It’s been a while since I last posted anything here, but grad school – especially after forgetting how to study – can be demanding, although rewarding nonetheless! I am delighted to share that my story ‘Comic Death’ was included by the talented and resourceful Tara Caribou in her anthology ‘Static Dreams Vol 1’.
You can find the links to the print and online version below to continue reading this story, as well as others which flatter and humble me to have my work included with theirs!
The window was open just enough to let in the cool air. The attic was empty save for the two people.
“How long will you continue sitting there brooding to yourself?”
“What else is there to do, Tony?”
“I don’t know, get a life maybe!”
I turned to look at Tony. He lowered his head and put his hand on his forehead. The ridiculousness of his suggestion embarrassed him more than it surprised and humoured me.
“You know that’s not possible,” I said. I moved my hand from under my chin and let my head drop. With no weight to hold it in place, my head dropped down. It was difficult to look at Tony from the position my head was in, but displaying my broken neck helped me make my point.
“Yeah, I know. My tongue gets the better of me sometimes. But you know what I mean. Being dead is not the end of the world!”
I raised my eyebrows and turned to him again. “Pray tell me what is then, Tony?!”
His bulky cheeks doubled in size as he held his breath.
“I just don’t like the fact that you spend all day and night sitting here by yourself. I can understand being indoors during the day because of the burning sunlight, but try and get some fresh air during the night. It’ll do you good!”
I turned swiftly towards him, which caused my head to drop to the side. Seeing Tony grimace at my haplessness only fueled my anger.
“How can it do me ‘good’, Tony? How can it do anyone good? We’re dead! I have a broken neck, and you have a hole in your chest! If you’ve forgotten that fact, just unbutton your shirt! But damn you to hell don’t utter such drivel again!”
Tony raised his arms in surrender. I buttoned my collar to let the weight inside it support my head. I could see that Tony wasn’t finished, and I didn’t want to continue holding on to my chin.
“I don’t want to upset you, my friend. I just want you to get out. You’ve been cooped up in here ever since you died a month ago.”
I was about to raise my voice but checked myself at the last moment. Getting riled up would only cause problems in handling my broken neck. I was still a long way from adjusting to my fatal handicap.
“Why should I leave this room? There’s no one to bother me here, and I like the view from the window.”
“Well, for starters, you’re scaring the living daylight out of the people who live in this house.”
“I don’t do that intentionally. It’s just that I hate it when they come up here to the attic. It’s completely empty, Tony, so why do they keep coming here time and again when they know something is haunting it?!”
“I don’t know. It is human nature, isn’t it? People try overcoming their fears by facing them. But I don’t want to go into that. I simply want you to get out of here for a change.”
“Give me one reason why.”
“There’s someone who wants to hear your story, the way you died. He likes to hear stories that are…you know, different.”
“You mean hilarious,” I said with a frown.
“I didn’t say that,” said Tony, raising his arms again.
“But it’s what you bloody well meant.”
“Alright, fine! He likes hearing tales of people dying in the most ridiculous manners. I believe he will love to hear yours.”
“Why can’t you tell him?”
“Telling the story will help you get over it. I happened to be passing through the house where you died so I know your story. You’ve never discussed it with anyone, and I understand it must be difficult for you. But unless you talk about it, you won’t be able to deal with it. Besides, he only allows the person himself to narrate the story.”
“Why should I care?”
Tony repeated the motion of stopping himself from saying something and pursing his lips, doubling his cheeks in size again. He then scratched the hole on his chest. The moonlight fell gracefully on him, and the large bullet wound tried its best to peek from under his shirt. I’d only seen it completely once. It was a most singular wound. He’d killed himself with a shotgun. The hole was so neat it looked like the work of a surgeon. I’d always loved bullet holes, having given a few of them to people myself. But Tony’s topped the lot. I had tried catching a glimpse of it on many occasions but had only seen it in bits.
I didn’t look at the wound for long, though. I knew Tony only ever touched it when he was about to say something uncomfortable. It didn’t happen often – although I’d only known him a month – but when it did, he always said something interesting.
“He’s known for giving people a chance at revenge.”
It became almost impossible to control the rage bursting through my body. My arms shook with seething anger when my killer’s face flashed in my mind. I’d never felt such fury in all my mortal life! It was an offer I just couldn’t refuse.
on Barnes and Noble
First posted on Agyani’s Stories