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Fiction Friendship Suspense

Finding your soul

Above New York City, a lone mourning dove glides past colossal skyscrapers. Flying over and through unfinished buildings, in passage towards Central Park. The elegant bird landed gracefully on the umber branch, causing amber foliage to fall. The beautiful avifauna walked to the edge of the branch, and shed a single tear that sparkled as it fell towards the ground.

*SPLAT* Leonard sat up, startled awake by what he assumed was a raindrop. What he awoke to was far more startling. He was on a bench in a park he had no recollection of. In a body, he did not recognize as his. Puzzled he checked his pockets for any evidence of his previous existence. Desperately clutching at his coat and sweatpants pockets, he felt a solid hunk. He quickly grabbed the lump out of his coat. It was a piece of coal. Even more confused than before, he rotated the rock, noticing it was radiating a low-heat. He put it back in his right pocket, reasoning that his hands would be cold later that night.

A cold-tinged breeze carried a familiar smell to Leonard. Coffee. He didn’t remember where or how he knew this specific smell, but it drew him, like a cartoon character to fresh cherry pie. As he stood up, he noticed a bird fly out of the tree above him. Leaving a trail of fall leaves. Following the smell, he soon found himself in front of an old gothic building. The green and cream colored sign read, ‘Blacks Beans’. Glancing at the open sign, he pushed the heavy brass and glass door open. His nostrils were instantly met with what his memory only knew as ‘the best coffee in Manhattan’. The mahogany wood walls were adorned with golden and bronze colored trinkets. Leading up to a ceiling mural of the Egyptian god Osiris. The bustling shop seemed to have every table occupied by groups of people talking about their daily lives.

“Hey Leonard.” A high pitched, recognizable voice calls from across the shop. ”Haven’t seen you in a few days. I thought you finally moved like you’ve been talking about.”’ The woman said while writing ‘Lenny’ on the side of a plastic cup. ‘A familiar face?’ he thought ‘maybe she can help me remember something…anything’. As he approached the counter, the woman proclaimed “Your quiet today, like more than usual.” She squints at Leonard, expecting a response. Leonards fixes his mouth as to respond “….” No words come out. His eyes grow bigger as she squints inquisitively. ‘What? Why can’t I speak?’ He tries again, to no avail. “You feeling ok Len?” His heart feels as though it drops into his stomach, he feels dizzy as he stumbles into the table behind him, almost knocking it over. “Oh my god!” A woman at the table declared. Leonard ran out of the shop hectically, scrambling back to the only comfort he knew, the park bench.

Lenny surmounted himself atop the wooden bench, cowering from reality.“Leonard!” The lady barista yelled anxiously from the shops doorway. She ran across the street with reckless abandon, zigging through traffic to his side. “Hey, are you ok? You were acting weird last Friday when you told me and black you were ‘moving on’ and ‘you need a fresh start’. But now, you’re acting crazy!”. Leonard raised his head towards her. Even though he was scared, her voice and words were oddly comforting. “I thought you were going to finally break up with Amanda. But black said you sounded like you were on something and now, with the way your acting I don’t know..Please Lenny, you can tell me if you need help. I won’t judge, I just want you to be ok!”. 

Leonards right pocket that held the coal started to emit heat. His head swirled with memories of his life. The terrible things his girlfriend Amanda did to him, crying and laughing while he holds his newborn son, sobbing while holding the female baristas hand. ‘Sally’ he thought. ‘This woman’s name is Sally.’ Positioning his mouth to speak, he again, could not. Lenny just shook his head. Sally noticed a long crimson scar across Leonards neck, Seemingly still bleeding. Tilting her head for a better look, she exclaimed “Oh my god! You’re bleeding!?”. Addled by her finding he caressed his neck. Feeling a moist divot. An evocation of his life surges into his mind. Showing him an apartment building called ‘The old Sun’. Accompanied by the numbers ’88’. He knew where he had to go. Standing up, he grabbed Sallys’ hand and looked into her eyes, hoping she could understand what he was thinking. “Good luck Len.” She said, tears welling up in her eyes. Leonard leaves the only comfort he’s known. Ready to face his past and confront his demons.

Standing in front of The old Sun apartments, he felt scared. Terrified, as if he must scream, but he cannot. He knew that whatever happened to him, occurred here. Swallowing his fear he drudged towards the rotating doorway. Once inside, he felt as though he’s walked these halls countless times. “Long time no see Lenny!” The concierge yelled across the marble and oak furnished lobby. Ignoring the doorman, he goes straight to the elevator and presses the eight. To think he has absolutely no idea why he’s here, would be a lie. Leonard remembered as soon as the doors stopped spinning who lives here. Amanda and his son. A wave of depression washes over him as the elevator reaches its destination with a *ding!*. ‘Whatever happened before’ he thinks ‘doesn’t define who I am now… You got this!’ He walks briskly towards apartment eighty-eight. His right pocket feels almost on fire now, he barely noticed the heat as he approached the door. ‘This is it.’

Leonard knocked on the oak door. *KNOCK! KNOCK!* “Who is it!” A harsh woman’s voice screams from inside. He just batters the door again *KNOCK! KNOCK!*. Loud footsteps approach the door, Leonards heart beings to palpitate as he tries to control his anxiety. The door swings open accompanied by a loud “What!?”. “Oh it’s you, I knew your bum ass was gonna come crawling back.” She said condescendingly “Get tired of sleeping in the park with the other animals where you belong?” Before Leonard even attempts to speak, his mind fills with the knowledge he sought. He remembers what happened three days ago.

