Flash Fiction: The Dwelling. A Ghostly Tale by LJ Frank

Credit: Anon

Each morning I rise conscious of where I dwell.

The dwelling in which I live enables me to express my nature –  post-modern furnishings, books, candles, red wine, a well-stocked pantry, a refrigerator filled with organic foods and frozen wild fish.

The dwelling serves as an inspiration during my Muse-less moments. College teaching funds my dwelling and the meaning to exist, sprinkled with irregular moments of pleasure.

7:30 A.M. I walked to the door of my dwelling. Prior to closing and locking the door, I glanced back at the piles of books stacked on tables, on the floor and  make-shift shelves. A corked half-filled bottle of fine red wine sat on the butcher block island next to a few large scented candles and an ankle bracelet with symbols attached was left next to the bottle. She vanished sometime during the night. Without the bracelet how would I know she wasn’t a vision?

I walked to my car through a thick mist crawling over the deep waters across the way. A single sound of a sea gull could be heard.

As I turned the key to ignite the engine my mind flashed back to the previous night’s embrace.  She quoted Rainer Maria Rilke during the warmth of a moment, “I want to know those secret things or else be alone.”  She then observed something rather odd about my dwelling and ambiguous spirit. I forget her exact words or what I said in reply. My mind was somewhere else.

It was a busy day at the college. My education philosophy entails one of cooperation, not competition. No one failed my courses. I actually wanted to know how a student thought more than what they thought. I’m eccentric that way. I never think of students as empty vessels waiting to be filled.

Time serves as a metaphor of flight when busy. Driving home I made a mental list of what to cook while imagining sipping the remaining fine wine and reviewing student essays on my computer.

As I pulled on to the driveway a mist like drizzle was beginning to shroud the landscape.

“Strange,” I said as I detected a flash of light inside my dwelling. I blinked. I shook my head as if to clear my eyes and head. Nothing. Darkness.

I turned the key in the lock. Opening the door I switched on a light.

“Oh, God!” I uttered, knowing man invented the word to describe a being no one has ever seen, according to St. John. God is a useful noun, even in doubt.

My dwelling was empty. Everything was gone. My books, the wine, the candles, the bracelet, the furnishings. Nothing was there. I looked in my refrigerator and the pantry. Empty. The bedroom and the bathroom were bare. Even my used toothpaste tube and toothbrush were missing.  I checked the closets. Empty! My dwelling was hollow! 

“Fuck!” I yelled as I walked back through my naked dwelling to the front door and checked the number on the door. I was in the right place. My key fit the lock. And the door was locked until I turned the key to open it. “What happened? Did I cross into another dimension? Is it a matter of mere theft?” I talked to myself. The thief(s) would’ve needed a small truck and the obvious key or mechanical device as the lock wasn’t broken.

Should I call the police? “Never call the police!” A colleague once chided me. “If you need help in this city call a fireman or a taxi and your insurance agent but then your rates will increase.”

“Shit!” I looked at my cellular. Dead. “Did I forget to recharge it?”

It’d been a somewhat dry season until the passionate interlude last night. I try not to forget details like a charged cellular phone. My existence is constructed around details. I impress that idea on my students, like where we leave things, physically and mentally.

“I’ve got an electrical recharge cord in my car,” I said. I wondered if my neighbors witnessed anything. “Damn!” No one was home on either side.

I walked to my car and was about to open the door when I felt long fingers on my shoulder. Startled,  I turned around. “Oh Jesus! It’s you!”

“It’s me.” There was a slight glow in her eyes.

“What…I?”

“Sorry…about the disruption.”

“Disruption?’

“I have a surprise for you,” she leaned towards me, her lips parted.

“A surprise?” I asked incredulously noting the cool wetness of her lips on mine.

“Think of it as a gift…for the sake of your soul,” she whispered.