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Simon’s Past

Simon's Past

Estimated reading time — 11 minutes

Time is almost up for Simon; he lies in his hospital bed waiting with each passing moment the same as the last. He shares a room with other elderly people, waiting for their number to be called. He is dying. The dull room has no form of entertainment, the TV is out of order and the radio only plays the same music from a local station, music that he did not like. If he hadn’t lost the use of his legs, he would have walked out of this place long ago and waited for death in the comfort of his own home.

There is no point making friends with any of the people here, some are gone, their brains given up on them long ago, the ones who are sane could be there one moment and gone the next, nurses closing the curtains around them before whizzing them away to the morgue. Luckily, Simon’s bed is near the window, he can see the tops of the trees from the local park next to the hospital. He wishes to feel the breeze again, being so close to the seaside Simon has many fond memories of the coastal path that’s scratched on the cliff’s edge, hearing the seagulls call whilst the waves roll onto the hidden beaches below. A nice little town to grow old.

“Tea or coffee?” the nurse asks taking Simon out of his daze. “Oh, uh coffee please.” The coffee was awful, the bitterness too strong for his liking, but he dares say this to the nurse, she has been kind, only on the job for a week, her whole life ahead of her whilst Simon’s was coming to its end. Simon has no family to come and visit him, his wife passed on about seven years ago and his son had died whilst on a motorbike trip across Europe, he had crashed it somewhere in the Alps when he was travelling down from Switzerland to Italy on the final stretch of his tour. There were no grandchildren for his son had not married and Simon had no siblings as well. Simon has lived the last five years alone, locked away in his home.

Nighttime comes to the hospital and most of the staff had gone home leaving behind a small member of night staff. Everyone in the room had been tucked away to sleep, lights turned off and the radio set to silence. Simon hates the nights in this place, for some reason, it is the most likely time for someone to die, this thought dawns on him, he would hate not to see the rising sun one last time, piercing its rays through the blinds of the window. As Simon drifts off to sleep, a gurgling sound spreads across the room, the elderly lady whose bed is opposite his is dying, she is much older than Simon, her skin thinned around her skeleton with veins poking through her flesh. The machine that is connected to her starts blaring an alarm, and an army of nurses come racing in trying to bring the elderly lady to some comfort. Simon’s view is disrupted by the green curtain being pulled; he is only left with the sounds of death. The gurgling gets louder as if the Grim Reapers’ bony hand is placed around her throat stopping her from breathing. This goes on for around two minutes before the silence re-enters the room. “Time of death 2:02,” says the male doctor. She is wheeled out of the room, never to be seen again.

Every time this happens, Simon sits in a cold sweat, feeling the breath of death coming closer.
The next morning, Simon stares at the empty bed. Fresh sheets and cleaned tables, as if the elderly lady had never been there. Ready to receive the next patient who is coming to their mortal end. The day is as usual as they come, breakfast is usually something small, jam on toast. Then comes the family visits which Simon passes by sleeping through, feeling the jealousy of being left alone. Come evening there is a bland dinner of supposed meat with some overly boiled vegetables, before long the night is here to take another. But this night something was not quite right. Simon has a visitor.

Simon wakes from his dreary sleep, the lights of the corridor are still on, but his room is in darkness. Visitor time was finished hours ago but for some reason there stands a man at the end of Simon’s bed, staring at him. He cannot see the man properly, his face is covered by the darkness of the room, but his presence did offer a putrid smell that lingers around Simon’s bed. “Who are you?” Simon asks alarmingly. The figure smiles, his needle-like teeth becoming visible and his eyes an unnatural red.

“Your time is almost up,” says the dark figure, his breath smelling like the rotting flesh of a corpse. “Who are you?” Simon repeats this time his voice a little jumpy. The figure walks a little closer, but no sounds of footsteps are heard, Simon presses the emergency button with his finger, calling for aid from the night staff. He taps the button furiously in a desperate plea to get this figure away.
The figure’s face is within kissing distance of Simon’s, the longing stare causes Simon to push deeper into his bed to try and get away.
“Your time is almost up.”

Two nurses come rushing in to find Simon lying in his bed, curled up into his pillow crying his eyes out, he tries to speak to the nurses, but his speech comes to nothing. They hush Simon, make sure he is comfortable and check the readings on the machine. “Get some sleep,” says the older nurse, placing her cream-smoothed hand on his. Almost perfectly on time, another victim of death takes place, the elderly gentleman next to me, his family were with him earlier that day, Simon had heard them say their goodbyes, it was as if they knew he had not much time.

