Death in the Afternoon

by Charles Wood 6 months ago in fiction


Death in the Afternoon

It was a beautiful sunny day with clouds large and looming covering the sun with enough illumination to light the earth below. The sky was blue as the pacific ocean and the clouds as light as snow. It was January so the weather was cool enough to wear a nice knitted sweater and not even sweat, so it was one of those days, the days where you open the front door and there are dozens of kids outside riding bikes, playing tag, hide and go seek, even the parents were outside sitting on porches and talking, no one was stuck on the couch glued to the television drinking beer or wine and what ever you think depressed people do in their homes.

Below the ocean in the sky with the floating snow and glowing sun was a small one bedroom, one bathroom, no closet house, lying in the living room curled in a ball with a bottle of Everclear and a pack of camels smokes on the couch was a beautiful woman of divine beauty and mystic named, Helena. A retired screen play writer from Los Angelas but moved soon after retiring to a small town in Eureka, Montana. Helena grew up in the city of L.A. as a baby with her parents after her father, Matthew, got stationed there in the Navy and after getting kicked out from drinking to much, he decided to keep his family there and continue his drinking and moving job to job unable to maintain a sober life. His drinking benders would start on a payday from Friday all the way to Wednesday, he’d either return home while drinking and terrorize Helena and his wife, Debbra, or be on the streets with god knows who. Once he was done drinking from either running out to money or to he drink to he got sick to where he could not produce a word with the feeling of his throat would explode and his heart with burst out creating some kind of blood bath of glory and his heart would beat what felt like a thousand miles per hour and he could not think straight, he would sit and be stuck starring into emptiness without a thought in the world, sort of like a vegetable , no matter how much water he’d drink his mouth would still be dry, no matter how much he tried to eat, he could not stare or even smell food, sometimes it was so bad, he’d had Helena’s mother drive him to the hospital because he felt he was going mad to the point of no return and he could not handle it anymore, all this Helen witness. The worst of it all was when he’d come home drunk late at night and come into her room when she was six years old, at the time and she didn’t know why he was doing to her what he was doing but once she went to school, it all came together and she knew it was something she could never speak about to anyone. Helenas mother knew nothing about it or maybe she did but hid from the truth because she was to scared to leave him. He was all she had left and if she left… then she feared of being alone forever with Helena so she started to go her own path that would be worst than her husband and would leave Helena permanently scared.

Debbra would soon figure out that Matthew would not change his ways so she started steering down her own path, when Matthew would go out, she would leave Helena home all alone in the house with just whatever food was in the refrigerator and what ever entertainment she could make of her own. She found kindness, happiness, darkness, and most of all truth in the books she would stay up reading late at night her mother came home with another man that was not her father. She’d sit in her room with all the lights off in the house as her mother came home and she would be stuck in the room reading the greatest books from the greatest writers of the world. She found consolation in them, especially in Steinbeck. All night she’d lay in bed reading with a flash light while she heard her mother welp with a man she knew that was not her father. It was not long to she found a whole new world in her books and would make believe the life she was living now was not the one she was lead to believe was her, but the books were the pure truth and nothing but the whole truth.

Helena had trouble with her past and within the very books she read she found her inner freedom and from there on it lead to a dairy to fairy tale writing about a life she wanted for herself far, far, far away from home, away from all the pain and suffer. Seeing her mother come home with different men than her own father then her father raping her drunk at night and beating her mother to dawn. She had enough and no-one could blame her. She took pills prescribe to subdue the hidden pain she held so long inside and tried so hard to keep from the world. She used it as motivation in her writing to she finally finished high school and had dozens of books of short stories she written to pursue a degree in writing. She left home right after high school without a word or note to her father and Mather. She was angry and sad she had to live with what her parents had put her though. Two adults going back and forth to get back at one another for the pain caused by each other. She got a job at a library in her town and lived on the streets to she got a small place of her own and after that she paid her way through school to make the dream come through. Those books gave her more happiness more than her own parents could give her in thousand years. She got her degrees and became the best person she could be but still had trouble within her dark soul. A small spec still existed within her, filled with pain and hurt and anger for the life she lived with nothing she could do. After graduating she should a job at a small production company of low budget films to write, to write her life away in screen plays she thought others would like but none of it portrayed any part of her life. She saved all the personal endearments in her diaries and short fictitious stories.

