A Brutal Thought – Fiction, Short Story.

Fiction- A Brutal Thought
Written by -M. Taggart
copyright 2017

A Brutal Thought

‘Did you see that? He’s on the back deck. He leaned over the railing and puked blood. It was all over his t-shirt too.’ Mona said. ‘I’m serious.’

They drove further and she no longer could see the man standing on the deck. ‘Should we go back? Or call someone?’

‘Call who? He did it to himself. All that booze he drinks.’ Eric said.

‘Even if he is a drunk he might be a good person.’ Mona said.

‘All he does is sit inside. Each day. He does nothing. I don’t know what kind of man does that. Rachel says he stands in front of his windows early in the morning, naked with the lights on, hoping someone sees him. Fuck that guy. I hope he pukes blood. I hope he kills himself.’ Eric said.

**

Pete leaned away from the window. He could hear a car coming. He lived on a dead end street. He was working with his shirt off. He was writing a marketing campaign and he’d just finished the first draft. He liked to work near the window. When his eyes became irritated from the screen he’d look from the screen to the woods and back again. Making his pupils adjust. Then he’d blink rapidly.

A neighbor once drove by and looked into the window of his office just as he stood from his desk. It was 5 am and dark outside. His office light had been on. Just as he stood, his neighbor, Rachel, drove by his office window. He wore only briefs. On that morning he couldn’t sleep. He’d been up late testing a new product and wanted to finish the process.

The car passing by was Joe. Joe wouldn’t care if his shirt was on or off. Joe knew he worked his ass off. Joe had once asked what he did for employment. He liked when someone asked. He felt to assume was a human condition making the race less intelligent on a daily schedule. When Joe had asked, he’d taken his phone out of his pocket and showed him exactly what he did. ‘You think of that shit?’ asked Joe. ‘Yup. I do.’ Joe drove through and gave a quick honk. He could see Joe’s hand waving over the roof of his car.

It was late afternoon. There was a breeze that moved the leaves around nicely and there were huge puffy clouds to look at. He wanted to be outside. He wanted to celebrate his new client and to cheers the afternoon sun. Every day he promised himself to find something to celebrate. A new idea, a good conversation, a line from Hemingway that shredded his being to the core; or for being alive and watching a cloud formation float overhead knowing it’d never been seen before and will never be seen again. He tossed a white t-shirt on and walked to the kitchen to begin his transition from work, to life on the deck with a beer and a book.

The beer was very dark. It was nearly thick. It was a strong porter. He poured the porter quickly into a frosted mug that had been in the freezer. The head was an inch thick. Watching the foam shrink and lower he poured the remaining beer from the bottle to his mug. The deck and the sun begged him to join them. Though of course wood and sunshine can’t speak, not normally. But they do, in fact, they do. Especially if you’re able to listen, he thought.

He pulled the sliding glass door open and stepped onto the deck. The beer sloshed and foamed up. He had tripped slightly and now wore a bit of beer on his t-shirt. ‘Adds to the moment’, he thought. He took a pull of beer, which was mostly foam, and leaned over the deck railing to spit it out. He noticed Eric and Mona’s vehicle passing by. Mona’s eyes flashed in his direction. He wanted to wave, but they were gone too quickly. He hoped they’d had a nice day.

**

Interested in reading another?

Halloween Story!

I wrote this short story two years ago. If you enjoy Halloween, you may like this story. Halloween is my favorite holiday. Cheers!

Written by M. Taggart 10/17/14

Fiction: A Halloween style tale.

Copyright 2014 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

Bodies in the Basement

It was a crisp, damp, October night.

“When we get to the Church I’ll go down first.” Colin was thinking of the moment when both he and Aaron would be standing at the top of the basement stairs peering down into the darkness.

The old stone Church was perched at the top of the largest hill on the prep school’s campus. Colin’s parents were professors at the school and their house was on campus grounds. They’d been waiting for Colin’s parents to fall asleep upstairs.  Both boys were comfortable in their sleeping bags on the screened in porch. The lights had been turned out an hour ago and Colin felt it was time to slip into the night.

They unzipped their sleeping bags without noise. Colin gave Aaron an understanding nod of his head. Aaron opened the porch door slowly, so as not to make it squeak. They’d snuck out at night a number of times and both knew the routine.

Once down the porch steps, and into the bushes on the far end of the lawn, they found their beaten down footpath leading to the Church. Crickets were busy sounding off.

