Flash Fiction: Soul & Grime


Time rends from space and his flesh comes untwisted from his bones. It’s no spark of life igniting from nothing, but a thread from a void that obeys no realm, suddenly stitching where it should be at rest. Each hollow moment that comes swallows Roland — the body that was Roland — obliterating the one before and any memory of it.

What is this? He is taken back to the questions beginning over and over, dashed into the splatter of the thoughts neverending, never begun.

It is a pull. The buried damned warm around him. The warming becomes a sound: a choir whose voices hum from deep in hot, sick bellies. The song of the dead begins vibration in his cells — wakes them out of inertia and into numbness.

No. He feels — feels, he can feel — black gravedirt wrapped, suffocating, around him. Uncommanded movement makes the prison constrict hard around, into him. Sour earth has claimed him — covered his bones and collapsed through decomposed flesh into his brains, his guts, his lungs — and holds strong, but the pull defies sense, space, and will. This unifies his body. Heavy, corrupted sorcery strangles his belly, his throat, his groin and tears open the wound of his grave.

A hand — not his, not his, it cannot be — grasps in violent search, closes on the brittle splinters of dead wood and waves of dirt landsliding into his burst casket. A drop of blood pelts from above, runs from the black and roiling sky into his mouth. His ragged sputter is more a rageful accusation at having lungs to feel than any bother from the soil lodged in his throat.

Both hands wrap around a hilt buried in his torso. Was this his death? His to relive?

His jaw moves without his control. Black dirt grinds out of his mouth when he speaks, a withered and furious rasp. “Who is it that denies the gods’ charity for the company of the dead?




This is a terrible and imprecise space.

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Tess McCary

Tess McCary

This is a terrible and imprecise space.

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