Flash Fiction for the Thorn Guy

Anne C. Miles > Writing > Flash Fiction for the Thorn Guy

I dashed off an entry for That Thorn Guy’s contest.

Here it is. It’s called “Baptism”

Day broke when he stabbed my heart. Ritual sin cleansed by pain, my life leaked from that wound. I suddenly believed in ancient medicine. You could be bled to health.

He vomited. It splattered on my black duster and spike heels. I held him when it was done, my blood mixing with the detritus, oil and rainwash in the gutter. All washed away. He shuddered in my arms.

“It didn’t have to be this way, you know. Even now, you can stay, stop this.”

“The path always led here, from the moment I found the grail.” My eyes held his, commanding him to let me go.

He released me, turning away.  The knife in his hand flashed, reflecting pink heaven’s arrival. “I’ll bring you home.”

“I know.”

The souls I had stolen began to pour from me like wine. Their aroma wafted over the rubble, over the sound of traffic, over the fumes of automobiles rushing above us. Luke, the kind doctor, with his laughter and his songs came first, rising into the light. Arya, the young wolfmother, burst out, gasped and was gone.

“Tyler,” I called, my voice breaking. “Watch. See.”

He was still walking, not looking back.

I crumpled to the earth, for the first time battling myself. He was right, I could stay. I could even now. But if he could witness this last thing, perhaps I’d find strength enough to hold me through it.

The little girl Hayden whispered in my ear before she faded. “Thank you.” The words, butterfly soft, kissed me. The others came then in a torrent, Maxwell, Stony, Shot Dooley and finally, Karn. I wept as they left me. I wept for us all.

It was done. Tyler stood above me, tears falling on my forehead, baptizing. “You did it.”

Night fell.

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