Luminous (part I)

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Short Stories

By E.S.Quinton

Things are not always as they seem. People; with their faux masks, their eggshell words… none of them real. If you could look into the heart of any one person, the ambiguity would make you sick. I’m no different. I never said I was special. But if there was one person in this world who came close… that was my sister.

Marcus Gillian was a very sick man. He stood hunched over a grungy sink in claustrophobic restroom. The water still ran as he splashed water over his face repeatedly. He raised his head. A reflection of blood-shot eyes sunken into a pale drawn face greeted him. He took in a deep breath, and without warning, regurgitated a stream of pink viscous fluids. His right arm draped the sink, the only thing keeping him from falling to his knees.

My sister was a gem; simple, direct and honest. She couldn’t have been any other way. She was born with a few nuts and bolts missing, the ones that make most people jerks. She was always kind and giving… and I always had to defend her. She was a mark to everyone… even the people you thought you could trust! But I was always there for her. It was a long hard road, but eventually she learned not to trust everyone. I had so much more to do for her, I wanted to be there for her forever… but then our parents split… she stayed with mom.

Marcus lifted himself back to the sink; splashed his face again and filled his mouth with water then spat it all out.

I should have fought harder to stay with her, but my father insisted that boys should be with their fathers… I should have fought harder…

Marcus closed his eyes, took in another deep breath and hung his head low. He was silent for a long while as he regained his composure.

“You’re not going to beat me,” he said sotto voce, as he held onto the sink with both hands. “You… are not… going to beat me,” he whispered louder. His knuckles turned white as the blood in his hands became constricted. He raised his head. “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BEAT ME!” He screamed at the mirror.

“Hey man, what’s up,” said a stocky male as he came into the bathroom. “You tripping?” He meandered over to a stall and began to urinate.

Marcus closed his eyes again and took another deep breath. “You could say that,” He grabbed some towels, dried off his face and tossed the wet towels into a trash bin as he left the bathroom.

Marcus resumed his seat at the bar; finished his drink, dropped a twenty and left. The voices, the lights the sounds all around him fogged his brain; he could hear every movement, every whisper. He had to get out. He paused only at the door, and just long enough to bring out and light a cigarette. Suddenly the taste of it made him sick. He spat it out and crushed it under his heals. “I was meaning to quit anyway…” He took out his car keys and crossed the street to his car. Even out here, in the dark… his eyes seemed over-focused. Every detail seemed eager to etch itself into his brain. He staggered to get the keys into the door.

“Is this what you wanted sis? This trip is bullshit! But I know you could handle it… I am still here for you sis.” He spoke as if to a ghost as he entered his car and put the keys into the ignition. “I will still protect you, this one… last… time.” The car started.

* * * *

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