THE GUEST ROOM
My chin rested against the cold steel as the water from my eyes slowly escaped, rolling slowly down my cheeks and onto my wrists as I held the barrel of the shotgun with a strong but shaky grip. I am unsure now if those tears were from pain or anger; perhaps it was a cocktail of both. I kept reading in my head the teams’ names that decorated the sheets that covered the tiny twin bed – Giants, Cowboys, Lions, Cardinals. The Lions, for some reason, always seemed to stand out. I gazed around the room through the wet veil that covered my eyes at the posters on the walls. Some of them were actually not even posters but full page photos from Athlon’s SEC guide that I had torn out and pinned to the wall. Rick Sanford returning a punt for the Gamecocks was always one of my favorites and it hung right beside my closet. Below that one was Ole Miss quarterback John Forcade running an option. Football was my passion and had been my refuge for so long. It was an escape for me, a sanctuary; I could disappear in that world and forget about the reality of emotional hell that I was living. In reflection, I believe that is what fuels my passion for it today; it helps keep things buried.
But this was it. I was no longer going to live the way I had been living. I was no longer going to be treated like a spoiled leftover from a bad marriage. The back handed slaps across my face, more of an attempt to humiliate me than hurt me; having to explain the bruises on my face at school as just from me and my brothers rough-housing; the laundry list of things at which I could do better, though probably not nearly good enough for my father. The war hero who continually reminded me of how tough he was when he was my age and how my generation was a bunch of “pussies” was a constant reminder that I was going to be a failure at whatever I attempted. My thumb rested on the trigger firmly, ready to push down and end it all. I began to laugh inside, thinking of how the splatter against the wall and ceiling would be my final act of defiance and my way of getting back at her – and him.
My thumb pressed a little harder. The tears rolled a little faster down my cheeks. I closed my eyes. I didn’t pray to God, I didn’t ask forgiveness. I didn’t know God then; I didn’t know Jesus then. I didn’t know I was supposed to ask for forgiveness. And I certainly didn’t know that I could be forgiven. I certainly didn’t know that there was a father who loved me unconditionally; a father who sacrificed his only son for me. He sure as hell had not been there when I needed him during those times.
A rap at my bedroom door startled me. He called my name from the other side of the door. It was Jackson. He was the older of the two younger stepbrothers. Jack wasn’t a bad kid. While I resented him then for being in the “inner circle” of that family unit my father had created with this new woman and new kids, looking back, I know it wasn’t his fault. He was just a kid, like me. But my father had made it abundantly clear that Jackson and Paul, the younger of the two, and their mother were his “new” family. There was little doubt that I was an outsider and somewhat of a burden.
“Yeh,” I tried to settle my shaky voice as I answered back.
“Mikes at the door; wants you to come out and shoot hoops.” Mike was my best friend – at least that was my perception. We had different groups of people we hung with, but at the end of the day, we always got together and shot hoops or threw the football. At night, we would lay in the front yard staring up the stars and swearing that we saw UFO’s passing by. We would talk about our dreams and our ambitions, like most teenaged boys. In hindsight, it was mostly dreams we talked about, I suppose.
I thought for a second. I can finish this later. I thought ‘It would probably be better anyway because my father – I refused to call him dad any longer – and his wife were not home right now. I think I’d rather for them to be home and actually hear the explosion. Be able to see the crimson and brains still wet and sliding down the wall and hanging from the ceiling.
“Tell him I’ll be right out,” I shouted back.
I lifted my chin from the barrel of the shotgun and pushed it away from me, staring at the tiny, black hole. Sighing, I stood up and walked across the small room and rested the shotgun against the wall in the corner where it lived; where it stood every day and night for me to stare at while I was in bed thinking about how I could use it to escape the pain I was in.
I never got up the courage to place that thing against my chin again. At this point in my life, sometimes, when I am alone and the dark places call me, I have mixed feelings whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.
As I bite into the procured fruit I am, for a moment, a boy, again. I wipe the earth from the firm ripe skin and puncture the oily surface with my teeth. The moist fleshy pulp massages my tongue as countless Indian summers pass. Cool winds and warm bright sunlight compete for possession of my cheeks. The juices trickle inside the corners of my lips, and sticky fingers wipe the droplets from their hollow. The slightly salty juice travels the length of the inside of my throat and lands in the confines of my stomach. Irony…cruel tricks of the mind…how such a serene moment can cause such a flood of sinister memories from a dark time…a time I buried in what I thought were the unreachable depths of my mind. But now, the haunting memories scale the wall of time in my mind and with the memories comes the guilt; I wish I had never seen it happen…I wish even more that I had told someone; fear…no, terror, kept me from telling. So for years the dark and sinister secret lay buried beneath layers of that fear and guilt; until today. Today, it ends…or perhaps it is just the beginning.
My flash fiction post actually consist of micro-fiction (55 words or under), drabbles (100 words) and Flash Fiction (Under 1000 words). I enjoy this as an excercise as it is a challenge to myself to my ability (or sometimes lack thereof) to express interesting stories in a very confined space. I hope you enjoy!
SATAN’S MEMOIRS: THE TRUE STORY OF OUR GODS
(told in first person by Satan, himeself)
The race of men, which now hold dominion over the earth, have long been swayed by the words, “In the beginning…” as if it were the start of all things. But I tell you, that before your world existed, there was a sublime reality. Before the stars were set ablaze and even before the endless, black sea of what you call “space” to which such celestial bodies belong, there was an infinity of light, of thought, and of pure, benevolent mind. And though the mortal understanding of such things, a nothingness with no tangible or physical matter, is surely an infinite impossibility, it is exactly in that realm, that my story begins…
(this began as a flash fiction, then a drabble…I actually have notes built up now for a short Novella, which I do intend on writing once I get a few other projects out of the way. )
Tell no Stories
she struggled frantically…they all did. i held her tightly until she was still…silent…breathless…and could tell no stories. she was beautiful that way. they all are.
That is not to say that he lived and breathed. He was not flesh, nor was he blood. But he was real. And he was haunting. He roamed the places in our mind that not even nightmares could reach…that place between our conscious and subconscious. It is a very dangerous place for us to allow ourselves to visit…this place where the evil – the fear – is almost beautiful from its purity, untouched by the genius that would attempt to define it or explain it. No, it defies that and it is from that place, deep in the recesses of our minds, that Pahoo reached out and terrified us as children. And it is that place where Pahoo lives today and, if we allow ourselves to wander over the safety of the walls we have built around that place, he will continue to haunt us for the rest of our lives.
As I bite into the procured fruit I am, for a moment, a boy, again. I wipe the earth from the firm ripe skin and puncture the oily surface with my teeth. The moist fleshy pulp massages my tongue as countless Indian summers pass. Cool winds and warm bright sunlight compete for possession of my cheeks. The juices trickle inside the corners of my lips, and sticky fingers wipe the droplets from their hollow. The slightly salty juice travels the length of inside my throat and lands in the confines of my stomach. Irony…cruel tricks of the mind…how such a serene moment can cause such a flood of sinister memories from a dark time…a time I buried in what I thought were the unreachable depths of my mind. But now, the haunting memories scale the wall of time in my mind and with the memories comes the guilt; I wish I had never seen it happen…I wish even more that I had told someone; fear…no, terror, kept me from telling. So, for years the dark and sinister secret lay buried beneath layers of that fear and guilt; until today. Today, it ends…or perhaps it is just the beginning.