He Looked into the Darkness
Victor Thomas gazed down the curving staircase to the foyer where Kymberly had fun sliding down using the hand rails. He was standing at the top stair with his hands clasped behind his back listening to her haunting laughter as it continued stabbing at his brain. Kymberly was his grand daughter and she was killed in an automobile accident. It was heart breaking for him to move on in life, and the thought of taking his own life was not out of the question. However, the act of violence frightened him. Victor Thomas read the news about the two seniors who were murdered and he wanted the same thing to happen to him. He actually prayed for it. He even went as far as leaving his front door open at night so that the killer could have easy access to his next kill.
“I miss you Kymberly,” he whispered. “I love you.”
There was so much truth to those words. He did love his grandchild and he knew it took a great deal out of him when he heard the news. He was completely devastated.
He saw the image of his grandchild at the landing of the stairs. He fought back the tears, but lost. He knew life came and brought scars, but some scars were more visible than others. He took one step forward, but caught his balance by grabbing the top rail. His grandchild was smiling and begging for him to slide down the rail.
“I'm too old,” he half whispered.
She just laughed.
“Kymberly,” he briefly closed his eyes. “Will you try to catch me?”
Victor Thomas studied the image of his grandchild a little more. He was almost losing the battle between reality and illusion. He wanted that child to be real, but his heart was telling him that she was not real.
“Come on!” she playfully yelled.
“I don't think you're real,” he said.
“What does it matter,” she said. “You want to take your life anyways, so what do you have to lose?”
Victor Thomas smiled at that, but his curiosity of the afterlife was genuine. He really wanted to believe that during death he would meet the people he lost in life. He especially wanted to hold Kymberly one more time. He also wondered if her image was a sign, and not a warning.
“You coming down?” she asked.
Victor Thomas nodded absently as he turned to lift his right foot onto the rail. He heard her giggling, but something else caught his attention. It was a shadow slowly walking out of one of the bedrooms. He couldn't make out who the person was, but he knew it wasn't Kymberly.
He removed his foot from the railing and stepped a little closer to the shadow. “Hello?”
There was no reply.
“Hello,” he slowly repeated.
The shadow moved closer, but Victor Thomas was not afraid. He was hoping that his wish would come true. He wanted that shadow to be the murderer. He prayed that is was the murderer.
Even though he wanted someone to end his life, he knew deep down inside that God would have ridiculed him for accepting a fate like that. Natural causes would have been the choice of death, but his heart was badly broken.
The shadow moved closer and out of hiding came a ball peen hammer. The shadow of that hammer made it appear ten times larger, and that's what stuck in Victor Thomas's mind. He felt the blow before it actually hit him. He turned to face the stairs and he saw Kymberly screaming. He didn't hear the scream, but he knew it was because her hands were raised in front of her and her mouth was open very wide and contorted.
Falling several steps down Victor Thomas noticed that his grandchild had disappeared. He felt the wooden stairs pounding against his head during the fall. Each step taking turns cracking his bones. It was as if they were damaging him intentionally. Then he felt his neck snap and everything suddenly became dark. There was movement in the air that he couldn't see, but he felt it. He knew it was the murderer checking to see if life had vacated his body. During that time he smelled blood and sulfur as he felt his body stiffening. He jolted several times at the landing as he searched feverishly for his grandchild, but she was no where to be found. He looked into the darkness and what was waiting for him was death.
“Kymberly,” was the last word that froze on his lips.
© 2017 Nick Barnum