Student or Learner
This is the second part of my short story, "Stieg." Please, would you correct my mistakes.
Sometimes he would watch TV programs about nursing homes and the scenes he saw filled him with disgust. One evening he watched those crumpled, wizened faces chewing mashed potatoes or other soft food, and he felt sick in the stomach. In a dayroom, men and women sat like mummies watching a large plasma TV without showing any emotions. In another room, a nurse was playing a videogame with a resident. The old man looked like an idiot. His eyes were wide open, his tongue lolling, he was clutching a black box in his gnarled hands and with his thumbs he was pressing two red buttons. He was shooting the UFOs, which attacked the earth. The reporter was praising the nursing home, its excellent food, comfort, first-class facilities and above all dedicated staff, who did everything for the residents. Stieg thought that all this was just propaganda and angrily switched off TV. In the ensuing silence, he became aware of the crackling of the fire in the fireplace and ticking of the old clock on the mantelpiece. There will never be a nursing home that could make up for this atmosphere, he thought, relieved that he would sleep and wake up in his own house.
The morning dawned with a heavy snowfall. Large snowflakes swirled and clung to every surface they come in contact with. Within a few hours, the whole landscape became a white amorphous mass. It was the beginning of a long winter, and this snow was a spearhead of the large army that would descend on the country and hold it in its grip for the next five, six months. During the winter, a deadly stillness would settle over the village and its surroundings. Traffic became sparse and people went outside only on necessary errands.
Stieg sat at the kitchen window, drinking his morning coffee and thinking about clothes he was going to buy in the town. This would probably be his last purchase of clothes in this world. He chuckled thinking that for the afterlife God have certainly created special collections of Hell and Paradise clothes. When he was younger, he believed in God and went to church regularly, but as he grew older and understood how people behave and think, he had lost fate in the Almighty. For Stieg there was no great difference between religion and politics. They both manipulate the masses and promise them better life in the future. Both politicians and the clergy like to be in each otherís company, especially at lavish celebrations, dinners and similar occasions. He could not understand people who are afraid of their passing.
He would sit at same place every morning, thinking about his impending death and the meaning of existence, but not once did he wince at the thought that one day he would not walk on this planet. It did not bother him at all that generations of philosophers and theologians had spent a great amount of time discussing and writing about the afterlife. For Stieg, their theories and ideas were nothing but their own thoughts, which could never be proven. He did not need the distinguished professors to tell him what was happening with human beings when they died. He looked at the snow outside and he knew the answer - the vast emptiness and absolute stillness. All fairytales about beautiful rivers, gardens overflowing with flowers and orchards bending with the most delicious fruit were just products of human imaginations. His place beside his wife on the graveyard was already reserved, but he did not care if they threw his body in the woods to be eaten by the wild animals. The only thing that worried him was the possibility that they would find him lying in his own excrements and filth for days. Such deaths were rare in the past, but nowadays they had become almost an everyday occurrence. He did not wish to end up as an object of disgust and revulsion.
TO BE CONTINUED