Day 123 – Deathly Obsessions – Part 1

Christ knows how I was able to write this much. My brain is dead.

Word count: 1082

Alan Martin was elated when he left the doctor’s surgery that morning. The hubble of the city chattered away; buses screeching round corners; taxis slamming down breaks and beeping their horns and retail abusive women, laden with shopping, and corking along the pavement in their high heels. A bright sunlight dazzled him as he exited the automatic doors, tying his scarf around his neck. It was a crisp winter’s day; stark sunlight and frost creeping along the surface of the world and dazzling like diamonds.

Alan had received a clean bill of health. The headaches were not a problem; there was no brain tumour there. The palpitations were a minor stress related issue – he needed to cut that down – and his blood pressure was normal. The results from last week’s blood tests turned up negative for everything. Though Alan could have been happier, considering this good news. Though the doctors were adamant that there was nothing wrong with him, Alan was sure that there was something else that they could still check for. After all, the frequency of his headaches seemed abnormally high when compared to the national average and he could not contemplate the risk of finding anything just that little bit too late.

Alan pressed the button for the pedestrian crossing. The road was empty, but he still waited by the pavement until the green man lit up. He crossed, flicking his head in both directions of traffic until he had reached the other side. No cars came at all. Alan walked on past the bakery, and tutted at the stickily unhealthy food inside. Alan was heading home, where a stick of celery and a pot of humous was awaiting him: he thought he would have a binge as a special treat for the good news he had received.

At home, Alan instigated his daily routine. He checked that none of the plugs were sparking and that the cables were not frayed. He checked the gas was not leaking. He checked the gas detector’s batteries were working. Alan hated having gas, but his landlord had refused to fit an electric hob and he did not have the money to buy a brand new one, so he had to cope.

Alan ate his celery stick whilst watching the clock. He found this very peaceful and relaxing. To see the seconds tick by, he almost felt as if were in control of them: that he was the master of time. At exactly half past twelve his watch alarm went off. This signified that he needed to check the locks on the door to his apartment. After he had verified his lock situation, he thought he would pour himself a glass of milk. Alan rarely drank over his recommended daily allowance of milk. He had no desire to get cancer, but he thought that if he swapped his morning cereal tomorrow for toast instead, then his health would not be put at risk.

The fridge was gleaming with cleanliness. It looked like a fridge from a show room in a kitchen shop. Every day Alan would buy the freshest vegetables and use them that day. Nothing would get left in there for any longer than seventy two hours. Alan poured himself a glass of milk and then, as he was putting the carton in the recycling box, he started to panic. There, on the side of the bottle, was last Wednesday’s stamp date. This milk should have been drunk yesterday.

Alan felt sick. He had come so close – what if he had not seen? The thought did not bear thinking about. He slammed the carton down on the table and extracted the receipt from the day he had purchased the milk. Every receipt he had ever owned was placed in a neat little filing system on a shelf. It only took him a few seconds to locate the correct one. Three days ago – Friday – was when he had bought the milk. Alan grabbed his coat and marched outside into the brisk morning.

The grocery store that he had bought the milk from was not that far away – perhaps only ten minutes by foot. It was however, one of the most scary routes he was likely to take in his own home city. There were gas works being conducted just yards away from his front door. He could always smell a gas leak. He would make the phone call later, though. Further on there was a police station – which despite appearances was actually a haven for thugs and thieves who were released hourly from jail only to re-offend at the nearest opportunity. Then there was the building site. They were converting a whole three storey block of offices into small affordable apartments. There was scaffolding everywhere. Drills would constantly be going; hammering and shouting; welding and cementing. On a windy day there, Alan feared for his life even more. Fortunately today was quite calm. The workmen were busying themselves up on the roof with some machine. Alan looked up, weary of the precarious items resting on the scaffolding. They did not look secure. Alan would be walking directly under them soon. He felt uneasy; there was something about this situation that he did not like whatsoever. There was no wind, however; no one was walking on the scaffolding to make any sort of vibration so as to knock the items over the edge. Still, Alan did not trust it. He turned to cross the road – risking his own life crossing midway without a traffic light. Fortunately there were no cars coming in either direction.

It happened within seconds of reaching the other side. He was not sure what he heard first: the scream of the clanging of the metal pipes rolling off the scaffolding and slamming first against the woman’s head and then the pavement.

A rush of people ran to her aid. Alan could only see her legs lying flat along the pavement – the rest of her body was hidden by a parked car. The workmen on the roof were peering down at the scene. One of them was on the phone, presumably calling an ambulance. Alan was not sure that one was required. He examined the physical evidence with his eyes and memory. There was no way someone could have survived a head trauma like that. But only one thing kept hammering at the inside of his mind, like one of his feared headaches: that would have, should have been him.

~ by S.G. Mark on February 7, 2012.

3 Responses to “Day 123 – Deathly Obsessions – Part 1”

  1. I’m glad I found your stories. (this one paints an interesting portrait))

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