New fiction: Canopy

Fiddleblack Annual#2: Nights Like These

My short story, “Canopy,” appears in the latest print anthology from Fiddleblack.

It can be ordered online only and includes work by Justin Thurman, Michael Walsh, Kevin Catalano, Gillian Morrison, Dane Elcar, Karin Anderson, Shannon Perri, John McManus, Todd Grimson, and Elias Marsten.

Many thanks to Editor Jason Cook for his continued support of my work and so many other writers.

Canopy by Matthew Jakubowski

He was 43, a tax advisor. Death had scuttled off with his wife and their two children five years ago. Though he wasn’t the type to confess such things, grief had sunk in, quiet, humiliating, and somewhat warped him. He had begun to treat daydreams as possible routes to flee this world and pursue his family in the other, even if only for a minute here and there. He knew it was a dangerous habit to indulge but he often couldn’t help himself and, like most people, he felt he had the right to lose his head every now and then.

One Tuesday evening in August he was sitting alone at the dining room table working on his laptop when rain came splashing down. As he looked at it through the back window, he saw near the trunk of a large maple an image, like a mirage, of a four-poster bed. He believed he could see its white canopy above thick blankets and pillows, its four wooden feet planted on the wet lawn, like a hologram beamed in from a projector, blurry there beneath the leaves moving in the rain.

The widower didn’t feel enticed at first by the vision of the bed. He was busy, behind on some things. But the bed seemed determined to have his focus, as if offering a chance to investigate some secret avenue of memory he’d overlooked. So he slid the laptop over to give the meaning and nature of the four-poster bed a few minutes’ study.

He heard rain strike in flat chords on the back patio and saw how some drops burst upwards against the glass when they hit the outside edge of the windowframe a few feet away. A couple memories about this kind of bed then began to swarm invisibly within his body, telling him to follow, to keep them alive if he could.

This is an excerpt. The full story is available to read in Fiddleblack Annual #2: Nights Like These.