The Cold (Daniel Williamson)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story I wrote for a creative writing class. It is still in the works as a first draft. I first wrote a setting you will find in the middle of the story, regarding the morning he wakes to a new city, and afterwards wrote the beginning and post happenings.

It is about a photographer, Mikael (mick-ale), who loves his wife but because of work they do not see much of each other. Mikael awakes to find a new city, and a new wife(not literally), after a new medicine is released.

Submitted: November 02, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 02, 2011




The Cold


This is work of Daniel J Williamson, November 2011.

(   Mikael (mick-ale) - not Michael )

There is only one thing Mikael can say brings more ease to his mind, than the love he has for this city and the sounds that make music to his ear every day. That is his wife. Though he stays close to these city blocks, like a close cousin or a father that brought him up to who he is today. His wife is always working, like he.

The distance found between them because of their work lives, can bring both happiness and sadness. Of course, with someone you love so much, you want to be with them all the time. Yet Mikael and his wife have learned to not mourn over this anymore, and instead anticipate the moments they will have together. Those happy, lovely nights. Sometimes, Mikael would not sleep. He would sit up in bed, a baby-soft cloth in his right hand cleaning his camera lens, and his left hand massaging her as if it were their last day on earth. Other days, he would get up hours early to prepare a breakfast for the couple, the few mornings he could manage to wake before she was gone. Though, there was that morning.

This morning, he awoke to find her not only still sleeping a she would at least be in the shower by now, but laying there as if her alarm clock was not going off like surround sound or the buildings fire alarm. Mikael reached over her beautiful body, her blonde hair warming him as he went for the snooze button. Abnormally warm. He kissed her on the cheek and still in his boxers, started to make breakfast. Half of an hour went by, Mikael went back and forth from kissing her and hitting snooze again, like she had no idea there was a rooster in her ear. To the microwave, attempting the keep her food warm. Mikael was curious, bored-line worried, yet although this was odd, she was home. He would be happy to see her sleep in more often.

Leaving his apartment for work, a few cars would drive by so slow he could hear the talk on the radio. Only every other sentence, sometimes it would take a minute for another car to roll by as if it did not have a driver, or brakes, these cars just crawling like the world was on pause. The news spokesperson sounded different, it is usually a female speaking, she was always so loud, spunky, annoying. The man talking seemed to never have worked on live news before, not verbally stuttering, but pausing, as if to catch his breath or even yawn. He seemed nervous.

Hundreds of thousands of people traveling within these city blocks daily, but you do not have to people watch or photograph and study the area like Mikael does for a living, to notice a change in flow this morning. 

Business men come from around the world, some by bus, some by train, between news papers, radios and the internet, drama and talk can be known throughout like a high school morning room. The talk of today, some new anti-biotic that was created for a venomous plant in the northern part of Africa. Brought here to be globally discussed, in the local yet famous auditorium with the best doctors and geniuses around. Apparently, it’s a medicine that cures the common cold.

The streets were Mikael’s, it almost seemed, with fractions of the normal crowd around. No one with a camera, his photography at a possible peak he thinks to himself. The morning birds wanting to bathe in the public gardens now able to, with the normal crowd of tourists and locals having coffee not to bother them. This was a first, what a beautiful and rich shot he could take and sell. The parked cars outside of the well known yet ignored resident only-parking area, now turning orange, covered in parking tickets.

Mikael found a close bench, sat down, and very slowly pushed and turned his lens cover off of his camera. He would sit on the very top of the bench, butt where your back would usually rest, feet therefor above the ground, keeping the dirt of the ground away from his camera. After careful inspection and cleaning, the lens is ready to assist Mikaels eye in photographing this calm morning.

The birds started to fly away, Mikael noticed, as they expected the crowd of people on their lunch break to breach their territory for a while. The lonesome Mikael made his way to the ally-ways nearby to continue his privacy, knowing the lunch time light would give great views in the normally dark area between buildings.

Some days, when work seemed slow for his wife, he could walk by her work and bring her lunch. Hoping to find her happy and healthy, hard at work, he called her building. It must be busy there at least, he thought, not getting one answer for fifteen minutes, not even a attitude filled college girl on her internship break who loves saying “Please old Sir?” without letting you reply with a “Yes” or a “No” and getting her rocks off simply letting time pass by not answering or transferring your call. Her cellphone did not answer either.

