This story is by Jackson Debruzzi and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Robert awoke. The relentless screeching sound that was designed to wake the heaviest of sleepers had done its job. His alarm clock read 8 A.M. But Instead of waking up and going about his day like “normal” people do, he just smashed the snooze button over and over again. To sleep longer and longer meant almost certain failure. The first snooze lasted ten minutes. This snooze was then immediately followed by a second ten minutes, then by a third, a fourth, a fifth, until ultimately, the serial smashing of the snooze button spiraled out of his controlled. The decision to awake by eight in the morning was squandered and along with that, Roberts vision to finally flip the restart switch within his mind, a start to a new life with purpose.
After roughly 24 consecutive snoozes, Robert turned and gaze at what he considered an evil succubus. His eyes exploded wide open in reaction to noticing that the alarm revealed twelve in the afternoon. Robert’s mind was racing, going over everything that he had planned for the day. He was supposed to cook breakfast, for his lovely wife at nine, to celebrate a new start, take his dog out at ten, and then at eleven, to carry on to his lame office job in Losstown, Iowa with new motivation.
Robert’s job is to await customer complaints pertaining to the corporate cable company known as The Best Connection PLUS. Obviously, Robert and everyone else associated with this company knew it was not the best. But, due to a series of snoozing events, Robert unintentionally and intentionally avoided all of his desired plans. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time it has happened. In fact, this was Robert’s 47th consecutive instance of misusing the snooze button. Robert’s response to each of these events is almost always associated with blaming that damn alarm clock, but in fact, deep down, he knew that something inside of him was wrong, a force within him that denied his desire to change.
After gazing at the alarm clock for the twenty-fifth time, Robert finally swung his legs over the bed in an attempt to force himself up off the bed and hopefully onto more important matters. As he slowly stood up, his tightened back released an unsettling cracking sound that resembled the obnoxious sound of popping popcorn in a dirty microwave. After taking an enormous, relieving breath of air and slowly letting it out, he ventured into the bathroom to view himself in the mirror with shame, once again.
Before this long drought had imprisoned him in these morbid rusty shackles, his beard was clean-shaven. But now, when he looks in the mirror, it has magically grown to the length of about 20 inches, almost resembling the beard of an old wizard. Every time, Robert ponders the idea of finally shaving and acquiring a new fresh look, he disappointingly, like all other instances of this line of thought, something always convinces him to ignore such desires.
Surprisingly, the bathroom was vividly clean along with all other parts of the bedroom. But, the most obvious suspect to maintaining such a clean room was, in fact, his lovely broadened wife, Olivia. Robert absolutely envied Olivia and every aspect of her life. First, she was the best wife anyone could ask for, she was his queen. Second, she always has this uplifting attitude that can turn anybody’s frown upside down. Third, she was a teacher and it seemed that she could help anyone with her enlightened intelligence.
While standing in front of his mirror for some odd thirty minutes, Robert looked down only to realize he has been wearing the same Lord of the rings shirt for the last three days. Along with the shirt came the old stench of body odor, but there was another horrendous stench, enough to even make him cringe. He then realized that he had shit his britches again, for the second day in a row. Robert thought he contracted the flu, but he hadn’t been out of the house for a long time. Obviously, it would be a great idea to shower and then finally change into clothes that relate to a more work-friendly style. The wardrobe is approximately 20 feet from the bathroom but inside the mind of Robert, it feels as if it were a thousand miles away. Suddenly, someone started pounding furiously upon the bedroom door.
“Robert! Goddamnit, you are going to be late again and you know your boss will fire you this time”, shouted Olivia while trying to breach into their room.
“Coming”, Robert replied with a sluggish tone. He began to head towards the bedroom door in a very klutzy like manner. Halfway to the door, he tripped over a two-week-old pile of dirty clothes, courtesy of himself. After tripping over his disgusting clothes, it reminded him of how his life has been as of late, consistently tumbling over every obstacle that this life has thrown at him. Robert twists the wedge upon the doorknob to let his wife in. Robert stared at his wife only to slowly redirect his sight to the floor.
“Hey,” said Robert uncertainly. Olivia gazed at Robert, only in disgust.
“Hey?! Is that all you have to really say to me, after two whole days”?! Olivia then began to look around the room in disbelief.
“Don’t say it, Olivia, I know, Its gross in here”.
“Don’t say its gross in here”? Like what the actual fuck Robert”? She began to cautiously tip-toe across the room, picking up day-old food wrappers with two fingers at a time. She eventually came across that dirty pile of clothes that had recently ambushed Robert right before he let her in. She looked at the pile and then, after pondering how to respond to the mess, she conjured a vexing response.
“I am not touching it, any of it for that matter, it smells like feet and ass in here!”
“Well its most likely the dirty underwear, I have been having”, Robert then paused for a bit, fearing to reveal something that he thought was embarrassing, even to his queen.
“Well, what is it”?
“I’m having, accidents again, but this time they’re worse”. Robert grabbed his arm, he was quite uncomfortable.
“How worse”, Olivia asked, “it couldn’t be worse than before, Ithel said that the accidents shouldn’t happen ever again”.
“Well, Ethel was wrong, everything is wrong Olivia”, said Robert desperately, “I can’t get good sleep, I have night terrors and that’s when they happen”.
“Uh, oh my god Robert, I am so sorry”, said Olivia, “I thought that you just had the flu, that’s why I left the room to you, so you may recover”.
“I thought it was too, but this is much, much worse, I don’t want to go through this again, the agony, the despair”. Robert caught a strange vibe and began to walk towards the only bedroom window. While Olivia and Robert were conversing, a figure could be seen right outside their window, about thirty feet away, right under the old oak tree. Robert was instantly petrified.
“No, no, no, no, no”! Robert’s heart dropped, knowing that certain doom was upon him.
“It can be, it can be, Olivia, please Olive”!
“What Robert”, said Olivia in fear, “what is it, you are scaring me”!
“Grab my sword, fast”! He then scrounged up an dirty pair of sweatpants, shaking while pulled them up.
“They said it couldn’t find us, we need Ithel, we need Ithel now”!
“I will summon her after I get sword”! Olivia made her way towards the bookshelf, where a silver key was hidden within the pages of an ancient book.
Meanwhile, the creature knew it was discovered and started to move towards a different bedroom window. It was moving towards Aisha’s room, their daughter. Olivia finally found the silver key, it was within the pages of the Oath Seeker, a book full of ancient secrets. Upon the cover was a symbol that represented the power of light. She then sprinted to the opposite wall across the room. On the wall was an old “Star Wars” poster. Olivia smirked and ripped it off hastily, leaving nothing but the poster’s corners. A small, elongated vault was revealed, embedded within the wall. The keyhole was strange though, it’s composed of just a square opening. She knew she couldn’t afford to waste any more time so she just stuck the key in the square hole and when she did, multiple metal prongs protracted from the square hole and enveloped the key. A bright flash summoned from the keyhole and then the vault was open. There laid the famous sword that had slain the king of darkness. Olivia whispered to herself “and once more, it shall serve its king in his hour of need”.
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