All Things Shall Pass Away

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of a man who has lost everything in life after thinking money was the ticket to happiness. He nows spends all his time drinking alone, until one night he wakes up from a vivid dream to a peculiar situation.

Submitted: May 06, 2008

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Submitted: May 06, 2008



All Things Shall Pass Away

By DJ Britton


A bottle of gin sat on the table next to Clarence Vicker’s favorite chair in his relaxation room.  His butler had chilled it and put it there for him before leaving for the night.  The sight of it brought a sense of despair.  He felt it saddening that his butler knew exactly where the broken down old man would be and what he would be doing.  He sat down in his chair with his blue robe wide open with no clothes under it.  No one was in the home besides him, so he cared not to cover his privates.

 Clarence Vickers was a self-made millionaire who received no money from his parents.  There was no money to receive.  He had made all his money by himself, investing in both the stock market and buying real estate after starting out as a mere assistant for higher ups.  At the age of sixty-five, he had been officially retired for one year with plenty of money to throw around. 

As a child, Clarence’s father always told him that money didn’t buy everything.  Clarence didn’t see that as anything more than nonsense from a man who barely made rent month by month.  Television and media proved differently.  The rich are found smiling, while the rest grimace through the idea of poverty.  At the age of eight, Clarence’s parents had been kicked out of their apartment and forced to live in a trailer park for about a year before accepting an invite from his Aunt to come live with her family.  During his first night in bed at the trailer park, Clarence vowed to never end up like his parents.

Clarence found the bottle of gin half drunk before discovering a Clint Eastwood documentary on television.  The actor had always been a favorite of Clarence, especially in his classic westerns.  It was one of the very few things he and his father had in common.  It seemed as though Clint never lost and would beat the bad guy in nearly every movie. He found it funny Clint brought more satisfaction than Candy with the large breasts rubbing her behind on his lap.  The only disappointment he found in the Clint Eastwood documentary was that it was ten-thirty, and the documentary had begun a half hour earlier.

“Marriages are made in Heaven,” said Clint in his own documentary, expressing his relationship with his own wife.  “But so is thunder and lightning.”  Clarence couldn’t have agreed with Clint any more.  Perhaps if he heard that quote many years ago he could have taken marriage more seriously, and had come home around five rather than ten every night. 

College brought him the love of his life.  Nancy, a beautiful blonde who just happened to be in the same Physics class during his second year of college.  She was a devoted girlfriend who stood by Clarence after college and even was willing to put aside her dreams to become a stay at home mother when the condom busted one night.  Two years after college, they were married.  Two years after being married, they had both a daughter and a son. 

Clarence loved Nancy and his children, and that’s why he worked so hard with real estate and the stock market.  He wanted to make sure they were well off if anything was to happen to him.  His desire, though, soon became an addiction when his annual income rose to six digits, then later to seven digits.  Long nights away from home led to a frail situation.

At the age of forty, Clarence found himself in divorce court, watching his finances being split in two.  Nancy gained custody of the children.  Clarence was left with a hole in his chest that he filled with more hours at work.  Withstanding his workers during the day, only he resided on his five-acre home.  Even with the divorce, Clarence refused to change his hours at the office into time with his children.  His encounters with his kids soon became rare visits and some holidays.  Although his daughter Samantha hid her feelings towards this, his son David berated him at every possible opportunity.

I know what you're thinking,” said Dirty Harry on the television screen. “Did he fire six shots or only five? Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I've kind of lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum - the most powerful hand gun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've got to….” 

Those were the last words Clarence had heard before his eyes rolled into the back of his head.  Sleep brought past memories.  A carnival that he and Nancy went to while they were both in college.  It was such a fond memory because it was their second date, but also when they first kissed.  The fireworks showed Nancy’s beauty in the night as both of them strolled up high into the sky on the Ferris Wheel.  Nancy giggled and laughed, much pleased with the sprays of color in the dark, purple sky. 

