The Ink Chase Serial appears below, after Paid in Full
Paid in Full
by Roy Dorman
Somebody’s coming up the front walk. Maybe it’s him. He said he’d let me know when everything was set to go.
“Groceries, Mrs. Mason. I’m putting your groceries on the porch. If you could send a check for a couple of hundred dollars to the store that would take care of things for a couple of months. Well…thank you. Hope you’re doing okay. Well…bye.”
Groceries! Damn, I don’t need any more groceries. Wait a minute, here comes two more. Maybe one of them is him.
“Hello, Mrs. Mason, are you in there? No mail for you today. I’ll put a stamp on this outgoing piece for you, but maybe you could leave a couple of dollars in an envelope for future outgoing. Thanks. Are you okay? Haven’t seen you in awhile. Well…bye.”
No you haven’t seen me in awhile because I’m shut of whatever goes on outside this door. It’s dirty, noisy, and most of the people out there are either crazy or headed that way.
“Mrs. Mason? It’s me, Ted Johnson, from Lakeside Funeral Parlor. I said I’d stop by when your paid-up funerals were paid-in-full. Well, your last check has been applied and you’re good to go. Oops, I’m sorry, bad choice of words. I’m really sorry. Well, anyhow, everything is all set. Would you like me to come in? No…I guess not. Well, hope to see you soon, Mrs. Mason. Oh damn, I did it again. I’m sorry, Mrs. Mason. Well…bye.”
You may see the daughter who hasn’t visited me in over ten years when she gets the letter that just went out, but you won’t see me anytime soon. Now that the parade of nosey parkers has passed, I’m going to put those groceries away and blow this pop stand.
Later, as she finished packing her single suitcase in the bedroom, she said goodbye to her husband who was sitting in an old wing-backed chair in the corner.
Harold, you’ve really been such a dear sitting there for the last two months while I got everything ready. There was a time when I didn’t think I could live without you. Now I think I can; at least I’m going to give it a try. Well…bye.
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Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published recently in Theme of Absence, Flash Fiction Press, Drunk Monkeys, Birds Piled Loosely, Black Petals, Shotgun Honey, Near To The Knuckle, Cheapjack Pulp, The Creativity Webzine, and Yellow Mama.
The Ink Chase
A Serial in eight parts
At dusk it grew cool. After Diane moved inside the house, I took to my road. The jog helped clear my head and forget the bleakness of my charge.
At the forest edge my feet hesitated, but I decided to press ahead. It was time to end the chase and face my stalker. In the dense grove, where dark foliage interweaved in one unbroken gable of leaves, under whose sleeping eaves even the shadows dared not stray, where a million dragonfly wings stirred in the moonless haze, such a piteous weeping, such a creeping murmur, and such a demented choir of wailing bullfrogs possessed the bog that I was chilled through and through with a nameless fear. I halted. I turned.
A few feet behind me floated from head to toe a protean, tangled mass of misty hair. My throat went dry and I stood transfixed. It waited to see if would flee, but seeing me determined to stay my ground, it retreated a few steps and then waited. It seemed it expected me to follow it and follow I did. It led me deep into the woods and my feet began to sink in the quickening sand. We had reached the edge of the tidal swamp and dark pools formed everywhere. Tired grey trees hoisted stark forms in the hazy sky. Blackened mud-logged roots thrust from the turgid waters. Killer vines bent trees in their tenacious grip, and bright white swamp lilies and scarlet hibiscuses lay scattered about tree trunks like precious garlands. I followed the ghoul to a giant Bunyan grove looming above the foggy swamp. Its trunk was parted to reveal a black hollow. The ghoul waited by its entrance. I saw I really had no choice if I wanted to end this. I ducked and entered the black cave.
A strange green glow on the giant trunk, which rose all around me like a dungeon well, revealed a staircase that seemed to wind down to the rank bowels of earth. I went down it, clinging to the trunk for support. Soon I came upon the landing and a vast clearance beyond. An eerie black-blue dome seemed to illuminate the field, and I faced a giant, crooked, castle-like structure, much like a Halloween spooky house sketched by a diabolical mind. I pushed open the door that had been left ajar to enter a vast living room. A few, effervescent, pale glowy candles lit up the dim hall. I blinked, trying to adjust to the semidarkness.
I jumped at a voice that suddenly came from the far corner, addressing me.
“Welcome, Governor David Barry.”
To be continued