This is the second instalment of my new part work, and this week it encompasses the prompt from (Friday) Fiction.
To read part one, please click HERE
Mitch slapped his hand on the light switch. He frantically flicked the lever up and down. On, off, click click click click. Nothing. ‘Light damn you’ he yelled.
Suddenly the clock fell silent and the bulbs in the chandelier flickered and flashed into life. But it wasn’t the normal comfortable glow. It was as if he was a prisoner held under the piercing glare of an interrogators lamp. It was so intense that he felt an excruciating pain in his head; it was as if his eyeballs were about to burst. He grabbed a cushion from the couch and pressed it against his face then felt his way back along the wall to the switch. Click click click. He could still see the light through the puffy cushion and the heat from the fire was burning the backs of his bandaged hands. But they wouldn’t turn off. Click click click. Nothing. Then a second or two later there was a series of loud pops and when he dropped the cushion to the floor the only light he saw was that from the roaring fire which seemed to be laughing in his face.
Tick tock tick tock mocked the mantle clock as it came back to life. Its hands sat at ten minutes to two as if it was grinning at him. And then the chiming started once again getting louder and more piercing with each strike.
There are times in everyone’s life when you just know that the action you are about to take is the wrong one. Mitch knew that the chimney stack from this monstrous fireplace ran up through the house and was crucial to its stability. He sensed that the fireplace knew this too as it seemed to laugh in his burning blistering face. But sometimes rationality and reason ebb away and emotion and rage take their place.
He rushed out the back door and ran to the tool shed. The cold night air stung his face and hands but he hardly noticed. The door was locked. The key, the key – where was it. There was normally a spare hidden under a flagstone, the one over there to the left. He tore the stone from the ground splitting his finger nails in the process. Where was it? ‘Where are you for Christ’s sake’ he screamed. He burrowed at the cold earth like a frantic rabbit, but it was no good, it wasn’t there.
He got up to his feet. He was steadier now. What was going on around him had dispelled the effects of the alcohol, and he was totally focussed on the task he knew he had to perform. He kicked and thumped the shed door. Bit by bit it splintered and buckled then eventually it ceased resisting and flew backwards crashing onto the floor inside.
Where were they? He threw spanners and hammers into the air. ‘Where are you?’ he screeched. Then he found them. He’d bought them years ago. His wife had laughed at him. ‘What do you want with a lumberjack’s axe and that enormous pneumatic drill?’ she’s asked.
‘They were a bargain’ he joked ‘who knows, they may come in useful one day’. And he reminded her about it a year or so later when one day she decided she wanted the concrete patio dug up.
But right now he wasn’t joking. He rushed into the lounge, dropped the drill onto the floor so he could use one hand to shield his eyes from the dancing flames which licked the back of the fireplace. He knew what had to be done and damn the consequences. He screwed up his eyes, clasped the axe in both hands and began to swing it round and round then slammed it into the mantel piece. He heard the clock crash to the floor. There it laid defiantly going tick tock tick tock, louder and louder and louder.
Mitch swung the axe again and down fell the mantel piece shattering into pieces on the hearth. He opened his eyes. The flames didn’t seem so bright now. He suddenly felt in charge of the situation. Time for the pneumatic drill.
He managed to shove the plug into the power socket and with a squeeze of the trigger it roared into life. He began pushing and twisting the drill which rat-a-tatted against the fireplace until it started to break up and collapse. Then he turned his anger on the wall above. He was aware of the danger in his actions but right now it seemed not to matter. He thumped and pressed the head of the drill against the wall until he felt the massive concrete lintel crack. The job was done.
The burning logs began to hiss and scream like frightened animals and the flames shot outwards as if trying to escape. The wall was slowly moving downwards. A spider’s web of cracks in the plaster darted in every direction. The ceiling started creeping lower and lower in a series of groaning jerks.
He rushed out into the street and watched as the once proud chimney stack began to descend inch by inch into the roof. He laughed out loud and watched as the tiles sprung off in every direction as the roof began to buckle.
There was still time to rush back inside and have one last look at the dying remains of the fireplace which had taunted him all these years. Tick tock tick tock went the clock under the rubble. Tick tock tick tock TICK TOCK........