Helena had retired and moved away, she was 48 years old and still had not spoken to her parents since high school. She never even bothereed to look them up and see how they were, she was done with that past. She was now living on her own in a nice cabin in the outskirts of Montana, alone. She had neighbors but spoke to none, she had many men come on to her but wanted none of it, just the thought disgusted her like worms crawling in her stomach. She did not like women or men, even being touched made her cringe of anxiety in her skin. People would pat her shoulder at work for such brilliant work and she would feel the cold eerie goosebumps welt up in her skin from where the touch was placed to her very spine. She did not talk much, only when needed to, she did not go out much, only when needed to. She found happiness in drinking, smoking, and pure freedom in loneliness with her books and writing.

One after noon when Helena was walking to the liquor store to buy some whiskey after she ran out from a four day bender, she happened to cross path with her neighbors daughter who was playing in sidewalk drawing cartoons with chalk on the cement. She remembered a time when she too did the same when her parents would be gone from home.

“ellen! Come inside, your father is gonna be home anytime soon and if he sees you outside, well both never hear the end of it” a woman said screaming from the house across the sidewalk where the girl was drawing.

Helena kept walking. She knew the neighbors but never said much, she would always go walking to the store when she knew all the neighbors when inside their houses playing “family”. Today would be different though and Helena would no nothing about it.

As Helana came back walking from the store with her liquor, wine, and cigarettes, the same hour with the little girl she saw, was a large man sitting outside smoking a cigar with a bottle of vodka in his hand. He sat on his stoop and she would see him through her peripheral vision, leering at her, she could feel that same feeling under her skin like being touched by someone unwanted. She made it to her house until she felt safe and locked the door and quickly ran to the kitchen, poured a whole cup of whiskey and swallowed it down with a Xanax and lit a cigarette and pour another drink. She got on her typewriter and began typing a story she was working on. As minutes passed, she heard a knock.


Helenas hairs on the back of her neck stood up and her heart racing from one second to hundred miles per every second. She stayed quiet hoping they would leave.


“mam, i know you are in there, I just saw you go inside, I only need a word, just a second of your time please”

It was a mans voice behind the door. Helena continued to be quiet waiting for them to leave but the knocking became louder and faster and harder. She knew they would not leave so to get rid of them shell just talk to them with the door still chained and close it when she heard them out. She unlocked the dead bolt, the door handle and left the chain still attached and peeked the door open with just half her face exposed and saw the same man who stared at her as she walked.

“what do you want?” She said.

“well hello, mam, my names Aldous, I saw you walking and was wondering if you’d like to have a drink with me, I got my own drink, I don’t ned no none of yours, I live next door so you need no worries”.

“no thank you” she said.

“comeon now, a pretty woman such yourself need not drink alone on such a beautiful quiet night like this, well have the drink outside miss”.

“im fine and im busy so if you’d please leave my porch, I have work to do”

“what kind work you got going on mam? Im interested in learning more about you if you give me time, im a good listener”

“i have to go now, bye” Helena closed the door and quickly locked all the lashes.


Helenas skin again crawled while her stomach twisted into knots. She lost her mood for drinking and took four more Xanax’s and fell asleep in her bed for once.

Helena woke the next morning and began her drinking with coffee and whiskey together and some bread and butter. She thought about last night, if it had actually happened or was it one of her hallucinations. It was to unreal to believe so she thought it just a dream. As the day carried on, Helena, would finish eight chapters of her magnum opus. It was to be the greatest book shed ever written and nothing more then all her years living made her this happy as this book, it was part of her, her past, present and future. Some fiction but still most of it based on her life growing up. She could see a movie being made out of it and would even write the screen play for free and give the rights for free as long as they didn’t change any single thing from her book in the movie. It all had to be exactly on point or no one would get it. That was the problem with books being made into movie. So much of the writers work is lost in the film because so many things are changed and some if not most of those films bomb at the box office. Shed give it away if they stayed true. It really was a good book.

