Siphoned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my first completed story of considerable length. I know there are many stories on booksie and it is easy to overlook this one, but if you take the time to read it, would you please comment?

Submitted: April 12, 2008

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Submitted: April 12, 2008

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I was accused, tried, and convicted of a murder that I did not commit.  I know that you may not believe me, but even if you don’t this has to be told to you.  Sure almost every guilty man says that he’s innocent, but what does the innocent man say?  I have been in here god knows how long awaiting my end.  I was at the crime scene, I saw the man die, I knew who did it and still I rot here.  The cigarette between my fingers is burning its filter and my fingers start to feel a sharp pain.  It would have been easy to give the name to the police but now it is too late.  I thought they would come forward to tell them that I was innocent and that I was not the one who should take the fall for this.  I lean my back against the wall.  This incessant dripping is going to kill me first.  What time is it?  It is impossible to know anymore.  I try to picture my mother’s face but it is becoming too hard to see in my mind...  Would someone please stop the goddamn dripping?!  I am going to lose it!  I think the guards are starting to grow very weary of me.  I wish they’d kill me before the dripping does.  I shut my eyes for a minute and focus my thoughts.  A mist seems to metaphorically flow into my mind and I am brought back to the night of the murder…

 

“Good evening to you sir,” the young woman behind the desk greeted me.  I responded with a hollow sounding “hello.”  After which I threw in a smile too.  It wasn’t enthusiastic but even though I did not know her she still had a familiarity about her. She looked like student struggling to make it just like me.  For a moment it seemed I knew exactly how she felt.  We both had left our homes under rough circumstances and travelled to what we thought was a better life.  We both lived a life where we could only hope for the best in the morning when we woke up.  The lobby looked trashy but was well-lit and appeared mysterious.  Kind of the way one’s home is after being away for so long.  The smell of a place where nothing ever really moves or is lived in for a period of time.  That smell would often be my greeting when I would return to my apartment for what little time that I was there.  It was all too familiar to me in this place though.  I don’t know why I had come here.  I hated my father and he hated me in return, but my mother had made him get together with me to try and break this division between us.  Under normal circumstances I might have outright refused but when her health had started to dwindle and I said okay because I knew she just wanted to see me and my father get along before she died.  Even after I had left, she still got a weekly phone call from me just so she’d know I was still out there and pushing along.  I knew that I could not let her down.  I stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the fourth floor.  All I could hear was the strain of pulleys and the soft hum of the elevator as I leaned back against the wall.  I took a quick glance into the mirror on the wall and saw a very sorry looking fellow looking back at me.  Unshaven with matted brown hair and my eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep last night.  I never seemed to sleep well any more, but that was no concern of mine at this time.  Again I returned to listening to the pulleys whine and the low pitched hum.  Finally the doors squeaked slowly open and the acrid smell of cigarette smoke filled my nostrils.  Down the corridor the faded red wallpaper was starting to tear from its glue.  It’s hard to explain this thought right now but it reminded me of some of my friends who were still living at home even though they hated it more then life.  Why they stayed and I left was something that I do not know. Either way we were not happy.  As I sluggishly walked down the hall I thought to myself.  What is happiness?  Really in my mind it would appear to only be satisfaction.  You see the famous athletes who keep demanding more and more money.  They don’t appear to be satisfied with what they had and even when they achieved what they wanted they just had to have more.  I know that I am not happy but then again I don’t have a pot to piss in.  I was between girlfriends at the moment so I couldn’t even make a claim of false happiness even if I wanted to.  On the carpet I could feel the grunge and dirt crunching beneath my feet.  There were stains of who knows what all over the place and one older fellow passed out in one of the room’s doorways.  I looked at him on my way by thinking that I could very well be in his place in the years to come.  Room 445 was my destination as I continued my journey towards his room.  Finally I reached what must be his door.  The middle four was missing but it was only logical that this one was right room.  I knocked strongly with the false confidence I conjured up on my way to the room.  There was a pause on the other side as the cheesy porno that was playing inside was turned off.  I heard the deadbolt click and slowly the door swung open.  When it caught on the security chain a man looked out from the crack.  My father looked worse then he did when we left.  He was unshaven, his eyes beet red, and he looked like he had been in a fight that he lost.  He still had that mean glint in his eye that scared my sister and I when we were kids.  He looked at me up and down before closing the door again and undoing the chain.  For the second time the door opened but this time much wider as to invite me into a place where I was uninvited.  We didn’t even exchange greetings as I stepped into the darkened room.  They would have been pointless anyways.  The only source of light was from the last of a fleeting sunset through the drawn curtains.  “So I suppose your mom sent you here to see me?” he said with very little enthusiasm.  I told him yeah and sat in one of the chairs near the table by the window.  “Well here I am.” 

“Your sister called last week too.”

“I see,” was my response, “I would suppose that she is doing better then you are.”

Anyone who knew my father before the divorce knew that he was a very proud man and this said to him at that time would have set him off.  But now he was broken and it seemed that my comment had absolutely no effect on him. 

“She is upset Adam.  For some reason she thought that I should be there with your mother too.  I haven’t spoke to her in 5 years and this is all she has to say to me?”

“Well you did hurt her.” I was going to end that with a dad but that word is reserved for someone who was more then the man who knocked your mother up.  “You hurt her bad.”

