FLASH FICTION
This Man
by William Lemon
Writer of the Month

Image © Tertia Van Rensburg 

Image © Tertia Van Rensburg 

You appear in another’s dream. This is a nightmare, an orphan hallucination transposed onto memory. You recognize your parents’ house, but the details are different, albeit slightly. The entryway, which had pictures of your family lining the walls, now has snapshots depicting each sin you’ve committed over the years. Where grandma once held you on her lap, lifting you up to pet the giraffe at the zoo, you behold pictures of the class picking on the mentally disabled boy. During recess, the teacher would give him a yellow ball to hold, though he sat on the sideline, watching the other third graders play dodgeball. You would sneak over during the game, forcing him to give you the yellow ball for a handful of rocks you collected. That ball was your lifeline, another way to remain in the game even when the chips were down. While you always were afraid to look back after the swap, you always pictured him examining the rocks, disappointed he couldn’t even hold a small part of what the other children had.  

In your mother’s bedroom, the one she kept after they stopped sleeping in the same room, you notice her chest, still filled with the trappings of Mother’s secret life. When you search through the drawers, you are disturbed to discover her secrets: a box of condoms, scrawling journal, thoughts she’d be better off without this family. You search through each drawer, tears welling, unsure why you have such persistence in this matter.

You then go to your room, but find it empty. That disturbs you more than the past, the secrets, the other lives. Are you, like the room, vacant, hollow? You saunter into the middle of the room, sit down criss-cross-applesauce, then begin to cry, tears overtaking your vision. You think back to the past, the bad things you’ve done, the things you wished you would’ve done, and the things you knew but choose to ignore. All of it haunts you today. Maybe it would be better if you took your own life, sparring the other people around you the pain of your being? It might give you pause, but the more you think about it, the better that idea sounds.  

You appear in another’s dream. This is a nightmare, an orphan hallucination transposed onto your memory. He is here, watching you suffer through this vision. He might not control it, but This Man is here.

Always.    


After receiving his M.A. in Literature and Writing at California State University San Marcos, William Lemon began teaching creative writing and composition at Santa Monica College. He has been published in Bartleby Snopes, BlazeVOX, Drunk Monkeys, and the Eunoia Review.