for the Daily Slice contest
|It wasn’t long after she was dead that I realized my mistake...
I have to try to make sense of this, even if it isn’t used for my defense.
I remember lying in bed, my CPAP machine quietly humming in the darkness as I tried to fall asleep... my lover laid next to me; snoring softly, the sleep brought on by prescription meds.
The last few days have been terrible for her. The guilt, the loss, the anger of losing a loved one - even when expected is too much, I think, for the fragile human mind to endure. I worried for her, I tried to calm her nerves by assuring her that he has been gone for months - in a coma. He was in a better place, his stroke had left him a vegetable, he never wanted to be tied to life support. Even his doctors thought it an oddity that he kept breathing after the respirator was discontinued; what happened was a blessing, what I did was compassionate...
- now whose nerves were I trying to comfort?
I barely perceived the gurgle of the water reservoir as the CPAP continued to push humidified air into my mask. I was drifting to sleep when the water began to pool in the mask, spilling over my lips; filling my mouth and throat. I think I would have died right there if I hadn’t seen him. In that fleeting moment a flutter of my eyelids revealed my brother standing over me... my dead brother! I coughed up the water, tearing the mask from my face as I shot up in bed. He was gone! I glanced around the room, nothing! Just darkness and the sound of the air rushing from my mask as it dangled from its hose, over the edge of the dresser next to my bed.
There was no water. I sat there on the edge of the bed looking at the mask and realized that it must have been a dream - a nightmare. Angst, or guilt, from what I had done.
I had moved in with my brother and his wife shortly after the stroke. I was a retired EMT and could help out with taking care of him at home; it was something his wife had wanted me to do. Twenty years of emergency medicine hadn’t prepared me for the drudgeries of taking care of a vegetable. I found myself angry at the situation; hating my brother. His wife saw my being there as nothing but a blessing, and catered to my every being. A relationship developed that I took advantage of, I seduced her and convinced her that she deserved it. I think overtime that she began to feel guilty, as she had become increasingly cold towards me. On top of my frustration I became jealous of my brother... the vegetable. So one morning while she worked I smothered him. I put him out of his misery.
I looked over at her, she was still sleeping. My nightmare had not caused her to stir. I turned off the CPAP and laid back down. I ended his misery. I was nearly asleep when I felt her stir. She rolled over putting her hand on my chest and asked “Are you alright?” I returned as usual, “Just worried about you.” She nestled into me and softly said “I’m fine.” She started kissing me which helped me forget my nightmare. As she rolled on top of me I became lost in the passion of the moment. Her skin was warm against mine, I could nearly feel her heart pounding from beneath her breasts. Our rhythm quickened and became stronger as we rushed to finish as if we were teenagers trying to get done before the parents came home. As we came together she called out my brothers name; she froze when she realized what she had said. Though she lay on top of me the darkness between us, for me, was filled with the dark shadows of guilt. She embraced me, apologizing. She kissed me and I told her it was nothing to worry about. She continued to kiss me to apologize; sweet loving kisses that soon turned very passionate. Soon there was something foreign about her kiss, her tongue fought with mine as it filled my mouth and throat. I couldn’t breathe. It was all I could do to force her away from me, to get her tongue out of my throat. I glared at her though something in her face looked different. I swear it was the face of my brother. I threw her off of me. She fell backwards off the bed, hitting her head on the floor. I turned on the light and saw her lying there in a puddle of blood.
I sit here in the darkness of my cell waiting for lights out. I know they’ll come for me.