Short Story Saturday: The Inevitable

Short Story Saturday: The Inevitable - Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels
Photo by lalesh aldarwish from Pexels

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled The Inevitable. Please enjoy.

It was late, much later than you’d expect a therapist’s office to be open. She was only there because she had lost track of time having spent much of the night going over a patient’s mental health records. The therapist didn’t even notice when the receptionist, the staff, and even the cleaning had finished their duties and departed. Her aspiration to help a troubled and potentially dangerous patient, for she believed she was the only one who could, had superseded all other desires. Succumbing to her innate benevolence would shortly prove to be a mistake.

Moments before the reason why would rear its ugly head, the man found himself there having entered unannounced. His presence startled her. She even didn’t hear the door open, or close for that matter. Naturally, he scared her. She threatened to call the police. He assured her he meant no harm and that he only wished to ask a single question. The woman looked into his eyes. She acquiesced.

Something about the man entranced her. All of her thoughts focused upon a singularity, to find out what was on his mind and the purpose of his impromptu visit well past office hours. She beseeched him to lie on the couch. He did as she instructed and she sat next to him with a pencil and notebook in hand. Then she asked what was on his mind.

All he had was a simple question. What can you do if you know something is inevitable, that bad things are going to happen to really good people, and there is nothing you can do to prevent it?

The therapist wanted to answer. She wanted to draw from her years of education, training, and life experiences to delve further into the matter. Her words, she felt, could alleviate his concerns. If only she could have told him that what he perceived as inevitable might not be so inevitable after all. She never had the chance.

As soon as the question escaped the man’s lips, the office door was thrust open with a thunderous bang. It caused the therapist to leap from her seat and the man to rise to a sitting position. Before the therapist had any chance to comprehend what was happening, the intruder aimed his pistol and fired two shots. One bullet plunged into her brain. The other went through her heart. She died almost instantly.

The intruder then stared at the man on the couch. He pointed his gun at him and their eyes met. The man shook his head. Tears formed in the intruder’s eyes as he turned the weapon towards himself. He looked at the man once more. The man shook his head one last time.

The intruder lowered his weapon. While choking back tears, he turned and wordlessly ran out the door.

The man rose to his feet, grabbed the woman’s hand, and walked away.

The man found himself walking along a bridge. It was early in the morning. The sun had yet to rise. There he met the jumper who at that time was clutching a railing while he leaned over the side. The man tried to talk sense into him. Life was short enough as it was. Why end it early?

The jumper explained that he had just gotten back from the coroner’s office to identify the body of his murdered wife. She was working late alone in her office. The intruder entered unannounced and shot her twice. He was still at large. They believed him to be a deranged mental patient.

He then added that it didn’t matter what the man told him. He was going to jump. It was inevitable.

Nonsense, such a thing is not inevitable, the man said. The man begged him to reconsider. As long as you are alive, there is hope, he pleaded.

The jumper disagreed. He explained that his wife was his hope.

In one swift motion, the jumper threw himself onto the rocks and rapids below. It wasn’t a long fall, relatively speaking, but it did the job. It helped that the jumper landed face-first. His neck was completely shattered. The rest of him was broken and bruised. After a few short breaths, the jumper was gone. The man sighed.

He walked over to where the jumper’s body had washed ashore. He grabbed his hand and walked away.

The man found himself sitting at a kitchen table with an elderly lady at sunrise. She placed a cup of tea in front of him.

“Most things aren’t inevitable,” the woman said as she shakily poured a cup of tea for herself. “Take old age, for example. It’s not something everyone will get to experience. The sands of an hourglass often run out long before they should.”

“There are some things that are beyond an individual’s capacity to prevent,” the man countered. “Those things can be called inevitable.”

“True, but you shouldn’t worry about things you can’t control.”

The man stared blankly for a moment. “There’s something I must tell you. There has been a-” He was interrupted by the ringing of the telephone hanging on her wall, a relic in this modern age.

“I’m sorry, dearie, I must answer this call.”

“No, wait, I have-”

“It’s okay. I’m sure you can tell me later.” The elderly woman rose, picked up the phone, and answered sweetly. “Hello?” The man could only watch in horror helpless to prevent what he knew was to occur. The elderly woman turned from a healthy peach to a sickly white as she listened to the police officer on the other end of the line. “Oh my God, no! No, this can’t be! You must be joking!” The elderly woman dropped the phone. It fell before dangling lifelessly on the cord.

“What happened?” the man asked already knowing the answer.

“My daughter, she’s,” the woman began to sob, “And her husband too. They both are…” Her voice suddenly trailed as she began to feel a series of heart palpitations. It was followed by a shortness of breath, chest discomfort, and pains in the area between the left shoulder blades and arm as well as the upper abdomen. Her skin went clammy as she went into a cold sweat. She attempted to gasp for help as she crumbled onto the floor.

The man wanted to help her. He wanted to perform chest compressions or call an ambulance or do something, anything to help her in any way. There was literally nothing he could do.

He was forced to sit there and stare as the woman breathed her last. After the inevitable occurred, the man rose from his seat. He grabbed the elderly woman’s hand and walked away.

If you enjoyed this story, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading more by pressing the “short story” tag below or clicking this(short story) link or this(genre and tags) link or this(story list) link. I would also urge you to share this story with others and comment below. Please check out my books page as well by pressing here. Thank you for reading my story.


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