Remembering Father

Here’s some flash fiction from the archives. This one was written in Jan ’11, and I can definitely tell I’ve improved a lot! I did fix up some of the obvious stuff before posting it here, but it still is sort of amateurish. I hope you enjoy anyway!

 

 

Kevin Taylor sat in his study staring at the box. He’d never really known his father and had only gone to the funeral for his mother’s sake. Once he dealt with this box, that would be the last he would have to think of him. It was a polished cherry-wood box with a hinged lid. His hand moved toward it then stopped another uncounted time. Kevin’s father had left the family when Kevin was only three, shortly after his own father had died. His only contact since then had been through money sent in the mail. But wads of cash could not replace a father, and part of him just wanted to throw the box away.

“You know, his father left him when he was a boy also.” Kevin’s mother had entered the room and stood behind him, a hand on his shoulder. “Those things tend to run in families I guess.”

“Then I suppose it’s for the best that I’ve avoided children of my own.”

“Oh Kev.” She squeezed his shoulder. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I know, I’m sorry.”

He stared at the box. A clause in the will required that he receive this item before getting any of the inheritance. The lawyer in the other room would not be satisfied that Kevin had ‘received’ it until he at least looked at what it was. Then he could sell it or destroy it, or whatever he wished.

It occurred to him what a childish thing it was to even care. It was an object; whatever he did with it would not affect his father. He flipped open the box.

“Oh,” his mother said. “I guess I should have known it would be that.”

Kevin leaned forward in his seat. It was a medallion, about two inches in diameter and composed of a mass of tangled, metallic black snakes. In the center, held by the mouths of two of the twisting reptiles, was a dark green gem. The piece hung from a silvery chain, each link a serpent biting its own tail.

“Your dad got that when your grandfather died, I guess it’s been in his family for generations. It was only a couple weeks afterward that he took off to ‘do what needs to be done’, whatever the hell that means.”

Kevin could barely hear her. Something about that gem looked so strange, he thought he could see tendrils of smoke moving inside it. He picked it up out of the box, the chain tinkled softly. The black metal was warm to the touch. Warm and solid and comforting.

“It’s ugly isn’t it. Just awful.”

“No,” he heard himself saying. It was beautiful. His neck begged to feel the chain hanging from it, his chest ached to feel the weight of the medallion against it. Before he realized that his arms were moving, he had slipped it over his head and tucked it beneath his shirt. The moment it touched his skin his chest was filled with a hot fire and his eyes with white light.

His mind flooded with images.

He was Ken Taylor, he was blowing the candles out on his fifth birthday, his dad wasn’t there… He was graduating college, kissing his girlfriend Alice on the mouth… he was getting married to Alice… He watched the birth of his son, Kevin, and held him in his arms…He was at his father’s funeral… he was holding a medallion in his hands and-

“Oh God!” His vision cleared, but his mind-

“Kevin, are you ok?”

“Alice!” He stood up knocking the chair back, turning to face her. He saw two people before him. She was his wife, and she was his mother. He was Kevin and he was Ken. All his father’s memories spun inside his head, but not why he had left. He remembered holding the medallion, putting it on-

He was Carl Taylor. He had a wife and a son, Ken. His father had sent him a package-

He was Craig Taylor, his father had just died and left him a medallion-

He was Kurt Taylor-

Hundreds of years worth of memories assaulted his mind. He was everyone and he was no one. His own personality was drowned out by the others, all clamoring to be heard. So many experiences, all mixed together, scrambled. The places they’d been, the things they’d done, all becoming disassociated from who had done them.

“Honey, do you need to sit down?” a woman said. She was familiar from somewhere, someone floating in the flood of his mind knew her.

The lives were piling on even still, and a new personality was starting to take shape; an island appearing in the ocean of memories. One set of memories that applied to each personality…

He was Kehv’Tah. He took the medallion from the jewel-crafter’s hand and paid him the gold coins. He fixed the black gem into the center himself. He placed it around his neck and felt the heat as it fixed itself to his flesh. No one would take this from him. He felt his memories flow into the gem, the connection between them sealed…

He was here; still in this world he had been banished to. Again he had failed. He looked down at his body; it was young, fit. He was satisfied. A brief search through his memories alerted him that he had no offspring. He must create some, then he must return to the site. He must finish the portal.

“Kevin, where are you going?”

A hand on his arm. Alice. She had been his daughter in-law, his wife, and his mother. He felt a touch of warmth to look at her. Then memories of twisting spires and black clouds pushed her out of his mind. He tasted the power he had once wielded, remembered the home he once had, the world he had ruled.

“There is something I need to finish,” Kehv’Tah said.

 

 

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