I'll Invite The Vampire In
I sat alone in my room with the last bit of evening sun filtering through my window, and the retina-burning display of my dad’s old computer melting my brain. I searched google maps for a good image of Wanatoba creek, the place dad and I used to fish when I was a kid. We don’t hang out much anymore, but we used to head out to this hole just behind the Apollo Shopping Center every Saturday in early spring when the stream was freshly stocked with trout. Within ten minutes I’d set down my rod and run trails littered with muddy ATV tracks. Eventually I’d get tired and head back to dad patiently standing at the same bank he’d been when I left him. I’d sit down and play with his bumpy gray plastic tackle box, rummaging through the bright, shiny, minnow-shaped lures and sharp, stainless steel hooks hidden inside on which I’d usually accidentally prick myself once or twice per trip. When dad thought I was good and bored he’d try to hook a fish and call for me.
“Hey Marcus,” he’d say, “come help me out for a second.”
When we got home, he’d get a big smile on his face and tell mom.
“You should’ve seen Marcus out there today. Caught the biggest fish I’ve seen a kid catch in a long time. Serious Mary, your son is getting so strong. At this rate we might need to start locking our bedroom door at night.”
The house was silent except my fingers tapping the keyboard. The sun was now completely over the horizon. The Google search results popped up. I scratched pencil lead onto college ruled notebook paper.
“Mom, Dad, and Maria, I’m so sorry, if you’re reading this” was about as far as I could get writing before a wet tear blurred some of the ink on the paper. I stuffed the paper in my drawer.
Dad was always proud that I got my Eagle. He’d been prepping me all my life for it. I could tie a bowline before I could tie my shoes. But I didn’t know any stories about bunnies running around trees for tying a noose and on this day that was a problem. I clicked on a wiki-how article just below a line of text reading “You're not alone. Confidential help is available for free.”
I took the tied knot down to the basement and fastened the free end of the rope to a metal pipe covered in a thin layer of black latex paint – dad’s bad attempt at hiding the oxidation. I stood on a gray folding chair in my socks with the noose around my neck. It sort of felt like a macabre necklace, which made me laugh a little, and then that made me kind of sick. I took an instinctive deep breath and kicked the chair out from under my feet and immediately my weight on the rope broke the pipe off at its next junction. I fell hard onto the legs of the folding chair beneath me.
I told mom and dad that I wanted to try to do some chin-ups on the pipe, like I saw in a movie or something, and it broke under my weight and I was sorry. Mom said she was just glad I wasn’t hurt. Dad was pretty pissed that he had to pay for a plumber to fix the piping. When dad left the kitchen, mom hugged me close and whispered in my ear.
“It’s okay Marcus. Don’t be sorry.” When I went to my room later it was cleaned, and my drawer was all empty.