Monday, July 18, 2011

Entry #64

Nanosecond
by Apple Ardent Scott


Alabaster blindness, so bright as to render useless any barrier, flared, then froze in time. Douglas Martin Hoover’s finger lay clenched upon the trigger. The bullet peeked past the misty end of the muzzle and pressed into the flesh of the genihyoid muscle, poised for its invasion through tongue, upper palate, spacious nasal cavities, then into soft, creamy brain matter. Doug’s thoughts anticipated oblivion, even as his creamy brain matter exploded into a Chinese New Year of lit fuses and racing sparks. Every neuron fired its brightest, vying for Doug’s last nanosecond of attention. He saw the handlebars on his first three-gear bike and felt the sweaty grips under his hands. He saw his fifth grade teacher, a southern mammy, moved from the plantation to the classroom, keeping them chillens in line and teaching them their 1-2-3’s. Mrs. Barnes was the greatest math teacher in Potters Hollow, or at least to any fifth grade student. Doug especially remembered the day she took him aside and told him that she knew his secret. She knew he was really smart. Doug’s face hid any agreement he may have entertained, but he knew she was right and it scared him.

He lived life at arms' length behind a brick wall of fear. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of glory. This day he took arms against his troubles and rode the bullet train through the fear and reached toward the light. He would be free at last.

16 comments:

Aimee Laine said...

So this is what the gunshot victim thinks before everything is officially gone? Very eery.

Aniket said...

"The bullet peeked past the misty end of the muzzle and pressed into the flesh of the genihyoid muscle, poised for its invasion through tongue, upper palate, spacious nasal cavities, then into soft, creamy brain matter." I doubt that there are many who can top this description.

Its eery but I'm more scared of the fact that I almost smacked my lips reading this, thinking what a fabulous way to describe a gunshot. Brilliant piece of fiction.

Good to read you again.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Just finished reading your piece... eery is the only way to describe it. Most exacting in the description, what every nanosecond of the last moments of his life must felt like...again eery...

Dottie :)

Joni said...

"Every neuron fired its brightest, vying for Doug’s last nanosecond of attention." Love this line. The description of the bullet's journey is fantastic.

Poor guy.

fairyhedgehog said...

A whole story in a moment of time! If only he could have had help! I have such a feeling of a wasted life.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Eerie. Evocative. Powerful.

Old Kitty said...

Oh no! :-( So sad. Poor man. Amazing story, thank you, take care
x

Linda Ryan-Harper said...

Very well executed tale and that's no mean feat given the restraints of flash fiction. Amazing use of language; I actually recoiled at reading the three little words creamy brain matter. And I like the nod to Hamlet in the phrase: he took arms against his troubles—to die: to sleep— No more.

Richard Levangie said...

Really, really creepy, so nicely done. (Given so many of these entries, it's a wonder I'm sleeping!)

My only real quibble is using creamy to describe the brain, although it would seem creamy soft to a bullet. As a former med student, I was surprised a brain's firmness in texture.

(Hope that's not TMI!)

Apple Ardent Scott said...

Heh, I worked as a tech in a pathology lab and we literally had a brain in a bucket. When it fell from the shelf, I had the honor of picking it up and putting it back. Of course it was in fixative, and felt very firm, indeed. Still, it's an amazing sensation to hold a human brain in one's hands.

Mikki said...

Beautiful description, haunting tale. Thank you for sharing!

Michael Morse said...

That seemed to take a nanosecond to read, must have done something right for it to go so smoothly. I was lost in your words, no easy task, even with muck longer works from my favorite authors. Great story.

JaneyV said...

Apple - the tortured soul you painted for us here is very much alive in his last nanosecond. I think that, given the trajectory of the bullet his demise is self-inflicted. Such a sad story - so well written.

Jade L Blackwater said...

a sad but well-painted portrait

jason evans said...

Not easy to morph into a rich backstory like that. You pulled it off very well. Very good writing.

Congrats on Forties Club!

Apple Ardent Scott said...

Thanks, everyone for stopping by. This was a wonderful experience- exciting to see others' perception of the same image, and to enjoy so many styles and genres of writing. And thanks, Jason, for hosting - and for my induction into the Forties Club!