Nancy spun her head towards Clarence, displaying a smile that melted his heart.  He wanted to tell her how beautiful she looked, but before he could Nancy was kissing his lips.  Clarence felt embarrassed at first, ill-prepared for the kiss and thought that maybe she would think he was horrible at it.  But the sweet taste of her lips and soon her saliva took away all worries.  Clarence closed his eyes and drifted away.

“How would you ever know what Samantha felt?  You’re never here!”

Clarence opened his eyes to find himself in the kitchen of his mansion many years after their first kiss.  Age dwelled into Nancy’s face, but she was just as beautiful as the first day he had met her.

“What does that mean?”  Clarence roared back.  He didn’t want to yell back, but yet he could not control his own actions.

Nancy waved her arms out to the side.  She frowned, which brought her light brown eyebrows together slightly.  “What do you think it means?  You miss everything that involves your children because of your work, and now you want to care when our daughter is being bullied at school?”

Clarence slammed his fist into the kitchen counter.  He felt nothing.  “I’m not going to get into this argument again!  I’m not Superman!  I have to work to make sure you all have everything I didn’t have as a child!  I promised you that when we got married!”

“No!”  Nancy screamed back.  “You don’t do it for us, you do it to make sure YOU have everything YOU didn’t have!  Us has absolutely nothing to do it!”

Clarence wanted to cry, but his body disputed, spinning away from his wife and putting both hands on his hips.  Nancy stormed towards the kitchen exit, but before leaving, she turned back towards Clarence.  “When you’re willing to be a father, we can have this conversation again!”

Nancy disappeared down the hallway, but that didn’t stop Clarence to storm forward.  His body stopped at the doorway and pounded his fist into the wall.  Clarence again felt nothing.  “I’m a good father!  I’m a damn good father!” 

Clarence jumped back into reality and onto his feet in his relaxation room.  Sweat erupted from his forehead as he breathed heavily.  His heart raced, bringing a sharp pain to his chest. 

His heart.  It was why he spent so many lonely nights in his relaxation room.  What the divorce didn’t take away from him his heart problems robbed Clarence of.  It brought along his retirement from work entirely, offering nothing in return. 

With his retirement, Clarence had an eager desire to make up for time lost.  He had lost any opportunity to reconcile with Nancy, who had been re-married years after their divorce.  The only connection they had anymore was within Christmas cards.  Her messages in the cards seem to become shorter each year, and the “love” word was scrapped about ten years ago.  His daughter Samantha meanwhile invited him to come over whenever in the hopes to make up that time, but Clarence could always feel an invisible wall standing between them.  He quickly realized that there was something he missed with his family that he could never make up.  His visits to see Samantha and her children became fewer and fewer. 

He had vowed to become financially better than his parents to live a better life. He never knew that it would do the opposite.  With nothing to live for, money became as insignificant as blank paper.  That night where Clarence found himself admiring Clint Eastwood was the one-year anniversary of his retirement. He found himself in the same place he had been almost every night except for rare exceptions.  Alone in his relaxation room.

He felt pathetic, finding himself being pleased in strip clubs early in the day by the afternoon shows before coming home to liquor.  Liquor that his doctor said wasn’t good for his heart, but yet he drank anyway.

Clarence looked over to the classic, oak grandfather clock to find that it stated not a minute past ten-thirty.  The smell of gin stormed into his nostrils at great doses, more than it should have.  He turned to see the bottle on its side, and the glass he was drinking had shattered to pieces.  Gin covered the table, destroying the price of the antique furniture.  I must’ve knocked it down getting up, thought Clarence.

Clarence slumped down into his favorite chair, wiping the sweat from his forehead.  It was at this time that he noticed that his television was no longer airing the documentary, but was nothing more than static.  A scratchy sound echoed throughout the room. 

“Just my luck,” Clarence mumbled to himself.

He snatched the remote control off the gin-covered table and skimmed through the channels.  Yet, each channel came in with just as much static as the one before.  Cursing aloud, Clarence turned the television off.

