3 - Watching.

3 - Watching.

A Chapter by ansley2408

3 " Watching


Another Friday: Another grey day. It was spring, yet ironically the weather was worse, warmer yes, but duller, damper, more mundane. It amplified the misery which had been branching out steadily through his consciousness. Two weeks to the day had passed since he had realised that he hated his life, since that bitter seed had sprouted. It’s once frail stem now tougher, more rigid; smaller meristems forced their way out, leaves unfurled and soaked up the light. He had been searching for reasons, his logic being that, if he could identify what was making him unhappy, he could target it, find a solution and remove it. The identification had been easy, only his problem was that it had been too easy. He had found fault with near on every aspect of his life, starting with his job and working down to his home, from his fading relationships with his friends and the lack of one with a woman, to his mediocre car and the fact that he hadn’t done anything exciting in about a year, which flagged up his lack of ambition, which seemed to bring him back to his job. The job was public enemy number one, he needed to quit, but he needed the money more.

 

The office was abuzz with its usual noises, he could pick them out individually if he listened, from the hum of the photocopier behind him to the distinct voices of his colleagues chasing down some ‘vital information’ on the phone; he could pick out every noise in the office, and there wasn’t one that didn’t grate him. Despite his efforts he had been consistently behind on his targets for two weeks now. It was 3:38pm, and he had just opened an email from his supervisor, Lilian.  “Performance Issues”, with an Outlook Invite to a meeting on Monday morning. He had three options on his screen, Accept, Tentative, or Reject: yet only one option in life. He got up and left, drawing looks as he passed by his colleagues and timing his movement past Lilian’s door to avoid detection. He hated them all now, not personally though, most of them seemed quite nice people, many have them could easily have been good friends, few of them true enemies. However by association with this place, this, stale, grey, robotic place; he despised them. He didn’t bother to feign any farewells as he strode out, head down, boiling inside, raging.

 

 

Monday morning: he had turned up out of routine and nothing more. He felt sick, both physically and mentally and every other way. He didn’t have the vocabulary to express how he felt, he didn’t even know if it existed. Words like panic, dread, regret, disgust and fear; exhilaration and utter terror seemed too mundane, too average. They had been rinsed clean of meaning through centuries of use. He needed novel words, orders of magnitude more powerful than what he could muster, than what was on offer from his mother tongue. He had been sat at his desk for thirty minutes and still hadn’t turned the computer on, he had gone to get a cup of tea a few minutes earlier, only to realise, as he arrived back at his desk, that he hadn’t put a tea bag in. That’s how he was sat when Lilian walked over to his desk, shaking, almost rocking, white as a sheet and clutching his faded Manchester United mug, filled with boiling water and nothing more. He put the mug down and thought she might not have noticed, it was irrelevant though, he could tell from her smug half smile, her “Shall we go to my office” command and the way she strutted as if leading some Victorian ne’er do well to the gallows, through the gossiping ranks of his one-time peers.  She clearly thought he was in this state because he was worried, worried about his targets, worried about losing this job. He hated that she thought this, hated that she thought herself victorious, thought that he was vanquished before the battle had even taken place. He hated that he could not share the real reason why he was almost green in colour and shaking and sweating like an addict, the reason that would shut her up, that would put her in her f**king place! He wanted to tell her; genuinely considered it for a while. She had been talking non-stop for about ten minutes, and he had kept her going with a nod or an “uh-hum” every so often.  What she needed to say could have been done in about thirty-seconds flat, yet she was drawing it out, relishing it, she was midway through some epic power trip, some f**king bureaucratic tour de force. He imagined how quickly he could bring her crashing down, ‘Er Lilian, I’m not sure if you noticed but I’m not in the best state at the moment, and before you think that it’s anything to do with you, or this dead end train wreck of a job let me stop you. I killed a man on Friday night; murdered him.’ He visualised how she would react, The freefall down from her power trip only being accelerated as he added ‘and now I’m going to kill you’. He almost laughed, it was a line from a bad film; at best. He was brought back to reality by a pause in Lilian’s speech, he had the feeling that she had ended on a question, and threw out a feeler, “Yes… I’ve got to do better”, it seemed to do the trick and she nodded and went on, flicking through some bullshit graphs she had in his file. The temporary rush he had felt as he dreamt his B movie serial killer lines wore off quickly, the nausea returned. He looked to the floor.


---

He was back at the house.


