I am going to premise only this short story. In order to keep my writing chops fresh, I will post various short stories here as they hit me. This one is an idea that kept me awake one night until I finally gave in and wrote it down. I hope you enjoy this little short story, if you do, please let me know, if you have suggestions on how to make it better, please let me know. Happy Reading, Dear Bloggites! 🙂
The Year of Me
“This is it! This is MY year!” he thought to himself, “New year, new life, new ME.”
No longer does he have to feel less than anymore.
He smiles and jumps out of bed and walks through his apartment with a pep in his step and a song in his heart. He proceeds to dance around his tiny, neat apartment to the bathroom down the hall.
After taking a brisk, vigorous shower, he wipes the steam from the mirror and stops short. A fog steals over his mind like a thief in the night and his smile wavers. A tingling in the back of his mind makes him feel that he is forgetting something, something very important.
He shakes off the fog and tingling in his mind and quick as a rabbit he is back to his newfound confidence in life. He resumes his daily chores of preparing to meet the world head on like he has done countless times before.
“This time,” he thinks, “This time the world will fear me instead of me fearing it. Yes, it is indeed my time.” He leaves the steamy bathroom and saunters into his kitchen to make his breakfast.
While he sits at the table eating his cereal, the tingling sensation returns. He feels a great sense of foreboding while sitting at his small wooden table. He cannot place what he is forgetting for the life of him and the more he tries to remember what he is forgetting, the more his fear begins to creep back in.
“NO!” he yells to the empty room. “NO! I beat it, damn it, I beat it fair and square! 2016 is the year of ME because I won the battle life threw at me!” No longer hungry, he gets up and puts the bowl into the sink with all the other dirty dishes. Making a mental note to call his cleaning service to find out when they are coming by to clean his apartment, he walks to the front door. Taking one last glance at himself in the mirror, he grabs his coat, opens the door, and walks out into the first day of the new year as the winner he knows he is.
At the front of his apartment building, he takes in the cold, gloomy day and immediately begins to look for the first available cab to avoid the weather. Watching one cab after another pass him by without so much as a ‘how-do you do’ he decides that walking was not such a bad idea after all.
During his casual stroll down the familiar street, he encounters many different people. In high spirits over his new found freedom from past fears, he smiles and gives a happy greeting to all he sees walking by. He spies an old lady walking her dog and decides to give her a fine greeting.
“Grand day for a dog walk, eh, Mi’lady?” (he was rather impressed with his renaissance man vocabulary). The old lady startles for a moment, looks down at her dog, shakes her head and proceeds along her way never once acknowledging the greeting offered to her.
“What a fine hello, or lack thereof,” he thinks to himself. His good mood does not allow him to ponder on the old lady and her dog. He has the whole world at his feet and one senile old bitty is not going to take that away from him.
A few more blocks down the road, he notices a young mother and father out for a stroll with their young child. As they get closer, he says a loud, “How do you do on this chilly, overcast day? Are you managing to keep warm until the sun comes out?” He felt rather uncomfortable with the loud tone of voice he spoke in because he did not want to give off the impression that he is yelling at them.
The man and woman look at each other with loving smiles on their faces until they reach him. The smiles fade as confusion begins to bloom. Before he can stop to question the sudden change in the couples face, he notices the young child staring at him. Happy to finally get some kind of attention, he smiles in his most friendly smile he has to offer at the child.
Suddenly, the child screams at the top of his lungs and starts to cry. Startled, the parents jump into action. The mother scoops up her son while the father puts a protective arm around them and hurries off up the road.
“That child must be prone to fits! The way he just stared at me; well he obviously comes by his rudeness naturally,” he says aloud to no one in particular while thinking of the way the parents blatantly ignored his greeting.
No matter, he is determined to keep his good cheer and carries on up the street. After a while, he sees the first signs of sunrays peeking through the clouds. The foreboding sensation hits him like a ton of bricks when he sees the sunrays.
“What is it that I am forgetting? I know it is something very important, but I don’t know what!” he muses.
As he continues down the street, he is subconsciously slowing down his strides each time he sees the sunrays peeking through the clouds. After a few more blocks, he turns left and heads up the crossroad.
Looking up, he spies his destination. A large city park with a playground and large redwood trees sitting in the center of the turnabout. The city opted out of the standard cement circle and chose to create a park in the middle of the road. The city felt it was a better use of space as well as a sound community integration project. Many people spend time at the park during all hours of the day and night.
Normally, he would sojourn to the park after the sun begins to set because he preferred solitude and his own company over that of others. Today was different. Today was the first day of HIS year and nothing can conquer him. Meeting and defeating his fears the night before, waking up feeling like a totally different man, he decided to visit the park during the morning hours.
Crossing the street, he walks across the park and playground area to his favorite spot. He sits at a bench located under the largest redwood tree in the park. He loved the spot because as the sun rises or sets, the sunrays illuminate the entire bench as if as spotlight was trained directly on it.
He loves to come to the park just as the sun is setting to feel the warmth from the light as it shines on him. The sunrays always give him comfort after a long, lonely day of the normal work routine. The sunlight on his body felt like a warm hug and reminded him of his mother and the hugs she used to give him each day before she passed on from the world.
Thinking of his mother always makes him feel a sad, nostalgic emotion that could never be expressed in words. Shaking off the melancholy thoughts, he focuses in on what his plans are that he wants to accomplish in the year of ME.
As he sits on his bench, he begins to feel warm. He realizes that the sunrays are occasionally shining down at him between the spaces in the clouds. Having his jacket on he feels slightly warmer than usual each time a sunray peeked through the clouds.
“Mother Nature is such a moody creature. One moment she is cold and the next she is hot.” He ruminates out loud to no one in particular.
After a while, he could not bear the heat and sheds his coat off his body. He begins to smell something in the air. He looks up at the children playing in the park’s playground and notices the unease glances being shifted his way by the children.
The smell is becoming more pungent and based on the uneasy glances and shifting of little bodies toward their parents away from him, he deduces the pungent odor must be the beautiful redwood tree behind him.
As he is pondering this deduction (and feeling rather smug about his great detective skills), he suddenly sees smoke surrounding him. At the same moment he sees the smoke, he realizes the odor is something burning.
In a blink of an eye, the forgotten thing hits his memory like a sledgehammer to metal.
Night. People. Strange sounds. Muffled taunts coming closer. Running. Teeth. Screams. Blood.
He looks up with horror at the children staring across the park in his direction. Staring at HIM.
The last thought in his mind was that of a memory of his mother scolding him for being out after dark. “You know the night is not safe, Son. There are creatures that roam in the dark. Creatures that prey on innocent people. One bite from those creatures can turn you into a vampire; and you know vampires cannot live in the sunlight.”
January 11, 2016