The large window on the other end of the room shot open.  As it did so, a gust of wind made for twisters and tornados rushed into the room, forcing Clarence to dig his nails into the chair and squint his eyes.  The wind died within seconds, yet it left a profound affect. Clarence jumped to his feet.  He tied closed his robe tightly, as if worried someone was looking into the room on the second floor with binoculars, or perhaps climbed the tree right outside the window.

The liquor in his system brought a sense of hysteria, but Clarence shook it off.  Storming towards the window, Clarence pondered for only a mere second why the boards didn’t creek under his feet as it usually did so, but was more concerned with closing the window before another gust interrupted his night.  He did so, then locked the window to assure no more interruptions. At the sound of the clock by the latch, the scratching sound filled his ears drum yet again.

Clarence spun around not to see the television on but the red light on his father antique radio shining, showing that it was powered on.  He was amazed by this, because he never used the aged contraption, covered in scrapes and scratches.  The only reason he kept the squared gray radio was because it was one of the few things he still owned that belonged to his deceased parents.  It was a sentiment to his childhood, for he remembered always waking up to his parents listening to the news and classic music on it.  It was one of the very fond memories he had of his childhood.  Clarence had a three hundred dollar stereo also in his relaxation room, which of course he used anytime over the antique radio.  He didn’t even remember when he had plugged the antique radio into the socket. 

Clarence stood there frozen briefly, tilting his head and analyzing the antique radio as if it was a man with something peculiar about himself.  He came no more than three feet from the stereo before the sound of a guitar came from the speakers, the strings softly brushed by fingertips.

The supple voice filled his ears.  A strong male voice filled with assurance, sounding straight from the south.

I can hear what you're thinking,

All your doubts and fears,

And if you look in my eyes, in time you'll find,

The reason I'm here.

And in time all things shall pass away,

In time, you may come back someday.

To live once more, or die once more,

But in time, your time will be no more.


The fingertips brushed against the guitar softly once more.  The voice didn’t sound exactly threatening, but neither was it very inviting.  Hearing the word “die” made Clarence’s legs feel weak.  Unable to take anymore, Clarence rushed forward and nearly tripped over his own feet as he turned off the radio.  The red light on the stereo faded away. 

From behind him came the scratching sound again.  The television had turned back on. 

Clarence’s jaw dropped in amazement as he spun around on his left heel.  The television had returned to being static.  Clarence stood across the room from the television, staring at it as if they were two cowboys in a showdown in the Wild West.  After about a moment of acknowledging the television’s modification, Clarence moved his right foot.  But before he could plant his foot down on the wooden floor, he jumped back by the sight of the television changing to a dark and black scenery. 

It was almost dark enough to seem turned off, but yet it wasn’t.  It had a purplish feel to it, much like that night at the carnival.  As if taped by a handheld camera, the scene on the television faded downwards.  Although the background was still quite dark, the scene was upon fresh, green grass.  In the center of the grass was round shaped, gray stone. 

It was a freshly cut, unmarked tombstone.

A joke, Clarence thought to himself.  Tired of such a prank, Clarence wiped the sweat from his forehead once more and stormed towards the doorway.  For the first time in many months, he planned to leave his relaxation without being completely drunk out of his mind.  Yet again, he looked down at his bare feet, and acknowledged how the baseboards still no longer creaked.  Clarence stepped forward to enter the hallway, yet was propelled.  His face smashed off something that felt concrete but which he could not see.  Clarence staggered backwards, grumbling over the pain that could quite possibly be a broken nose.  He checked for blood and was thankful to find none. 

Clarence looked at the doorway as if it had tricked him.  Standing there obsolete.  Laughing at him.  Clarence wanted to punch it, but yet felt foolish at the same time for having such a thought.  Clarence went to step forward again, but before he could reach the exit the sliding door raced across the doorway until it slammed closed.  Clarence grabbed the handle on the sliding door to pull it open, but it dared not to budge.  This left him in much astonishment, for there was no lock on the sliding door.

What do you want from me?

Clarence swirled around and fell back into the door at the sound of the male voice.  Quickly, he looked over the room covered in green wallpaper, antique furniture, and books he had never read.  He was the only person in the room, yet that male voice distinctly came from within there.

