Suspense Romance

He stared at the circulating propellors that rotated opposite to the ticking clock prepared to awaken him from his trance. “I don’t want to get up,” he grumbles as he turns to view a beam pinpointing the very reason he desired to stay in bed. He smiles as his mind takes snapshots of the auburn angel sharing his realm. A constant gentle breeze was heard proceeding from her nostrils as the securely wrapped covering portrayed her impeccable anatomy. Her lips remained unlocked and arched in a position that enticed the gentleman to connect his lips to awaken his sleeping beauty. Her eyelids unfastened slowly to reveal their secrets behind the curtain. “Good morning babe,” her sweet-sounding audio coming from her mouth penetrated the man's soul and caused him to shiver. “You are so beautiful,” he says. “I don’t know why God blessed me with such an angel.” His words made her smile increase as she sits up, causing her covering to disengage so the gentleman could engage. “Aww. I love you too Ben.”

Ben's days over the past few years had become routine. He would wake up, view his gorgeous wife, kiss her luscious lips, take a shower, put on a suit, go downstairs, admire his wife and her sheer lace gown, and then eat her breakfast. “You smell so delicious. I just want you on a plate.” Ben said as he wrapped his arm around her waist. “I am pretty sure you already had that for breakfast. So this is brunch,” she giggles as she pushes Ben. “Stop before your son comes downstairs.” Ben smiles and heads to the table to check his emails on his phone. The sound of small feet is heard approaching quickly. “Here comes your mini-me,” Ben’s wife says as she places a plate on the table. “I gotta hide,” Ben says as he runs behind the couch. “Good morning baby.” “Morning Mommy!” A light voice is heard in the kitchen. “Is daddy playing?” “Yes, baby. Go find him.” “Yay!” The pattering recommences as the mini detective searches the room. Ben contains his laughter as he crouches behind the couch. It isn’t long before his future linebacker targets him and takes him to the ground. “Oomph,” Ben grunts as the young human hops on him. “I found you, daddy! I win!” “You sure did buddy,” Ben says laughing as he clutches his son. “You win a free delicious breakfast!” “Yay!” Ben places his son down and watches him sprint back to the kitchen.

“Breakfast is delicious like always,” Ben says as he places his plate in the sink. “Yes, mommy. It’s amazing!” Ben’s son adds as syrup attaches to the perimeter of his mouth. “Only the best for my men,” his wife replies as she joins Ben at the sink. “So is there time for dessert?” Ben says as he gently lays kisses upon her neck which causes confusion in her knees. “Stop,” she whispers and giggles. “You will be late for work. Plus you already got dessert.” “I have a sweet tooth,” Ben says as his weakened wife turns to face him. “Go to work, and we’ll see about a full spread tonight.” She kisses his lips to transfer the weakness back in order to push Ben away. “I’ll build up an appetite.” “Are we going to a buffet,” his son asks as he enters the vicinity. His parents laugh. “No. Your daddy is just playing. Go wash up,” the boy's mother says as she ushers him upstairs while Ben washes the dishes. They smile at each other as they part.

“Don’t forget you have the dental procedure this evening. I will be there after work since you can’t drive. Probably about 4:45 pm. Hopefully, they will be releasing you then so I don’t have to wait.” “Yeah,” Ben replies as he grabs his backpack. “I really don’t want to go. You know I hate being put to sleep.” A bronze goddess's hand gently touches his cheek for reassurance. “It will be ok. And just know I will be there when you wake up.” The two kiss. “That’s something I always look forward to.” The couple kisses again as a young soul becomes disgusted. “Eww! That’s how you get cooties!” “Yes, little man. Remember that.” The mother shakes her head. “We have to let daddy go. So hug him before he leaves.” Ben holds his arms out and braces for impact to his abdomen. And within a few seconds, he was not disappointed. “I’ll see you later little man. Ok?” “Ok, daddy. Have fun at the doctor.” Ben smiles and walks out the door.

The light stares at Ben as he waits for the procedure to commence. “Alright Mr. Williams, are you ready?” the dentist says as her nurse starts to place instruments on the table beside his chair. Ben takes a deep breath knowing that he was about to lie. “Yes ma'am.” The assistant stands over Ben with a clear mask. “You have beautiful eyes,” he says out loud. She smiles. “Thank you. Now please count backward from 10.” “10…9…8…”

“Higher daddy!” Ben visualizes a playground with his son. He pushes him higher. “Not too high,” a sweet voice says beside him. “Just a little bit higher.” He pushes his son on the swing one more time. “Yay!” When the swing returns, it is empty. “Ben?” He turns to look at his wife whose face has shifted into sheer terror. “Ben!”

