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|The Debtors (standard:Psychological fiction, 1226 words)
|Author: Kenneth Moon
|Added: Jun 05 2003
|Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
|A story about a man who died twice. Sounds simple right . . . ?
The Debtors Stephen Colling died twice. The first time was an accident, at the age of eleven. Every winter he and his parents would take up residence in northern Florida, inside a refurbished Civil War mansion. Stephen loved to watch the machines crawl through the cotton fields, gathering up the white pugs with their steel paws; and, when his mother would flap her thin hand, ostentatiously shooing him away from the “horrid machinery,” he would traipse down to one of the several water holes dotting the plantation. Today was no exception to the routine, and Stephen soon found himself wandering around the perimeter of a stagnant pond, just south of the large Victorian mansion. In his youthful exuberance he was able to ignore the fetid air, enjoy the ordinarily aggravating bugs as they bolted in and out of the water, and relish the tough of the slippery, lime-green moss. He could not tolerate, however, the fiends who inhabited the swampy area – the very ones who hid under his bed at night. These monsters loomed everywhere and Stephen soon forgot the joyful subtleties of the swamp, and his eyes darted back and forth erratically. He could feel the sultry breat of one of the imagined creatures on the nape of his neck; and, in response, swatted nervously behind him, edging closer to a gnarled tree hanging precariously over the tinted water. Without realizing his actions, he sidled onto the slimy, lichen-covered wood, oblivious to the groaning sound of the roots grasping the bank. Before the monster could snatch him, the wooden fingers let go of safety and Stephen, with a panicked gasp, found himself immersed in the greenish water. Five years of private swimming lessons did him little good, for his leg was impacted between a rock and the guilty tree. No amount of struggle could give him freedom and his body soon felt a last shudder and went limp. Stephen's mother, endlessly searching for him in the past and present, spotted his lifeless floating hand and screamed in horror. Her attendants were not far behind her cry and they endeavored to pull Stephen from the water. The audible cracking of bones escaped the attention of his rescuers as his leg twisted unnaturally out of the entrapment. His mother turned her head affectedly, unable to bear the thought of losing this, her only heir. She was apprehensive at the thought of ever making a new one. One servant pumped Stephen's soaked chest, while others displaced the stringy seaweed that covered his person. All efforts seemed futile; and, and after a few last attempts at resuscitation, they gave up, turning away at the very moment a cough slipped from the shivering body and the eyes opened wide. The only thing Stephen remembered of the incident was the wonderful floating sensation and then the horror as he was uninvitingly sucked back into his frame. * * * Now at twenty-three, Stephen hobbled along the streets of windy Chicage, a trusted cane ever in his grasp. He gazed admiringly at his third leg. The pointed tip was encased in gold, and polished wood, now stained deep red, was carved by request from the very tree that took the life from his leg. For only a moment he stared at the cane, soon returning to an ever-vigilant watch. He was rich; he fully realized the fact after his parents died two years previously when he was inundated with invitations of service from lawyers, doctors, politicians and corporate brokers. Thereafter, the monsters of his childhood took the shape of greedy lawyers, avaricious businessmen, and beggarly charities. Stephen soon concluded that the entire human race sought his money. The innocent looking child holding fast to his father's leg, the hot dog vendor with the grating accent, the woman draped in black with a shiny cross around her neck – all of them were envious of his wealth, covetous to the degree of theft. Stephen entered his building, eager to get to his office, the place Click here to read the rest of this story (61 more lines)
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