A Gleam in the Dark

Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write a story about someone feeling powerless.... view prompt



It was like a scene straight out of a painting. 

The sky was bathed in brilliant purple and orange hues as the sun was beginning to set. In the distance, a flock of seagulls flew past framed by the bright golden sun.

A few small fishing boats dotted the sea as they bobbed up and down on the water. The bright purple and orange hued sky mirrored through the water as if it was one big giant canvas of colours.

Adam gazed out far into the horizon totally mesmerized by the brilliance of it. He closed his eyes breathing in the fresh salty air and let his mind wander. 

Growing up, this has been his favourite spot. He recalled the numerous times he had come here with his parents. There were people fishing. Kids running around yelling and screaming.

This has been his happy place which was filled with some wonderful memories. 

This was where he had his first kiss. He was in junior high and had been going out with a girl in his class. It had been an evening just like this one, he was witnessing now.

He had been standing there for a long time on the pier watching the sun being swallowed up by the sea. His mind a little preoccupied as there was a lot going on in his life at present.

Particularly of his old father, recuperating from an illness back at the house. 

Just as the last rays of the sun disappeared on the horizon, he sighed heavily and turned to walk back toward home.

 As he got off the pier, he suddenly felt cold as a strong gust of wind blew past, he shivered and pulled the collar of his overcoat up around his neck. 

He regretted abandoning the thought of wearing a scarf when he left the house. He put his hands inside his coat pockets to keep them warm as he made his way up the winding road.

As he was walking his mind wandered back again to the past.

It has been ten years since he was last here, in his old home town. He had come back to be with his father who had suffered a heart attack several weeks ago.

The last time he was here was when his mother passed away. He was away in college at the time when he received a call from his father saying that his mother had died of a heart attack.

He had come back now to be with his father as he was ordered strict bed rest by his doctor. He needed to keep an eye on things, especially around the house so, that his father could rest easy and not worry about anything, least of all household matters. 

What his father didn't know is that he was running away. He had run into some huge debts because of his gambling problem and he owed a large some of money to a loan shark who had threatened his life if he didn't pay on time, which he hadn't.

He was doing brilliantly after graduating college and landing a job at an accounting firm in the big city. He was on his way to making a name for himself. 

That is, until he decided to steal some money from his accounting firm hoping to pay the debt. He was found out and was fired the week after.

Adam knew he was in serious trouble. He had been wanting to call his father for so long and ask for a loan to pay the debt but he couldn't bring himself to do it. 

He didn't want to let his father know what a loser and what a failure he had become. He didn't want to hear the disappointing tone in his father's voice. He was ashamed of himself.

He had been clean for a few months as a result of attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings. He had been doing so well. 

Until a few of his buddies from college dragged him to a high steaks poker game one night saying that they were going to a night club.

The little that he had done, to try to rebuild his life came crashing down all around him that night.

As he continued to walk toward home, he questioned as to why he let himself get so deep in trouble, deep in debt.

He felt like a criminal being taken to the gallows and feeling the noose being tightened around his neck. 

“Will I ever escape from this darkness?” he asked himself as his eyes filled with tears.

It was already dark as he climbed the few stone steps that led to the front porch. The porch light was off, there were no lights burning inside the house either. 

Thankfully the moon was out. He wondered why his father hadn't gotten up to switch on at least one light. 

Maybe he had fallen asleep, while reading, as he so often did. He reached for the door knob, in his agitated state he almost didn’t notice that the front door was ajar! 

This puzzled him, "had he forgotten to shut it when he ran out in a hurry a few hours ago?" he thought to himself.

He quietly crept inside, not making a sound, he didn’t want to disturb his father in case he was sleeping. 

He  switched the light on in the hallway, it didn’t work, which puzzled him even further, has the fuse gone? 

He tried the  lights above the staircase, they where out too. He decided to check the fuse box later, first he needed to check in on his father to make sure he was alright.

As he neared the staircase leading up to the top floor of the two story house, he was struck by a sudden foreboding thought, "is there someone inside? Has he been discovered? Has Vinny found out his whereabouts? Has he sent someone to deal with him?”

As these thoughts were circling around in his head, he cursed himself now for his actions, his irresponsibility. He knew full well that he was putting his father in harms way and he blamed himself now for doing so.

He started to slowly make his way up the staircase, quietly, so as to avoid the creaky spots, thankful once again for the moonlight, and just as he reached the middle, he almost tripped on his jogging shoes that he had left there, that morning, he steadied himself, muttering under his breath.

As he reached the landing, he heard a loud thud from inside his father’s bedroom. His heart beat quickened as he neared the door. He opened it and went inside.

The first thing he could make out from the moonlight streaming in through the windows, was his father lying on the floor , face down, unconscious, beside the bed.

 And behind him, he caught a movement, out of the corner of his eye. A gleam of some sort. As he turned to look, he didn't even have time to react as the gleam followed by a gloved hand came down on him like a flash and struck him in the chest!


September 04, 2020 15:48

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Ola Hotchpotch
07:17 Oct 08, 2020

Nice story and well written. So many elderly people are attacked and killed like that. Maybe it was the son who arranged for the killers to get his father. Or it may have been a secret enemy who found an opportunity and then put the blame on the son which was easy because the son was desperate for money but couldn't ask for it.


Melissa Hassan
07:47 Oct 08, 2020

Thank you, Ola, for your comments. Do you mind liking my story?😊


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Melissa Hassan
15:53 Sep 04, 2020

This is the first ever short story written by me sometime back, which I thought fit this particular prompt. (just like two of my other stories "The Wish" and "The Missing Person" which were, pre-written) Well I will let you, my fellow authors and readers be the judge. Please let me know what you think. 🙂


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