Without an answer, Mikael decided to walk the few blocks to Main St, her works building. Upon Mikael’s arrival to her work, the security guard tells Mikael there is a good chance she called in sick today, or did not show, because they usually tip him well and he was unable to buy a slice of cheese, today. Work is slow, the guard tells Mikael, “I honestly have not seen many people, Sir,” Mikael starts to walk away, turning around, hearing the Security Guard speak under his breath just enough for Mikael to hear yet also enough to pass it as a cough or nothing at all, something along the lines of “nice tip”

Ring. Ring. ………. Ring. Over and over again, his wife will not answer any phone he calls that she would normally have near. He runs home to hopefully find her alright. More cars drive by, they are going so slow that Mikael is able to keep up with them for moments, news now speaking of multiple E.R.’s being filled all over the downtown area, and the majority of the cars on the road to be ambulances soon enough. Losing his focus in his worries, curiosity, and more, Mikael trips over his own feet, running off the sidewalk, falling due to that roughly 6-inch drop to the concrete road. He lands on his back, making sure his camera did not meet an injury. Getting up after a minute or two, Mikael wipes his face which then turns his shirt mostly dirt with a little blood. Nothing too bad, a scrape.

The final automobile he passes before realizing he is home, is an ambulance. Mikael looks to find his apartment buildings door wide open, actually still swinging. Running inside, knocking over a health department employee in a blue jump suit, they both fall to the floor head-first. Mikael, with a broken tooth and falling in and out of consciousness, opens his eyes to see his cracked bedroom door open just enough showing his empty bed, strangers filling his home, and the worker he knocked over picking up what he dropped, an orange cylinder, the pill bottle with his wife’s name on it. The cold medicine she had just started to take, it was almost empty. Mikael, blown from the fall, tired from the running, and shocked by what he sees, he slowly faints to a deep sleep.

Awaking hours later to the sounds of birds chirping, attempting to stretch like he would any morning, Mikael can hardly move a muscle. Mouth full of his own dry blood, it’s colder this morning he thinks, as many of the birds who usually attend the park find their way into his home through the open windows and onto his goose-bump covered body. Through the windows Mikael can see the moon falling, coming to the end of it’s shift yet it seems as if the darkness is not following it.

It’s a cloudy morning. Mikael walks down this loud road with more mist than sun hitting his face. The coolest breeze in a while seems to be the only thing passing him, bumping into one person after the next. Panic would be nice right now, instead the danger of silence from those around him. Not sure who has gone crazy, not sure of anything at this point. He looks over to the other side of this city road, to find not a car on top of someone, but someone on top of a car, who had jumped to the place they lay now and forever. There is too much havoc to be resolved for police or firemen to care for deaths, only worrying about the future ones.

In many of the buildings windows, you can see these health workers in their blue suits, assisting people yet almost taking them away. With such an open and creative mind Mikael might at times think too far, though it seemed as if people wished to jump to their death before being taken by these men.

“STOP, this section of the city is being sealed off, only authorized persons can cross this bridge” Say’s a guard to Mikael, blocking the Main St. bridge. Wanting nothing more than to get out of this diseased filled side of the city and whatever danger comes from it, the bridge seems the only way. Mikael brushes back the soaked hair from his face, tightly wiping his face dry with his bare hands which only stays that way for a few seconds, until he must start to blink again.

Turning his body to walk away, the wind picks up, throwing Mikael into the guard. Angry, the guard strikes Mikael hard in his face, patterns of the pistol grip imprinted on his cheeks. Landing on his stomach, Mikael’s camera his the ground first. Wanting to explain it was the wind, not he with intentions of touching the guard, “tha-a-..” Mikael fails to get a complete word in without being struck again. Crawling a few yards, Mikael holds on tight to a pole, which helps him rise and climb to his feet balanced once again. The water going down his clothes coming from the pole he leans on sends shivers through his right ride.

