Friday, July 15, 2011

Mommy’s boy….............Flash Fiction


She came to me twice in a dream. The first time was a week before I met her; the second time was after I left him. I didn't tell him about it because it kind of spooked me. In the first dream, she came to me in a robe that was just like the one my foster mother wore when I was a kid. Blue, fuzzy, high necked, with a no nonsense zipper up the front. A robe made for utility, not style. A robe a modest woman of advanced age could wear to the door and no UPS man would be aroused or appalled by a bit of wrinkled wrist or ankle showing; it zipped to the chin and did the job that armor did in the old days.

The night he took me home to dinner she came out of her bedroom wearing the robe from the dream. She'd been sick in bed for a week she said, out of her head with fever half the time.

I was a bit shook, but not really surprised. Shit like that was always happening to me. Dreams, déjà vous, flashes of insight about people that warned me off of getting too close. After a while you get used to it.

She didn't eat with us; she just came and went from the living room to her bedroom a few times. Twice she stopped by my chair and squeezed my shoulder with a bony talon. Both times she said something too low to be heard, but somewhere in the muttering were the words "remember" and "you promised."

By the end of the night my skin was crawling and I was itching to be gone. He didn't even get a goodnight kiss, let alone get to give the guided tour he was hoping to give me of his new mattress. Sex was so far from my mind by the time he dropped me off that my thoughts would have been ok'd by a nun. And that hadn't happened since the eighth grade.

Lying in bed that night I went back over what she'd said in the dream. Most of it was along the lines of taking care of Brian when she was gone. Hell, I hardly knew the guy. Why would she be tagging me to take care of him, and did she mean "gone" as in "dead" or gone as in I'm tired of cooking and cleaning for my forty year old son and I'm going to go live in a condo in Florida kind of gone?

But it's not like I could ask her. People tend to look at you funny when you quote something they said to you in a dream and ask them to explain it to you.

I didn't see her again until the wedding. She looked frail sitting there in the front row of the church clasping her rosary beads. She found me in the bathroom during the reception and thanked me for coming into Brian's life. She said she knew that he had decided to take me on when he moved them to the new condo and gave her her own room. Then she slipped a package into my hand and collapsed. It happened so quickly that I didn't even have time to reach out to her. She was standing, then she was on the floor.

The paramedics came almost instantly from the fire station next door, but she was already gone by the time they got there. When they strapped her to the gurney she looked peaceful and happier than she had when she was alive. Weird thing? She sat up and talked to me when they were carrying her out. I know that couldn't have actually happened, because the medics or the coroner standing there signing the death certificate would have noticed. But she gripped my arm as they took her out and told me to make sure I took care of Brian. She said she wouldn't rest easy until I promised.

So…..I promised.

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I left him this morning. We didn't have a honeymoon. The funeral took up the first three days, and the effects of the slow poison took up the next few. He never suspected. MSG hides almost any aftertaste and it makes the food taste just that much more delicious.

He should be dead by tomorrow or the next day. Hopefully it'll look like a heart attack. After all, the poor guy lost his mother and new bride in the same week. What heart wouldn't feel the effects of that?

The package she'd given me before she collapsed had detailed everything; she'd even provided the poison. She'd been with Brian for five years. She was twenty-six when they met. Apparently his boyish charm was kept lively by sucking the youth out of his sex partners. According to traditional lore, that would make him an incubus, but one with a twist, since Brian didn't want to father a baby. For him, that was simple logic, if you father a baby you won't be the baby of the family anymore.

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The clackety clack of the rails had lulled me into the first decent sleep I'd had since the wedding. She stepped lightly into my dream and sat down on the sleeper berth next to me. She was dressed in a white satin robe and looked radiant. She told me that the cops would be calling me in the morning. They'd found the body, but I wasn't to worry because she'd made sure I'd be in the clear. She handed me a newspaper and faded out into the ether on a gust of some exotic perfume.

I looked at the front page of the paper and saw Brian's twisted Prius wrapped around the girder of a bridge. The paper didn't detail how the accident happened other than referencing his blood alcohol level. But I knew in a flash of intuition that chinks in the subconscious weren't only there in dreams.

26 comments:

AJ said...

You're good. I missed your writing while you were gone. I thought, for sure, the old woman was the villain. I should have known better.

