by Alex Schumacher
She lay on the bed crying, the tears wouldn’t cease. The world was so god-damn unfair. She had gone to bed two hours earlier in an attempt to escape the memories and find some much needed rest. Rest eluded her, as did any form of peace or solace. It had been a week since his departure. Though it wasn’t his fault, she couldn’t help but feel resentment, a supreme anger.
He had left her alone.
He had left her in pain.
Fault didn’t matter as she cried into the sprawling loneliness of the apartment bedroom. The sobs ricocheted off of the walls, rippling through the tiny, sparsely furnished one bedroom walk-up they shared.
The night he abandoned them, alcohol flowed heavily. Whiskey always flowed heavily. After another bottle, another fight, he disappeared. The last memory she had was the revving of his engine, the screeching of his wheels.
A picture of them together sat propped up on the night stand by her side of the bed. She couldn’t bear to face the moment captured in the photograph, nor any moment in which the pair happily spent time together, and lay on her side, back to the framed past.
He had used a wood folding TV tray table on his side as a night stand. It still held a couple of books he was in the midst of reading, stacked atop one another, and the last coffee mug he used, a dark, shallow pool residing at the bottom. A small lamp sat on the floor in the corner, though she hadn’t turned it on as the light began to fade.
She lay on her side and cried, at times lowering to but a whimper, as if to check whether the entire incident had merely been a dream. When the reality set in there was no waking up, the furious, heavy sobs returned.
He appeared in the room, undetected, a phantom. He desperately needed her to see him, but she no longer could. Her senses were dulled by exhaustion and tears, a prisoner of the mortal plane.
Their small dog had sensed his entrance, wriggling her top-half free from underneath the tattered blanket on the bed to greet him. The dog lifted her head to the man who was, up until recently, one-half of her family. He stretched a hand toward the furball as her tail wagged from underneath the blanket. The sheer happiness exhibited by the pooch was a clear sign she had no clue this would be the last time they would share a moment.
“Take care of our girl,” he whispered.
The small dog cocked her head in response and looked hopeful that he wasn’t going to leave. He had too, though. The decision had been made, the damage done.
He turned from the two he loved most in the world, disappearing, never to return.
She lay on the bed crying.
Active in the graphic novel industry since 2009, Alex has worked with noted publishers Viper Comics and Arcana Studios. His first children’s book was published in 2014 by Wandering in the Words Press and he’s currently working on his first novel, short stories, poetry and a new graphic novel.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.