Sixteen Sunsets, Part 4


Kristof slept and memories overwhelmed him. He remembered a defining moment in his young life:

He recalled words spoken by his father the night before. “Ten year olds don’t wet the bed, Kristof.”

“I know daddy.” He responded. “One more glass?”

Kristof’s father sighed. “I don’t think so, Son.” He smoothed the blanket covering Kristof. “Go to sleep. Tomorrow brings another sunrise.”

Kristof smiled and closed his eyes. He could hear his father walk to the bedroom door and flip the light switch.

“Good night, Daddy.”

Kristof’s father paused at the door and sighed. “Go to sleep, Kristof.” He replied before closing the bedroom door.

Kristof counted to one hundred before he opened his eyes and retrieved his favorite comic book and a flashlight. Throwing the blanket over his head he read the comic book over and over until he fell asleep.

* * *

Kristof woke and discovered he had wet the bed. He slapped his flashlight, but got no beam of light. He undressed in the dark and put on a clean pair of underwear. He knew his mother would be cross if he didn’t take care of the soiled pajamas. The laundry room was in the basement and Kristof peered down the dark staircase. He knew he had another set of stairs to descend before he got to the laundry room.

He made it down four steps before the darkness compelled him to return to the second floor. His eyes were moist as he sat at the top of the stairs, his soiled pajamas in a pile beside him.

“Are you my brave boy?” Kristof remembered his mother saying that when he refused to climb a slide ladder at the park. Aloud, he said, “I am a brave boy.”

He picked up the pajamas and descended the stairs to the first floor. He opened the door to the basement and prepared himself to overcome another dark staircase.

A shiver rocked his body and he saw goose bumps on his arms. He tossed the soiled pajamas down the stairs and ran back up the stairs to the second floor. His bed was still soiled so he ran to his parents’ room and the warmth of their bed.

He crept to his mother’s side of the bed and pulled on her arm dangling off the bed.

“Momma?” He whispered.

No response from his mother, so he tugged and called out again.

“Damn it, Nadine. Answer him.” Kristof’s father rolled over to scold his wife and his son. When she didn’t respond again, Kristof’s father shook the still form of his wife.


Kristof held his mother’s hand and knew something was wrong.

“Kristof!” His father yelled, “Get me the phone!”

Kristof stood, pulling on his mother’s lifeless arm. “Mommy?” He repeated over and over, the tears flowing freely now. He heard his father talking on the phone in the hallway.

“She’s cold to the touch and has no pulse.” He placed his hand over the receiver. “Kristof! Come out here.”

When Kristof failed to heed his direction, he yanked his ten-year-old son by the shoulder away from his mother. “Wait in the living room. The paramedics are on their way.”

On the first floor Kristof sat in a darkened living room and stared out the front windows until red and blue reflected off the walls and glass.

* * *

“Wake up!”

Someone shaking him roused Kristof from his vivid dream. “What?” He stuttered. He opened his eyes to see Krystal, arm in a sling. “How long have I been asleep?”

Krystal looked at a wall clock. “Like, four hours. Come on, I want some lunch. And…” She held Kristof’s hand. “we need to talk.”

16Sunsets – The Enemy Rule

[616 words]

[UPDATE 05OCT2015] I’ve had to password protect the rest of the story to comply with the Kindle Scout eligibility guidelines.

About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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