Friday, June 21, 2013

Flash Friday (Content Warning: 18+)

Please be aware, this Flash Fiction has a content warning, suitable for audiences 18 and older.

The Porcelain Man

I heard laughter from outside. It was time for a cigarette. I threw the blankets from me and, supposing the laughter to be nothing more than a figment of my imagination, I rolled a cigarette and stepped into the night.
The patio glowed a cold blue from Christmas lights wound round the familiar columns and the stairway beneath them. Every surface lay under a sheet of wrapping paper. Snowman holding crimson packages outlining iridescent green. Atop the stairs, a ragged company of twelve or so men and women. Total strangers grimly gazing at me.
“I told you someone lived here,” one said in a wildly flamboyant voice. I thought immediately, That man is a raging queen.
“I know!” said another. He was the only one smiling; from a face of porcelain, his cheeks radiant with blush. He wore a wedding gown, torn here and there; with deeply stained fragments of the garment wrapped around wounds on his arms, he waved to me.
His joy mesmerized me. I backed away and told myself to wake up.
I opened my eyes. I knew it was just a dream, but I decided to go down the stairs and reassure myself.
So, I went down the stairs and the first thing I saw was the porcelain man. I don’t know what happened to the others.
His voice was jubilant.
“Oh!” he laughed. “You’re awake! It’s just like I live here now! I was wondering, did you by any chance hear any gunshots? Several of my friends you met before. They heard gunshots. And I haven’t seen any of them since.”
I opened my eyes.
“Son of a bitch,” I whispered.
That was a terrible dream.
I decided to read for a while. Leave my bed behind.
And when I stepped into the living room, the porcelain man said, “My doctor was a lovely gentlemen. He came form Singapore. I’d love to go and see him, for my prostate is enflamed. But he heard gunshots, you see. And I haven’t seen him ever since.”
I opened my eyes.
“My God! I hope I’m awake.”
I hurried out of bed.
And from the kitchen the porcelain man said, “Summer is my favorite season. For more than just one reason. ‘Tis fun to fight in the middle of the night, if only you would play with me.”
I opened my eyes.
“Please let me be awake!”
I ran from my bed. Jesus Christ! There he was!
“You’ve done a lovely job of not hearing any gunfire. I’m afraid I must leave. But please remember to listen for it. It would be lovely if I could come and entertain again. So, this is good-bye! But before I go, I must clean.”
And a stone crashed through the window. I hurried to the glass and looked down into the lawn. There were his friends from before. I could see their faces shining. The Christmas lights burned so brightly. Their faces were expressionless, iridescent and lost; the flow of blood coagulated from holes in their foreheads. Each of them raised a rock.
From the distance, I heard a rifle firing.
That is when I actually woke up. And ate breakfast.
—Marten Hoyle
Helm, Washington.
(Gothic Comedy for the Profoundly Disturbed)

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