Some time ago (no idea when, too busy to look at file creation dates) I wrote a bit of flash fiction called “Paperwork” (also on Fictionaut) and this is a kind of prequel to that … more after the actual story …
Rayvon “Lil’ Ray” Carver woke up reluctantly, grumbling at the thin sliver of sunlight penetrating the slit between his dust-covered venetian blinds. He sat up slowly, scratching his shoulder and edging down one strap of his black wifebeater while stretching the other arm and yawning. His face was screwed up in a frustrated expression, still angry at the dream that left him now clenching his fists and glaring at them. He heard a distant sound, like a muffled bass kick from a speaker, but didn’t pay any attention to it.
Standing up, he pulled on a pair of jeans that lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, adjusting the belt so they hung low off his backside. He glanced around, taking note of the sticky-sweet smell in the air that was kind of like bacon, but not quite. He stepped over the sawed off shotgun laying on the threadbare tan carpet and walked out of his cluttered bedroom.
A gust of wind blew past him as he was about to pass the bathroom door, and he glanced in to see, with some surprise, that the window had been shattered. He looked down to see the crow, still twitching and bloody, that had flown through the glass at a speed that must have been impressive.
“… the f***?” Rayvon muttered. Then he heard the first scream — a high, gurgling sound that was equal parts pain and surprise — that he couldn’t have known would be one of a long series he’d hear that day.
Stepping over his nephew’s knock off Hot Wheels cars, he walked out into the living room to see that there was smoke blowing outside the plate glass living room window. His sister and her cornrowed husband were nowhere to be seen, and neither were the kids. The dining room chairs — a sad attempt at modernism with a gold-sheened metal curving around some dark brown cushioning — were all knocked down, as was the table, with a bowl of cereal on its face, milk and Cheerios scattered from the front door to the pale linoleum of the kitchen. The wooden front door hung just slightly ajar, and through the crack Rayvon could see the screen door (which, oddly, opened the opposite way of the door behind it) was hanging off one hinge.
Rayvon walked out into the courtyard of the building — a three floor complex in residential Hawthorne, complete with a security door that looked like it had fended off its share of desperate would-be intruders and a non-functional fountain with more dirt than water in it — and gasped when he saw her. Hovering several feet off the ground, closer to the railing for the second floor where the concrete stairs joined it, looking as beautiful as the day they’d put her coffin in the ground.
“Denisha …” Rayvon whispered. White billowy cloth, as translucent as the faux-Kente patterned rayon dress his mother had worn to Denisha’s funeral, fluttered around her as she seemed illuminated from some source that could not be determined.
Flanking her on either side were two indistinct figures, their heads covered in the same flowing white cloth, hands outstretched as they took note of him. One pointed as the other gestured, pleadingly and wordlessly, at Denisha. She turned to look down at him, her smile slow and warm like the childhood summer days he’d spent in South Haven, Mississippi.
“Lil’ Ray,” she said, her voice framed with the tinkling of crystals. “Where you been darlin?” Spreading her hands wide at the chaos, she continued, “We’ve been holding this moment for you.”
She gestured towards the street, and he looked through the thick glass to see SUVs and hatchback tossed aside like toys, fire and blood everywhere as bodies lay scattered amongst the chaos like forgotten toys.
Rayvon looked back up at Denisha, his mouth hanging open, uncomprehending.
Her smile widened as she said, “I told you your dreams would come true. I told you, your dreams would come true …”
With that, the muffled bass kicks started happening again, but they weren’t the rhythmic pounding of a sub-woofer, but the expression of explosions, coming ever closer …
The penultimate paragraph really makes me personally happy, and the dialogue of Denisha, of course, is taken from the Classixx remix of “Psychic City” by Yacht. Oh, here comes work, gotta run …
Playing (Music): “I Just Died In Your Arms” by Cutting Crewfictionaut, flash fiction, paperwork, prequel