I’m not calling you Dad! 

Clarence’s lips quivered, leaving him incapable of answering the male voice.  He could not even if he wanted to.  The voice sounded threatening, leaving his knees to buckle.

You weren’t there for my childhood, not even there for me while I became an adult, and I don’t want you in my life now!

Clarence didn’t fight the tears whatsoever.  He could not believe he couldn’t recognize the male voice right away.  It was his son David.  It had been the last thing his son had ever said to him.  It had been two years since he had heard from his only boy.  Clarence dropped to the floor with his back against the sliding door.  The way he sat with his knees bent pained his legs, but yet he cared not.  “Please stop,” Clarence whimpered.  “Stop it, whoever you are.”

He sat there in silence for minutes, afraid to move and incite any more harsh comments from his own blood.  Clarence looked up from the floor with dried tears on his face.  He analyzed the room again to see calmness. The television was off and so was the radio.  Clarence slowly stood up.  Caring not what it left on his robe, he wiped the snot from his nose on his sleeve.

The latch on the window flew open, as did the window once again.  The gust of wind was even stronger on its return.  It threw Clarence back against the sliding door.  His robe flew open, revealing his privates, this time not by choice.

A sharp pain in his back came from hitting the door, matching that in his knees.  Clarence began to wish to drink more just to relieve the suffering of his old bones at least a little.  But yet he was too scared to step forward and incite any more madness that could possibly happen.  At the same time, he wondered if madness truly could be stopped.

A gentle, flapping sound entered the room.  Clarence looked towards the open window, fearful of what the openness might bring.  But yet, the ductile sound brought a mere bird. 

A raven.

The bird flew into the room and perched itself on top of his large bookshelf and analyzed the room much like Clarence had done many times since waking up, but with  much more worry than this small bird seemed to have.  With the sight of the raven, Clarence began to wonder if he was actually stuck in a Poe tale.  But it was not the bird itself that made him curious.  He could not tell what it was, but yet the beak was spread far enough apart to prove there was something there.  With small steps, Clarence stepped towards the bird with the hopes of not scaring it.  But the raven didn’t even seem to pay the simplest attention to him.  It was still too busy looking over the room that it had flew into it.  With only a few feet between them, Clarence could see what was in the mouth of the raven, yet he believed his mind was playing tricks with him.  He didn’t want to believe it, so he stepped closer until he was nearly right under the bookshelf.  His mind played no tricks, for it was an eye between its beak.  An eye colored brown.  The same color as his.  Clarence gasped as the raven reared its head back and swallowed the eyeball whole, and for a bird his size, seemed have no problem doing so.

Clarence placed his hand on his stomach with a taste of vomit in the back of his mouth.  He fought to keep it down, but the sensation died instantly when from behind came the brush of the guitar again.  He was not surprised to turn to see the red light on the antique radio flashing.


You know your days are numbered,

Count them one by one,

Like notches in the handle of an outlaw's gun.

You can outrun the devil, if you try,

But you'll never outrun the hands of time.


The sound of crashing thunder came from over his shoulder, forcing him to spin around once more.  Clarence felt dizzy for all the times these interruptions forced him to go in a circle. Lightning flashed on the television.  The scene had not changed.  The tombstone was perched inside the screen, but it was not longer unmarked.  The words “Rest in Peace” were profoundly chiseled.  Under it was the name “Clarence Fickers.” 

“What the….”  Clarence’s voice broke off.  Before he could continue, a crackling sound came from all around him.  It sounded profound and thick, but yet he couldn’t tell where it was coming from.  The expensive paintings on his walls began to shake.  The green wallpaper began to rip as the plastered walls began to fracture.  The cracking sound proved to come from the walls as the breaks became bigger.  Paintings fell to the floor.  From behind, the large bookcase holding books collapsed onto the floor, making a giant ricochet of resonance.  It startled Clarence, bringing upon him one of the worst pains he had ever felt racing through his heart.  He collapsed to one knee with a loud grunt.  His knee hitting the wooden floor made no thud.