Simon felt uncomfortable the next day, his nighttime visitor has certainly put a fright in him, proving to him that not all is explainable in this world. He ponders his thoughts, is there an afterlife after this existence? Though, Simon did not hear the voice of an angel looking down on him like the vicar of his old church used to say, the figure that visited him seems threatening and vulgar. Simon thought about his life events, if there is a hell, then that is where he will go once his soul leaves its fleshy cell.

The monotonous day passes by once again, but the unwelcoming night soon comes, Simon tries his best to stay awake, he thinks that it could have been a nightmare and if so, he doesn’t want another one. Sitting up in his bed he tries to concentrate on something to keep his mind at bay. He thinks of old songs that he has sung when he was younger, books that he has read and old memories of holidays and festive occasions. But then it starts again. His mind wouldn’t allow him to think of a single happy memory, instead his mind floods with times he wishes to forget, sad memories, horrible memories. The time he heard the news of the death of his son, the time he watched the final breaths of his beloved wife, the bankruptcy that had almost cost him his life. Simon clenches the bedding, feeling sadness and anger grow within. “Stop it!” Simon shouts, he closes his eyes and places his hands on the top of his head, “Stop it!” Simon smacks his head, trying to make the whirling of unwanted memories finish, to leave him in peace. Then, they do stop. A tear forms in his eye as it rolls down his cheek. He wipes his eye with the back of his hands, feeling a sense of relief. But the feeling of dread soon comes when he hears his name being called in a raspy voice.

Simon opens his eyes to see the dark figure once again, but this time he is not alone. Around him are young boys, heads facing the floor. “You have visitors,” says the voice of the figure. Almost simultaneously, the boys lift their heads to face Simon. Their skin is of rotting flesh and their eyes as black as coal. “Who are they?” Simon whimpers. “You don’t remember?” The voice turns deeper, “These are the boys who fell for your kindness, these are your victims.” Simon didn’t want to hear anymore, he screams.

“Enough, I say!” Simon yells at the top of his voice, the tall figure and the three boys come walking around the bed, again not a footstep heard. The strong stench of death grows, causing Simon to wrinkle and gag. All four figures stand over Simon as he lies stuck to his bed, in a split second all of them show an awful smile, razor-sharp, pin-like teeth, mouths stretching an unnatural length, the figures dive onto Simon, chomping down on his flesh, he feels the agony as his blood pumps through his veins pushing at their heads. As if like hungry dogs, their jaws are locked on.


The hospital staff come rushing in to see Simon once again in a cold sweat, his heart rate is through the roof and his breathing is heavy. Simon screams, waking the other patients who were fast asleep in their beds just moments ago. Once again, the staff try to calm him down. “Come on Simon, you need to sleep,” says the male doctor.
“I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to sleep!”
The next day, Simon can feel the pain in his arms and legs from where the figures had bit down on him, when he searches his skin for any wounds he can see no redness, no punctures, nothing. The same day passes again, almost as if Simon can predict exactly what was to happen next. He grew to like these uninteresting days. At least he’s safe, he is alive. The thought of death fears him more now. He believes something horrible is waiting for him on the other side.

Around four o’clock, it was the final hour of visiting time for the families. As he watches the people around the room, a young child wanders away and stands next to Simon. “Hello,” says Simon in a confused manner, “tonight’s the night you will die,” says the child in an emotionless way, with no expression on his face, just a blank stare. His parents came to pull him away, “sorry” says the mother. The child’s emotions come back to him, he has forgotten that he had spoken to Simon as he skips around the room and kisses his grandpa on the cheek.

At five o’clock, the families are escorted from the room.
Six o’clock, dinner is served, once again the same boring hospital food, vegetables and a bit of meat.
From seven to nine o’clock, the ones who are sane sit there bored, looking around the room as life goes on.
Around nine is time for bed, the time Simon has been dreading most.
The nurse comes around with a new drug for him to take, this was unusual as he has been on the same prescription for two weeks. “These will help you sleep,” says the young nurse. Simon puts up a fuss, “I will not be taking those!” he shouts, trying to knock the cup from her hand. They eventually do get the sleeping tablets into Simon, they are done with him waking up in the middle of the night screaming, it puts everyone on edge, especially the other patients. Simon can feel the drug take effect in his body almost instantly, he struggles to keep his eyes open as they grow heavier. His head nods uncontrollably. He is scared, he knows that death is coming for him tonight. He looks desperately around the room one last time, no one will help him now. 

