Tag Archives: Gloria g. Murray

“The Scream” – Fiction by Gloria g. Murray

A woman wakes up dead on her seventieth birthday in “The Scream,” Gloria g. Murray’s phantasmically surreal short fiction from our Winter 2019 issue.

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WHEN I AWOKE THE MORNING OF MY SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY, I KNEW I WAS NO LONGER ALIVE.  Every part of me seemed so light under the sheets.  I tried to move each limb but without sensation. My eyes seemed open yet I couldn’t blink. My fingers were clawed around the sheets.

I looked about. The room seemed the same—the screen saver on my computer zigzagging into pink, green and yellow lines, the sunlight filtering through the blinds, my pink slippers positioned at the side of the bed. Everything was as always until I looked into the mirror. My mouth was open in a Munch scream so that I couldn’t move my lips. I put my hand on my breast but felt nothing, not even a flutter.

It seemed like I floated down the steps to the kitchen. Everything was as usual—the coffee pot ready to brew. I turned it on to hear that sweet, perking sound, inhale that savory smell. I opened the blinds and stared out at the familiar sump across the street, my neighbor’s American flag blowing in the January wind. Perhaps it was all a dream. Yes, a Picasso nightmare from which I would eventually awaken. I avoided the mirror in the hallway. I wanted to speak but my mouth wouldn’t move.  I grabbed the phone but it fell from my hand, and then I too fell to the floor. I lay there for I don’t know how long before I heard the front door opening.

A man and woman walked in. Hmm, lots of goodies here, the woman said. Yes, most everything is sure to go, the man answered. We could probably set it up for three weeks from today. The woman nodded and they proceeded to walk around, inspecting everything. After admiring one of my statues, the woman said—Oh, this Rodin, I’m sure it will go!  Oh no! Not The Kiss, the one I found at a garage sale and sprayed pale pink to cover the cracks.  And these prints of Frida Kahlo, the woman smiled—lovely.  But I’m not sure in Suburbia many would know who she was.

 I poked at my mouth. Damn it—OPEN!  They continued walking around, tapping the piano keys on the out-of-tune Winter upright, the one my dear friend played while I sang off-key, the one he claimed was firewood.

Well, we might get something for this—but it’s doubtful, the man commented. Hmm, the woman agreed. Then they went upstairs to my bedroom. Well, look at this, the woman said, rattling through some of the files and papers on my desk, examining the computer my fingers had stroked like a lover, long, long into the night. The lady was a writer. How about that?  Well, we might get something for the computer and printer. I suppose her children could come and collect the books and the writings and any other incidentals.

My poetry, plays…poetry for which I had never achieved real notoriety, just a local contest now and then, the two free contributor copies, a couple of my plays performed at local one-act festivals by senior citizens in various stages of Alzheimer’s.  The couple wandered about for a while before they came down, took one last look around and closed the door behind them. Yes, they had come and assessed my life in all of ten minutes. Continue reading “The Scream” – Fiction by Gloria g. Murray

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