Days past since her hallucination of her neighbor and Helena was still on a bender, no water, no solid foods, just bread and butter and her mixture of alcohols, she ran out before last call for alcohol at the corner store so she threw her jacket on and made her way to the store trying to keep her arm from twitching and keeping her heart rate calm. As she past the neighbors, she heard glass, wood, rocks, mountains, atoms! Breaking and flying around inside the house as a man and women were screaming at the top of their lungs with little worry who could hear them going at it. But behind all that screaming, Helena, canceled all the sound of the breaking glass and adult screaming and heard a small little voice, it was the little girl, Ellen, she could hear her whimpers in the house, so soft, so innocent, so sad. Helena knew she could do nothing, she remembered her father acting the same and her in the corner of her bed hoping he wouldn’t hit to do worse to her. No this little girl was going through the same and it was none of her business, She kept walking. She made it for last call and headed back south to her house and sipped on the wine she bought and carried the rest of the liquor bottles she bought in a big brown bag, her arm finally stopped twitching and her mind and heart finally settled down and she was sane again. She passed the house and saw all the lights were off, she heard no voices, no sound, not even the crickets or insects made a crick. Hopefully they are asleep and her husband left she thought. She got to her house, opened the door, turned on the lights, went to the kitchen and out the whiskey bottles in the freezer and got a wine glass then sat down at her desk in the living room and lit a cigarette and began taking large puffs to the point where the ash was already about to fall. She got up and went to the restroom with her fag in her left and her wine in the right, opened her medicine cabinet and took two Xanax and a ambien. She did her chapters and tonight was the night she would drink and then sleep to tomorrow’s new dawn. She sat back in her chair and worked at the type writer. She was just writing some haikus letting time pass to the pills kicked in and thats when she heard sounds of movement in the kitchen and as soon as she stood up, Aldous, came running full speed and pushed her against the wall, hitting her head and rendering her unconscious.

Helena was in and out, the pills had kicked in and she was seeing double, triple, stars, colors, patterns, and black. She opened her eyes to the sound of grunting and could feel the softness of her bed on her back and coolness of the pillow behind her head and she could feel her body being pushed up and falling back down, she felt really happy, she so high all she could remember was the grunting sounds and the pleasure of the comfortless her body was on her bed because she always passed out on her couch. She passed out for good and embraced the pills like warm blanket on a cool night like how she use to sleep with the windows open as a child.

The orange light from the sunset of the new day broke through her curtains and woke her up, she was in her living room laying down on the couch. She had a splitting head ache that felt like a knife between both her brain lobes. She laid thinking what had happened. She was fully dressed, the living room was clean and sheet on the bed in her bedroom were perfect. She hallucinated again she thought, but why her neighbor? Why him? He was just like her father who she hated and wished nothing but death. She could not wrap her mind around why she was having these dreams about him. Was she attracted her father? She did miss him? Did she have regrets? All these questions filled her head. She began to feel a panic attack coming on. She took a Xanax, opened the new whiskey in the freezer and made coffee with it, her anxiety disappeared. Today she decided to paint, listen to some records and drink all day and maybe eat some solid food for once before she ended up in the hospital again and be forced to get committed to ward. She took some chicken, out the freezer to defrost and some broccoli to get chopped when the chicken defrosted. She set up her easel, her oil paints, brushes and got a good sized canvas out the closet. She didn’t know much about painting but it relaxed her and put her mind at ease and it would definitely help with this crap she’s been making up in her head.

