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Ok this one is edited and should be okay. Saving Jack

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Jack sat on his aging, brown, pleather couch, staring at the blackened screen across the room. With the television off, the small house was disturbingly silent. He didnt like the lack of noise, so Jack started drumming his fingers on the dented and faded armrest.


It wasnt enough. The normally relaxed high school teacher stood in the center of the dimly lit room and looked around, hoping for something to distract him from the overwhelming panic he knew was coming. Jack saw a chipped toy from his childhood and approached it. The little train fit in his palm, but he remembered when it seemed much bigger.


Jacks mind flew back to when he was just five years old. His little brother Dantong had just been born, but at what cost? Even as a toddler, Jack understood that Danny needed extra attention due to his birth defects, but the little boy missed spending time with his father.


One day, a few months after the baby was born, Jack and his father were sitting at the park feeding pigeons when the kind-hearted man pulled out what looked to Jack like the biggest toy train hed ever seen, and the child squealed in delight. His father gently explained to him the toy used to belong to Jacks grandfather before his family moved to England from China. Jack listened carefully, clutching his new toy, as the man went on to warn him never to mistreat the piece of family history lest it be removed from the little boys possession.


Jack looked down at the now tiny train in his hand, smiling softly at one of his fondest memories of his late father. He traced with his little finger the lightly tarnished silver detail running the length of the red locomotive before returning it to its stand on the mahogany bookshelf.


He sighed sadly and trudged to the kitchen, giving wide berth to the big black cabinet sealed with a large padlock. Today will not end in surrender, he thought vehemently. Opening his black refrigerator, Jack peered into the cooling box to see if there was anything small to eat as a distraction from his growing unrest.


Jack felt as though the room was closing in around him. He closed the refrigerator door, breathing more sharply than before. The man sat on the floor, legs splayed out before him, leaning on the black plastic door. He shook his head violently in an effort to snap himself out of the buzzing panic. Jack tried to get up, to leave and run to his safe place, to hide in his closet as he did as a child, but found himself paralyzed in fear.


The logical side on his brain kicked in. What am I afraid of, he reasoned. This is my house. I should know what everything is. I am in control of my situation. Control. Jacks mind began looping over itself. Control. Verb. To have command over a person or situation. To have say, to be the boss, to have superiority. To supersede previous rules and constraints. Etymology Latin and Anglo-French in origin. Synonyms include regulate, verify, balance.


Jack grabbed his head and squeezed, biting his lips to hold in his scream of frustration. He slammed his fists onto the floor and immediately cradled his now injured hands. The bones seemed alright after he massaged and palpated the sore areas. Sighing in reliefs, he sat back, resting his head against the refrigerator with eyes closed. I cant, he argued with himself, feeling the presence on the locked cabinet loom over him from across the room.


I cant let it control me, he pleaded with himself. I wont give in again. It only leads to more pain. Jacks nerve was fraying. He knew he had to leave soon if he was to successfully avoid the temptation of his padlocked secret.


Worn out, the man stood, pulling the counter to ease his assent. He found himself over the small drawer where he kept the spare keys hed mysteriously accrued over his lifetime. Unlike most, however, he knew exactly which doors his keys opened. Jack even knew the faces that went with his keys, and the amount of valuables missing from those many people. He picked up a small brass key and counted its ridges and valleys. Then he picked up a large handful and began to sort them by size and color, lining up the tips.


Slowly but surely, Jacks collection grew to the size of the counter and spilled over onto the island. He continued filling his hand with keys to sort until there was only one left. It was large and dark. He stared at the key, filled with apprehension. Jack knew exactly where this key led, and he didnt want to go there ever again.


To his horror, Jack watched his hand reach in and pick the old key up almost of its own accord. He felt his feet move, dragging him unwilling around the counter to the black cabinet. He closed his eyes, hoping to stumble and fall, but he knew his house intimately and frequently moved around in the dark. Blindly, his hands touched the painted surface. Jack kneeled, eyes squeezed tightly shut, tears falling onto his cheeks from the fear and stress as the key found its home and clicked.


Jack opened his eyes when the key did not turn. He peered at it. His hands were just touching the lock and key, but they were still. A glimmer of hope flashed through his thoughts. I can pull it out, he mused. I can put it away and leave, his mind told him. Alas, he did not remove the key, but just looked at it silently.


I can control myself. The thought echoed in Jacks head. He squinted slightly in concentration and opened the padlock. He stopped. The lock didnt soar across the room, and the doors didnt fly open, sending the heavy chain straight to his face. If anything, the cabinet was less frightening without the lock engaged. Jack sighed and left the room, pleased with his self-control.


