Today marks the launch of Flash Fiction Friday, a weekly series featuring short short stories by budding writers and established authors alike.

Submit your stories to hector@gozamos.com.

★★★

Nightmare

by Marcantoni Rosa

When she closes her eyes and allows the darkness to consume her, her body relaxes and her mind projects against the darkness the sun at high noon baking a desert that stretches out before her. In the distance is a pearl-white monolith surrounded by shadows. She drags her feet through the orange sands, an urgency clenching her inner self, a propulsion she cannot identify yet in her chest lies a heart in panic. The sands slip out from under her, causing her to stumble on her face every few yards. Approaching the monolith, the shadows begin to reflect light, and their true form becomes manifest: two police cruisers with four officers stationed behind open doors, aiming rifles at a dark figure which seems like a man but she cannot be certain. She falls and rolls down a dune, her body collapsing into a valley directly below the gathering of men. She grips at the sands, trying to find leverage, but sinks further, the wind whipping the sand into crooked tendrils that wrap around her limbs, her neck, her hair, the desert swallowing her whole.

A shot echoes.

She stands to the left of the cops, watching their mouths stretch open and chomp down like wolves devouring prey. Their mouths screaming sounds but not making any sense. Their arms gripping their rifles so intensely she is surprised the weapons don’t shatter. She looks toward the white monolith, at the dark-skinned man pressed up against the rock face, his hands in the air, blindfolded, his shirt covered in dust and blood.

A shot echoes.

He falls, his body projecting red streams

against the monolith that

appear as clawed fingers.

She blinks and he is standing again, though this time his hands clench his wound. The police continue their silent screams while the groans from the young man rip through her ears and infest her brain.

A

His body is propelled

shot

into the monolith

echoes

as he slides down, a thick swath of blood intersects the dried red fingers.

She blinks.

Blood, projected in circles,

He stands.

in rivulets,

A shot.

in pools.

She blinks.

Blood sprays

A shot.

the highest edges of the monolith.

He stands.

She blinks.

The blood at the base is almost black.

She blinks.

His body becoming a sieve.

He stands.

The blood rises

A shot.

paint from a brush, colliding

the monolith

chaos of a Pollack painting.

She blinks.

chaos forms a hand,

He stands, his midsection a gaping wound.

fully extended, pleading:

A shot

stop

against the skull.

She blinks.

He is in her arms.

She cups his face, more blood than flesh, and strokes his cheeks.

She blinks

he is an infant, giggling/bright eyed.

She blinks

his eyes yellow,

his iris

consumed by darkness,

the only sound a strained groan.

She blinks, but the image remains, the young man’s eyes fading as the air escapes his lungs for the last time. He manages to lean toward her enough to kiss her chin.

Ma’, I been shot.

She blinks

alone against the stained monolith. They are alone in the vastness of a desert with no end. His body goes limp.

I am alone.

Forever haunted by ghosts.

★★★

Marcantoni Rosa is a Puerto Rican educator and author based in Colorado. His books include Traveler’s RestThe Feast of San SebastianKings of 7th Avenue, and the upcoming Tristiana. In October 2016 he will launch La Casita Grande, a publisher of Latino and Caribbean literature. You can follow him on Twitter @Marcantoni1984.

 

Featured image: Tony Webster/Flickr

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