the fourth day of his reign as last man standing on the face of the earth he rolled toward the wall, away from the brightness of the bedroom window. In his near catatonic condition, somewhere between deep sleep and “maybe it’s time to get up” he heard a thump, like someone or something had kicked the front door. He sat up, fear and hope instantly waging a war in his head resulting in his heart rate tripling and almost making him faint. His mind raced through all of the logical explanations first—wind blowing something onto the door, any number of things breaking loose from the porch and falling—but he didn’t want any of them to be true. He ached for the noise to have come from something alive, preferably human, and, if discovered, would shatter his fear and depression along with the premise he had slowly bought in to. Unfortunately, the only way to get any idea of the source was to quit guessing and go to the front door and look. Adam sat up and shifted to the edge of his bed, swinging his legs around and placing his feet on the floor. He reached for a cigarette off his nightstand and broke two matches before he was able to light it, his hands trembling and barely under control. With a grunt, he stood up and shuffled toward the living room, first peaking around the doorjamb of his bedroom, peering into the room to make sure it was clear. Everything looked unbothered and consistent with how he remembered it the last time he was there which, admittedly, was a bit foggy, but he sensed it was safe. He then moved slowly toward the front door, his heart doing a number on his nerves, everything pounding in crazy arrhythmic cadences, making it difficult to breathe or move, but he forced himself to fight through it and slid toward the door. Once there, facing the back of the front door, he reached out and grabbed the doorknob, resting his hand, afraid, knowing the next step could be everything or nothing, confident it wouldn’t be a wash. He took a deep breath, counted to three and slowly pulled the door open, toward himself, closing his eyes, delaying the visual results for another few seconds. As he sensed the door pass in front of his body, something fell on his foot and he jumped backwards and screamed, kicking whatever it was away from him, defensive, aggressive and scared to his core. When he finally opened his eyes, he was standing in the middle of the living room, his legs pushed up against the sofa, sweat rimming his forehead and upper lip. He looked at the intersection of the open door and the floor and saw what looked like a newspaper. It was fat, like a Sunday edition, rolled up into itself and stuffed in a plastic bag. Very common on a normal day but as unwelcome as a dead body this particular week. A new wave of fear crashed through him and mixed with a foamy wash of confusion. “A newspaper? How did that get here?”

All words and images ©2006/J. Colle

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