In A Flash: Dime Novel Denouement

This moment does not seem to be a moment. It seems endless, interminable. An internment camp. The holding pen before the gulag. Devoid creatures wander through the night along empty streets, straying from the light. I am one of them now.

Rain begins to fall, softly at first, and then in staccato bursts. I scuttle across openings, clinging to the security of the damp mildewed walls. There are eyes everywhere, but none look for me. I am worth nothing to anyone. No price will be paid. Yet, I refuse to expose myself. I am no martyr, whatever else I may be.

You speak and I shiver and clutch my hands in my pocket. This parched feeling that holds and won’t let go. I fight for words; silence is like a wound, like a lie I always tell. You do not care whether I speak or stay quiet, all you care is what I do.

The thousand betrayals of a life leave the birth of the malformed. I’ve clawed at my own skin, it does not fit right. Nature seems dead and wicked dreams abuse.


I’m looking for a taste of ecstasy, I’ve had delight and it lost its potency. With you at my side on this long, damp and dark road.

I long to taste the sunrise in your mouth, as my tongue slides past your teeth and the morning dew is fresh on my lips. I want to smell your sweat on me, the heat of my flesh on the heat of yours, shivering, shimmering to a glow.

Oh, to look upon you now, through the blur of the rain. If I could take you in this doorway I would.


The light is dim and furtive. I am gaping and madcap, nothing more than a distorted reflection in a pool of water, spun out of spells. Only a shadow of the feeling remains, as though a cloud were passing over the sun.

I am spun out of spells. The missionary cast them all out, leaving the rains to come alone. I no longer hear the words, they are empty to me. There were things I once said, worlds I made dance, that are gone to me now. Once my voice could make mountains tremble. Or so I said. I am left with this and the cheapness of it appals me.

I remember waking up and chewing off my hand, stumbling out into the dregs of the morning, smoke rising up from the wretched hovels, sprawled in misery across the valley floor. Those foul and terrible places I bore witness to. The yelps and cries of the twisted masses, torn from bleeding and bruised lips.

The ripped limbs, the misshapen holes, that peered into nothingness, that disappeared utterly into the shuddering entrails of convulsing minds.

What is left there now? What is left anywhere? Only the trail I now follow, this wandering pair, waiting for it to become one.


Let me tell you about being here, looking out at the gleam of streetlights from behind your curtains.

I am as undeniable as a summer breeze. You are as inevitable as a final sigh, seeing the sun move across the horizon. I can feel your body. Can you hear the whispers I speak?

It cannot be for eternity. But winter is a long time, and it is enough to be here beside you now, even if just for this moment.


We’re all of us a little incomplete, not quite there, shining and corrupt darkness. A gaping obscenity. Out there, they are hacking one another, survival at a whim, the mere percussion of chance. So we say to each other. It is easier that way.

I approach him with this sneer of destruction, of the coming, unsuspected massacre. Hands tied behind his back, shot in the face, lying scattered about on the broken ground. Walked out and down the road, blood washing off me slowly in the rain.


I wanted something else, not a dime novel conclusion. Reservations lost, the far side of the sky all filled up. You smile at me, in that offhand kind of way.

We have been bodies, we have been bodies, we are not shapes anymore.

I hear a fumbling organ in the distance. You look at me as though there are possibilities.


In A Flash: read a new story every Thursday…

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