The story so far:
The non-stop drumming on the door roused me from my drug-induced slumber. I rose, shakily, from the couch and staggered to the door. Golden streams of sunlight pierced through the holes in the tattered shade that adorned the window of the door. Force of habit caused me to peek around the shade before opening the door. There he stood. The preacher. Nausea swept over me but I felt compelled to open the door anyhow. The door had not opened even halfway before he pushed his way into my house once again.
"Mornin, Andrew. Glad to see you again. Just thought I'd stop by to see how you were doing."
Without a word I went to the kitchen and started a pot of coffee. I was unaware that he had followed until I felt his hand on my shoulder.
"Hard to forget all those terrible things, ain't it?"
I turned and stared him directly in the eye, rage boiling in my chest. "What terrible things?" I asked through clenched teeth.
"The 'accident' as you like to call it. Just can't get it out of your head, can you?"
I turned away from him, too ashamed to think about responding. A cold breeze swept across my back. Regaining my composure, I turned to confront him. He was gone. Thinking he must have returned to the living room, I headed that way. He wasn't there either. Uneasy at the thought that he might be wandering around my house, I darted from room to room. He was nowhere. The clock chimed its incessant reminder. I've had enough of that **** clock.
I grabbed a hammer from the toolbox that sat on the dining table and went to fix the goddamn clock once and for all. Blow after blow reduced the once majestic grandfather clock to a pile of splintered wood and twisted brass.
"Tick tock ****."
There would be no more reminders. Pills. I needed my pills. Sweet relief from my painful existance. As I retreated to the bathroom, the clock began its rythmic ticking again. I turned and looked and instead of the clock, there stood the preacher. He held Chloe in one arm and Natalie in the other. His face was not the same, though. His face was now the face of the clock. Ticking away and ridiculing me. I dashed up the stairs, the ghostly whispers of my dead children following the whole way.
The white walls seemed to mock me as I bounded up the stairs two at a time. I crashed through the bathroom door and snatched the pill bottle from the medicine chest. My fingers fumbled with the cap. Goddamn child-proof packaging. People just don't give kids enough credit. Children always seem to figure out child-proof products before adults.
"Come open, you piece of ****!!"
**** it. instead of struggling for an hour with the damn thing, I just smashed it against the sink. The plastic bottle disintegrated in my hand. Pills flew everywhere. The majority of them spilled into the drain. ****! No! Damnit, why did I do that?
"Because you have to face reality sooner or later, Andy. Sooner or later," the voice echoed from somewhere in the house. Or from within my head. Who knows? The laugter of children reached my ears again, as it so often had in recent days. The words echoed in my mind again. "One to remember."
I wondered what was so special about this one. I scooped up a couple of the fugitive pills and gulped them down with some water. The rest could be picked up later, after my mind was able to settle. Now, food. Yes, sweet sustinence. The neighbors wouldn't mind picking up a little something. At least, I hoped not. I needed to make myself presentable. My gaze rose to the mirror. The wild eyes looking back could not be mine. My hair looked like it had gone through wind-tunnel testing. Shower, shave, and then approach the neighbors.
I stood at the door, hesitant to knock, when it swung open. My surprise was matched by the attractive woman standing there. If my memory served correctly, her name was Charlotte, but my memory so often failed, mixing reality and fantasy. She was a tall, slender woman in her mid-thirties. Her long, chestnut hair flowed down around her dainty shoulders. Looking at her aroused something within me. Something frightening.
"Oh, hi," she laughed nervously.
"Uh, hello. Sorry to intrude, but I was wondering if you could maybe do me a favor. I know you don't really know me, but I'm expecting a repairman at the house and I needed a few things from the market. I'd be more than happy to shoot you a little cash for the inconveniance."
Her nervous smile softened a bit. "I was just heading to the corner grocery, so you're in luck. What do you need?"
I handed her a short list.