the uninvited guest

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 28, 2018

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Submitted: January 28, 2018

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The Uninvited Guest

My cell rings breaking the quiet monotony of a slow night at work. It’s my wife Dana and she is breathing heavily and in a panicked manner. “Your father is here.” she says with a hint of fear being heard in her voice. Now I am thinking that my wife is insane. No, that can’t be it; I must have heard her wrong. Again she repeats herself, but this time with a more animated and terrified tone to her speech. “YOUR FATHER IS HERE!” My father and I had a very difficult relationship when I was growing up due to his alcoholism and abuse. We later were estranged for many years. We ultimately had a civil relationship but no apologies were ever offered. I forgave him in my heart but I also knew I could never forget the trauma inflicted upon me and my sister Julia when we were young.

My father showing up at my home generated a sense of uneasiness and distress. My father died on February 15th, 2015 and he was cremated. His ashes were spread by my brother in front of several drinking establishments that my dad had financed daily. This was almost three years ago.

I left work immediately driving to my home at mach speed. My head was in a stupor and the supplemental haze that accompanied my befuddlement, nearly lead me into several traffic collisions. I thrust my car into the driveway of my home nearly striking my wife’s Astrovan. I rushed up the stairs and into my home.

The very first things I see are my wife and daughters huddled together on the couch with my labrador retriever Cole, lying eerily quiet at their feet. Standing in the corner on the far side of the room is my father. He is pale in contrast to the darker tone of skin he had when alive. He looks at me with dead eyes but he doesn’t talk. I say to Dana, “What is going on here?” She is terrified as a matter of fact all three of them on the couch are trembling with fear. “He hasn’t said anything,” Dana says as her eyes dart back and forth from my father to me. I tell my wife and girls to take my car and go over to their grandfather’s house. As a father, I know that my family’s safety and wellbeing comes first. They exit quickly relinquishing this scene to me and this abomination or anathema that has manifested in my home in the persona of my father.

When we are left alone, I approach my “father” and demanded to know who he is and why is he here. He proceeds to quietly tell me that he is who I think he is and that he has always been here but he couldn’t be seen until today. He tells me that he has been in my head since his death. Ha e talks of his own mental illness and rage. He alleges that constant turmoil in his head begged for alcohol and when he drank alcohol, his rage and confrontational personality became dominant. “Why would you physically manifest now when you have been dead for three years?” I demanded to know. He morosely states that he will now be restricted to purgatory for punishment and determination. His lack of honor and respect to family and neighbors has compromised the path to glorious Heaven. And then there is that other thing…you know… the suicide attempt. Despite his failure in committing a mortal sin, he had sinned in his heart.

He had just finished a typical night of boozing and he headed drunkenly home, since the taverns were all now closed, he had no other options. I was home. I was 16 and I was awake in my bedroom. I had seen the headlights hit my bedroom window as his dark brown Buick Regal pounded down our long driveway to the garage. I knew what to expect and I was already clenching my jaw, making a fist and hunching my shoulders up. As usual, a confrontation would be imminent. I don’t know what the theme would be tonight but it really didn’t matter. My mother was in bed and she heard the car and she was feeling the same things that I was feeling at that moment. Julia no longer lived with us having been evicted by my father after several violent encounters and a drug habit that started as a coping mechanism in response to the abuse. My younger brother was thankfully spared from the abuse due to his age. I began taking deep breathes to relax myself. I did this for quite a long time it seemed. My father usually had stumbled in the house by now, turning on lights and trying to form words that made sense, of course unsuccessfully. I was okay with the delay. Maybe he would sleep in the yard tonight.

After a couple more minutes, I heard my mother screaming “Alan, Alan! Help me, it is your father!” She was standing on the driveway in front of the overhead door. The door was closed and carbon monoxide gas had completely filled the brick garage but was seeping from under the overhead door and side service door. My mother had retrieved the electric garage door opener and was hurriedly pressing the open button. Nothing happened; my father had disconnected the electrical from the opener. My mother buried her face in her hands and she was sobbing. I went and tried opening the service door but it was locked from inside and barricaded. I began to kick and punch at the door and I was able to open it a couple of inches. My hands were injured and I was breathing very heavily. I could see through the sliver or light in the door that my father was in the front seat. He was unconscious with his head laying prone horizontally on the driver’s seat. I continued to batter the door until it finally gave in with a crash. I rushed to the car still breathing heavily and taking in the poisonous fumes. The car was locked. I tried smashing the window but it wouldn’t break. I was able to wiggle my finger between the window and the frame. I started pulling at the window and it became displaced from the track. I opened the door from the inside and reached over and turned off the ignition. With surging adrenaline, I didn’t realize that the carbon monoxide that I was gulping down had been affecting my alertness. I was becoming disoriented. I plugged the door opener back into the electrical socket and pressed the open button located in the car. Things began getting fuzzy and I remember my head throbbing. I grabbed my father’s arms and dragged him out of the garage. I collapsed and began vomiting. I then went unconscious for an amount of time that I still do not know. When I awoke, my father was semi-conscious and laying on a piece of outdoor furniture, a glider. My mother was screaming at him. I made my way into the house and collapsed on my bed. The smell of car exhaust had permeated my clothes and patches of vomit needed to be cleaned.

My father didn’t go to work the next day. He was still ill and he refused to go to the hospital. I was exhausted, sore, scraped up and I had a horrendous headache. Fortunately, it was summertime and school was out of session. My mother and I approached my father later when he seemed lucid and asked him why. Why did he try to kill himself? His answer; he didn’t. He doesn’t know why the garage door wasn’t working but he has no intention of “checking out.”

My father continued to drink and be abusive after this incident. He did take a short break but then he was right back at it. But, something else came out of this incident and it wasn’t good. I never was able to go asleep again until everyone in my house was asleep first. For decades, I went to sleep as the sun rose. It affected every aspect of my life and subsequent relationships that I would have with others. I studied suicides and death. I became a police officer and volunteered for every death investigation call. I was assigned to the detective division where I worked murders and suicides. I signed up for training and I received it at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. I enjoyed taking new officers to the ME’s office and giving them tours of the facility which included visiting the freezer where hundreds of bodies and parts are kept. I eventually went back to college and studied abnormal psychology and addiction. My thesis was on modalities and instances of suicide among law enforcement professionals.

“So why are you back here now? I am aware of what happened and of the destruction that it had caused in certain parts of my life,” I asked my father. His reply was simple. He said that he had the inclination for taking his own life since he was very young. His family’s history is laced with alcoholism and death. As a precursor to his penance, he was allowed to make one journey in order to warn me to not dwell on death. With that, he was gone. The first piece of advice given to me by my father was to not allow death to creep into my mind. Thanks Dad. It would have been better if you brought me a case of beer.

 


© Copyright 2018 Alan D. Saint. All rights reserved.

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