Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Flash Fiction:

Being Present

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Rain hammered the tin roof of the garden shed. Larry sat there, expressionless, cradling his backpack, waiting for it to let up. Ghosts from his past haunted him as he rested his chin on the top of his pack and stared vacantly at the floor in front of him. He had spent his entire life reaching for his potential, but he wasn’t ever able to really grasp it, and one day, he realized that maybe he never would, that some people just didn’t.
Clenching his jaw, he became even more determined never to go back, silently thanking the owner of his shelter, hoping that the unconsciously kind person didn’t discover him squeezed between the push mower and the rakes, shovels, and other implements. His back was pressed against the small shelves where the potting supplies and other tools lived when they were not in use, and he knew that he would be feeling the kinks from being crammed into that space—but it was better than being soaked and cold. He sighed, realized that he was tapping his foot against the floor and stopped—although, it would start again as soon as he stopped thinking about it.
His stomach reminded him that he had not eaten all day, so he felt around in his pack until his fingers crinkled the brown paper bag with the last of the sandwiches he had found in a dumpster behind a gas station. The use-through dates had expired, but as far as he could tell, the sandwiches were still edible. He hadn’t died.
Lightning flashed and thunder cracked in quick succession, so close that Larry nearly choked on his mouthful. Resuming chewing, he peered up to the small, semi-transparent window: the landscape was still blurred out of existence by the pounding H2O.  He swallowed, closing his eyes, taking a deep breath, the half-finished sandwich trembling in his hand as he sat, hypnotized by the nearly continuous flashing of indigo and rumbling of nature’s artillery.
After finishing the sandwich in a few more bites, he twisted himself into a fetal position. Using his bag as a lumpy pillow, he tried to catch a bit of sleep, which eluded him for a time, but the flashing and booming subsided, leaving him with the steady droning of the rain…
His eyes opened; the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing. With a little effort he stood and kicked open the door, knocking over the tools and quickly fixing them, then closed the door and sat the lock on the handle—like he had found it.
Stopping a moment to stretch the kinks out, he felt more refreshed than he expected.
A chorus of birds heralded the sun as it broke through the clouds, which dissipated before his eyes. He took in deep breath and smiled, then started on his way, jumping over the puddles that had taken over the now muddy path. He didn’t know where he was going, but at the moment, he wasn’t going to worry about it.

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