A moment later, he bolted back into the room, sliding on his knees across the floor toward the now unlocked box. Jack ripped the chain down around the cabinets feet and flung the doors open. There, exactly where hed stashed it five years ago, sat a single crystal shot glass. Filled with trepidation, he slowly reached a trembling hand out toward the small, almost harmless object of his nightmares.


Jack gulped and turned his head, flinching as his fingers touched the cold glass. He picked it up gingerly, staring wide-eyed at its cut design along the bottom. He froze, realizing where his thoughts were leading, and extended his arm to put the glass back in its dungeon to sit, but he held onto it for a moment longer.


If I am in control, Jack pondered, this glass is not to be feared. I have glasses in my kitchen that I dont touch, but there are mingled with those I do use. Jack brought it back to his face, touching its rim and tracing the round mouth. He sniffed it. Of course, he smelled nothing. Rising to his feet, the man walked to his cupboard and placed the small glass on the top shelf with the other unused drinking glasses.


Again, Jack left the room, smiling to himself for not caving with such strong temptation and such high stress. He pulled a book from his bedside bookcase without looking at the title and began reading a dissertation on why some professor thought the premise of Christianity was a huge hoax contrived to brainwash society into paying child molesters money to teach people morals and ethics. Normally, Jack would have been fascinated and focused on the book, but he couldnt seem to wrap his head around even the simplest of words.


The book flew across the room, pages flapping wildly, and Jack launched it toward the bookcase in frustration. He stomped out to the kitchen, slammed his cupboard open, and grabbed the innocuous glass. He fumed over to the opposite door, leaving the cups exposed, and snatched a bottle of Everclear from the bottom shelf and poured himself a glass of 90% pure alcohol.


Nothing will get you drunker faster, the old merchant had said. You cant take more than a shot or two without blowing your liver to pot, he had warned, but itll smash you faster than you can pour it. Jack had originally taken the caution as a challenge but quickly learned how true it was. Now he glared at the innocent-looking drink on his island.


Raising the drink to his lips with tears in his eyes, he choked out a sob and swallowed the caustic liquid hard to lessen the ensuing burn in his throat. Racing the clock, he poured another before he felt the first hint of a buss hit. Jack waited for a few minutes, letting his body start to process the alcohol before touching the shot glass. Finally he felt his stress melt and took another shot. Them he took a few more, making sure he didnt spill the expensive drink of choice.


Jack stood up, knocking over the basic wooden chair hed been sitting in. He jumped at the sharp clatter as it hit the linoleum, then he laughed at his reaction. The drunk man stumbled to his stereo and turned up his heavy metal to the max. He shuffled back to the kitchen and sat in the other chair, pulling the heavy bottle and shot glass over to him.


Picking up the glass, he peered at it with glazed eyes, silently blaming it for all of his pain. Jack growled and hurled the crystal against the white wall opposite him. It shattered, spraying him with shards of booze-drenched glass. He fell out of the chair in surprise. Chuckling, he reached up and pulled the again bottle down and scooted to the wall, taking a swig straight from his personal tap. His throat was on fire, but Jack had stopped caring. Sufficiently addled, the longstanding walls began to crumble, and Jack collapsed into a sobbing mess, narrowly missing his bottle. Tears flowed freely from his eyes as he gasped for breath between wails.


Painful thoughts of a more recent past flashed in his mind. Memories of shouting matches with his younger brother, the death of their other brother, his father collapsing feet away from him, and the blood-curdling scream of his youngest sister all washed over him like an acid bath. Out of breath and out of control, Jack dragged himself to the counter, pulled sown a steak knife after a few moments of fumbling, and stared at it through red, soaked eyes.


He yanked his wallet from his back pocket and pulled a faded suicide note from behind his license in a last ditch effort to convince himself to live. Upon reading his words from two decades prior, Jack just screamed, words disappearing into the loud music filling the house.


Im sorry! he bellowed. Im sorry I let you all down, and Im sorry I cant take it anymore! His litany of remorse dragged him even further down into his drunken depression. Apologies and pleas for forgiveness streamed from his lips as he poured his heart out to the paper in his right hand. Clutching the sharp, serrated knife in his left, Jack finally broke down his last line of defense and removed his watch.


[Redacted. He tried to kill himself. No need for detail here.]


Sarah was dancing in a field, the skirt of her white dress twirling around her. She spun, laughing, in a large circle with her arms outstretched. Jack walked through the grass to meet his little sister. The eleven-year-old caught sight of her brother and ran to him. He fell to his knees and embraced her tightly, not wanting to let go. Jack felt the soft touch of her lips as Sarah kissed his cheek and backed away smiling, waving goodbye. He tried to follow, to pull himself toward her, but his paradise faded into the sounds of an ambulance, the sensation of pain.


