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The Cigarette Blues (standard:Flash, 830 words)
Author: WishesAdded: Nov 03 2009Views/Reads: 1657/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The people that are lost.

The sun shone through the gray canvas of the sky, piercing the looming
clouds overhead to provide some rare rays of warmth in the brisk fall 
air. Autumn burned leaves hung in red and gold mosaics from the spider 
web boughs of maple trees. Occasionally, a strong gust would set the 
leaves whispering and cause them to spiral to earth in fiery vortexes. 

Between two uniform lines of maples wound the gray serpent of a concrete
path. On either side of the road were single file rows of smooth gray 
stones. Some of these were merely a smooth slab of rock laid in the 
ground, others stood like small sky scrapers that towered above the 
rest of the line, and a few were composed of carefully stacked and 
polished granite pieces with ornate statues upon them. Into each of the 
stones were the careful etching of names and dates. 

In the distance, a man could be seen cresting the top of a hill and
starting down the path. The man continued for a distance past the rows 
of trees and sea of stones. His black coat billowed behind him as the 
breeze picked up. From below the broad brim of his black hat were two 
eyes set like pale ice that were focused only on the path ahead of him. 
His short brown hair stuck out from the sides of his hat and bordered a 
face that was devoid of emotion. Suddenly, the man stopped. For a while 
he simply looked down to his right as the autumn leaves swirled around 
him in a crimson cocoon. Then, he stepped off the path and knelt by a 
plain round stone. Slowly, he reached out and touched engraving on the 
face of the stone before hastily standing back up and continuing down 
the path. 

Withered vines wrapped in a tangled mess around the black iron bars of
the fence that enclosed the graveyard. Within was a sea of grave 
markers that stood like chess pieces in their orderly rows. The squeal 
of rusted iron hinges rent the air as the front gates swung open and a 
figure entered the cemetary. The person who had entered was a teenage 
boy of about seventeen years. He dressed simply in a t-shirt and jeans. 
The orange shocks of his hair fell to partially obscure a his dust 
colored eyes and the weary smile he wore. He walked, as he had each 
year for the past ten years, forward twelve rows and then turned and 
continued five columns to his right, passing crumbling spires and 
dilapidated mausoleums. At last, he came to a stop beside a headstone. 
He sat on the green grass in front of it and traced his fingers along 
its markings before placing a white rose atop the grave. He let his 
mind drift back to the memories of his mother. 

The boy in the graveyard sat up slowly as he heard the screech of the
gated entrance. Eventually, he heard soft footsteps approaching from 
behind. He looked up to see a man in a black coat standing next to him, 
staring at the gravestone. Surprised, the boy spoke, "What are you 
doing here?" "I've come here every year. Same as you," the man replied. 
For a while, they were both silent. Then the boy questioned again, "Do 
ever regret those days?" "Which days?" "The days when you two were 
together. The day she left you." The man touched the ring that he wore 
on his left hand and then replied, "No. Not even the day she left." The 
two were silent a while after that. Then, the man took a cigarette and 
a lighter from his coat pocket. He lit the cigarette and drew a breath 
from it. Almost imperceptibly, a soft rain began to fall The boy was 
surprised and asked, "I thought you had quit smoking." "I did," the man 
replied, "but back when your mother and I were dating, she told me, one 
time, that I looked cool when I smoked." The man laughed, "In fact, I 
think that's the only time she even complimented me on my looks." He 
smiled and, looking to the gravestone said, "That's why, every year on 
our anniversary, I smoke a cigarette in front of her to see." After a 
few minutes, the man finished his cigarette and ground it into the 
dirt. He turned and said to the boy, "I have to go now, so I'll talk to 
you later." With a swish of his drenched coat, he left the boy in the 
graveyard and continued back down the maple lined path beyond the 
gates. The boy sat alone next to the grave, staring at the bent 
cigarette as it became swallowed by the muddying ground. The thousand 
lines of rain falling around him seemed to join the memories he had 
lost with the name on the grave. They fell from the stark heavens and 
joined the moisture rolling down his face.


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