The Tuesday Tales feature continues with a new story this week. Last week Shadow of the Beast ended. To read the story, click on each link: Shadow of the Beast Part 1 | Shadow of the Beast Part 2 | Shadow of the Beast Part 3
This story is a a departure from fantasy for me and into a bit of science fiction where the science is more setting and the fiction is nuanced with it.
by P. H. Solomon
The dark abstraction of mourners loomed on Jake’s left. The blurred faces with indistinct mouths opened in song and weeping, gray set against black matched the somber music in the room. He hated abstract art.
Jake thumped the carpeted floor with his heel. Why were they waiting? There were no more goodbyes left for him. Just get this over.
White hair dropped across his eyes and he brushed it back. He’d given up on haircuts after the government pulled him from active service. The living cared about haircuts. Let the EES cut it if they wanted. Even better since there were no decisions left to him. When had his hair turned white? Jake sighed, hating the color and its meaning for him.
Mona leaned close, slipped her arm under his and squeezed his hand. “It’s not fair for them to make you when it’s not my time yet. We’ve been together so long and now…” Her lips quivered as her words trailed into silence.
Jake patted her hand. “It’s what’s required. We’ve had our time for all this.”
Along the line of chairs his family waited with him. Jake blinked at Marsha’s bulging belly. Her third and he wouldn’t see it. He’d just be a picture on the shelf. The story of a shadow. Marsha wiped tears away and leaned against her husband, Bob.
On his left, Jake’s son stared at his shoes. James’ worried faced sprouted a brave smile but he hesitated with a nod. The mourners hovered in pictorial silence that shrouded the waiting room.
The door hissed and light flared into the room. Jake jerked at the suddenness. His family sat agape.
“Jake Lassitter, please step into the light.” The mild voice ended in abrupt silence.
Jake pulled free of Mona’s grip. He stood as his family wept. He walked through the open door and paused in the light. Jake never waved nor spoke another word to them. He had given them his love over the last few months. The door whispered and shut his family’s lives away. Jake hesitated for a moment and then left them.
Thanks for reading today. For more information about my writing, please see the page about my epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, which includes two award-winning books.
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