In the Concrete Dust

“The scumbag’s fine.”  The guard kicked at his bars until he was waved away.  “Wants to stay in his cell.”

“Does he need PC?”  He must be an easy target.  “Nah.”  He had an air of intensity; a palpable desperation.  “They leave him to himself mostly.”

“The warden asked me here.”  Father Ben introduced himself as the guards continued their rounds.  “I brought coffee.”  He pulled up a chair.  “The good stuff, from the shop around the corner.”  Alvin sat up.

“I read the transcripts.  You went to the hospital.”  The priest cut to the chase.  “You stopped at the gift shop.  For a stuffed animal?”

Alvin nodded.

“Then you went to her room.”  Father Ben waited.  Alvin peeled back the lid from the styrofoam cup.

“You’d brought a gun.”  Alvin tapped the sugar packets.

“You placed a pillow over her face.”  Father Ben paused.  “Then you fired two bullets into her skull.”

Alvin watched the sugar granules hit the steaming liquid.

“In court, you said that you regretted your actions.”  Alvin scraped at the ridges of the thin creamer container.

“But that you’d do it again.”  Father Ben was struck by Alvin’s aloofness.

“Why?”  Alvin looked up at the priest’s hushed tone.  He held his gaze and stirred his coffee with the plastic stick.

The priest struggled not to shrink from the evil that lurked in the hearts of men.  He placed a Bible beside Alvin’s sink.

“I’ll visit again next week.”  He turned to leave.

“Because she asked me to.”  Alvin’s whisper fluttered in the concrete dust trailing the priest’s footsteps.




15 thoughts on “In the Concrete Dust

    1. Thanks so much, Pepperanne! I’m delighted by your kind and generous words. The ending came to me first, then I wrote the story leading up to it. My aim was a surprise ending–a quiet yet powerful surprise. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Danica, such a fantastic title and captured a lifetime of cliff hangers in a short but fine story here. I like your not explaining or dwelling on too many details. My own personal “flaw” I am working on! 🙂 ~ ♡ Robin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are very astute, Brian!

      Interesting question! The ending was originally the second-to-last sentence: “Because she asked me to.” That sentence, the ending, came to me first and I wrote the story around it. When I finished and read it, I realized that the ending wasn’t telling enough. Alvin’s words revealed his internal conflict and he was despairing, so his words needed to be lost somehow–not heard; they needed to remain his tortured secret.

      Liked by 1 person

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