***Read the rest via the original story link below.

https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/bodies-in-the-basement-a-short-story/

Flash Fiction -The Thought of Summer

Fiction: The Thought of Summer
Written by -M. Taggart
Copyright 2016

The Thought of Summer

 

The barn was dank. Inside the bull’s stall was worse. It was dark and he’d left the lamp at the house. He couldn’t always see what he was digging his shovel into, but it didn’t matter it was all the same.

His friends were in the ravine. He imagined Nick fishing in the large pool near the road and Pete walking barefoot further downstream. Pete wouldn’t be fishing, he’d most likely look for bait and return what he scavenged to Nick. Nick would catch a few trout and gut them there on the road. Then he’d wrap the trout in tin foil and put them in his pocket and head for home, or he’d put them under a rock in the brook to stay cool.

The bull’s waste smelled ripe. He didn’t mind the smell. He didn’t mind working the stall. He’d do this for his grandfather every time it needed to be done. He only thought of the ravine because it was the first day of school break. He remember telling his grandfather he’d clear the stall, but he wasn’t sure why he’d selected the first day of break. He knew Nick and Pete would be waiting for him. He’d forgotten to tell them he wouldn’t be there. It wasn’t a problem, other than that he’d forgotten to tell them and that didn’t feel right to him. He should have told them.

He dug his shovel deep into the manure and let it stand on his own. He walked out of the dark stall and into the open area where hay was stacked before being lifting into the loft. The sunlight, coming from the open barn door, looked as clean as anything he’d seen. It cut through the shadows of the barn and brought with it a smell of fresh air. Outside, he squinted his eyes hard. He could hear the chickadees talking back and forth and crows cawing just as they took flight from a large oak.

He noticed the wind playing with the leaves on the oak. The leaves were flipped over forcefully. Then all leaves on every tree were flipped and pushed in the same direction. The wind picked up dust from the corn field and come toward him. He looked from the leaves, to the corn field, back to the trees. Just behind the row of oak, maple, and pines was the entry to the ravine.

The first clap of thunder was so loud he ducked and then squatted covering his head. The sky became black and purple. He wasn’t sure when it had happened, but it had and now it was. A strap of lightening struck the oak the crows had flown from. A large branch crashed its way down into the ravine. He crawled to the barn. Rain was mixed with hail and had beaten him in the few short feet he made his way through the field on his stomach back to the barn. He was drenched and covered in mud. He felt his body running into the barn but his mind wanted to know about Nick and Pet. He thought he had seen tops of trees flying through the air. He’d never seen anything like that and he wasn’t sure.

And now he hunkered in the same stall he’d been working in. He’d made a small indent in the manure which was not level with the rest of the floor and he felt safest there, with his face in bull waste. He felt the need to pull the manure over him like a blanket. His ears popped. He could feel the barn moaning. It creaked loudly and he heard what sounded like a portion of the barn roof ripping away. He covered his neck and breathed the moist air and tried to pin himself as deep as possible into his small sanctuary.

What of Nick and Pete, he thought. The storm raged and they were in the ravine. He’d seen the lightening hit the oak. And seen pieces of trees in the air. If he had told them he’d be working in the stall they wouldn’t have gone to the ravine to wait for him today. They always meet on the first day and now this. He promised himself to never forget how he felt. To always remember. But, would they have still gone? Maybe, he thought. None of that matters though, he told himself. Because now he’s stuck to the thought of it and that can’t go away, not matter what. He created this, the thought of it, the remembering and now he’s here in the stall waiting.

 

******

For my self published shorty story please click the link below.

The Noble Seagull – Flash Fiction

Written by M. Taggart

Fiction:  This short story is much about unconscious societal behavior.

Copyright 2015 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

The Noble Seagull

The sand was hottest when his feet left the shelter of his beach towel.  He placed his toes in the sand to feel its sting.  The sun was high and bruising.  His mother had lathered him with sunscreen lotion.  He smelled like a hospital room.  His mother was sitting in a beach chair next to him.  She was on her phone talking to her sister.  Her voice arched upward when needing to alert her sister just how much she understood.

He watched a grey and white seagull walk toward a bag of chips not far from him.  The bag was left open by a family that had gone to swim and be in the waves.  The seagull had a large puffed-out chest and dark flecks of color around its eyes.  It was a large bird.  He liked the bird and noticed the size of its webbed feet.  Its feet look very sure of each step even if its eyes did not.  He wanted to ask his mother what seagull feet were called but she was still on the phone.

