Friday Flash Fiction
By Nomar Knight
He vanished, leaving me standing with my mouth open. I scanned the surrounding woods with my only aid being a full moon and a sprinkle of sparkling stars. Gripping the porch banister, I recalled the oddity that struck my gut when I first laid eyes on the man. He had to be over six feet tall. A black overcoat and dark fedora made him appear real to me. But how did he disappear?
I spotted movement out of the corner of my eye. On such a breezeless night, a pair of bushes swayed as if something had pushed through them. Every fiber of my being screamed for me to forget what I saw and go back into the cottage. The allure of safety was disrupted by more movement.
Once again the man reappeared, this time to my left. He tilted his black fedora yet I couldn’t spot his eyes.
“Trickery of light,” I mumbled.
He had gaunt cheeks and a sturdy chin. It seemed his gray complexion fused to his countenance. It was almost as if he wore a surreal mask.
“What do you want?”
I could have sworn I spoke yet my voice didn’t carry through the night air. The stranger spun and vanished for a second time.
Logic abandoned me, though I wondered if he was a magician. Something about the man sent a burning sensation spiraling through my gut. As if my soul had access to ancient knowledge that I couldn’t attain in this lifetime. Somehow, the man’s identity remained hidden within the confines of memory. However, I sensed those memories didn’t belong to me.
“Atticus! You shouldn’t stay out there too long, honey. The insects will eat you alive.”
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Although my mother spent most of her hours catering to her new boyfriend, she still found time to baby me.
I whispered, “I’m eighteen, not eight.”
I spun, upon hearing movement by the bushes. The man in black stood facing me with his head lowered, the hat still shielding his face. I decided to speak to him with my thoughts.
“Where do I know you from?”
He lifted his head. Like a sculpture coming to life, his facial features became more detailed. Thin lips curled into a snarl. A chiseled nose filled his face. And the blank eyes formed into what appeared to be cat’s eyes. Shades of gray surrounded his shiny gold pupils.
Without moving his lips he said, “I’m your reminder.”
Speaking aloud, I asked, “Reminder of what?”
Once again my words didn’t carry into the physical realm, but remained trapped within the threshold of my mind. It was as if I could not break through an unseen barrier. Before I could ask for more clarification, the man faded into the night air.
“You’re not gone. It’s a trick! Tell me, a reminder of what?”
“What did you say, honey?”
My mother opened the front door, stuck her head out, and stretched her neck to peer behind me.
“Who are you talking too?”
I shook my head. “No one.”
Sleep became difficult. Every time I shut my eyes, I kept hearing the man in black whispering, “I’m your reminder.”
It wasn’t until I actually slept, that corridors of time began to send clarity my way through a beam of white light. I stepped through the rays, shielding my eyes. Once my vision adjusted, I spotted the man in black. He spun and faced me with his eerie snarl.
“What were you supposed to remind me of?”
He glared at me with his catlike eyes and shouted, “Save your mother!”
I woke to piercing screams. Then I jumped out of bed with my heart practically in my mouth until bursting through her bedroom door. My vision focused on a man dressed in black, his body on top of my mother, strangling her with a chord.
“Get off her!”
I tackled the monster and we both fell off the bed. His fedora scooted away revealing his face, leaving me numb.
“Father, what are you doing?”
He punched my face. The sting on my cheek sent a nauseating pain to my head. While I was dazed, I heard my mother choking. From the corner of my eye, I spotted her current boyfriend sitting on a chair. A knife protruded out of his bloody chest.
“No!” Mother pleaded.
Once again my father jumped on my mother. I didn’t understand how he had gotten out of jail. I pulled the knife off the stiff and lunged at my father, plunging the blade in his back.
As my father struggled for life next to my terrified mother, I spotted the stranger in black. He grinned at me, tipped his hat and vanished.
Till this day I could never fully understand who the stranger in black was or where he came from. Though I suspected he came from another time, a dimension beyond my current understanding. Each night, before I slept, I prayed to see the dark messenger so I could thank him for helping me save my mother.
Each day I’d wake up and say, “We will meet again, my dark friend. I’m sure of it.”
© Copyright Nomar Knight 2012. All rights reserved.
A Knight Chills Flash Fiction Presentation.