The Clearing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

They see their dead father in an empty clearing. Snow is falling.

I see my father in the snow. In its cold and subtle embrace he is held, frozen in time. The flakes melt on my skin; on his, they settle and build, like grains of sand in an hourglass. He holds a gun to his shoulder. He is speaking to me.

‘Never before,’ he says, his mouth unmoving yet still I hear the words, ‘and never again.’ He is far away, at the edge of the clearing. His voice is as loud in my ears as it would be if he were standing beside me.

I step forwards through the long grass, my feet crunching in the snow that lays thick on the ground. My father watches me approach him. He does not blink.

My love is lost on him. I try to pour it from my palms but it dissipates from my skin, like the snow. In his eye I see my reflection. The pain that pools in the corners of my mouth; the happiness caught like dewdrops in my eyelashes.

‘Never before,’ he says. ‘Never before.’

I reach him. I reach out to him. I reach out and my fingertips brush only air. In the stillness of the falling snow, I hear a gunshot. It rips me apart, and I fly.


Submitted: July 13, 2014

© Copyright 2021 tinylilbug. All rights reserved.

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Short Story / Literary Fiction