Jack watched the four paramedics count and compress his chest, trying to restart his heart. He saw bags of blood hooked up to his body, and more, very empty bags in an orange bag. One paramedic warned the others to clear the body as he shocked the life back into it. A tense moment of silence followed, broken by the steady scream of the heart monitor. Another shock, and another followed. They adjusted the power and tried two more times. The fifth shock stuck, but he was still losing so much blood the paramedics were sure they would lose him. Then the back doors opened and more medical professionals pulled Jacks body out, and his consciousness faded.


Pain greeted the teacher as his world returned to him. A doctor was reading his chart. Jacks chest ached, and his wrist was bandaged tightly. The doctor noticed him stirring and smiled.

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Irritatingly, every apostrophe and quote mark has vanished. There were no typos in my word document.

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This is the worst of the story. The rest is just life living, character exploration, and dealing with the consequences of his actions.

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LOL!!! I had totally forgotten about "pleather". You most definitely made me smile with that.


This is not the worst story, in fact, it is the beginning of a really great story. I now want to read the next part.

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I'm so glad you liked it! I'll put more up later. Can you delete the other one? No need for two copies, and it is significantly more detailed in the redaction.

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Continuing on... :)


“Welcome back, Mr. Faln,” he greeted. “My name is Dr. Andrews, and I’ll be overseeing your treatment here. Do you remember why you’re here?” Jack tried to speak but was weak, so he pantomimed cutting his wrist. “That’s right. You’re very lucky, Mr. Faln. Had your neighbor not found you when he did, you would have succeeded in your endeavor to kill yourself.” Jack just nodded, too weak to care, and motioned for writing material. The doctor put a pen in his hand and a pad underneath.


When can I leave, Jack wrote. The doctor looked at his file before answering.


“Well, you tried to commit suicide,” Andrews started, and Jack wrote more.


Baker. 3 days? The doctor read his writing and nodded.


“Provided you answer the psych questions and we deem you safe, you can go back to school by the end of the week.” Jack nodded a little, pleased by the news. He decided he didn’t want to die anymore. His hand moved across the page as he wrote more to the kind doctor.


Hand OK? Righty. Jack touched the pen to his right hand to indicate more clearly that he was not, in fact, left-handed.


“You were fortunate not to have cut any nerves or tendons, so yes, you can use it if it doesn’t hurt.” Dr. Andrews answer brought a small smile to Jack’s face as he moved the paper and switched hands.


Thank you for saving me, he wrote, this time much more neatly. Did you call family? Andrews shook his head no in response.


“Do you want me to set up your phone for when you can talk? We weren’t able to find any next of kin in your insurance information.” Jack wrote more.


No, it’s OK. Don’t want Dan to know. Have more questions. Come back later? Must be busy. Dr. Andrews looked concerned.


“Alright, we’ll stop looking, then. I’ll be back later to check on you. If you need anything, your nurse will help,” the man added as he left. Jack watched him go and began writing all of his questions down for when he returned. He tried to write as clearly as possible, but it was slow going.


Was I dead? How long was I out? Chest hurts – CPR? Sore throat – tube? Aspirated? Am I in ICU? Jack couldn’t think of anymore so he wrote out what he saw in what he guessed was a dream.


Sarah dancing. Hug. Kiss. Bye. 4 EMS. Blood bags. CPR. 5 AED. True? OOB?? Jack was trying to decide if what he saw was real. He buzzed the nurse, wanting to talk more to Dr. Andrews. The nurse came in, and Jack wrote Andrews on the top of the paper and underlined it. Jessie, as her nametag read, nodded and left the room to alert the doctor. Dr. Andrews walked in a few minutes later with a smile on his face.


“Have you more questions, Mr. Faln?” Jack wrote his nickname on the paper. “Jack, sorry. Let’s see here.” Dr. Andrews read silently for a moment. “Alright, Jack. Yes, you were dead for about three minutes. You’ve been in the hospital for about a day. You have minor bruising on your ribs from chest compressions in transit. You aspirated, and they did have to intubate. It was removed once you were out of the woods. You are in ICU. Does that answer your questions?” Jack pushed himself up, trying to speak. The doctor offered the paper, but he waved it off, determined to vocalize.


“Is there any lasting damage, Dr. Andrews?” Jack’s voice was raspy, so he sipped from the cup on his tray.


“Just a scar on your wrist and whatever emotional damage you may have acquired,” he answered. Jack laughed and winced at the stabbing pain in his throat.


