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The Blade or the Betrayal

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The Blade or the Betrayal Empty The Blade or the Betrayal

Post  mikeschultz on Thu Jan 26 2012, 14:17

Hurrying home from his part-time bookstore job, Shawn Curran watches the image of a man approach through the storm. Blowing snow dimmed and haloed the lamps of the street posts, and Shawn could just make out the darkness of the man’s clothing against the near nighttime whiteout of the storm. The man staggered, his head bowed against the icy wind. Shawn hugged to his chest an 1838 first edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s only completed novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, and moved to the right side of the walk to give the stranger a wide berth, but just as they are about to pass one another, the man slips and falls. Instantly, Shawn forgets his fear and caution; he stops and turns to help.

The man reaches up, so Shawn steps forward and leans down and attempts to pull the man up, but instead the man pulls him down, and suddenly Shawn hears a childish giggle and feels a terrific blow just below his left ribcage. A burning pain stabs deep into his chest. The man pulls Shawn’s face to his and looks closely. He smiles. “Shh,” he makes the hushing sound with a forefinger to his lips, adding, “Don’t move, and it won’t hurt so badly. Listen, you only have a few moments left, and I want to ask you something. Which hurts worse, the blade or the betrayal?”

The man went through Shawn’s clothing like a practiced thief, and found the book. “Edgar Allan Poe,” the man scoffed, “Well that’s what I call ironic. And Sport, it doesn’t get more perverse than this, so I’ll dedicate the memory of killing you to Poe’s Imp. ‘And quothe the raven, Never More.’” He tossed the book onto Shawn’s bloodstained chest and walked off, whistling, back into the storm.

*
300-word Flash Fiction Exercise for Pen & Quill Meeting of May 21, 2008

Michael E. Schultz © April 17, 2008, Crooksville, Ohio

mikeschultz
mikeschultz

Posts : 503
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Join date : 2011-11-11
Age : 65
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