What follows was a 500 word challenge which had to start with the title phrase.
"Two Months - Was That All"
Two months, was that all? It felt like a lifetime. And it was a living hell.
All roads lead to Rome, he read. "What a pile of shite" thought Hamish. "I mean the road from Braemar to Spittal goes to Spittal and Braemar, doesn't go anywhere near fucking Rome. Ok, it goes to Aberdeen and Blairgowrie but neither of them are anywhere near Rome, are they?"
His mind was wandering all over the place, well, it would do that after being awake for 3 days straight. Wasn't the first time recently that this had happened, was becoming all too familiar, a pattern that had been developing for too long now. He reached for his bottle and drowned another shot of Macallum.
And as for all the arty farty brigade saying that this was a path he had to travel, a journey he had to make, what a load of pyscho babbling twaddle and platitudes. This was no path, no journey, this was a nightmare, this was pain, this was hell. This is what his life had become.
"Hell" he said out loud, staring at the logs spitting flames into the night sky. A sky dotted with lights suspended in the dark. "Aye, when that bugger freezes over, maybe it'll be over, maybe it won't" He was burbling again, a man balanced on the edge of life, all hope gone, left alone in isolation and desperation. He'd stopped working and started drinking, drinking to remember, drinking to forget, and all the while lost in a world he thought had abandoned him.
Well, not the whole world, there was still Poseidon. Good old Poseidon, great lumbering beast of a dog, who lay now calmly on the grass on the opposite side of the fire, doleful eyes reflecting the emptiness that consumed Hamish. Ears pricking up at the sound of Hamish's voice, he raised himself and dropped his tired body at his masters feet. He too was alone now.
Hamish stared at the moon till the logs became nothing more than a pile of smouldering ash. He shivered. "C'mon ya auld bugger. Let's get in afore we freeze oor nuts aff" Poseidon trotted behind him as he closed the patio doors, shutting out the world for another night. Poseidon flopped on the rug as Hamish moulded himself into his seat by the fire. His seat, the one that had always been his and his alone. No-one, but no-one had been allowed to sit there. The man of the house's seat, the father's seat, the husband's seat.
As he stared at the mantelpiece above him he reflected upon the stark reality as the picture looked down. In 8 weeks, this house has gone from being full of life with 5 adults and two dogs. And now there was only him and Poseidon and Macallum. His life had turned full circle since the accident and it would be some time before it turned again. He reached for the bottle and drained another shot of Macallum.
© Fergus Martin