Graveyard Shift | TeenInk

Graveyard Shift

April 25, 2016
By MissJade GOLD, Bridgman, Michigan
MissJade GOLD, Bridgman, Michigan
16 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness."


It was raining. Storming, actually. The trees kneeled to the wind, helpless against mother nature. The last of the leaves were shaken to the ground, pounded into the dirt by fat droplets. One man stood alone in the storm. He didn’t mind the rain, and he didn’t flinch when thunder shook the heavens. He just stood there, his mind millions of miles away.

 

It was summer. The hot sun had finally cooled, allowing the perfect weather for dinner on the patio. He was at the grill, flipping burgers, and hot dogs. His wife would be home soon, she had gone to pick up their daughter from soccer practice. What a surprise they would get when they saw he had made dinner! He hummed softly, listening to the sizzle of the grill. A lazy bee buzzed around, sniffing the freshly planted tulips. He flipped a perfect burger, smiling to himself as he imagined his wife’s face. She would teasingly scold him at first for not letting her prepare dinner, then she would smile wide and wrap her arms around him. The family would sit down, digging into the feast, and they would listen to his daughter tell them about practice. His wife would tell some funny story, and they would all laugh. And as the sun set over the backyard, he would gently toast some marshmallows while his wife and daughter snuck chocolate out of the bowl. Yes, it would be a perfect night, he thought, rolling over a crisp hot dog.

 

The rain pounded at his umbrella, threatening to tear holes in the taught fabric. For a moment, lightning illuminated his surroundings, showing off the mossy tombstones. An ambulance screeched through the muddy road, it’s light flashing and it’s siren wailing. The man watched it dart down the street, hoping that it would get there in time.

 

The table was set, the food hot and ready. The man checked his watch, they were running late. He decided to call his wife, just to make sure everything was ok. The phone dialed, and he waited for her to pick up. Ring, ring, ring. Nothing, it went to voicemail. He hung up, she was probably on her way. He wasn’t worried, his wife didn’t normally answer the phone when she was driving. He sat back, sipping his lemonade, a gentle breeze swept through the garden, cooling him down. His wife had spent all morning gardening, planting flowers and trimming bushes. He never understood the joy of getting dirt all over yourself, but his wife loved it. Her garden was her pride and joy, and he had to admit, it always looked better than their neighbours’. Just then, his phone rang, playing the song he had assigned to his wife. He quickly picked up, but it was not his wife that greeted him.

 

A tree toppled over, smashing into the trees next to it. He would have to leave soon, if he wanted to get home safe. Really, he shouldn’t have even braved the storm, but he had too. It was nearly the day. No one else was out, but they had no reason to be. He on the other hand, he was there every day, no storm would keep him away.

 

A nurse had his wife’s phone. She told him to come to the hospital quickly, there had been an accident.  He hung up as soon as he heard that word. Accident. He didn’t bother to clean up the food or plates, he rushed through the house, grabbing his keys, and throwing on his shoes. He drove fast and reckless, ignoring red lights and stop signs. Those didn’t matter, the only thing that mattered was the safety of his family. He sent up silent prayers to whatever deity would listen. The hospital wasn’t far, and speeding got him there even faster. He ran through the lobby shouting for help, for directions to his family. The nurses told him to calm down, that he needed to take deep breaths and sit down for a while. He didn’t want to sit down. He wanted to hold his wife and daughter. Finally, the doctors took him in. She looked small and weak, lying in the cot. Ivs were sticking out of her arms and the droning of the beep beep beep let him know she was ok. His daughter, so lively and free, lay broken. He held her hand, lending comfort through her silent tears. He turned to the doctor, the question clear in his eyes. Where was his wife? The doctor said nothing, just shook his head. A sob escaped his daughter, more tears coated her pale face. He held her close, whispering that it was going to be ok, they still had each other.

 

There was nothing but silence. Out of nowhere, the rain and wind had subsided, revealing a pleasant blue sky. Squirrels cautiously darted to and fro, looking for scattered nuts. The man lowered his umbrella, shaking of the droplets before closing it up. He turned his face to the sun, thankful for the warmth. Birds chirped in the trees, praising the end of the storm. The ambulance screeched back down the street, it’s lights no longer flashing. It cruised casually, darting to avoid puddles. Hopefully, all was well.

 

There was no one to call. His wife didn’t have any siblings, and her parents had passed long ago. So he stayed with his daughter, holding her through the long night. She’d wake up and scream, kicking and crying for her mother. He’d stroke her hair that was so like her mother’s, easing her back into a fitful sleep. Half way through the night, she stopped crying. He smiled as she breathed gently, for now there was silence. Silence. The man realized that the machines had stopped beeping. He ran out of the room, praying that someone would be there at this late hour. He screamed until his throat was raw, he screamed until he was heard. Doctors rushed into the room, taking temperatures and listening for a heartbeat. They mumbled some medical terms that the man didn’t understand, then rushed the cot and his daughter out of the room. Minutes ticked by as the man paced in the hallway, waiting for them and his daughter to return. He was sitting on the tiled floor, his back leaning against the cold wall, when one lone doctor approached him. The man knew, he could see it in the doctor’s eyes, that he was alone. They were gone. His sun and moon had vanished from the heavens. The man stood up, numb against the pain he would surely feel later. He walked slowly out of the hospital and drove slowly home, in a daze. He cleaned up the dishes and food. He locked the door to his daughter's bedroom. He grabbed some blankets and pillows, and set them on the couch downstairs. Touching his face he realized he had been crying. His cheeks were wet from the tears. And as the clock struck three, he found himself completely and utterly, alone.

 

The storm had left a mess of leaves and twigs. He carefully brushed them away from the stones, scattering the debris away. The flowers in front of the markers were destroyed, he would have to replant some. Perhaps this time he would plant tulips. It was late, and he needed to get home to make dinner. But he hesitated, as he always did. He felt guilty leaving, as if he didn’t deserve to. The constant stream of what ifs flooded his mind, as they always did, but he knew he couldn’t dwell in the past. They would have hated that, him stopping his life on account of their departure. They wouldn’t have let him mourn or be sad, however here, in this place, he could be sad all he wanted to. It was right to be sad here, so everyday he let himself be sad only here. Then he would leave, and stop being sad. But right now, he was sad. He slowly brought his hand to his face, kissed his fingers, then set them on top of the stones. Then he left, without looking back. But he would return the next day, and the day after that, until one day, when he would stay there forever. 



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This article has 2 comments.


on May. 7 2016 at 7:18 pm
Shinigami BRONZE, Boulder, Colorado
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments
That was amazing

on May. 6 2016 at 12:14 pm
MicahGarry24 BRONZE, Boulder, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"The best way to predict the future is to create it" -Abraham Lincoln

That story was absolutely beautiful! Excellent job, very well written.