Absent

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story taking place in two timelines superimposed.

Submitted: February 26, 2020

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Submitted: February 26, 2020

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  "Sometimes we have to close our eyes to see God." The pastor grips my mother's hands tightly. His tearfully stoic expression is so convincing, it makes one want to believe that everything was going to be alright. But everything isn't alright. It hasn't been alright for three years and counting.


"Is your brother feeling well? I didn't see him in class today," Mr. Brawson said, stopping me in the hall. "I marked him absent."
"He's here," I said, shrugging, because I wasn't my brother's keeper.



The pastor turns to me. "God has chosen you, son. It is your job to help your family move on."
I suppose that is a kind enough way of saying, "You're still alive. Colton's not."


I fished out my phone and called my mom. "Hey, Mom. Did you pick Colton up from the bus yet? Was he on it?"
She sounded confused in reply. "The bus will be at the stop any minute now. Why wouldn't he be on it? Is something wrong?"
I didn't know anything was wrong at the time, so you can't blame me for my response. "Probably not."


"It won't be easy, but the Lord Almighty has a plan."
My mother nods repeatedly, tears in her eyes. "I trust my god."
She can trust her god. And I will trust mine. But my god isn't the one that took Colton away. That isn't my god.


A text message from Mom: Colton wasn't on the bus.
I didn't reply immediately.


The pastor bows his head in prayer, and I follow in suite. He began, "Dear Father in Heaven..."


Gone for several days now. The police were looking, but they didn't have any leads. Life at home was at a standstill. Aside from my mother's frantic tics and spontaneous sobbing, everyone was frozen in expectation. I don't know what we were expecting. Maybe Colton.


"In this time of trial..."


Even after the first year, we didn't give up hoping. We just hoped in different ways.


"...we turn to you..."


The second year was brutal. Would we even be able to recognize Colton? Kids his age change so fast.


"...and ask for strength..."


The third year was the end. The end of the searching. The hoping. The praying.


"...to say goodbye."


Colton was gone.


Colton is gone.


© Copyright 2020 logan weisberg. All rights reserved.

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