5.9 after midnight

Friday flash inspired by true events and spiced with flavors of fiction!

5.9 after midnight

The earth roared again; a thunder escaped its core making the night tremble once more.

Kara shut her eyes and breathed in, trying to chase away the fear.

This was the fourth strong earthquake since midnight.

Just as before she immediately looked at her watch, checking the precise time when the quake hit, repeating it several times until it was memorized. 04:33 AM. Then she counted the minutes that had passed since the previous one. Knowing that the black grip in which the dark hours had caught the town will soon be over helped her stay sane.

Kara dragged her feet to the near chair dressed in red leather and sat down. Her knees were still shaky. Her foggy, tired gaze skipped along the bar in which she had taken refuge.

There were a dozen other people also desperate to find some shelter in the solid construction of the low building. Kara thought it such an irony for the place to be named “Paradise” when outside was such a hell.

In a moment of fallen silence from beyond the walls and shared quietness in the bar Kara was taken back to the first moment when the seemingly endless horror show struck. What she found most terrifying was the sound. It threw her back, deafened her thoughts, paralyzed her limbs. It pounded inside her body, confusing the rhythm of her heart. The experience was bound to stay for years, dug into the brain like a roman name is carved into an ancient stone, slowly crumbling but never actually fading.  Remaining there until she breathes.

But what freaked her out as well as amusing her was how the earthquake knocked three times before exploding and taking over the dreams of the citizens. As if the postman from down below had a message to deliver.

Some said the Devil and his demons were coming to claim the souls of people.

Some said God had sent this as a warning for the people to reconsider their lives.

Some said Mother Nature was paying back what the humans had done to her.

The golden truth laid somewhere in between.

Kara shivered. She didn’t want game in the plans of any Gods or Devils. Such punishment was far too extreme in her opinion.

Another car dashed down the street followed by others. She snapped from her dark thoughts and listened to their honks. Kara wondered, where were they hoping to go? Did some salvation wait for them far from the epicenter?

Someone hit the brakes, squeaky tires screamed, metal touched metal and a chain of crashing cars was created. A yelled “help” escaped into the mass panic and clashed with many other shouts.

No…Kara shook her head. There is no salvation from what man has no power over. Neither from his own mind filled with the fear and insanity this event had brought.

But still there was the question – where those running the fools, or the ones staying?

Had they figure out something yet unknown to the barricaded people?

Communication was cut off, lines were long ago down; the electricity only left a flickering bulb or two, here and there. Water gazers were washing the streets, concrete blocks still flying in the air. And the monster was soon to roar again. No one was going to come. To help. What point in staying?

Kara knew that. She understood. She also knew a stronger shake was coming. But mad or not she didn’t want to leave. Not only because this was her home, her memories, her everything. She knew the golden truth was soon to be revealed. Curiosity made her stay. Belief made her wait. Denial made her want to see. So she sat in her chair, staring into the ground, hugged in solitude, caressed by fear and whispered by Death.  She begged another pray for the day to come crawling faster and prove her knowledge wrong.

All was set for when the tenth knock comes from below. Then is the hour under which melody of thunders and concrete crying they come. Awake. To devour the sinful world.

Mystery man

Friday Flash! 

Come meet the

Mystery man

There used to be this man, this tramp who came around my neighborhood when I was a kid.

He used to just sit on the green bench we had placed next to the small garden silent and seemingly waiting. We, the children at that moment used to lose every interest in our previous games and just sat near him, staring into that mysterious man and his hazel eyes. Some of our parents seemed to know him but stood aside, just eying this intruder into their peaceful ordinary lives.

Unlike them we felt this stranger had answers so we asked him millions of questions, from the most ridiculous to the ordinary ones like what his name is and where he lives.

He never gave a straight reply; instead he started singing, then interrupting his own self he cheerfully proclaimed some quote be it from a writer, philosopher or musician. And somehow to us that seemed so reasonable and genuine that we didn’t bring our questions up again.

Soon before the day was over this figure with no name stood up and walked away following some path, a one the tramp can only know.

We resumed our games soon forgetting about him and during the night his image, the fact that he’d been there during the day slowly faded away from our minds as if he never had existed. A man without a story, without directions or a home, we thought can someone like this be even real?

But the morning came and so did he very real indeed, a tall slim man with various clothing, layer upon layer of colors, a dirty long hair tied in a tail and a dark brown beard.

Now the memory of him gets a bit more vivid – I remember him to be well spoken, even bright in his own peculiar way.

I may have tried to study his young face but don’t recall learning anything from it. Calm as always, not bothered by his looks, cheerfully answering our questions without actually giving a desired answer. Just like the days before.

Often we the children that were drawn by this persona wondered about the real man behind the mask of mystery. In our eyes he was never just a tramp, only a vagrant of the streets. No. We were able to picture him as an adventurer from some distant lands, or a time traveler lost in an unknown world far from his home. He could have been from the future, searching for someone to trust his knowledge to. If we followed him on his departure, every time just around the corner he would disappear without a trace, melt into some shadows, or be gone with the wind. I was convinced there is more about this man than what meets the eye.

The insecurity, uncertainty about him never frightened me or the others. Unlike every other grown up we knew this one seemed to hide something, maybe the biggest secret of them all? So we thought.

Now at some point this story about him was brought to us by some unfamiliar face. He didn’t know his name but only a part from the story of his life.

See the mystery man once was a boy with ambitions, which grew up to be a man highly educated, passionate about music, arts and literature, and with promises for a great future. He met a girl, falling deeply in love with her, offering not only his heart but his soul as well. Needles to say when he put everything aside for this chimera of beauty he did himself wrong. After some years she left him letting insanity take her place. Days and nights, weeks and months he couldn’t overcome his love and instead of that welcomed confusion, paranoia and total loss of identity in his life.

Then he lost everything else – house, job, money thus becoming our mysterious man.

The story seems fitting somehow doesn’t it – tragic with a plot to inspire songs or movies.

I remember not finding this “love” story satisfying enough and being courageous to go and ask my father if it was true. I was the first one to find out the truth.  Not my truth, but the one that life had chosen for this man.

He was once smart yes, but never that bright. He was a kid with mental issues which resulted in him being a homeless person. His mother had died several years ago living him all alone to follow only the decisions of his troubled mind. Still he remained without a name, but the story was confirmed by other well-respected adults.

Not a special person then. Not a mystery at all.

The next few days he didn’t come. In fact he hasn’t come around here for years now. I usually look out for him in the summer. That was the season in which he decided to linger here before leaving forever to a destination unknown. He never answered our questions, never told us his name. Or his true story. I don’t believe he actually though it mattered much.

And I don’t believe this story of painful love or this ugly truth about a man, whose mind forced him into living on the benches or frozen construction sides, collecting food from trash bins.

I decide to give my trust to my memories telling the story of a man who came to meet us, got to know us not revealing himself to anyone, and left before the summer was over taking away our answers. I believe he knew them all. He’ll always be a time traveler, an explorer, a vagrant from some other planet but never just a man with his mind astray from sense. Who knows, one day he may come back still this young and tell us the biggest secret, tell us of the future or what other worlds look like.  I hope I will be still here to meet him.