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.

Answering the Call

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I.

Shining.

Resplendent.

A world of white sand and endless palms, of navy blue skies and shimmering otherworldly horizons.

You belong. You are one of us.

It calls to me. In the dark and endless night, it calls to me.

Come. Be one with us.

But I can’t. Not yet. The tether that binds me to my Earthly life holds fast; I cannot escape.

Oh, but that other world: It calls to me, and every day, it gets harder to turn away.

II.

A dream.

I am floating. Soaring through the clouds. Riding a jet stream through endless blue.

Not clouds anymore but foam, like the froth from a just opened bottle of champagne. And water, sparkling like a bed of polished sapphires.

Come. You belong. You are one of us.

I am ache and need. I know no other purpose, no other destiny than to answer this ancient, unyielding call.

A hand, reaching from beyond to carry me away. I stretch to grasp it with my own. But it’s so far away, so very far away…

I come awake beneath the dim and silver light of the moon.

A spark kindles in my chest—a smoldering ember of pain and desire that I realize now will never die—and I lie awake until the sun’s first rays pierce my bedroom window with their sickly, comatose light.

III.

Pain.

I turn my weathered, pockmarked face toward a gray and ashen sky and cringe when the worn out joints in my knees issue a loud, crackling pop.

I behold the world from the other side of time, as an old man who’s ascended the golden ladder of life, only to discover it was never actually gold, only worthless, tarnished brass.

The spark that erupted in my chest long ago has transformed into a fire. I am immolation and desolation made flesh—consumed by hurt and heartbreak, and ravaged by broken promises, I am cast adrift.

Come.

For years, I’ve ignored that other world’s call. It was just noise, I told myself, a foolish fancy with no real-world significance. Only now, my “real-world” life is useless to me.

Old and infirm, I can no longer work, and those I once loved are dead. The Earth, rich in promises, has gifted me with rags.

Now, I strain at last to hear that other world’s voice—Come. You belong. You are one of us.—and bring it into focus once more.

I know now where my true home lies, and I turn away from my former life to follow after it.

IV.

A threshold.

Beyond: blue skies, white sand, and endless sparkling ocean. Behind: gray clouds, desolation, and endless darkness. It’s a wonder I remained for as long as I did.

The entrance to that other world is ringed in fire, but I do not hesitate.

I walk forward.

Forward into the fire.

Forward into love.

Forward into the light.

V.

A flash.

Pain.

I cry out, hold fast to that other world’s call as my old self is burned away.

Come. You belong. You are one of us.

Suddenly, the pain is gone.

I am a new creation.

Love envelopes me.

I am home at last.

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In Hiding

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Rhonda stood at the edge of a prim, neatly trimmed lawn. Watched the man who lived there go outside at precisely 7:45 a.m. to retrieve his copy of the Orange County Register. Gazed at him as if from a distance while he peered in her direction from only five feet away with unseeing eyes, holding a newspaper she knew he would never read.

It had been seven years since she left her husband to go into hiding, since she donned the glamour of invisibility to protect a dangerous secret. Seven years, and the loss still hurt, still burned deep inside her chest—a merciless, unquenchable fire that only intensified with time.

“I love you,” she whispered. The air in her lungs rattled as she choked back a sob.

The people she was hiding from would do whatever it took to steal her secret. She couldn’t let him be a part of that.

And yet…

Even now, seven years after her disappearance, he still hadn’t remarried, still hadn’t removed the gold wedding ring from his finger.

She could go to him now. She could explain what had happened and why she’d had to leave. She could tell him she still loved him, tell him she was sorry and that she would never leave again.

So many ifs and coulds. So many missed opportunities. Why hadn’t she returned? He would have wanted to share this burden with her. He would have risked his life if it meant remaining a part of hers. So why the hell had she not gone back already?

Why the hell not?

Hope kindled in her chest, momentarily smothering the fire that had burned there these past seven years. She would charge up the concrete walk, knock on the door, and when her faithful, loyal husband answered, she would let the invisible barrier fall from her figure like rain and take him into her arms as she had so long ago.

*               *               *

When Sam opened the door, there was no one there.

“Hello?”

He scanned the porch, the mailbox, the street at the end of the walk.

Alone.

Just some kids playing a prank, he thought, yet something stirred deep inside, something he hadn’t felt since Rhonda disappeared.

He hesitated a moment longer, then receded back into the shadows, closing the door behind him.

He didn’t see the woman fleeing down the street, though she’d been standing right in front of him.

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I’ll Send You a Signed Hardcover Copy of “Snapshots”

Snapshots: The Collected Flash Fiction of Jeff Coleman, Volume 1.

Over time, people have asked me if I would ever publish a print collection of the flash fiction I write for my blog. Last year, I finally decided to act on that idea, and in February, though I never made a formal announcement, I finally released the book, which is now available from most online bookstores.

Periodically, I offer my readers a hardcover book in exchange for a monthly pledge on Patreon that goes toward helping me build a full-time career around my art. This month, I want to offer you my flash fiction collection, Snapshots: The Collected Flash Fiction of Jeff Coleman, Volume 1.

If you pledge to my Patreon campaign at the $2 level or above, I’ll send you a signed hardcover copy.

Please note that this offer is only available to new patrons. Unfortunately, former patrons aren’t eligible. If you’re an existing $5 or $10 patron, don’t worry: you’re going to get a copy 🙂 To my existing $2 patrons, I can’t afford to send you one for free (I really wanted to), but I do plan to offer the book to you guys at cost in a few months when I return to the States to visit family and can order and sign more copies, so stay tuned.

Please note that Patreon pledges are recurring monthly charges. I post four paid pieces of flash fiction on the platform per month, which means a $2 pledge amounts to $8 per month. If that’s too much, you can make a $2 pledge, then set a lower monthly limit so you won’t go over your budget.

If you don’t want to become a patron, don’t worry: I’ll provide information at a later date about how to order a normal non-signed copy (paperback or hardcover) through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

I had to order and sign a limited number of books in California before returning to my wife in the Philippines, so there are only 10 copies available.

That means if you want one, you should act soon 😉 When I do these promotions, it usually takes me two days to give away 10-15 books.

Books will ship out May 7, 2018, after the first round of pledges have been processed.

Your first pledge must process successfully in order to receive the book, but after that, you’re free to cancel for any reason, no questions asked.

Here are the rules (there are only three.)

1. You must have a shipping address in the United States. I try to make these offers available in other countries, but because this is my own book that I’ll be mailing out from a US address, I have to be more selective. A huge apology to my international friends 🙁

2. You must become a patron at or above the $2 level on or before Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time, and your first pledge at the beginning of May must process successfully before I can ship out the book. After that, you’re free to cancel, no questions asked.

3. This offer is only available to new patrons. Unfortunately, former patrons aren’t eligible.

That’s it!

Once you become a patron, I’ll send you an email to request your shipping address. Then, once your first pledge clears at the beginning of May, I’ll ship out your signed book.

To become a patron and receive your signed hardcover copy of Snapshots: The Collected Flash Fiction of Jeff Coleman, Volume 1, click the “Become a patron” button below.

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