Now other seagulls were flying overhead and squawking at the one below.  He watched as they circled and then dove down.  His bird flapped its wings at the approaching competition.  It was as though he were watching a dance.  Though, he knew this dance wasn’t an ordinary dance.  If the family came back, they’d surely chase the seagull away and he wouldn’t eat the chips.  If another bird pushed him away then his bird would need to find another bag and start the process over.  Just now his bird strained his neck and opened his large wings while he pulled a number of chips from the bag.  The seagull snapped at the chips and they were quickly gone.  Its darting eyes now found a number of his brethren had landed near him and were coming closer with agitated motions.

The boy looked from the mass of seagulls surrounding the bag of chips to other families lying on spread out blankets and beach chairs.  Each family had brought food.  Some of the food was kept cool in plastic coolers with ice in them.  Others brought food in plastic bags that didn’t need to be cooled.  Near the sand dunes were overflowing metal trash barrels.  Seagulls were pulling at the plastic bags to break rotting food loose.  People ran and jumped into the ocean and smiled while splashing one another.  Fathers asked daughters to come out deeper where the big waves were.  Mothers dared their sons to pick up seaweed and wear it on their heads.  The seagulls walked and flew in between them all.

His seagull flapped its wings and charged another while squawking then dashed quickly back and clasped the end of the bag then lifted; each remaining chip now lay in the sand.  A great chorus of squealing birds erupted.  The boy thought he read sadness in the bird’s eyes. A strong sea wind flipped a number of the noble seagull’s feathers backward.  The onslaught was too much for any one bird to defend.  He snatched a few large chips and took flight.  He watched the seagull soar into the air and wanted to know where it would go.  He thought the bird flew with dignity and he hoped he would live a long life and not become too cold during winter.   The bird flew near the overflowing metal trash barrels and then over the top of the wooden steps leading to the beach bathrooms and then was gone.

A thrashing took place over the upturned bag of chips.  Only a few oily crumbs were left in the sand.  The birds fought over the empty bag.

‘Get out of here!  Nasty sky-rats!’ his mother shouted.  She held her phone away as not to yell loudly in her sister’s ear.  ‘Honey, those are nasty birds.  They are scum.  Get up and chase them away.’ His mother went back to talking with her sister.  She hadn’t known he made a new friend.  She didn’t realize he thought his bird was noble and walked with sure steps.  He didn’t ask what the seagulls webbed feet were called.

 

(Note: I’m considering a second chapter.  Feedback would be appreciated.)

If you enjoyed this short story you might also enjoy my self published short story found via the link below.

Bodies in the Basement – A Short Story

Written by M. Taggart 10/17/14

Fiction: A Halloween style tale.

Copyright 2014 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

Bodies in the Basement

It was a crisp, damp, October night.

“When we get to the Church I’ll go down first.” Colin was thinking of the moment when both he and Aaron would be standing at the top of the basement stairs peering down into the darkness.

The old stone Church was perched at the top of the largest hill on the prep school’s campus. Colin’s parents were professors at the school and their house was on campus grounds. They’d been waiting for Colin’s parents to fall asleep upstairs.  Both boys were comfortable in their sleeping bags on the screened in porch. The lights had been turned out an hour ago and Colin felt it was time to slip into the night.

They unzipped their sleeping bags without noise. Colin gave Aaron an understanding nod of his head. Aaron opened the porch door slowly, so as not to make it squeak. They’d snuck out at night a number of times and both knew the routine.

Once down the porch steps, and into the bushes on the far end of the lawn, they found their beaten down footpath leading to the Church. Crickets were busy sounding off.

“I heard Ben saw the baby in the jar.” Said Aaron.

“He didn’t. He’s just saying he did. Ben would be too afraid to sneak in. He’d never do it. Besides, the doors of the science building are locked at night.”

“They weren’t when we snuck in.”

“That was different. I knew which window to climb through.” Said Colin.

The moon was large. Its brilliant glow could be seen from beneath each cloud. The grass was soaked with mildew; moisture reached out and touched the boy’s jeans. The smell of dirt from the footpath filled their lungs. Each step bringing them nearer to their true intentions; learning if there was a morgue in the basement of the Church. Rumors swirled endlessly amongst them at school. Some said the Church had a morgue and that it was haunted. Others said the Church didn’t have a morgue and that Sunday school classes were held in the basement.

For a brief moment the night sky broke open with moonlight. Colin looked at Aaron and wondered why Aaron was smiling. He could see the dark space between Aaron’s two front teeth.

“Look how fast the clouds are moving,” said Colin.

“I like them.  They look crazy. Do you think we can get in?” asked Aaron.

