So as I recently stated, this entire blogosphere is a new world to me. Reading, as well as writing my own, has left me confused and lost more times than a 40k night land nav course in a blizzard. However, one of my favorite blogs is by author Chuck Wendig. He seems fond of these Flash Fiction Challenges so I figured I would try my own hand at one.
This one had only one requirement: there must be a dead body.
Here goes. Hope you enjoy.
I barely recognize my brother as he takes his final breath. The sobs of my father are muffled from his face being buried in the overalls of his eldest son. The wind is blowing so fiercely I can barely stand, the entire landscape is swirling around me. Acres of golden alfalfa fields race skyward, to then nosedive towards their intended place below. A dark haze seems to be creeping in the edge of the golden chaos spinning in front of me.
Through the mosaic of glowing hay fields and the growing darkness, a strained voice calls my name. So distant and weak, the voice is barely audible over the gale force winds bombarding my ears. The rush of wind intensifies as the spinning increases.
I hear my name again but the blackness has almost replaced the fields, and I want nothing more than to close my eyes and let the darkness have me.
“George. Snap out of it boy!”
The sharp voice snaps the world back into place. Darkness is replaced instantly by the intensity of the midday sun as it pounds down on me.
“Go git yer Mom,” father says. It was his voice that saved me from falling off the face of the world.
The ground is below me again, the clear blue sky above. Without another word I turn and begin running towards the house. Legs are still shaky and weak from seeing my brother die in front of me. Jerry is extremely sure-footed. How could he loose his balance and fall? I heard him gasp, and looking up I saw him frantically try to grab something to stop him from going over. His panicked attempt only ended up toppling that bale on him as he fell. Running as fast as possible I try to forget the sound I heard as he landed a few feet from me. The dull thud, followed by cracking of bones as the bale swallowed his broken body. I didn’t move from that spot until Dad was yelling at me to get Mom.
There is the house up ahead. The wind seems completely calm despite my racing towards the house, the house that doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. I am running as fast as I can and I don’t seem to be going anywhere! My chest is throbbing and my heart feels like it is about to burst, leaving another child dead among the golden fields today. With labored breath I force myself onward but my legs will not obey.
“Why am I walking?” I yell to no one out of pure frustration.
Every step is agony. My knees crack and pop with every stride, my hips don’t work in conjunction with my legs. Looking over my shoulder I see Dad still holding Jerry’s broken shell in his arms. He sways back and forth in his misery, not wanting to release his son into the embrace of death.
“I must tell Mom”, I remind myself that as I turn back to the house that seems forever away. It is closer now, but my pace is that of a hobble. The glaring sun and shock of seeing my brother fall has robbed my legs of their ability to run. With every step I pray that I don’t black out, that I make it into the house.
Reaching the steps I scream out for Mom. Nothing but gasps of air leave my cracked lips. The world swims again and the cracked wooden steps race towards me. I feel the green flakes of sun-dried paint beneath my hands. Crawling on hands and sore knees I clear three steps before the darkness from earlier returns. The creeping demon of blackness seeks to interfere with my mission.
“You are the oldest now. You have to do this!” I scream to myself as I crawl another step upward. Sweat pours from my head, forming inkblot paintings on the steps, evaporating before my eyes under the hot Kansas sun.
Pulling myself to my feet I throw open the door and almost tumble through it. The house looks different, smells different.
“Mom!” I yell loudly, though it escapes as barely a whisper from my parched throat.
“George?” my mother asks from another room. Her voice sounds different, matching the differences of the house.
“It’s Jerry,” I gasp. Exhaustion overcomes me, the world spins again and I fall to my knees. “He’s hurt,” I lie.
An older woman, who isn’t my mother rushes into the room. Who is she? Where is my mother?
“George! Why are you on the ground?” her voice is full of fear. Eyes wide with anxiety, she rushes toward me. Kneeling next to me she tenderly reaches for my hand, her wrinkled hands are gentle and loving as they grasp mine. The diamond on her ring finger sparkles in the sunlight that shines through the open door.
“Where is my Mom?” I strain to ask.
“George,” the old woman pauses, “honey,” she lets out a deep sigh before continuing, “your mother is dead.”
“No!” I scream. A burst of energy surges through me as I push back from the woman’s embrace. First Jerry, now my Mom! Anger helps the dizziness pass. I rise to my feet and shuffle back onto the porch. The white cracked boards reflect the bright sun, causing the world to momentarily blur before me. The white-out blinds me.
“I’ve been saying I need to paint those,” I mumble as I stagger for the banister, stabling myself between there and the column. The street is lined with multi-colored suburban houses in both directions. I don’t see the golden fields. My father is no longer distraught, holding my battered brother.
A deep sigh escapes me as I look at my withered hand on the white porch column. The automatic sprinklers almost drown out the quiet sobbing in the doorway behind me.