He peeks through his eyelids to see the light continuing to stare brightly at him. The windows to his soul start to shutter multiple times as he attempts to awaken. He glances around the room where he discovers a figure sitting in a chair. The figure spots his gaze and steps toward the bed. “Ben!” His drowsiness doesn’t allow him to decipher who the figure was, but he was sure it must be his wife. He then gives up the fight and closes his eyes to return to the darkness. “Doctor, he is waking up.” 

In the darkness, he visualizes his wife greeting him as she did every morning. She stares with her gorgeous brown eyes and leans over to kiss him. “Wake up,” she whispers as the clock ticks. “Wake up Ben!” She says louder as the clock's ticks turn into a beep. She smiles as the light in the room increasingly cracks the surrounding darkness.  “Wake up,” she says one more time as the beeping grows louder and more uniform. She mouths ‘I love you’ right before the darkness shatters to the light.

As Ben begins his return to reality, he notices the nurse standing beside his bed, this time removing the clear mask. His face was numb, but he was able to smile at her while she returned one back. “Ben! You are awake!” He turns toward a familiar-sounding voice. As he looks, he notices someone he hasn’t seen in a long time. He determines that the medicine is still in his system because he was hallucinating. “Mom?” “Yes baby, I am here.” The woman says with tears in her eyes. “I have so much to say to you. I miss you,” he says with tears starting to flow from his eyes also. “It’s ok, baby. I’m here now.” “I love you, mom. I wish I would have said that before you left us.” “I’m here now though baby. Mommy’s here,” the figure says as Ben’s tears start to saturate the pillow. “I wish my wife and son would have met you. They would have loved you.“ The lady then grabs Ben’s hand. “Shhh. Shh. Mommy’s here.” The sensation of a real hand startled the drowsy Ben. “Am I dying?” “No you are not dying Mr. Williams,” the doctor says as she enters the room. “Hello Doc,” Ben says as he looks at the doctor before returning his eyes to the figure of his mother. “This medicine is strong because I can see my deceased mom.” “I’m here baby,” the figure says again. “Yes, Mr. Williams it’s okay. We are all here.”

The doctor’s statement sent a nerve-racking shock through Ben’s mind. He instantly sits up, where he finds himself entangled in more cords than when he went to sleep. His heart pulsates at a perilous rate as a machine emulates the beat. “What is going on?” “Calm down Mr. Williams. I need you to calm down,” the doctor says as the nurse steps back. “Baby, it’s ok. Just breathe.” Ben jerks his hand away from what seems to be his mother. “No way. You died. I miss you but I know you are dead.” “Baby no. I am here. I have been here.” “Mr. Williams. Just breathe. You have been in a coma for 6 years. There was an accident.” Ben starts to rip off cords as every machine starts to scream. “Shut up! I just came in for a dental check this morning.” “Listen Mr. Williams. Please stop before they have to restrain you.” “Shut up!” Ben says as he stands up. “Where is my wife? Where is my wife at!” “Baby. You are not married.” “You are a ghost,” Ben says as he turns to look at the figure formed like his mother. “Better yet, you are a demon!” “Please sit down,” the doctor says again as two security guards enter the room. “Please sir, please sit down.” They step forward cautiously as Ben's breathing increases. “What is…What is going…”

The darkness returned. This time without his son, without his wife, but with only silence. When it cracked open, the characters of the previous nightmare remained with an added item on his hands.  “Please let me go,” he pleads with tears in his eyes. “Baby it will be ok.” “I’m in hell, aren’t I? Just tell me I’m in hell.” “No, you are not.” “Where is my wife?” “You have never been married baby?” “Shut up! Where are they!” The figure turns away in tears. “Mr. Williams. Calm down. I know this is a shock. But this is real life. 6 years ago you had an accident, and you have been in a coma ever since. Your mom should have unplugged you, but she begged us to keep you going. And she has been here every day.” Ben then looks over at the motherly figure to see her crying in the chair. “That is a lie. 6 years ago there was a car accident, but only my mom was involved. And she died! And then I got married 5 years ago to the most beautiful woman on the planet and had the most amazing son with her.” “Ok, Mr. Williams. Tell me her name.” “Her name is…” Ben searches his blurry mind for the name of the love of his life, but was unsuccessful. “It’s…” “Mr. Williams, we believe during a coma some patients experience vivid dreams. They are so vivid that you cannot separate reality from fiction.” Tears flow like a waterfall from Ben’s face due to the uncertainty if they were telling the truth. “I love my wife. I know I have been married for 5 years.” 

His mother returns and grabs his hand. “It’s ok. I know this is scary, but it’s real. And I’m here for you no matter what.” “If your alive, where is dad.” She looks at the doctor, who telepathically understands what her mother needs as she and the nurse walk out the door. “I’m sorry, but your dad died last year from a…” “Blood clot?” Ben says to complete his mother's sentence. “How did you know?” “Because it happened in what you and these doctors are claiming was just a dream. I went to Dad’s funeral. You weren’t there because you already died years before.” “I did tell you about it. Maybe you implemented it in your dream. But you were in a coma baby.” “Can I go outside? Please? I need some air.” “Let me ask the doctor.”

