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Anything Has To Be Better Than This
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Anything Has To Be Better Than This
Nixon lives a quiet life, he minds his own business, keeps to himself...itís his neighbours who are warring. The paper-thin walls of this hotel reveal everything and one night, as the battle rages next door, he hears the woman, who has never taken any notice of him before, cry out his name.
He charges in, the hero he never was, only to discover anything has to be better than this.
Paul Leighland MacLaine
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (15)
A Pocket Full Of Stones (Short Stories) As he walked through the darkest part of his town, he allowed his thoughts to get the better of him. They stepped in time with his feet, and slowly covered his face with a gentle regret. [929 words] [Relationships]
After She Left (Short Stories) When a relationship ends and partners go their separate ways, the memory of the lost love begins to fade. The half of the brain they once occupied is gradually reclaimed so a person returns to being a... [708 words] [Suspense]
Ash Bester - The Devil May Care (Novels) Here are the first two chapters of my crime novel. I am looking for feedback and motivation to get on with it. Ash Bester, war hero, boxer and Melbourne private detective in 1953, is about to fall vi... [5,188 words] [Crime]
Cancer Of The Circumstance (Short Stories) When a man meets a friend in the street, a long lost friend, he sees that he is dying of cancer. The signs are all there, he is thin, his eyes have dimmed from their once brilliant blue and his hands ... [1,424 words] [Mystery]
Close? Only When We Danced (Short Stories) Secrets and promises are often the hardest things to keep. They have a habit of slipping out in conversation. Phillip, a boy on the verge of manhood, tells all his secrets to a man heís just met in th... [908 words] [Relationships]
Dropping The Red Doll (Short Stories) He hasnít seen his ex-wife in three years but suddenly she is back in his head and back in his life. As he sits next to her, while she is dying from injuries sustained in a car wreck, he sees the red ... [822 words] [Mystery]
Especially Brilliance (Short Stories) A little bit of heaven has just come back to earth [2,340 words] [Spiritual]
Everything's Falling Into Place (Short Stories) As his girlfriend throws all his possessions from a balcony, the man realises the order in which they are discarded reflects their story relationship. [946 words] [Relationships]
Involution Melancholia (Short Stories) Mead wakes to find he has been sleeping on a bar. The room is filled with people and smoke..just another night on the tiles? Only this time things are happening that donít make sense: the barman takes... [1,859 words] [Horror]
Remington, Underwood & Royal (Short Stories) Will Kingsway has just purchased the solution to his writerís block Ė a black, Remington typewriter. The only problem comes when it asks him to guess its name in exchange for fame and literary success... [4,378 words] [Horror]
Renting (Short Stories) Sometimes letting go can be harder than holding on. [390 words] [Relationships]
Sweetchild (Short Stories) Sweetchild is the story of interracial love, a tragic story of a Romeo and Juliet. [2,387 words] [Romance]
The Legacy (Short Stories) Abandonment is a terrible way to end a relationship, especially when it is in favour of your best friend. But John, a hack, horror writer, has just found the solution to his woes in the pages of an ol... [3,561 words] [Horror]
The Man Who Turns The World With His Feet (Short Stories) An ancient pendant, a Gypsy curse and a small child all combine to release The Man Who Turns the World with his Feet. [1,884 words] [Fantasy]
The Spirit Tree (Short Stories) A small boy was living with his Aunt and Uncle on their farm discovers a magic tree, and a miracle of nature. [4,197 words] [Spiritual]
Anything Has To Be Better Than This
Paul Leighland MacLaine
anything has to be better than this
a short story from the collection:
the tales of socrates dancing
paul leighland maclaine
Because Iím in love and I don't know how long itíll last.
Ah, but you also donít know that it wonít last forever.
Thatís why Iím sad.
They were arguing again.
He heard the sound of smashing glass and pressed his face deeper into the pillow. Her sickly-sweet perfume filled his nasal passages, making him gag.
He passed her in the hall again this afternoon.
Sheíd looked up at him, her eyes eating into his...
but they saw nothing worthwhile: nothing she wanted.
She opened the door to the room next to his own, and shut herself inside.
