BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL a short story from Dell Sweet

BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL

Blackness Of The Soul is copyright 2015 Dell Sweet. All rights reserved.

This short story is used with permission. If you would like to share this short story please point those you wish to share it with to this blog page. This material may not be copied electronically or digitally and or distributed without the publishers express permission. Permission is granted to use short excerpts in critiques. The publisher of record for this work is independAntwriters. The copyright holder, Wendell Sweet retains all rights foreign and domestic to this work.


BLACKNESS OF THE SOUL © 2014 Paul Block all rights reserved


This material is copyright protected as noted and is used with permission.

This material is NOT edited for content


Blackness Of The Soul

ONE

Paul Brown settled the barrel of the nine Millimeter pistol against his left palm, curled his hand around it as if to hold it forever, and then released it finger by finger. A sob escaped his throat and a fat tear drop rolled down his left cheek and splashed against the butt of the pistols grip where the clip protruded slightly. He took his free hand, wiped the tear away and then reached for the beer that sat beside him.

He raised the can to his mouth, drank deeply, and then continued to stare at the black pistol that rested in his right hand. Once again his left hand closed around the barrel, but lightly. Stroking it. Caressing it. He fished a cigarette from the pack beside him on the floor, thumbed the wheel of his old Zippo and pulled the harsh tobacco smoke into his lungs.

The smoke, or the beer, or both seemed to calm him, at least momentarily. His chest hitched, but he stifled the sob this time. The sobs frightened him more than the gun. The sobs came on their own and there seemed to be no way to fight or stop them. They were a life unto themselves. The gun on the other hand only had to speak once. And technically he would never hear it.

Probably never hear it,” he whispered into the semi darkness of the living room. He had pulled the curtains on the outside world. Blocked it away from him.

Probably never hear it. He wondered about the truth of the statement for what seemed to be an excessive amount of time to him, caught himself, and took another deep drink of the cold beer followed by a near frenzied pull from the cigarette. He waited on the sob, hoping to catch it, but it came when he didn’t expect it. A flood of tears came with it, falling from his eyes, staining his reddened cheeks before he could think to try to stop it.

“Oh, God,” he moaned. He sucked in a deep breath, lifted the pistol to his mouth and bumped the barrel across his teeth and into his mouth.

Everything seemed to freeze. The taste of oiled metal flooded his mouth He gagged, and then nearly squeezed the trigger too hard because of it. Panicked, he ripped the gun from his mouth tearing open his upper lip on the gun site as he did.

He was breathing hard. He needed to calm down. The tears just continued to fall. His cheeks felt raw. His eyes full of sand. His head began to pound harder. It had begun to pound earlier. He thought about that too. No more headaches. None. No more worries. No more anything at all. He sighed and returned the gun to his lips. He could taste the oil and metal once more, mixed with the blood from the torn lip.

His lips did not seem to want to part. He eased the gun away, took a deep drag off the cigarette, his breath shuddered in and out. He tipped the can and took a deep drink to rinse his mouth of the tastes that had made him gag, then upended the can and drained it. He reached over and pulled another beer from the bag on the carpeted floor, took another deep drink to rinse the tastes from his mouth and then lit a new cigarette from the butt of the old one. He dropped the old butt into the freshly emptied can beside him. He pulled the smoke deeply into his lungs and then let it drift from his nose as he slowly exhaled, trying to calm himself. If he could only think this out, his mind jabbered. He took another deep drink from the can.

In a way it would be nice to sit down and think this through, but in another way he didn’t care if he ever had another thought in his life. He didn’t want to take the time to think it out at all. He had made up his mind earlier. In a few minutes, when he finished the cigarette and the beer he’d do it.

He didn’t want to die with a lit cigarette in his mouth and burn down the house. Anne had to live here… Well, maybe not, but even so she’d have to sell it or something… If she didn’t lose it…

He pulled hard on the cigarette as if rushing it to its end so he could rush his own end. He took a deep drink from the beer and felt the headache ease back a little.

He could feel the buzz from the beer. Maybe it would knock down the headache after all. Either way the headache was not long for this world, he decided.

Calm seemed to come over him all at once. The sob that he had been waiting for didn’t come. His chest didn’t hitch. His cheeks still felt irritated, his eyes full of sand, his mind weary and removed from him to a degree, but the hysteria he had been sure was going to grab him didn’t make another appearance.

Through the curtains he could see the late afternoon sunlight: Still gold in the sky. Heating up his part of the south. There was no noise except the steady rumble of the air conditioner. Whatever heat the sun held was lost on him today.

He pulled on the cigarette, noticed that it was all but dead and dropped it into the can with the last one. He upended the beer can and drained it. He waited, expecting the sobs to come back, but the calm remained. He sighed once, was surprised to find that the gun was only inches from his lips, opened his mouth and slid the barrel in. The hysteria stayed at bay. He adjusted the barrel so it would be more comfortable, sighed at the absurdity of that thought, and then squinted his eyes down as his finger tightened on the trigger.

TWO

“How do you feel, Paul?”

Paul blinked and tried to look around him. He found that it was not entirely possible. He couldn’t really turn around to where the voice had come from no matter how he tried.

“It doesn’t matter though,” the same voice said.

And it didn’t. It became completely unimportant right then. Just like that.

“How do you feel?”

“I’m pretty upset. I…” He stopped. He had been pretty upset, but he wasn’t now. Now he felt… Well, at peace.

“That’s good, Paul. You should feel at peace.”

“It feels good,” he said. It seemed entirely normal that whoever was behind him could read his mind… Am I dead?

“I wanted to talk to you about how you got here, Paul.”

“How?”

“How.”

The time spun out.

“I stole about… I guess I don’t even know how much… I kept stealing and it kept adding up. And I knew they’d catch it… And they did… My boss must have called the cops,“ Paul said.

“Actually the company accountant… But I meant how you got here… To this point.”

“I… … I don’t know what you mean.”

“To kill yourself, Paul. I mean how did you get to this point where you decided to kill yourself… Take your own life… How did you reach that point, Paul?”

“Oh… I thought about it… I…” He stopped and thought about it. “I see… It’s just tough to understand… I don’t really know exactly… Are you God?”

“Do you think of me as God?”

Paul thought about it. “I think I do… I think so… I believe you are God.”

“Then I am.”

“You are? … Really? You really are God?”

“I really am, Paul…”

His voice was soft. Reassuring.

“I… I thought you would sound different… I… Am I dead?”

“No… Not yet… You have some little time left… I thought, since you asked, that before you do something that will change everything we should talk.”

Paul nodded. “I prayed… Earlier I prayed.”

“I know… You know, Paul, people sometimes think I don’t listen to prayer anymore… If I ever did. They tell themselves that and then they begin to believe it. I do listen though. I do. Every prayer. Every time. Do you believe that, Paul?”

“I do… I mean, I do now. I do know that now. I’m ashamed to say that.”

“Don’t be. There is no shame here. You are used to saying words that really don’t mean anything true. They are there, you say them… In this case you say that you are ashamed when you are not ashamed.”

Paul examined himself. “You’re right… I don’t feel ashamed. I feel good still. At peace.”

“So how did you get here. How did you come to be here? Who told you that suicide was a solution?”

“I… It was painful… My wife will leave me. We’ll lose everything… The kids… I can’t imagine what the kids will do… Feel… It seemed… It seemed right.”

“Did it?”

Paul thought about it. “Maybe not… It felt like the only choice I had.”

“Yet you called out to me. Why?”

“Because… Because, I used to believe in you… I…”

He laughed. “And I am still here. Did you think I had died? Did you think I had stopped believing in you?”

“Some people think so… That you died.”

“You?”

“No… I guess the truth is I just stopped believing… I believed in other things… Taxes… Bills… Mortgage payments… Summer… Fall…”

“The things you see every day.”

“That’s a good way to put it.”

“I have a way with words.”

Paul laughed and then stopped. “I thought maybe that was a joke.”

”It was… Do you wish you had not stopped believing? Do you see how things could have been different?”

“I can see that now, but what good is it after the fact? I pulled the trigger… I remember that.”

“Did you? I think you asked me to help… Sometimes I help in unexpected ways… Thomas needed to see… To place his hand in my side… Peter needed to see me risen… Sometimes my people ask me for help and then don’t recognize the help when it comes.”

“Like now?”

“Like now, yes. It’s time to think. To breath… To make a decision… A different decision.”

“Then what?” Paul asked.

“Then? … What comes, comes… I know what it is to live. I have felt what you feel. Struggled with the same temptations. We take it as it comes to us, Paul.”

“So the problems would still be there?”

“Yes.”

“That’s help?” Paul asked.

“I will help you all that you will allow.”

Paul thought about it and realized it was true.

“So… How did you end up here?”

“I guess I just walked away… I guess I chose to do that.”

You still choose words that are untrue. Do you guess or do you know?”

“I know. I walked away.”

“You know, it’s a split second decision… Many times if you take the time to think you can get through whatever comes at you.”

Paul nodded, took a deep breath. “I see.”

THREE

The finger stopped. He remembered something… Something…

Summer. A thousand years ago it seemed… Anne… When they had first met… The picture in his mind was so perfect, so intense. So real, and a flood of images followed it… But… There had been something else there for a moment, hadn’t there? He had been focusing on the trigger… The pressure… And there had been something else there… Just for a moment… It seemed so. It seemed as though he had been ready to pull the trigger and… And someone…

He pulled the barrel from his mouth and sucked in a deep breath. Whatever it might have been it was gone now. The sobbing came back with the fresh air. The pistol slid from his hand and fell to the carpet with a soft clunk. He lowered his head into his hands and let the tears take over…


I hope you enjoyed Dell’s story and thanks to him for letting us reprint it here. You can get more short stories from the collection this story came from, Mister Bob at iTunes: Mister Bob

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A basic trip to Walmart…

It basically went like this: Mom said … “Hey, I’m leaving for Walmart in a few minutes.”

I thought ‘HUH?’ But I said, “Um, okay, give me a sec. and I will stop what I am doing and we will go.”

This is how my mother goes to Walmart. I asked if she had told me in advance and she said… “Yes, I told you I was going Monday,” and the sad thing is she actually might have…

So we went to Walmart, the home of screaming children, rude adults, and all the sarcastic people you could ever want to meet in one place at one time. Several little unsupervised children were playing tag in the aisles. Screaming, almost knocking stuff over. I saw no parents. Store employees were actually shaking their heads.

Then several store employees were restocking and blocking whole aisles. And so when you come down the aisle whoever was ahead of you is glaring at you like “You better not try to cut the line!” Meanwhile whoever turned down the aisle behind you is running into you, and you are thinking, damn, if I were Sly Stallone I could just machine gun these… Never mind…

So, I did not injure anyone. Great restraint on my part. Instead I used my eyes and killed them where they stood. Super Man would have been proud, or any other Super Hero that can kill people with their eyes; not truly sure that Superman can do that.

Anywho…, then Mom sent me with a list of stuff to get. Got it and found mom had disappeared. I suspected Ben Linus may have had something to do with it. Searched the entire store and just as I was about to admit defeat and have her paged I found her. I think that implies I would never have admitted defeat. Then I thought, ‘how on earth are we going to escape this island?’ Then I realized I was not a character on LOST and gathered it in.

Didn’t kill any of the rude people that cut mom off (An eighty plus year old woman in an electric cart), slammed into my cart and made it to the checkout only to have a lady pull in behind me and start placing things on the conveyor belt… I thought &*^%$##@@$%^ but of course I didn’t say &*^%$##@@$%^. Instead I looked at mom and she wheeled ahead to let me get the cart ahead of her. Arrggg.

Then I tried to leave the checkout and a lady slammed into me and glared at me. I thought, Wow, is it open season on stupid housewives? But no, it wasn’t, so again I let that one pass, collected mom and we managed to make it all the way back to the car without further incident…

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Author Dell Sweet at iTunes: Check out these books

Crime Time, new crime fiction from Dell Sweet

Crime Time

Dell Sweet

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Crime Time is a collection of nine crime stories from author Dell Sweet. From short stories to near novel length…
… When a man tells you he has the moral flexibility to include murder in his life if he deems it necessary this is probably not a man you should be hanging out with.
Jeff Johnson had reminded himself of this fact about Robert Biel more than once, yet every day he found himself hanging around, giving him lifts to do job searches, parole, where ever he needed to go: Even hanging around with him at night…
Nine stories that are hard edged, entertaining and good, fast rides into the darkness that is the criminal’s world…
… In the last few days she had decided a few things. First: Dello was a killer. She knew that. It was how he made a living. It wouldn’t be hard to kill her, she supposed. She knew that sounded unreasonable, probably was wildly unreasonable, but she couldn’t get it out of her head. What if they were over and suppose he needed her gone because she knew too much. Way too much. What would he do, tell her it’s over and show her the door? She didn’t believe it. What she did believe, what had gotten into her head, was that he would take her somewhere and kill her…
Unforgettable characters and places. A gritty world from Sweet’s mind where anything can and usually does happen…
… Too late, I thought as I realized I had left the machine pistol lying on the front seat instead of keeping it in my right hand where it should have been. I could hear the sound of a machine pistol behind me as the Mexican opened up. I did what I could. I aimed the truck at the two men; levered the door-handle and prepared to jump just as the windshield hit by several of the rounds fired by the two men was blown inward: My world faded to black…


eBook: Get a free Preview right now!  Paperback: Check out the Paperback