Revisiting Covenant


The rewrite.

Authors Note: Covenant was born one Sunday morning as I was reading the paper, while mentally searching for the next story idea in my 26 story challenge. I came across a report about a murder and attempted suicide of an older couple in their eighties, that happened on the east side of my small town. Details revealed the wife was suffering from end stage Alzheimer Disease, and her husband was trying to end her suffering. That of course set the gears into motion and the first thought to emerge centered around that certain stubbornest to being married to the same person for more than fifty years. 

A union like this transcended love. 

When you toss in a healthy dose of Alzheimer disease, dementia, and the assorted other demons that tend to rear their ugly little heads, you've got a tragedy in the making. Suddenly the woman, or man, you've spent your entire life with, is no longer there. A stranger has taken their place as you struggle to come to grips with this new reality. If you've witnessed this first hand, and discover later in your own life that you are likely to come down with the disease, what would you do?

What if the woman, or man, you love turns to you as their last resort in such a situation? Would you be able to do as they ask?

Archie faces that very situation, he made a promise to his wife after they buried her mother, a pact, a covenant, to not let her suffer the same fate.

Most of the rewrite consisted, as it usually does, in cleaning up my sentence structure to excise as much of the passive voice as I could. To tighten things up while discarding much of the needless stuff.

Upon completion of the first draft I realized what the story was trying to say and knew I had to set the scene. In the first rewrite I added the following passage.

She watched him from the pillows under her head, her once vibrant red hair now the color of the sheets she lay on, her faced lined with age, eyes that once sparkled with a mischievous light now watched him with guarded mistrust as he moved around the foot of her bed, and crossed to the window.
“You promised,” she said, her eyes darting back and forth as she searched for her words.
He was taken back by the comment, it was so out of place when compared to the way she had been acting lately. “I promised what, Sweetheart?” he said, choosing to ignore for the moment this turn of events. He didn’t want to get his hopes up that her condition was improving. The disappointment would be too much to bear.
Her eyes continued to dart back and forth, in search of words that were not forthcoming, her brow creased with concentration as she tried to capture the elusive tail of her comment. 
As the story is titled Covenant I felt it necessary to make an early reference to the promise Archie made to her the day her mother was buried. 

For me, the restored phone booth in the basement as well as the assorted advertisements, represent a link that connects Archie with the past. It is this link that will provide the conduit into Pat's mind where he will be reminded of his promise. I used the bar as a refuge from the storm that was her disease constantly churning beyond the walls.

In the end he comes to realize what he must do.

On the churning clouds around them flickered the scenes from their past together. Fading in and out of focus as the clouds beneath the images churned. He saw the day they met, he just a clumsy kid too big for his own good. She, as she had always been, quite and demur. Self assured where he was still coming into his own. He saw it all laid out before him, the billowing depths of the clouds serving as a living screen as those moments replayed themselves in brief flashes of light. He saw her walking down the aisle in the little church where they were wed a week before he shipped out to Vietnam. He saw the birth of their boys. Birthdays, anniversaries, and summer vacations stretching out into eternity. As he watched the scenes playing out he came to understand something that at first glance was beyond belief.
He looked from the clouds to his wife, and back again as the realization filtered through his thoughts. He was in her mind, experiencing first hand the loss of self she’d so far endured. His heart was broken when he realized the truth of what he had to do. 
And so the story ends with a replay of the opening sequence with one exception. The addition of a pistol on her tray.
Next to the napkins lay his nine millimeter pistol. Dark and sinister, it’s muted color in sharp contrast to the white napkin. The difference between the two was like that between night and day, or life and death.  

You can read the edited story in its entirety at this link: Covenant

Keep in mind that when the story is released I will be truncating the story on my blog, and providing a link to where it can be purchased. I'd really appreciate it if you did buy one or two of my stories, they're only a buck a piece, less than a cup of coffee, and the sale will keep me motivated and turning out more stories. Thanks,

Two new titles, along with an idea for two of my upcoming stories has come to me. 

For the letter G we will visit the boys from my Dreadland Chronicles series, Meat, Window, Einstein, and Billie-Bob will come upon a strange compound in the short story G is for GOD IS DEAD. Don't know everything that's gonna happen yet, but I can see the opening scene is in my mind, so look for the first installment that should be coming Friday April 27, 2018. 

Don't forget the final installment of F is for Funghi, will be posted Friday April 20, 2018.

For the letter H I've come up with the idea of an opening to hell appearing in the Appalachian mountains where I currently live, keep your eyes open for H is for HILLBILLY HELLMOUTH coming soon.

As always if you've been enjoying what you've read why don't you stop by my one of my Author Pages listed below to check out my other work. 

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