It’s been a lazy summer and I haven’t done enough writing. Only one more installment of my serial novel was released (we’re up to three now) and I haven’t blogged in forever. So, with that in mind, I present a little flash fiction I entered into a contest over at the OCH Literary Society (the same folks who are kind enough to publish my serial installments whenever I manage to finish them). I didn’t win, but I thought it was good enough to share. Also, I’m posting on Monday now. #MondayBlogs
The photo that inspired the words:
Greg sits down in the pew and looks up at the cross hanging above the altar when he hears a familiar voice.
Can I help you?
Unsurprised, Greg stares at the cross, then to his feet. “I don’t think so.”
Then why are you here?
Greg shifts his weight. “I’m not really sure.”
I think you are.
Yet, here you are. You must have known I could help.
“I don’t know shit.”
Yet, here you are.
“For now.” Greg stands up and pretends to stretch.
You think I can help.
“I’m not sure anyone can help.”
I’m not just anyone.
Says a lot of people.
Greg looks around at the sheer opulence of the cathedral. “I’m not convinced.”
Is that why you’re here? To be convinced?
Greg leaves the church, gets on his bike, and rides home. Alone in his kitchen, he drops two slices of stale bread into the toaster, sits down at the table, and lights a smoke.
Will that help? Smoking, that is.
Greg smacks his hand down on the table. “Oh, for fuck’s sake! You again?”
You seem agitated.
“No shit! What makes you think that?”
You said you needed to be convinced.
Greg stands up and pushes his chair backward. It slams against the wall. “I never said I needed anything.”
Yet, here I am.
The toaster pops. Greg gets up to fetch it. “Is that how this works? Someone suffers a crisis of conscience and you just show up and follow them around until they…”
Until they what?
Greg waives his toast in the air. “Never mind.”
Greg swallows a large bite of toast and sits back down at the table. “Until they do the right thing?”
In a manner of speaking, yes.
“In a manner of speaking. You’re such an asshole.” Greg takes another bite of toast.
Would it surprise you to know I’ve been called worse?
“Nothing surprises me anymore.”
When did that start?
“Jesus, what are you? My shrink?”
Again, I’ve been called worse, but I am here to help.
“You certainly got a funny way of showing it.”
I prefer the word ‘mysterious’.
Greg looks at his half-eaten toast and throws it across the kitchen into the sink. Muttering nonsense and sucking the last few drags out of his cigarette he walks to his bedroom and pulls out a black leather wrap tied together with a black silk string. Unraveling the leather pouch he can’t help but notice the silence. Such sweet, beautiful silence. More than anything else Greg enjoys the quiet. The voice only stops from the moment he pulls out his kit to the moment he wakes up. There used to be two voices, but the other one seems to have given up. Greg suspects it was killed by the voice that remains; the one that only leaves him alone when he’s like this.
The rubber tourniquet pulling at the hair on Greg’s arm wakes him. Picking himself up off the bathroom floor he leans over the sink and splashes water onto his face. He looks in the mirror, half expecting to see someone else.
“I fucking hate you.”
You’ll get over it. See you tomorrow?
Greg vomits into the sink. Spitting on the mirror and clutching the porcelain basin he stares straight ahead. “Go to hell.”
As you wish.