Thursday, May 10, 2018

His Nocturnal Hell Begins


A few short hours later, captured by his own words, “Where in the hell is she?” And, Williams’ voice echoing back, “Dear Mother of God, she's gone.” The damn red mist shakes Al out of his nocturnal torture. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed he pulled the sweat soaked t-shirt away from his chest. Aunt Bee’s hand embroidered pillow cover with red and yellow roses is discolored and wet where his head fought the losing battle with his mind.

 Holding on to the bedpost Al lurched for the bathroom door frame. Gaining support from the unyielding oak he staggered the next few steps into the bathroom. Drops of sweat burned his eyes as he tried to focus on the toilet. Now, the twisting and grinding in his stomach put him on his knees in front of the stool. Half-sitting and half-lying on the cold tile, his head rested on his right arm. The cool ceramic bowl touching his skin was in sharp contrast to his burning face.

Sometime later, when he was sure his stomach was empty; he tried to get off the floor. With his left hand on the sink and right hand on the stool he pushed himself upright. Gripping the sink, the cold water was soon splashing up into his face as it hung near the basin. The old mirror revealed dark and sunken eyes. His always combed and neat hair looked as if it had been greased and slicked down.

 Muttering out loud, “Don’t you look like hell? If this is gonna be what my head feels like, well.” Turning away from the mirror he reached for the door frame. Steadying himself he walked over to the bed. Turning around, with one hand on the night stand, he sat down on the bed.

The voice in his head asked, “What kind of headache is this? The others were nowhere near this bad. God, I’m not sure I can take too many of these.” His trembling hand reached over and opened the bottom drawer of his night stand. Pulling out his glass friend, he placed him between his knees. Unscrewing the cap and using both hands he raised his friend to his lips and took a long gulp.

Looking at the old wind up alarm clock, he thought the red mist would leave him alone as long as he didn’t sleep. He stared at the clock, the hands moved laggardly. Near dawn he was back in the bathroom and stepped into the hot shower. The water ran down from his head and shoulders and the warmth eased the tension in his neck and shoulders. Done in the shower and looking into the mirror on the medicine cabinet, he muttered, “You still look terrible.”

Going down the back stairs he found Bee in the kitchen. With her back turned she said, “Good morning young man. I have scrambled eggs and ham for breakfast or you can have French toast.” Al, a little off guard responded, “Now how did you know it was me? And, I’ll have both, if it is alright.” With a chuckle she said, “First, I know how you walk, with determination. Second, of course you can have both. Just sit yourself down with a cup of coffee and I’ll bring it in to you.”

With his back to the kitchen, he sipped on his first cup of coffee. Bee came through the swinging door and around Al’s right side. She came close to spilling the plate when she set it down and looked at his face. Gasping, she asked, “What on earth is wrong? My Al, you look dreadful. Are you feeling alright? Can I get you something to help?” Al’s response was short but not reassuring, “I’m alright, just had a bit of a headache last night.”

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