Short Fiction – Please Stay And Guard Me (By Melissa R. Mendelson)
Please, Stay and Guard Me
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
The room was a soft white. Lit candles decorated the furniture. Their flames bowed and swayed. Their warmth struggled to chase the coldness away. They failed. Still, they fought.
I pulled a wooden chair up to his bed. He was lying on his back, staring up at the white ceiling. Was he counting the cracks above him? Was he curious to the impressions hanging overhead of nails slowly pushing their way through their prison after all these years? There were faint spider webs too, vacant and hollow now. I continued to sit beside him as his eyes moved from the ceiling to the plain white walls and then to the candlelight that surrounded him.
He was dressed in plain clothes. He even had his shoes on. His shirt was white, and he pulled his jacket closer to his chest as if he were cold. He looked like he had just come home from work, if he did work. He was always moving about, but not anymore. Now, he laid here, looking like an old man, but he was not an old man. He was just used up, and that was my fault.
I never thought that I had a death wish. I don’t like remembering my brushes with death. Do I remember the first one? No. I was an infant crawling along that just bumped my head, and I passed out. My grandfather, may he rest in peace, was there at that moment, and he brought me back, breathing life into my small body. If not for him, I would not be here, but was that the first time? Again, no. My mother almost lost me when I was in her womb, but my grandmother, may she too rest in peace, was there at that moment to save me. I’ve been saved many times over including now. It was all because of him.
Have I been reckless lately? Yes. I have. I don’t know why. I hate feeling out of control. I hate being trapped inside a shoebox, living this hollow existence. It angers me that there are those out there in this world that would jeopardize my life to satisfy their greed and selfishness, so I lash out. I lose control, and he stepped in, saving me time and time again. But time is no longer on mine or his side. Time is the enemy now. Time to pay the bill, and I can see it on his face. And he knows, and I know. I cannot save him.
He forced a smile at me, but he wouldn’t meet my gaze. He had a beautiful smile. Now, it was a sad one, and I tried to smile back. As I did, a flame went out, and my smile vanished along with his. And I could see the pain etch across his face. He was holding on. He was trying to stay. He was fighting, but another flame went out.
What would I do without him? I couldn’t think about that. I wouldn’t, but I had to. This was happening, whether I or he wanted it to. There was no stopping it, and the light in the room grew dim. Yes, he was losing the fight, leaving me behind for what? To do what? Who would protect me? Who would guide me? Who would love me?
He was looking at me. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t sad. He was calm like a storm that has come and gone, leaving debris and wreckage behind. The world would be in ruins for awhile. I would be too, but maybe all was not lost. Maybe, there was still hope. Maybe… Who was I kidding, and I was crying now. I couldn’t stop the tears. They were falling harder and harder like a torrential rain, and then I felt his hand on my face, wiping those tears aside. So, I fought and won. The crying stopped, but as I wiped my eyes, I realized that he was gone.
The bed was empty now. The room was black. The flames had extinguished. I was alone. I was all alone, and I could hear the world outside the door. I could hear the pain and screams. People begging to be saved. I was saved, and I abused it. I abused him, and this was my fault. Losing him was my fault because I just couldn’t stay quiet. I had to push my limits. I had to lose control. I was angry. I am always angry, and now I am alone. And the world has just become a scarier place.
Melissa R. Mendelson graduated college with both an AA in Liberal Arts and BA in Mass Communication: Critical Analysis. She was a Long Island news reporter from 2002 to 2004 and later went to work for the State of New York. She has written a variety of writing that continuously is published by the Antarctica Journal News, and she recently finished writing her first Horror/Sci-Fi novel, Lizardian, which can temporarily be found as an E-book on Amazon Kindle.