For more free flash reading check out the list of authors at the bottom of this post.
Darrin sat silently in the dark of the wood paneled den. Their house was filled with people, and the university chapel had bee filled beyond capacity. He’d been numb through the entire process. The sheriff had tried to find any of Ben’s family, but had no luck. So Darrin and Mitch had taken care of the details.
The ceremony had been nice. As nice as a funeral for a child could possibly be. The right words were spoken, and Jim’s grandmother had even talked for a few moments. He appreciated everyones efforts, but right now he didn’t care. It was his fault Ben had left. Which made it his fault the young man was dead.
“You can’t hide in here forever. Everyone knows you’re in here.”
“Some of them you really wouldn’t want to. It’s not the cutest crowd in western Oklahoma.”
Darrin glared at Mitch. “Asshole. This isn’t something funny you can joke about and make better.”
“It was worth a shot, don’t you think?”
Darrin turned and looked out the window and across the sere Oklahoma landscape. This was rough country, but nature he at least understood. It wasn’t personal with nature, it was just the way it was. But to kill a kid, that wasn’t nature being demanding, that was mankind losing its way.
He shuddered when two muscular arms wrapped around him. For a moment he wanted them off, he never wanted to be touched again. But then he softened and leaned back against Mitch. The seconds ticked off and some of his brittleness softened. A tiny bit, but he didn’t feel so suffocated. At least not in that moment.
He bit off a sob and turned to Mitch. “This isn’t right. This isn’t fair.”
“No. It’s not. And I’m afraid it’s time to finished it.”
“Mitch, I don’t know if I can do it or not.”
“You can. You’ve got to. There’s no one else who’s willing to do it.”
There was nothing Darrin wanted less than what they were about to do. But he knew Mitch was right. They didn’t have any choices.
“Alright. We’ll scatter the ashes where you proposed to me. I’ve always thought that was a wonderful spot.”
“I was thinking the same thing. We’ll have to tell everyone we’re going. We can’t just sneak out.”
“They’re going to want to go with us…”
Darrin hardened. “No they won’t. This is all my fault. He’d be alive if I hadn’t decided to be a hard ass.”
Mitch sighed and shook his head. “No. That’s not the truth and you know it. We tried everything. He made the choice to leave.”
“No. You’re wrong.”
“Yeah, once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.”
Darrin glanced at his husband. “You can’t stop can you?”
“No reason to stop. Looks to me you have two choices. Stay here in the dark room and hate yourself, or go with me to take care of the final thing we have to do.”
“No one will go with us. They all blame me too.”
Mitch threw up his hands. “Fine. Have it your fuck’n way. I’m going. If you’re the man I married, grab your balls and be in the truck in five minutes.”
Mitch stomped out of the room without another word. The heels of his boots hit the floor hard enough to drive nails. The door slammed shut with enough force to shake the windows.
Oh, he’s pissed. Great, now I’ve ran off my only ally. I’ve got no choices.
Darrin shuffled to the bathroom and splashed a little water on his face. A few seconds later he entered the crowded living room. Mitch was telling the group something, but at this point it came across as a dull buzz to Darrin. He realized the room was emptying and moved to find Mitch.
“I’m ready to go. Let’s get this done.”
Mitch looked like he was going to say something, but then changed his mind. Or at least decided not to make the comment he had in mind. He motioned to the door and gave Darrin a rueful smile.
“After you,” Mitch said.
He walked to the truck. He was going to take Mitch up on his offer to drive when he realized what they’d forgotten and wheeled on him.
“I forgot the urn.”
Without a word, Mitch held up the brushed steel container.
Darrin opened the door and slid into his seat as Mitch settled the urn into a secure position.
The trip was a complete blank to Darrin. He knew they were going to the overlook where Mitch proposed. But for all that he remembered of the trip he might as well have been blindfolded. He opened the door and stepped out, grass coming to his knees. He stood with the warm breeze against his face. Without turning he said in a low voice.
“Let’s get this done.”
“I think we should wait on the others…”
Mitch motioned behind them to the procession of cars and trucks that trailed into the horizon.
If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.
- Ravon Silvius
- Carol Pedroso
- Kazy Reed
- Mann Ramblings
- Nephy Hart
- Taylin Clavelli
- Jon Keys
- Cia Nordwell
- Julie Lynn Hayes