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Flash Fiction Friday | The Theater

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’m starting a new challenge for myself this week. Flash Fiction Friday. I will post a 500 word (there’s the ‘f’ again, can’t lose with alliteration) flash fiction piece on the blog each Friday.

This weeks idea comes from Chuck Wendig’s blog: Right vs. Wrong. I hope you enjoy.

Salem stood at the door of the abandoned theater. The people walking by flowed around him, though no one saw him or looked at him.

He tugged at the cloth covering his empty left eye socket. It had been empty so long that he didn’t even remember what it was like to see with two eyes. But the cloth still bothered him. He ran his fingers through his bright red hair which always stood on end, like candle-flame.

He looked at the door, reading what lay beyond. Layer after layer of posters had been posted and pulled down from the doors over the years, leaving a mosaic of past entertainment that was impossible to discern.

He opened the door.

An old man stood inside the ticket booth. Thick round spectacles made his eyes huge saucers of cloudy blue.

Salem walked up to the ticket booth.

“I have nothing…” Before he could finish the saucer eyes blinked hugely.

“Go on in.” Said the old man. His voice dusty parchment. “You’re always welcome here.”

Salem bowed his head in thanks and went inside the theater.

An old movie, black and white, something Salem had seen lifetimes ago, but couldn’t remember the name of, flickered on the screen. The theater wasn’t full but it wasn’t empty either.

Towards the front, he saw who he was looking for. The rough haired boy practically glowed. Salem reached up reflexively with his left hand to the massive sword strapped to his back. He hoped he wouldn’t have to use it.

He made his way down to the row behind the boy. The seat directly behind him was empty. Salem sat down quietly, then leaned up and placed a light hand on the boy’s shoulder. He closed his eyes.

Visions assaulted Salem’s senses. A visual and aural cacophony that only he could see and hear. Two lives stretched out before the boy; one a life of pain for him and everyone he met, the other a life of service and hope. That one was dim, like the shadow of a shadow. The life of pain was almost too bright.

The boy already walked this path, though he didn’t know it.

Salem watched visions, looking for something, anything, that could change the boy’s path. His empty hand reached, again unconsciously, to the sword on his back, that would end the pain for countless lives.

Just as he was about to pull the sword free Salem saw something. Something dim. Would it be enough? It would have to be. He couldn’t bear the pain of the sword again.

Salem opened his eyes and pulled his hand from the boy’s shoulder. The boy didn’t even notice.

Salem reached down under the boy’s chair and grabbed the ratty backpack. He pulled a small leather book from inside, the boy’s diary, and pushed the bag back under the boy’s seat.

Salem leaned forward and whispered into the boy’s ear, “I’m sorry.”

When the boy turned around there was only emptiness behind him.


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