Category Archives: Storytime

Afterwards, Part 17: The Series Finale

By ANDREW FLYNN, Storyteller

***

»Previously, on Afterwards.

***

Levi slowly walked down a badly-lit road that was a few neighborhoods away from where Dale’s grenade had ended up psychotic instance of more death and destruction. In the span of a couple of days, he had reunited with members of his immediate family only to lose them again. This time around it was permanently. So he played these events out in his head as he wandered aimlessly in and out of his own head.

Just short of four in the morning, Levi realized that he wasn’t really that tired. This fact was pretty superhuman of him considering that he had driven nearly the whole day, been in two near-assassinations, a vehicle explosion, and was witness to the single-largest terrorist attack in the country’s history. It was, at the end of it, the endorphins that kept him wide awake. And they raced around his head and inside of his body at a rate faster than the speed of light. Or so it seemed like anyways.

He whipped out his cell phone and dialed for a cab. In the matter of ten minutes, the taxi arrived and Levi was off into the night.

Considering all that had happened today, Levi had to go to the once place that he may feel somewhat safe. The cab he hired quickly pulled into Memorial Hospital, the only full-service medical center in all of Blue Springs.

Looking as disheveled as entirely possible, Levi sidled up to the Nurses’ station just by the Admissions desk. A attractive woman in her late forties gazed up from her work ledger with her eyes popping.

“Holy shit, are you okay, Sir?” asked the surprised nurse.

“Oh yeah, I’m fine, thank you,” Levi assured. “But I’m looking to see if you have someone that came through here.”

“Okay, sure. Name?”

“Kravitz. Stephanie Kravitz.”

Instantly, the nurse’s eyes began to tear up. She stood up from her station and walked around her desk with her arms extended.

“Oh my God, you must be her brother.”

Levi accepted the outstretched arms of the stranger. The two held each other for five seconds, and Levi released first.

“I am. Please tell me that I can see her.”

The nurse looked at him once more, and then went to grab her office phone’s handset.

“Of course, I’ll call the attending doctor over.”

Levi turned away from the nurse, and muttered a soft thank you.

In the matter of a moment, a tall, thin doctor came down the corridor of the hospital. He signaled over to Levi to meet him at the entrance of another one of the hospital’s wings. Levi moved quickly to join the pace of the lanky doctor who would bring him into the guts of the hospital.

“Mr. Kravitz, I’m happy to show you where your sister is.”

“I imagine that we’re walking to the morgue in this place?”

The doctor was straightforward with Levi, “Yes, it’s just down the hall here and around the corner.”

The two walked in near-unison with not another word between them. In the span of two short minute ticks of Levi’s watch, he found himself in the morgue with the doctor. They stood in front of a table that was covered in two different types of sheets.

“If you want to take a few minutes, I’ll just be over there,” the doctor said, pointing to a computer desk in the nearby corner of the morgue.

“Sure, Doc. Thank you,” Levi said.

The doctor was then careful to remove the two sheets only to neck-height, revealing a pale, yet serene-looking Stephanie. All of the color had drained from her face, but there was a certain alabaster innocence that displayed on her earthly remains.

Levi broke down and collapsed to his knees at the sight of his deceased sister. At this, the doctor steadfastly removed himself from the scene.

There was nothing that Levi could say to anyone. He cried uncontrollably, sobbing loudly so much that it echoed and reverberated about the dank, cold morgue that surrounded him. Tears were shed, as he ran his hands all over his face and head in the purest display of anguish. All that he left were memories. Levi now realized that he was the only one of his entire family left.

The doctor reappeared from his desk, and began to coax Levi away from her body.

“Mr. Kravitz, I’ll take you out of here now,” the doctor said, carefully taking Levi’s forearm in order to turn him away from Stephanie’s corpse.

“If you think it’s best, Doc,” Levi lamented.

The doctor eventually got Levi out of the morgue and slowed his pace so that the two men could have a word face-to-face and without movement. As they stopped walking, the doctor got Levi’s awareness by giving him stern eye contact while having his arms folded securely at his waist.

“Now, Mr. Kravitz, I want to first give you my condolences for your loss. Please know that everyone here will do everything they can to help you through this process.”

