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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's Over Now (A Short Story)

Just trying my hand at writing short stories… and by that I mean this is my first attempt at it. I’ve never realized that it was FAR MORE DIFFICULT to write than to create images in my mind until I was half way into writing this. Whew!

Anyway, I came up with this story when “FULLYBOOKED” sponsored a graphic novel writing contest with Neil Gaiman a couple of years ago.

This, by the way, is of course a work of fiction. And critics are very much welcome. :)


“No, not again…” Paul said to himself as he watched a familiar figure with a menacing smile on its face walk past him.

In front of him was a huge pile of debris of huge chunks of concrete and twisted steel.

“It’s over now…” he heard the figure say to him.


Steve’s story, that of his career to be more specific, is a remarkable one. Having started out as a clerk in one of the many offices of Harvey Enterprises, he managed to become one of the company’s most respected and admired top officials in less than four years out of sheer diligence and hard work.

Everyone in the company knows him, and his presence always gives out the feeling of having royalty around. “Kind”, “thoughtful”, “a gentleman”, “trustworthy”, “hardworking”, and “a genius”… these are the words that are most often used to describe him by the people he works with. You may think that there’s no such thing as a perfect employee, but that he certainly is.

But, popular as he may be in the workplace, no one knew much of his personal life except for his being married to Jenny with whom he has a son, Paul who is now 6 years old. Well respected as he is, there had never been a person who has dared to ask him anything personal as he never talked anything about it to anyone… and he has benefited from this arrangement…

Two-and-a-half years after Steve and Jenny got married, by which time he was already at the top of his career and Paul was already two years old, he got into an affair with his secretary. Their affair went on for more than five months until, suddenly, he was struck with guilt and decided to end it. To make sure that his secretary will not cause any trouble later and before anybody could even suspect what was going on, he arranged for her a high-paying job in a different company in another state and bought her a small but decent place to stay in. To add to that, he made sure that his secretary understood very well why he was doing what he was doing. Being the person that he is best known for, he was able to make her agree and believe that it was the best for both of them.

For several weeks after their parting he would be constantly reminded of how well he had handled things, and each time he did he would give out a big sigh of relief.

That was until the feeling of relief slowly turned into feelings of longing and wanting…

For everybody at Harvey Enterprises, he was the same Steve whom they respect and admire… but for Jenny and Paul, he was turning into somebody else.

One night, Paul had a fever and was screaming and crying and Jenny was trying everything she could to calm him down, when suddenly Steve came bursting through the bedroom door and yelled “Can’t you shut him up?!” slamming the door as he walked away.

Wondering what she had done wrong, she followed Steve to the living room and asked him.

Sitting on the couch, Steve looked up at her… “You’re useless!” he yelled as he stood up and walk out of the house.

Things got worse for every week that passed. It got so bad that it got to a point where Steve was already hurting Jenny physically. Paul would, not long after, have the same fate as his mother in his dad’s presence…

When Steve got home one rainy night, Paul, who was then only four years old, came rushing to him and clung to his legs…

“Read me a story, Daddy…” Paul said cheerfully looking up at his dad’s still face.

“Get off of me and get out of my sight!” Steve yelled at his son as he folded his umbrella. Paul stood frozen in surprise. When Steve noticed his son still standing in front of him, he yelled again…

“Didn’t you hear what I just said?! Are you deaf?! I said get out of my sight!”

Paul started to cry and ran towards his room. Jenny, who heard the commotion from the kitchen, rushed towards the living room and confronted Steve.

“What’s the matter with you?! Your son needs you!” She asked loudly, crying.

Steve, without saying a word, slapped her in the face with such force that sent her flying to the floor. He then yelled a long string of expletives at her and stormed out the house.

Jenny, battered as she may be, never ceased in hoping that, one day, the Steve she knew and loved so much would come back. Never has she thought of leaving her husband or reporting him to the authorities.

She couldn’t be more wrong.

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One night, as Steve was driving around the last corner to get home, he saw a small boy standing alone on the corner’s sidewalk under a street lamp. Wondering what the boy was doing there, he drove his car closer to the sidewalk to see if he could recognize the boy. Then the familiar face struck him… it was Paul, staring back at him with a cold empty stare.