Deanna Schrayer said...

I've missed you Karen! And you came back with a bang - excellent story!

Sulci Collective said...

Wow the break seems to have reinvigorated you. This was truly excellent. Very enjoyable read.

Marc Nash

Laurita said...

Did I already say welcome back? Well, I'm saying it again. With gusto (I love that word - gusto). Fabulous story. Twisty goodness.

Julie (O-kami) said...

Great return!! YAY!!

Karen from Mentor said...

You guys rock. Thanks for the warm welcome back. I feel like the lady from romper room looking out through her magic mirror.

I see Julie, Laurita,Deanna, Marc and Aj

The fact that Aj's too young to get that reference and Laurita and Marc probably won't get it either since it pertains to american tv doesn't deter me in the least from using it. I have a repertoire and by gum I'm gonna stick with it....

*smooches all round*

conboyhillfiction said...

Well, I never saw that coming! Nice work, Yammerer!

Karen from Mentor said...

thanks sweetie. and thanks for the blanket endorsement earlier.

you make me happy just being you.

John Wiswell said...

Welcome back to the circle! And thanks for the deja view.

Harry said...

I'll add to the Welcome Backs! Great tale you brought back with you!

KjM said...

"The first time was a week before I met her..."

Right then and there I knew I was in for a wild ride. Excellent stuff, Karen. There's a wonderful dream-like quality to this and it has its own inexorable logic to it - even to the paths the reader takes before it all comes together in the end.

Great to have you back among us.

Anke Wehner said...

I enjoyed this story a lot. :)

J. M. Strother said...

Good story, Karen. I too thought the old woman was evil. Enjoyed the twist, and really enjoyed the comeuppance. Welcome back again.
~jon

laradunning said...

I liked where you took this story. It twisted into something completely different than what I thought. Her ability to see beyond reality was very intriguing.

pegjet said...

I remember romper room and Miss Jean. Please notice me! I'm smiling!

Because this is fabulous. Welcome back Karen. You told a compelling story.

Karen from Mentor said...

Miss Jean [!] I know I would have eventually remembered her name-- [or I could have googled it]-- but nice of you to save me the trouble peg.

Thanks for the sweet words.

*gives you some pie*

Karen from Mentor said...

thanks lara. I like to think that we all have that ability to tap into more dimensions than simply those we see with our fleshy eyes.

[that's why I sleep in a tinfoil hat]

Nice of you to stop in.
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hi Harry. Been trying to find you on twitter since I went back on last Wednesday. Beginning to think you're not there. So I'll wave at you enthusiastically here.

[the rest of you just look away....I'll stop in a minute]

Lauren C said...

eee! excellent, satisfying twist. and, as always, some very nice details: the description of the robe was perfect.

yay! glad you're back on the internets. they weren't half as fun without you.

Karen from Mentor said...

hee. thanks sweetie. I've been riding the information highway in fits and spurts since I stepped back through the door....

[so just fyi? you can ignore those high pitched wheeeeeee sounds you've been randomly hearing]

*hugs you* Thanks for taking the time to stop in. BIG SMILE

Karen from Mentor said...

*waves at Kevin and gives him some pie*

I love that you think my writing has its own inexorable logic. [now if we can only make my LIFE make sense]

*goes off to live in hope*

Karen from Mentor said...

@Wiswell objects in mirror are closer than they appear

@Anke thanks! *gives you a popsicle*

@Jon comeuppance is a great word.
*goes off to say it 10times fast until it just becomes gibberish*

Thanks for stopping in guys. Much appreciated.

Maryann Miller said...

Loved the story,Karen, and thanks so much for visiting my blog. I will be back.

estrella05azul said...

It was such a pleasure to read your flash fiction again, I really missed it! (even if I only got around to commenting just now - how said rain was totally bad?)

Loved this flash, honey, I wouldn't have thought he'd turn out not to be the victim :)

Adam B said...

All kinds of pretzel-twisty. Loved it.
Adam B @revhappiness

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Adam! You do twisty well, so that's a nice thing for you to say.

Hi Estrella, yes, reading flash while it's raining outside can be a good use of your curling up on the couch time. Glad I could be of service m'lady. [*smooch*]

You're very welcome MaryAnn- I enjoyed your story about your first commission check. Thanks for stopping in!