Autonomy Bleeds Black - Excerpt
Synopsis: An allegorical and gruesome horror short about being harassed by a narcissistic parent. When the author hears any mention of his father, he gets a terrible sting in his chest. The pain worsens when his father comes over for a surprise visit, which is why he's told to leave. The author remembers what his father will do to get what he wants and the horrors that follow when he doesn't. Expecting his father's return, the author's inner truth literally bleeds out of him as he desperately tries to set boundaries and stay safe. What will it take to make his father listen?
“Since there was nothing at all I was certain of, since I needed to be provided at every instant with a new confirmation of my existence, since nothing was in my very own, undoubted, sole possession, determined unequivocally only by me — in sober truth a disinherited son — naturally I became unsure even of the thing nearest to me, my own body.” – Franz Kafka, “Letter to My Father”
The author’s gaze was stuck on his novel series stacked at the front of his desk. His pride bubbled over the platinum “Best-Selling Fiction” stickers shining underneath each title: The Judgment, The Hunger, and The Transformation. Unintentionally, he imagined one of his novels opening on their own as his microscopic form flew over the book and dove into the ink of one of the letters printed on the open page. When submerged in the cool, dark ocean, he held his breath in reality until the title of his next novel came to mind: The Black. His dissociation ended, he wrote down his newest title, then the doorbell rang.
He hoped the butler would get the door. Seconds of silence passed until the author looked for the time on his phone; it was 5:30 in the morning, 15 minutes before the butler clocked in.
He pushed himself up from his desk with a reluctant saunter out of his study and wondered what bothersome visitor might get to see him in his navy silk robe and extremely comfortable sweatpants. The flare of his robe made every step more of a glide as if he were royalty. Down the hall, a giant mirror resting on the marble floor crushed that fantasy. His dingy, gray t-shirt and dark, ravaged hair made him look like someone who ignored combs on purpose. After another glance at himself, he admitted there was nothing royal about him in particular. It was his writing that held all the reverence. The doorbell rang again.
Opening the front door casually stopped after a few months of authorial fame and the purchase of his estate. Several bad run-ins from entitled fans persuaded him to install a mechanical gate, a metal fence, and a security room on the second floor that overlooked the front entrance. He went up a flight of stairs, his keys jingling in his robe pocket until he unlocked the security room door. He switched on the lights.
The room was full of several computer monitors installed into a metal wall showing the feed of several cameras planted around his property. Below the monitors were computerized panels on a table that controlled his home security system, opened the gate and all other entrances, turned on a microphone to greet visitors through the speakers placed at the gate and front door, and turned the mansion into a steel fortress whenever needed.
He was startled when one monitor showed the gate was wide open. A bronze, ‘70s Rolls-Royce was parked in front of the path that led from the gate to his front door. When he looked at the front door monitor, his eyes traced the silhouette of a bulbous man, his shoulders bulging underneath a trench coat, and his face covered by a tilted fedora. Nausea boiled inside him. He slammed the microphone switch for the front door speaker.
“Who gave you my address?”
“Good morning!” Replied the man with a jolly, yet thundering tone.
“Answer me, Hermann.”
“I told you, don’t call me by my first name. Now come down here so I can see my son, the writer.”
“I’m not your son. Leave.”
Hermann lifted his fedora, sending a scolding glare at the camera. The author winced. A sharp pain in his chest forced his eyes shut. He gripped his robe where the pain stung until it faded. When he opened his eyes, his father and his car were gone.
The author nearly stumbled over his own feet while running out of the security room to one of the large front-facing windows with a clear view of the front yard. The author propped his knees on the cushions beneath the window, originally placed for peaceful reading, but with a wide stare and his thin hands pressed upon the glass, his reading space became a venue for an unnerving reality. Hermann and his car were truly gone. The gate was locked and yet the author scanned the front entrance carefully, afraid to blink.
“Good morning, sir,” spoke his butler behind him.
