Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New Short Story

Hey, I’ve written a short story called Microbes. I want to send it to you. To read it, you need only sign up for my mailing list. (I promise to e-mail you no more than once every two or three months.) You can do so by going to my website (www.zacharybartels.com) or by clicking here

Here are the first few paragraphs of the story, to hopefully whet your appetite:

October 13, 1988

            Doctor Pendleton pounded on the side door of the small ranch house, rattling the flimsy aluminum and Plexiglas. BAM BAM BAM. He wiped the fog from his glasses. It was drizzling out and he was freezing and he wanted to be anywhere but here. BAM BAM.
            “I know you’re in there, Eddie!” he called. “You need to come with me. Okay? You should be in a hospital!” He took a step back and tried to peer through the sheer curtains obscuring his view.
            He felt a gust of warm air as the door flew open and he was suddenly face-to-face with a stocky redhead in his mid-thirties. The man was covered with a patina of sweat and dressed in a dirty flannel shirt and ripped jeans.
            “Oh,” Pendleton said, and took another step back. “It’s you.”
            “Yeah, it’s me.” The redheaded man glared at the doctor. “Come in if you want. Eddie’s upstairs if you have something to tell him”
            The doctor felt his feet pointing involuntarily back toward his car, but overrode the instinct and forced three timid steps into the stale entryway. It was all cigarette smoke and fake wood paneling, a potent reminder of why he did not make house calls. He immediately regretted entering and turned back toward the door just in time to see it slammed shut. He opened his mouth to protest, but found himself slammed against the wall of the small stairway leading up to the kitchen.
            The stocky man growled, “What do you think you’re doing coming here? Huh?”
            The doctor couldn’t find his voice to respond.
            “Maybe I won’t let you leave. Maybe I’ll keep you here against your will. For weeks.” He drew his bushy red eyebrows halfway up his forehead. “Sound familiar?”
            “I’m just worried about Eddie. That’s all.”
            “Bull. I think you’re worried about you. And we know a little more than you think we know, so you should be worried. Got us a P.I.”
            “No, no.” Dr. Pendleton squirmed. “I’m not—” A little voice in his head kept telling him to deck the big flushed face before him, but a more reasonable voice assured him it wouldn’t even faze the bear of a man.
            “I’m telling you,” he continued, “Eddie’s sick.”
            You’re sick.”
            “He’s in need of medical attention.”
            Suddenly calm and articulate, Eddie released the doctor.  “Listen to me, Doc, and understand what I’m telling you: if you ever come near this house or Eddie again, you’re going to need medical attention.”
            Just then, Eddie came shuffling up to the top of the stairs in a bathrobe and slippers, a 12 gauge shotgun under his arm. He narrowed his eyes at the sight of the doctor.  “You shouldn’t be here,” he said, his voice weak and raspy. “You’re in the muck now.” Cough.  “Patrick’s going to teach you a lesson, aren’t you boy?”
            Patrick ran five fingers through his mop of red hair. “I think the doctor grasps the material already. But a little assurance can’t hurt.” He reached his chopping block hand up toward Eddie. “Give us the 12-gauge.” He gave Dr. Pendleton a shove and pushed the barrel of the gun up to his chin.
            “And you—give me your wallet,” he ordered. The doctor hesitated. “Now!” Patrick racked the pump. With his left hand, he accepted and examined the wallet.
            Eddie was leaning on the railing, breathing with some difficulty.
            “Uncle Eddie, go lay down,” Patrick ordered.
            When he’d shuffled away, the doctor said, “He needs help. He’s going to die, you know.”

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1 comment:

  1. I read the entire story and really liked it, especially the last few paragraphs. The ending was not what I expected it to be and that's really what I like in a story.