Saturday, July 16, 2011

Entry #35

The Gaze
by CW


The door bell jingled as she entered my store.
“Can I stay a few minutes to warm up?”
“If you buy a coke,” I shrugged. Business knows no pity.
She stormed out and the blizzard outside enveloped her. I found her frozen body the next day.


So many years passed, but as I walk through the pitch dark shadows and bloody highlights of Hell, I think of her. I don’t see the screaming bodies that burn and melt in rivers of lava for all eternity. No, I see her stiff corpse and those horrified eyes, bulged as if ready to pop.


My gaze shifts to an eye of fire at a distance: The Portal. Demons say it links back to earth, but the thousands of impaled bodies that guard it assure me no one ever checked.
A young woman stops by the shadowy fields of cadavers. She looks at me and I shake my head. Still, she runs and I don’t know why, I sprint after her.
Demons materialize behind me with their fire swords and skeleton horses. Eyes hang from their human hair necklaces. I run for myself now.
We go up the maze of putrid stenches. I pass her. She screams ‘Help!’. I turn my head back, but continue. They slash her throat like a paper sheet, her hollow eyes still gaped at me, pleading.
I jump into the exit. I’m back to earth. The portal closes.


A woman’s horrified gaze slips my mind. Another replaces it.

20 comments:

Mikki said...

Wow. You have really brought this story to life. You infuse your tale with a perfect balance of dialogue and description, emphasizing both with heady emotion and adrenaline. I felt this guy's pain, followed by the uncanny desire to jump into the story and give him a good whack over the head. Selfish jerk. I hope he's haunted by those gazes! ;-)

Thanks for sharing!

j a zobair said...

Would have been SO much easier to let her just sit for a minute! Great tale of consequences.

Aimee Laine said...

Its so much better to be nice to people! :) Karma? No?

Peter Dudley said...

The first one, OK, I get it. But I have sympathy for the MC on the second one.

Back when the TV captured and broadcast the brutal beating of Reginald Denny, I was disgusted by all the armchair heroes who said things like, "If *I* was holding that camera, I'd have dropped the camera, gone in, and saved him!" You can't know how you will act until you are actually pursued by demons. We can think about it, prepare for it, even rehearse it. But we can never know how we will act when the time actually comes.

This is well written. Good job.

fairyhedgehog said...

This feels like the opposite of justice - he has to let another woman die to escape the consequences of letting the first one die. Nasty! I hope it does haunt him.

Michael Morse said...

That was haunting, just what I like about short fiction, something that sticks, and this certainly does that.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

He or is it a She? will always be haunted by the decisions made in life and the afterlife as well.

Dottie :)

Aniket said...

"Business knows no pity." - And, that's why I know, I'd make a sucky businessman.

Loved the concept. Its unique and genius. " but the thousands of impaled bodies that guard it assure me no one ever checked. " - is just my kind of humor too. :)

Clara said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone! It's though when English isn't your native language, but I enjoyed every minute of it! : )

bluesugarpoet said...

This guy never learns! I love that he is both haunted and driven by those cold stares - creepy and cold as his heart! ~Jana A.

Jade L Blackwater said...

well told! I feel that I don't even need your final line here. The repeated mistake in favor of self-preservation is, for me, enough to cinch this narrator's karmic fate.

Old Kitty said...

That is one bad portal! This sent chills down my spine!! Now I shall sleep with the lights on! Fab story, scary but fab! take care
x

Richard Levangie said...

Clara...

Your description of hell scared the bejesus out of me. You may make a Christian out of me after all.

Nicely done.

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

Damned if you do, damned if you don't—no escape from ourselves—I like that the woman stormed out into a blizzard—ha! I say it serves her right to freeze to death...pride cometh before a fall and all that—what? But, Lord, it's only fiction....

jrthumbprints said...

I'm interested in the "æsthetics" of this piece, the placement of white space between certain images. Nicely done.

Aidan Fritz said...

So many moments pass us where a callous thought affects others. These are all minor hells, but I like how you've captured a little of this in your story.

Apple Ardent Scott said...

I'm not sure if your MC had any actual remorse or merely a small stab of sympathy for the faces that haunted him. This is a very thought-provoking piece. Well done!

JaneyV said...

Clara - it seems to me that his hell is in the terrified eyes of others. The demons that chased him had eyes strung on their human-hair necklaces. I think that it wouldn't matter if he escaped through the portals, until he learns to give help to those who need it he is doomed to see pain, fear and accusation in the eyes of others.

Did I mention that I liked this? Well I did.

Drew said...

Nice work... this is sticking in my mind.

jason evans said...

Wow, that guy really can't catch a break. But myabe he does deserve it some. Solid writing.

Congrats on Forties Club!