“Yes.  They don’t lock the Church.”

“Why not? Ain’t they worried someone will steal something?”

“My dad says people never steal from the Church. Besides, sometimes people are there at night praying. I’ve been inside late at night and saw the Priest standing in front of the pipe organ, touching the keys.  He was staring at them and his lips were moving.”

“What was he saying?”

“I don’t know, he looked very serious. I left.”

Looking up the hill at the Church, Aaron approached Colin slowly. “Do you ever feel as though you can run faster in this?”

“In what?”

“In the night. An October night.  I feel as though I can run faster than anyone and that nothing can catch me.” Said Aaron.

“Maybe you’ll need to run tonight?  What will you do if we find the morgue?  I might open one, just to be sure.”

“I’ll open one.  I’m not scared.  I’d even look at a body if there was one to see.”

“I don’t know about that.” Said Colin.

“We both looked at the baby in the jar.”

“That was different. It was in a jar in the science building.”

Colin’s hands felt clammy. He rubbed them on his jeans. He knew Aaron meant it. He’d open and look. The darkness had taken over the trail leading back to his home and he felt an uneasiness in his gut.

“You O.K?” Asked Aaron.

“Yea.  I’m alright.”

They walked without talking and covered much of the distance left between themselves and the Church.  Grass grew as tall as their shoulders on each side of the path. Aaron touched the top of the grass with his fingertips. He liked the feeling of the small droplets of water sticking to him. He wondered if they’d find the morgue. He thought about how the bodies would by lying there still and alone.

 

Chapter Two-   Down We Go

 

Colin stood outside the Church. He raised his hand to the door knob and asked, “Are you sure you want to go in?”

“What? Are you scared?”

“I’m not scared.”

“You seem scared.  Like when April wanted to kiss you in the hallway at school, outside the library, before Mr. S was able to see.”

“Nu-ah, I wasn’t scared then either.  It’s that she’s going into seventh grade next year and she’ll forget all about me and I don’t know.”

Aaron pushed past Colin, leaned his forehead against the door and twisted the knob. The Church smelled of old hard wood floors that had been swept and polished constantly. The pews waited patiently for the boys to seat themselves.

The boys had entered silently through a door at the back the Church. “Did you notice the Church is empty?” Asked Colin in a hushed voice.

The interior of the Church wasn’t unlike most in New England. Wooden floors, tall ceilings, and beautiful stained glass windows depicting Christ, God and angels. The pipe organ was at the front of the Church, past the line of pews. They walked with ease. Two dim lights were left on at the head of the Church.

Aaron, now standing at the Priest’s pulpit, tried to imagine what the Church might feel like when full.  Did many people pray? Did they sing?

A floor board popped in the silence, making an odd echo. “What do you think happens when you die?” Asked Aaron.

“I think we go to Heaven.”

“Yea, but, how do you know?”

“It’s not that I know, it’s that I believe. I have faith.”

Aaron left the pulpit, walked down the center aisle, and sat down in a pew. He wondered what faith was and how it worked. Colin was always sure of things, but he wasn’t. He knew what he saw.

“Let’s open the basement door and see what’s to see.” Said Colin.

“Let’s.” Replied Aaron.

The wooden door leading to the basement was thick and etched with Latin phrases. “What do you think it says?” Asked Aaron.

“I don’t know. Maybe it says keep out?”

“Come on. Are you getting scared? Do you want to back out?”

“I’m not backing out. Let’s go.”

“You said you wanted to go first. Go ahead.”

Colin opened the heavy door.  A rush of dank air flew from the basement and through them completely.

“You smell that?” Asked Aaron.

“I couldn’t miss it. That was horrid.”

“You going down first, like you said?”

Colin paused then stepped down. Again, his stomach turned sour.  Feeling the inside of the stairwell’s wall, he found a switch.  Light sprang from his fingers moment of inspiration, lighting their way to the unforgiven. The boys flung themselves down the stairs without care.

The stairs lead them to an open room with a metal table and a chalk board. ‘Don’t forget to Pray’ was written on the board. On the table were a number of Bibles. The Bibles were spaced out for children to read. The seats were small with wooden backs and metal frames. Aaron imagined the children following along with their catechist, but not reading. Maybe one or two would have a question, but most would look forward to being outside, he thought.

Colin was thumbing through a filing cabinet that was pressed neatly against the wall. On the far side of the room was another door. “See, it’s just a classroom.” Said Colin.

“I guess. I wonder what that door leads too.” Said Aaron, pointing.

