Red Sky, Ghost Cries

I glance out the window at the red sky. It’s just the way the setting sun hits the cumulonimbus clouds, I tell myself. But when a sudden clap of thunder rattles the legs of my bed against the hardwood floor, I wait for it to rain blood.

Suiting for the time we live in. A live-action horror film. When cars speed through crowds, crush the skulls of babies. When aged statues are brought down on their worshipers’ heads.

I plug in my ear buds, play a track from my deceased father’s rock band. Lately I’ve had the desire to listen to his ghost. Sing to me about the power of love. Overcoming political corruption, separation by race, pointless fighting in streets. When the world will know peace.

I play it over the thunder, nearly deaf after three repeats. When the song ends, I turn everything off. The house silent, the storm passed. I hide under the covers, knowing I’m alone. But my bedroom door is slightly ajar, and after lying still for over an hour, unable to fall asleep, I hear a light tapping on the other side.

Now I know the dead have done more than turn over in their graves. Our callousness has brought them back, absorbing energy from the uncanny storm to manifest.

I only pray this one sings to me.

—Nortina

Morning Dive

When we were kids, they told us never to go swimming during a thunderstorm. The lightning could strike the water, fry our little bodies and stop our hearts. But what were the odds, right?

Russell is drunk again. He walked into our one-bedroom apartment at eight this morning, trailing a 40 behind him, wet hair clinging to his forehead. “The water’s swarm,” he slurred.

I didn’t mention that I had to walk the kids seven blocks to school because he took the car, that my checkbook was missing, that Breen’s cleats for football would cost $160—$160 we don’t have; $160 Russell manages to find for beer and online poker.

“I’ll take a dive,” I told him.

The water is freezing. Silly me for believing a man whose blood boils in alcohol. The waves sweep around my feet as I squat and splash my face, the salt from the ocean burning my eyes. Better to be blind than to watch Russell mold our son into his likeness.

Rumbles of thunder approach from behind. Better to be struck by lightning.

word count: 175

—Nortina


photo-20160118105818411Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers is a weekly challenge where you write a story in 75-175 using the provided photo prompt as inspiration. Click the froggy icon to read other stories inspired by the photo and add your own.