Smoke and Mirrors… Short Story

I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share this with you all. It’s a short story written by Philip Craddock.

***

Wispy white hair halos his head like smoke, desperately clinging on to wrinkled skin stretched too tight over his scaly scalp. Red drops dribble down his chin despite The Woman’s best effort to feed him carefully. They stain his faded once-white shirt like blood spatter. Tomato today. Pity.

“T…tastes…like…sh-shit”.

He wheezes to The Woman with a weak, dry voice aged by both time and smoke. She smiles wearily but somehow still manages a patronisingly chirpy reply despite all odds.

“Oh? And how would you know, Mr Man?”

“Fuck off”.

“Well, if you’re going to be a grumpy goat, guess I will!”

The Woman drops the spoon into the bowl. More blood, this time targeting the tray resting over his useless legs which like so much of him, now feel nothing.

She stands and walks slowly from his room, perhaps hoping he’ll apologise before she reaches the door. He doesn’t and instead opts to stare at her ass as she leaves. Is she his nurse? His carer? His daughter? He can’t remember. With the way he admired her ample assets, he hopes it’s not the latter but does it really matter now? Does anything?

The door creaks and sighs as she closes it behind her. The single energy efficient bulb hangs naked and exposed above him. It flickers, fades and finally dies, leaving him all alone in the darkness.

‘She’ll be back’.

His frail fingers tremble as the shadowy spectre of a memory rises up to haunt him once more. Another dark room. He hears their screams again and smells oil and smoke.

Read on Smoke and mirrors by Philip Craddock

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