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Vapor - Chapter Two
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Vapor - Chapter Two
The past haunts our main character..
[1,387 words]
C A Porter
Non fiction writer's first attempt at writing fiction. I've been developing this story for several years, so be gentle. Comments/criticisms appreciated.
[June 2006]
Vapor - Chapter One (Novels) This chapter opens on the protagonist finishing a "job". [1,082 words] [Thriller]
Vapor - Chapter Two
C A Porter

CHAPTER TWO Ė Tricks of the Mindís Eye

I slowly ease into consciousness. The soft dripping from the I.V. machine near my eardrum is actually quite soothing in comparison to the relentless rhythmic electronic beeps from the heart monitor next to me. My arms are hooked up to a nest of tubes dripping various liquids into my body via needles taped to my skin. The fluorescent light fixture directly above me, along with the cold paleness of the room, is blinding. Iím pretty perplexed, thirsty as hell, but Iím alive. Thatís a start.

It takes a few minutes of blinking through sleep-encrusted eyelids before my retinas can fully adjust to the surroundings. I recognize being in what appears to be a hospital room, but things appear blurred, and I canít quite describe how Iím doing just yet. The bubbly, euphoric feeling that illuminates my melon indicates powerful painkillers surge through my veins. I donít think Iíve ever been this dehydrated. The bed has been adjusted so that my swelled head and torso are slightly raised above the rest of my body. I gaze down to my right arm and will it to move. Much to my relief, it does. I take inventory of the appendages I feel, and everything seems to be accounted for. So far so good. I slowly begin to clench my fingers in an attempt to get blood flowing through them. Stiff as a board, I strain my neck muscles to move my head to the right. I make out a glass of water on the bedside table, complete with a straw thoughtfully angled in my direction. It is quite possibly the most magnificent thing Iíve ever laid eyes upon. My arm makes its way towards it, which seems to take hours. Fully extended, my hand is just out of reach. Fuck. I realize that Iím going to have to use tired muscles in my abdomen to move my torso the few extra inches. I psyche myself up. Iím alright. Ready, you sad, broken clown? Here we goÖ

ďStill alive, sugar?Ē, a voice at the foot of the bed utters. The words are echoed, as if I were lying at the base of a deep canyon listening to someone communicating from several hundred yards away, rather than coming from this figure standing just in front of me. I blink again, and the features of this mysterious person slowly materialize. Sarah. My Sarah. I can just make out the stream of blood trickling down from the still fresh wound in her chest. She reaches into her shoulder holster, presenting a nickel plated .380 pistol that I gave her for our first anniversary. I see the barrel of the gun slowly being lined up with my forehead as she aims. God, sheís still as beautiful as the day she died, albeit a bit pale. ďI came to finish the job, honey. Itís time to say goodbye.Ē, the muffled voice says.

My involuntary response is to react. Iíve heard countless phrases of similar meaning pointed towards me to be nonchalant. My body become rigid. I only just begin to feel the vessels in my belly spring into action before the pain hits, but the word Ďpainí just isnít measuring up to the intense fire instantly searing through the core of my entire body. My outstretched arm turns into a vibrating piece of solid granite, racked with the shock of hundreds of motor neutrons suddenly firing due to this previously undiscovered threshold of pain. Distracted from my original mission, my digits violently make contact with the glass, and it leaves the table in a beautiful, tumbling, slow motion ballet. Shortly thereafter, I hear a small explosion. Out of the corner of my eye, I make out tiny shards of flying glass, presumably from impact with the laminate floor.

Iím losing focus again. The intrusive light fixture rotates. A fog descends upon monochrome visions of macabre experiments where Iím in restraints being disemboweled, having my insides chopped up with dirty bolt cutters and shown to me via bloody scraps of my own intestines. I try to scream, but it comes out as a pathetic guttural gurgle. An unidentified surgeon, inexplicably wearing a WWII era gas mask, stitches my wound with rusty piano wire. At this point, I come to the conclusion that I am pretty fucking far from alrightÖ

Öand then, almost immediately, my beaten, hollowed out body relaxes. The pain begins to subside, but not entirely. My vision clears again. I am able to survey my surroundings, and notice that the fluorescent light has morphed into a serene landscape of blue sky and fluffy clouds. The white walls, and mechanical symphony of machines are gone. Iím lying in the garden behind the villa I rented 5 years ago. The fog makes it difficult for me to distinguish shapes, but the lush green grass feels cool on my neck. As I lift my head and peer down my torso, I see that I am pressing an open wound to my stomach with urgency, attempting to siphon off crimson fluid that has bled clear through the lower part of the Armani jacket draped over me. My hospital gown is inexplicably absent.

ďI came to finish the job, honeyĒ. I hear again, this time much closer. Her dark figure relentlessly looms over me. The .380 has transformed into a tazer gun. As I slowly try to make it to my feet, her maniacal grin seems to grow to grotesque proportions. I trick myself into believing that I see a roach crawl from behind her left ear. I hear a faint click, and electrical contactors land square on the membranes of my eyes. Current makes the hairs on my lids stand on end. Blazing light encompasses everything as my eyes instantly become lit up with tens of thousands of volts. I put a hand to my face, feeling remaining bits of melted eyeball running down my cheek. My cerebral cortex seems to be frying like an egg on a skillet, and darkness consumes me. My fingers feel their way under my lids into empty sockets as I slip away. Excellent shot, my dear.


Synapses of light intrude upon my blackened stream of consciousness. It is as if bolts of lightning are shooting directly into my brain. My head throbs heavily with every strike. Dark vertical lines manifest themselves in the background, and bright white hues slowly fade to color. My previously destroyed eyes can now distinguish the glare of sun peeking through a mini blind. I readjust my head on the pillow, pulling my dilated pupils away from beams of the light, and multi colored dots temporarily cloud my vision. The sheets are covered in perspiration.

I sit up and throw my legs over the side of the bed. I run a hand over my chin, feeling a small layer of coarse stubble. The balls of my feet meet the cool, familiar hardwood. I need a shave. After throwing on an undershirt and some shorts, I slip my feet into sandals, and walk to the dining area where my laptop sits neglected on the table. I switch it on. After a few moments, the login screen happily greets me like an old friend. I type in my password, and retire to the kitchen to make breakfast. The digital atomic clock on the wall reads a quarter past seven.

I sit down to my standard plate of fresh peaches, egg white omelet, English muffin, and tea. Notebook computer now in front of me, I log on to my secure email. I have (1) new messages from: ďGodĒ @ 06:23:14PM. I click to receive. The message reads simply:

Read the headlines yet? Unfortunate situation last night. Seems there are animals everywhere these days. People should be more careful. I sent you the highlights (attached). Funds have been diverted to the usual account. Just a reminder: the opera begins as planned on 3/18. Donít miss it Ė the ending is literally to die for.

Bless you, my Son.

Below the body is an attachment; a link to an A.P. headline:

ďSenator Riley Murdered Yesterday Evening in Downtown Hotel Room. Police Have No LeadsĒ.

I donít bother to read it.


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© 2006 C A Porter
June 2006

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