Recently we had an accident. My older 18-year-old son was playing with friends outside and fell off the roof of the garage. Doctors diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury. The child was unconscious for almost five days.
All this time I was hoping that everything would turn out fine, but my hopes did not come true. When my son woke up completely, he was not responding to the outside world: he eats, sleeps, walks, but he does not care about other people, and he also doesn’t want to talk or can’t.
Doctors do not give any guarantee for his improvement. For his sake, I quit my job and devoted myself entirely to the household and his treatment. At home my son had no improvement: a complete lack of response to anything at all, plus there was another problem – my youngest Nicky became terrified of his brother. In the beginning he didn’t even leave his nursery, he was afraid to run into him in the corridor. My persuasion only intensified his tantrums, and Nicky said it was not his brother, it’s was some other guy and that he wanted to eat him – my youngest is only four years old, so my husband and I decided that it was just stress from everything that had happened.
After some time, when the situation in the house subsided a little, I began to notice strange behavior of my eldest: sometimes it seems as though he is intently watching us, he developed this creepy grin, just like an animal scowl. Plus, he only starts to smile when Nicky is nearby. My youngest seems calmer, but he is still nervous and antsy, and jumps at every sound in the house. And yesterday my neighbor came over, at which Nicky often plays with her son and told me this:
Yesterday your Nicky behaved strangely and refused to eat at our place. Then he came to me and said that he would not be able to visit us anymore. When I asked him “why?” he said: “because that man will take me away soon.” Now, this is exactly what she said:
– What man?
– The one that came with my brother.
– That man comes to visit you?
– No. He is always home.
– Nicky, you must have got something confused. You don’t have any strangers in your house.
– No, there is that man with red eyes. He always looks at me when my elder brother is asleep.
When I heard it I was horrified and now I just don’t know what to do. I myself started to be afraid of my older son, because now I’m starting to doubt that he is my son. With each passing day more and more it seems to me that there is someone else in his body, someone else who is a grown up and smart enough not to reveal himself. It is as if he is waiting for something and is always watching the whole family.
A Play on the Piano
Da-dah-da-dam-Bang! Charlie started when his wife stroke a wrong note playing on a piano. She did it thirty two times a day. He knew that it was exactly 32nd time for he counted her mistakes while doing his daily routine: cleaning a lighthouse, checking tools, repairing a boat…
Charlie blamed himself in his wife’s last hobby. He should not take Mirtle on concert of a very famous pianist who visited their city. But this was a special case and everybody knew about the performance. So, Charlie and Mirtle attended it too. That very moment Mirtle understood that she wanted to play a piano most of all in her life.
Charlie tried to dissuade her from doing it. Nobody in Mirtle’s family was on friendly terms with music. But Mirtle was a stubborn woman. She bought a cheap, second-hand piano (which was constantly out of tune), before Charlie managed to count to ten. She transported it to their island on the fishing boat of her brother, Jamie. From that day she started practicing, practicing and practicing. In the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening Mirtle sat at a piano with open notes and pressed on keys. At first, it wasn’t really audible, and Charlie could ignore incoherent sounds. But several months later she began playing better … and everything got worse. Some parts of composition sounded rather well; but she never could finish a single melody correctly.
There was no place where Charlie could hide from annoying sounds of a piano on the small island, even when he sat in the favourite rocking-chair, having covered his ears with socks. The new hobby of Mirtle became a source of big contention between the husband and the wife, in spite of the fact they never swore earlier. Now they swore every day, on theme of Mirtle’s play on the piano.
“At least, try to learn a new song”, – Charlie begged his wife. But Mirtle was stubborn. “I am not going to learn another song till I began skillfully perform this one. I must practice constantly to become better, Charlie”. And Mirtle came back to her piano and began playing again. Da-dah-da-dam-Bang! Da-dah-Bang-Bang-ding!
Feelings ran high at the time when the storm covered the island. Charlie and Mirtle hid from it in the lighthouse, staying there hour after an hour. Charlie had nothing to do and he decided to cut wooden ducks. Mirtle played the piano. She did it hour after an hour, hour after an hour. It was about four o’clock in the morning when Charlie jumped and shouted his wife to stop playing this bloody song. Mirtle jumped too and shouted that she wouldn’t stop playing until she learned to play the melody correctly. Something blew up in Charlie. After everything happened, he regretted that he smashed the piano with an axe. Finally, it was the valuable tool. But he couldn’t feel the same towards Mirtle with whom he did the same.
Charlie put on the raincoat, took a shovel and dug a grave behind a shed. He buried there all Mirtle’s parts together with the piano remains. He decided that she, probably, would like that her burial went in this way. That night the lighthouse jingled and shuddered under thunder peals, but Charlie never slept with such a pleasure. Nobody played the piano any longer. Nobody would play the piano any more. Never.
When the storm stopped, Charlie washed away blood from a floor and lighthouse’s walls all day long. After he had done this, he made all the day duties, and accurately wrote down in the registration magazine that Mirtle was washed away by a wave in the sea when she patrolled a beach, helping Charlie to seek for fragments of the sunk ships.
In the middle of the night shocked Charlie woke up from a familiar sound. Da-dah-da-dam-Bang! Da-dah-Bang-Bang-ding! He got up and crossed. It sounded precisely as Mirtle played. It was impossible because he buried her behind the shed.
Charlie jumped from a bed and rummaged around with his hand in search of the axe. What a shit! He must have forgotten it in the shed. He grabbed a big stick and went to the hall accurately. He saw a green, shining piano in that place where it was put by Mirtle to his amazement. Keys of an illusive piano were pressed in itself. Da-dah-da-dam-Bang! Da-dah-Bang-Bang-ding!
Then he heard Mirtle’s voice on the ladder leading to a lighthouse.
“Charlie. I told and I will tell you again that I won’t learn a new song until I learn to play this one properly. You have to listen to me!”
Charlie turned back and looked up at a ladder. There was standing a transparent figure of his dead wife on the third step. And she held his axe in her hand!