Short Stories

The Blue Heron

This fits nicely into the daily prompt which today is ‘What a Twist!’. It had been submitted to a competition but, unfortunately, been declined. Never mind it’s a good story. Enjoy 🙂

The Blue Heron

The man walked from his car in the driveway, noticing the light was on in the kitchen, but before he could consider who had turned it on he was forced to move. Lying on the floor he flinched as a Heron swooped so low that he had to get out-of-the-way. The cooling shadow of the bird passed and he turned onto his back, watching the stars as they blinked in and out while invisible clouds passed in the night. The hangover he had been nursing all day had developed into a migraine and now it appeared he was being burgled. Perhaps if Lisa had been here, he wouldn’t be lying on his back on the path hoping his life would blink out like the stars above him. But she was gone, taken by some celestial hand that, according to her damn parents, was kindly. He didn’t think so. No one should have to go through that agony. Tom smacked his head against the paving stone under him, welcoming the pain. Pain was a distraction and, as Johnny Cash said, it showed he was still alive. Well, in that case he really was.

Tom knew he wasn’t doing great since Lisa went, leaving long before she had passed, her skeletal figure bundled into blankets and wheeled out to a waiting ambulance. But then his life had meaning. He had woken every morning and his sole purpose had been to get to hospital and hold her hand. She had always maintained that he would leave. She would place a tiny hand on his chest and push him away.

“You will leave me,” she would say without any emotion. “They all do.”

He would kiss her palm. “Never.” And he meant it. She had been his life. And now that she was gone he had no life. Looking up he watched the light go out in his kitchen. At least they were leaving.

Tom awoke to a hand shaking him.

“You can’t stay here.”

Tom looked up. “Someone’s in my house,” he slurred.

The voice continued. “You did used to live here…, but you sold it.”

Tom sat up and wondered at the spinning world. “I saw a heron.”

“Yes,” the voice said, “it’s your choice of drink, blue heron.” There was a clatter as a bottle spun toward him. Blearily he saw the heron on the label, as he became aware of a bad smell, of cloying sweat and alcohol. If Lisa could see him now she would be so disappointed. She would lean forward so he could smell her cinnamon scent under the medication and say, “I told you that you would leave me.” Then he would feel her warm tears fall onto him, chilling him to his very core.

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