Thomas Down The Stairs

“Sometimes, I wonder if you’re still in there.”

That was a lie. The moment Thomas looked into those all but dead eyes, he knew there was none of his friend left. There was hunger and anger, that’s was all there was. What was a friend, had long since turned into a morbid pet. It was just an animal chained to a wall, nothing more. Yet Thomas couldn’t quite let go.

“No, I guess not.”

Thomas left the basement and headed towards the living room. There he was a different man. He was Thomas Perry, a successful CPA and a failed husband. He kept his past in the basement. Sadly, the walls aren’t as sound proof as Thomas would like and the past sounds unpleasant. Thelma could only take so much before she left. Thomas didn’t blame her.

She wasn’t here during the quarantine. She didn’t know, she couldn’t know. Thomas was still there and as long as he allowed himself his pet, he would stay there. He would stay angry at the man who died and the beasts that destroyed everything he had ever cared about. Down there he still lived in that twenty year old week, incapable of leaving due to government mandate. All that time, his brother laid under a pile of rubble, dead but not as dead as he should have been.

Thanks to Henry’s Law, the CDC let Thomas keep his new pet as long as he had the proper enclosure. It had to be secure room with chains and only one means of access, not even windows. After reconstruction, the basement had proved perfect for his need. So, in the basement of his father’s house, Leonard Perry still lived or at least his body did.

It occurred to Thomas that there needed to be a reconciliation between who he was downstairs and who he was upstairs. Downstairs was bound to come upstairs and he would be just like he was back then. People like that can’t live in this world, not for long. Thomas sighed and grabbed Father’s leather briefcase and descended down to the past. The contents knocked back and forth inside. He flipped a switch and the fluorescents hummed. That day the animal’s eyes slowly focus on someone familiar.

“Hey Leo, look what I got.” Thomas presented it with the briefcase. It growled and in faint breath Thomas heard the beast say Tom but that was just a sort of echo, he knew better.

Thomas knelt on the cold concrete floor. He quietly undid the clasps and revealed his father’s derringer. It was still a beautiful piece but it brought back bad times and the shakes. After a minute , the shakes subsided and he found himself holding the pistol. Slowly he moved the lever and the long barrel slumped open. He removed a slender bullet and held it to the light.

“This used to be for me. I use to get through the day knowing I could end it anytime. It’s hard to believe but it made me feel relieved.”

Leo had just enough awareness to moan at his new fate.

“I guess it’s yours now. Goodbye Leo.”

With care he reloaded the bullet into the barrel and snapped the whole thing shut. He slowed his breath and stood. With careful deliberation, he sighted the small portion between Leo’s eyes. With inward breath he pulled the trigger. There was a crack surely heard round the neighborhood, no matter how muffled the sound was. Slowly with brief case in one hand and pistol in the other he ascended the stairs. He went to the telephone and called the proper authorities.

“Yeah, this is Thomas Perry, I’ve taken care of my pet.”

Pleasantries and condolences were said.

“Thanks can you send a crew to collect him?”

Two hours at the most was promised.

“Thank you.”

He hung up the phone and went to the fridge. As he searched fruitlessly for something that “looks good”, Thomas wondered if anyone cared about the rifle shot. Gunfire wasn’t uncommon on Sundays. Everybody gets Sunday off and sooner or later, everybody has to let go.