Short story: “Haunted”

Short story: “Haunted”

He opened his eyes and was surprised to see her laying next to him in the bed, face down, with her long brunette hair splayed over her naked back and around her on the white bed sheets.

Her work alarm should have gone off before his.  Had she overslept?

Still eyeing her, senses spiked wide open by a hidden fear breaking to the surface, he realised he couldn’t see the rise and fall of her back.

Horror raked paranoid claws deep into his spine.

Now he held his own breath, the bedroom spinning away with the rest of the world as his sole focus was on the love of his life.

He reached out gently with his hand, the cold skin of her shoulder blade barely felt through panic so acute it was like being in the perfectly calm eye of the storm.

His world had fallen.

The million things he needed to do were overridden by this eternal moment, hand resting on death, the cold stillness petrifying him as he lay beside her body.

Shattered, but the pieces still together.  Scared to move, as movement would mean stepping forward, over the abyss into Hell.

Frozen.

She moved, barely perceptibly, and coughed gently…

He never did tell her of that morning – as if revealing it would recall the doom from which he had escaped.  His silence was his thank you.

But it haunted him every day.

Living The Nightmare

We thought our company was fairly stable for this year, although we were all conscious that next year we have no new business.

So the call for making one of the engineer Monkeys redundant came as a bit of a surprise.  It’s in the department I straddle along with another Admin Monkey, so when that foolishness was settled we were just starting to relax after all the whispers and mini-meetings, when we were both called into a room by Queen Monkey and HR Monkey.  I glanced at the notepad HR Monkey held as I sat down, still not wanting to believe what I knew was about to happen.

Did you ever get called into the School Heads office, knowing you were in deep shit?

That feeling came straight back as Queen Monkey said she was going to read from a statement as there was no easy way to do it.

When she said that one of us was going to be put forward for redundancy, the Fears were confirmed.

Instant sick feeling deep through my bones.  My peripheral vision widened as the room started to spin.

I tried to listen to the rest of the crap at the same time as trying not to vomit or pass out.

I’m fucked.

Well, maybe not – but it’s one of us now, and who knows when the next will come?  I’m still waiting to hear if I’m first to go…

Life was good!

Beautiful girlfriend who I’ve finally moved into a nice house with.  Got my car license (at great expense).  The potential of living a lifelong dream of racing cars, bikes or both next year or at the very latest the one after.

Fuck me, life was good.

Now it’s just fear, despair and depression.

There are no jobs out there.  Even if there was, the very thought of applying for jobs or being a temp again… I don’t know if I can do it…

The really sickening things?

That very morning I’d arrived at work to see a new 47″ plasma screen being delivered – for the downstairs conference room.  That would cost over a tenth of my yearly salary.

Then there’s been talk all day of the Christmas staff do – which a very conservative estimate by myself totals the same as my yearly salary at least.  Then there’s the separate managers do’s.

Ha!  Managers!

Interesting then to note that they hired a new manager (four times my salary at the very least?) a few months ago.  He joins the 50% of managers or so in our company.

Yet they pick the staff who do the shitty work and earn a pittance to cut costs?

Meh!

Just what the fuck am I going to do?