27 Jan 2018 – Emptiness

Scott Summers365 Stories, General Fiction

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Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash


He’s an unassuming figure.  Casually dressed.  Glasses.  Hands in pockets.  Thoughtful smirk plastered on his face as he contemplates a greater meaning in life.  He strikes an pose when he stares out at the unknown universe and asks questions he never expects and answer to.  Looking at him, you wouldn’t know that he’s already lived through two wars — once as a victim, another as a soldier.

He just doesn’t have that air about him, you know?  There no violence lingering in those fingers, no ice in that blood.  Maybe that’s more unsettling, overall.  Hard to say.  He carries a bag now, not a gun, and his hair is longer than it was back in the days where he sought glory on the battlefield.  Or maybe it was vengeance.

It’s hard to tell, even harder to ask.

Those days are past him now, part of him surely, veiled deep beneath the fragmented waters of human personality.  They’re in there somewhere, lurking just beneath the surface.   That’s the beauty of the human spirit, isn’t it?  Fragmented and whole, all the same.  Capable of greater good and greater evils, as the old saying goes.

Or maybe it isn’t.  Hard to say.

A woman approaches.  Blonde.  She’s young and out of place on the cold sand, that place where the ocean meets the earth.  She doesn’t have the shoes for it, much less the patience to see the beauty of it.  She’s not here because she wants to be, and that’s a fact as clear as a sunrise.

“Baby,” she says to him.

He flinches at the name but doesn’t turn.  “Don’t call me that.  You shouldn’t be here.”

“Sorry,” she says.  “I’m just worried about you.  You only come out here when something’s bothering you.”

“Just thinking.”

“You can tell me anything, you know.”

She waits, expectant, but it was never his plan to mutter a word.  There’s so much she doesn’t know and he’s of no mind to tell her the truth.  This relationship won’t last long.  They both know it, though they’re too afraid to admit it.

“Come on,” he says.  “Let’s go back inside.”

“You sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine,” he lies and turns away from the shore.

He casts a final glance into the oncoming night.  The truth is out there, he thinks, somewhere in that vast emptiness.  Maybe one day, it will find him.

Right now, though, it feels as if its a world away.