Flash Fiction: A Wagnerian Overture

Source. Pexels. Maria Orlova, Photographer

by LJ Frank

It was a late autumn afternoon. The sun was descending into a yellow red inflamed blue sky.

The man and the woman sat across from each other on worn leather love seats, separated by a weathered oak coffee table situated on a large rectangular Persian rug. The furnishings were leavings from a once enchanted but now forgotten memory. An oversized impressionist painting hung on a far wall that was otherwise bare. The title of the painting was “Love and Redemption.”

“What is the meaning of the day without a little romantic suspense?” John asked.

Emma appeared puzzled. “Shall we begin by asking what was that you placed in my drink? And why are you turning the lights down every few days?” 

“What are you talking about.”

“Please don’t chide me, I saw the Hitchcock movie Gaslight with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman.”

“Congratulations! So, you think I’m trying to make you think you’re losing your mind?”

“Well, are you?”

“You mean lighting candles and dimming the lights every few nights and pouring a couple shots of brandy in your glass? Good grief.”

“Little things add up.”

“You have a delightful imagination. And you do seem to be hard of hearing of late, and more forgetful of things I communicate to you.”

“Perhaps those things you talk about are no longer worth listening to. And my memory is fine, thank you very much.”

“Let’s not be querulous.”

“Querulous? Fatigued is a more appropriate word. What…do you expect with your constant needling?”

“Needling? I asked once where you go every night for three hours without sharing the content of your mysterious business meetings?” He then took a sip of his drink.

“And you are implying what?” She asked sipping from her glass.

“I guess we have an imbalance of…” John began coughing and started to lean over…

The doorbell rang.

It was her Intern. “Thank you for coming. He’s in the living room lying on the floor.”

“Did he know?”

“I doubt it. Reverse psychology.”

 “Is he still alive?”

“I don’t know. You need to check.”

The intern and Emma looked towards John. His eyes seemed to follow them. As they approached, his mouth opened, his lips moved, his voice uttered, “love and redemption, my darling.” He then took his last breath.

Emma felt a tightening sensation, grabbed her chest and collapsed to the floor.

The Intern knelt and felt her pulse. It was fading fast. He then dialed a number on his cellular phone.

“Hello?” A woman asked.

“Yeah, both of them,” the Intern said.