Apologies for the 24 hour delay, and welcome back! So... that was a bit of a whirlwind. It's nearly 10:00am and my youngest is still asleep in spite of only being up a half hour past her usual bedtime, and her usual bedtime has her awake around 8:30am on a normal day. My oldest has now been awake long enough that I fear for the edibles in the kitchen and wonder if there will be anything left when the youngest does wake up... LOL!
Moral of the story: my legs hurt because I am old and out of shape lol. :D We had a blast and it was totally worth the massive amounts of ignoring I'm going to have to do regarding the pained screams of my credit line and financial sighs of both me and my hubby. I'm going back into recovery mode, now that the blog is done (my legs do hurt because I really feel every inch of old and out of shape).
The promised new short story starts below. Hope you're having a good weekend!
1. After Life
Liam laid at the edge of the curb and – of course – noted the irony.
Today had been beautiful weather and walking to the fair had seemed like a perfectly good reason to not bother with classes. The world wouldn’t end if he skipped one Wednesday on account of ice cream and a walk across the park and maybe splurge and pay for tickets to go on a couple of the carnival rides. Apparently the universe had a sense of humor, because it was not the world that was ending. Liam’s part in the world, however, most definitely was. That he wasn’t going to finish tonight, and hand it in a couple days early tomorrow, that essay which he’d actually enjoyed researching and writing over the past three weeks was a bit of a piss-off. As for his classes, the logic behind skipping them today was that he was already passing, so why pretend he was keen on winning awards? He had been in the running for a few of the fancier honors that came with fat cheques before the nice weather had signaled that summer had arrived… that had also been before Nish had decided to walk out on the apartment they’d been splitting rent on and proved she’d been honest when stating she’d assumed he only viewed their arrangement as just friends with benefits.
Everyone said that your life flashes before your eyes when you died. The high and low points and a bunch of stuff you never really noticed or thought about, and then some other fancy bru-ha-ha about lifting out of your body and looking around that eventually culminated in a white light and whatever came after.
For him, it was more pain than he ever thought possible culminating in a scream that he noted had a terrible effect on the onlookers because they’d all gone worse shades of ill than they were wearing already. Then he’d choked on some part of his insides that had been squishy before meeting the jacked-up pickup truck but were now liquefied after being introduced, burbled what should’ve been another scream, and just woken up here in the dark.
At least the pain had stopped.
Liam sat up and clutched at his chest for a moment and, although it wasn’t rising and falling, it wasn’t collapsed anymore. He couldn’t see his hand in front of his face, but wiggling his fingers with it held up close assured him his eyes were open. And that he could still feel pain. He scrubbed a fist into the eye he’d stabbed with a fingertip and felt around where he was sitting. His butt and legs told him he was resting on something as solid and cool as smooth concrete, but his hand found zero resistance around and under him. He was sitting on something hard, but could grab his own ass; that was new.
There was a loud shunk sound of warehouse lights being turned on and then searing white replaced the perfect black. Even covering both his eyes with his hands barely made a dint in the brightness burning the back of his skull like a police flashlight penetrating a hangover. He briefly considered all the common theories about near-death experiences and discounted each one just as fast as he thought of them. Whatever this was, it apparently wasn’t common enough for near-death survivors to have talked about. Or this was an experience that people didn’t come back from to provide a description.
He opened his mouth to yell for the lights to be turned back off because not seeing from too much dark was better than not seeing from too much light and nothing came out. He thought for a second, remembered he wasn’t breathing so had no exhalation to vibrate his larynx, then inhaled and tried again.
“That’s a bit bright!” he yelled, with the expectation that something would happen. It was beyond a let-down when nothing occurred. Some instinctive part of his mind – likely the same part that had released the primal scream when he’d been dying – whispered that he was dead and alone.
He used the last of his inhalation to scoff. Everyone died alone. There had been a shunk sound, though, before the bright (it wasn’t like he could call this wattage simply ‘light’) had turned on. He could feel his clothes so he wasn’t naked, and in spite of not finding anything with his hand, the nothing under his butt and legs was firm. He shifted around and hid his eyes in the crook of his elbow, which actually did block some of the bright, and stomped his feet a couple times. The soles of his shoes thumped dully and jarred at an elevation equal to what he was sitting on. He could reach under both feet to grab the bottoms of each shoe, but when he stood up he was standing on something solid.
That little voice of instinct attempted to cut into his thoughts with a question about just how far down things went below the nothing that he was standing on, so he slapped the pocket he kept some change in for the coffee machine and heard the usual jingle of a few coins. He took one out and dropped it. In the right amount of time for him to be standing on a floor, there was the sound of the coin hitting, bouncing, and rolling a bit before it bumped into the side of his foot and he heard it fall over and rattle as it came to a stop. He could pick it up as if it was sitting on the surface of water. That was pretty cool. He dropped it from just a few inches so he didn’t have to feel around for it and then scooped it up from underneath.
He dropped the coin back in his pocket and decided to test another theory that popped into his head. Everything was still a glare of bright when he dropped the arm covering his eyes, but only for the few seconds he needed to get the zipper on his jacket open. He snugged his elbow back up to protect his vision and stuffed the other hand into his jacket pocket. The ground was exactly where he expected it to be when he knelt down, and his fist thumped against the same flat solidness as his knee was resting on. He took his hand out of his pocket and could grab the underside of the knee he was kneeling on. The sleeve of his jacket shoved up his arm as if he was in the loo and about to wash his hands. He put his free hand back in his pocket and the solid ground was right there for him to find.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!