“What’s one more scar?” The teacher quipped to the dismay of his caretaker. “I’ve had a rough life, doc. I learned not to worry too much about marks on my skin long ago.” He took another sip, feeling the cool water soothe his throat. “I’m curious – were you able to get any kind of BAC reading, or did the transfusions make that impossible?” Dr. Andrews blinked in confusion. “I was drinking 180 proof liquor and I wanted to know how inebriated I was. I had, I guess, six or so large shots, maybe?” The doctor looked at the chart to see.


“You were at .31 in your own blood. Why?” Jack just smiled and scooted up a little.


“If I’m going to die and live to tell the tale, I may as well know the whole story. Are you guys going to send a shrink to talk to me and evaluate me, or are you qualified to make that decision?” Jack’s matter-of-fact tone threw the doctor off guard.


“I am, in fact, the psychiatrist assigned to evaluate your behavior.” Andrews answered calmly. “You’ll be moved to a room in the psych ward now that you’re stable and seem competent to answer questions. Before I leave to send the order to move you, I have a couple of questions.” Jack cocked an eyebrow.


“Alright, fire away,” he consented, voice a little stronger after warming it up.


“Your license reads Machlee, but your social security card reads Faln,” the good doctor began.


“I was born Faln but changed my name when I left home. It’s not a legal change, but the DMV accepted my DBA as a valid ID, as did the school system. Either is fine by me.” His explanation sated the doctor’s curiosity.


“Do you or have you ever taken anti-depressants or any other psychoactive drugs?” Jack shook his head. “Have you ever attempted suicide before?” Jack paused for a moment, classifying his previous depressions.


“I was 19. Dad just died and I was overwhelmed with caring for three younger siblings. The sleeping pills were in my hand but I never ingested any. Is that an attempt or a moment of weakness?” The blunt question made the doctor think.


“I’ll get back to that,” he stated. “Is that the only time you’ve done something like that?” Jack nodded. “Have you been depressed since then?” Another nod. “How did you recover?” He thought, speaking slowly.


“I either ignored it and continued working as normal until it subsided or hid in my closet where it’s safe,” Jack told him. “My life has never been easy. My mother walked out on my father after five kids. My brother Ron died shortly after we moved to the States. My father died after that. My little sister fell into a coma twenty years ago, and we finally had to pull her plug a few years ago. The fact that it took me over thirty years to succumb to everything speaks to my resilience wouldn’t you say?” Dr. Andrews nodded noncommittally.


“I don’t like the quiet,” Jack added. “I have to be busy, or at least near a lot of noise, to feel normal. Quietness brings it back… All the pain rushes back,” he went on, looking down, “and I can’t think; I can barely see straight. I feel like I’m strapped to a chair in front of screens upon screens, all playing back my past, and I can’t close my eyes or look away. It’s overwhelming, and I panic. This time it got the best of me, obviously.” The doctor nodded again.


“Thank you, Jack,” he responded. “That’s all I need for now. The nurse will get you moved now. You’ll be seeing me soon.” Jack nodded, but remembered something he wanted to know.


“Wait! I have a question.” Dr. Andrews turned.




“I’ve heard horror stories about civil commitment. As a psychiatric patient, do I have the right to choose or refuse treatment options?” Jack watch the psychiatrist as he answered.


“As long as you are competent and stable, you will retain the right to give informed consent. Don’t you worry; we aren’t as bad as Florida.” Dr. Andrews winked, amused at his comment, bringing a relieved smile to his patient’s visage.


Jack rested his sore throat, hoping Dr. Andrews and whatever team he had didn’t ask too many difficult questions of his past. He picked up the paper he’d been provided and started doodling, trying his best to ignore the sudden solitude. Maybe this will help, he mused.

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...my file... it got corrupted last night... I have a nearly filled 200-page notebook that I was ALMOST DONE TRANSCRIBING....


I can copy what I have here to save a little time, but...


I have to type it ALL OVER AGAIN...


I want to cry.


It's the only damaged file on the flash drive. And it had to be that one. *curses and stomps*




You're gonna have to wait on more of this until I calm down enough to redo it without fuming. In the meantime, I'll offer up some occupied stuff over there.

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OUCH!!! I am so sorry to hear this news. How frustrating. Hopefully, it will not happen again. Can you save your typing as you go along?

You need to ask for a Time Capsule for Christmas. It is an Apple product, but it backs up all of your data as you are writing. You might have only needed to write a sentence, at most.

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Word auto saves and I save pretty frequently because someone has grabby fingers. I just don't backup often because I don't want to have to save multiple files. I can probably just use my one drive tho. That'll remove the issue. Thankfully this isn't a new story, just a transcription. Idk what I'd do if I lost some other digital only stuff. I'm gonna transfer a lot to one drive tomorrow.

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I'll work on re-transcribing it soon. I haven't forgotten. :)

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