26 parts of a Speculative Fiction story by J Lenni Dorner
I use Lyft to transport me to the warehouse address Brydanz supplied. There’s no way I’ll be sober enough to drive later. My phone beeps as I get out of the car. Mystic sent me a picture of Mercedes holding her planet Phaeton model. I reply with a smile and heart emojis, then shut off my phone.
“Ahh, there he is! Just in time.” Brydanz takes me by my elbow as he greets me. “I knew you would come. Smart man, smart man.”
“I just came to watch the fight.” That’s not true; I also came hoping to drink myself into tomorrow. Upset one kid by using the wrong word, another by cooking dinner, and the youngest by not buying her everything she wants. Not to mention the one spending his birthday in a grave beside my wife. I need today to be over.
“Strong fighter like you? No, no, you say you came to watch, but Brydanz knows. Look in your eyes, eh? Fuel for a fire. Too long have you locked it up.”
“Did we meet before today?” I look him over again as he unchains a warehouse door. I think I’d remember someone this peculiar. Then again, I wasn’t paying much attention back in my fighting days. Odd that the door was chained shut. Am I the first one here?
He laughs as he yanks the heavy, rusted door open. “No, you would have remembered. Interesting that you did not bring your truck. Escape not on your mind?”
I shrug. “Was hoping your arena had alcohol. Enough to inebriate me beyond the legal driving limit.”
Brydanz claps my shoulder, stopping me from going through the door. “You did not care about that earlier. In dead place, you had been drinking.”
“Yeah, well, I gave myself time to sober back up before I had to drive.”
His eyes narrow. “You were not hoping to die?”
“No. My kids need me. The children I told you about.” Maybe part of me wanted to die. To sink into the ground between my wife and son. Part of me has wanted that since the night they died. I don’t talk about it though. Ever. To anyone.
“So you have a reason to live, something for which to fight. Passion in bones.”
“I told you, I’m not fighting. I’m a dancer. Now, are we going to drink and watch some people bloody each other or what?”
His expression changes to the creepiest grin I’ve ever seen. I’d say he looks like he walked out of the pages of a Stephen King horror novel, but honestly, the look is even worse. Brydanz’s cheeks lift and puff out like two blowfish. The whites of his eyes are drowned away by his growing pupils.
“What in the harbor?” Everything around me is moving in my peripheral vision. Brydanz holds my gaze though; his eyes now swirls of black and white. I can’t make myself blink.
“Earthling.” I hear him laughing as everything fades away.
What do you live for/ what’s your passion?
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