A Short Story by Philip Fracassi
I was strangled to death by a man who makes his living mixing concrete. A life-long companion turned sour.
This same man was contracted to build a community swimming pool for the children who live in the next town. Through a series of triumphs, he was able to sneak my corpse into the pool’s foundation. Weeks later, the construction finished, the chlorine-scented water was poured in. Yes, I can smell it. Even in death. I can also hear, and see (the survival of my senses a mystery best left for poets, pseudo-scientists and Catholics).
I don’t hate the man who murdered me. I despised him in life, that’s true, but in death I’ve lost the ambition. My energy has waned considerably. I enjoy the small things now. In a way, it’s like being retired – only when the world stops do we properly enjoy a golden sunset, the fiery bloom of flora along a forest path, the tingling smell of a storm.
For me it’s the children. Hearing them laugh. Breathing in their innocence. I look up at a liquid blue sky and watch them swim.
They float above me, all limbs and wild hair, cloudy eyes and silly dances. I feel a thrill when a child leaps from the world beyond, shatters the turquoise ether into mercurial fragments, then sinks toward me, knees-to-chin, a vertical chain of bubbles tethering them to life.
My dead heart warms to see teenagers hold hands beneath the surface, their pale feet caresses. Clandestine lovers hidden by a liquid heaven.
Rarely am I forced to endure a drowning. When I am I close my eyes.
So yes, the man who took my life was evil, and hateful.
But he gave me a gift, a most peaceful ending:
I lie in a bed made of stars, and spend my days watching angels fly.
Meet The Author
Philip Fracassi is an award-winning author and a screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles. He’s the creator of many successful works: Behold The Void, a short story collection; Shiloh, Fragile Dreams and Sacculina, novellas; Girl Missing, Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, screenplays. His upcoming projects include the screenplays: Observe, Escape The Night, The Boys In The Village, Gothic and Vintage. He’s the founder of Equator Books, a publishing house and rare, out-of-print bookstore in Venice, CA. He has also been a live music producer for House of Blues Entertainment and produced more than 3000 live internet broadcasts.