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IN DREAMS #IIChallenge

April 21, 2011

My @IndieInk challenge this week from @Kat: A drunk man sits next to you in a bar, thinks you’re his buddy and starts confessing “the truth”. Write about what “the truth” is.

I decided to write a little short fiction piece. Please let me know your thoughts below.

IN DREAMS


When Jack entered the bar, he noticed only one available stool. Hoping another would open up by the time his date arrived, he took it quickly. He liked this bar. It was dark, quiet, out of the way. No one would bother them here.


When a stool next to him opened up, Jack breathed a sigh of relief. Now, if only his date would get here. As he signaled the bartender, a man approached him—drunk, incoherent, sliding onto the barstool as if it were his usual spot. Perhaps it was. It certainly looked like home for him. Yet, something about the man seemed familiar. Jack couldn’t quite tell what it was.


At first, Jack didn’t recognize him. He could hardly understand him, given his slurred speech. He would realize later it had been years, of course, since he had last seen him; time hadn’t been kind to the poor fellow, mumbling on about his long, lost love.


The man’s appearance was rumpled, his hair, though gray, was thick and full. His eyes however, were a bright clear blue; that struck a chord with Jack. As the man started to speak, Jack tried to focus on his words but kept staring at his eyes. He knew those eyes.


Jack tried to focus on the man’s words. Something about the man was eerily familiar. The man’s speech became harder to figure out, more desperate:


The man spoke directly to Jack first. “She was the one, man. I blew it. All those years ago. Will you tell her? Can you tell her?” he asked Jack in a plaintive voice, clearly full of pain.


Jack, thoroughly lost and taken aback at the man’s directness replied, “Who, man? Why do you think I’d know who the hell you’re even talking about?”


The man continued undaunted, “Because you know her. And she was so pretty. I loved her eyes. Everyone loved her. Those green eyes. I was a fool.”


Jack just shook his head. “Okay, buddy. Help me out here. You got a name?” he asked.


But the man seemed lost, almost talking to himself. “So goddamned beautiful. Raven. Her name was Raven and she was the most beautiful girl I ever knew. And she loved me. She was gonna marry me. Til I fucked it up and left.”


Jack sat there in stunned silence. No. It can’t be! Now he understood. Now he knew who this poor creature was! But wait –how was it even possible that this ghost of a man was sitting right next to him?


As Jack sat there with his mouth open, the man continued. “She never knew the truth, did she?”


Jack took a moment to speak, contemplating the best way to answer this clearly broken man. “No. Maybe. I’m not sure,” he said haltingly. “But she kept looking for you.”


Suddenly the man’s eyes seem to clear as he asked Jack, “Did you know?”


Jack looked down. “I suspected,” he replied, adding “Do you still have it?”


The man only shook his head. “No. I gave up the chase years ago. Wasn’t worth losing her. Took me awhile to see…but, I know where it is.”


Jack looked up at the man sharply, glancing around furtively before speaking in a low, urgent voice, “What? It was supposed to have been destroyed! As were you.”


The man reached out a hand, deceptively faster and stronger than his looks let on, grasping Jack’s shirt, “Tell me one thing: is she still alive? I just need to know. Then I’ll give you – and them – everything they seek,” the man pleaded with him.


Jack looked around nervously. He thought all this was over years ago. This could not be happening. He didn’t want Raven hurt again. But he needed to know where, or if, what they sought for so long could still be found. It was the key to his – no, to all – of their futures.


Taking a look at the door and still not seeing his date, which was really starting to freak him out, Jack responded in a hushed tone, “Yes. She’s alive and well. Sad, but well. I’m not sure she ever truly recovered after you left. That’s all I can tell you. I don’t care about them. But I need to know–where is it? I need to know the truth!”


Just as the man opened his mouth to speak, a pane of glass broke just where Jack had glanced only seconds before, a bullet piercing the man’s right temple, barely missing Jack. As Jack pulled the man down, the man whispered strange words in Jack’s ear with his dying breath: in somnis veritas (in dreams there is truth).


The chase was on.

 Comments welcome, retweets and mentions loved.
 
Please purchase my book A WALK IN THE SNARK for only $2.99 on Amazon (no Kindle required). Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads or the IndieBookIBC where I teach writers cool stuff about social media and indie publishing. Come on. You know you wanna.

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