Here’s the next chapter of Master of the Drunken Fist. Enjoy!
Mike opened his eyes to the face of beautiful Noelle. He wasn’t sure if the vision before him was real or part of the horrible void-dream he had. She had tears in her eyes, and they were red. It was a familiar sight to Mike, though he never enjoyed it. It brought feelings of shame, of hate, of loathing to him like nothing else. Seeing Noelle’s eyes like that made his whole heart sink knowing it was because of him. He always thought she cared way too much for him. He wasn’t worthy of such love and adoration. It was something surreal to him having her by his side all the time. He tried reaching up to her face, but his arms felt like they were weighted down.
“It’s ok Mike, you’re fine. You’re back now. Don’t you ever do that to me again, you hear me? I love you too much! Don’t you ever leave me like that again!”
“What are you talking about Noelle?” It hurt him to talk. His jaw felt like it was broken and his right temple throbbed something fierce. His throat was dry. His head felt hazzy and dizzy. He could hear the blood rushing in his ears. Behind Noelle, he saw a ceiling fan, similar to the one in their bedroom. Looking to his right, he saw the familiar alarm clock on the dresser and he knew he was in their bed.
“Noelle, what are you talking about? I didn’t go anywhere? I…I…what happened Noelle?
She cried a little as she stared down at him. He saw pity and pain in those eyes.
“I don’t know where you went Mike. After you broke that mirror down at Gene’s, you got a bit out of control. Gene called me and I went down there to find you all out of control. You were cussing, yelling, telling Gene you loved him and how you hated him. You kept drinking that shine of his and getting more and more ugly. He told you to leave and when I finally got you in the car, you passed out. On the drive home, you started mumbling something about “void” or “avoid,” I couldn’t tell. All I know is that after dragging you to bed, you started to convulse. Your breathing started to slow down and for several minutes I thought you died. Mike, don’t you ever fucking do that to me again!”
She cried softly for a little bit before continuing.
“Mike, that was two days ago,” she said quietly. “I had to tell your boss that you caught a bug and couldn’t make it in. You just laid here in bed for the whole time. You would alternate from convulsions to complete silence. I didn’t know what to think. I wanted to call 911, but then you would start to breathe again and I thought you’d just wake up, get some coffee, and return to normal. I’ve never seen you gone for this long. It was like you would leave yourself and return every once in a while. Mike, don’t you ever do that to me again. You hear me!”
“I’m confused. I don’t know what to say Noelle. I’m sorry?”
The hanging question grated at Noelle. “Really, you are going with I’m sorry? after all the hell you put me through these past couple of days? It’s going to take a lot more than that. I can’t keep putting up with this shit Mike! I love you, but I’m not going to keep wasting myself and crying over you.”
Mike closed his eyes to think, to escape the mess he made. His arms finally moved and he rubbed his eyes trying to clear the problem ahead of him. Opening his eyes, nothing changed except Noelle crying softly, head in her hands.
“You are too good to me Noelle, you know that right?”
“Shut up Mike. Just stop doing this to me. Get up, you smell awful and look terrible. I’ll get you some coffee.” She left him, still crying softly. He sat up and the room started to spin. “Woa,” he said and steadied himself on the bed. He swung his feet off and turned towards the mirror on the dresser. He did look like death. He could smell himself as a mix of cigarettes and body odor. He looked at the mirror again and though his gaze was a bit fuzzy, he saw something strange.
Slowly standing up, he leaned up against the dresser and looked closely in the mirror. Staring back at him was a man that looked twenty years older than what he actually was. His brown hair was tinged with just a bit of stray grey hairs and his face looked rough. Looking at his right temple, he thought he saw something on his head. He reached up and felt a faint pain as his hand rubbed along a bruise. It wasn’t bleeding, but it hurt. It was in the same spot that he was hit while in the void.
Damn, what the hell happened to me? he thought while staring at his head. That wasn’t real, was it? I was just passed out, that’s all. Dreaming. But this bruise? It’s right where I got hit.
He walked out of the bedroom and sat down at the dining room table, leaning down on one arm. It was hard to walk far as dizziness kept trying to take him away on some joy ride it had planned for him. Noelle brought him some coffee. It didn’t feel like morning to him. The sun was much brighter than normal. He looked over at the clock in the kitchen and it said 3:23.
“Noe, did I get into a fight again?” he asked her reluctantly.
“Yes, you did. You and Keith got into it, though I don’t think it lasted long.”
“Did he hit me in the head? I have a bruise up here,” he said pointing to his right temple area. She looked at the spot he pointed out.
“If he did, I can’t tell it. There’s no mark that I can see.”
“What? I just saw it in the mirror,” he replied confused. “You know, fuck it, doesn’t matter. It just hurts like hell. Got any aspirin or something for this headache?”
Noelle left and came back with pills and a glass of water. “Here,” she said and handed it to him. “Now that you are awake and alive, I gotta go to the store. Take a shower, will you? You stink like shit.”
“Yeah, I feel like it to. Sorry Noe, I really am.”
Noelle grabbed her keys and left. It was silent in the house and Mike needed that to recover as best he could. He finally got up after finishing his coffee and worked his way to the bathroom where he took a long, hot shower.
Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Come back tomorrow for chapter 4 of Master of the Drunken Fist. Click here for the Table of Contents and links for the chapters.