Pt. 3 (Final)
by J’Rie Elliott
The creature stepped back away from him and leaned against the wall. The room around them changed shape; it was no longer his house. Hannah walked out of the bath room with a towel in her hand drying her hair and a towel around her body hiding her form; she was still shiny from the water on her skin– Joseph could smell her cherry perfume. She looked away down the hallway and towards the door; though no sound was heard Joseph could tell she heard the doorbell ring. She walked to the door clad in just her towel; she checked the peep hole and pulled open the door; there stood a man whom Joseph had never seen before.
“That’s my wife!” Joseph yelled. Only to notice there was no wedding ring on her left hand, no tan line either. The year on the calendar showed that it was five years after he had left. The man walked in closing the door and turning the lock with one hand while pulling her close with the other. Their lips found each other lighting her face with desire. Desire that she had once reserved for Joseph alone, but now she had for this other man—all while Joseph had to watch. “I can’t watch this!” He turned his back from them only to have the room shift and bring them back into view; he was going to have to watch he had no choice. The stranger slipped the towel off of her body and twirled her in her nakedness around like a ballerina in front of him; admiring every curve, every inch even the small cherry shaped birth mark on her bottom; the one Joseph use to pat ‘for luck’. The stranger scooped her up and carried her to the bed room. “I will not watch another man make love to my wife!” He screamed into the air, “I will not follow them!” He had no option; he did not have to follow them because the room around him changed, he now stood in the bed room where the stranger was touching Hannah in a way Joseph had once touched her, a way that no other man had touched her before Joseph. “This isn’t right!” Tears were rolling down his cheeks. He did not notice that the creature had vanished from the room.
Joseph fell to the floor cupping his face with his hands sobbing—he began to pray, “Dear God I am so sorry for what I’ve put her through. I never knew I was hurting her so badly; I never paid attention to anyone else. Dear God forgive me.” His words fell on a silent room only the ragged sounds of his breath between words to punctuate his prayer. He could feel time passing, and yet time was standing still; how could he have let this happen? Why had he been so stupid not to see what he had in front of him? Why had he squandered every opportunity to correct his mistakes?
Then a voice came from behind him, “Those are some good questions.” Joseph spun around as though he had been bitten.
“Who? How?” The words eluded him. Standing in the room with him was a very short lady who appeared to be in her late sixties–she reminded him of his great Aunt Martha who passed away when he was nine.
“It is not our place to question–your prayer did not fall upon deaf ears; neither the one you said nor the one your heat spoke.” This new visitor was comforting and radiated warmth from her body. “I’ve been informed that you have shown some redeeming qualities; qualities that were hidden within you this whole time. Perhaps when we are faced with the hard truth it is easier to see reality.”
“I don’t understand?” Joseph meekly uttered.
“Joseph, some people come here and they never waffle, they never ask for forgiveness even though they are damned. Many come and are as cold as they were everyday in their existence. What was seen within you was a spark; a spark of humanity—with that spark is the possibility to learn from your mistakes; to right the wrongs in your life; this chance will cost you dearly, but you will understand that later. However, Joseph if this time you follow the path that brought you here—there will not be a third chance.” Her voice was as stern as the grave when those words passed her lips. “Do you understand now?”
“I think I do. What is going to happen to me now?”
“Now, my dear nephew, you wake up.”
“Clear!” the doctor yelled the defibrillator struck his chest; Joseph’s body jumped with electricity–beep, beep, beep. “He’s back” Joseph’s eye lids begin to flutter, he could perceive light but nothing else. “Welcome back son,” the doctor said “We lost you for a minute there; you had us all worried.” Joseph tried to speak, “Don’t try to speak we had to put a tube in your throat to help you breath, the nurse just removed it—you will be sore for a bit. You are at Cedar Seine Hospital; you were in a car accident. Do you remember?” Joseph remembered everything, but nothing about a car accident. “You just lay back, we’ll get you fixed up and then you can see your wife.”
“Wife!” He spoke louder than he intended and he could feel razor blades cutting his throat.
“Yes, she is here, she got here about 30 minutes after the ambulance brought you in. We’re going to give you something to sleep; we still have some work to do; just relax you’re going to be fine. Nurse, please…” The doctor motioned to the nurses to his left and she injected something into his IV—the world went dark.
When he awoke two days later, Hannah was sitting by the side of his bed; her eyes red from crying. She looked so scared, but so young as though time had stopped in her face, “Hi babe.” She smiled at him and tried to hug him as best she could without bothering all of the tubes and wires. “I am so sorry babe; for everything.” Joseph said.
“SSSHHH, don’t try to talk; we’ll talk when you are stronger. I am just so glad you’re still alive.” Joseph took her hand in his and squeezed it as tightly as he could.
“Babe, I think for the first time I am alive.” Hannah stood to get a tissue to wipe the tears from her eyes and he saw she was pregnant; she grabbed her side.
“Oh, feels like she is going to be born playing soccer.” Hannah smiled looking at her husband. Joseph turned and caught a glimpse of himself in the steel door, he was young again, and Hannah was still pregnant with Janet. He could not understand how this happened—then her heard Aunt Martha’s voice in his mind “…with that spark came the possibility to learn from your mistakes; to right the wrongs in your life…” He was being let to start over, to do it right from the beginning. “Where is Will?” he asked Hannah.
“He’s here; a nurse took him to the cafeteria to get some Jell-O.” Joseph tried to move in the bed, but he could not move his feet, again he heard Aunt Martha’s voice “…this chance will cost you dearly, but you will understand that later…” Hannah looked at the floor and tears rolled down her cheeks, “Tell me babe, what’s wrong?”
Hannah took a deep breath, “When the car hit the bridge you got pinned beneath the debris… Joe it crushed your back—there was nothing they could do, your spinal cord was destroyed from your hips down. You can move your arms and when the swelling goes down you will be able to turn at your waist—but sweetheart you will never walk again.” She was holding back a flood of tears as she tried to stay calm.
“I’ll never walk again. That’s the price I pay.” Hannah looked at him strangely—how calm he was, “Did I hurt anyone else?”
“No, it was only your car…you were drunk. Do you remember?”
“No, but I’m not drunk anymore. My legs are a small price to pay to get my family back.” This time Hannah could not hold the tears; she laid her head on his stomach sobbing.
“Daddy!” William came running in the room holding two cups of green Jell-O, “The nurse let me get two! You okay Daddy?”
“Yeah boy, for the first time in a long time, I’m really okay.”
Click here to read Part 1 of Lost Souls.
Click here to read Part 2 of Lost Souls.
J’Rie Elliott is a poetess and ongoing contributor to Synchronized Chaos. To contact her, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.