Every other Wednesday, I will post a small sample from each short story from Empty Rooms Lonely Countries. If you want more information and don’t mind spoilers, you can click the commentary link below to learn more about the story itself. This week’s story is from “Kicking Love’s Ass”. I hope you enjoy it.
The ambience of the establishment is getting under my skin. I am beginning to feel edgy; verging to explode. Mr. Murray appears from the shadows, sits besides me and asks what it is that I am thinking. I tell him all that I am seeing.
Mr. Murray looks around the room to confirm what I told him. He suddenly seems spooked. He slams his beer into the bar. “Jesus, Christian, you know I hate when you talk like that. It reminds me of that night in the cemetery…”
The cemetery? I had practically forgotten about that night in July. And it was so bizarre that he should mention it because I had a dream about the whole incident just the other night. I meant to ask him if they ever found the body. Instead, I confess to Mr. Murray that I am feeling lonely.
Mr. Murray tells me stories to distract me. He says he knows what it is that I am going through, but I know that he doesn’t. The bastard’s heart has never been broken. His concept of heartache is when he forgets to call her the next day, and even then, he moves on; no contemplation, no regrets, and none of the memories that pull you back into the fray again.
He speaks slowly, pausing at the end of every sentence, allowing me digest the story that is supposed to somehow heal me. “Anyway, we were to be married, her and I. It was one of those arranged deals. You see, our marriage was to ease the tension between our warring villages…”
It strikes me that something, or someone, is missing. My edginess is highlighted with fear, and I interrupt Mr. Murray before he gets to the morale of his story. “Where’s the doctor?”
“Oh, he left a little while ago.”
I stood up. “What do you mean – he left?”
“Patel bumped into an old war buddy upstairs who told him that he saw Love about an hour ago at Empire. He figured he’d go ahead and catch him and rough him up a bit for you. You’ve seemed so down all night, we figured we’d surprise you.”