“Probably another room just like this.” Colin ran toward the door and flung it open.

The room was very dark.  Enough light was streaming through the doorway to show a long line of cabinets built into the walls. Colin froze. Aaron, now by Colin’s side, let out a small whistle. “What the hell is that?” Aaron asked while stepping inside. Colin followed and wasn’t completely sure. It was difficult to see, but it seemed as though the room was filled with metal cabinets with handles. The room didn’t have windows. It felt cold and silent.

Aaron crossed the room, felt one of the metal handles and said, “I wonder if this is it? I wonder if there’s a body in here.”

The lights went out. Chaos took over.  Each moment was a moment too long. Shuffling feet and grunting took over the room. They were in complete darkness. “Let’s get the hell out of here!” Colin yelled.

Aaron didn’t reply, he was sure he could find his way out. He thought it was like being at the bottom of the ravine at night. He knew there was a way, but he couldn’t always see the path.

Colin felt the room start to spin. He thought he’d found the way out, but was fooled. The air around him felt heavy. Sick to his stomach he doubled over, vomited, and sank to the floor.

“Colin, are you alright? I can’t see a damn thing.”

“I’m fine. Just dizzy. This darkness got to me. I don’t know where the doorway is.”

“Me neither.  But I think I’ll find it soon.  If you can, follow me.” Aaron said.  He heard feet scuffing toward him. As he felt along the wall, he touched numerous handles, all metal. He knew what they were. He’d lost interest in opening one. The wall was cold and the room smelled rancid. Slowly he moved feeling his way through the darkness. He was sure the doorway was only a short distance from him. He could feel that Colin had found him. He could feel Colin’s hand nearly pushing him from behind. Colin’s hand felt wet with vomit on his back. Give me a minute, he thought. I’ll find the way out.

Creeping along, feeling another metal handle, another line in the cold wall, and then, an open cabinet.  Aaron paused, remembering there hadn’t been an open cabinet when they entered the room. “Colin. We need to go.” He strained to hear Colin’s response. He felt a whisper near his ear. The hair on the back of his neck bristled.

“You’re telling me.” Colin replied from the middle of the room. He hadn’t gotten up from where he’d been sick. “You find the doorway yet?” He asked.

A chilling breeze made its way down Aaron’s neck, then back. Aaron slammed the cabinet shut and rushed forward. “There’s something in here; something touched me.”

“What?” Said Colin, as he scrambled to his feet. He heard the tension in Aaron’s voice and knew something had happened. He thought he’d heard something close shut near Aaron. “What was that noise?”

Aaron’s mind raced.  What had opened the cabinet? What was behind him? “I slammed one shut. Don’t, let’s not talk about it. Let’s get the hell out!” Aaron fumbled his way, as fast as he could, while still feeling the wall.

Finally, a hinge and the doorway. Aaron ran past the table with the Bibles and sprinted up the basement stairs and nearly flew out of the Church. Panting and running he didn’t slow his pace until he was at the bottom of the steep hill, at the edge of the footpath.  Colin was behind him. Colin hung on his knees searching for his breath.  Both could smell Colin’s sickness.

The sky broke open with moonlight. They could see one another easily.

Colin stopped breathing between his knees and stood up. “What happened?”

“I’m not sure.”

“You said something was in there. What was in there?”

“I don’t know. Something touched my back, I thought it was you.” Aaron turned as if to show Colin, “I felt something wet.” He pulled at his shirt and tried to look while showing his back to Colin.

“Take it off! Take your shirt off!” Colin started pulling at Aaron’s shirt, ripping the shirt up and over Aaron’s head and chucked to the ground. “There’s something on it.” Colin said. Colin started to kick at the shirt, trying to spread it for Aaron to see.

Aaron picked the shirt up, held it in front of him, and then let it drop back to the ground. “What in the hell is that supposed to mean?” There was an outline of a large wet hand on the back of his shirt. Under the outline was the same message that was written on the basement door.

The boys looked up the hill at the Church. The door they had fled from was closed. “Did you close the door?” Asked Aaron.

“I don’t know.”

The clouds covered the moon. It was terribly dark. They heard the Church door creak open.

 

 

Story notes: The prep school campus, science building, church and footpath are all factual. The rumors of a morgue located in the basement of the Church, did float around our elementary school. The story of the boy’s adventure, fiction. The morgue in the Church basement… –M. Taggart.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like to read ‘Don’t Be A Sally- Based on True Events’ a self-published short story found on amazon and in your iBook store.

Don’t Be A Sally on amazon: