Thursday, 30 March 2017

Stories From a Friend

I have a friend who occasionally writes stories. I've actually featured some of her work on here before, back when I did Friendship Week. She recently wrote another story and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it. So - with her permission - here is To Stare.
The blue green light falls fragmented through the stained glass windows.

His face, highlighted by the pale yellow light of the candle, surrounded by incense smoke,
and his ears full of the words of the speaker.

He stares dutifully ahead,gazing out at the sea of faces before him.

He recognizes several. Janet, the mother from down the street. Beatrice, from his old chemistry class.
His cousins, who flew all the way in from Chicago. Other than that, his immediate family, and his few close friends. Pat, Izzy, and Michael sat in the second row. His mother sits a few rows back, with his sister next to her.

His dad is nowhere to be found.

"Typical." He thinks to himself. "Dad never comes to anything, why should this be different."
He continues to stare dutifully ahead, even when the hot wax of the candle drops on him. He wishes he would move, but he can't, he won't.

He never really liked church, he found it boring and repetitive. Sit, stand, kneel, stand, sit, kneel. Up and down.

Listen to the priest speak, repeat what he says.

Over and over.

For two hours.

This service  seems like it's been going on for 6.

He holds in a sigh, and scans the crowd again. A few more people file in. It's the soccer players. "John, Jacob, Marco, Steve, Eric. " he named each as they walked though the huge doors, trying to be as quiet as possible.

The organ music started up again. "Oh great, another song." He thought.

As the entire congregation stood, they began to sing.

He simply stays there. Unmoving, and uncaring.

Besides, it wasn't him in that coffin.

Boredom overcomes him. He looks around once again. The wax drips from the candle, onto the shiny white fabric draped around him.



He watches the small pile of wax harden, and begin to form a twisting, lumpy form.

As it builds and grows, he watches, and it takes a human like shape.

"It looks like something I know." He thinks. Then he realizes. The Scream.

Have you ever seen that painting? The Scream? That, pale, twisted, contorted figure, with his dark eyes wide open? He stares endlessly into whatever mundane object he's placed in front of.
This man can relate. He has no choice but to stare at what he's placed in front of.

Now, the unending sea of faces, tears, and false sadness ahead him. Trapped behind glass, unmoving, unable to will his way out.

He's been trapped here for what seems like days. And he has no choice but to stare ahead with blank eyes, lest he let himself  be consumed by the darkness waiting for him, and everyone else. So he chooses to stare, and stare at whatever  lies ahead.

He confines to stare. Unaffected, unmoved, disinterested.

Then something, well, someone, catches his eye. "Gene." He hissed to himself. "That little shit is the reason we're all here." He thought to himself, silently cursing the man who caused this.

All this sorrow and hurt.

And his boredom.

"We wouldn't have been here if he had been more careful. " he thinks. That single footstep out of formation ultimately cost him, and half of his squadron to be thrown across that open field. Some of them were lucky. They landed clear of any more mines. A few were disintegrated upon landing, other lost arms, or legs. He however, lost the lower half of his body.

Did you know that a human can live for several minutes after losing their lower body?
Well neither did he until he experienced it.

Apparently, the lucky ones bleed out in a few seconds.

"Looking back, I think the only reason I survived was that somehow, my femoral artery wasn't severed. "He pondered.

Then began his long time of staring . He couldn't move his head, but he could see everything. " I sat there, in agonizing pain, watching as my friends exploded around me." He spat, his anger and spite fueled by this memory.

Thomas had lost a leg, but was dragging himself back to the rest of the squadron when he hit a mine. *boom* No more Thomas. Marco lost an arm and some shoulder, but was making his way to the group, when he fell,

He assumes Marco passed out, and bam half of his face was blown away. Bye Marco. Dean, John, and the Isaiah also met their end due to some more mines. They were the ones who just blew apart, the lucky bastards. “The best part of all of it? Well, while they were getting blown apart,little bits and pieces of my friends spattered across him. A little bit of Marco landed on my cheek,I could feel Thomas’ shattered bones pelting his torso. John, Dean and Isaiah were basically vaporized,

So he wound up looking like an all- red Jackson Pollack painting. It was great.” he thought. After the rest of his friends finished dying, he finally stopped breathing, and fell over. *boom* he had rolled into a mine. The only pieces of him they were able to recover was his left hand, and his dog tags.

"Of course, the only one near me who survived was Gene." He said in a venomous tone.
"That little chickenshit should have died too. He finished at the bottom of the class. The smallest, weakest, most scared kid I'd ever come across." He cursed. "Now, I finished top of the class, with the highest  physical score, second highest tactical score, and the third highest intelligence.So of course, they put me with this little kid." He thought, rolling his eyes.  "The little shit bumped into me, and cause my foot to step off of the designated path, then boom he screwed us all over. " he said, his words thick with emotion. Since he absorbed most of the blast, Gene just got thrown off his feet.

Now Gene is sitting in the very back of the church, alone, with silent tears on his face, as if he knows what he did. "I hope he feels like crap." The man on the alter thinks.

The ceremony ends, finally. The lines of people leave the church, and his coffin is lifted.

"I don't know why they bother doing all this." He thinks. "All that's in the coffin is my hand. And not even my right hand. The left. The one I never used or cared about."

He supposes that that's the reason he can't drift more than a few feet away from the dog tags in the picture frame. His photo was left in the church  while they buried the coffin, but he could feel it.
His lone hand grew colder and colder, as more chilled,  November earth was thrown onto his coffin.
Contrary to what most think, you can actually feel everything that happens to your body after death.

He could feel the scavengers picking at his rib cage, the hairs pulled from his head to be used in birds nests, all of it. "I feel bad for whatever unlucky bastards get their asses
toasted." He chuckled to himself, glad him family had decided against it.

After the ceremony, his mother comes back for him. Lifting the frame, she wraps it in a shawl, plunging him into darkness. "Well great" he thinks.

He is taken home, and finds himself placed on a mantle.

"Shit." He thinks.

He's placed facing that painting he had previously reflected on. The Scream.

Two people, trapped to forever stare ahead, face to face, unable to change their fates.

There will be no rest for him. No heaven. No hell. No purgatory, or just darkness. Just the living room he was so familiar with.

100 years later, he sits in the mud, buried by years of disinterest.

No one remembers him but him, and no one ever will again.

So he stares, an unwilling passenger on the ride that took him down paths he never asked to go on, waiting for a new wave to sweep him along.

The formatting was done by me so if there are any problems with that, I would be the one to blame. Feel free to leave some criticism because I will be passing the feedback on to her. 


  1. Excellent story! I read it twice, I liked it so much.

  2. Thanks for sharing, it's very well written, if sad.

  3. I liked this story thank you for sharing it


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