I walked through the dark tunnel of my childhood slowly. Every step I took resonated through the plywood floor, penetrating the absolute silence. My mother died a few days ago, and as the only son of a widow, the house I grew up in now belonged to me. So I walked through the deserted hallway; the only light allowing me to see was the dim, clouded sunlight that shone through the few windows. Pictures of friends and relatives flooded my brain, and chips of paint on the wall sent me into the memory of hiding from Mom so she wouldn’t hit me. Every object I looked at overwhelmed me with nostalgia. I felt at peace, as though a battle was finally over.
Eventually, at the end of the hallway, I reached the brown door next to the stairway. The library. Turning the cold, steel handle, I pushed open the door to thick, musty darkness, and instinctively I flicked the switch to my left. The lights flickered on, and the room filled with illumination.
Rows and rows, shelves and shelves, aisles and aisles of books stood in place. Everything was frosted with dust, as though the vintage room hadn’t been touched in years. I stepped through the aisles of books, feet brushing against the red and yellow carpet floor, nostalgia overwhelming me. I felt as though I was moving through time when I saw “The Invisible Boy” and “Little William’s Ice Cream Shop” sitting on the shelves; they were my two favorite stories as a child. My favored bedtime story, “Goodnight, Goodnight” appeared on a reading table, and “Things that go Bump in the Night” still gave me shivers. I was so glad.
I finally reached the back of the library. The brown-painted back wall displayed the only window in the giant room. Natural light flooded in, onto a small table. What I saw on the table shook me.
It was the flower. The little yellow daisy that had seen all of my childhood exploits. It sat in a little pot, and I remembered that Mom watered it each day. Mom cared about it more than I did, but its constant presence gave me comfort. I remembered it flourished and grew and stood tall and proud in the sunlight. But I had completely forgotten how much it meant to me.
And now, I looked in horror at its new form. Abandoned and desolate, gray and crippled, the flower slouched over like a hunchback. Fallen petals shriveled on the topsoil of the clay pot. It was dead.
The overflowing joy in my body was now drained and replaced with something indescribable. I walked towards it unhurriedly, staring at its curled and misshaped stem. When I made it to the table on which the flower stood, I reached for the lifeless plant. Ignoring the crusted blood on my hands, I plucked it from the dry soil, and felt the brittle daisy crumple beneath my grasp. Another petal fell to the floor. The flower was gone. The flower was gone.
In a daze, I dropped the flower from my hands, and turned around. I walked back down the aisles of books and reached the room’s entrance. As I reached into my pocket for my revolver, I flicked off the switch, allowing the darkness to overpower once more.
There was one more life I needed to take.