It was morning, Len was sitting on the apartment balcony contemplating suicide. He could never bring himself to do it though. Growing up without a mom or dad, he would do anything in his power to make sure his son did. Even staying in a physically and mentally abusive relationship. Looking down at the crowded streets, he wished he could start over. In a depression induced daze, he walked to the edge. He closes his eyes and decides whatever happens, happens. *Coo! Coo!* Leonards eyes shoot open. Directly across from him there are four mourning doves, cooing. He remembers how beautiful life is and decides instead of ending his life, he’s going to take control of it. Unbeknownst to him, When he turns around and opens the sliding door all but one mourning dove fly away. The single dove just sat there, observing. He walks towards his son, kissing him on the forehead and proclaiming his love. Then he starts to pack. Amanda, who poured her first drink at five am, intercepts him. “What are you doing?” She asked. Lenny just continues to pack. Amanda throws her drink at him, glass and all. As he ducks, the glass hits the wall shattering. “I said where the fuck are you going?!” “Im done Amanda!” Leonard responds earnestly. “Im taking control of my life finally, I won’t be abused by you anymore!” He zips up his bag then leaves the room. “I always knew you were gonna be a deadbeat, what about your son huh?” Amanda said. “Don’t worry” he chuckles “Ill be back for my son, legally!” Leonard crouches down to hug his son and tries to explain what’s happening. Amanda, completely blinded by her drunken rage grabs a knife from the kitchen. “You wanna take control huh?” She whispers to herself while staring at the blade. “Ok buddy, I love you. I’ll be back soon.” Leonard says smiling as he stands up. He turns around to say his final goodbye, when his throat is met with a swift slash. “Ahhkk…grahgg” He tried to speak through the blood leaking out of his mouth. The gash on his neck was spurting his crimson life force all over the living room. As his son started to scream, Leonard began to cry. Falling to the ground he thought about what he should’ve done in his life. All he wanted to do, and how it’s ending. As his vision faded too black, he wished, he hoped for one more chance at life. To witness the beauty of life at all times. Darkness fell upon his vision, but he was still conscious. ‘What? Am I. Dead?’ “Yes.” A saintly voice says. Startled, Leonard screams back. “Who’s there! Where am I?” “The Leonard you know, the Leonard you have experienced is dead.” A massive flash of blue light engulfs the darkness. Turning the dark space into a white room. A giant constellation spirals in front of him forming a mourning dove. The amalgamation of stars bellows “You can be given another chance at life, If you can promise yourself to never disregard your second chance.” “I promise!” Leonard hastily responds. “We shall see.” The majestic bird roars as a blinding light encases Leonards vision. A new memory of him leaving the apartment instead of packing flood his mind. In this reality, he walked to the park and fell asleep.

Leonard snaps back to the present. His right pocket so hot its lightly smoking. Amanda is still standing menacingly in the doorway of apartment eighty-eight, but lenny isn’t nervous anymore. He’s confident in fact. He opens his mouth to speak, the wind gathers in his lungs as he purses his lips. “You don’t control me anymore. Im not scared of what you’ll do, I don’t care what lies you’ll tell anyone. This is my life, and I wont let you abuse me anymore!” Leonard finally says, stunning Amanda to her core in the process. His pocket stops smoking, as He walks right past his stun locked ex. He picks up his son and leaves the apartment. As he waits for the elevator, he takes one final look at Amanda and waves goodbye. “Fuck you Lenny, have fun being a single dad” she says, angrily slamming the door. “Whew” Leonard sighs as he enters the elevator. He looks at his son “its gonna be ok little guy”. With his newfound freedom and his memory regained, Leonard heads straight to Blacks Coffee Beans.

As he opens the brass door, Sally almost instantaneously calls his name and runs over. Leonard sits at the only open table, son in arms. “I see you finally did it. How’d it feel? As good as you imagined?”. “Even better.” Leonard responds full of life. “Ohhh so your talking now?” Sally says “ yeaaa” Leonard starts “I had a really sore throat earlier.” They both start laughing. Sally sits down next to him. “Awwwl so this is the little sweet potato pie you talk so much about” Sally says enamored by the baby “Can I hold him?” “Sure.” Leonard says. “Hi little boy, awwwww your so cute!” She says while holding him and making baby noises. Leonard smiles, content with life as it is now. ‘Hmm’ he starts to wonder ‘ I wonder why my pocket was smoking earlier’ He reaches into his right pocket, perplexed that the coal is seemingly smooth and not warm anymore. He pulls the object out of his pocket and close to his face. In disbelief he hurries to his feet. “What’s wrong Len?” Sally remarks as Leonard runs outside. When out there, he raises the mineral to the sun. It starts to catch the light and sparkle magnificently. To his astonishment, the piece of coal turned into a flawless diamond. A tear ran down Leonards face as he put the diamond in his pocket. He looked towards the park across the street, and saw a mourning dove sitting atop an umber tree branch staring back at him. “Thank you.” Leonard said humbly. The bird cooed then flew away, high above the city. Flying past colossal buildings, unfinished buildings and into the clouds. 

The End.

Written and edited by Michael Christian Chandler

December 21, 2022 16:14

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3 comments

02:49 Dec 28, 2022

Great story man!!

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Michael Chandler
12:54 Dec 30, 2022

Thank you!

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Wendy Kaminski
01:25 Dec 26, 2022

Very neat story, and that ending was particularly cool!!

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