“I appreciate that, Doc,” Levi said, turning his red eyes to the tiled floor of the hospital.

“But in all of this, you’re going to go through a lot of things, some which you may not be ready for.”

“It’s death, Doc. There’s been nothing but death all around me these last few years. I’m a cop, I see it every day. And now with this…my Dad, my sister, Chicago, my Mom a few years ago, countless homicides back home with NYPD, it’s death and I should really learn to get used to it, but it’s still death and I don’t know when I’ll get used to it!”

The doctor chose to let Levi rant, as it was the only way Levi had to express himself at the moment.

“Death is pervasive, Mr. Kravitz. Seems like it’s everywhere. But you have to also know that life is around you too. You have yourself to take care of amongst all of this. And you should also know that you now have a niece.”

Levi jolted his head back up to meet the doctor’s words. He wanted to see them come out of his mouth for himself and not just hear them.

Levi shot back, “A what?!”

The doctor gleaned a small smile back to Levi.

“A niece,” the doctor stated. “You have a healthy baby niece. Only twenty-four weeks, very premature, but she’s alive and she’s in our N.I.C.U. right now.”

“A niece?” asked a bewildered Levi. “Stephanie was preg, no, no, she couldn’t have been! She was pregnant?”

“She was, and even though she passed almost immediately after she received her wounds from the bullets, the baby wasn’t harmed at all, and we delivered her shortly after Stephanie arrived here.”
“Doc, you’ve got to be kidding me here.”

“Come with me, Mr. Kravitz, I’ll show you.”

Almost in unison once again, Levi and the doctor walked very fast down a few twisty hallways in the hospital. There was disbelief all over Levi’s face, but the doctor reassured him many times what the reality of the situation was.

Upon entering double-doors of Memorial Hospital’s N.I.C.U., there were four different stations where premature infants were being attended to. The doctor guided Levi over to the farthest one. The pink-hued nameplate read, “Baby Kravitz”.

The infant inside the tiny incubator weighed only three pounds and five ounces. Such a helpless-looking life form, it resembled an actual baby only by a little. Levi stood with the doctor for a few moments, just gazing down at the little face, the little fingers, the little toes. All very little, all impossible considering the events of the past few days. But all very real.

“I’ll leave you for awhile, Mr. Kravitz,” the doctor explained. “There are nurses here to help you right now, in case you have any questions.”

“Oh. Okay,” Levi said.

“Talk to her, she’s your niece. She wants to hear your voice.”

The doctor left Levi to her. All Levi could do was be honest, and he began the pour out what remains of his heart that he had leftover from the last few days.

“Hi, Baby. I’m…your…I’m your Uncle. All of this is so new, and so sudden. But it looks like it’s me and you in this world. So much has happened. So much that I’ll tell you about one day. One day when you’re bigger and can understand how crazy this world you’re now in really is. The world that we’re in. Together. I will take care of you, and I’ll be the one constant in your life, regardless of what happens. There’s…so many things I don’t understand right now. Maybe one day we’ll figure them out together.”

###

Thank you for reading Afterwards! It was an absolute pleasure to have you in the audience!!
Relive it: »1  »2  »3  »4  »5  »6  »7  »8  »9  »10  »11  »12  »13  »14  »15  »16  »17

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Afterwards, Part 16: Penultimate Edition

By ANDREW FLYNN, Storyteller

***

»Previously, on Afterwards.

***

The Vice President glanced at his watch in surprise. He had a hard time believing it was already eleven in the morning. But considering that he was quite underslept and that he’d just come out from a very intense meeting with Jeff Snares, it was only momentarily shocking. He sat back comfortably in the back of his limousine when his satellite phone rang. Only one person had that number.

“Yes, Mr. President?” the Vice President answered.

“I’d like to get your thoughts on something right now,” said the President of the United States.

Somewhat relieved, the Vice President’s blood pressure dropped a good fifteen percent right away.

“Of course, Sir, how can I be of assistance to you?”

“Oh, not on the phone. Come to the Oval. And be here in fifteen minutes.”

“What’s this about, Mr. President?”

There was a beat of silence between the two men before the President responded.

“I think you have an idea. See you in a bit.”

