Halloween is next week, so I’ll suggest an appropriate read for today’s Fractured Fragment – Here’s the blurb from “The Body” :
A long-suffering, social-climbing son deals with more than the usual embarrassment of misbehaving parents, hoping to find acceptability in the certainty of their demise. If some things would just stay buried… Have you had days when you’ve felt the same? Read “The Body” and let me know.
And here’s the excerpt:
Funerals can be a distraction. I considered not having one, but there are some things you simply must do in a civilized society. I stopped by their house long enough to grab Father’s address book from the study, but since he had allowed the phone to be disconnected some time back, I did not remain there to make the calls.
Father had never had many friends of his own, and the couple of truly long-term ones had preceded him into oblivion. There were a handful of people he had worked with at the lab before he retired. Of course, he was considered a bit odd even by their standards; going on about extraterrestrial life that no sane person believes in does not put you at the top of the list of the best people to admit an acquaintance with. If they had ever known about the evidence he had found in those meteor samples, it might have made a difference in their opinion of him. Indeed, if he had confided in me, I might have been less reticent about mentioning his studies to my circle of acquaintances. I would possibly have informed the authorities, at least.
There was a steady amount of drizzle at the burial, lending a suitable appearance of a somber air to the proceedings that might not have been there otherwise, and giving three of the four people in attendance an excuse to leave the site immediately after Minister Coughlin’s generic words, leaving only a short bespectacled stranger and me standing by the hole as they shoveled the dirt in over Father. I wondered how long it would take for the grass to cover the spot; Mother’s grave alongside it still had no grass, almost as if it had only been filled and tamped down recently, not over a year ago. Not what would be expected of a reputable family. Perhaps the grass cover was something you needed to pay extra for? I could ask the funeral home about it, and if it was not too expensive…
The short, bespectacled man was still there, and had coughed. He held out his hand – not the one he coughed into – and said, “Sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” I said, shaking his hand briefly, “and you are…?”
“Thomas Quatermain. George and I were acquainted through common interests. Perhaps he mentioned me?”
“Father and I did not communicate regularly, so no. In fact, I do not remember calling you. Was it someone at the lab?”
“Of course not, “he scoffed, “they could not be bothered with me. I saw his name on a report I have generated of unusual deaths.”
“Unusual? I would have thought it unusual if that wound had not killed him.”
“Yes, but what did the wound come from? Did he say?”
“He did not have to; I pulled it out of his chest myself.”
“Could I see it, then?” he said, clasping his hands together.
There was an eagerness in the way he looked askance at me that was obscene; I stiffened.
“I gave it to the police.”
“Oh,” he said. His disappointment was palpable. “Perhaps he told you how it happened?”
“This is all rather impertinent. Of what concern is it to you?” I said.
“George consulted me about some fascinating materials he’d discovered, perhaps extraterrestrial in nature. I was hoping his death was related to them.”
“Why would you hope such a thing?”
“No, no, no,” he said, shaking his head, “you misunderstand me. I only meant that, since he was dead, anyway, if it was by extraterrestrial causes, it would bring attention to our cause.”
“Oh,” I said. Now it was clear to me. “You are one of those people.”
“George retired in order to pursue research that the powers that be weren’t interested in.”
“Father thankfully stopped that nonsense when he retired, and I will not now be dragged into your sort’s delusions,” I said, and abruptly turned from the grave and headed toward Father’s Studebaker. “Good day to you.”
“Perhaps I could stop by and examine his work?” he called.
“I think not,” I said, not looking back.
I had only intended to return the Studebaker to my parents’ home and not remain there, as it would have been too much like an invitation to their friends to stop by and offer condolences, and I really had no patience for that. But Quatermain had made me wonder if Father had indeed continued his absurd research at the house. If so, there would be evidence of such that might be exposed, on the odd chance that the authorities decided to open an investigation into his death. Actually, the oddness was more that they had chosen not to investigate it, and perhaps it was only a matter of time before they would search the house and exhume Father’s deranged nature.
So I returned to the house, to dispose of anything that might be embarrassing. It was good that I had; there were many potentially damaging loose ends to tie up.
Mother’s body, for one.
“The Body” is available for preorder at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
It’s also included in the collection The First Three ‘Things I Could Get Out of My Mind’:
Sometimes it’s good to read about someone else’s problems to help us feel better of our own. Just saying…
Today is the official release of “Breathing is Overrated”, one of my three Writers of the Future Honorable Mentions. Here’s the blurb:
Left to die in the abyss of space, Jansen finds something to live for – or it finds him.
“Breathing is Overrated” is a speculative fiction short story with a touch of light horror, and it’s now available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
(Did I mention that this one earned an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest? Just saying…)
William Mangieri’s writing – including his many collections, such as The Next Three ‘Things I Could Get Out of My Mind’ – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri