Trent Jueckstock is an aspiring writer who grew up in Plymouth, MI and currently lives in Winter Park, FL
The Whisper of Guilt
Nothing. That is the amount of change Kevin felt, nothing. He’d been laying in his bed for hours at this point, waiting for the drug to have some kind of affect like the numerous doctors articles that advertised it. As he lay in complete darkness, he began to realize how much of an idiot he was for falling for such claims.
“One pill curing depression in just 24 hours,” he said. “Laura was right, I am gullible.”
Kevin wished he hadn’t said that, as all the bad memories he had tried so hard to forget came flooding back. The argument, the car crash, the lifeless bodies of his wife Laura and young son Jake, all clouded his mind. He threw the covers off of him and began to lightly sob into his hands. All he wanted was to free himself of the repressed pain and guilt that had been consuming him and regain the happiness he hadn’t felt since his family’s death over a year ago. After numerous prescriptions and therapy, this new ‘super” antidepressant was the only chance he had left to achieve that dream.
Just a little relief, he thought “Is that too much to ask?”
He stared into the darkness of his bedroom for a moment before a sudden flash of lightning from outside lit up his bedroom and the pitter-patter of rain hitting the roof filled his ears.
“Another thunderstorm,” He mumbled “Just what I needed to boost my mood.”
Kevin managed to stop crying and reached for the tissue box on the nearby night stand in hopes of wiping the tear and snot streaks from his face. Before he could reach it, another flash of lightning lit up his bedroom. Briefly revealing the horrifying sight of a nasty laceration covering his arm, filled with shards of glass and dripping with blood.
“What the hell!” Kevin shouted as he grabbed at his arm.
He didn’t feel anything. No blood, no glass or pain, just the feeling of skin. But, then he felt the indentation of scar tissue. That’s when it hit him. That was one of the injuries he had suffered in the car crash. Kevin grabbed the empty pill bottle off his night stand and waited for another flash of lightning to reveal the label on the bottle. After another flash brightened his room, he saw exactly what he was looking for.
“Product may cause vivid visual and auditory hallucinations during first 24 hours,” he read. This must mean the antidepressant is working! Kevin thought.
“I just have to make it through tonight and I’ll be in the clear,” he said.
He laid back in bed and shut his eyes, intending to sleep through the hallucinatory process. Suddenly, he felt a sense of overwhelming terror that he had never felt before. He tried to ignore it, but was disrupted by one of the most bone chilling things he’d ever heard.
“Hello dear.” A voice weakley said from the darkness.
The voice was course and its words were slurred, but Kevin could still recognize it with ease. He turned to face the source of the voice. He couldn’t see anything initially, but immediately afterward another bolt of lightning brightened the room and revealed what the voice had come from. It was Kevin’s wife Laura, only she now possessed an appearance straight out of a nightmare. Her skin was pale and bloody, her eyes pitch black and her cracked yellowed teeth formed into an unnaturally wide smile.
“No...you’re not real,” Kevin shouted. “You can’t be!”
“Why are you shouting?” she whispered. “You’re scaring your son.”
Kevin then noticed through the darkness that the smaller figure of his son Jake had now stepped out from behind her. They both stared at Kevin before raising their right arm to point at him.
“You killed us,” they shouted in conjunction. “It’s all your fault!”
“No it isn’t,” he shot back. “How could I have known the truck would run the red light?”
“You took your eyes off the road,” Laura said. “You felt it was more important to take your frustrations out on us than make sure we were safe.”
“I hate you, dad,” Jake growled.
Kevin’s eyes began to fill with tears again as the hissing voices of his dead family continued to call him out for his numerous wrongdoings. He tried to keep his composure, but he eventually lost control and fell at their feet in a sobbing mess.
“I’m sorry,” Kevin whimpered. “I’m so sorry!”
He pressed his face harder into the carpet. He couldn’t bring himself to look at their mangled visage again. A visage he was responsible for.
“I’m sorry about the drinking,” he began. “I’m sorry I missed Jake’s birthdays, I’m sorry I forgot our wedding anniversary, I’m sorry for the numerous fights and the car crash.”
Laura and Jake didn’t say anything, but Kevin could still sense their foreboding presence.
“They were all my fault and I should’ve taken responsibility for them instead of blaming them all on you,” he sobbed. “I was a terrible husband and father and you deserved far better than what I gave you.”
Suddenly, the thunderstorm stopped and the foreboding atmosphere was replaced by the usual sense of calm. Kevin looked up to see that Laura and Jake had vanished. He stood up and wiped the tears from his eyes. He walked out into his living room and watched as the first signs of sunlight began to trickle over the horizon. The warmth it projected on him through his window was both calming and refreshing.
I think it’s about time I paid them a visit. Kevin thought. “I at least owe them that.”
Kevin then grabbed his car keys and walked out his front door. Finally having the courage to see his family’s graves for the first time since their funeral.