“Who is doing this?” Clarence exclaimed.  His screaming brought yet even more anguish, which brought him to pound his fist into the wooden floor in frustration.  He felt the pain of the strike, but yet heard nothing.

The brush of the guitar raided his ears.  Clarence wanted to race over and knock over the radio, but could not find the energy to even stand up from his current position.  Yet, the voice from the stereo mocked him.  It was at this time he noticed the power cord to the antique radio dangling in the air, unplugged.


In time there surely, come a day

In time all things shall pass away,

In time you may come back some say.

To live once more, or die once more,

But in time, your time will be no more.


Clarence was on the verge of berating the radio with the meanest insults he could think up before he thought it to be ridiculous to argue with electronic merchandise.

The raven.

The bird instantly hit his mind.  Clarence had not seen the bird since the bookshelf had crashed.  Surely, it would have reacted to such a thing.  It must have.  He began to ponder whether the raven had some ability to cause this.  But as he looked over the room, he did not see the bird. 

It must’ve flown out the window, he thought.

Yet, when that thought processed in his mind, he heard the cries of the raven.  Clarence knew where it must’ve come from.  The only place he didn’t check.  He looked over his shoulder towards the television.  On the screen stood the gray tombstone.  On top of it was the raven looking back and forth like it was in the room merely minutes before.  The tombstone had changed now.  Under Clarence’s name now dated the birth and death.  The birth date matched his. The date of death was present day.

A third gust of wind struck Clarence, the gust much stronger than the first two combined.  Clarence fell onto his back, still clutching his chest in pain.  His widened eyes stared at the open windows, opened to a darkness so thick that he couldn’t see a tree that he knew was standing right outside the room.  A cold chill came up his spine as he saw a black mass from the darkness appear on the windowsill.  In no rush, the black mass slowly dragged itself over the wooden floor towards him.  Clarence fought to stand up, but was forced back down by the stabbing pain in his heart. 

Clarence fought to speak, but could no go louder than mumbles under his breath.  He tried to drag himself backwards across the floor, but found his arms quite weak.  The black mass eased closer, and with it brought memories of the past.

His first day of school.  The fear of being rejected by the other children.

The day he met Nancy, and how lucky he felt to meet an angel.

His wedding day.  What Nancy called the perfect wedding, the one she had dreamed about as a child.

The birth of his children, and how thankful he felt to be alive.

A scream came from the black mass, hammering nails into Clarence’s ears.  His teeth clenched as he pressed his hands on his ears as hard as possible.  The screech brought upon him different memories.  Memories that brought him tears.

Missing all of David’s peewee baseball games.  To hear that David quit baseball because “Dad doesn’t care.”

All the arguments with Nancy mixed into one, forcing more agony on him than he could possibly imagine.

Samantha’s daughter, his granddaughter at age five, not knowing that he was her grandfather.  Clarence had missed her first four birthdays.

Watching Nancy’s new husband kiss her, and the desire to kill him for doing so.

His forced retirement, and how all the ‘we will miss you’s could never neglect the fact that his life was officially over.

Clarence was left whimpering like a dog on his hands and knees.  “Please stop,” he cried.  “I beg of you.”  With tears flowing down his face, his cheeks bright red, Clarence looked up to see that the black mass was shaped as a person standing over him.  Its sexuality unknown, for the figure had neither a face nor any other specific distinction. 

The pain in his chest became unbearable.  It no longer felt like a knife stabbing into his chest.  It felt like bullets repeatedly striking him as the agony throbbed tremendously.  His body began to shake with each shot.  Clarence rose up onto his knees in the hopes to reach out to the black figure.  The figure offered no help, but merely stood over him immobile.  Clarence’s eyes rolled back into his head with a giant gasp of air entering his lungs.  He exhaled while collapsing backwards, hitting the wooden floor with no sound on impact. 

“Dad?  Dad?”

Clarence felt not a minute go by before hearing his son’s voice.  For the first tim

© Copyright 2018 DJ Britton. All rights reserved.

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