In Darkness is Light

“You two are trying to kill me!,” my wife and I were startled out of a deep sleep. “Hello, yeah I’m calling to report a murder You better get here right away. My mom and dad are attempting to kill me.”

It was her son. It’s been two years since his last episode. It’s happening again. It’s probably a little worse this time, my wife and are aren’t as strong as before when this has happened. Now we live in fear of what he might do.

In case you are still unaware of what is going on, my stepson is schizophrenic; has been since, well as far as I’ve known him anyway. And every two years something or someone triggers it. This time it was hallucinogenic mushrooms. Before that, a nasty breakup with a girl. Who knows what will trigger the next outbreak?

My wife is in the bathroom talking to the 911 operator and explaining to her what is going on. She comes in and tells me, “The police are on their way, but it might be awhile.”

I don’t say anything, but this is how whole family members get killed in the middle of the night; by a psychotic family member who has suddenly started hearing voices and seeing things that aren’t there. An hour later, an officer does arrive and he talks with my stepson who suddenly appears lucid and rational and tells him, “I’m fine. I don’t know what her problem is.”

He leaves and tells her if he appears okay and refuses to go and get evaluated, there is nothing he can do. She told me this. I’m still in my room hoping the nightmare will end soon. Almost two months ago an intoxicated man busted into someone’s house not far from here. The son of the homeowner shot this intruder dead after all other attempts of de-escalation had failed. My gun though was in my office, far from my room. Fortunately, he doesn’t know that.

I guess he finally went to sleep and I kinda-sort of went back to sleep and was awaken by the silvery streaks of morning light passing between the gap in the curtains. I got ready for a long and stress-filled day where we all have to walk on eggshells and endure his rants and outbursts.

“Where’s my goddamn cellphone?” He demanded, screaming into his mother’s face. I can’t defend her like I’d like to. He is after all, a bigger and stronger man than me and has a 24- year advantage in age difference to his favor. The best thing for me to do is mash my teeth in silent rage while he verbally assaults her.

He does an all-out search, high and low , here and there for his phone. She tries calling it several times, but either the batteries is dead or the thing was turned off. He screams in her face, “Fine my******phone!”

“I don’t have your phone.” He disappeared into the garage. The smoke outside has made it impossible to breathe and all work to get her moved to Idaho has been delayed. I cower in my office and hope I can at least eat a decent breakfast before his next outburst.

She calls the local mental health facilities and seemingly gets the run around because he is too early in his initial psychotic episode to do anything.

“Why are you on the phone? What lies are you saying about me now? Give me that thing!” He snatched from her hands. “I’m not in my right mind. You can’t hold me. She’s lying to you. She’s trying to get rid of me! You can’t touch me. I’ll sue you. I’ll sue all of you!” He threw the phone down on the floor. Unlike him, though she bought a plastic cover to protect the phone. All of his cell phones, if he hadn’t loss them, have war wounds of when he’s dropped it or thrown it on the floor.

Twenty minutes later she call us back. “I told you so,” my wife stated to her pointedly.

But it’s apparently not enough. So we must all endure his mouth, his filthy, obnoxious mouth for another ten hours before a point was finally reached and she talked directly with the psychiatrist charged with treating him before police, an ambulance and her, the doctor show up at our house and take him away.

He comes down the stairs from where he was drinking outside on the deck. “You stupid bitch! You done called the cops on me to arrest me. Where’s my guns? I need to defend us against them!”

“What?” His mother asked in disbelief and possible a hint of relief because it was so long ago when she last called and they continued giving her the same story that it was too early yet. Now, apparently it was time.

The house is calm now. The birds have relaxed and nestled down in their beds; Zeus is happier. He wags his tail in relief. The cat comes in to eat. Snowball takes it all with a grain of salt because she probably knew long ago how crazy he was. I watched him get wheeled away to the ambulance. I see his lips move but I’m not hearing what he told the EMT, but by his attitude it was an angry and loud voice.

He’s at a local hospital where he will be evaluated for two weeks. After that, if he has shown no improvement, they’ll send him to Eastern State Hospital up in Medical Lake for six to nine months before he final snaps out of it, and then the cycle begins again.

Published by Jerry Schellhammer

I'm a prospective writer with an unassuming job working as a janitor at a tribal casino near Spokane, Washington. Writing is my passion, though my family seem to think I'm wasting my time. This is fine; their expectations of me are low and they tend to leave me alone in my office writing out my stories of mystery and suspense. I have a BA in English with emphasis in professional writing from Washington State University, my website: www.jerryschellhammer.com is available for everyone to see my list of writing accomplishments and hopefully buy my first published book, or my many short stories available on Amazon.

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