the stain

part 1  (part 2 here; part 3 here)

  • content warning (horror, language, otherworldly beings, grief, alcohol…)
  • this is a HWWF2015 assignment about world building and character background.

“I plunked down into the leather couch and tugged the patchwork quilt over my legs. Maria, my ex wife, made it during the two long years of our marriage, for Amy.” Our little daughter…

My hand petted the fabric, fingers tracing the sewed ridges, for the hundredths, thousandths time. Maybe for the millionths time by now… It had been vibrant and colorful, with the reds and blues and yellows thoughtfully arranged on twenty to thirty-five inches. Baby animals playing under the stars and the moon. My fingertips knew all the stitches. It was one of Maria’s most wonderful pieces. You could feel how she poured her heart, her soul, into it.

Now it was dirty, soiled with life and death, but I’d never dare to wash it. There was this big brownish incrusted stain on the upper corner, where the bunnies met the puppies. That things was evidence, that I killed my daughter. My little Amy…

I stared at the dark spot. The longer I gazed at it, the darker it went. It made my mouth an acidic desert-like place. My hand hovered over it. Eventually, my fingertips brushed over the dried edges of the caked brown. The oxygen got up and left the room.

That smudge was everything Amy wasn’t… She has been our sun, the glue between our hours, days and nights, the blood of our bond…

I shifted my legs, and put my throbbing stiff one unto the coffee table. My sock was torn, big toe peeking from the knitted green wool. Under my heel one of the magazine towers collapsed and spilled to the floor.

The empty baked beans can wobbled and fell nearly off. I nudged it with my toe and pushed it back. It stood still again. Now it kept the almost empty Ravioli can company.

I had a whiskey bottle wedged into the couch, nestling between my left side and the elbow rest.

That was what numbed the pain best, as long as I kept my brain fogged up. I pulled it out. The black cap went off easily. Another wasted hour without being hammered. The smell of my armpits hit me.

I stared out of the living room window. Snowing. I didn’t bother to switch the lights on. No need for electric light chasing away the shadows in the room. It couldn’t chase away the shadows that mattered most.

The grey wooly darkness of the late winter afternoon bloomed forth into the room.

My old tattered shelves went up to the ceiling. The spines of the books crowded the space on the planks. They sucked up the rest of the light seeping in. Another ghostly night stretching its tentacles towards me, to pull me under and drown me in its cruel unnatural silence. I had to get there first.

I took a big gulp from the bottle. It burned. It burned all the way down to the midnight of my soul. But it burned much less, than Amy’s absence. Cold crept from my limbs into my guts. I hated this part most. It was a race. A goddamn race. The night was coming and I wasn’t drunk. Not yet. I had to turn up the volume of the misery static in my head! Everything was better than silence.

On bad days, I heard Amy running through the house, looking for me… “Daaaddydaddy?” She’d find me and hug me with all her might. „I wuv you this much!” Then she’d throw out her little hands as far as she could to show me how much. „Wuv me too?” I told her, I loved her more than the stars, the moon, the mountains and the woods together. „How big is that, daddy?” Then I’d throw out my arms, and she’d giggle her head off.

On unbearable days I saw Amy playing outside, in the snow. She’d play princess of the woods. Her quilt blanky draped around her little shoulders, like a cape. Pink beanie on top of her blonde piggy tails, matching pink mittens on her tiny hands. Then she’d stop mid-play to wave me and blow me kisses. And I’d wave back at her before I realize, that she wasn’t there. Outside, there was only trees and snow.

The lump in my throat grew bigger. How was it possible, that memories could punch such immense holes into my heart? I wished someone’d barge in and knock me out already.

Two years ago, my little darling died. Maria and I, we died with her. Our bodies and minds kept moving through this world on our oblivious courses. Maria stopped with nearly everything, except with cooking and baking. I barely ate, but Maria cooked anyway. She went shopping, and I threw out the food that went bad.

We didn’t talk. We let our tears die too. Then our marriage expired. Maria left me after eight month of constant grief, booze and silence.

I stopped sleeping. Hoping that I’d pass out, I emptied all whiskey bottles I could find. Nothing happened. I sat awake, day and night, reliving the worst day of my life.

The wind gusts swept over the tips of the huge firs around our house.

On that special sunny winter day, I went into the woods behind the shed to chop down a dead birch tree. Amy begged I let her come along. Maria complained, but I took her anyway. I told her to collect some cones for the fire in the kitchen. I pointed at the cones lying around couple of feet away. I turned around and heard her pleased child song, how she was the princess of the woods. My axe flew up and down. Her humming faded and got washed away by the rising storm. As the birch fell, I couldn’t hear her anymore.

Amy disappeared. I screamed for her, running around in the vicinity. How far could she wander off? The snowstorm howled, and I kept howling her name, till I coughed up blood.

She didn’t turn up… until two days later. The search party combed the area after the storm.

It was me, who found her tiny body under a half broken fir log several hundred yards away, from the spot I last saw her. I’d say it was just punishment.

I wrapped her in her blanket, she still had around her shoulders. I scooped her up and roared for Maria.

After that, everything was kind of a blur. Maria wailing, us three jumping into the pick up, my wife behind the wheel. We skid down the icy road to Points, where the doctor was.

And all I could do was to hold Amy tight, beg her to stay with me. She was so cold. Her tiny shape burnt itself into my arms, and I hardly could remember anything else. It seemed like an eternity.

Someone bent up my fingers, my arms, unwrapped me from Amy’s little broken body. The doctor talked to me. I saw his mouth move, though I never heard a sound.

His rubber gloved hand unwrapped the quilt. I saw what I had wrapped up, what I held in my arms. That wasn’t my Amy any more. It was a bloody rag doll.

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