The line went dead, and the Vice President set his satellite phone down on the plush leather seat next to him. A few hundred thoughts raced through his head. Some of those thoughts included a loaded .357 in the limo’s armory, which was in close proximity to where he was at the moment.

Pondering all of these possibilities for a moment, the Vice President pressed a button on the panel to his right, lowering the separation window between the driver of the limo and him.

“To the White House, pronto,” he directed.

***

Twenty minutes later, the Vice President stood directly outside one of the many doors that led into the most prestigious room in all of the civilized world. He took a few seconds, straightened the fit on his suit jacket, and fumbled with the lower button. For whatever reason, he made sure it was secure just like the one above. He reached over to the knob of the door and went in.

The President of the United States sat at his desk. He could have appeared to be many things at the precise moment that his number two walked into the Oval Office, but busy was not one of them. Instead, he just leaned forward with his hands folded on top of each other and greeted his subordinate with direct eye contact.

“You know, you’re not supposed to button the lower one too,” the President said.

The Vice President stared at his boss for just a quick second, and then began to fumble about his jacket again, just like before his entrance.

“Yep, yeah, I know, Sir…it’s, ah, well, it’s been a   rough–,” he stammered.

“So let’s just cut the horseshit and get right to it,” interrupted the President.

“Get to what, Mr. President?”

The President unfolded his hands and stood up from behind his massive desk.

“Sit down, and shut your mouth. And you have two seconds to do both.”

The Vice President immediately sat down on one of the two large couches that were laid perpendicular to the President’s desk, awaiting further instruction.

As the President began speaking, he sauntered over to where the Vice President was now stationed.

“We’ve really been through an awful lot the past half-decade. Together. And it’s really meant the world to me that you’ve been my V.P. since we got here back a good thirty-or-so months ago. I won’t go any further right now besides to tell you that I’ve made a crucial decision, and I wanted you to be the first to know, before everything got out of hand.”

“Mr. President, of course I’m a lost cause here, but–,” the Vice President began to say.

The President went on as if his compatriot didn’t open his mouth.

“I’m choosing a different candidate to join me on the ticket for re-election next year,” the President explained.

The Vice President was stunned. This was close to the very last thing that he expected his superior to tell him. And so a good moment of tension-filled nothingness separated this bomb from the next thing either of them said.

“You’re doing what now?” he asked, non-plussed.

“Replacing you. There just isn’t any way to keep you on the ticket and continue this administration for another four years. We have to evolve this thing so that our ideology and our way of doing things remains the standard for practice. So I’ve chosen someone else in my mind already, and I will stand by this hard decision that I’ve made.”

“Mr. President, I will be honest with you,” he said. “I am not at all prepared to let someone else be in my office yet.”

“Of course you’re not prepared. That’s why I’m telling you now, here in the Summer, a whole year before we even go to the national convention. Trying to give you somewhat of a cushion so that you can assist me in preparing whom I’ve chosen.”

“I have to ask, Mr. President, that of all the days to decide this, why would you do it today?”

“Why, because this is the day that we detonate the nuke in Chicago?”

The Vice President was even more thrown back. Still remaining on the couch, he had no words more to converse with. He now became catatonic.

“Oh, you didn’t think I was a part of this at all? Do you really think that after everything that has happened in this country in the past hundred years, and while I’m in the position that I’m now in and have been since my acceptance speech in Grant Park on that night in November three years ago, that I’d really not be a part of this at all?”

Nothing from the V.P. Still speechless.

“Well then, I simply do not know what to tell you. Other than you’re as stupid as you look. Now get out of my office, I’m going to have to go on television in a couple of hours and tell the fucking American public that their world isn’t ending. Go.”

The Vice President stood up without delay and walk towards the door from which he entered. But right before he reached for the handle of the Oval Office door, he turned and mustered up a question for his soon-to-be-former-employer.

“Sir, I have to ask, whom have you chosen to replace me?”

The President had a scholarly pretention about his face, looking somewhat offended that the Vice President even asked it in the first place.

“Jeff Snares, dammit.”

###

Tomorrow is the final chapter of Afterwards! Be here!!
Peruse the archives NOW: »1  »2  »3  »4  »5  »6  »7  »8  »9  »10  »11  »12  »13  »14  »15

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: