Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: Lucidity

Every Friday, Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. This week...

Word Count: 600

“Dinner is served, my lord” said Oderly, Lord Bodwin’s manservant. He led Bodwin to the dining room where his master found his meal waiting. Oderly disappeared for a few seconds and returned with a pitcher of spiced wine. “May I pour you a glass, sir?” he asked.

“Thank you,” said Bodwin.

Oderly set the pitcher on the table and removed himself to the corner of the room.

Bodwin bit his lip. He needed to ask. He’d been planning to ask. Might as well do it now. “Oderly?” he said.

“My lord?”

“Why don’t you go and get yourself something to eat?” asked Bodwin. There was a beat of silence, and Bodwin’s stomach tightened with nervousness at his own impropriety.

“Pardon, my lord?” said Oderly.

“Well, it’s just that you usually stand in the corner while I eat,” said Bodwin. “It occurred to me that you don’t eat when I do. In fact, I’ve never seen you eat.”

“Nor should you, sir,” said Oderly.

“Right, but I expect that you do,” said Bodwin.

“Of course I do,” said Oderly.

“I’m just curious about when you eat,” said Bodwin.

Once more, Oderly took a moment before responding. “My lord,” he said, “I don’t think this is anything for you to worry about.”

“See, but that does make me worried,” said Bodwin. “You’re with me when I awaken. You’re with me when I turn in. You stand in the corner while I dine. If I wake in the middle of the night to make water, you’re there. At any moment during the day I can find you without effort. And yet I’ve never seen you eat or sleep or excuse yourself to make water.”

Oderly smiled but said nothing.

“So, you see… I was just wondering how it is that you do it,” said Bodwin.

“Has my lord considered that perhaps there are more than one of me?” asked Oderly, still smiling, although the smile did not touch his eyes.

“Well, of course not,” said Bodwin. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Mr. Bodwin, are you getting argumentative?” asked Oderly.

“Please address me by my title, Oderly,” Bodwin admonished.

“Perhaps you just need something to calm you,” said Oderly.

“What’s going on?” asked a woman. Bodwin couldn’t see her, but he recognized the voice. She was a doctor or something—but no, that was ridiculous. There were no women doctors.

“It’s all right,” said Oderly. “He’s restrained. Isn’t that right, Mr. Bodwin?”

“I’ll have you know—” Bodwin started but, as he rose from his chair, he found that he could not raise his hands from the armrests. Thick leather thongs bound them. “How dare you!?” shouted Bodwin, falling back down to his bed. But wait—hadn’t he been in a chair before?

He looked up and found that his dining room was replaced by a sterile hospital room. Where was his mansion? A woman stared at a clipboard while a young man in blue scrubs injected something into an IV bag. A television in the corner played some English drama. Bodwin’s heart caught in his throat.

“All done,” said the man—he had Oderly’s voice. “Should only take a moment,” he said.

What should only take a moment?” Bodwin demanded. “Where am I?”

“You’re home, sir,” said Oderly. “Just where you should be.”

Bodwin blinked. He was back in his mansion. He could still feel the leather cuffs on his wrists and ankles, but his movements were no longer impeded. What had just happened? Had it been real?

Bodwin took a long drink of spiced wine. Of course it hadn’t been real. No, of course not.

Edited by Carolyn "Today You Shall Be... Bob" Abram.

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