A Prayer for Salvation

A Prayer for Salvation
by Thomas Blakemore

Oh Lord! Look at me now and tell me what you see?

A man?


Unwashed, unshaven?


Beaten? ...


Maybe I am beaten. Maybe I have given up.

I sit here alone in the dark and ask you these questions again and again. Awaiting your response.

I wonder—has it always been this way?

Worse still, will it always be this way?

If you have the time, join me. Find a chair. Sweep the rubbish onto the floor and sit for awhile. See my world, take this one moment in time, this one picture as the first piece of my jig-sawed life. Rotate your head to the left and right. Fill in what you don’t see, draw out the clues that I have littered about myself. Spend a dark moment in my soul.

Cold, isn’t it! Bleak, and oh so lonely.

Do you accept those words? Have you a better image? Can you ignore the bare litter-strewn floor, the crumpled bed, too small even for my faded body.

Look instead not at me but at the window, shielded by nets and a flower patterned fitted sheet. Do they slot into the jigsaw of my life? No? I agree—they scream of a past, a better time, of a place I would rather be.

Close the lid on this puzzle, hold my hand and come with me. Step into my mind as I lead us back through time to when the sheet was new and laid not across the window but across a double bed, wide and warm, bathed in unshielded light. To where the walls were not bare but bright, with pictures—flowers, trees, landscapes from every corner of the globe.

See photos wrapped around a smiling couple. Here in the snow, here on a beach, here in a city by the sea. Always one tall and thin; the other shorter, with soft flowing brown hair and midnight black eyes.

Better? Yes. Savor this moment. Take off your shoes, let your bare feet burrow themselves in the deep carpet, crunch your toes around every fluffy fiber. Now breath deep the scents and perfumes that fill the air. Turn your head, look, you can see the furniture, all soft pines. A dresser, covered in pictures and discarded makeup. Silver chains hung from small hooks around a mirror. Rings of gold rest on a red velvet cloth, within an ever open box of handcrafted auburn wood. A wardrobe and a set of draws, full with clothes for all seasons. His ... mine, to the left. Hers ... Sally’s, to the right. Just as we are.

Look back at the bed, remember how I described it? Yes. Large, draped in a flower patterned duvet over that matching flower patterned sheet. I sit on the left—hair long, washed, clean-shaven. I wear a T-shirt fresh on, my legs are bare, long and toned from regular exercise. Beside me...do you see her? So peaceful, asleep curled in a ball. Her lush brown hair spread out over the flower patterned pillow. Eyes closed, breathing soft, lips slightly parted to reveal a row of pearl white teeth, with just the cutest gap between her front incisors. Watch as I reach out my shaking hand to brush her cheek. She stirs, smiles, her mouth opens as she starts to speak...I can’t remember her voice.

The pain grows. It fills my mind, burning away the image. My head falls into my hands as tears wash the grime from my palms. I... I...

We are here again, aren’t we? Sitting in the oppressive dark. Slumped on a tiny bed, dressed in clothes I’d worn yesterday, and the day before, and the week before that. Around me litter rests—empty plastic bags, cigarette boxes, faded scraps of paper, a smashed cup thrown against the wall for a reason I can’t recall.

This is my life now. My life today. The life I can’t face.

Can I hold your hand now? Can we go on a new journey? Away from the past. Away from the pain. Can you show me the future of this room?

Will I have climbed off the bed and pulled down the sheet?

Will I let the world in again?

Will I live again?

And you say...

© 2007 Thomas Blakemore
Original fiction debuting at Residential Aliens.

A word from the author: Hello readers, let me introduce myself. I’m thirty-six and have been writing for about twenty years with a mixed range of success. I enjoy writing fantasy or science fiction works but have found the greatest reward in producing short stories like this. I call them an emotional - it is where I express an emotion in the form of a scene or story. I’ll let you guess the emotion I was feeling when I wrote this.

Blakemore's flash fiction is also available in Issue #1 of Neonbeam.

Comment on this story at The Alien's Pub soon.