Hello Internet! Start your week off right with Monday Spark! Today’s flash fiction I might run with at a later date. Seems like the start to something doesn’t it? I just didn’t know where to end it. Seems to show promise!
Meet Ennis, a tortured man determined to find the truth behind his missing lover.
All This Past
by Lex Chase
Prompt: Years after his lover had gone missing, a man sets out to find the truth.
The New Mexico heat sizzled on the pavement. The rain had been a welcomed blessing, and Ennis always found the warm waters as an omen of healing. His wounds were deep and in places no stitches could ever reach. Ennis laughed to himself, even he was starting to buy into the metaphysical bullshit.
He clutched the thick manila folder to his chest. It had been overstuffed with photographs, notes scrawled on napkins with leads that never panned out, drunken journal entries on everything from Post-It notes to torn envelopes asking for signs or forgiveness. The tattered folder also held memories of happier times, Polaroids of San Diego Pride, silly Garfield strips with the note remind you of someone? A lock of red hair that still had the orange dream bar scent of Johnson and Johnson baby conditioner. He had insisted it was perfect for keeping his hair from turning into a horse tail while surfing.
The overstuffed manila folder bore brushes of true love. Faith in destiny. And every last would’a, could’a, should’a that Ennis never manned up to take advantage of the opportunity.
He never apologized. And spackled his heart over with layers of concrete. He had let himself become that guy that was only made of an impenetrable surface. When someone tried to scrape it off, they’d only find more surface underneath.
He could go anywhere, do anything, run from the memories and run back to them with a different interpretation. He’d put a different spin on it, because no one wanted to read about the never-ending search for a gay man’s lost love who vanished into thin air.
No, people would rather devour the embarrassing month-long coverage of a jetliner out of Malaysia disappearing into the great blue yonder. Or demand a murder suspect be burned at the stake over social media.
But as Ennis looked out into the limitless starry skies, he knew now anything could happen.
He never thought he’d end up here in Tezcatlipoca, New Mexico. It was a place that not even Google Maps had recorded, and boasted all of two stoplights. It was a place that was unimpressive as well as unexpected.
Tez was a place that one could see every star in the sky and the galaxies beyond. The moon was so close on the horizon Ennis could reach out and touch it.
Ennis kissed the manila folder, remembering the happiness within. When times were their darkest, here in Tez, Ennis learned even every night must end. A shooting star shot overhead. Brilliant and then burning out into nothing. Ennis knitted his brows. Even stars fell from grace.
He took a steadying breath, letting the humid breeze wash over him, letting him know it was time to let go.
The truth was out there, and in time, Ennis would believe he found it.
He ripped the manila folder open and let the photographs of lost love, missing person flyers, unsent letters, and tearful confessions fly on into the endless stars. The papers fluttered like butterflies, finally free from their cocoons.
Ennis fished his smartphone from his pocket and grunted at the cracked screen. With a careful swipe of the finger, he unlocked it and read the last text message from his editor.
Are you happy?
Ennis pressed his lips together, staring at Spitz’s message. It was the last message Spitz would ever send, and he would never know the answer. Even Ennis wasn’t sure of the answer.
He turned and looked back over the tiny town of Tez as the half-functioning streetlights flickered on, and then off again. They were like beacons, blinking to the heavens above. Ennis adjusted his glasses on his nose and tested the weight of his phone.
He spun on his heel back to the city limits sign and shucked it into the darkness.
Was he happy? Ennis may never know, but he was willing to take a leap of faith.
All he knew all of this was going to make a damned fine memoir. He reached into his back pocket and whipped out his notepad followed by a stolen pen from Hertz Rental Cars. As he scribbled in his stuttering chicken scratch he spoke the words out loud.
“It was a dark and stormy night, and I hope you choke on that cliché because it all started with a squirrel.”
Copyright © 2015 Lex Chase. All Rights Reserved.