Aiming for a creative life

I Am Santo

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The night was sleepless, Kailey burrowing into his back in one queen bed while Alec slept alone on the hotel room’s other mattress. Simon was exhausted, but as the green LED blinked past midnight on the nightstand clock radio, he felt as though he’d reached the bottom of an empty well and sat parched in mud, his hands filthy with yesterday but unable to give up on a sip of tomorrow. His children’s heavy breathing swaddled him as if he were a newborn, crib death creeping in the shadows. He knew this wasn’t over and as dawn cracked twilight with eggshell mercy, the sun spilling like broken yolk through a slit in the room-darkening shades, Simon knew he had to get up. The cycle of sun and moon anchored the Earth, but he’d spun free, an errant comet shedding self in luminous tragedy. He saw the blonde’s hair clumped in crimson and his own wife’s lips stitched closed at her wake. One and the same. He saw the dead man in the backseat, and his best friend’s face drawn into a pale frown after admitting his affair with Simon’s wife. One and the same. He saw the bloodstain on the tenement carpet and envisioned his own children with red blooms soaking through their clothes. No. Never one. Never the same. He would keep them safe, fight the curve of this cycle’s spiral arm and disobey the inevitability of a galaxy’s choke or a seashell’s Fibonnaci strangle. He was the jagged rocks of shore as a wave broke, disruptive, violent. He dressed quickly, kissed the foreheads of his children and wrote a quick note for Alec saying he went to the apartment. No school today. Stay put. Don’t open the door for anyone. He’d be back with breakfast. Simon heard the lock latch and the “Do not disturb” tag swayed on the handle as he exited. Outside, the world was on fire and he drove into the inferno, sun and clouds volleying for gold Heaven. Arriving at their unit shortly after six, he stepped in quietly, pushing the door open with a loud sweep over the hardwood. He expected blood on the floor. Instead he was greeted with clean quiet. He had entered the unexpected, stepped into the unscripted, and he unknown now scared him more than another turn of the wheel. (To be continued…)

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