#125 Scattered

by Folly Blaine

The clothes the old man had stolen fit poorly and made his chest itch. He squatted at the dock’s edge and dipped his hand into the lake—achingly cold. Pre-dawn fingers of violet light stretched above the horizon, beyond the western hemlocks on the ridge.

Soon the nurse would find his empty bed. Take ‘em a few hours to wake his kin, maybe check the security tapes, see the cab.

Or maybe they’d find the note beneath his pillow.

Shaping up to be another hot day in an endless humid summer. He shivered, wiped his wet hand on baggy sweatpants, sat back. Always cold now. The old man lifted the hardwood urn he’d brought along, walnut polished to a chocolate sheen, and turned it upside down. From his jacket he withdrew a small screwdriver and slowly removed the screws.

Should he say something? He thought he should.

The old man cleared his throat. “If you can hear me, Mary—almost hope you can’t—every time I see your ashes I remember what you made me promise. All you wanted was a forever view, a pretty place, you said. This should do.” He shifted, scratched the fresh scar that ran the length of his sternum, and smiled. “Even from the grave you’re still a nag.”

The old man shook the open box above the water. Ashes drifted and settled on the lazy current.

He whispered, “See you soon,” and settled back to count the colors in the sunrise.

In Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations you will unearth an anthology of twenty-five previously unpublished horror and speculative fiction stories, relating to aspects of civilizations that are crumbling, forgotten, rediscovered, or perhaps merely spoken about in great and fearful whispers.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.


JRVogt said...

A touching, bittersweet piece.

Samantha Memi said...

ooh, chilly. I'm scared to go to bed now

Bruce Roush said...

Such a good word picture about a life winding down.

Unknown said...

Very moving.

Jennifer S. Morris said...

I loved it!
I chuckled at her being a nag. Fabulous way to let us see how near the end he is too, the fresh scar on his chest. I thought maybe he's escaped the nursing home at first..but it was the hospital?

Gio Clairval said...

A lovely, sad tale. Brava!

Anonymous said...

I love the way you pack so much complete story into so few words!

Anonymous said...

From Darren G.: A moving bit of story, Folly. I like it.