“ Today ” A short story. [Feedback appreciated] 7:15am: He was in a middle of a dream, part of an audience watching swans swim across a lake, one after the other they fly effortlessly. As he watches the sky turns dark and buildings burn, people screaming. A woman jumps from a third story. She seems to fall forever prolonging the horror yet to come as if the distance wasn’t bad enough. When the clock alarm sounded, a sudden sense of relief overwhelmed him. As of late it seems his dreams always turn to nightmares. He leans over and kisses his wife. She smiles, mutters something unintelligible, turns and goes back to sleep. Unaware that sleepy smile had already made his day. His heart beat quickens as he notices the sunlight reflecting, radiating that already radiant beautiful face. For a moment he lays back looking up at the ceiling contemplating his present most fortunate life. A smile washes over his face like salt water washing over a seashell. Leaning over, he touches her gently... “Good morning gorgeous…” Later that morning, they share breakfast, sitting across one another as they always do. They talk about the day before it comes to pass. She makes faces showing off her breakfast before it goes down. Milk dribbles down her chin but it’s worth it to see the look on his face. This for some reason makes her laugh almost to the point of hysterics. He encourages her just to hear the sound of that laughter. They both work in the city, he a solicitor specialising in criminal law and she a teacher in a school catering for special needs children… 12:15pm: “Simon, can you come into my office please?” It’s his senior partner. Simon looks up from his Desk and upon seeing the look on his face lets the pen slip from his fingers. It wasn’t a conscious act. Something was terribly wrong. “What is it Miguel?” “Please Simon, just come with me” That walk to Miguel’s office didn’t feel right or real at all. As though he was back in that nightmare, that woman falling to her death down the side of a building but only now it felt worse, like it was all happening in slow motion... 12:39pm: “its Simon is it, can I ask are you a relative?” “She’s my wife, where is she?” Under the circumstances, the doctor himself fresh out of pre-medical handled the situation remarkably well. He remained calm and went on to explain what had occurred earlier that morning. After leaving her parked car to take the short walk to school she was subjected to a prolonged and vicious attack. She was grabbed by the attacker as she walked underneath a railway bridge on Marsden Road. Both wrists were broken with an injury to the head. Heavy bruising under both eyes and a jaw fracture. She had also been raped. It was made clear at that point, his wife would be required to remain within the confides of the hospital for at least a week. Head injuries in particular require on-going assessment and again he insisted she remain under their care for that period of time. The police in due course would of course need to take a statement. For the moment at least, this was not possible. “Not possible?” asked Simon. “What do you mean not possible?” As they turned the corner he noticed her almost slumped across the bed, her face pressed against the pillow. He quietly opened the door and made his way towards her. His heart pounding so hard it physically pained him. As he approached she instinctively turned and looked at him. A look in her eyes he had never seen before, eyes swelling with tears. No words were exchanged except ___________ “I’m so sorry.” ___________ He held her in his arms pressing her body tightly against his. A single warm tear trickled slowly down her cheek burning into her skin as it meandered down towards her lips. It would leave a deep scar... “I’m taking you home.” 1:30pm: He drove purposefully towards home. Maybe if he could take her back she might feel safe again. How strange. He couldn’t remember the last time he had taken a breath. Was he still breathing? Placing his hand on her lap he did his best to try and re assure her everything was going to be alright. He was taking her home and she was going to feel safe again. No use, the fear pushed its way past to the forefront of his mind. She sat with her knees pushed up against her face almost childlike. A distant look in her eyes, sitting there but not really there at all. Hair straggly, tousled, disheveled. He eases his foot off the peddle as they approach the car in front. Just then, whimpers, almost like a faint scream desperately trying to escape her throat. She turns to him in a sudden panicked state, eyes wide as if in shock then frantically pounds on the door window with both fists clenched.. “THAT'S HIM” she yells. “That’s him, that’s the man!!!” “ Are YOU SURE?” “Of course I’m sure!!” she screams. Fists held up towards her chin like a boxer instinctively in defense but shaking violently, uncontrollably. Her face now permeated with rage, a side of her he was not familiar with. “Wait here”... 1:36pm: Anger. Disgust and hatred had overpowered him. The pain had mutated to a fury he had never felt though he was calm, almost like the eye of a storm. A most terrible storm. Ahead of him walked a tall white male in his late 30’s. Slim build, almost skinny. Short black hair. Clean shaven. He was neither smart nor scruffy. Loose fitting black jeans with a grey sports hooded top. Looked like dark shoes. Maybe he had on trainers, maybe not. He didn’t really care at this point. In his mind this wasn’t another human being. It was a monster, something pathetic which had somehow crawled into the skin of a human. He quickens his pace, now only 2 steps behind as the man in front approaches an alleyway. Without hesitation he had grabbed hold of the man, one hand firmly grasped his neck. He pushed him onto the floor out of sight from the main street. It wouldn’t have mattered; there was no one else on the street anyway. He hurried back to the car frantically trying to fasten the buttons on his overcoat to hide the blood soaked shirt underneath. His knuckles grazed and bloody. _________Later that day, someone would call in to report a dead body.__________ 1:52pm: They drove in silence for the next few miles. Through the immense piercing pain he was feeling deep within his heart there was some relief. All he could think of was getting his wife home. Just 5 more minutes of driving. He’ll run her a warm bath, a change of clothes then lay next to her and do nothing but hold her. Hold her for as long as it takes. They stop at the red lights. Familiar surroundings now. M&S local store on the far side. Soon the familiar sight of teens hanging out, sometimes smoking, sometimes trying to impress the girls. Well-mannered children as he sees them. As the lights turn amber Charlie from the store hurries across before the lights go green. “That’s Him!” “It’s him!” “that’s the man that did this! “ She screams pounding on the passenger windows. “What?!!” confused, a look of shock evident on his face. His eyes wide with fear. As they pass the store she points at a random teenager...her finger shivering violently and with intent. “It’s him!!!” She screams” “That’s the man, that’s the man!” TODAY.