This flashback takes place at a dinner party.

FLASHBACK

Solomon had started the process of prepping both his offense and defensive weapons as soon as he stepped foot upon the bike path. For this mission, spawned from his protective instincts, he had readied his mind with an arsenal of death, destruction, and a defensive surprise. A recent creation, something he had designed for a friend in need, could prove to be a Police Detective’s Nightmare if it fell into the wrong hands. Titled in Latin [sine ulla] for his close friend [Jenn]. Upon activation, nothing, human, or otherwise would be able to track or follow him without his knowledge. Furthermore, nothing would be able to creep upon his position. He had taken things a step further by removing all traces of his passing. This incredibly powerful [force of will] cleansed everything, including his footprints, scent, and all traces of DNA. He could bleed on the concrete path, and within a few moments, the fluids would disappear, leaving the most experienced CSI Team baffled and confused.

Solomon had been walking the bike trail for nearly an hour. Without a watch or a cellphone, he checked the moon and calculated the time to be approximately 2:45 am. Stopping at the bottom of a hill, he paused for a few minutes to get his bearings, making sure he had taken the correct fork in the road thirty minutes ago.

Standing at the bottom of a hillside, Solomon spotted an overgrown path. The trail was wildly tangled and spotted with large thorn bushes. Even so, the challenge proved minimal, and within a few minutes, he had hiked to the top and discoveed precisely what he had hoped to find: He was standing at the end of a dead-end street.

Solomon knew how far he would need to walk to reach the end of the driveway, and within a few minutes, he had reached the gravel road leading to his destination. Although three stories in height, the house was small. He expected and was not disappointed to find one light on, a single illumination on the third floor, possibly a desk or table lamp. He had come calling without an invitation, but his presence had not been announced or expected.

Standing in the darkness just within the treeline, Solomon patiently waited. The smell of Dandelions lured his eyes to the small patch of flowers beneath his boots. The memory of [her] flickered within his mind, and a smile touched his lips. He must not fail this night.

With complete absolution, he knew both beasts would sniff him out, charging at full speed with only one intention: To end his life. Standing beneath the canopy of trees with his black hoodie pulled over his face, Solomon remained invisible. The centering process had begun, connecting his mind to the wind and the rain. His lips moved beneath the hood, creating words from an obscure language. Solomon could no longer feel the wind on his face, something had come between him and the rest of the world. The large garage door was open, raised no more than one foot to allow the sentries to see, hear, and smell their prey.

Solomon did not flinch when the charge came. Instead, remaining entirely still, waiting for the fastest of the two beasts to die. The slower of the two monsters watched the first hit the wall. The impact ended the existence of its a physical body, sending the entity back to where it had traveled from. The dead creature crumpled to the rain-soaked ground directly in front of the second beast, causing it to leap slightly, hitting the invisible barrier just as hard and sending its body glancing off the wall like a billiard shot.

Solomon had not been watching the demons, instead, pushing all of his senses towards the dark house, waiting for the second light to illuminate. The wait was over.





FLASHBACK OVER

As Shelby watched Solomon’s mind fill with pain, she stepped in quickly to pull him back from the damaging memory. “Hey, come back to me, Solomon. Come back to me.” Her Elysian voice was like a warm breeze, scattering what was left of the dark cloud from his mind.

Everyone in the room watched as Shelby moved expeditiously to help Solomon return from wherever he had slipped off to. She paused, wondering what had triggered the flashback, the gift, or quite possibly herself. Solomon’s eyes blinked several times as he looked around the room at his friends, his gaze coming to rest on Shelby’s smiling face and bright green eyes. Once again, her voice had helped him return from someplace dark and painful.

“Thank you, Shelby,” Solomon said as he stood up. Turning towards David, he smiled inquisitively. “David.”

Holding Abbey’s hand next to her on the couch, David replied, “Yes.”

“You weren’t by chance . . . just now . . . asking me if I still like to play a game of pool were you,” Solomon asked, now smiling.

“Nope, you’re daydreaming buddy,” David replied.

“I guess so.”

Joseph Shanklin

July 8, 2020

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