Jeff Coleman

Jeff Coleman is a writer who finds himself drawn to the dark and the mysterious, and to all the extraordinary things that regularly hide in the shadow of ordinary life.

“Totem, Part 12” Coming Next Week!

On Wednesdays, I ordinarily post a piece of flash fiction. This week, however, I’ve been busy preparing for the release of Totem, Part 12. It’s going up next Wednesday morning, so be sure to look out for it! 🙂

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Tallys

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This post was originally published through Patreon on October 24, 2018.

In the dark, beneath the shadows of a nearby pier, stood a woman, head covered, eyes a bright emerald green. The night was quiet and still, and only the crashing of nearby waves disturbed the tomb-like silence of the beach.

“It’s her,” Luke whispered. “The woman from our vision.”

His brother Michael nodded, though he wasn’t listening. He was focused solely on the woman.

Those eyes, Michael thought. Most of her features evaporated the moment he startled awake each night, but those eyes blazed with an otherworldly light that he could never forget.

“Well?” said Luke, and only then did Michael realize he’d stopped, that he’d fallen captive once more to the vision that had haunted them both for almost two months.

“Sorry, I was distracted.”

That the woman watched them was not in question. Her penetrating gaze had fixed on them both, weighing, scrutinizing.

“Let’s go.”

Michael nodded, and a moment later they continued walking while the ocean pulled forward and back in the eternal rhythm of an ancient song.

They paused at the pier’s edge, where only a dozen feet further, the woman stood, leaning against a barnacle-encrusted poll.

“You came,” she said, and suddenly her voice was like a second ocean, waves pounding against the shore of Michael’s mind, threatening to tear down barriers that, until today, he hadn’t realized existed. Beyond those barriers lay terrible, painful memories. He knew he needed to remember, but instinct demanded that he hold that ocean back for as long as possible.

“I wasn’t sure you’d gotten my message, but you came.”

A giant wave in that mental ocean crested, and it was all Michael could do to hold against it. He was certain he knew her—not just from the vision that came to him each night when he closed his eyes, but from someplace else.

Someplace far away.

And Michael didn’t want to remember.

“You,” he said, pointing a trembling finger in her direction while Luke looked on in a daze. “I know you.”

“Yes, you do.”

“No!” Luke’s voice called out in a strangled croak, and Michael startled. “Don’t listen to her. It’s a trick!”

The ocean in Michael’s head battered the walls of his mind, harder, harder, until at last the walls were breached and Michael’s consciousness was a boat, tossed about by one violent memory after another. Their home, in flames. Their father, murdered with knives. Seven cloaked figures, surrounding them in the middle of the night. And then, the one who saved them.

Someone dear. Someone with glowing eyes, flashing a bright emerald green as her outstretched hands closed around one of their attackers’ necks.

Tallys.

“You,” Michael said again, and this time, his throat constricted with unexpected emotion.

Then, a feral shriek from Luke. Michael’s brother broke away, knife in hand, and made to strike.

“Luke, no!”

But before Luke could close the gap he froze, suspended inches off the ground, arms and legs twitching uselessly as he struggled in vain to regain control.

Michael returned his gaze to the woman. He remembered her, and she was just as precious to him now as she had been to him back then.

Tallys.

His sister.

“You survived.”

Luke continued to struggle, but Michael saw from the tears in his eyes that the invisible restraints weren’t necessary any longer. Memory, it seemed, had breached the walls of his mind, too.

“Tallys,” Luke heaved. “I didn’t mean— The memory, it hurt so much. I was confused. I’m sorry, I—”

“I know,” she said, cutting him off. “It’s not your fault. The charm Mother and I used to block your memories was strong, and your mind wasn’t meant to give it up without a fight.”

“Mother’s alive, too?” asked Michael.

“Yes. Both of us survived. We sent you to Earth where you’d be safe, and then we set off to find the ones who tried to destroy our family.”

Luke began to bawl.

“Did you find them?” Michael asked, and a malicious light kindled in his eyes. “Did you make them suffer?”

“We found six,” Tallys replied. “And yes, they suffered.”

“What about the seventh?”

“That’s why I called you. You and your brother have skills that would help us track him down.”

Michael nodded. He had full possession of his memories now, and he knew exactly what she needed.

When she finally released Luke, he fell to the ground, cheeks flecked with sand and snot.

“I’m sorry, Tallys,” he said before descending into incoherent babbling.

“He’ll be all right,” said Tallys. “He’s not as strong as you, and the horror of his memories will haunt him a while longer, ut time and rest will make him whole again.”

“Will you take us home?” Michael asked.

“Yes.” Her eyes flashed in the dark once more. “It’s time for us to be a family again.”

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Samuel

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A special shoutout to my newest patrons, Krystina, James, Esteban, Tonya, and Stephanie! Thank you for supporting me 🙂 Want to earn cool rewards and help me become a full-time writer? Support me on Patreon.

The sky opened and Samuel looked up.

Above, the starry backdrop fountained, a bulging cosmic mass that shimmered and glowed, raining down a bright azure light on the world below. Samuel watched the display first with hope, then with trepidation, then finally with despair. His eyes remained fixed on the sky long after the rupture had closed, long after the only light left came from a faded, glabrous moon.

Another rescue, and another day that Samuel was left behind.

A year ago, the Earth had been teeming with his kind. Everywhere he went, he could find someone like himself, a fellow traveler who would help remind him of who he was whenever his human skin began to feel too tight. But eleven months ago, Samuel’s world had called them home, and Samuel had yet to be taken with them.

Had they forgotten about him? Surely not. Their kind were numerous, and the evacuation would take time. Holes would be torn through the night sky for years, even decades, and every day, the number of Samuel’s species would dwindle, leaving him a little more rare, a little more alone.

Someday, they would get around to him. Someday, they would take him home.

But when?

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