Simon wakes up from his sleep, but not in the hospital bed. He wakes up in a field, somewhere in the heart of what he believes is England. The use of his legs has come back as for the first time in nearly a year, he can stand and walk once again. The field has no special features to it, a small collection of trees sit at the bottom and a structure sits in the next field over. The sky is a featureless grey. Something draws Simon towards the structure in the next field, memories start coming, and he feels like he recognises the place, but it still hasn’t come back to him. “How am I here?” Simon questions himself. “Have I died?” 
Upon reaching the structure, he can see that it is used for storage, he opens the door, a little heavy but manageable. Inside is a works bench, some tools and an old tractor that’s collecting dust. Nothing special. He feels the splintered wood of the table, something doesn’t feel right, something feels horrible. A feeling of dread. Seconds pass faster, the grey clouds turn a burnt orange as a figure in all black is seen standing in the centre of the field. Simon stands in the doorway, he stares at the figure for a moment, and he recognises him straight away, it is the figure who has visited him in the hospital.

The figure starts to walk towards Simon hastily, causing Simon to jump with fright, frantically closing the door to the shed, hoping it is enough to keep that strange man outside. The few moments of silence are interrupted by the bang of the door, then a second bang, soon followed by a third. “Go away!” screams Simon, who is now curling up on the floor, next to the works bench. “You cannot run away from your past this time, Simon.” The door unlocks itself and swings slightly open, letting in the orange glow. A pale hand comes from behind the door, nails unkept and gaping flesh turning an unhealthy brown. The figure pushes the door open and walks in, again not a footstep is heard. “Who are you?” Simon cries.


The figure stands over Simon and looks down, no pity on his face. “I am your past.” Simon didn’t understand what he meant by that. The three young boys who visited him in the hospital walk in one by one. Once again, their heads are bowed not looking in Simon’s direction. “I don’t know what you mean,” Simon pleas. “Oh, you must remember Simon, you must remember these boys.” Simon looks at them as their heads lift slowly. He still doesn’t know, his mind has faded over the years, and a slight case of memory loss has taken effect on him a year ago. He especially struggles with faces.
“Here stands Arthur Bently, Chris Penance and Tony Gibbon, three boys who you have killed,” says the raspy voice.

The names sounded familiar, names that Simon has not heard since his younger life. Fractions of his memories come back to him, “oh no,” Simon whispers. “You remember,” says the figure with a sinister smile. “That was such a long time ago, I am not that man anymore, I had found Christ, I asked for his forgiveness every day and night,” Simon couldn’t control himself, he spoke fast, pleading with the figure.
The figure laughs, “You have never paid for your crimes, you have gone unnoticed.”
This part is true, Simon has never faced any charge for murdering these boys, he hid the bodies so well, deep in the fields of unsuspecting farmers, far away from where the crime had taken place. This was also back in the fifties and sixties when forensic science wasn’t how it is in modern times.
“You tricked these boys, playing as an innocent man. They needed your help, they were lost on the country roads, and they trusted you,” the voice grew deeper and deeper.
“I am sorry,” Simon begs.
“You took them in your van and brought them here, you did unspeakable things to their innocence.” 
“I know, I know,” Simon cries.
“You got away with it in life, you had plenty of time to pay for your sins, but you cowardly did not, you lived a long life, that’s why we took away your wife and your son, so you can be alone.”
Simon cries more, crawling to the feet of the figure, begging with all his might to be spared, he is sorry for the crimes he had done.
The figure kicks Simon away with his feet.
“Now, you must pay for your sins in death.” The figure turns around and walks towards the door leaving the three boys standing over Simon, they start to breathe heavily, fingers twisting and turning in a terrifying manner, like dogs waiting for the order to bite. 
“You will now pay!” The voice turned to its deepest yet, letting off an almost echo. With that the doors to the outside close shut leaving Simon and the three boys in complete darkness, a snarl and a screech can be heard, three sets of eyes glowing red and a hyenas laugh coming from each of the children. Before Simon could have the chance to fend for himself, his legs lost their use once again, making him unable to move. The three eyes come closer before he feels the stinging pinch of puncturing teeth in his flesh. One by one they rip at it, tearing his flesh from his bone. Simon screams in agony, he is repenting to God, but God isn’t listening. While the flesh of his arms and legs are gone, they go for his stomach and head. The pain is too much, though Simon cannot faint, he must feel every bite. When his flesh is all gone, he is still alive, he is conscious. He feels his flesh growing back and goes through the same torment once again. Simon’s existence in the underworld is to be ripped apart again and again, a horrible pain for all eternity. 

His crime is being paid most brutally. 

Credit: Marcus Woolley


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