Thanatophobia

parental

Tom sat watching the television, pencil in one hand, notebook on the knee.

ICE CREAM

He wrote at the top of the page in big block letters. He looked back at the screen. The version of himself trod along the street listening to something in his headphones.

The Tom on the couch turned up the volume. The song became more clear.

DAVID BOWIE LIFE ON MARS

He bounced his knee as he watched. It was sudden, as it sometimes is. The version of himself on the television looked up, then, he was flatten. The sound reverberated around Tom’s living room. Tom turned down the volume. He stared at the body of himself, his chest under one wheel. He looked around on the screen for any more clues. He hurried to write BLUE MINI-VAN before the screen went back to home.

“No Potential deaths,” it informed him. He sighed and leaned back into the couch. He closed his eyes a moment before snapping up. He looked at his watch. He picked up his phone. He dialed.

“Carol?”

“Yes?” his wife answered.

“You’re late.”

She sighed on the other end. “I’m often late Tom, I’m a lawyer, we do things.”

“Did you watch your channel this morning?”

His wife breathed into the other end of the phone, frustrated.

“Tom—“

“Did you watch it?”

“I’m hanging up Tom.”

“Carol, how—“ Tom tried, but the line went dead. Tom stood up, fuming.

“Idiot,” he growled to himself. He tried calling a few more times, but Carol didn’t pick up. He texted her: You have to watch it. If you don’t, who knows what could happen. Please, do it for me.

Tom’s phone lit up, ringing. He answered.

“Carol?”

“Tom, seriously? You are texting me while I am driving around to nag me about not checking if I’ll die. That is such hypocrisy!”

“I just want you to be careful,” Tom moaned.

“Look, I’m not going to spend every day obsessing over this, they are possibilities Tom, it says it on the damn box. Just, please, let me have a relaxing drive home bef—AHH!”

Tom’s heart froze. His face went numb.

“Carol?”

“Carol!”

“No, no, no,” Tom groaned, “Carol?”

Carol started breathing into the other end of the phone.

“Tom,” she whispered.

“Carol, oh god, are you okay?”

“I’m messing with you Tom, get a grip, please. I’ll be home in five minutes.”

The line went dead. Tom stared at his phone a moment before throwing it across the room. Not angry, revolted. He turned to the TV.

“One New Potential Death,” It told him. Tom hesitated. Then, he picked up the pencil and notebook and sat down.

He took up the remote, he sighed, he hit play.

 

 

8 comments

  1. Sorry I’m late, the Guinness Gods have been toying with me again. Read this last night and twice this morning it’s that good. I’d hate to see the bill Carol drops on Tom when she gets home…if she gets home. Another excellent piece, Flash. I’m behind with my reading and brilliance like this doesn’t help 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Of course. The Guinness Gods can not be ignored when they call. I’m glad you liked it. I actually wrote a different story and Nikita drew for it. Then, at the last second, I decided I didn’t like it and wrote this one instead to match Nikita’s picture. I’m much happier with it.

      Liked by 1 person

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