Thursday, 24 February 2011

Knocking at Death’s Door 3

Walton sat up in bed, peering towards the bedroom door over a mound of crumpled paper handkerchiefs, through a miasma of eucalyptus and general debility. Any minute now his wife would appear in the doorway and ask, with bare civility, if he wanted another hot drink.

She did not believe he was ill. Or rather she did not believe he was this ill.

Walton was a primary school teacher. He tried to induce in his charges the rudiments of literacy, numeracy and a sense of wonder at the world. They’d responded by a sequence of killer viruses.

Walton sighed, which turned into a cough which kick-started his post nasal drip again. His wife opened the door and regarded him coolly as he thrashed around for a clean tissue.

“I’m going to the shops,” she announced.

He waved a hand tragically, rumbling something indistinct through his coagulated airwaves. She ignored this and turned to go. Then, over her shoulder, “I’ve left a soup on the stove for your lunch. You’d better turn it off if I’m not back in twenty minutes. The whole place could go up.”

And then she was gone. Walton was aghast. Did she seriously believe him capable of getting downstairs? And to leave this time bomb ticking underneath him!

Morosely he watched the minutes tick round on his alarm clock. Twenty minutes passed. Then thirty. Consumed with panic and irritation, he dragged himself out of bed, pulled on his slippers and staggered to the door. He fell giddy, nauseous and resentful.

He was half way down the stairs when he felt a massive myocardial infarction in his chest. His sight flared, his body spasmed and as he tumbled down towards the hall carpet and oblivion, he had one final flash of wishful thinking. This would show her.


Chips said...

Could almost be "The Death Of Chatterton." Oscar, old friend. Only with more mucus.

Patricia said...

A woman's cruelty knows no bounds...