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Massimo Marino, 07 Oct '12

        Love is Forever

        Wouldn’t you halt the flow of time to suspend the love feeling so that it cannot fade, never to be betrayed by the weight of the years and the tiredness? Wouldn’t you gift everyone with that?

                                                                                         ~

        He felt he was on a mission; he had gifted others before. The road was difficult but he had faith, and a strong will. Nothing could prevent him from accomplishing his duty.

        He chose small towns when they were holding country fairs or festivals. Times when people would be relaxed; times when he could immerge in their emotions flowing freely like a river, moving constantly as water flows over rocks...sometimes soothing, sometimes exploding. Then, he was sure to find those who deserved the purest love—the best ones—and gift them.

                                                                                        ~

        The town woke up to a glorious mid-summer day. Everyone would contribute to the festival preparations. Those were moments to cherish and remember, fostering a sense of unity. Although many go off to seek adventure in large cities, those who stay...they are the keepers. And among the keepers he would find deep-rooted love.

        Unseen, he watched from afar the people's excitement, growing in expectation for the weekend’s festival. He felt everything was good and he could sense his duty would be fulfilled here. If only he had been gifted, too...once.

                                                                                        ~

        The weather was as if it had been pre-planned for the event. All around was music, games, raffles, and the farmers’ market. The $5 Kiss Booth with the high school queen featured a long line of boys who would have paid a million to be granted a second round before it was too late.

        Enjoying himself, his eyes and ears guided him through the crowd.

        “...I remember how fast your dad ran. Boy, that punt-return at the last game. I still have goose-bumps.” He wandered as a leaf surfing the current in the river of emotions. “...Grandpa helped build this pavilion and then donated the land. It was memorable.”

        Everyone smiled, gracious when they talked to him. Though he was a perfect stranger in town, no one ever seemed to notice. He was welcomed as a long-gone son who'd finally returned home.

                                                                                        ~

        He was examining handmade knitted fabrics, all the while complimenting the old ladies proud of the attention from someone so versed in the different kind of yarns and knitting needles.

        “My wife loves knitting, and I love her so much. How could I not be knowledgeable of what gives her joy and pleasure?” he asked, winking, provoking giggles—and winks, too—from those who reveled in memories of their own.

        He stopped short and excused himself. He felt it, more than heard it, and turned just in time to witness it.

        “Girls, over here!” A man shouted with a thrill in his voice. A young woman, surely his wife, and a little girl turned toward him, beaming as if an inner star was glowing through their eyes. Oh, those smiles. Radiant and full of untold promises...and kept ones, too.

        He had found the right ones and indulged in their unbelievable flow of love. He even talked to them, caressing the golden hair of their child. “I have a girl, too. Yours...is so much like her.”

                                                                                        ~

        The house was on the sparsely populated outskirts of town. Its windows were embellished with organza curtains and it had a lovely front yard. A small bicycle leaned carefully against the garage door. The little girl had put flowers in the front basket. She had to be such a joyful child. Just like his. Who wouldn’t wish for all this to last forever?

        Sunday evening. Families enjoyed time together, as they should. Dinner was served and bonds renewed, as they must be.

        He left the car at the far end of the road. He felt exultant gladness while he walked unnoticed up the street toward the chosen ones. And he was ready.

                                                                                        ~

        “Honey, someone’s knocking. Would you see who it is, please? I’m busy with the meatloaf.” Her voice was like birds singing in springtime. John had fallen in love with her voice the first time they met and when she'd looked into his eyes...he knew. He was proud to be the 'husband of the most awesome gal in the universe'...his Emma.

        He glanced into Helen’s room. Their daughter had been born right before his job promotion and, with her very presence, it was as if she could make everything right. He paused to look at her, touching every single trait with his eyes.

        “Honey! The door...”

        Yes, the door. But who would be visiting on a Sunday evening? Sunday night football was about to start, John thought, while opening the door. And he believed he had seen this guy before.

        “Hi, I’m bringing you the gift,” the man said and smiled. John didn’t hear the rest as the Taser hit him. “I’m bringing eternal love.”

                                                                                        ~

        John collapsed on the floor. Shaking with painful muscle spasms, he had a hard time breathing. Gasping, he pleaded, “Oh, God, please no!” That was his last thought before losing consciousness.

        Emma emerged from the kitchen. “John?!”

        The stranger had already pulled his gun and the suppressor turned the shot's noise into a soft thump. A small crimson flower appeared in the middle of Emma's forehead and she slowly drifted to the floor, her back sliding against the door frame like a velvet curtain closing the last act of an emotional opera.

        The man smiled with elation and paused to listen. The little girl hadn’t noticed anything yet and the football game had just started. He knelt near John and took out his thick hunter's knife. The blade penetrated the aortic opening, forcing the heart into ventricular fibrillation. He enlarged the gap enough to push one hand in and feel the last beats, mentally saying a prayer and a benediction.

        Helen was playing, waiting for her mom to call her for dinner. She had her back to the door and couldn’t see the man and his transfigured face. Nor did she hear the blood dripping from his hand. The man ended her life as rapidly as her neck snapped in his hands.

                                                                                        ~

        “Jesus! What kind of psychopath could conceive such a thing? They look like they are peacefully watching TV. Hugging each other and with dinner served!”

        “We will get the bastard. We are tracking him down.”

        The coroner had just finished his distressing task. “At least, neither the woman nor the child suffered. Death was instantaneous. A clean job.” The Inspector turned to look at him in disgust.

        “What the hell, Frank?! Keep your remarks for your wife, will ya?”

        “The guy who got killed at the door step? He realized what was happening to him. He shows all the signs of a stressful and traumatic death. That must have been horrible. He was brought to the couch after that kind of surgical operation he suffered.”

        “Thank you. I’ve heard enough.”

        “I’ll send you my report tomorrow.”

        “Please do.”
                
                                                                                        ~

        He was already far away and the road was long but he only had to walk the path one step at a time. He thanked God to have blessed him with this mission. If only he and his family had received the same gift before their fatal night.

        “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” the Lord told him. Who was he to dispute that?

        While driving, he briefly looked at the picture he had taken before he left. A moment suspended in time...love is forever.

Comments · 6

Page 1 of 1

  • Mary Beth W. said...

    Chilling, yet very nicely written. Congratulations on another wonderful burrst :)

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Massimo Marino said...

    Thank you, Mary Beth. They are now all (a bit longer, plus two more titles) on my Amazon author's page. I plan to write a collection on this theme: Good, loving feelings to become the reason for horror and madness.

    I'm glad you liked them.

    Cheers,
    Massimo

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Audrey Semprun said...

    Nicely done.

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Massimo Marino said...

    Thank you, Audrey. I got your comment via email (it doesn't appear here for some inscrutable reason.) The main character is clearly a disturbed person, and it is not uncommon for these characters to seek for an ultimate justification to their evil doing, thus the "religious" belief too takes a horrid twist.

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Audrey Semprun said...

    Funny about technology... LOL What can I say? That story was pretty edgy!

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Massimo Marino said...

    Hi, Audrey... was thinking... would you post the comment you sent me to Amazon?

    • Posted 8 years ago