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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Forever endeavour.

The bath was running. A couple more minutes and it'd be fine. Just enough time for one more drink before the big event. The grande finale. The show stopper, so to speak.
Fnord He'd always been good at holding his liqour, a skill as dubious as it was useful. He tried to remember the first time he'd had a drink but it was ages ago, a memory submerged in the murky depths of his mind; it was certainly a drink older than the oldest wine in existence now. What he did know was that he'd always been appreciative of the effect alcohol had on him; with his lifestyle and background and what he’d gone through, the horrors he’d seen, the atrocities he’d committed, some dulling of the edges was never a bad idea. This day, however, patiently waiting for the bathtub to fill, he made sure he didn't drink too much. He wanted to remain sharp and alert. As sharp as you could be after that many glasses of Johnny Walker Red. But hey, alcohol thins the blood, so bottom's up.
Fnord Turning off the tap filled the room with an oppressive silence, a silence that pressed down on his shoulders and which seemed to compact the few cubic feet of reality he inhabited; a pressure that seemed to increase even further when he dropped his tattered robe to the floor. He instantly felt the steam, rising from the bathtub and filling the small, dingy bathroom, doing things to the skin of his soft spots; muscles relaxing, scar tissue tightening, the tiny hairs on his inner thighs and lower abdomen quivering, a pleasant warmth enveloping his genitals. Despite his age and reputation nudity had never felt comfortable to him, not even when he was alone; he didn’t need an audience to feel awkward. He supposed nudity wasn’t strictly necessary today but he couldn’t bring himself to stepping into the tub fully clothed.
Fnord His toe broke the surface and the serene glass lake under him rippled as he lowered himself into the water. It was slightly too hot for comfort, but comfort wasn’t a priority anymore; any illusions of comfort, in his life, in this world, he’d abandoned long ago along with his innocence, long lost in all the wars and violence he’d seen in his too many years. With his hands on the edge of the tub he kept lowering himself, the outlines of his body distorting as he looked down, the water refracting the contours of his waist and torso this way and that. When the water reached his chin, drenching his full, grey beard, his knees arose from the water in front of him like two reverse Atlantises; bald, bony islands, a castaway’s worst nightmare. He shifted his feet, crossed his ankles and the two small islands submerged again. Involuntarily, he thought of his brother.
Fnord He closed his eyes. Took a deep breath. Another one. He searched his mind for doubt, contemplation, hope, anything that he coud grab, hold onto for dear life, something that would allow him to climb out of this tub, shrug it off and get on with his life. He didn’t find any, which, he thought, must mean he’s at peace with this. Every shred of redemption had abandoned him long ago. He gave his mind the final chance to speak now, or forever hold its peace, and silence was the result. That settled it. This was happening. Right now.
Fnord A razor. Such an innocuous little sliver of steel alloy so thin that you’d hardly expect to feel a thing as it breaks the skin; like a hot knife through butter. It felt so flimsy and filmy between his thumb and forefinger that he thought he was holding nothing but air; it seemed almost unsubstantial, non-existent. An ethereal killer. Perhaps, he thought, if I imagine to be clenching nothing at all between my fingers it will be easier. A pantomime instead of the real thing.
Fnord However frail and diaphanous the razor may have appeared, he díd feel it as it cut through his skin. He was surprised at the amount of pressure it needed before the skin was pierced and opened up and how easily the razor’s edge dug its way into the underlying tissue after that. He was acutely aware of the sensations; as if it was happening in extreme slow motion, at 2500 fps. He felt the tendons and muscles snapping and jerking as the razor sliced through them, almost directly followed by a sickening popping sensation as the razor pierced the ulnar artery; the pressure of the blood pumping through it, duly diluted by the booze, making the pop seem almost audible. It nauseated him but he carried on, quickly slicing along the length of the artery.
Fnord The intensity of the colour struck him even before the realisation that his wrist was literally gushing blood; such a vibrant, electrifying explosion of red, full of life and promise. Immediately the water around him clouded, blood and water not really mixing but dancing and swirling around each other, creating tiny weather systems in the bathtub. He stared at his wrist —no longer experiencing the pain as pain, but as something numb and senseless— and regarded it as if it no longer belonged to him. The wrist laid open before him, the blood gushing out in unison with his heartbeat, which he felt reverberating through his body like a lazy drumbeat. He stretched his fingers outwards, then balled them together in a tight fist. The blood kept coming.
Fnord The smell of something metallic and musky entered his nose.
Fnord The opposite wrist went surprisingly easy. He’d expected to have trouble using the other hand since its wrist was already cut and bleeding heavily, but the hand remained astonishingly operational considering the muscular damage. In less than a second he’d doubled his injuries and both wrists were bleeding profusely, the coffee creamer whirls of red in the water giving way to a uniform diluted redness, like summer lemonade.
Fnord Now he’d wait.
Fnord And hope.
Fnord The room swayed, his limbs felt heavy, even in the water, and his eyes closed.

His eyes opened. Realisation washed over him as he stared at the ceiling above the tub.
Fnord He tilted his head forward, looked at the clouded, tinged water, and his eyes immediately found the razor blade, floating at the end of the bath tub, near his shins. He lifted his arms out of the murky water, the wounds virtually gone, no more than a thin red brown-ish line on both wrists, and even that was fading before his eyes.
Fnord He sighed wearily.
Fnord “God damnit,” Zeus said, his voice booming through the little space, before he clamboured out of the bathtub and picked up his robe.


Anonymous Astinos said...

Nice read; I really liked it. Some run-ons and generous with the coma's, but that's about it.
Ever tried your hand at something longer?

1:23 pm  
Blogger Martin said...

Cheers for the comment. I am indeed a renowned comma abuser, something I try to reign in as much as I can.

As for something longer - I have some bigger ideas floating around, but I don't have the discipline to sit down and put them to paper. Plus, I like practicing with the shorter stuff, stories I can start and finish in one day.

2:06 pm  
Anonymous Eline said...

I am very much impressed and I don't know what to say actually. You're a man of many talents, you are!
And your English is impeccable. Mine is too, but then on the level of a 17 year old, seriously...

10:53 pm  
Blogger Martin said...

This, coming from an English teacher. Thank you kindly, ma'am.

11:07 pm  

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