Hello! Welcome back after a two-week absence. I’ve been trying my hand at some other forms of writing and, unfortunately, couldn’t quite find the time to #fridayflash as well. Please check out http://www.redmancunian.com if you’d like to read some of what I was up to in the mean time. It’s football (soccer) related, just so you know. Anyway, let’s crack on…
John’s khaki shorts dampened as he squatted on the rain-soaked decking. His summer ensemble defied the morning’s biting cold. He sucked in the chilly air and watched with curiosity as his outward breath visibly flitted away in the light of the morning sun; memories of school science lessons and many other things he had long since forgotten disappeared in front of him.
John picked up the coffee mug beside him, its warmth offered his shaking hands brief respite from the cold. But he didn’t care. He took a final gulp and tossed the mug deep into his back garden’s neglected shrubbery. It disappeared from sight, just as he soon planned to.
The sound of voices crept over the fence from the garden beyond. This wasn’t ideal. He hadn’t intended for there to be witnesses. John turned his mind to Sam and focused on the fact he’d be with him again soon. He focused hard on his face, his smile, his laugh. But the unwelcome voices remained, drowning out that of his son.
John pulled the borrowed Glock 22 from its now soggy paper bag. He hoped that the note he had left would be enough to appease his brother’s superiors when the inevitable investigation began. An officer should never mislay his weapon.
The metal was cold. John lay it in his lap and closed his eyes. He reflected for a moment, on Sam, on the accident, on what Claire had done after. Every single moment which had led him to this point. Every single moment of his sad, pathetic excuse for a life. He was decided.
I’m sorry, Sam.
Without hesitation, he snatched up the pistol and forced the barrel to his temple. He pushed hard. His hand shook, such was the pressure with which he pushed, as though it would somehow make the whole thing easier. But then something he had not anticipated: a small tear, trickling down his cheek. Its salty moisture warmed the cold skin beneath. It actually felt nice. Was this right?
John took a final deep breath. He pushed the Glock harder against his temple, until metal met bone. He squeezed his eyes tight and thought of nothing but Sam. His index finger gently caressed the trigger, and he prayed for the strength to force it down. He urged the finger to push, to make the final act for him, to take away this horrible responsibility. But it didn’t. He dropped the pistol and fell onto his back.
A pathetic non-end to a pathetic non-life.
As he reflected on his cowardice, he noticed the sudden silence. Not a sound from the garden opposite, or from anywhere at all. He opened his eyes: the sky above was blank. He was sat in glum shade, where there had only seconds before been light. He looked closer: the sun was missing from the sky. There were no clouds or lovely shades of morning blue, either. John jumped to his feet and looked behind him: blue skies and white clouds. To his left and right, the same.
He focused his gaze at the silent object above him. As he moved along his decking, he thought he saw movement. He stopped, but saw nothing. He took another few paces and there it was again. He repeated the test. The movement was him. Like those Magic Eyes, where you stare at the abstract until the real image becomes visible, suddenly the thing above him became clear. Houses and trees and jungle gyms were all reflected in the sky. It was as though a giant mirror floated above him.
John quickly traced the object’s edges. It was roughly rectangular in shape, and stretched for what he crudely adjudged to be a mile across the sky. The morning sun attempted to seep out from behind each of its four sides.
John had been so focused on the mirror above he had not initially noticed the encroaching screams from over the fence. As he turned his gaze away from the sky, he heard them. Multiple screams simultaneously invading his ear drums, playing catch up. It was as he began to race across his soggy grass that he saw the two yellow eyes watching him from the end of the garden.
Like the grass beneath his feet feeling the force of Mother Nature’s winter games, John froze. The thing wasn’t moving. Like the object above, the creature seemed to reflect the word around it, but it stood out against the backdrop of John’s overgrown green bushes. It definitely had limbs; John could see the bushes in between what looked like arms and legs. It almost seemed human in shape – if there was ever to be a man born made entirely of diamond, John decided this is what he would look like. The only difference was the shape of the head, it was too rigid, too square. And, of course, those piercing yellow eyes, which were fixated on the humanoid standing in front of them.
The screams from next door had stopped, replaced with those of people a little further away. Distant cries for help which would not come. As John took a step back, the diamond creature took one forward. John took another back, and the creature replied again. Another step and John would be within reach of the Glock. If the creature wasn’t aware of what it was, it soon would be. John kept his gaze firmly on the thing in front of him and took a final step back. As he snatched up the pistol, the creature appeared to ready itself for a charge.
John’s steady hand raised the Glock into the air and pointed it straight ahead. The diamond creature had already silently bounded halfway across the garden. It looked like diamond, but John sorely hoped it was not made of it. He took a deep breath. His index finger gently caressed the trigger, and he prayed for the strength to force it down.