Breakfast In Bedlam

dark short story breakfast

[wrote this a couple years ago now, but thought i’d stick it up here to save my blog from utter dormancy while i finish my degree. enjoy!]

She was the apple of Frederick’s eye: a softly pulsating spot at the core of his being where light glowed like fresh coals against a warm grate…Sarah.

From city to city, he had always loved her. Barely a day passed where he found himself more than a laugh’s throw away and photos of his beautiful chérie lined the surface of his bedside table. The night before had been a wild one: Sarah and her colleagues – fellow student nurses on placement at the local hospital – celebrated the end of their pre-reg years with a few bottles of bubbly, finger food and live music at The Sunken Leaves, an ex-brewery turned jazz bar by the riverside.

Holding little renown as a steadfast drinker, Sarah met lights-out early on and was sent off home by the girls, knowing her dutiful husband worked nights and would take care of her hangover come morning. In the event she happened upon Frederick in the street on his way home from work. A drunken “Hello… what’s your name again?” was laughed off as he paid the cabby and led her across the street, inside the crudely painted door and up the stairs where to lay her to rest, firmly tucking her in. He gave her a bitter nightcap to help pass the night soundly.

When he woke, Sarah was busy making her best impression of a log and was sleeping dreamlessly, thank goodness. Bubbling with an absurd giddiness he swept the entire house – polished glasses, hoovered carpets, emptied bins and even brushed Sarah’s soft brown-blonde hair out of tresses and in to smooth, even strands. Next he made her favourite: two poached eggs on gluten-free toast, chamomile tea and a little bowl of sugary cereal on the side of the tray; a little pick-me-up.

When he entered the room, Sarah had already woken. Opening his mouth in pleasant greeting, the screaming cut him short. Sarah split the air and rent apart the morning silence. Her skin burned and roared protest against the rough, unforgiving bonds which tucked her firmly in to the bed, powerless. The whites of her eyes sung of paralysing fear but her noise dampened with another “bitter nightcap” napkin and she settled back down. Frederick, unperturbed, sat by her side and began to re-tie the pleats in her hair, smiling vacantly at her photos on his bedside table; his own scene-mismatched face filling the holes cut beside her own.

Across the street, two detectives spoke in placid tones to a man stricken with grief and streaming tears from his eyes. They sat in his kitchen, poached eggs growing cold in the morning sun.

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