To Live A Life Posthumously

Submitted into Contest #186 in response to: Write a story within a story within a story within a ...... view prompt

3 comments

Crime Sad Urban Fantasy

cw: Mild swearing, and mentions of death


THE BEGINNING

The casket was oak with a mahogany finish. A yellow cut sunflower lay haphazardly between the fingers of the body, the most colour offered in the small run down church. Only three people entered the room. Only three took seats in the front isle, chipped gas cans and matchbox's in hand. The uniformity of the black outfits made the room feel smaller, duller. The only respite was the small almost seamless lines of dark grey thread interwoven into the fabric of each person's blazer. An imperfection yes, but a consolation for him nonetheless. Each blazer told a different story; missed meals and burning anger; a car, a sunflower field and unfortunate truths; old fortunes and new beginnings. That was what they were; memories of a time when he lived, stories into the person he was. So as he watched the three effortlessly coat the aisle seats and checkered floors with oil, watched as the papers of his existence become pliant under the weight of the foreign substance, he thought back to a time when he simply was.


THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

It is bright and damp. A cold draft whistles through the broken roof of the rundown house. The only warmth apparent was from the overused patch work blanket and the two sizes to big black blazer, the price tag still attached. Silas felt along the side of the stiff material wincing at the tear already present from the rusted sharp metal of old Mac's wired fence. 'dammit my first big job and I already made a mess' his father would not be happy. He got up and slipped down the stairs from the rickety attic, stopping shortly as he heard the hushed voices in the kitchen. He readied himself to flee before carefully peaking through the gap in the door.

" -You said you would stop. You promised me you wouldn't steal or sell again, that when the kids were born we would start fresh."

Mama clenched the ladle in her hand the remaining soup on it slowly dripping onto the floor. Silas' stomach clenched at the wasted food. Mama never wasted food. Father seemed to realise this too as his large shoulders seemed to shrink under his wife's eyes, the gun he was cleaning in his hands less a threat compared to her ever growing anger.

"we did - I have. But this time it was personal. He attacked this family's integrity, he questioned our worth. I had the money we could have paid, but he wouldn't let us, so we left, taking only what we rightly deserved!" He attacked the gun with a new sense of purpose the black residue coming off further staining his stubby fingers, leaving the faint scars still visible on them to almost glow against his sunburnt skin. They both became still, the anger permeating the room colder, clearer. It felt like a line had been drawn, with one person on each side. It felt permanent.

"Then know this Antonio. We have followed you around as you have shepherded us like sheep to the slaughter, purposefully ignorant. I wonder when we are dead and gone if you will still try to talk of integrity."

Silas' stomach clenched and rumbled, he wished he was somewhere else.


WHAT ONCE WAS STILL IS

It was windy and hot, the moon the only source of light. The leather shift grated against his hand as the car flew around the corner. 'Fuck, Fuck, Fuck' the police were gaining. "Dammit Silas, push it!" Creed's voice echoed around the car, his brothers patience waning. It felt like he was stuck underwater, everything seemed to merge into one. His black blazer stuck to his skin as perspiration slowly fell down his neck, his fingers shook and his pulsed raced. Breathing felt hard. It was too hot, it was too sticky, it was too dark. Everything was just too much. Houses passed in a blur as they raced away from the inevitable. The sound of the siren receded and returned like waves upon the shore.

They were coming to the end of the street, beside them hidden behind the buildings was a field of sunflowers, their brightness diminished due to the enveloping darkness. Ahead was a dusted out dirt road where they would most certainly be arrested. Creed's tattooed fingers came into his line of view, his pointer extended to the side of Silas.

"Turn here, down this side street. Once you get to the end drive straight into those flowers and cut the engine."

The car lurched to the left, the wheels leaving the ground from the sudden turn before gravity took over and Silas rammed the vehicle into the complying field and buried the flowers under the tracks of his tires.

Silas turned sharply once more before turning off the ignition. A loud silence consumed the car as everything settled, the void only filled by the slight tapping sound of their boots and stuttering breaths. The siren passed taking with it Silas' anxiety but not his anger. He waited a few before speaking. " I thought this was meant to be a small job. No cops, no competition, just a simple drop off."

He watched Creed pull at the tie around his throat his ample fingers moving quickly and with purpose. "It was, dad new that Anthony would pull one on him, so he asked me to switch the cargo before handing it over. Anything the cops find will come back to him not us."

Silas scoffed "So he told you but didn't bother to tell me. We could have been caught - or worse we could have died. I have an Econ paper due and instead of doing that I am wasting away in a car with someone who would rather have no future." The veins on Creed's head throbbed as his anger increased.

"No future? This family is your future, how many times do I have to tell you that. Onde um vai, os outros seguem!"

The sound of Creed's phone ringing stopped Silas from responding as he listened with bated breath to the sharply spoken conversation.

The awkward silence rose as Creed finished his phone call, both boys now leaning on their slightly open doors, the cool breeze doing nothing to calm the blistering rage from their prior conversation.

"Dad said he will be here in 30, we've been asked to wait." Creed pocketed his phone, a scowl resting on his face. Silas looked at the sunflowers beside him, watching them sway and jitter like puppets on a string, 'control or be controlled' as his father always said. It was a pity he wasn't the latter. He curled his fingers in feeling at the moon shaped scars on his palm, forcing down the words he wished he could say and closed his eyes. "Yeah I guess we wait."


THE END

The room was ablaze in orange and yellow. The snap of the fire against the brawny wood aisle seats and fabric curtains like the crescendo in a song; dramatic and loud. In all the abruptness and carnage Silas felt at peace. Looking down at his body - hair slicked back, black blazer on - Silas felt he could finally move on. The slow opening of the doors drew his attention back as he watched the backs of his family exit the burning church. A small hand rested itself on his shoulder, its voice was soft and almost overtaken by the symphony of sounds made by the flames.

"It is time." Silas took one final look at himself before turning and walking into the shadows.

February 24, 2023 06:40

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3 comments

Amelia Ramble
08:45 Mar 06, 2023

Thanks so much for the feedback!! For R.J and Shane: I definitely think the back story could have been enhanced so thank you for picking that up! And thank you for the kind comments and other useful constructive feedback Thanks for reading :)

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R. J. Garron
14:15 Mar 03, 2023

I really liked your visuals and how the characters interacted with their environments. The characters were engaging, but needed more backstory to further build upon what was happening. Given their garb and near-impoverishment, they sounded like budding Mafioso, however, more elaboration would have helped. How did this one character die? Who was in the casket? Why did they burn down the church? Your writing is solid, but it would behoove you to expand on the story in order to fill in the little lacunas that left me wanting more.

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Shane Murray
04:06 Mar 02, 2023

Very engaging action sequence in the middle and enough character development to get to know the protagonist but still make me want to read more. What led to his demise? What was in the package? Why did they burn the church? Really wanted to read more. Great imagery with the final scene too. Enjoyed the story!

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