Flash Fiction: Grandpa

By: Silvana McGuire


Grandpa was talking.

“When the gods sang the Universe into existence, the sound was one of dissonance, which created waves, that engulfed the dark space, where nothingness was present”. His breath was heavy with the tar from his hand rolled cigarette, and I had to hold myself in place to demonstrate I could stand still and pay attention, smelly smoke or not hanging in between us.

“From the lungs of creators long gone from this Universe we share was, in fact, an exhale of the gods”.

The sunlight was streaming into the kitchen floor, made of big red tiles that were cool during the summer and not very cold in winter times. The wisps of hair on Grandpa’s head were standing at attention against the golden yellow rays as they were filtered through the tall windows. I held my breath when he stood up and started pacing around, waving the cigarette, pointing this way and that way as if describing a wall size picture to me. Many times, he would stand in the middle of the room and open his arms wide, almost disappearing behind the fog of his own creation.

“They left traces, trails, passageways that you and I can see from the corners of our eyes. The Harbingers will come through those one day. They heard the calling, ‘come’… and they replied, ‘we will’. They started to roll upon themselves. Like pebbles moved by gentle waves at first, then more rapidly, as the wind picks up on a beach at the end of the day. Only they were not being moved by waves. They were the waves and the pebbles. They were the shore. They were the sky. They were the everything. They were the nothingness.

They heard the calling, ‘it is time’… and they repeated, ‘we are coming’. They kept their spinning steady but now their focus was towards the dimly lit tunnel in the distance. It was an area that didn’t shine as bright as all else around it. It was an area that was fuller than the surrounding firmament. They were spinning and gathering and embracing. Then separating as tired lovers. At last they become one cluster revolving around themselves. Moving through the skies in direct route to the tunnel.

They heard the calling, ‘now’… and they said, ‘we are here’. They fell into the tunnel. A collision would not be an accurate description. They merged with the walls and found themselves pushed through it across thousands of millions of space-time units. It took a very long time. It took the blink of an eye.

And they are here.”

I loved spending time with my Grandpa ever since I could remember. He would take me from Mother in the morning and I would sit down by his feet while he was being served breakfast. He would start talking as soon as the kitchen was quiet.

Any day, from my vantage point, down in the blanket on the floor by his table side, all I could see was his profile hunched over the table, a coffee cup on one hand sometimes, many times the cigarette, very often the newspaper. Grandpa could talk to me while he was pretending to do other things. I could barely see his mouth moving. But I could always hear him. That was how he taught me our history. We are the people who came through the tunnel. We heard the calling.

And we are here.

“Fire is an element. The most powerful of all. It ignites the sun and creates light. There is no stronger element for, when in full force, fire consumes itself. Tires itself. Water does not extinguish it. We play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and you see, we don’t play “Fire, Water, Air” because fire will always win over all other elements”. His smirk would become a twinkle when it reached his blue eyes. He was pretending to light his cigarette and his thoughts, whispers and breath hit me behind the scalp, not quite my ears. That is how he taught me to communicate with our tribe.

“We are here to provide balance. To nudge others into remembering who they are and where we came from. We are here to keep life going until they find us again.”

Grandpa would turn on his chair up above my head and look at me. His hands were holding the daily paper, and I was piling up wood blocks as high as I could. He would look at me, frown, and inquire: “Understand?” and I would freeze, face him square on, nod my head, and get back to my wood blocks.

When they told me he had vanished, I was not surprised. He had taught me how to do it. I had not tried it yet for I needed to spend some time by myself in the high mountains before I would be ready. But Grandpa was ready. He left and rejoined the hordes of god creators, where one day I will, also, be spending my eternity. All I had to do now was learn how to breathe my song.

I understood.

Bio- English is not my native language, and I also write in Portuguese. I wake up with words
playing in my head like music on repeat and I can't help but putting them down to paper. Since
July of 2018 I have been published in print by Clarendon House on "Cadence" and "Rapture"
Anthologies, also published online in Dastaan World Magazine. I live in Indiana, USA with my
husband of 16 years, and 4 talking parrots. I love my life and my life loves me.

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