The chicken was in the oven baking with some salt and paper and some carrots and broccoli in a foil pan, serenading in chicken broth. It would take about 40 mins to it was done and she decided it be better to make it into a soup because she was already having trouble eating because she was on a long bender and everything made her nauseated besides soup. She went in the kitchen and made her 6th drink and her bottle was already almost empty. She was working at the canvas and had managed to paint a very decent painting of a empty whiskey bottle with some flowers hanging out the opening but the flowers were dying. They had turned from a bright beautiful yellow to a dark green just waiting to fall by each pedal and be swept up and placed in the can with the rest of the trash. She took a break and laid back eating her soup and listening to jazz. The sleep she got really did her body good and the painting cleared her mind. It was getting around midnight when she took another ambien but decided to take three. She went to the bedroom to clean up so she caul sleep there for once. She made the pillows and picked up some of the clothes on the floor. She saw some black cloth shorts under the bed an did not recognize them, she held them up in the air stretched out and her heart went from 90 to 150 beats. They were black under wear covered in seamen stunk of beer and piss. She fell to her knees in shock. She searched the whole house and outside on the back porch and found an empty beer can and an empty vodka bottle her neighbor loved so much. She put two and two and went to the restroom and checked her uterus while sitting on the toilet and she could feel the numbness and stickiness that was not her own. She touched the back of her head and felt nothing but pain. She ran to the bed and checked the fitted sheet under the top sheet and saw wet stains. Aldous had raped her and there was nothing she could do. She was to scared to call the police and have to endure the whole process of going though it with the police and having to talk to a detective and then having to go to court and she knew she wouldn’t be able to go through all that. She was a drunk and a pill popper, a regular patient at the psyche ward and at the hospital for withdraws. Who would believe her and the thought of people knowing she was a rape victim sickened her. She was helpless and unwilling even with all the proof she had.

She threw the sheets, the mattress, the underwear, the empty bottle he left and the beer can away in the back yard and went back inside. She took a Xanax and began to drink profusely to the point where all she wanted to do was black out. She finished her last bottle of whiskey just taking large swigs from the bottle and would hold it for 15 seconds while chugging it down, she did this to she sat at her desk and passed out.

Hours passed and she woke up in the afternoon still drunk. She was on the couch now and she was completely wet, she was drunk and disoriented and confused and got up as best as she could to make it to the restroom to piss and change her piss covered clothes. She rushed to the bathroom and sat on the toilet and released herself. After sitting there she was seeing double and was to drunk, she slipped off her clothes, wiped herself and got up naked and looked in the mirror.

Helena began to black out after what she saw. She was covered in blood from head to toe. She looked at her clothes infant of the toilet and they too were covered in blood. Her neck, arms, chest, face were covered. It was her period she thought. She sat back down on the toilet but it was not, it wasn’t two weeks from now to she start her period again. She began to panic and took three Xanax from her medicine cabinet and finished the little of whikeys she had left and sat completely naked in the living room on her desk covered in blood she knew that was not her own. She tried to remember but all she could remember was finding aldous underwear under her bed and the cum covered sheet and mattress. She sat swaying back and fourth trying to put the pieces together but she couldn’t.


Someone was knocking on her door. Without thinking she got out naked, completely drunk, still covered in blood, confused, and lost in her head and answered the door.

“hello, I am detective Vel………. Mam I need you to come out the house right now and put yourer hands up where I can see them!”

“I… ugh… I don’t, know… what did you say?”

“mam come out right now with you’re hands up now!”

It was a woman police officer in a brown suit at her porch with her hand on her hip ready to draw and a man behind her in a black suit with high-water slacks ready as well to draw his weapon.

“who are you?” Helena asked

The detective woman opened the door, grabbed Helena and threw her 20 feet from the porch onto the bottom of the stair completely naked covered in blood like a mad man or woman. All the neighbors stood outside and as Helena had a knee pressed on the back of her neck facing he neighbors she saw the little girl with her mother outside holding each other as they carried a body in a white back being taken away in gurney by the courier.

Helena was coming to as they were covering her and she could see the little girl from far away and saw no tears on her face. But the mother was weeping loudly for the whole neighbor hood to hear, for her abusive alcoholic husband. She saw herself in the little girl. The two detective picked her up should to shoulder and carried her into the car. They drove her straight to town where they dressed her and showed her the finger prints of the broken sheik bottle used to cut aldous through open from ear to ear. The extra whiskey bottle she had her house that was the same brand. Her sliced open knuckles used to break open the window to the door to enter the house. Helena said nothing was taken and charged with first degreee murder. She was given 50 years to life and finished her magnum opus in prison with a 2 inch pencil and toilet paper and had her ex agent publish the book under “death at midnight”


Charles Wood
Charles Wood
Read next: Chad Alan Lee
Charles Wood

Instagram: @depersonalisation_

Write what you feel, even if it doesn't make sense.

See all posts by Charles Wood