This one is… Well, it’s weird. I thought the prompt was WAY specific. It even gave me a name for this particular character. Granted, I could have been any perspective other than him, because as specific as it was it didn’t tell me where the perspective of the story came from. For instance, I could have been a bum to witness the murder and spend the story running from Tim. I had actually thought about telling the story from the point of view of John H. Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I didn’t. I think the story would have been better for it. Oh well. These aren’t meant to be amazing. I’ve come to accept that this year is going o be an exercise of finding my voice and to just get myself in the habit of writing everyday. The only way I can become good (or return to my former glory) is to write, write, write. So, here it is…
A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems and Zachary Petit
“Only two weeks had passed into the New Year and Tim had already broken his first resolution: Don’t kill anyone. Write this scene.”
Tim clutched the phone in his bloody hand and dialed his sponsor. He lifted the receiver and pressed it hard against his ear. There had been a moment of hesitation for Tim to call John H., but he had assured him if he slipped that he should give him a call. Although it should have been before it happened. Tim knew that. He had told himself as he prowled the back alleys of Chicago to call him first.
On the fifth ring he picked up and sleepily mumbled into the phone.
“John, it’s me. I,” he said his voice breaking, “I broke my sobriety and killed someone.”
“Oh, Tim,” he said, “it’s just a slip. We can get through this. Don’t let this be the thing that throws you off the wagon.”
Tim began to cry. The inevitable remorse was setting in and he regretted his actions more than he ever had before. This was 2015, the year he was going to get clean. Just two weeks from the turn of a new age and here he is with blood pooling around the souls of his shoes once again.
“Can we get coffee?” Time said.
“Yeah, yes we can, buddy.”
“I’ll meet you at the diner on Limerick.”
“See you there.”
John H. ended the call and the line went dead. It’s termination signaled by the double beep.
Tim pocketed the phone and looked down at the man at his feet. The gash in his throat smiling at him like a second mouth, with blood drool pouring from the open maw. He had to get rid of the body. If he just left it here someone would spot it before he made a quick getaway.
Tim grabbed the man’s ankles and pulled him to the side of a dumpster, heaping with trash. If he just lifted him on top it would be even more obvious. Like the many times before, Tim rushed to remove some of the debris and pile it off to the side. Once he dug a space big enough for the thirty-something, he lifted him over his shoulder and dropped in the stranger. Much to Tim’s chagrin the small action pushed out even more blood. He could feel it soaking into his clothes as it ran down his back.
“Damn it,” he said, tears forming again.
What am I going to do now? Trying to be sober had made him sloppy. In the past he may have been a mastermind at keeping himself clean from his dirty deeds, even though it tarred his soul, this time he wore his mistake all over him.
Tim rushed down the alleyway, sticking as much in the shadows as he could. With any luck he could find someone else along the way that he could just choke out to steal what they wore.
No! That’s more pain, he thought, And how do I know I would stop before it went further. It’s never just choking someone out.
Plus he also was very aware of DNA captured in skin flakes would be all over his current duds.
Just run home.
In a city so well lit and thriving with so many people, it was amazing how much one could get away with. Not a single person took a second look at Tim, or even a single glance for that matter. Most he came across, sticking to the darker parts of the city as possible, had their eyes glued to their smartphone or talking loudly to some other person.
He got to his flat and rushed upstairs. For a split second he thought Mrs. McNeal would catch him as he stuck his key in the lock, but luckily her small dog Bitsy, tried to escape and drew her attention away.
Safe in his one bedroom apartment, devoid of any kind of furnishings, other than a single plastic chair, lamp, and a mattress in the other room, Tim melted against the door with relief.
Get your clothes off idiot!
Tim stood up and ripped off his clothes. He balled them up and dropped them in the kitchen sink, where he turned the water on and squeezed a spiral of dish soap over the mound.
While the sink was filling he jumped into the shower and rinsed off any sign of what he had done.
By the time he was out, dripping wet with no towel, the sink was just about to overflow. He shut the water off and then swished the clothes around, spilling some soapy water onto the floor.
Satisfied that all it needed is time to soak, he went into his bedroom. His trash bag of clothes stood with a pair of brown boots in the corner. He picked out a suitable shirt and a pair of pants, grabbed his shoes, and threw them on. Appearance was nothing to him. At this moment, all he cared about was a calming chat with his sponsor.
The diner was just around the corner from his home. His choice of venue wasn’t deliberate but turned out to be a subconscious decision that he was thankful for. Walking any further would have been too much for him.
John sat in a booth in the far back.
Tim rushed around the dining counter, ignoring the greeting from the night time waitress, and took a seat opposite the man with the answers.
“So,” John began, “why didn’t you call me before? We talked about this. You need to think a slip all the way through before you do something.”
Tim fought back another wave of tears.
“I know,” he said, voice shaking.
“It’s alright. You can do this. The program works.”
“Where are you with your steps?”
“I can’t find a higher power.”
John nodded. He sighed and leaned forward, propping himself up on the table.
“It is a hard thing. You think that no god could ever love me after what I’ve done.”
“You can’t think like that, Tim.”
Tim wiped away the mist pooling under his grey eyes.
“You can’t let this break you. You’re letting this thing control your life. We both know you are not this person. These are not normal urges.” John paused. “You have to pick yourself back up and get back on the wagon. Just take it one day at a time.”
“How did you get sober?”
John made a sarcastic laugh.
“It was tough going. I had been raised in a hit-man household. It was all I ever knew. When I wanted to stop,” he shook his head, “it was extreme agony. I kept a journal. I prayed to God. I dealt with the stuff that was boiling deep down in me. You need to do the same.
“Don’t worry about how long you can go without killing someone. Just worry about not doing it now. Now is all that matters to you. Remember that.”
“Right now, to make sure you don’t do it again is you’re going to go to a pay phone and dial the police.”
Tim went wide-eyed.
“It’s part of the process. Just don’t leave any finger prints. Used a towel to dial. Once you do that I want you to go home and write down everything that’s bothering you. Everything. Try and piece together what it was that made you want to act out. You and I will get through this together.
“Remember, one day at a time.”