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"A Drunken Rage"
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"A Drunken Rage"
“A Drunken Rage”
Antony McLaren knelt over the dusty crate in his bedroom closet,
sifting through stacks of wedding photos that dated back twenty-two years ago. June 6th, 1972. The happiest day of his life. For each one, he lit his lighter, instantly turning
the memories of his corrupted marriage into a pile of ashes. In the distance, he could vaguely hear the cry
of wind chimes outside his front door; as if they were begging to be saved from
the harsh winter winds blowing through town.
The snowfall was still building at a calm, yet abiding pace. It had
been that way for the past month; continuous snowfall with a resentful chill to
match. A blanket of silence fell over
the town and only grew more haunting, bringing with it a sense of isolation
from the rest of the world. As always, as
the days grew colder, the death toll rose.
Several of the elderly shut-ins throughout the neighborhood passed away
because of from being virtually trapped inside their homes for weeks on end. And the souls brave, or foolish, enough to
battle the winter’s wrath would meet their demise buried under a mound of
snow. But not even the arctic snarl of a
merciless winter could match the ice water coursing through Antony’s veins.
More than ever, he longed for his past life and, despite feelings
of animosity, wished for his ex-wife. Nothing could compare to the evenings
they spent cuddled up by the fireplace. Now, the evenings had grown
unbearably longer, the nights much colder and the silence more resonant. In and out of depression he would drift at
each thought of his wife with the other man. Blind he was to think that she could never find
love in the arms of someone else. Finally,
he arose from the closet, heading into the kitchen in hopes of finding therapy
in his alcohol addiction. He retrieved a
glass from the top shelf that sat next to a set of china plates his wife had
left behind because of her hasty departure.
At this sight, his heart winced something terrible. Their relationship had crumbled under the
pressure of insecurity, abuse, and ultimately infidelity. It was for these reasons he considered
himself a failure. But, it was not all
his fault; that he was quite certain of.
In his overwhelming desire to keeping their marriage afloat, he drove
her further out of it. He couldn't open
his eyes until he received the divorce papers on his desk. “Why,” he
muttered, slowly sipping away at his scotch, trying to flood the memory from
his mind. Out the corner of his eye, he spotted his .38 caliber pistol lying
adjacent to his wedding ring on the table.
Confused, he caught himself entertaining the thought of murder.
“No, Antony. Don’t.” He took a final
shot, slamming the glass onto the table with vigor, cracking the bottom on
contact. The thoughts had been plaguing
his mind for the longest, becoming so overwhelming that he would dream of
murder. Each night, he woke up with chills, trembling in horror, fearing the
thought of his hands drenched in blood.
He pulled a cigarette from his half empty pack, lit it, and then
took a long drag that burned his throat. As much as he despised
entertaining the idea, he would be lying to himself if he denied the pleasure
he got from the idea of killing. As far
as he was concerned, if he couldn’t have Roberta…why should any man?
He slowly got out of his chair, pistol in hand, and made his way towards
the living room, but came to a sudden stop in the middle of the hallway.
He began to pace back and forth, mumbling a stream of
meaningless sentences in a drunken train of thought, whilst leaving a
small trail of ashes across the hardwood floor. Antony was
indeed drunk, but not drunk enough. He knew nothing good would come from
murder, but the dark pit of anger in his soul only sank him deeper and deeper,
preventing him from letting go of the notion. He threw the cigarette onto
the floor, crushing it as he staggered into the living room and slumped down onto
the couch. Seeping in silence, he sat in a brief state of paralysis.
At that moment, he felt his soul depart from his physical body, leaving him in
a cold and lonely being, just as Roberta had done. His heart winced once more. His eyes began to welt. His finger itched to put the trigger. “No. No. No,” he repeated to himself. Each time, the plea became even louder, more
demanding, and more irritating. In a blind
fit, Antony tossed the gun onto the floor, and in a matter of seconds, time
It took a moment for everything to register, but he knew very
well what had happened. In his drunken
rage, he tossed the gun across the room, forgetting that the safety was
off. His surroundings began to spin around
into a dizzying spiral. He stumbled across the room feeling as though his
heart would explode, clinging onto random objects, as if he were searching for
the best place to die. His body grew
slower and colder. Slower and colder. He looked down at his chest to see the blood
flowing out heavily onto the floor; the palms of his hands drenched in it. How much more could he possibly lose?
He tried to scream for help, but had become far too weak to carry on. There had to be someone who could save him?
But any plead for help would merely be in vain.
Was this the way it was going to end for him? Unheard cries
muffled by the rage of a winter’s storm? Antony felt his consciousness
slip from his fingertips, just as his wife had slipped away from his domineering
grasp. In a puddle of cold blood, he met
his demise at the hands of a bitter, drunken rage. His cries overshadowed by the wails of cold
RE:"A Drunken Rage"
Very good ending, nicely written. Write on!
Re: "A Drunken Rage"
Loved the opening until you spoke of people dying in the winter. Great description of the cold weather outside, but it sounded like a lot of people were dying, and I wasn't sure if a lot were necessary. Maybe one death due to the cold weather would be enough to point out that people were isolated.
That said, I think you have a good outline for a story, but you quickly backed away from getting into Antony's pain and began telling us about it rather than letting us go down that path with him.
For example, "...but he knew very well what had happened." Let us hear his thoughts. There is obviously a lot going on inside his head right now. I don't think you need to get into first person, but it may give you a different perspective as a writing exercise.
Another example: "In his drunken rage" - you're telling us that he's drunk. Why not show us, let us see him take a drink again, and then later again, and again, and see how his vision blurs bit by bit and his coordination and balance deteriorate.
Albert Camus wrote a brilliant short story that was similar to this in that the main character was isolated. In his case, his tongue was cut out and he was left in a desert. This story might be a good read for how to deal with what is in essence a soliloquy, surrounded by ones environs. Camus' book was set in Algeria I believe, but I can't recall the title. So I googled it, and it may be The Renegade, since I doubt he had two stories with the tongue cut out of his main characters.
Here is what Wikipedia said about its style. Note that I am not advocating that you write like this piece, nor am I advocating anything about the piece, other than that Camus also dealt with a one-person soliloquy for the entire short store.
Wikipedia: The style Camus employs in "The Renegade" is representative of the fictional narrator and can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The story is written in the first person perspective and just like the narrator, the language is muddled, disjointed and disorganized; leaving the reader to piece together the facts from the hysterical and neurotic monologue.
I think what they mean by muddled, disjointed and disorganized, is that we often don't think of things in full sentences, and in the beginning, it is not told why he has lost his tongue (or maybe not even that he has). Thoughts come to us half-boiled, so to speak, and tend to jump around a bit.
I think this piece of yours has great potential to delve into the tragedies that men face when a marriage ends, and hope that you will try to go into those painful rooms and pull out the thoughts that Antony is thinking.
Re: "A Drunken Rage"
Thank you chava812 for taking the time to read my story. I always appreciate someone not only taking the time to read my work, but also providing constructive advice and a reference piece to study. I wrote this when I was 19, and then went back to revise it at 20, which makes this the second draft. Since then, I've read more novels and short stories, so I understand where I went astray in the opening and with the deterioration of my protagonist. After I read "The Renegade," I'll surely have a third draft completed before the end of the month. Once again, thanks for the advice chava812.
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