Smooth as glass. Ha. What a hilarious comparison. Glass sure doesn’t feel smooth when it breaks your skin open. Now blood, that stuff is sticky. And when blood covers a jagged piece of glass, it’s just a mess. Funny that’s what I think about as my brother dies in my arms. Does that make me a horrible person? Probably.
Half the people in the cathedral flinch. The others don’t care anymore. Dull-eyed, they just wait. The Visine will break in soon. With the windows blown out and the door giving way, our time has run out. That’s okay with me. I’m sick of running, fleeing from continent to continent, traveling across oceans, and even flying on dragons to get away. If the Visine want to kill us so badly, just let them. I’m done.
And so is my brother. The glass shattered over his head went the windows broke. Little pieces still pierce his flesh; like a prevented star they catch the sunlight and reflect it into this dark room. But one shard punctured his inner thigh, right on the vein. He ripped it out before I could tell him not too. He’s bleeding out and all I can do is watch. Won’t be long now.
“Kierk?” he whispers. I lean closer to him.
“I can see them. Ma and Da. Juali too.”
I frown. His brain’s going with his blood. No one can see the dead. I lost the rest of my family a while ago. I’d never see them again. Nothing happens after death. You just vanish like a fire, here then gone. Some believe otherwise. I had, before the Visine decided all Fleours must die. And all because we look different and believe in a different god—one I don’t even believe in anymore.
My brother pales and pales, a faint smile on his lips. “Ma,” he says. “Da. Juali.” He looks up, fingers stretching towards something. He’s too weak to move his arms. Then, I watch it happen. His eyes flutter once, twice, and close.
They won’t open again. I know that.
I pull his body close, hugging him. I’ll probably die before it turns cold.
I close my eyes. What’s the point in keeping them open?
I keep them tight and see only darkness. I hear breathing around me, heavy, quick. Some people whisper. One child cries. Otherwise it’s silent. In that silence, I can hear my memories, see them. I run across the lawn with my little siblings. I am the dragon who swoops down and pretends to eat them. Hah. Not such a funny memory now. But they laugh and laugh while a pretend dragon pretends to eat them. Who knew it could be so much fun. I can almost hear their laughter now. Geez those two irritated me, clinging to my legs all the time, asking about this or that. Boy, hindsight is great. What I wouldn’t do for them to ask me something now; I’d even cry with joy if they threw a tantrum over something stupid. Being persecuted really makes you re-think life.
How differently I would have lived if I knew then what I do now.
Now all I’ve got left is however long it takes for the Visine army to break down the door and slaughter one more group of Fleourien survivors.
I run into the darkness around me towards the memories floating just around my thoughts. I embrace them and slip into a dream. I won’t wake up. And, like my brother, I’ll join my family now and share a last few moments with them before I die and become nothing. False moments, sure, old moments, but still.
So that was a little depressing; I apologies for that. I didn’t mean to write something so dismal, it just happened. I got caught between deciding if I should write a novel, novella, or short story out of this scene. But, it ended up just being a flash fiction. I’m not a “gardener” in my writing style, so this will probably remain a depressing piece of flash fiction. But, how knows. These characters may come back and haunt me until I write about them. I just have two major problems with that. One: I can’t leave the bad guys as Visine–which I named after the eye drops one my bed . . . yeah. Two: I don’t know where this story goes. Kierk (the narrator) could go anywhere. I thought about having someone from the future come back and ask him if he wants to try again. I thought about having the Visine outside the door attacked and Kierk and the Fleouriens surviving, forcing him to learn how to live without his family. I thought about letting him go back in to the memories and leading the reader to this point (I sure want to know about how he got away from the Visine). Alas, I, nor anyone but Kierk and his family, will probably ever know. All those possibilities seemed too cliché and predictable for me.
Anyways, if you have any questions about it, let me know. And I’d love to know how others felt about it. I don’t typical write about atheist characters so I wanted to challenge myself.