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My breath came in quick gasps, my throat burning. I needed to get in better shape if I planned on keeping this up. Age had not treated me well, for sure. Maybe I was just getting too old. After all, I was on the wrong side of forty-five. I couldn’t keep up with these damned twenty-something kids like I used to.
I watched his back get further and further ahead of me. I cursed myself loudly, forcing myself back up-right. I took a couple more deep breaths and stumbled back into a run. It wasn’t too much longer before my heart felt ready to explode.
I paused briefly at the corner of the street, pressing my body against the post of the stop sign for support. My legs shook as if they were going to give out. Every muscle in my body felt like someone had stabbed them a dozen times. I wanted to lay down right there and die.
No. I couldn’t stop here and be done. I couldn’t give up just yet. No, I needed to finish what I started, and then I could go home. Go to bed. Invest in one of those home gyms that were always on T.V. I could get back into shape fast, and keep on with my hobbies; but for now I had to focus on the present. I began running again.
Faster, faster. I could do this. I pushed myself harder. He was back in my sights. He was bent over at an odd angle. Maybe he’d finally run out of energy, now catching his breath as I had done just moments earlier. I slowed down to a quiet walk.
He didn’t seem to notice me, though now I could tell he was shaking like a leaf. My mouth began to water. It felt so good, helping to moisten my parched throat. I swallowed repeatedly, trying to quell the dull, burning ache.
Soon, so soon, I would be home. I would go down those old, squeaky stairs to the basement. I would sit at the beautiful Mahogany desk passed down by my Grandmother. I’d open the top left drawer, removing the little black bag. I’d carefully lay out the bags contents- Scissors, surgical thread and needle and medical tape. Then, I’d open the bottom right drawer to take out the highly maneuverable Sawzall.
I could already hear the familiar sound of the pristine tool…I snapped back to reality. I needed to focus. The man was shaking more, now. As I approached him as quietly possible for me, he dropped to his knees and slumped forward, the shaking damn near violent.
Carefully, I rolled him over with my foot. I knew what was going on the moment I looked at his face. I’d seen it so many times before in my only son. He was having a seizure.
I smiled to myself. After such hard exercise and over-exertion of my aging heart, it would be so much easier on me this way. I wouldn’t have to struggle with him while waiting for the Chloroform to work- A rather slow and inconvenient method, but effective nonetheless.
I let out a deep breath and hoisted the man, more a boy really, to a sitting position. His saliva ran down his chin and dripped onto his already sweat-soaked shirt. Another pull and some more strain on my back and legs, he was over my shoulder. This boy had obviously never missed a meal, I mused.
As fast as I could, which was actually pretty slow, I made it to my home. The front door was a pain in the ass to get open. I went to the couch, letting the guy slip from my shoulder and land safely on the cushions. I fell back on my ass and recovered my breath.
I forced myself back up after about five minutes. I rearranged the boy as I had with my son so often; turning him on his side just in case he vomits. The last thing I would want is for the poor kid to choke to death on his own fluids. I was satisfied with his position, sure of my first-aid skills. Though, this kid was having the longest damn seizure I’d ever seen.
I went to the door and locked it. If he was to come out of it while I was downstairs, he’d still need a key to get out. I’d changed all my locks that way when my son Jeremy first started having his seizures so he wouldn’t walk outside in a daze and get hit by oncoming traffic.
After checking the side door and back door, I went downstairs to the basement. The stairs gave their routine squeaks and groans. I sat at my Grandmother's desk and opened the drawers, removing the items in order.
I sat in silence for a few minutes, hoping that what I was about to do would work. My project was so close to completion that I could feel it. I picked up the Sawzall and unwrapped the long cord, plugging it into the closest available socket. A quick test ensured that it was in excellent working condition.
I took a deep breath before walking to the steel table in the middle of the room. I set down the Sawzall and caressed Jeremy’s bruised face. I still couldn’t believe how terrible he looked, even after all this time he’d been dead. If it wasn’t for the bitch he called a mother, he wouldn’t have been lying here in the first place.
