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Trouble in Paradise

By Alex Beyman All Rights Reserved ©

Horror

Trouble in Paradise

Groaning floorboards overhead stir me to consciousness. I look at the clock, knowing what I will see but nonetheless desiring confirmation. At this point I could probably throw it out and let the fights wake me.

She starts in with muffled crying. He shouts something at her I can recognize as English but not make out. Travel? Enamel? Gravel? It’s become a game, trying to figure out what they’re fighting over. She slaps him so hard I hear it. And feel it, secondhand. A good hard slap is like that.

I deliberate over whether I really need this job for a solid three minutes before forcing myself out of bed and lurching to the bathroom. Those two continue unabated, creaking and small showers of dust betraying their location. They’re over my kitchen now.

A blast of hot water scours the sleep crud from my eyes. So rejuvenating that more than once, that’s been my entire shower. If I’m running late I just stick my head in, wash my face and hair, then let it dry during the commute. I think my skin dehydrates while I sleep?

A resounding thud. He’s knocked her on her ass. More loud weeping. I’ve long since given up on the cops doing anything about it. That was before I knew better than to involve anyone else. Like a show they put on just for my sake.

Count Chocula today. Always buy the colorful sugary cereals. I get weird looks from the cashier sometimes but I’m finally old enough that I sincerely don’t give a shit. I always wondered how that happens. Turns out you just don’t have the energy to care.

Like how when you’re a kid you can just explode to your feet and run off like a maniac, but by twenty it takes a second or two to get up from your seat. That interval grows exponentially from that point onward. I mix the cereal around. Pet peeve, I want it all saturated with milk.

I hear her run from one room to another, slam the door and lock it. Then the pounding starts. His voice is stern at first. But it grows increasingly frustrated and menacing. Then he begins counting down. I can’t make out the numbers but the sound of it is unmistakable.

Why the hell does a chocolate cereal turn the milk purple? What’s in this shit? Probably making my sperm count plummet. Fine by me, I’ll never need ‘em. Apart from my schedule, emotional unavailability and incurable bad habits, living under a seemingly endless domestic brawl has put me off romantic pursuits.

I remember when I tried to get the landlady to do something. She was alarmed at first as I described what I’d heard. But when she went up to check it out, that was the end of it. Returned my calls just once, warning me not to waste her time again.

At last, I hear a crash as he kicks the door down. Then panicked screaming, cut short by a single gunshot. All is still. Seconds tick by. I hear the floorboards flex above me as he paces to and fro. I can imagine what’s going through his mind. Then comes the second gunshot, and the sound of something heavy collapsing to the floor.

A few minutes later, two red stains begin to grow on the ceiling. It would trouble me, except that I live on the top floor.


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Bradley Darewood: I really really really liked this. I just voted for you!The voice is flawless-- I can't write men as well as you do and I have a penis. Maybe I'm narcissistic but I particularly enjoyed the moment where he muses about how artists would do better in such a solitary job. But my favorite moment ...

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

E_W_Hemmings: First of all, sorry this review took so long: I've had science mocks recently and then when I came to read this, I made notes to put in the review like I usually do... but then I deleted them. Well done me. As a result, this review is a bit more general than most reviews I write, but hey ho, let'...

Natasha Jade Smail: a good read and keeps you interested throughout the whole story and has some gruesome moments that were well described to get you into the story.

Clarissa: Very atmospheric and descriptive language, with good character development. This is a complex and interesting story - definitely worth a read.

Shelley Miller: The ideas and the set up and this are amazing! The feel of the story goes from science fiction to horror to suspense all in a big, thrilling ball. I really like your character so far and her powers and the idea of the ark being a person. The world is intense and gritty and clever as well. While a...

C J Lawson: Nicely done. Good story with good characters, as well. I was very entertained by the story line, from beginning to end. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

heich: Excellent story and excellent writing style. I hope in the future read your works.The story you present is innovative, fresh, different from everything else and let a feeling that you know you want to read more of it. I hope you continue moving in the same, because he's smart and only you know wh...

IceWinifredd: Hello there!I have to say that i really enjoyed this story a lot! I'm a huge fan of the Zodiac Signs and the things that come with them or things that we can add to them in literature to make them more interesting. I never thought that Capricorn would be the bad guy. Maybe Scorpio or Gemini or Vi...

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Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

drainwater411: such a great read for me. I loved how you had to figure out who everyone was and kind of got a sense of who they were throughout the book instead of just telling all about the characters in the beginning, it helped you really get to know them and grow a connection with them. the relationships bet...

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