#FridayFlash: Three Days

"I can't make it that night, sorry."

"I'd love to, but I've got a deadline coming up."

"Can we reschedule it for next week? Thursday is really bad for me. No, the weekend's going to be crazy, too. How does next Tuesday work for you?"



* * *

The lies came so smoothly to his lips. Hiding behind his prevarications and easy dissemblances, he let them all think he was just as human as they. Where was the vein of normalcy that ran through his own soul? Could it yet be traced amid the heavy overburden of dross and slag? Buried so deeply beneath the constructed falsehoods of his life... was it even still there? After all this time, after so many years living the way he did, how much true humanity was left to him?

He opened the basement door and went down the stairs.

No time to ask such questions... there was never time. In the immediate aftermath of his transformations, his mind recoiled, his soul rebelled at confronting the truth. Even as he dealt with the fruits of his savagery, spending days setting a'right the chaos he'd wrought, he denied the truth about who and what he was.

By the time he came to the middle weeks, he could live entirely within that denial. He could pretend to live fully in the light, pretend to be a man of business, pretend to laugh with friends, pretend to lose himself in the arms of his lovers. He could pretend to be as human as everyone around him.

But when the last week of the month came, when the moon hung fat in the sky... there was no pretense that could save him, no illusion that could deny the essential truth he carried within himself.

The burning light of the moon penetrated through pathetic wishes and dreams just as easily as it did through steel and stone.

In the back wall, set into the soundproofed concrete, the heavy steel door swung smoothly on wrist-thick hinges. He stepped inside the vault and pulled the door closed behind him. The gearing turned, the twelve bolts slid home into their sockets and the time lock clicked.

The room was clean and pleasant. Light shone from recessed panels high above, the darkness kept at bay by day-spectrum fluorescent lights in shatter-proof covers. From small, titanium-reinforced grills in the ceiling, whispered breezes were scented alternately with flowers, baby powder and freshly baked bread. The steel walls were painted on all sides with a trompe l'oeil landscape scene, an illusion that made the room feel much larger than it was.

Only the deep gouges spoiled the effect. Long, thin strips of the underlying gray steel were exposed where the paint had been torn away.

He sat down to wait. In three days the door would open again. In three days he could return to the mockery of a life that he'd constructed for himself. In three days he would again run from the truth and wrap himself in happy, comfortable, sweet lies.

It was less than an hour after the door locked him in that he felt the first burning touch of the full moon's light.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

16 comments:

  1. Good title and great start with the three statements. They immediately hooked me in and made me wonder what was going on.

    I wonder if anybody can invest in a panic room these days without being suspected of lycanthropy.

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    1. I thought about making him an author on a deadline, but no author could afford a house like that.

      ;-)

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  2. Great werewolf story! Have you read SM Reine's "Seasons of the Moon" series? Similar "wolf rooms" make an appearance at times in her books too.

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    1. Thanks! No, I'm not familiar with them - good minds run together, clearly.

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  3. Unsurprised that this emerged from the last couple of days, Tony. It sounds like both you and the protagonist are in valid need of some rest. Take care!

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  4. Werewolf? I thought he was a Republican! :P

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  5. He must make good money the other 26 days of the month. That wolf room sounded expensive!

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    Replies
    1. True. So, what is he? An investment banker?

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  6. Sounds like he got exposed to gamma rays as well as werewolf blood!

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  7. "Sorry, I'm going to be in my wolf room for the next few days, please leave me a message or call again on Monday morning." Yeah, not sure that would work. Lies are sometimes for the best. Great stuff, Tony.

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  8. Oh this was just wonderful! Love it. Slightly different language to your usual work, but brilliant all the same.

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