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Quench


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The woman scurried down the corridor as her scarf flapped violently against her arm and her handbag swung in motion. Her eyes were drawn towards the ground as she shook slightly glancing behind herself every so often in paranoia. The visible patches of grey shone through a mass of chestnut hair and parted where her hair remained greasy and limp. Her lips were drawn into a thin pencil line and visible wrinkles adorned her eyes and forehead, for a woman of only forty-nine it was obvious she had seen better days. Heading at light speed towards the morgue she shook her head praying it wasn’t true and that the call she received had been a nightmare, rather than a rude awakening. She swung the door open with a wild pull and entered to find a cold, lifeless body that was her son lying on an icy, metal board that squeaked as it was rolled forward. His face was pure white, his lips painfully blue and his eyes open and blank, he was too young for this. Unable to control herself, the woman shrivelled to the ground and began to weep the most heart wrenching cry possible.
He had driven out hoping to have a good night; his week had been draining, long and joyless. Desperately looking for a better life than the one he lead he enjoyed the partying lifestyle where he could be as reckless as he desired. His friends always managed to encourage him into doing the stupidest stunts such as; jumping off of roofs and running across train tracks, he would do anything to be their God, even if for a single moment. His first drink happened almost ten years ago when his father gave him his first sip. A bitter and tantalising taste slithered down his throat quenched his curiosity and created a life long love. His father often asked him to go get him another beer from the back fridge and open it up. Eagerly he would run up the steps and swing the fridge door open, grasp a cold beer and pop it open trying to spill as little as possible. His father knew that he would take a large gulp before handing it to him. It was all right with him, after all shouldn’t all boys be allowed to have a drink at some stage.
His heart started to race as he thought of all the potential a party could bestow upon him, the drinks, the girls, the thrill of not remembering; all satisfying elements of a good night, no a great night. His green Ford Mondeo stopped at the curb and he jumped out with excitement and exhilaration. His friends greeted him and passed him a drink as he began to circulate around the room. Bodies lay intertwined on the couch and the loud banter of conversations filled his eardrums. Drink after drink he searched for another to sustain him. Feeling dizzy and sleepy he grabbed onto a girl to balance on before being urged by his friends to have another. Laughing he skulled the drink in his hand and thought how simple it was to impress these people, to be the life of the party.
The night was a blur of bodies, noises, faces pressed against his and sweet liquor lubricating his dry throat. He thought he would never be the one in four, he believed he would never be hospitalized or a victim of alcohols cruel backlash. The violent attacks, the brain damage, the bullsh*t that was sensationalised. He had never known anyone to die of alcohol abuse, if it didn’t happen to him he didn’t need to know. Walking lopsidedly to his car he was unable to recall where he had parked it and what it looked like. After finally locating his car he knelt down beside the gutter and purged the nights downpour coughing and spluttering as it oozed into a crack and disappeared. Reaching for his keys he scrambled to his car he climbed in knocking his head on the ceiling and feeling a throb, which beat in time with his heart. It was hard for him to insert the key into the slot but he managed despite cutting his finger on the jagged edge of a key and soon enough he haphazardly drove down the gravel road. The lights were disorientating him and his control over the vehicle was tarnished. His eyes closed slightly before shutting, hearing the honk of a horn piercing his ears, he opened his eyes alertly, unable to control himself. Following the road he turned at the roundabout scrapping the edges of his car against the raised stone on which a garden perched. Around he went time and time again forgetting where he was going.
His head was pulsating and he moved on down the road towards a set of traffic lights. The lights were red but this meant nothing to him and he pushed forward shutting his eyes as he went. The clashing of heavy machines slamming against one another shook him awake. His car screamed and groaned in time with his body as it was battered back and forth, sinew tore from his muscles and fingers were snapped with the force of the collision. Screeching metal grinding together like nails on a chalkboard and the crinkling of aluminium similar to the sound of crushing a can was captured in his mind. The scent of gas stung his nostrils as it wafted in amongst the blood that poured out from the opening of his nose. He yelled but it felt like a slow motion and silent film. His head cracked against the windshield with a blood-curdling thud and shattered the glass into a thousand pieces. “It’s all over” he mumbled silently to himself, “it’s all over.”
The sheet was pulled over his face and his mother was escorted out of the room. As a mother she had never wanted to outlive her son but so it was that she should stand at this very moment regretting a mistake that could not be undone. A wasted youth that would never find a cure for cancer, teach his children to ride a bike or speak to her again. Instead he would lie in the ground rotting away, flesh from bone and still salivating for that last drink.



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