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Junk Mail

Ramon lived alone for most of his life: no family, friends, or romantic relationships. He can’t work—or leave his house for long—because of a rare genetic disorder which causes his joints to lockup if he exerts himself too much. This debilitating condition coupled with loneliness has pushed him to the end of his rope. That is until the day a mysterious blank letter arrived in the mail.

At first Ramon thought it was a fluke; a random mistake by a credit card company or the doing of a lazy employee whose job was to send out junk mail, but another one came the next day. Then the day after that—and the day after that. Without fail, everyday Ramon received a blank letter in the mail; each time without a return address. The only thing inside of the envelope was a folded up piece of plain white paper. Nothing written on either side. Nothing remotely exciting or noteworthy about the paper. Ramon thought it was peculiar the first couple of days it happened, but after a month of constant letters, he couldn’t help but think somebody was screwing with him on purpose.

Ramon racked his brain trying to solve the mystery of the anonymous sender, but he didn’t know anyone—let alone somebody who would go out of their way to mess with him like this. Yet the letters just kept on coming. It got to the point where Ramon would wait for the mailman to show up just to see if he could get some answers on who the sender of these letters was. Of course, the aging mailman had no clue. He did recommend Ramon go to the post office for help. Unfortunately, they were even less helpful and the trip took a real toll on Ramon’s deteriorating body.

The letters arrived at the same time everyday for two months. And other than a few utility bills, his bi-monthly disability checks, and random junk mail, they were the only pieces of mail he received. Then, on the first Monday of the month, Ramon shuffled to the mailbox and was met with an empty darkness; there was no letter.

On the third day of meeting an empty mailbox, Ramon realized how much he missed those blank letters. It was as if he had built up some kind of dependence on them. For some strange reason, without being able to open up that envelope and unfold the bright white paper, he didn’t feel complete.

More days past and this sick desire kept growing inside of him. He needed one of those letters.  Something about the anticipation of going to the mailbox, the slow opening of the letter, the fact they came everyday, it made him feel useful—needed. The only thing which gave him peace now that they’ve stopped showing up was going to the old blank pieces of paper he kept in a shoe box. But these already opened letters did little to calm the anxiety that kept growing inside of him.

Then, an idea. What if he put the old pieces of paper in a new envelope and mailed them to himself? Crazy idea, he figured. But desperate times can make you do crazy things. It’s not like anyone else would know he was sending himself blank letters—or care for that matter. Hell, if it made him feel better, what harm could it do?

This reasoning convinced him to try it and see what would happen. So, every other day Ramon took a blank letter to the big blue mailbox in front of the grocery store near his house. The walk was hard on him at first, but over time his body seemed to adapt to the challenge. And like clockwork, the letters started to arrive at his house just like before; this brought back those good feelings he had previously.

Eventually the letters stopped showing up, though. Ramon had gotten sick and couldn’t make it to the mailbox for a few weeks. The anxiousness and loneliness came back stronger than ever. Fortunately, his illness didn’t last long and he went back to the mailbox as soon as he was well enough. This cycle kept on repeating itself over and over again. So many letters over such a long time. It got to the point where Ramon had no idea he was the cause of these mysterious letters arriving at his house each day. Going to the mailbox and dropping off the blank letter with his address printed on it became mechanical. He didn’t even realize he was doing it anymore. But he sure got excited when those letters would show up. That is, until they’d invariably stop showing up for one reason or another and he’d have to take a new heaping dose of denial via sending out more blank letters.

It’s scary how we are sometimes the cause of our own pain without even knowing it. It’s even scarier how we can convince ourselves of anything under the right emotional circumstances. Poor Ramon became lost in his own delusions—forfeiting his future by trapping himself in an endless cycle of denial and a world of make-believe.

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If you want more cool flash fiction stories, check out some of these!

The Last Friday

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