Another glass shouted a hollow cry from the next room, its death distilled by the paper-thin hotel walls. He placed his ear to the smoke-stained floral paper, heard her muffled cries and her loverís mumbled threats, her pleas and, finally, the manís fist cracked a reply down upon her face. And then, beyond the dirty divide, he heard her sobbing.
Anything has to be better than this, he thought, and sunk back to his still-warm pillow.
He pictured those sobs wracking her thin frame, her small, perfectly shaped breasts flattening up tight against her ribs. He pictured her beautiful spine, separating an unblemished back and remembered when his own hands were in a gentle caress down the valleys and swellings of her...
He heard a dull cracking sound and winced. Was it her cheekbone? Had next-door broken one of her pencil-thin arms? Had he broken her neck?
ĎPlease not that,í he whispered, and placed his knuckles to his lips, straining to hear any movement that would tell him she was all right.
ĎPlease, donít hurt her. Sheís all I have.í
Ice cubes clinked into a tumbler. Only an ice-trayís frozen back had been snapped by the manís powerful hands.
He wished he could save her. He lifted his fingers from his lips and placed then to his temples, rotating them in circles - softly at first then harder and harder and harder. He wasnít solidly built like the other man. He visualized rushing the door and carrying her back to his room in his arms Ė just like a real man would have. Only he wasnít a real man, neither tall, nor powerful, rich or cold like he thought men should be.
He was a gentle man, and gentle men donít kick down doors to rescue the women they love.
He heard the renting of material.
She shrieked. Bedsprings winced under the weight of two. He threw back his covers, walked to the bathroom, and flicked the light. He stared at the hollow face in the mirror. Under bare-bulbed light his eyes were soft and gentle...pleading. A tear ran point down his cheek. He again heard the ripping of cloth, and another tear followed the path of the first. Her cries for the man to stop became desperate pleas to continue.
The bedsprings sang in time.
ĎYes,í she cried.
He left the empty security of the bathroom, walked to the kitchen, and took a knife from the drawer. He rolled it over and over in his hand, then sliced the blade gently across his arm.
ĎOh...Yes.í she cried.
He cut again. Her ecstasy was his pain and he wanted to feel her pleasure. The knife was placed to a fresh section of his arm. He gritted his teeth.
Suddenly, there was a scream. He looked up.
She screamed again.
He swiveled on the linoleum, facing the common wall. A loud crack echoed, making him jump. She screamed again. He pressed the blade into his arm. Now it was her pain he needed to feel and, with each belting slap against her cheeks, he cut deeper and deeper into his arm.
He wished sheíd tell him why it was that existence she had chosen when there was so much more to have.
Anything had to be better than this, he thought.
Faster and faster the blows rained. Merciless and degrading. Blood syringed from his arm onto the linoleum floor. She screamed again and again and again and...
then she cried out a manís name. He lifted the blade from his arm.
She called out for him again. Fresh tears flooded single-file down his cheeks Ė his head throbbed as his blood rushed to the floor. He placed his toe into the pool and drew a circle, trying to close her from his thoughts.
She was killing him. She called for him again.
He staggered to the dresser, removed a gun, moved out into the hall, and stood facing the manís door. He reached for the knob; blood sprayed out of his arm and ran down the door. A bottle smashed. She cried out, but the plea was cut short.
He kicked the door open and, in the darkness, saw the manís shape standing over her. He fired twice hitting him in the chest. Both men then dropped to the floor. The gentle man crawled to her and, lifting her head to his chest, saw that her final cry for him had been cut from her throat. He placed his face to her hair, lifted her scent. He pushed her body over to the man and entwined them like lovers.
Thatís what she would have wanted, he thought.
How he returned to their room was a blur. He pulled the covers over his chest; he was shivering. Part of him was numb. In his last few moments he owned four more thoughts.
How he loved her more than anything.
Why anything had been better than him.
Why she could never be happy with what was gentle and kind and...
how he wished he was holding his wife.
|READER'S REVIEWS (1)
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"it made me cry . the fact is true it made me ask myself a question of what people do for true love and lust. what we pt up with how we react to peopeles pain and pleasure when we care for them so much. it was very sad. and i felt this one alot!" -- rachel williams, west melbourne, vic.
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© 1991 Paul Leighland MacLaine
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