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Struggling to See the Light


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Struggling to See the Light

A Flash Fiction By: Jason Rimbaud

His lungs burned as he ran down the alley casting terrified glances over his shoulder every few steps. With each passing moment, the pain in his side intensified until he could no longer bear it and collapsed in a tired heap. Rolling over, he leaned against the brick wall and wiped the sweat from his eyes as he peered back down the alley, listening for any sounds of pursuit.

He pressed a hand to the wound in his side, and winced as blood seeped through his fingers. He could feel his life ooze slowly from his body and knew the end was approaching; the pain already subsiding as the blood pooled beneath him.

His mind, blurred by heroin and lack of sleep, struggled to comprehend between fantasy and reality.

Though only sixteen, he had no illusions about death. He learned long ago that life was seldom fair and for those that lived on the street, life was nothing but stalking demons.

Slumping forward, he began to cry.

And it wasn't the fact that he would die alone in some deserted alley that caused his tears to stream down his cheeks. But it was the realization that he would never get to see his brother again.

Had it only been a year since his father threw him out with a warning to never return? It felt like a lifetime ago, and in his present state, numb from the loss of blood, he thought back to that horrible night when his secret was thrust into the light. In his dementia, the scene played out again, his father bursting into the room, catching him bent over the side of the bed while some stranger thrust wildly into his body. He watched his father nearly beat the man to death before turning his hatred on his own son.

His brother had always been his best friend, and for a moment he wondered what would have happened that night if his brother had been at home instead of being away at college. But that thought quickly slipped away as pain caused him to cough uncontrollably.

So many times he had picked up a pay phone only to hang up before the first ring. How could he tell his brother that for the last year he had been selling his body for heroin?

Quickly, if not painfully, he learned to survive on the streets by first selling his body for shelter, then later for drugs until he existed in a world filled with pain, hunger, and an endless search for drugs. And all this he faced bravely, fighting day to day to preserve this tenuous grip on life.

Despite his religious upbringing, selling himself came easily. Especially when he realized that during the sex, he held all the power over his older companions. And for the first time in his life, he was the one in control, even if that control only lasted for an hour at a time.

There were times, brought on by the daze of drugs when he fantasized about facing his parents, to show them what he had become, to rub it in their faces. But the love for his brother stopped him. His greatest fear was that his older brother would find out the truth and disown him like his parents had so long ago. That thought alone stopped him from ever returning home long after there was a need to stay away.

Shifting his body till his legs were stretched out, he leaned his head back and stared up into the night sky. Looking into the haze above him, his eyes strained to see through the pollution and twinkling lights of the city.

For as long as he could remember, he would peer at the night sky and try to count the stars in the heavens. Knowing it was

impossible; he would lay there for hours and count himself to sleep.

As he lay there gripping to the last threads of life, staring at the night sky, he wondered once again if there really was a God up there that looked over humanity. An all seeing, all knowing being that loved humanity so much that he would die for them. In his short life, he had never seen evidence of that kind of love, but if he ever needed to believe, that time was now.

Gathering what remained of his strength, he lifted up his eyes, and said in a raspy voice, "Forgive me, I'm sorry."

As he took the last breath, the sky above him suddenly cleared and the last thing he saw on this earth was a single shining star. His face broke out in a smile and he shut his eyes for the last time.

I was reading Camy's blog and he mentioned that we should post something in Flash Fiction. So having nothing else to do, I decided to follow in his footsteps.

I sat down and wrote without stopping for an hour, just to see what my imagination could accomplish. And in the spirit of sparking creativity, there was no editing, no re-writing of any kind.

Long live flash fiction.

Jason

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I was reading Camy's blog and he mentioned that we should post something in Flash Fiction. So having nothing else to do, I decided to follow in his footsteps.

I sat down and wrote without stopping for an hour, just to see what my imagination could accomplish. And in the spirit of sparking creativity, there was no editing, no re-writing of any kind.

Long live flash fiction.

Jason

Bleak, dark, but with a glimmer of redemption. This is a wonderful piece, Jason.

Kudos in heaps.

Camy.

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Hey, Jason, great writing!

Not escapist, not entertaining or uplifting - but that wasn't what you were going for, was it?

This is powerful gritty stuff and packs a powerful punch. Work on those stomach muscles until you can take a punch to the gut (and have a six pack to die for), then read this!

Bruin

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Bleak, dark, but with a glimmer of redemption. This is a wonderful piece, Jason.

Kudos in heaps.

Camy.

Camy-

Upon a few reads, Struggling to See the Light is a bit dark, and I wonder why this particular tale poured out of my mind. But seeing this was a story without a plot or direction, I'm quite proud of the end result. Though I don't believe I'll ever post something without any editing or changing again.

Hey, Jason, great writing!

Not escapist, not entertaining or uplifting - but that wasn't what you were going for, was it?

This is powerful gritty stuff and packs a powerful punch. Work on those stomach muscles until you can take a punch to the gut (and have a six pack to die for), then read this!

Bruin

Bruin-

Wow, not entertaining, what a horrible thing to say to a fellow writer. :lol:

No worries, I understand what you were trying to say.

When I sat down to write this, I had no clue what I wanted to say. I had a vague idea, well at least I had a clear emotion I wanted to convey. Yet as the words poured out, I realized that I was describing a tale that had no real happy ending. The challenge for me, about half way through, was to find a way to give some kind of hope at the end, even if it was bittersweet. I think I succeeded in spades.

Superb!

Thanks Trab, praise from you is always jealousy horded.

You've got a lot of talent, Jason, and a good ear, and sound judgment. Well done.

C

Cole, you flatterer.

Thank you all, muchly

Jason

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I don't believe I'll ever post something without any editing or changing again.

Why not? It reads just fine without editing. I wouldn't have said it was in need of editing. If you can do this without editing, you can feel confident in showing us your work unedited. It's fine - don't sweat it!

Bruin :lol:

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Camy-

Upon a few reads, Struggling to See the Light is a bit dark, and I wonder why this particular tale poured out of my mind. But seeing this was a story without a plot or direction, I'm quite proud of the end result. Though I don't believe I'll ever post something without any editing or changing again.

You say: But seeing this was a story without a plot or direction, I'm quite proud of the end result. And so you should be proud. But I disagree heartily with: this was a story without a plot or direction. It had an vivid back story - assumed or not doesn't matter provided it's implied, and works.

Editing? It had a couple of raw bits you could have smoothed, but that wasn't the point. It took you an hour, and I for one am glad you didn't ponder every phrase as it would, more than likely, have lost its immediacy and raw power.

Camy

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I love the fact that you didn't look back while writing this. I think the story would have felt more calculated or shifted in purpose. Instead the emotions drift in a natural way and present a more honest sense of urgency and regret. The end is like a breath after diving too deep.

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