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Sunday Cross






Sunday Cross





Wesley looks up from the sports section of the Sunday paper. "Ten letters, two words?" he replies to his wife. "I think I know."     

           

"Good 'cause I'm drawing a blank," Lucy says, going into the bathroom.

           

Wesley can't help feeling a pang and, when Lucy closes the door, he reaches under his side of the bed and pulls out a shoebox. He blows dust off the lid and tries to sneak a peek, but opens the box a bit too much. When he does, a glowing form immediately emerges, flutters toward the bathroom and hovers at the door.

           

Wesley hops out of bed and tries to cup his hands around the shape. It eludes him and butterflies around the room, bumping softly against the walls and ceiling. When it passes close to the TV, it's trapped by static electricity, but fights itself free and glows more intensely.

             

#



Wesley had found it one evening on Lucy’s pillow. She'd come home exhausted from work and went straight to bed. The form was pulsing dimly, and wasn’t hard to capture. He put in a shoebox and under the bed. He’d intended to tell Lucy about it, but something peculiar happened.

           

Lucy and he had been arguing about their next vacation. Lucy wanted to take out of their savings and go on a photo safari in Africa. Wesley wanted to stay around home, save money and get caught up on some projects. The next morning after he’d put away the glowing form, Lucy said staying home sounded good to her, too.

           

They started becoming more in sync on others things. Some little — she stopped wearing kooky clothes and was content with dinner and a movie on Saturday date night instead of dancing into the wee hours. Some big — no more talk about quitting her job and starting over. In fact, Lucy became adept at playing the game at work and advanced more quickly than Wesley did. He was happy for her.



#

           

The form flies to the window and presses itself to the glass. Sunlight kaleidoscopes into the room. The cat jumps off the dresser and chases red and orange flecks across the floor. The form glows so brightly, Wesley fears Lucy might notice light streaking under the bathroom door.

           

He slowly approaches the form with the shoebox, then quickly jaws the lid closed on it, hurries the box back under the bed, lies down and picks up the sports section just as Lucy steps out.

           

"OK,” she says, "ten letters, two words for eccentric or Bohemian. You say you know it?”

           

"Free spirit?"

           

Lucy looks at the crossword. "That fits!" She hesitates, smiles sadly, then goes to the window. "I used to have a free spirit. I wonder what happened?" She looks at the glass. "What are all these smudges?" she says half aloud. "Don't get me wrong, Honey. I love you, and we're very content but ..." Her voice trails off. “Remember how I was always going to quit my job and open a photography studio?” She turns toward Wesley. “What's that thumping noise?”

           

"I don't hear anything,” Wesley says, casually reaching down and feeling for the second box he’s hidden away. He pushes it further under the bed to muffle the sound. He’ll have to tape it more securely as soon as he has a chance. The last thing he wants is for his guilty conscience to escape.




David Henson





David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Peoria, Illinois. His work has been nominated for a Best of the Net and has appeared in numerous print and online journals including Gravel, Moonpark Review, Bull and Cross, Lost Balloon, The Fiction Pool, Fiction on the Web and Literally Stories. His website is http://writings217.wordpress.com. His Twitter is @annalou8.


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