"The Companion" - A Short Story by Robert Wimer

“The Companion” – A Short Story

She sat in her enclosed front porch on a Spring afternoon with her companion who pinched her arm.  Though the experience was unwanted and undesirable, she had learned to endure these petty torments from him over the many decades of their lives together by going somewhere else in her mind’s eye.  The sun showed brightly through the windowpane passing through the glass bobbles that lined every window sill that she was allowed to collect over the years as a type of “reward.”  The light split into brilliant colors that painted the inside of her glass prison, a prison that she transcended by traveling to an almost forgotten church in the recesses of her mind.  In an instant, she was sitting on the front pew looking up at the cross while the colors from the stained glass danced throughout the sanctuary, like angels circling the throne of God.  She remembered the soft words from a kindly man that spoke jibberish from the pulpit, but the God-speak was still comforting, even if she didn’t understand it.  For a moment, she was at peace until her arm started to bleed.

“Samantha darling, you need to pay attention to the sidewalk.” her companion said.  “Mr. Williams will be by to walk his dog and we want to look pretty for him, don’t we?  We want to invite him in for tea and dessert.  He’ll be by any minute, so let’s get you ready, shall we dear.”

“Please no, I don’t want to do this.” she pleaded

“Oh, but we must.  This is our thing, the thing we’ve been doing for over 60 years honey.”

The companion moved his hands across her shoulders and over her breasts.  She could feel the sickening arousal of his touch and she begged him to stop.  He moved all over her body, corrupting the very thing that God had given her as a gift into a curse.

“Come now sugar, you needn’t cry, you know how I hate that.”

His grip ceased from being pleasurable and turned into familiar pain.

“After all, you invited me in long ago, and I have been a guest, SO TREAT ME AS SUCH!

It was true, she did invite him into her life.  It happened so long ago and she could barely remember the person she was, but she remembered the woman she became.  Before that night, her companion was always at a distance watching her with his eyes that were heavily coated with eye-liner.  His ruby lipstick covered a mouth that didn’t say a word.  His warped and twisted features seemed to mimic a man, but purposefully misshapen as if to rebel against a creator that seemed so far away.  Lips that never spoke a word, but always seem to entice and eyes that followed her every move guided her to that fateful night where she met Doug, a carpenter out of Oklahoma.  In an instant, she sought a back-alley encounter with a man that she would never see again – a man that had his own companion.  As they engaged in the dance, her distant stranger spoke for the first time, but not to her, but to the man.

SPANK THAT THING AND CALL HER A WHORE!

The night couldn’t end fast enough and the distant, silent stranger that she had seen since she was a child was now at her side and never stopped speaking.  He spoke vile and contemptable things in her ear in the guise of sexual innuendo.  Each and every day, she was nudged a degree off course, directing her journey further and further away from the sun to dark skies and turbulent waters.  Her life reflected his influences as she floated from one-night stands to marriages that ended in divorce.  Her many children wouldn’t have anything to do with her and her friends, the few she had, abandoned her long ago.  She was alone, devoid of human contact.

The theme of her life was sex and it repeated like a broken record, with her companion always whispering in her ear, “I need more.”

“Ah, there he is, my peach.”

The companion motioned to Mr. Williams coming up the sidewalk with his dog with a grandiose gesture of his arm and a buoyancy in his voice that bordered on the profane.

“Now honey, I know that you got a little mileage, but let’s get you ready for your big date.”

Mr. Williams seemed to irritate the companion for some reason.  Of all the people they met and drove away, Mr. Williams was the one that stuck around and talked to her – and he hated him for that.  He wanted her isolated and along, miserable and disgraced, but the kindly gentlemen wouldn’t adhere to their wishes.  Mr. Williams would always say “hello” and a kind word, which irritated the tormenter, but it became violent when Mr. Williams told her about Jesus and scripture.  When these events happened with Mr. Williams, the tormenter seemed to be in pain, and through the pain, he would yell and scream into her ear obscenities that were like steel nails on a chalkboard.  Her body would be riddled with pain as the jailer would beat her frail frame while scripture filled the air.  All of it ended the same way – she would curse the kindly dog walker until he left, spitting at him while he walked away.  Truthfully, she could never understand why her tormenter wanted to call the attention of a man that he hated so much, but it was of little importance as the theme of this familiar song would once again play out.

“Well hello there Mr. Williams.  Want to come in?  I’ll keep you nice and warm.” she said with a hint of seduction

“No thank you Mrs. Sanders.” the kindly gentlemen replied

“Oh, come on, just for a little while.  It’ll be nice and I know you won’t mind.”

The companion seemed to watch with glee as he sauntered around the porch.  He danced in the light of the bobbles, lightly touching each one as he waited tor a payoff that would never come.

“Mrs. Sanders, I would really like to finish our talk.” the elderly gentleman advancing with each word he spoke.

The jailer halted his dance, his eyes became as wide as silver dollars and a low, steady growl came from his fowl lips.

“How long will you choose to be in bondage?  How long will you give it power over you?”

She froze and her companion did as well.  This was a direct and open volley and they both knew it.  This kindly gentleman seemed to gain in stature as the silence between them grew to an unbearable experience.  She didn’t know what to do or say as Mr. Williams was not more than three feet away from her.  All of her life, her decisions were guided by her dark and grotesque mentor, and as she looked over at him, he was frozen, trying to hide in plain sight, but still ready to pounce to protect his territory.

“You know the story, I’ve told it to you many times.  All you have to do is believe it and speak the truth.” Mr. Williams softly spoke.  “Speak the truth and he will be gone and you can have your rest.”

It was at this moment that the companion would have no more.  In what seemed like a scene from a horror movie, the dark figure moved from his position in the porch to striking distance in a matter of three steps.  When it got to her, he turned and twisted his entire upper torso into a coil.  The tormenter clenched his fist and released the energy of it’s entire being into one swift strike that landed squarely on her face.  The power was astounding as she was flung across the front porch, crashing all the bobbles to the ground, breaking them into tiny shards that pierced her body.

Mr. Williams leaned over her, a worried look written across his face, a look that she couldn’t remember seeing form anyone.

She could feel the life ebb from her body and at that moment, she could see the duality of life in the two faces that hovered over her.  One face was full of love and concern, a face that she wished she could have seen more.  The other, a face of hatred, malice, and disgust, a face she wished she would have seen less.

“Do you believe?” the kindly face asked, all the while, the companion was screaming profanities at her, beating her body with a fury that rivaled the pagan gods of old.

Memories began to surface of all the people she had met and destroyed with her apatites.  She remembered her husbands, her children, former friends, and family members, faces all filled with sadness and shame, but the one face that made His way to the forefront of her mind was the face of a man that a preacher long ago in a brightly lit and color filled church talked about.  She remembered his words, and they began to make sense.  In that instant before the last drop of life left her, she summed up all the wrong she had done in her life, looked towards the man that was shining brightly in her mind and uttered her last words on this mortal coil.

“Forgive me, Jesus.”

In an instant, the sideways view of the porch floor that was filled with shards of glass and blood was replaced with a light that had life and love woven into its very existence.  Standing in front of her was the likeness of a Son of Man.

“Welcome home.” He said.

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