Ben walks outside to inhale what fresh air he could find in the big city in order to decipher the confusion. Nothing made sense. Was he sleeping for 6 years? Was his mom alive? Or is he actually in a coma now? Did something go wrong? Are his wife and son waiting on him in another reality? What is the truth? 

“Are you ok?” His mom, or what he perceived as his mom asked. “I’m not. But can you drive me to a certain place?” “I don’t know if we can yet.” “It won’t be long. I promise. And I will return to this place if I’m wrong.” “I don’t know.” “If I may,” the doctor says as she walks closer to the duo. “I think it’s a good idea. This way you can confirm what’s real and what’s not.” “Thank you, doctor.” “And I can drive to make sure nothing happens,” Ben’s mom and the doctor looks at each other and gives an assuring nod.

Ben stares at the familiar city terrain from the backseat. “This is a dream. I have to be still under,” he says while shaking his head. “I know it's new, but you will get used to it. Mommy is here.” “That's the problem, it isn’t new! I saw this before. The buildings, the roads, the technology. If you claim it has been 6 years, something should look different. Android auto in your car should be a shock to me. I shouldn’t know the world recently shut down. And I shouldn’t know it's 2022.” The doctor and Ben’s mom look at each other again. “Well, honey. Somehow you got most of that right. Maybe because I was reading to you. But, you did miss one thing.” “Hold on. Stop the car! Let me out,” Ben says while manually unlocking the door. “Wait! Let us park and go with you!” Ben hops out of the rolling car and runs to the entrance of the apartment. He places a code in hoping the lady perceived as his mom was wrong. As the green light illuminated, he felt hopeful that finally, he would see the elegant mahogany face that would bring peace to this chaos. 

As the door opened, he waited with great anticipation to see his lover. But it was not his lover. “Can I help you?” The statement did come from a pretty face, but it was not the face of his queen. “Hello?” Ben stood frozen in bewilderment. “Who is this?” A man says as he joins the lady at the door. “I don’t know who he is?” “I…I…I was looking for my wife,” Ben squeaks out under pooled eyes. “Wrong house man.” “How…How long have you been here?” “A year. Maybe two,” the lady responds. The dam bursts again, creating a puddle under Ben. “Are you ok man?” “I’m sorry, he is ok. Just a little overwhelmed,” the doctor says as she and Ben’s mom appear. “Momma?” Ben says as he collapses in her arms. “It’s ok baby. Let me take you home.”

After a few instructions from the doctor, Ben rides to his mother’s house. “This will be a little different. When your father passed, I couldn’t stay in that house anymore, so I was able to purchase a new house with the money he left me.” Ben looks around the nicely decorated home. “Follow me,” his mom says as she walks upstairs. Ben slowly follows. “ I was also able to recreate your room the best I could remember it,” she says at the door of the bedroom. “But feel free to change it.” “I just want to lay down.” “Well take your time. Your father left us plenty of money so there is no rush to do anything. Enjoy life. Call me when you are ready to eat or go somewhere.” “Ok, mom. And I’m sorry. I appreciate you watching over me the past few years.” Ben’s mother smiles. “That is what mothers do, right?”

Over the next year, Ben stayed around the house. Sometimes, he would go with his mom to a store or the doctor. But his heart would ache and long for his dreamgirl, so he preferred to stay in. Eventually, his mom did convince him to walk with her. He discovered he loved the gentle breeze and the calmness that surrounded the pathway. They were so therapeutic that by the end of the year his walks had become his new routine.

One day, their walk took them to a park. He sat down and stared at the trees blowing in the wind, the squirrels stuffing their face, and the birds demanding territory. To the side, he heard laughing from the playground filled with kids. Though it was just a dream, he did enjoy pushing his son on the swings. He still didn’t understand how it could feel so real, but at least he had accepted that they were a figment of his imagination. “Ben! There you are. Are you ready to go?” “Yes, mom. I was just reminiscing on a dream I guess.” “Do we need to up your doses? Maybe that will help.” “No mom. I know it wasn’t real, but still, I loved those memories.” Ben’s mom smiles, and the two start walking.

“Maybe one day I’ll bring you some real grandkids,” Ben says as he looks at the kids playing. “Nope. But we should probably leave. It’s a bad area,” Ben’s mom says as she anxiously starts to walk faster. “Why, it's not a bad area…oomph.” 

Ben collapses to the ground as he feels a mini linebacker hit his abdomen. “I found you, daddy,” Ben hears as his shirt becomes instantly soaked. “What the hell?” Ben says as he looks up. “BJ?” He looks around to find that his mother had disappeared. But what he did find standing near was a figure that would bring peace to his chaos. 


July 30, 2022 00:02

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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