He came into the room and he had no idea that he wouldn’t be leaving, at least, not the same way in which he had entered. It wasn’t that kind of room. The kind a person can just up and decide to retreat back the way they came. She was already there. Sitting. Believing. That’s the important part of the story. The belief. He had to be made to see. To accept.
“You do know that They won’t see you in that condition, right?”
“I know that I won’t see Them, not yet.”
“That ship has sailed darling, but you can stay here as long as you’d like, as long as it takes to fix up, to look sharp.”
“What’s that even mean?”
“It means what it means.”
Outside the window of a suburban home on a suburban street of a safe town, an unoccupied car explodes and takes with it the tree under which it is parked. The tree groans under its own weight, wobbles some, then falls, smashing through a window and taking with it a napping four-year-old boy. The boy’s father rushes outside. He is thinking only of the car and who could’ve sent him such an obvious message and what he would be required to do in response. When he sees the tree, the window, he rushes back inside. When he sees the boy, crushed by a branch coming through the window, he melts into himself and ceases to be. The cops come and they question him about the car bombing but they leave empty-handed and without any leads or further information. He said nothing. The M.E. comes and collects the remains of the boy and goes without a word of condolence. The man’s wife never comes home again. He lays on his son’s floor all night and he cradles his gun and he thinks about absolutely nothing. He thinks about how much relief there will be in the nothing that comes afterward. He, of course, is wrong.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the man tells her that he’s through fucking around and that she can just go ahead and tell him what he’s supposed to do to be done with it all and she smiles and tells him that, first of all, we are all anonymous here, and second, there is no being done with it all, there never was, and that he can just stick that in his pipe and smoke it, thank you very much. He straightens his tie and shoots his cuffs. She stops smiling. He asks for a drink of water. She shakes her head.
“It doesn’t seem right.”
“Why would it? When did it ever? How could you imagine this would be any different? It’s all made of the same stuff, and I think you know that.”
The knob on the door is neither hot nor cold, it simply is. He turns it and steps through.
Scott Mitchel May
Scott Mitchel May is a fiction writer living in rural Wisconsin with his family. He has been previously published in Storgy Literary Magazine and The Metaworker. You can follow him on Twitter @smitchelmay (https://twitter.com/smitchelmay)
Previously Published Works:
The Idea of Dogs (https://storgy.com/2019/08/02/fiction-4/)
An Exercise in Patience (https://storgy.com/2020/04/06/an-exercise-in-patience-by-scott-mitchel-may/)
To celebrate the release of
We are offering a whopping 60% off previously published STORGY titles:
EXIT EARTH & SHALLOW CREEK!
That’s 21 stories for £4.99*
or 42 stories for £9.98*
*(R.R.P. £12.99 each. Postal charges apply)
Simply click on the images below and take advantage of this limited time offer.
Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.