Written in the same comic universe as Stardust and Wildlight, the following short story is more of a writing exercise than anything else. Feedback is always welcome, and I do hope you get some enjoyment out of it. If you prefer to listen to an audio reading of the short story, you may do so by downloading the MP3 here.
He stood there, holding a candle. Surrounded by nearly a dozen people in the small church, Bill listened to the pastor give the eulogy as everyone looked upon the body of his brother.
None knew what caused his brother’s death. They discovered the body in the apartment, yesterday. The police found no cuts or bruises. No evidence of foul play. A body, found in the middle of the floor. A man, barely so, of only 20 years found dead, spontaneously, on the floor.
Normally, such a suspicious death would draw the attention of the Department of Special Forces. Why hadn’t they sent someone to investigate? Did they not have a division dedicated to just that task? Perhaps they were backed up. Perhaps they did not care. No one mourns the death of a young man from the inner city, and of no repute, these days. No matter. He had his own way of looking into the matter. He just needed a moment and a touch.
Bill looked around. His mother was here. A couple of his distant relatives. A few people he did not recognize quietly comforted one another. He never did a great job keeping up with his brother’s acquaintances.
The pastor droned on about green pastures or something. Neither Bill or his brother were very “spiritual”. Perhaps the second time in his life he walked into a church of his own volition, he saw very little value in the fantasies they sold to people. His mother, on the other hand, always pressured him to learn about God and the Bible. All her efforts only seemed to push him away from doing so.
The melting wax from the candle was beginning to pile up on the little piece of cardboard surrounding it, threatening to spill over. If the pastor did not wrap up his message soon, this would get messy. As if on cue, he mumbled a prayer and everyone blew them out. Finally. Everyone lined up for the final viewing. Finally, with any luck, he would get his chance.
His mother went before him. A strong woman, she wiped away only a single tear, perhaps two. She would not cry, at least, not in front of others. That would come later, in private. After what seemed an eternity, she stepped away.
Bill stepped up. Now was the time. Bill had only used his “gift” a couple of times in the past. When his father passed due to an ‘accident’ at work, Bill could see what caused it because his father saw right before he died. A far cry from the alleged ‘equipment malfunction’ originally reported, Bill saw two men wielding a lead pipe used to bludgeon him in the head. The old man owed some money to the mens’ boss.
Bill guessed that they were just supposed to rough him up. After all, dead men cannot pay their debts. He began to formulate plans to find the men, track them down, and exact his own revenge. Two days later, the men turned up in a nearby alley, dead. Someone beat him to it, probably their boss.
Lost in that memory, he hesitated, but only for a moment. A single touch would tell him everything, as long as his brother saw his murderer before death. A brief glimpse into his memories would tell him…
Bill’s eyes widened. He saw a man and a woman in trench coats standing in front of his brother. One of them had a badge just under their coat. The woman’s eyes glowed. Without even raising a hand, his brother laid down on the floor and closed his eyes.
He knew that man and that woman. He saw them before. In fact, they were there, in the church, with him. The Department of Special Forces Investigation Division did not respond to requests to investigate his brother’s death, because two of their own caused it. And now, they stood just a few feet back, waiting, for him.
He took a few steps back, as he began to break out in a cold sweat. He could run nowhere. Nothing he could say could get him out of this situation. Who knew what powers these two had? He could feel their icy stares piercing the back of his head. Like a fly caught in the spider’s web, he was trapped. He could do nothing now, but wait for the pastor to finish.