“A-another o- one over here!” slurred Jim Watts.
“Shit, Jim, I think you’d best get yourself home man. You’ve had enough. Why don’t I get you a cab?” replied Steve the Barman.
“Fuck you! Just pour the drink, Steve!” snapped Jim.
“Come on, Jim. It’s a bad day for you, I know, three years to the day and all that, but this isn’t gonna bring Violet back!”
Jim jumped up off the barstool and went to swing at Steve, he went sprawling over another stool and over the top of the bar.
He lay there dazed, then came the tears. Steve sat next to Jim and held him in his arms. His uncontrollable sobs made a huge wet patch on the Barman’s shirt. Steve held him tighter.
“Let it out mate, you need to release,” he whispered.
“Why Steve? Why Violet? Why?” Jim burst into another fit of tears.
“I don’t know man, there’s some evil bastards in this world. The cops will get them, it’s just a matter of time.”
“Time!” yelled Jim, “Its been three years! They’re long gone now, probably carving up someone else’s wife in another shitty city!”
“They’ve got leads they’re pursuing, they’ll catch them soon, I promise,” reassured Steve.
“Leads my ass! They got nothing, never had, never will, not now, not ever!” bawled Jim.
“Mandy, honey, call a cab for Jim,” said Steve turning to the blonde waitress stood in the doorway of the kitchen.
“Sure thing,” she replied while heading for the phone on the wall at the end of the bar.
Steve helped Jim up and walked him back to his stool. Distraught now, Jim grabbed the stool and launched it into the optics above the bar.
Steve just shook his head. What could he do? One of his oldest friends, had watched some maniacs rape and butcher his wife then somehow survived the attack himself.
Drinking was Jim’s escape from his reality. Although Steve tried not encourage Jim’s drinking, he could never abandon him when he needed a shoulder to cry on. Every night he was in here, at least Steve could keep an eye on him and control his addiction somewhat.
Jim staggered out of the taxi and meandered his way up to his front door. After fumbling with the key in the lock for what seemed like an eternity, Jim punched through one of the small square windows, lacerating his knuckles, not even flinching, he reached in and flicked the latch.
Several attempts and several falls to ascend the stairs, Jim finally made it to his bedroom, battered and bruised. He kicked his boots off, then went to the ensuite bathroom to wash and dress his bleeding hand.
Jim stood at the wash basin staring blankly at himself in the mirror.
“Jesus! You look old and tired,” he muttered to himself.
He ran the cold tap and splashed his face with the cooling water, a scream escaped his mouth when his eyes opened.
Stood behind him, to his right was his dead wife. She didn’t look dead, she looked as beautiful as the day he’d met her, apart from her paler skin.
“Jim,” she whispered softly.
He turned sharply, the disbelief etched on his face. There was no one there.
He slapped himself several times, and stared at himself again in the mirror. He splashed more cold water on his face.
“You gotta quit drinking,” he said grabbing the grey towel and dabbing his now reddened face.
Despite the alcohol Jim struggled to get to sleep, when eventually he did he woke up in the midst of a nightmare. He’d dreamt of Violet. He’d dreamt of that night again. He’d dreamt of getting revenge on the men who brutally attacked them. He’d dreamt of tearing them apart with his bare hands as they pleaded for mercy and forgiveness.
He sat up in a pool of sweat, hyperventilating accompanied with a huge hangover. The dressing he’d put on earlier had unraveled and lay on the bed sheet. He closed his eyes and drew in slow deep breaths and raised his hands and wiped the sweat that was dripping down his face. He opened his eyes then noticed his hands were covered in blood.
He remembered breaking in. The blood must be his own. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and attempted to stand. His head was fuzzy, the dizziness overwhelmed him and he collapsed back on the bed. He lay there for a few minutes until the feeling subsided. He managed to get up and stagger to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror he saw his face was bloodied with fingermarks streaked down his cheeks and across his forehead. He ran the water and washed his hands and face clean. Then he noticed his shirt and trousers in a heap by the side of the bath. They were sodden with blood. Surely all that hadn’t come from the cuts on his hands? They didn’t seem that bad to produce so much blood. His head was pounding so he went to cabinet for some painkillers. A shower and some food would put him right, then maybe a beer or two.
He pulled the shower curtain back and screamed at the bloodied battered male body lay in the bath tub.
“Holy fuck,” he whispered to himself. “What the fuck happened last night? Who and how the fuck did he get here? Shit, shit, shit!”
“A-another o- one over here!” slurred Jim Watts.