“You took the back entrance, right?” asked the author.
“I think… He was here. He found me.”
“What do you need?”
“I want a police officer guarding the gate. Make sure they know Hermann’s face because that bastard thinks he’s above the law. Then call whoever installed the security system and tell them their ‘guaranteed protection’ failed to prevent the intrusion of an old man. For fuck’s sake, the gate was locked, but he just unlocked then re-locked it like he lives here!”
The butler gave a short bow and went away to fulfill his orders. He stopped to say, “Your father won’t make it past the door as long as I’m here.”
The author trembled. “Also, set up the steel perimeter in case the security company has some bullshit excuse not to come.”
“And tea, please. Something to calm me down.”
“Certainly.” The butler continued his stride.
The author’s legs gave. He sat down with his knees tucked into his chest while gripping his robe, sweating and shivering like he had the flu. He watched the yard, the gate, the yard again, a car drove by, not Hermann’s, back to the yard, the gate, another car, he swore something was behind the wall of juniper that ran along his fence, then another car, the juniper, and the yard again.
“Your tea, sir.”
The author jumped when his butler reappeared with a mug full of tea that smelled of chamomile, lavender, and honey. He chuckled dryly and took the tea.
“It took some convincing with the police chief to have a guard at the gate. Turns out he and your father are good friends, but eventually, he complied.”
The author grumbled. “And the security system?”
“The gate is locked, sir. When I called the company, they said there were no alerts about a breach of entry; otherwise, they would’ve called.”
“He was here! I'm not fucking blind.”
“No worries, sir. I pushed for someone to come check the system. It’s likely a technological problem. They’ll be here two days from now, so I prepared the steel perimeter.”
“Fine.” The author dropped his head. “Sorry.”
“No problem…Three hours have passed.”
The author turned back to the window. “Okay.”
“Aren’t you going to write today?”
The author watched the cars, the gate, the yard, and the juniper again.
“Write? No, no I have to…” He took another sip of his tea.
“Would you like to read or watch something?” the butler offered. “I can grab your tablet, phone, or anything else that might distract you for a while.”
The author sipped his tea again and his shaking finally slowed. He wondered if he should try writing or reading something, but another passing car made him tearful.
“You…didn’t tell anyone the address, right?” he asked.
“I honor our contract, sir. I would never.”
“Of course. Sorry. I had to ask. I’m sorry.”
“You’re all right.”
The author let the heat from the mug seep into his palms and fingers. The sensation helped him pull his eyes away from the window and breathe deeply.
“What about the officer?" he asked.
“He’ll be here in the morning.”
The author nodded. “I’ll have a fresher mind for writing when the officer is here. Thank you.”
When the butler attended to his other duties, the author watched the yard again. The grass cycled through shades of green and the conjoined shadows of the gate and fence lengthened and shortened in obedience to the sun’s arcing trail across the changing sky, which went from a heavenly light blue to a brash burn of gold and auburn mercilessly staining the ivory clouds. He stared too intently at the warmer colors and worried their heat would burn him. He popped himself on the forehead.
“It's just the sun, stupid.”
He tried to see the clouds as only clouds, but he envied their resilience to the fire that ruled the skies. When the sun sank away, he thought maybe it wasn’t the resilience he envied, but the respectful coexistence between the sun and sky. That concept brought a heavy melancholy he couldn’t pull away from. He sunk further into the cushions, then a knock rattled the front door.
The author heard the butler heading for the door and leaped from the cushions. He rushed down the hall overseeing the foyer.
“No visitors!” he yelled.
When the butler disappeared down another hall, the front door opened.
The author ran down the stairs keeping his eyes on the self-opening door. His mother stood in the doorway. She wore a tattered white dress stained by the blood seeping from her bludgeoned eyes that were poorly covered by a black cloth. Behind her was a shadowy behemoth, his father.
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Copyright © 2020 Authentikei – Kris Leliel.
Published by Authentikei at Smashwords
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