3WW CCLVII, "Alone In The Dark"

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are erode, heart and observe. Still no Interwebs in the wilds of Wyoming, so I have to muddle through.

Alone In The Dark

He’s fairly certain there’s something wrong with his heart.

It’s pumping away in his chest, right ventricle, left ventricle. Coursing blood through all those miles of veins, arteries.  The beat’s even strong, steady, for his age.

But there’s definitely something wrong.

She mews in her sleep and he listens in the darkness and there’s a flush of anger. He peels back the layers of bedding where she cocoons herself and observes. She’s naked under all those layers. All soft curves in what he can see reflected in the gentle light of a bathroom nightlight.

A scream builds in his chest. He stifles it by biting his knuckles until he nearly draws blood. His forehead is hot. He takes deep, deliberate breaths through flared nostrils.

He can’t shake the heat, the rage.

He removes a jumble of sheet and blankets off his chest and the moment’s fury is eased by the cool night air.

Still, there’s a knot of anger in his stomach, like a cramp, or pulled muscle. This isn’t physical, and he knows it. And he’s suspected it for quite some time.

His heart is beginning to erode.

Not so much the function, but its warmth.

 There’s no pill for his condition. And while the rage is still there, pressing outward on his temples, his eye sockets for chrissakes, the knot in his stomach subsides, replaced by a cool slickness he knows is fear.

He wants to run, arms flailing, legs pumping until acid fills the fibers and he’s forced to stop. But he’s go nowhere to go, nowhere to run.

So he counts. Lets his mind go blank. He’s well into the 6,000s when he spies the clock. One minute before the alarm.

Another flash of anger.

She rolls to him, moves a warm hand up his side and through his chest hair, which is beginning to go gray. Her hand comes to rest over his heart.

It’s small and delicate and where it rests, he feels a tremendous weight. A heft that makes his breath catch.

And all at once, there’s a calm.

Slowly, as not to ruin this moment, he reaches out and shuts off the alarm.

Tired eyes close. He smiles.


dandelion girl said...

I like the idea of your heart physically eroding over time, causing anger to build up.

Jae Rose said...

Has he conditioned her to comfort him when the alarm rings..insomnia..an eroding heart..really does make you chew your knuckles..another character that will stay long after the wake up call..Jae

Maxwell Mead Williams Robinson Barry said...

love the descriptive words.

lovely story.

K said...

I like this Tom. Makes me think of something we, in Islam believe, that over time and after much sinning the heart becomes rusted or black and remains that way until one seeks repentance.
I like this story for the intensity and the very precise yet subtle bio lesson. As always, your writing is refreshing, clean, engaging, relatable, HUMAN.

Old Egg said...

"Its not so much its function, but its warmth." This seems to be the crux of the problem. Love seems so have left him and he is just playing lip service to the relationship. No wonder it is eroding him. Gritty insightful writing.

Berowne said...

Insiteful, and very well written...

VL Sheridan said...

I think his heart broke when she laid her hand on his chest. And I think he smiled because he knew it couldn't be broken any more.

TodBryant said...

Vivid. Nice.

Susannah said...

Intense, powerful, real. This is brilliant writing, I loved it.

Sheilagh Lee said...

I like that her touch eased his pain and anger and helped his heart.