As there are only two days left in the Story A Day Challenge for September, I decided to finish on a two part story – told from two different perspectives. A father and son. I hope you enjoy.
A Life Less Ordinary – Part One
The day started ordinarily enough. The house was silent and solid in its job of protecting the sleeping occupants. Right on cue, the alarm clock broke through the tranquillity of the household with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. The DJ’s dulcet tones echoed through the upstairs living quarters and masked the sound of the coffee percolator set on timer to welcome the sleeping figures back into the land of the living.
As if given permission, the birds, who were housed within the conservatory, began their morning call. The central heating system came to life, echoing through the walls and bringing warmth into the tiny structure. All was as it should be.
The next few minutes passed with the same precision they had every morning. Monty slammed the palm of his hand on top of the alarm, managing as usual to hit the snooze button.
“Time to get up,” came the muffled voice of his wife. They were the same words she uttered every morning. She said them, whilst knowing that her husband would not stir until he no longer had an excuse to stay under the covers. It equated to twenty minutes, and a heavy reliance on the snooze facility.
In the bedroom adjacent to theirs lay their son, Michael. His eyes were fixed on the ceiling. Routine was his ally. He could count the seconds, and knew with absolute certainty that his father would poke his head around the door in exactly nineteen minutes. He would smile and mutter a, ‘Good morning, son,’ to which he would reply, ‘Good morning, father,’ – all without taking his eyes from the roof. In twenty-two minutes his father would make it back upstairs, after fetching his mother her morning cup of coffee. Michael could see it playing out in his head like a moving picture.
By the time he was up and in his position by the window, his father would be groomed and ready for work. Michael would count his steps down the stairs, across the hall and towards the door, before his father would call out.
“See you tonight, Abigail. Have a good day, Michael, I’ll miss you.”
Their response was somewhat varied, but by that time Michael would be busily watching the street. He would see his father sat in his car. A bright blue Toyota Corolla, thumbing the engine and waiting for his cue.
It was all about order, and maintaining that order. To deviate would upset the fine balance of the universe, or at least that’s how Michael saw it. First it would be Mrs Jacobs at number 10, then Dr Jefferson and, just before his father, came Dorothy Stokes. On an ordinary day, in a life less ordinary than most, this is what happened.
Michael bolted upright in bed when he heard footsteps in the hall; he looked at the clock in horror. Only twelve minutes had passed since his father’s alarm had sounded. He shouldn’t be up yet, shouldn’t be on his way to Michael’s room with all those minutes to spare.
Pulling the cover over his head, Michael put a barrier between himself and his father. When the door opened he mouthed the words, even though he was terrified to hear them.
“Good morning, son,” his father said sleepily.
Michael could not bring himself to reply; his lips moved in their usual greeting, but he did not voice the words.
There was a long silence, whilst his father tried to figure out what to do next. “Don’t worry, Michael, I know I’m early this morning, but everything will be okay.”
When Michael didn’t answer he closed the door again on a sigh.
For the next twenty minutes, Michael didn’t move from his position under the duvet. He needed that time to collect his thoughts, and to calm his beating heart. Something had gone horribly wrong. He could usually sense such things in the air, but today had seemed like such a good day when he opened his eyes.
It took a great deal of effort to move to his seat at the window, but he needed to do it. He needed to see this part through; this would re-set the balance and calm his jittering nerves.
He looked down at his father, sitting patiently in the car, and regretted the fact he couldn’t articulate his fear. But then he saw Dr Jefferson’s car moving out of the drive and his heart froze. It had to be Mrs Jacobs who left the cul de sac first. The order was simple; green, red, yellow and blue. That was the way it had been for over twelve months.
Michael couldn’t control the emotions wracking his body; he was lost in an attack he knew would rob all coherent thoughts from his mind.
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