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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WEP_WHERE DO THE WORDS GO? Back of the Drawer Flash Fiction







Rats!

For the first time in WEP history, I missed an entry.  

But I do not enter to win but to honor my friend, Denise Covey.

So in that spirit here is my entry:




 Where do the words go?


The words we should have said, the words that lodged deep in our throat because our heart was in it.


I am Lucanus.   

Once I stopped at a stable upon hearing the cries of a young girl giving birth.


I was called a physician, though over the centuries I learned how little I deserved the title.


I helped as best I could at the time.  I was forty-five.  Since then I have stayed looking the same. 


Is this punishment or reward for my inept attempts to help?  I have never decided.


None still live who could say.


Like a ghost through a wall, I pass in and out of so many human lives, leaving a piece of my soul behind.


I have become a coward. 


It tears at me to see those I care about slowly wither into caricatures.  I leave them when they start to age and begin to look at me strangely.


Rachel had been so difficult to leave – she of the smoky soul and the hearth-fire eyes.


Now, I sat at her Victorian desk with the rolled cover and many drawers.  It took years for the lawyers to find me, telling me I was the executor of her will.


The taxes were long overdue.  I paid them.


Anthony Trask, the senior partner of the law firm that finally found me, glared down his fine patrician nose at me.


“Rachel was a wood-fire spirit, sir.  She spoke often of you with such loss, I cringe to remember the sound of those words.  She wrote you a note should you ever care enough to return.  It is the only drawer that is locked, the second down to your left.  Here is the key.”


He stood over me much like a vulture or perhaps just a man who thought his friend deserved better.


I took the key and opened the drawer.  It was empty but for one time-stained page.  I read it:



“Any minute now


the words will replay themselves


within the mind’s ear;


the jester and the singer


fail at last,


juggler of hearts


and orphan of the crossroads


falter,


footing lost, voice broken,


embracing in the downward spinning


the clown takes up the cry,


falling farther,


catch the heart’s staccato,


slipping netless


into the mind’s tomb.”



The poem’s epilogue pierced my own heart: “I waited for you, my love.  You never came back.”


Trask asked, “The estate and grounds are yours.  What would you have me do with them?”


I thought of Rachel’s abandoned heart and said, “Make them an orphanage.”

32 comments:

  1. Wow, Roland, for something you whipped up in a heartbeat, this is pretty powerful. I especially love...'Like a ghost through a wall, I pass in and out of so many human lives, leaving a piece of my soul behind.' Been a few ghosts getting around at WEP this month. The epilogue and the surprise ending were a jolt. Great work.

    Thank you for never missing a single WEP challenge -- not that I recall, anyway. I appreciate your friendship.

    Denise :-)

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    1. It is a point of honor with me never to let down a friend. I love doing these -- and no, I have never missed one -- but this time was REALLY CLOSE!

      I treasure your friendship, too, Denise. :-)

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  2. Liked the poem written by Rachel, and making the estate an orphanage, as long as it's the type in which kids are treated well. I was wondering why your name wasn't on the list. I decided late because I just can't resist the prompts (most of the time). You always pull yourself up for any challenge!

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    1. Thanks! If only I could pull myself for any challenge! :-)

      Lucanus, out of guilt, would make sure the orphanage would be run well. Lucanus appears in my NOT SO INNOCENT series and in several of my short stories.

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  3. Hi Roland - a fascinating piece of writing ... where do the words go to ... I love the idea of this - and ultimately his love for Rachel is allowed to come to fruition - he was quick with his choice ... an orphanage. I hope he keeps an eye on it ... and it is the best orphanage possible ... encouraging those within to excel at their passion.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Guilt will make the orphanage one of the best in England. Thanks for the kind words about this flash. :-)

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  4. This was beautiful, a gem of a flash. Always good to read here - always love the tone.

    Thank you.

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  5. I always like the way you write, you have a wonderful way with words.

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    1. Now, if I could only impress a publisher! :-)

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  6. As always, lovely writing, Roland.

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    1. Thanks for always being my friend, Shelly.

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  7. Roland, this is beautiful! I love the emotion and the sorrow this immortal soul carries. Very well done!
    - Jen

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    1. Jen, I tried to make Lucanus "live" in this piece. Isn't that what we all strive for? Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! Roland

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  8. Poor guy. Being immortal obviously has its downside: he has to leave his loved ones when they age. And then, they leave him when they die, and he remains alone and lonely.

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    1. I always thought a lone immortal would become so desperately lonely it would become at last a curse. Lucanus appreciates your compassion. :-)

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  9. A truly sweet tale, there is a downside to immortality, isn't there - the terrible pain of loss.
    So happy you made the deadline! Congratulations on never missing a prompt, that's wonderful!
    The WEP wouldn't be the same without you!

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    1. To not be part of each WEP would seem unnatural since I have been with it and the Friday Romantic Prompts for so long!

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  10. Well Roland, I do believe you deserve to win. You have such a talent for using words to stir imagination and emotion. Well done.
    Nancy

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    1. How nice of you to say! :-) All of us who enter are winners, for we stirred our hearts to produce the best we could, right?

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  11. hi mr roland, this is a really sad story. i feel really bad for lucanus. it must be like a torture to go in and out of peoples lives, especially the ones you love. your words made me feel so much emotion.for sure you're a terrific writer.

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    1. Lenny Lee, you're my hero. :-) Every writer wants to know his story touched a reader. Thanks for the kind words.

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  12. What a sad tale of an immortal. It's a reminder of why us mortal should be happy not to live forever. I hope the orphanage becomes a good and loving place. Pretty cool that you've never missed a challenge.

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    1. What makes life so precious is that it is so short. Treasure the moment by living fully in it, right? The orphanage will become a place of love and healing for Lucanus' guilt will not let him allow it to be anything less. :-)

      I always try to be a constant friend -- even in prompts.

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  13. Roland, that is beautiful. No surprise though, because so are you.

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    1. Midnight, my kitten, just jumped up, read, and purred, "She must be talking about me, Food Guy."

      Joking aside, that was very nice of you to say. :-)

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  14. Very lovely Roland. Beautiful poem and such haunting voice. Love the video too, that piano suits the voice of this piece.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I am such a hopeless romantic. :-)

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  15. A beautifully written story. Watching people you love die over the years is a high price to pay for immortality. How many orphanages must this man build, I wonder?

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    1. Lucanus has built many in his long lifetime, along with hospitals and homes for the homeless (since he has long felt without a home.)

      Arpan, thank you so much for liking my story,. :-)

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