“The Joy of Dark” a Halloween Story

The nurse left work at five o’clock. Not the tall slender woman, dressed in her perfect white uniform, with blue eyes and a flawless minty smile. The nurse getting off at 5 A.M. was Bill, William H. Wellington to be exact. A large fellow with too much forehead and not enough chin. Bill sported a shaving blind spot that cultivated a patch of knurled whiskers to the left of his nose. Five A.M. placed Bill at the zombie end of a twelve-hour shift in a low-income area serving hospital.

Bill sees suffering and even death on an hourly basis. He sometime wondered about the afterlife but was most curious about the transition from life to death. One of his beds contained a suffering old woman; she was lingering and Bill was sure she would still be hanging on when he returned for his next graveyard shift. Normally when elderly loved ones near death grand kids, old friends and even faithful pets make the journey to pay their respects. Priest and Elders are supplied to anoint with oil and bless the soul. She had no one. As much as possible he tried to reach out and comfort her. She once asked with an breathless voice;” Nurse Bill, Will I see light?”

Bill didn’t know the answer; He wasn’t sure about the light. In fact, it didn’t sit well with him. It’s no wonder when you think about it. Bill was always under bright seemingly heavy lights. When he left for work, it was day; he would then spend the next twelve hours shuffling about under a buzz of relentless florescent tubes. When his shift was over, day light greeted him at the door.

This one morning Bill mad it home late and was thirsting for sleep. He readied for bed while his companion was reading. He crumbled into bed beside her. The one bedroom window is plastered with aluminum foil and the door shut in an effort to combat the light. The only thing keeping him from the dark he so craved was the reading light. Bill laid there thinking of the dying old woman and the dark. His wife snapped the book closed then clicked off the light on her way out for the day.

The light out, comfort rushed over him. He loved the dark and began to list its virtues in his mind. “Life”; he reasoned is conceived in the dark, our organs and bowels formed in darkness, and our first measure of conciseness realized in the dark. Naturally, when we die he deduced, we must pass through darkness.

Sleep teased him throughout his night and at his morning; Bill sat up in bed. A scrapbook of dreams seamed to slide down in his chest. He blinked, rubbed his eyes; and began piecing the disjointed bits of his dreams together. Bill dreamt he carried the old woman from the hospital down the hall to a roomful of therapeutic pools; gently he slipped her into the warm still water, the room dark. She was peaceful. He pressed on her frail shoulders and without a whimper, she rolled over face down. Her twiggy arms floated to the surface.

He suddenly realized what he had to do. Today Bill would murder an old woman.

Bill arrived for work to find the police coming out the main entrance of the hospital. He approached the door and as he entered, the cops were escorting out a tall blond woman.  It was the nurse; the one with the pressed white skirt. The nurse who always had perfect breath and a dazzling smile. Her hands shackled, they passed in the threshold. She lifted her head while turning towards Bill and flashed him her flawless smile then her head dropped and she was zipped away.

Bill followed the trail of commotion to the therapeutic pools. The lights were dim. Bill stared through the tinted glass from the adjoining office. The old woman was face down, dead in a pool. Her hair suspended in the water like a patch of silver seaweed… Bills eyes refocus and he could see his own face in the glass…

William smiled…

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