Aphelion Issue 290, Volume 27
December 2023 / January 2024
Long Fiction and Serials
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Flash Fiction
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by Simon Owens

Miserable truths and happy lies
Show forth their faces when my son dies.
A glint of chrome and tire smells burn
A twist of fate when the steering wheel turns
Flying through the windshield, a bird set free.
O son, where art thou? Bloody faces haunting me.
Cold and desolate, I'm a broken man
But the train moves forward, as long as the train thinks it can

Fears diminish and worries fade,
The pressure lessens and backs off the blade.
My son's dead eyes blink and close in time,
As my body ages, fleeing my prime.
But sleep inevitably ends, Angels sing:
So ends my blindness, so begin the strings.
Eyes alight, mouth open for sale,
A Stranger springs forth, pitching a dream--no--a haunted tale—

--a tale of princes, of greed, of power,
Strutting across castles, jumping from towers,
Depression embracing, empowering the crown.
The death of a queen, consequence of a menacing frown.
Guilt and regret, anger at lost life,
A royal husband setting out to bring back his wife.
Dying hopes, lighting a desire for breath
The strings exchange hands thoughtless of death.
Locking the door, closing without word,
Found dead the next day: hanging from the ceiling--hanging from a chord.

Six strings: beautiful golden strands.
Six strings: six strings exchanging hands.
Unknowing of how six strings will bring back life,
Unknowing of how six strings will remove a knife.
Goodbye stranger, sail on to the moon
Goodbye son, I'll be seeing you soon.

Preparations and half-found phrases
Lunatic rambles which feign my crazes.
Eyes wide open, ambition's lost cause
Tears hidden within my bleeding flaws,
But tears dry fast, and ambition can bloom.
I lock the door, dimming the lights of my room.
Six strings strummed soft and quick
Fire in my eyes lit by a candle wick.
Chords played fervently in a minor key
Gazing into a mirror, the tonic within me
Run by fear, and motorized by hope
Hung dangling by a lover's rope.
I lie in wait, searching for a lost son
Playing my strings, strumming one by one,
And for my patience, in endurance I wait
Working the strings to conquer fate.

From behind me erupts an impulsive sound
Knowing my beautiful baby boy I found,
Cooing my name, and holding my hands
Heaven he shows me--hills of picturesque lands.
Into the mirror, I watch and see
Knowing heaven's for the dead, heaven's not for me,
But "what if?" wanders and encircles my mind
New ideas peek out for me to find:
Is death so bad? Such a quick retreat?
My little boy calls me. Daddy, I got heaven to meet.
Then meet you shall, my swift reply
Bring on the knives, time comes to die.
Plunging and goring, stabbing my heart
The blade driven deep, my chest's red art
Painting red pictures across my pale skin.
Goodbye cruel world, God, you win
Blood drips slowly as my life quickly seeps
Leaving a world where children cry and mothers weep.
My baby boy smiles and beckons his hand:
It's time to leave Daddy, time for Heaven Land.
My son moving forward, leaving me to pursue
C'mon Daddy, Heaven's waiting for you!

Eyes blink, blue Heaven turns red
Gazing into the angels, and seeing dead
Legs issuing forth on stones of fire.
Is this not the Heaven I desire?
No, says my baby boy, my boy turning red,
Laughing as little horns jut from his head.
This ain't no Heaven, Daddy, this ain't no paradise.
This is where dreams die, where you lose the sunrise.
I tricked you Daddy, ain't that funny?
As his skin melts and eyes become runny.
Those cunning little teeth, those loathsome fangs.
A bloody screech from my mouth like the fat lady sang:
Realization and comprehension, light and dawn,
Hopes wither, shrivel, die, and are gone.
Like the wings of Icarus, I rose and fell.
I asked for Heaven, the strings gave me Hell.

© 2002 Simon Owens

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