SNOW FALL, A short story by FD Gross
And here is a short story I wrote awhile ago, back in my college days. I hope you enjoy its dark tendencies. I also did a live reading of this story back at the Gothic Brilliance event. So if you'd like to listen to the audio version, click on the video.
Written by F. D. Gross
The snowfalls today much like it has for the past few months. It is a beautiful day, full of endless white. I see the kids outside, playing in the three-foot banks of snow, throwing snowballs at each other, dodging behind snowmen. I watch them through the kitchen window full of jealousy. I wish I was out there, feeling the biting cold, the wetness of a snowball as it impacts my face.
But I can’t.
I am confined to the house, destined to carry this baby radio, listening to the horrid beep that sounds every few seconds. My mother is away at work, just like every day, so I have to stay inside. It is I who tends to my dying grandmother. This morning, I asked my mother if she could hire someone instead, so I could go build my snowman. She said no and that we are family, and families take care of one another.
The steady beeps bring me back to the present. I hold the intercom up to my ear. There it is, the rasping of my grandmother, the heart monitor in the background, the sound of life clinging onto what little substance it has left. If I had friends, I would make them listen to it and be entertained by their reactions.
I fantasize about what it would be like to have friends again, to talk and laugh and play and throw snowballs. So enticing. But now, it is time to check on grandmother.
The stairwell to her room is cold. My hand touches the rail as I ascend the steps. It too is cold. My body shivers, but not from physical elements around me. I shiver with anticipation. I feel the door handle within my grasp, it stings my hand as I turn the knob. Metal holds the cold so well. It reminds me of me, numb to all things. Immune to all things. I enter the room and like always, the stale air overwhelms me. The living dead resides here.
I look at my grandmother laying there, helpless, useless. Tubes travel from so many orifices of her body; I lose track of them all. She is staring off into another dimension. The way her glazed eyes reflect what I see as a plea for salvation. “But what about my salvation?” I say out loud to her.
Nothing. No response. I nod my head in understanding. Slowly, I make my way over to the life support machines. Oxygen, fluids, bladder, stool; yes, all lights are green. The machine says she’s alive, but I know the truth.
I look out the bedroom window. Icicle’s hang from the top of the awning, sharp and cold. I wonder how much weight it would take before they break from their frozen foundations. At the same time, I put all of my weight on the plastic tube that runs across the floor from grandmother's mouth to the oxygen tank. I wonder if the weight is enough.
My question is answered from the continuous buzzing of the heart monitor. The flat line is loud. How different it sounds compared to the relentless three second chirps. The oxygen tank hisses, the gas continues to dispense. I walk over to the window and look to see if the neighborhood kids are still throwing snowballs.
A smile comes to my face.
The intercom drops from my hand and I pick up the cordless phone on the nearby dresser. I dial.
Honey? Is something the matter?
Yes—I think Grandma is dead.
I hear the stress in my mother’s voice. Oh God—I’ll be home as soon as I can!
The smile never fades from my lips as I hang up the phone. There’s still an hour to play before she gets home.