How many times had I told her to lock the damned door? More than I can count, I know. I’d wanted Jeremy to be safe, protected when he had his seizures. She was always leaving the door unlocked, sometimes even standing wide open. Maybe she’d wished this would happen to him. No, I’m sure she did. Otherwise the bitch would have locked the damn door like I told her. Instead, Jeremy wandered outside after one of his seizures and was struck by a car. My car.
I rubbed my face with my hands and cleared my thoughts. I can have him back, I’m sure of it. I picked up the Sawzall again and turned it on. The last destroyed part, the only thing left to replace was a few fingers on his right hand. Then my little boy would be whole again.
I placed my right hand on the table next to his. My teeth ground together roughly. Another deep breath, and the Sawzall sliced through my fingers as if they were butter. I’m sure I screamed louder than a Banshee, at least loud enough to wake the neighbors. I fumbled with switching off the Sawzall, dropping it on the floor. Forget it, it could stay there for all I cared at the moment.
With my left hand I yanked the plug from the wall, effectively turning it off. I dumped the rest of the contents of my black bag out, finding some gauze. I wrapped my right hand as tight as I could stand and taped it off. It should stop the bleeding for now. I clutched the rest of my tools in my left hand and took them to the table.
I trimmed up where my fingers would connect to his hand with the scissors, my left hand shaking. I should have pre-threaded the damn needle. I struggled with getting it threaded, eventually managing. With a shaking hand, I stitched my fingers to him one by one.
I was finished. Despite my pain, I couldn’t help but be proud. I had rebuilt my little boy. Jeremy was complete. So soon I would hold him in my arms, keeping him safe from the world as his mother should have done.
One last drawer to open before he was mine again. I opened the top middle drawer and grabbed the small vial of murky liquid. I had paid good money for this disgusting little vial with the promise that it would bring back my son. I sat the vial down and grabbed the syringe from the drawer next. I stabbed it in the top and pulled the plunger back.
I went back to the table and carefully slid the needle into Jeremy’s neck, depressing the plunger. I sat back at the desk, turning the chair around to face him. I waited. I waited for what felt like hours. There was no movement, no sign of life.
I got tired of waiting. I went back upstairs to check on the boy I brought home and check my supply of alcohol. The boy was just as I’d left him; a quick check of his pulse confirmed he was still alive. My cabinets yielded half a bottle of Cognac.
I didn’t bother with a glass, drinking straight out of the bottle. I needed to dull the pain. Not only had I given up my fingers, but I’d shelled out a good twenty-five grand for a useless vial of unknown liquids. I sat across from the boy I’d kidnapped, watching him in silence. What the hell was wrong with this kid? He’d been out for way too damn long.
A third of the way through the remaining Cognac, I heard the squeaking of the stairs. It sounded as if someone was moving up them incredibly slow. My heart raced, yet I remained seated. Finally, the basement door creaked open with the speed of a snail. I gripped the bottle tighter as I watched a stitched hand grip the edge of the door.
“Dad?” Jeremy’s voice was rough and scratchy, like the sound of a three pack a day smoker.
Tears came to my eyes. My son was alive. That twenty-five grand wasn’t in vain, after all. He was mine again.
“I’m here, Jeremy.”
Jeremy shuffled forward into the dark living room, squinting his swollen eyes as if it was still too bright. He moved, no, lurched, towards me. I stood and held my arms out to him, the tears rolling freely down my face.
He wouldn’t let me touch him. He held his arm up in front of him defensively, warding me away. His eyes settled on the boy I’d brought home.
“Who…is he?” Jeremy struggled for words.
“I brought you a friend,” I smiled, “you always wanted friends, didn’t you?”
Jeremy’s thin lips stretched into a smile, revealing chipped and broken teeth.
“Friends…I want a lot.”
I nodded whole-heartedly.
“I’ll bring you all the friends you could ever want.”
Written by Chronobunny