Hello… ello… lo…
Is this thing on?
Oh, there we go.
Testing one. Testing two. Testing one, two, three, four.
Good evening and welcome to tonight’s performance of Along the Splintered Path, a journey into a world of make believe… or is it?
Sit down, get comfortable. Now, close your eyes and let your mind take you away. Come; let me guide you along the path that’s not quite splintered yet.
Are you ready?
Follow me through the streets of a big city and let us take a perch on the corner here. Do you see that man over there, sitting on the sidewalk with his hands between his knees? His name is Phillip and his story is about to begin. Look up to the bridge that spans above him–an overpass, if you will–and watch…
There… Money from Heaven. Not quite, but still, it’s a bag and it’s loaded with cash. Now, sit and watch as Phillip’s Story plays out before you, how the money came to fall from the sky and just what Phillip does with it.
Enjoy the screening…
Ahhh… now that we’ve seen the first show, let’s move on. No, we won’t be walking here. Hop into the cars, we have a trip to take, one that leads us to the Blue Ridge Mountains and James, a young man with marital issues.
Let’s pull up alongside the cabin and peek in through the windows. Shhh… Listen. They’re arguing.
Now, sit back and watch as James leaves in a huff, probably going a little too fast here in the mountains where winter is almost in full swing and ice sits on the roads. If we’re lucky, we’ll see the entire events play out when his car wrecks and he has to set out on foot for shelter.
And look overhead. Are those dark clouds, thick in the belly with snow?
I wonder what could be in store for James…
Finally, and not too far away from where James was last seen, sits a house in the woods. Down the path from it is a small building–a woodshed. No, we won’t get too close to this one. Just listen…
Do you hear that? Do you hear the sounds of a leather strap on skin?? It makes me cringe just thinking about it. But, wait. If you are really quiet, we can get a little closer. Follow me down the path–and yes, this one is quite splintered–and be wary of the twigs and leaves. Lift your feet while you walk.
Look down there. That man… that man looks crazy. We can’t see what he is hitting, but we can tell it’s a person… and does that strap in his hands hold… no, it can’t be. Those are razors embedded into the leather.
No… no… no… close your mental eyes. You don’t want to see this…
Now, open them.
What is this? The old house is run down, a tree sits on its roof and there is a car parked out behind it…
… and someone is screaming…
Now, come back with me…
What is that?
When will the show start? After we get back to the theater, of course. Tickets must be purchased and refreshments must be gotten before you take your seat before the stage where our characters will perform the three acts for you.
Are you ready? Are you sure?
Step right up, my friends and strangers alike and enjoy the walk Along the Splintered Path…
I would like to say thank you to anyone who reads my work. As a writer, I want readers and I want to make sure that I deliver the best stories I can for those readers. If I can get one person to smile… or cringe… or cry… then I’ve done my job.
I’m just the average, everyday guy, trying to find his way into the readers hearts and minds.
Thank you, again, for taking the time to sit awhile with one of my stories. I hope you enjoyed the experience.
A.J. Brown is a southern born writer of (mostly) dark fiction. Some of his works have appeared in Necrotic Tissue, Allegory, Bards and Sages Quarterly and Liquid Imagination.
When he is not penning stories on dried out leaves, he likes to hang out with his kids and wife and play with LEGO’s.