I dunno how long I’ve been here. Maybe a few weeks. It’s kinda hazy… Maybe longer. It’s hard to string two thoughts together, like I hit some quality pharm and woke up somewhere unfamiliar. But that ain’t what it is. I’m no junky. I just gotta think this through.
The light from out my window is brightened by the layer of fog that covers everything. I stare at the playground across the road. It’s so familiar, but I can’t connect it to anything—can’t even remember if it was there yesterday.
This place is dirty. An old man’s hovel, just a room to wait to die. I don’t wanna stay here, but I can’t think of anywhere else to go. The other residents are the same, just ghosts like me, looking for something, or just… waiting. Thinking about it makes me tired. Something happened, but I can’t remember.
The playground—empty, always empty—draws me back. I don’t wanna stay here. But I’d have to cross that playground to leave, and… Whatever’s on the other side. Obscured. It’s waiting, too. I fear whatever lies beyond, but the playground fills me with dread.
Flashes of light. I keep seeing them in my mind. Red light. Orange and blue. And red, shiny red on the frame of the swingset, black and bright white in the twilight. Black.
It’s the fog that drives me out. The thought of passing through doesn’t seem as bad as sitting and staring.
My heart’s in my mouth. The playground’s a wreck. There’re two kids. Not moving. The scene brings it all back.
Drunk. Speeding. The cops, man the cops. The impact. Gunfire.
I take the trail to the left that leads into the dark.
I’m guilty. I have no other choice.
About the author: Lazarus Gray lives in Sydney, Australia. He has written and self-published a sci-fi/adventure novel, and his short stories and flash fiction have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, both online and in print. He plays classical guitar between stories and criticises pieces of artwork while figuring out how to make them look better a few days a week.
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