Words with the Dead by Adam Lock (Lucent Dreaming Issue 5)

Karl’s mum deals with problems by washing curtains, settee covers, or bed clothes. His grandad died three days ago, the same day his mum took away his phone for spending money he’d not asked for. She gave him back his phone, took away his data, and changed the Wi-Fi password.

His grandad’s house smells different; it’s been four months since he moved into the hospice. Every day, while he was in there, they exchanged turns on Words with Friends. His grandad always won. Sometimes, his grandad used rude words which made Karl laugh. Karl never used rude words because his mum told him he shouldn’t.

He tries to connect to his grandad’s Wi-Fi but it isn’t working.

Every Sunday, he and his mum visited his grandad, bringing with them a plate of roast dinner wrapped in tin foil. His grandad would eat in the living room, in his chair, next to the gas fire, watching football.

His mum is upstairs, taking down curtains.

He places a hand on the Wi-Fi router in the hall, before turning it off at the socket, then back on again.

“Make yourself useful,” his mum shouts down. “Take down the curtains in the front room.”

Standing on a chair, reaching for a curtain, his phone buzzes in his pocket. The Wi-Fi is back on. He takes out his phone and sees his grandad has taken his turn on Words with Friends. He opens up the game. Having played his turn three days before, his grandad has used the word ‘penis’. It’s not funny anymore.

Karl sits on the chair and stares at his letters.

“You taking down those curtains?” his mum shouts. “Karl?”

He moves a ‘u’, ‘c’ and ‘k’ next to an ‘f’ but the game won’t allow him to play it. After shuffling his letters, he scans the board. His grandad has left his word next to a triple word score tile, which isn’t like him. Wasn’t like him. He’d never do that. Have done that.

Karl places an ‘e’ and ’s’ on the end of ‘penis,’ covering the triple word score tile and scoring twenty seven points. For the first time since he started to play with his Grandad, he takes the lead.

He waits, the sound of his mum busy upstairs, children playing in the street outside, an ice cream van’s tune a few streets away.

On his phone, Karl presses the button that sends his grandad a nudge, reminding him it’s his turn.

Browse issue 5 in full.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Related posts

Issue 9 arrives!

Lucent Dreaming issue 9 has arrived at Lucent HQ and we think it’s our best one yet. Subscribe today from only £20 to purchase your

Read More »