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Guest Post: Roddy J Dryer

Stained Glass

 

Roger peered around the edge of the living room window, incredulous with what he saw across the street. Spying through the curtains, he watched in horror as the home of the Schakowsky family burned while firefighters battled on. But it wasn’t just the dramatic fire affecting him; it was that what he looked at had been seen before.

That. Scene. Is. Exactly. What I saw in that crystal ball, he thought. What I’m looking at is a perfect reproduction of the reflection witnessed in that schlocky thing I bought for Megan.

Megan’s sixteenth birthday, a birthday of significant proportion, was this approaching weekend. Roger didn’t just buy her a gift, but a few of them representing the several things his wondrous daughter found of interest. He’d bought an elaborate shoe rack, a cornucopian box of beauty products featuring Sophia Vergara on it (mainly because Megan thought she was a vision, but who didn’t) and a full year’s Platinum membership to Gold’s Gym. But because Megan had developed a fond intrigue for all things metaphysical, common for so many these days, he picked up this small crystal ball at the Periwinkle Mushroom, which was one of the better head shop/mystical bookstores along Dewar Street.

Because Roger was the sort who harbored an affinity for all things weird, he couldn’t help but notice the little sphere. First of all, it wasn’t just some glass ball found at Border’s next to the silly runes and forty different versions of Tarot cards; this particular gem was carved from Chilean crystal and mirror polished to a perfect sphere. Regardless of what most first opinions would be, this thing had been loved by a talented artist. It was expensive (it had set him back) and truly the real deal. That was why he soon placed it before him nestled into its cradle lined with luxuriant black silk and then followed the directions that came along.

At first, he thought what he saw was a reflection of something behind him when he witnessed the vision of 319 Cleveland burn while firefighters battled, but damn if it wasn’t compelling. There were no TVs on and he, well, felt a veritable focus within his head. Right there, within the crystal, he watched what he knew was his neighbor’s home burn. That had been about five hours prior to the first responders’ arrival.

Because Roger wasn’t the guy to deny what he saw regardless of how improbable, he chose to peer into that crystal again, to know and to, as peculiar as it seemed, gain some insight as to why what went on did so. It wasn’t easy to peel from the drama out front, but a mission called for tough decisions and his demanded he both pull away and calm down. Roger rushed upstairs and pulled the ball from its ornate box along with the folds of silk, breathing deep to calm and prepare for gazing as the instructions demanded. The sense of calm didn’t last, but the visions were all too clear, and arresting.

“For the love of God, Megan,” Roger whispered as he watched his daughter set the Schakowsky house on fire, placing accelerant throughout while she ranted, looking angrier than he’d ever seen.

The instructions were clear about not pulling away. The connection to the vision could be severed, it was warned, and one must respect that the vision was not truly within the crystal, as it is but a corporeal medium. The pretty booklet stated that should one gaze at something of great power, the visions would endure. They would also elaborate.

Roger would not allow the distractions to pull him from the shifting visions presented in the crystal, as they went from seeing the fire and its origin to Megan and Rene Schakowsky together, eventually revealing to Roger that Megan’s trusted Literature teacher and neighbor had once conned her into what would be a vulgar succession of sexual liaisons from which she had no escape. Further revelation made evident this was a hold Rene held over several of his students.

Despite the growing anger and rapid heartbeat thumping within him, Roger maintained his gaze into the crystal as he concentrated on what to do and where to go from there. What he saw seemed too implausible and expected a daunting measure of faith, but before the fogginess the handwritten directives assured would arrive, he saw what he had to do. The crystal revealed that Megan’s role was over. It also revealed to Roger that he had but moments left.

Feeling rushed, Roger also felt the obligation to gently pull from the crystal, easing away before folding a layer of the silk over it. But once that was done he rushed downstairs, feeling the propitious confidence flow through him as he met his daughter at the door. They caught one another by surprise as he was rushing down the stairs just as Megan rushed in, but once they got past that, Megan’s expression crumbled to that of one crushed by something overwhelming. She looked away but then fell into her father’s arms.

“Dad, it’s just so awful,” she cried. “They won’t be able to save anything over there.”

Before Roger could respond, he spied Rene standing on the walk before his driveway with his hands in his gray-peppered hair, only having what he wore on his daily run through the neighborhood. He pulled from Megan and opened the door, saying, “We both know that right now, that’s the least of our concerns.”

As she looked to him with wondering eyes, he turned and yelled to Rene. “Rene! It isn’t helping you to stand there and watch. Come on in here and we’ll figure something out.”

Megan was surprised by her father’s offer to bring Rene into their home, but her concerns were quickly allayed. As she saw a man she grew to hate approach from behind her father, she heard Dad say something she hoped she would never hear him say in earnest.

Before Rene was right there, her father said, “From whence may a seed arrive is forever a mystery, but we rejoice in the fruit of the journey.”

She struggled to keep from wetting herself as a result of this admission, and she wondered how he could possibly know.

“Rene, I can’t tell you how sorry I am this happened, but you just can’t stand there sweating with nothing to work with,” Roger said. “You have a locker at the school right, with some clothes and such?”

“Yeah, I do,” Rene said, looking broken. “Jesus, Roger. What am I going to do?”

“That, I know, will work itself out,” Roger said. “Just let me get my keys and I’ll take you down there.”

 

Her father wasn’t gone for a full minute, but while gone, Megan glared at Rene, who wouldn’t look her way. But she knew what was coming, as that line of poetry was a code. She’d long known that should her father ever recite that, it meant he pursued an ultimate solution to rid them of a great evil. So, when she saw her father’s car drive away and Rene glance her direction, she knew nobody would ever see him again.

 

You can see more he’s written at brindoc.wix.com/roddyjdryer

e-mail: brindoc@gmail.com

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