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MFC: "When I Wake"

MFC:

By Miss Marm

There are only two finalists left!

Yesterday's story was sad; today's story, by I.am.unique.too, is sadder; and tomorrow's story is (in my opinion) saddest.

Let the depression begin/continue!

When I Wake

A crash from the kitchen.

Drunken yell. Slurred words.

A door slams. A light flicks on. I can see the light under my door.

Dad's home.

I look at my clock. The illuminated red digits tell me that it's three am. He's home early. Usually he appears in the morning, to drunk to swear or hit or even move, really. We leave him on the couch on those days, and tiptoe around him even though it would take a lot more than heavy footfalls to wake him. On those days, he's slept most of it off by the time we get home and he says he's sorry and that he loves us and that he's trying to change, he really is, before disappearing off to the pub again without waiting for Mum to finish cooking.

But tonight's not one of those nights. I can hear him stumbling in the corridor. He's managed to work his way through our obstacle course of mismatched couches and footstools in our lounge room, so I come to the conclusion that he's only partially drunk. His heavy footsteps stop outside my room, and through the door I can hear his panting breath. He tries the handle. It's locked. Mum bought locks for all out bedroom doors, even her own. Good locks. Strong. She won't leave him, but she has tried her best to protect me and Ted from Dad's strong, hard hands. Dad leaves my door and tries Mum's. She has learnt, we all have, that we should just pretend to be asleep when Dad comes home. It's easier on all of us. Dad swears, tries sweet talking her and swears again. I hear him stumble back down the corridor. He'll probably sleep on the couch. There's another round of swearing, a thud and then silence. I turn over and try to sleep.

***

I dream. It's not a pleasant dream, but I don't mind dreams because at least I know that they are not real. Waking is harder. When I wake, the house is still. It's dark outside but I'm thirsty. The floorboards are cold beneath my feet as I make my way quietly through the house. I stop in the doorway of the lounge room, making sure Dad's asleep. He's on the floor. He must have passed out. I tiptoe around his still form and almost trip on the telephone cord. I make it to the kitchen without falling. I get a glass. I fill it with water and drink slowly. I put the glass on the edge of the sink and begin to go back to my room.

It's lighter now, the sun has almost come up. Sunlight seeps into the lounge room through the gap in the curtain. I can see Dad much more clearly now. He hasn't moved. I hold my breath, listening for his. I watch his chest, waiting to see it rise and fall. I can't see it move, and I hear nothing. Some thing's wrong. My eyes travel to his head where I finally notice the dark stain in a pool below his neck. His feet are caught in the telephone cord. I swallow. The room spins and I stumble back to my room. I lock the door. I bury myself in the sheets, pulling them around me, covering my whole body. I start to sob then, my whole body racked with my silent tears. Suddenly, I'm tired. So so tired. I hear Mum start to get up in the next room. But I'm sleeping. I'm dreaming. Don't wake me up. I can't wake up. I won't wake up.

Based on "By the Time," by Mika

What did you think? Is this sad in a good way?

Topics: musical fiction contest
 

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