The End

By Jerry A.G. Ericsson

The pain was exquisite, even the morphine could no longer keep it from entering his brain.His bones were being destroyed by the very weight of his body.The cancer that began well below his belt line now attacked the very structure of his body, his bones.Last week it was his arm that broke when he attempted to lift the weight of the coffee pot that Jane left on his bedside table.This week his spine began deteriorating.His doctor fitted him with a neck brace because the vertebrate in his neck shattered when he turned his head to speak with his daughter Julie.

Leroy reached up and increased the drip rate on his morphine drip, the increase in the flow of the drug into his vein gave him a rush he would have enjoyed not so many years ago, now it simply gave some relief, perhaps a chance for him to get some much needed sleep.

In the hall Jane retrieved her jacket from the closet, and stopped for just a few seconds to insure that her hair looked just right, her makeup was applied the way Robert liked it.She couldnít wait until the cancer did its job and she was free of Leroy.Her marriage began as a joke, and quickly turned into a tragedy, when she found herself forced to care for her invalid husband.She hated every second of it.Changing his dirty diaper made her cringe, she would have left him had the cancer not evolved so quickly.

Jane left the house and headed uptown to the Hub bar, where Robert waited.She couldnít wait for the change in pace, she needed the relief that alcohol brought her, she needed to feel Robertís strong arms hold her close, she needed to hear his declaration of love, even though she knew deep in her heart that it was a lie.

Leroy slept for a few minutes, those minutes were minutes of freedom form the pain, minutes when he could again walk through the forest, feel the wind in his face, enjoy the aroma of the dogwood, the fresh smell of the wind as if flowed off Lake Louise.Beside him in his dreams walked Duke, his favorite hunting dog, the one that Jane had put to sleep so she wouldnít have to feed and care for.Together they walked, his shotgun carried at his side, not really even looking for the elusive grouse that hid in the underbrush.Then the pain hit him again, and he was awake.He felt at his side with his good left hand for the buzzer that was clipped to his sheet.There it was, slowly so he didnít break a finger, he picked it up, and pushed on the button.He needed to be turned; his muscles were in spasm, a condition brought on by the drugs that kept him alive.He waited, but no one heard, no one came.A few minutes later, he pushed the button again, perhaps, he though, Jane was in the bathroom, or maybe outside having a cigarette.Again his bell went unanswered.He grabbed at the rail that kept him from falling from the bed, and pulled with all his might.The bone in his left arm snapped like the twigs that he used to step on in the woods on his fathers farm.The pain was overwhelming.He fell back in his bed, gasping for breath from the exertion, and the pain.Slowly now supporting his left arm with the cast that encased his right, he reached for the IV control that fed the morphine into his withered body, he opened it wide open, and within a half hour, his pain was over. His last waking thought was that Jane would be so relieved when she came home.