Please Be Okay (Sandcastle 3.04)


Each boom outside makes the dishes in the china cabinet tremble. A car alarm down the street starts shrieking in rhythmic bursts, the closest of the growing chorus. The flame of my candle weaves like it’s dancing, but even it quails at the next boom. “Oooh,” drone the neighbors sitting on their roof across the street. They sound like ghosts. I don’t turn to the window to see the red and blue sparks falling down over the suburban houses.

Please tell me you’re okay.

Those words on the computer screen are burned into my retinas. I sink deeper into the chair, never blinking, my hand lifting up in a trance to my mouth so my teeth can grind away at the torn edge of my thumbnail until it’s jagged enough to grip and pull. It tears. The pain is sharp and tastes like copper. I suck on my thumb as if I’m a child again, or a vampire.

Kassidy’s smiling face stares back at me from the computer screen. She’s always smiling. The European sun has added new freckles to her face since the last time we sat across from each at our favorite table by the window in C-Sully’s Café. She has sixty-seven likes on the picture, just one snapshot of many in the album “Adventures In Turkey.”

Please tell me you’re okay.

My words in the message box have been sitting there for four hours and thirteen minutes.

Another boom is a concussion in my ribcage, jump-starting my heart again. Mr. Hanson’s golden retriever starts barking at the burning sky. Above me, CNN is muted. They’ve been showing the same video loop all afternoon. Same experts talking about the same headline: “Terrorist attack kills 36, wounds 147 at Istanbul Ataturk Airport.”

I shift my destructive habit over to my next finger and start to gnaw. I will regret this later when I can’t clasp my necklace or tear the seal off a breakfast smoothie tomorrow.

So much quieter but somehow just as jolting as the explosions outside is a tiny ping.

Two words.

I’m okay.



*** All works are fiction. The events, characters, and narrator(s) in flash fiction pieces are not intended to accurately portray any real persons, living or dead. ***


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