Each month we hold a writing contest for our members, by our members. Writers are given parameters, such as a word count and/or a prompt. Entries are judged and discussed blindly. For June, writers were asked to write a story in which a character has a strong sensory experience that is meaningful to them in some way.
by Graydon Boock
Tom awoke, his head pounding and his body sore, alone in a living room. The carpet
scratched his face, and then his hand as he braced himself to get up off the warm floor. With his other hand he grabbed a table and squinted in the face of the overhead light. With some effort, he found his way to a table in the center of the room where one half of a pair of whiskey glasses stood. Its partner now lay, broken, near a wall with a dried stain, the only blemish on an otherwise spotless wall.
He made his way to the other end of the table, the scent of death mixing with that of the whiskey. His foot nudged something hard, and he nearly tripped before steadying himself. The object in question, a bloodied candlestick, rolled along the ground and stopped near an end table. There were pictures on it; from the days when printed pictures were more common. Happier days: before money had gotten involved and made things complicated. It was his fault really; he’d always been so stingy when it came to Tom.
Steadying himself, he slowly moved away from the support of the table, taking one
aching step after another. He made his way towards the door, old and mahogany, and peppered with small dried blood splotches that almost blended in with the finish. With all his family had, you’d think they’d be a bit more willing to help him with a few debts here and there, but he’d never really been the favorite, had he? No matter how many times his sister needed something, they always found the room in the budget to help her with some start-up or another, no questions asked. But Tom had always had to bend over backwards. Life was unfair that way.
Next to the door was a corpse. It lay face-down with its head slightly to the side. The
carpet around the head was a grim halo of ruddy brown. And its face, one Tom had once
associated with tenderness, but had increasingly begun to associate with disapproval, now merely looked frightened and pathetic. Even with the memory of the fight still burning in his mind, Tom felt himself stepping back. He stopped himself and looked down again at the body. Dressed in a cheap, but comfortable jacket of which the deceased had been found.
The body would have to be moved. Slowly, painfully, he leaned down and grabbed the
corpse’s hands, only to immediately drop them again as he felt the cold. Steeling himself, he
once again held his father's hands, now lifeless in his hands and cold as a grave. He pulled his father over to the fireplace. A long time ago, his father had shown him how to light it. It was a redundant thing, really, they had a heating system, but still, he’d insist on it sometimes, especially for the holidays. He lit it, and sat there, as unmoving as his father.