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Flash Fiction

by Lorette C. Luzajic

The towers pile light-buzzing screens one on top of the other, like static interference, like flickering binary code. Kate isn’t quite sure what she was expecting from a quantum frequency healing circle, but it wasn’t a bunch of heavily made-up women in capris and little white slippers. 

She sighs and leans back in the cheap lawn chair, but it’s not easy to relax under the assault of fluorescent light tracks overhead. Each glowing tube is amplified by the endless cold glare of the walls. She had assumed that the scalar wave treatment clinic would be more ambient, perhaps, like a yoga studio, with a warm tangle of spider plants and a laughing Buddha statue. The only art on the wall is an illustration of the spiritual body with squiggly rays, but it doesn’t look cosmic at all, more like a chalk outline of a murder victim.

The lone man in the room looks like the serial killers she’s seen interviewed on TV: gaunt and awkward with Coke bottle glasses and sunken eyes. When she glances in his direction, he’s already staring at her, lower lip lax and slippery. She represses a shiver. He must be ill, she thinks. Not a stretch, of course – all of them are sick and desperate, hoping for a miracle potion, or a magic wand, a flicker of transformative biofield energy. For him, it must be cancer. It’s the way his skin barely covers his ribs or even cheekbones; the sporadic, ruddy darkness of him.

She looks away, and her eyes fall on the woman who is sharing. Electric curly hair. The glow of her face reveals she is a true believer.

“We are MADE of light,” the woman says emphatically. “Our bodies know how to heal themselves! But we suppress our own innate wisdom. These flickering photons can reset our frequencies.”

Nods and murmurs flutter up from the circle. For a few moments Kate drifts in the silence. She wonders if she’s finally feeling the energy. There’s a fleeting sense of alignment and a pleasant pressure at the base of her spine. The brochure promised she didn’t need faith: the flickering screens would work whether you believed it or not. Was this the start of the shift from chronic pain to wholeness?

In another moment she knows the warm tingling is a more commonplace matter. She has to pee. Rats. How long can she hold out? There are no phones in the healing space, and nothing so earthly and banal as a clock on the wall. Time is, of course, just a construct. But how can she assess what’s left of the hour, and whether her bladder can hold that long?

Someone else shares a testimony of transformation. This woman had been told she needed a blood transfusion for fatigue resulting from toxic chemotherapy. She started taking iron and B12 to rebuild her blood. She took the Neulasta injection they recommended, too, to help her restore her platelets. And she came to just one hour of energy enhancement before this. When she went to her appointment, they told her she no longer needed the transfusion. 

After the first flicker session, the woman explains, she had visualized her blood cells knitting back together. And then she could feel it happening. Deep inside, she knew she no would no longer need the procedure.

It’s hard to know which course of action was really to thank for her recovery. She wonders how the rays the screens are transmitting can be energizing when desktop and smartphone waves are toxic. The overhead fluorescents are triggering her migraines now. She feels a thin, piercing drill start deep inside her skull and knows it will build into a killer event if she doesn’t relax and find soft natural light soon. 

A woman with big brassy hair and tattooed eyebrows is sharing now. She is as round as a ball and has a shiny nose. She discovered the realm of rainforest shamanism years ago, in university, reading anthropology from Carlos Castaneda. His work opened her eyes to the profound possibilities that ancient cultures understood. 

She was infatuated with Castaneda, the psychedelic guru, during college. She’d devoured everything he said, hook, line and sinker. When it came out later that he’d made it all up, she was gutted, and embarrassed to have been so gullible. Even after the indigenous leaders, genuine shamans of Mexico, corrected the record and accused him of fabrication and appropriation, some people still represented his experiences as truth instead of a hoax. What was objective reality, after all, but one facet of mystery among many? 

She leans back into the lawn chair, tries again to sense waves of love and enlightenment, to feel the positive healing frequencies in her spine instead of just the increasingly necessary signals to urinate. She still wants to believe that the only obstacle between her turning at will into a crow or soaring swallow is the church and state repressing her true nature. Morphine and cortisone and Gabapentin have all failed her, so what is left, if not the hope there are other ways to overcome the constant burning in her nerves? As the migraine starts to flood over her, she closes her eyes again. She imagines herself outside of the pain, floating in the white flashing fields, talking to wild coyotes. 

About the Author

Lorette C. Luzajic reads, writes, publishes, edits, and teaches small fictions and prose poetry. Her work has been published in hundreds of journals, taught in schools and workshops including on Manitoulin Island and in Egypt, and translated into Urdu and Spanish. She was selected for Best Small Fictions 2023 and 2024. She has been nominated several times each for Best Small Fictions, Best Microfictions, Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, and Best American Food Writing. She has been shortlisted for Bath Flash Fiction and The Lascaux Review awards. Her collections include The Rope Artist, The Neon Rosary, Pretty Time Machine and Winter in June. Lorette is the founding editor of The Ekphrastic Review, a journal of literature inspired by art, running for nine years, and the brand new prose poetry journal, The Mackinaw. Lorette is also an award-winning mixed media artist, with collectors in more than 40 countries so far.