Looking down he notices his lens cap is missing, he raises his camera to his eyes to try and see across the bridge. It’s too dark, the bridge is too high, and nothing is noticeable. Mikael turns his view to the high buildings around him, the fog and rain make it almost impossible to see anything but windows with lights in them. They were all cracked. Placing the camera to his shirt to wipe the dirt, he is cut. His lens is what was cracked.

Not sure where is wife is, not sure what the hell is going on, finding it almost hard to breathe he is so anxious and desperate, someone taps him on the shoulder. Scared of the guards now, scared of anyone, Mikael turns around to notice it is a guard and starts to back away. The guard explains to Mikael, he isn’t going to hurt him but warns him about the situation. Mikael learns this part of the city will be locked down and the only ones getting out must be authorized, or taken for treatment, there is a 50/50 chance of death rate with these pills, the guard tells Mikael. This must be where she was taken, Mikael thinks about his wife, thanking the guard for his help and walks back into the darkened city watching his back.

Lights seem more scarce the further he goes, assuming it would be safer than the ground, Mikael decides to head for a higher place. With many rooms, buildings empty, an open door was not hard to find. The first one he could, he entered. Stairs are splintered, everything is wet, a hard grip on the rails keeps him from falling, but his every-day sandals start to slow him down, Mikael removes them right before he finds the roof top. It is locked, and the pressure he applies with his back and legs, does not open it. He takes his already cracked camera, and busts the lock open. One more push, and throws himself, opening the door and landing him on his back, but on the roof. Grabbing ahold of the side of the roof, he leans his stomach to balance him, allowing him to view the city and what is going on around him.

Mikael can see the ambulances and black cars all going across the bridges, heading towards the heavily guarded park in the middle of the city. Noticing most of the health and other department employees are gone from this part of the city, Mikael knows there is not much time left before the area is sealed off for good, as the guard told him.

Looking all around, for another exit, a way into the park side, a boat maybe to get across. He see’s his home, a few blocks away. The birds have made it into his other rooms, eating food, inviting other animals, something sticks out. Through his window, and the cracked door to his bedroom, a pill is on his desk. The pills his wife and this city, have taken.

Without thinking he begins to run, dangerously in his bare feet, back to the street and towards his apartment. The shortcuts he knows through the ally ways he photographs, keep him from the patrolling guards who have taken an interest in being overly forceful towards those they think are sick, with the OK to do whatever they need to, to get the pills out of the hands of the public.

One more view through his cameras lens, allowing his to see better at night, he looks for a safe entrance. Some animals are entering through the fire escape, he follows, cutting his feet on trash that is everywhere. Arriving to his window, he leans in, takes the pill and quickly slides down the latter, falling onto a bag of trash. A guard hears this, runs to the rear of his apartment and puts a gun to his head. Mikael has the pill in his hand, reaching out to place it in the guards possession, Mikael quickly throws it in his own mouth, swallows, and rests like the fight was over.

Angry with Mikael, the guard tells him what a stupid thing he just did, and leaves him as if to die. With nothing but his wife’s hand in mind, Mikael grabs onto the latter of his fire escape, raises to his bloody feet which you could see mixing in with the rain as the street lights aluminate the current. Walking down Main St., lights begin to blur. A crowd of people wanting to exit, building up at the beginning of the bridge. Upon arriving to the crowd, the guard who warned him notices he looks different. His eyes dilated, his face turning red, not a blushing red, one where you can see his veins. Mikael is put on a stretcher, and escorted through the crowd, towards the other side.

Upon arriving to the bridge, the first guard notices Mikael, they stare into each others eyes until the mix of people and foggy weather block this view of each other. Through the fog he can see many lights, outlining an image of safe zones and resting areas. One building has a hazardous warning sign outside the door, and the persons carrying him hand him off to other workers, in much brighter, larger suits. Mikael feels both happiness and sadness, remembering his wife was not in his condition, she will not be inside, yet also knowing he has come to the end.

Entering this building, even with well over 100 people inside, it’s much quieter than the havoc outside, and the foggy weather had no longer effected the view of him or his camera lens. Mikael lays there, inside this white room and with his left hand, raises his camera to his eye. He feels something touch his right hand, through his lens he looks down and notices another hand joining his. Mikael, starts to cry, and drops his camera to the ground. This other hand, is wearing his wives ring.

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