Small Mercies

When the lights had gone off again, things had changed. Simon's doubts kept going around and around in his head and eventually he came to a decision. It had taken much arguing, but neither Sally or Carl were in any state to stop him.

"He's a liar!" Simon had shouted, hot tears burning on his cheeks. "He didn't love us, if he did, why would he do this!? He used us and then he abandoned us!"

Sally had gasped at the outburst, shocked by the blasphemy. "Simon!" She croaked. "You can't say those things, he'll know and punish us all. Why do you want to hurt us?"

"He wont because he's gone and he's not coming back!"

Carl began crying. Sobs bubbling out of his open throat like someone choking on mucus.

"It's okay Carl." Sally cooed soothingly. "Simon is just upset, the hunger is making him say mean things."

"It's not the hunger." Simon growled darkly. "It's Him. I'm leaving, I'm going to find him."

Sally gasped again and Carl burst into a renewed fit of choking sobs.

"You can't Simon! We are bad people, you'll break the world, it'll burn you away!"

"He said that! He's lying!"

"Don't!"

But Simon ignored her. In the dark he felt his way over to the door where that God entered the world through and felt for the handle. When he found it he pulled and twisted and heaved with all his might but he was weak and the door barely moved at all. He felt dust fall on him as he let go and slumped back against the wall defeated.

"You can't go, He wont let you." Sally called from the back of the room.

Her voice only renewed his anger and he tried again and again. On the last tug he felt something give and the door burst open towards him. He fell back, hitting his head hard on the wall and it took a moment for Simon to get over the sudden shock and pain in the back of his head. There was nothing behind the door but sharp angles and things both hard and soft to the touch as he felt blindly around in the darkness, just another kind of wall.

* * * * *

"I think the pizza boy was right." Claire said as she climbed back into bed, setting down her glass of water on the side.

Paul grunted, asleep.

"Paul," she said, shaking him gently. "I think I heard something when I went to get a glass of water."

Paul groaned and rolled over. "Whuh?"

"I think there's ghosts Paul, I heard something down stairs."

"Nonsense." Paul grunted sleepily. "Probably just a burglar."

"Paul!"

"Fine, I'll check it out, it's probably just the house settling though."

Paul sat up and looked at his mobile phone on the bedside table. "Jesus Claire, it's two in the morning. Look, just wait here."

Rubbing his eyes Paul headed down stairs. Claire waited and as the minutes passed she got more and more nervous. Just as she was about to go and  see what had happened, Paul popped into the doorway, giving her a start.

"It was nothing. Nobody's there. You're safe, okay?"

Claire nodded, feeling a little stupid.

"I love you Paul." Claire said, hugging him as he lay back down.

"Tell me that again at a sensible time."

* * * * *

"You're like a big kid you know." Claire laughed.

"Come on, I've never used one of these things before, it's cool." Paul said, dangling the remains of yesterdays pizza over the garbage disposal.

Claire just laughed and shook her head. Paul dropped the remains of the pizza down the hole and it burst into life, grinding and buzzing until it was gone.

"Holy crap! That was awesome!"

"You mister, " Claire said hugging him from behind and talking softly into his ear "are far too easily amused."

"Simple pleasures for simple minds." Paul laughed, turning around in her arms and kissing her on the forehead. "Spot any more ghosts last night?"

"No, and I said I was sorry. You were right, it must have just been the house settling."

"It's okay, I was just grumpy. Any time before eight o'clock should be banned. I'm gonna go grab a shower, care to join me?"

Claire rolled her eyes. "Is there any time you aren't horny?"

Paul gave her a sarcastic look and pointed at his crotch. "Hello, I'm a guy."

Claire gave a sly grin as she turned back to the kettle and began pouring herself some tea. "Really? I hadn't noticed."

"Ouch! See you in ten."

All by herself in the kitchen, Claire looked through the cupboards for something for breakfast. All they can was cans and jars and while she reckoned Paul might be fine with curry sauce on cornflakes, she had somewhat more refined tastes. Luckily they still had some bread and so she made some toast. When she took out the jam from the cupboard she realised it had gone off and so she tipped the furry mess down the garbage disposal. Despite herself she felt a little thrill as it happily ate it away, there was something faintly exciting about it. She moved the jar to the sink to wash it out when she heard a sound emanate from the garbage disposal and dropped it, smashing it on the kitchen floor. She barely noticed though, the faint sounds, she could have sworn they were voices but it was too quiet to tell.

"Is that toast I smell?" Paul said as he walked into the kitchen in a towel.

"Don't come in! There's broken glass!" Claire shouted, snapped out of her intense listening by Paul's voice.

"What happened?"

"I just dropped something, that's all."

"Sure it wasn't a poltergeist?"

Claire just looked at him, upset, and Paul could see he had gone too far. "Shut up Paul, I said I was sorry all right? Just leave it alone. You always have to take things too far don't you?"

Paul went to move forwards but then remembered the glass and stood his ground. "I'm sorry, I didn't think-"

"That's right, you didn't. Not everyone has your sense of humour, Paul. Look just get dressed, I'll clean this up."

Paul took the opportunity to retreat and thanked heaven for small mercies.

 

The End

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