Two Fridays ago he had driven to the address on the way home from work, parked down the road and waited for Harrington. Turned out- bottle of Bollinger in hand- he was a genuine prick after all. The Mercedes had screeched to a halt, a blonde maybe half his age- and almost certainly not his wife- had gotten out with him, they’d walked inside the glorious house; giggling. Stuart had been filled with envy. He had driven home, gotten drunk and located the house on Google maps.


---

He was back in the garden.


Last Friday, he had cycled down a semi-rural pedestrian path, stumbled through some undergrowth and climbed a brick wall, dropping clumsily into Harrington’s garden, it was huge. Emboldened simply by being there, he had swaggered down through the bushes. He’d had no specific intention; certainly not to murder. Yet that was what had happened. The man was sat in a hot tub, on a small patio, only a small stretch of grass, which was perfect in every way, separated them. His back was turned to Stuart. This is where things started to get a bit fuzzy, he remembered being filled with rage, it was a burning hot, uncontrollable and an entirely motiveless rage, he didn’t know what exactly he was angry with but he strode over the grass towards Harrington. The scuff of his shoes as he hit the patio alerted the old man, who’d spun round in the hot tub. Seeing Stuart he yelled “What the fu-“ Stuart cut him short, slapping him round the face, he hadn’t intended on doing so, yet there it was, his hand outstretched and colliding flatly with the wrinkly old face. There had been a moments silence and stillness as both men tried to comprehend the situation. Harrington’s anger, going via confusion, had turned to fear and he’d yelped and backed away onto his haunches, falling back into the centre of the hot tub, and spluttering “HELP Hazel ca-“ Stuart had panicked, there was something about the older man’s posture, leaning back on his arms, his head barely above water that was suggestive, an easy way to shut him up. So Stuart had found his arms on Harringtons shoulders, and all of his weight on his arms. Everything until that point had seemed to occur outside of his control, however now, as consciousness returned in its entirety, it was too late. He had rapidly ascended from trespassing and voyeurism, to assault and now attempted murder, the next level was not far away. Yet still he did not stop, he couldn’t tell which bubbles were from the machine and which were from the man; he needed to let go soon; the struggling was getting weaker, the noises dimmer; he really needed to let go; the noises from beneath the water were fading; it was too late now, let go and almost certainly be convicted of attempted murder, hold on and perhaps get away with murder; a minority of the bubbles ceased. The thrashing ceased. He let go, the head stayed under water. Three breaths-his own of course- he remembered that. Then he ran, back up through the undergrowth, over the wall, on the bike and home.


---


 

Lilian had finished talking again, he came back to the room, “Stuart are you okay?” she looked genuinely concerned now. Clearly she had been expecting, or hoping for some kind of battle from him, which she, armed with her pie charts and graphs and targets and competency assessments, would clearly win. Yet she had gotten no resistance and the only response was one which seemed to belong to a seriously ill man. He gathered himself, palming his brow. “I’m fine” the mouth gasped dryly. She paused, “Listen, you don’t look well. Take these, take them home, get some rest and have a read through them when you’ve perked up, and then come back in tomorrow and I’m sure you can “get back on track” (she gestured the inverted commas with her hands). He nodded, unable to decipher the gesture, and stood up shakily; took the bulky file in his hands. He walked out, wobbling, oblivious to the mixed looks he received from his colleagues: interest, some mirth and spite; and some anxiety and genuine worry on his behalf. He managed to make it to his car without throwing up or bursting into tears. He sat there for a while and tried to compose himself. It was near on half an hour, when he finally snapped out of it, there was calm after the storm.


That little shoot which sprouted those two weeks prior, growing achingly slowly, yet surely, off his vast stocks of discontent and despair, remained. It stood firm amongst the carnage, where the other trees had fallen, its ductile stem had wavered and shaken, but not buckled. It continued in its growth upwards, having found a new resource, a novel nutrient buried amongst the fear and terror, the disgust and nausea. In contrast to its previously inefficient food of despair and malcontent, it was thriving from only the smallest amount of this new substance. It shot up from only the briefest exposure, the tiniest concentration, of exhilaration.



© 2013 ansley2408


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Added on July 30, 2013
Last Updated on August 2, 2013
Tags: grey, change, for worse, murder, death, killer, panic


Author

ansley2408
ansley2408

North West, United Kingdom



About
I'm a relative beginner to this, mainly writing fiction at the moment. I welcome all feedback and reviews especially with regards to my style, and also grammar, which I am a little unsure of. more..

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A Chapter by ansley2408