Steve, now fuming mad, pulled his car over in front of Paul and opened the door.

“Get in…” he said coldly without looking at his son.

Paul didn’t budge and continued to stare at him. Steve turned his head to face his son and yelled “Damn it, are you deaf?! I said get in!”

Without saying a word, Paul climbed in. Not a word was spoken between them… until they reached home.

As Steve was unlocking the front door to their house, he angrily whispered to Paul “What the hell do you think you’re doing out there?”

Paul didn’t answer.

“What the hell were you doing there?!” Steve asked louder as he swung the door open and turned around to pick his things up.

Still no answer.

As he turned around to enter the door, Paul was already inside… standing in front of his dad looking at him with a hesitant smile on his face.

“Is there something wrong with you?! Huh?” Steve said in the same hoarse whispering voice… “wasn’t your mother well enough to give you a damn brain when she was pregnant with you?! Huh?!” he continued as he drew his face closer to his son’s.

With their faces just a few inches away from each other, Steve growled “Don’t ever let me see you again tonight or else you’ll regret being born!”

Terrified, Paul turned around and fled to his room and shut the door behind him. Burying his face in his pillow as he cried, he heard loud crashing sounds and his parents yelling at each other outside.


Harvey Enterprises is celebrating its 50th anniversary today. The company’s grounds are filled with kiosks, game booths, rides, mascots, and a bunch of other things. At the center is a huge elaborate stage where a rock band is playing for a crowd of over 500 company employees who have gathered around it.

This being a huge company milestone, all employees were asked to attend and join the festivities with their families. Steve included.

He couldn’t resist as he thought if he didn’t bring his family with him, there’ll surely be some questions buzzing around him later.

“They look pretty, a bit stiff, but pretty…” every one around them thought… “what a lovely family…”

If they only knew what had happened the night before…

Over dinner, Steve said to his wife and son “You two are coming with me to the office tomorrow… and once there I want you both to wear a smile on your freaking faces. I don’t want to hear any word from any of you while we are there. If I do, there’ll surely be big trouble later! Understood?!” Jenny and Paul didn’t answer and went on to finish their food.

While Steve was going around the company grounds to introduce his wife and son to everybody, a man selling balloons suddenly approached Paul. “Hey kid, would you like a balloon?” he said.

“Nah, no more balloons for him… sorry. Thanks anyway.” Steve told the man pleasantly. He went on to tell the balloon guy that Paul’s balloon had just popped a while ago and balloons now scare his son…

Going around once more, Jenny felt Paul repeatedly tugging on her skirt. She looked at her son and saw that Paul was trying to tell her something.

Jenny stopped walking and bent down to hear what her son was trying to say…

“I need to go to the bathroom mommy…” Paul said quietly.

Steve, who was now a few feet away, suddenly stopped and turned around and saw the two talking.

Calmly, he walked back over to where Jenny and Paul were. As he approached them, he told Jenny to stay where she’s standing and grabbed Paul by the arm.

Walking faster than he was earlier, Steve led Paul to a deserted dead ended alley and pressed his son’s back against a wall.

“Don’t you remember what I told you last night?!” Steve growled as he squeezed his son’s arm tighter. “Don’t you?!” he growled again.

Paul, nodded his head. He couldn’t speak no matter how much he wanted to because he was trying to stop himself from crying.

Steve went on with his ranting squeezing his son’s arm tighter and tighter as he went…

Then, as Steve was raising his arm to hit his son, both father and son heard a rumbling sound which was noticeably getting louder and louder… Steve turned around to see what it was.

Stunned and wide eyed, he saw an ice cream van rushing towards them. For a brief moment, he shifted his eyes to look at the driver… and to his shock, he saw his son, 6 year old Paul, pale faced wearing a menacing smile, looking straight back at him.

Before Steve could move a finger, the van hit him, carrying him off with it and smashed into the wall at the end of the alley.

Paul, with his back still against the wall, saw a small figure jump out of the driver’s seat. It was walking towards him…

“It’s over now” it said with the menacing smile still on its face as it walked past him.


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