Here it is the final installment of The Bradford House. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and I look forward to Friday more with the feast. So come back each week for more short stories.
I’m contemplating taking on NaNoWriMo, so look for a post about that in a few days. I need your help making a decision. Enjoy the end of The Bradford House and have a great weekend.
The Bradford House (part five)
by Wade Finnegan
The man walked toward me with the gun pointed at my chest. “You know you can only do so much before they are ready to leave the nest. But there is always time for one last picture.”
FLASH, CLICK, The room lit up like a finale of a fireworks show. I cupped my hands over my eyes and tried to look for Rachel. Fuzzy shades of white and dark cut across my vision and I stuck out one hand out for stability. THUMP something hit me on the side of the head and face, and the room started to wobble. I spat out a tooth like a piece of Chiclets gum. A pain shot up my spine and my head hit the floor with a dull thud. The lights went out.
I awoke to the sound of the man’s voice. “You look beautiful honey. I think you make a terrific couple. Your mother would have been proud. I wish she could of seen this day. This is a perfect setting made for two.”
The sweet smell of Rachel penetrated my nostrils and I shook the cobwebs from my head. She stood about three feet across from me. A gorgeous white gown with lace and frills shaped her petite frame. Her image would have been absolutely stunning if it wasn’t for the sheer terror plastered on her face. I lurched to hold her, but I couldn’t move. My arms and legs were pinned to wooden posts by some industrial wire. My attire, a freshly pressed black tuxedo with a stark white shirt and cumber bun, made me claustrophobic. Gold cuff links finished the penguin suit. I resembled a cut out straight from GQ.
“Now big smiles,” said the man. Another flash went off but not nearly as intense as before. He was taking regular pictures. He positioned himself in different angles and grabbed different lenses. I looked up at Rachel and could see make-up being washed out from the constant tears. A crimson spot showed up on my white shirt.
“Can you stop bleeding on that fine garment? You know honey you could of done better.” The man chortled a bit and looked over at his daughter and then Rachel. The little girl sat frozen in a chair attached to an IV bottle. Her eyes glassed over and her head bobbed up and down.
“Don’t worry honey, I can take that out later. You did all right. No one is good enough for my little girl. It won’t be long now and you’ll be off on your own and I’ll be all alone. But that’s the way it is suppose to be, right?” The man clicked off three more pictures and walked out of the back of the room.
Rachel motioned with her eyes and head to look behind me. I strained against my restraints to take a look. Several large red cans were piled with paper and old rags. My heart began to palpitate and a mixture of sweat and blood ran down my cheekbones. The adrenaline rush eliminated the pain and gave me power to break one wire with my right hand. I stretched out to touch Rachel, but couldn’t quite reach her. I said in my softest voice, I love you. Rachel flashed a slight smile and I went to work on the next wire. My left hand slipped through when the man entered. He pushed in a buffet cart with a giant five-layer cake a top of it. The white frosting lay like velvet robes adorned on the most prestigious queen. Around the top layer an inscription written in fashionable cursive. Air left my body as I read the same sentence illuminated in the previous room, “Death captures us all”.
The man spotted my free arms and rushed to me. “Oh no, you can’t leave yet. We have one more photo to capture before I send the two of you to live happily ever after.” He grabbed both of my hands and pinned them behind my back. I could feel the wires tearing my legs. Quick jolts of displeasure shot up my legs and as much as I tried to free myself from his grip he held on. SNAP! my left wrist splintered in two and the man handcuffed me. I was certain death was near. The man retrieved the cake and wheeled it between Rachel and I.
“There, the perfect shot before I send you two on your honeymoon. Isn’t the cake perfect my dear? Just like in the catalog.” He glanced at Rachel and turned to his daughter. Her head slumped over her shoulder in an unnatural way. Where the IV needle entered her arm a bulbous lump formed under the skin. Her frail body looked like sugar glass that would crumple with the slightest touch.
“No, no, no, no, no!” He ran to her side and cradled her head. There was no life, only a shell of a little girl. “I was so close, only a few shots and it was all captured perfectly. You!” He turned and glared at me. His eyes blood shot and filled with rage. He pointed his gun straight at my head. “Your heroics ate into my time. It ate into our precious little time. I should end your time right now!”
He put the gun down and picked up his little girl from the chair. He laid her next to the cake. He stroked her hair and swept her cheek. With a jerk he grabbed a lighter from his back pocket and headed to the combustibles. Rachel’s eyes widened and she began to scream. I pulled my legs free from the wire and kicked over my post. Pain radiated up my arm like a red-hot poker. All I could think about was Rachel. She was hysterical. The man sprayed gasoline like a ruptured water line in giant ovals. On my back I worked my hands under the post and my feet. My senses of consciousness going in and out like ocean waves. “Please no!” Rachel screamed.
“Death captures us all! Death captures us all!” The man held the lighter high and flicked the wheel. Flash blazed my eyes and the world burst into flames.
“Son, you’re alright, breath slowly. Your mother is on her way.” The paramedic raised the stretcher and inserted me into the ambulance.
“Rachel, where’s Rachel?” I looked beyond my feet hoping to catch a glimpse. The paramedic placed his hand on my shoulder and took a picture from his pocket. “This floated down next to you when you started to breath again.”
It was Rachel, perfect in every way looking beautiful in the gown. I captured her, he didn’t. I captured her in my heart.