For a second I could see regret in his eyes for those many years ago.  It was when I was 17 and Sarah was 15.  He had come home drunk that night.  My mother was working late at one of the 2 jobs she had at the time and was not going to be back until early morning.  I won’t give you the details on this one because it is far too painful for even me to remember.  To put it basically he proceeded to rape my sister and beat her within an inch of her life.  After which he beat me so I wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened.  Now the beating was not the first time it had happened.  He had always hit me even sometimes until I would curl up into a little ball crying on the floor.  But for some reason this time was different.  I don’t know how it was but at one point he just stopped, fell onto his knees with his head in his hands and started weeping.  Maybe what he did to my sister finally registered in his dumb drunk head.  That was also the last time I saw him before this night as he packed up and just left that same night. 

I would like to say that I stayed to help my mother, to comfort my sister, but I was confused at the time, a mere teen.  I had no idea what I was doing when I ran away that same night in which he took off.  I’m sure my mother told the police that I had ran away with my father.  Maybe she said that because that is what she hoped.  I’m sure she did not want to believe that her only son had left to face the world on his own.  The next few years were years that were not clear in my memory.  The only one that I can recall with any degree of accuracy for you was my first night.  It was a particularly chilly October night, the kind that would show your breath and the white frosted grass would feel crisp beneath your feet.  I had tried to find a place where I could be warm for the night.  After what seemed like hours of endless wanderings I finally found a spot in one of those cement tunnels found on a children’s playground.  You know the ones that always have two names scrawled inside with a large heart around it.  I just huddled there, shivering staring at the thing that at the time had been written as though Jimmy and Heather would always be together forever.  Even at my young age, my innocence was gone and I doubted it would last.  I’m sure that even now, as I looked around at my fellow inmates, in the crowd there would be Jimmy with Heather off somewhere not even giving a second thought to his memory.  It is a harsh world, I know. 

So enough of Jimmy and Heather, they aren’t important here but back to my father, although you wouldn’t need a strong argument against him being important in this world as well. 

“Your mother said that Sarah is going to come here as well,” he said as his eyes saddened. 

“I am surprised that she would still want to see you again,” I said shifting my weight and hearing a stale potato chip crack beneath the sole of my left shoe.

It was almost as if on cue when another knock came on my father’s door, but cues are only for television shows and the movies. 

“Are you going to get that?” I asked because he had still not moved from the edge of the bed.  He seemed as if lost in a trance like state thinking of words to say to the person on the other side of the wooden door.  Slowly he got up and dragged his feet across the carpet as he shuffled to go open it.  Once again there were was no greetings exchanged and even my sister barely glanced in my direction or his as she sat down in the chair next to mine, placing her purse on the small wooden table separating us. 

“Hello Frank.  You look like shit,” She said with such disdain.

His eyes seemed clouded and once again he shuffled the comment off without second though.  The conversation continued again for what seemed like quite some time.  I wish the conversation went as I had expected.  The apologies of an old man feeling regret, wanting to repent before he died, the angry daughter who had almost too much to say, and me, the coward who’d run away.  Maybe if my sister stood up and slapped me, leaving a searing red mark across my face, or if the old guy yelled at me for not staying with my family, I would feel less shame then I did.  Instead my sister just asked about my life and what I had gotten up to with it, while the geyser leaned back with his hands propping him up on the bed.  Until this day, sitting here in my dank cell, I don’t know why the old man said it but he brought that night up.  That seemed to set my sister off, and for almost a second her eyes looked like his had back when he was my father.  They only lasted for about the same amount of time that it took for me to shift my weight away from her on the old maroon chair cushion. 

 

“I have been trying to put it all back together Sarah.  I wanted to do what you said I should and go back to your mother.”

“Those weren’t my words you drunk fool,” the eyes returning, but this time they didn’t leave, “those were the words of a woman who’s afraid to die alone.”

“I think I should make up for the lost time and get--”

“Like hell you will,” If I had ever heard a sentence get cut off so abruptly and so angrily, that was it.  “You will never even set foot close enough to us ever again to hurt us like you did.  You seem to think that after all this time, I am just going to let you come back into our lives and tear it all apart again, you are sadly mistaken you bastard.  Very sadly mistaken.”

Her hand flew to her purse, and from it a small silver revolver was drawn.  I very specifically remember the glint from the sunset coming through the window striking the shiny gun, and as if someone didn’t want me to see what about to happen, blinded me for a second as a sound deafened me.  My senses recovered in a split second and I got a rather gory view.  I would describe this more for you, but the detail of my memory of this event scares even me.  My sister was just sitting there, in the chair and she let the gun slide slowly out of her hand, hitting the floor with a dull thud, bouncing slightly before coming to a rest near my chair.  This was my chance, I knew it.  I could make up for leaving last time, by not leaving this time.  I slowly bent forward, the old chair creaking in weak protest, and picked up the revolver.  I had always thought that holding a gun in my hand would have felt more revolting, knowing that this was something that brought death to other people, but it didn’t.  I just felt nothing.  I didn’t feel powerful, I didn’t feel strong.  I slowly brought my gaze back to my sister told her to leave, that this was something that I was going to do.  I felt like this was the one thing that I could do to make up for what I had done to my mother and her.  I thought that maybe she would protest, but she must have felt like I owed it to her as well.  I did.  I owed her more then this, but this was the best I could do right now.  She slowly stood up and picked up her purse, ran a hand through her brown hair and left without a word.  I knew that shortly the cops would pull up in front of the lobby, sirens blaring.  Even though this hotel was a shit-hole, a shooting is cause for concern. 

I do not regret or resent being here in this cell; I just thought that you should know that I am innocent.  These concrete walls are a small price to pay for a feeling of self-retribution and forgiveness.  I am now free from regret in my mind and that is what is worth it in the mind is it not?  I was accused, tried, and convicted of a murder that I did not commit and I couldn’t feel freer about it.


© Copyright 2017 mike folley. All rights reserved.

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