2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emergence

The coffee was a special blend of Arabica with some spices that I'd gotten as part of the settlement of my gran's estate. When I first tried it I had a warm feeling all over and a vivid dream of my last… you know.

In order to explore the effect, I put a small pot on at work and gave espresso cups of it to some of my best customers. Mary was a bit upset for some reason and Ted turned beet red, but the others just sort of quietly smiled.

Then there was Jack. When he sipped it a hand reached out of his chest and started fiddling with the buttons on his shirt. A second sip brought a second hand. The female hands, small and delicate, were kneading and tugging to reach through his shirt. Finally they splayed themselves on his chest and started pulling, as though the person behind them were climbing.

Jack started shaking and staring down at himself. He reached out to push the coffee cup away but instead somehow picked it up and drank it. He tried to spit the coffee out but ended up choking and then swallowing most of it. The hands on his chest kept pulling and a set of feathery white wings began emerging from his torso. After that came the crown of a head with long brown hair.

By then everyone was staring. Jack fell backwards from his chair and started trying to push the apparition back into himself. It wasn't working. Inch by struggling inch the creature dragged itself out of him. Jack was still grabbing at it, sobbing 'No' repeatedly in a low voice.

It was a girl with wings. She was about ten years old with freshly-scrubbed skin and wearing just a tee-shirt. There were finger-mark bruises around her neck. A thin trail of blood trickled down her leg. She looked around the room with soulless, measuring eyes. When I got a good look at her face I blanched. I'd been seeing that same face on the side of milk cartons for the past week.

Jack lay on the floor whimpering. She floated above him staring down, all traces of little-girl innocence long banished.

"Mister Jack, you were right when you said last night that I’d come back as an angel. But angels aren't all sweetness and light."

He screamed.

"Don't be afraid of me, Mister Jack. I'm not here to hurt you. I'm just here to talk. I just want to tell these nice people that me and all the others are under the big flagstone in your back yard. You know, the one that looks heavy but actually moves."

As the girl faded away, two of the regulars, guys who'd often shown me pictures of their little girls, moved toward Jack.