Chapter 4: Chapter Four

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 201
Comments: 3

Chapter Four

Unlike most parts of the house, the dining room was bright, serene, and full of warmth, three elements that had been missing from Susan’s isolated heart. Sam sat at the edge of the table, distressed beyond measure. He held a fork in one hand, a knife in the other, with which he used to cut the smoldering turkey. Susan sat across from him, none the wiser to her husband’s true feelings. They wedged up inside of him, further tearing at his sensibilities. Dr. Edward, who sat beside Susan, continued to fumble with his hands, not exactly nervous, but also not entirely calm.

“It’s a charming night, isn’t it?”

“I suppose so, but then again, I never really cared for the night,” Sam replied, sliding the turkey to the center of the table.

“To the contrary, I enjoy every part of the night. At night, we can do all sorts of seedy things, none of them more vicious than betraying those whom we love,” Edward hissed, resentment in his voice.

“What do you mean by that?” Susan asked.

“Well, why should I mean anything by it? Can’t we, as civilized human beings, discuss philosophical issues, or must we confine ourselves to talking about the weather? Now, don’t get me wrong; the weather, I’m often told, can be quite nice, but can it really substitute for productive conversation? Must we, as individuals, suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, just as Shakespeare did? At this point, I’m not really sure,” Edward bemoaned, slightly irritated.

Sam rose from the table, completely turned off by Edward’s unstable behavior. Susan remained silent, torn between Edward and Sam, both of whom remained the only men that she had ever loved. From various directions, only some of which were detectable, intense arrows of despair penetrated Susan’s already fragile heart. Edward remained perfectly calm, not blinking even once.

“Why are you acting this way? We haven’t even talked about politics yet, and we’re already at war,” Sam huffed, slamming his fist on the table.

“Politics and religion, the two things people are never supposed to discuss over dinner. Well, we’ve already talked about politics, almost to the point of annoyance. Instead, we could discuss religion, my personal favorite subject,” Edward uttered, conviction in his deep voice.

“If that’s what you want,” Sam whispered, settling back into his chair.

“Tell me, Sammy, do you believe in God?”

“I try to, although not always successfully,” Sam answered, growing more uneasy by the second.

“Do you believe that God is dead, as Friedrich Nietzsche believed, or do you take a more optimistic view, as I once did?”

“What are you driving at?”

“The truth, my dear fellow. The truth isn’t always easy to hear, but it must be heard, nonetheless. Why, for example, is there so much suffering in the world? If there is a God, like so many people claim, then why does he allow human disease, mental or physical? I asked myself that question for years, often while treating my patients, most of whom were very tragic cases. There were some exceptions, of course, but they represented the overwhelming majority. Eventually, I came to one conclusion: there is no God,” Edward stated, bitterness in his voice.

Sam opened his mouth, as if to respond, but he ultimately decided against it. His words, on further inspection, were not adequate, let alone satisfactory. He remained silent for several seconds, clearly incapable of speech. Edward folded his arms, triumphantly smiling while doing so. It was an obvious power play, meant to stifle Sam’s confidence, at which it succeeded.

“Don’t you have anything to say?”

“Sure, there’s a lot of suffering, but how does that prove that there is no God? God might have a reason, one that we are unaware of, for why he allows suffering. On second thought, can there be happiness without suffering?”

“What do you mean by that?”

“In order for there to be happiness, there must be suffering, at least to a certain degree. Otherwise, how could we hope to distinguish between feelings? Happiness exists because suffering exists. Minus suffering, we wouldn’t be fully human. It’s a part of us, inseparable from all other aspects of our existence, and that’s the whole point. Secondly, suffering humbles us, something that happiness can never do,” Sam proclaimed, gaining confidence in his voice.

“That sounds very romantic, possibly even a little sentimental, but it ignores the reality of the world. All living creatures, including the three of us, will perish from the Earth. Billions of years into the future, the Earth will be destroyed, and trillions of years after that, the universe will come to an end. What kind of God would allow something like that to happen? He would have to be sadistic, if not downright mad,” Edward exclaimed, finally losing his temper.

Just as Sam started to respond, a large gasp, one found only in the most disturbed of individuals, escaped Susan’s delicate lips, causing Sam to instantly abandon his train of thought, to the great disappointment of Edward, who eagerly anticipated a reply. Susan looked down at the table, only partially aware of her surroundings. Rather shockingly, Edward remained perfectly still, not moving even once, unlike Sam, who continued to rapidly shake. Susan reached for her glass of wine, almost touching it, but her fingers refused to envelop the thin glass.

“Susan, what’s wrong?” Sam asked.

“Why must you two always fight? What good does it do? You’re killing me, the two of you,” she cried, tears bursting from her eyes.

“Life is full of fights. You should get used to it, before it’s too late,” Edward responded, rising from the table.

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about facing life as it is, this very day, instead of living in some dream land,” Edward pouted.

“Edward, why did you come here, anyway? Ever since you arrived, you’ve been trying to provoke me, and I don’t know why,” Sam exclaimed, distraught beyond measure.

