Flash Fiction: The Pleasure of an Absurdity or is it the Converse?  by LJ Frank

The Garden Path

We texted and sent photos of each other. We decided to meet. The evening before I was to arrive on campus, she asked questions about my health. I told her my tests were negative. She said hers were too. We seemed to agree on much about our lives.  Reality can feel surreal.

I was to meet her in front of an academic building in the afternoon where her office was located. However, she changed the location at the last minute to her place and sent directions. She lived in what she described as an unusual French country house a few miles from the university in a wooded area. The street’s name was simply, The Woods. Her house was located on a cul-de sac. Once at the end I called her.

“There’s a narrow asphalt drive, probably to your left. Take it until you reach a small parking area. You will also see a garden path. Walk the path back to my house.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. The front door is unlocked. Just walk in.”

As I approached the house, I noticed the large French-doors were ajar.  I entered noting there was no sound to the door movement. The somewhat rustic looking entrance was in stark contrast to the otherwise modern interior with a striking vase-like sculpture in the central hallway sitting on a platform and rising to the ceiling. The sculpture had what looked like Sanskrit calligraphy etched in the sides.  

“Hello.” I heard a woman’s sultry voice in the distance. “I’m Sinfonia, the person you’ve been chatting with on-line.”

“Hello. I must say this all feels a bit a…singular,” I replied.

“What were you expecting?” The voice asked.

“I’m not sure. Perhaps a real, physical, tangible being?” I asked.

She laughed. “I like your open-mindedness, politeness and peculiar sense of humor. That’s in part why I invited you here. You’re not just any man.”

“Well. That’s good to hear.” 

“Please do me a favor.”

“What’s that?”

“There’s a sculpture that you’re facing. Would you mind approaching it. And when you’re next to it please touch the middle of it with the palm of your hand, then wait for a few seconds.”

“Oh? Should I expect something magical?”

“Perhaps, perhaps not.”

“I see. Okay.” I approached the object, looked around and didn’t see anyone, and then proceeded to touch it…but then stopped for a second.

 “Is something wrong? You won’t be electrocuted, I promise.”

I looked around. Were there hidden cameras? A drop of perspiration slid down my forehead.  What was there to fear? It was just an object, so I touched it with the palm of my hand as requested.

It was then I noted the sculpture began to feel rather warm. It felt organic. I could feel an odd sensation throughout my body. I was about to let go when I felt a hot breath on my neck. I tuned quickly but no one was there. I looked down the hallway. Nothing. I took a deep breath, looked back at the sculpture when I felt a kissing sensation on my neck. I turned around again.

“It’s you?” I asked.

“Shh. Enjoy.” She whispered. “The Minister will be here shortly to perform the rites.”

“Rites?”