Prompt for June 28, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

The graveside was sparsely populated with just the immediate family, a few friends and me. I wasn’t near the grave, however, I was over with a small copse of oak trees, hiding in plain sight. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be anywhere close by. But I couldn’t stay away. Elena was the only person that kept me grounded, she was the only person that saw through the wall that everyone else saw, she knew who I was. And that knowledge killed her.

Drew was there, looking at the coffin with her steel-grey eyes, tears silently flowing. I haven’t seen her this close in almost fifteen years. I would visit her and Elena every so often, watching them at various playgrounds, sitting with them through the same movie or even sitting at a booth nearby while they ate. Close enough to laugh at the same jokes, but far enough away to be hidden. I hated and loved those moments.

And now, here we were, at her mother’s funeral. At my wife’s funeral. The tears came then and I let them. I closed my eyes, leaned against the tree and let fifteen years of tears wash my face. I’m not a loud cryer, sort of a silent sobbing fool, but I never heard Drew approach until she spoke to me.

“You’re him, aren’t you?”

My eyes flashed open as I looked towards the voice. Damn, I wasn’t supposed to let her get too close. I wasn’t supposed to talk to her. I cleared my throat and wiped away the tears, ready to tell another lie, just one of the millions that I’ve told, when she continued.

“Don’t bother lying, I can see it in your eyes. My eyes. Mom always said that I reminded her of you because of my eyes. Close up I can see that.” She paused, closed her eyes for a moment and wiped away the remnants of the tears that coated her face. When she opened them the fire in her eyes burned bright and I was so surprised that the slap across the face took me by surprise.

“Why? Why now? Why not last week, last month, last year? Why did you come back now? Why didn’t you save her?” Her tears started again and I could do nothing to prevent myself from reaching out, grabbing her and holding her tight, my own tears barely in check.

A flash of light, a reflection where they should have only been trees, caused me to spin and drop, cradling Drew in my arms. The pain in my arm was there, but the pain in my heart was threatening to drown me. I couldn’t lose Drew, not after Elena. I look down to her and saw her blinking back at me. She was alive, unharmed and alive. I crawled with her behind the oak tree and told her to stay still.  I pulled out my gun and checked the clip – full – before looking back at Drew. Her eyes widened at the gun but then took on a ferocity that I had seen in her mother.

“Get the bastard,” she said. “If he’s the one that killed Mom I want him to pay.”

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