Pain Inside

The air was thicker here, filmed over by the crowd’s smoking. He coughed and the pain inside teetered on unbearable. This wasn’t a place he should hang around, he thought. Milo lifted his glass, his face contorting from the apparent drink of fire that just rushed down his throat. It doesn’t matter, he slid his glass forward on the bar, nothing makes it better. Another flash of prickling pain seemed to run up his chest.

Another specialist with another test of medicine and it failed. He’d been dealing with failure for years now. So used to the idea of it that he no longer felt saddened by it. Milo grabbed at his side, the lingering pain still pulsating up and down his ribs. He wondered what this new medicine tested on him had done, it looked more like magic than medicine. He paid his tab and left before he found himself at the bottom of multiple bottles. Milo wondered if there was even still a point in limiting himself, it clearly wasn’t making a difference.

“Shit,” Milo whispered taking in the now rain-drenched night sky as he began the walk back to his inn.

“Stay away from me!” a voice shrieked over the thundering rain.

He burst into a run as another scream echoed from up the street. He slid to halt when he caught 3 dark figures down a gap between buildings. The two biggest of the group turned and one of them stepped towards Milo; something that looked rather pointy gleaming in his hand.

“Leave her alone,” he said in his bravest voice. He knew there was no chance at stopping these men. Maybe though, he thought encouragingly, their would-be victim can flee.

“You should learn to mind your own fucking business,” the advancing man snarled.

Milo let out a yelp and crumpled to his knees, clutching at his sides. He gasped for breath, his vision blurring as his ribs felt about to crack. Milo could barely hear the first thug, who had now stopped to laugh.

“Should make sure you’re not about to keel over before acting the hero,” he said arrogantly.

What in this realm made him think he could be of any help, he scrutinized himself, with this disease inside him trying its best to kill him. A ringing filled his ears and the pain inside seemed to want to explode out of him. In an instant, the pain vanished along with the ringing. There was silence but the first thug was still mouthing something towards him. A voice echoed in Milo’s head, a voice that was not the man in front of him.

“Let us help,” the voice whispered, “we do not wish to die. Your life force is our tether to this realm. Release us aloud…”

Milo stared, terrified, at the thug advancing again. Silence still overwhelmed everything around him. He doubled over as the pain in his chest throbbed against his ribs. He did not know what was happening, or what he had just heard. Before he had time to consider he felt his mouth open.

“I release you,” he said gasping for air and everything went black.

Milo’s eye’s opened and sound flooded his ears. Even with the rain, a whimpering woman is what he heard first. He looked down and she shuddered at him gazing at her. Her eyes flicked between his face and a place behind him. Milo turned, an awful feeling in his stomach.

“Holy shit,” he said faintly.

The two men lay against the wall. They looked like a human but deflated. Their veins had turned jet black in the shriveled skin. The world went silent around him again.

“You’re welcome,” the voice cooed.


This flash was written after a week’s worth of recovering from chemotherapy. All week I’ve been contending with an awful case of writer’s block. I’m interested to know what you think of this. Since I did attempt to write this in a different sort of style than what I’m used to.

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