“If I’m provoking you, it’s only because I’m getting at you with the truth. After all, why should I, a prominent doctor, not try to cure you of your disease? You’re a very skilled farmer; there’s no question about that, but with my help, you could be ten times better, free of charge,” Edward stated, wiping his face with a napkin.

“Even if I were down on my knees, begging for a handout, I would still never ask for your help,” Sam retorted, spitting on the table.

“You will, probably sooner than you think,” Edward hissed, a large grin running across his round face.

Sam clenched his fists, all but succumbing to his anger. Edward’s pronouncements, put together with his smugness, pierced all of Sam’s emotions, cutting through even the most robust of sentiments, whether negative or positive. Lost in her own thoughts, Susan rose from the table. Her hands, upon further inspection, appeared to be shaking, with no possible end in sight. Even after witnessing his daughter’s immense pain, Edward still refused to react, his lungs only taking shallow breaths. Susan took several steps back, further slipping into a bleak abyss, from which there could be no refuge, exit, or escape.

“I feel sick,” Susan proclaimed, her face turning pale.

“Look at what you’re doing to her,” Sam yelped.

“What am I doing, to be precise, other than teaching her about the real world? Now that I’m here, I’m going to set a proper example for her, something that you could never even hope to do. You’re a very capable man, at least in your own way, but you don’t have the skill, let alone the training, to help in such matters,” Edward said in a stern voice.

“I might not have the training, but there is something that I do have,” Sam confirmed, sliding out of his chair.

“And what’s that?”

“A heart!”

Not even one second after Sam’s statement, Susan’s legs finally buckled, causing an immediate collapse. She stared at the ceiling, just barely conscious. Sam rushed towards her, his pulse racing. The thought of losing Susan, who remained his greatest love, was more than he could possibly bear. Dr. Edward, meanwhile, did not even bother to move a muscle, lest he break a bone. Susan’s fingers clawed against the floor, sweat flying from various directions. Her gasps were released in a rhythmic order, some of them sounding similar to synchronized music, but only for a very limited amount of time. Soon after, and with practically no warning, they turned into unpleasant gargles.

“Susan, are you all right?”

“Take me to bed,” Susan replied, her speech just barely coherent.

“Are you sure that’s what you want?”

“Well, seeing as I can barely walk, what other choice do I have?”

“Your point is well-taken,” Sam replied, lifting Susan into his arms.

“And am I supposed to sleep in the barn? I’ve never slept in such a place, and I can assure you, I don’t intend to start now,” Edward complained, stomping his feet beside Sam’s shoes.

“Frankly, that is probably where you belong, but if you must stay inside, you can sleep in the living room; that is, of course, if you’re not chicken,” Sam chuckled.

“At least chickens know how to cross the road, something that I haven’t seen you do yet, much to my disappointment,” Edward retorted, removing a cigarette from his pocket.

“Goodnight, Edward,” Sam said, turning his back on his father-in-law.

“We’ll talk in the morning, bright and early,” Edward added, firmly lighting a cigarette in his hand.

Sam did not respond, disappointing Edward, who eagerly waited for a reply. Quite suddenly, the light within the room became very dim. Where noise had once existed, only silence remained. Out of kindness, Sam carried Susan in his arms, in turn straining his muscles. He looked down at Susan’s pale face, not quite sure whether to kiss her, as he had done so many times in the past, or to squeeze her tightly, gently, and firmly, in the hope of bringing her absolute peace, as opposed to hatred and death, two things she could never seem to escape from.

As they made their way out of the room, shadows continued to engulf the environment, Edward’s face still partially in view. With a cigarette in one hand, and a match in the other, he stared into the abyss, in deep thought about many things. The longer he pondered, the more sinister his thoughts became. His face, accompanied by his arms, legs, and chest, started to rapidly tighten. He no longer appeared to be himself. He moved across the room, at first feeling quite bitter, but with every step that he took, his bitterness turned into pure, unrelenting resentment. Above all other feelings, resentment tormented him without mercy. His resentment had the ability to destroy everyone around him, good or evil.  

 


Submitted: October 04, 2019

© Copyright 2021 JL reaper. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

Ruelynn

Wow. I need to learn how to be more descriptive from you, you're killing it. I like this idea, and the sentences are so human too- especially the part about politics and religion. I don't care what time of day it is, I don't wanna hear about it unless you're looking to brawl ahaha. I wish I could give you constructive notes. I think that's part of the reason no one ever reviews anything, they feel it's part of the deal, but I don't see it that way. I'm no master; I can give advice where there needs to be improvement but so far I haven't found anything from you. So, to wrap it up i'm liking this. I wish Susan would lighten up. Someone should tell her she's bringing down the room. Someone told me to snip my chapters in half, and it was a good idea. i didn't realize how long they could be on other websites, but yours are a great length.

Mon, October 7th, 2019 5:49pm

kelly perkins

Holy cheese nuggets
This just keeps getting better

Sat, October 26th, 2019 9:54am

Author
Reply

Thank you!

Sat, October 26th, 2019 10:48am

Sylvermyst

Great chapter

Tue, March 10th, 2020 10:23pm

Facebook Comments

More Mystery and Crime Books

Other Content by JL reaper

Book / Thrillers

Book / Mystery and Crime

Book / Mystery and Crime