Jim had called in sick for the last three days. He’d ran out of pills two days before that and the withdrawal was catastrophic. Jim couldn’t even get out of bed; his entire body was wracked with pain and he had absolutely zero energy. On top of everything, the room was freezing and he couldn’t stop shivering.
None of that stopped the doorbell from ringing.
Go away, Jim thought. He didn’t give a damn who it was. All he could think about was how he was going to move away from the cold, wet coast once he kicked the habit once and for all.
The doorbell rang again and again.
Jim rolled over on his belly and tried to look out the bedroom window, but he was way too fatigued to get up high enough to see anything. He crashed back down and hoped to hell whoever it was would go away.
Knocking. Lots of knocking. Desperate knocking.
“Dad?!” a woman yelled.
“God dammit,” Jim said. He didn’t want his daughter to see him like this. He was a complete mess.
“Dad?!” his daughter yelled out again.
Somehow Jim managed to gather the energy to rock himself out of bed. He got to his feet and stumbled into the bathroom. He tried to run some cold tap water to splash through his hair, but the tap was locked up tight and wouldn’t turn an inch.
Jim was halfway out of the bathroom when he heard keys jingling and then going into the lock. Somebody was trying to get in. He didn’t remember giving his daughter any keys so it must have been the apartment manager.
“What the fuck,” Jim said as he finally got to the front door.
Jim tried to open the door, but he was too weak and couldn’t turn the handle or even flip the deadbolt. It’s like they were frozen. He felt himself getting incredibly lightheaded and he knew he was about to hit the deck.
“Help,” Jim yelled out as he dropped to a knee. His vision was littered with pricks of light.
Finally the key turned the lock and the door sprang open inward. Jim looked up just in time to see his daughter and the apartment manager walk right through him as if he wasn’t even there. They both scrambled into the bedroom.
“Dad!” his daughter screamed out. “No! Dad!”
Jim, using his last bit of energy looked up and saw the apartment manager leave the bedroom with his glasses off and his hand over his mouth.