Frank Duffy: The Seat
An Excerpt from Distant Frequencies
The hillside fell towards the Odra, a distant glimmer among the tide of greenery. He remembered visiting the great river months earlier, standing on its narrow banks and watching the slate grey water coiling through reeds with hypnotic calm.
He cupped his hands over his mouth, yelling loudly. His voice rang out among the surrounding hills. He was probably the only person for miles around.
The church was far from the dilapidated ruin he’d been expecting. The bell-tower, atop which sat a gleaming onion dome replete with spire, repudiated its history. Yet the location troubled him, situated as it was on a hillside miles from anywhere.
In the graveyard headstones jutted from the earth as if ruinous teeth, inscriptions worn smooth, impossible to decipher. Whoever lay in these graves did so without voice or title. Nearby a tree wilted in the shadow of the church. He had a disconcerting feeling the church was emptying out the accumulated poisons of centuries, while neglect flowered everywhere else.
The church door was unlocked. Instinctively he reached for the marble font inside the entrance, dabbing at water which wasn’t there. Daylight shot through arched windows into a gloom beneath wooden rafters, the air smelling of dust and age.
He’d expected the church to resemble the one from his childhood, and was unprepared for its sparse walls, the uncloaked altar, deprived of its customary exaggerations, stripped bare. There was none of the awful malformed iconography which had once transfixed him. No more dying Christ figures in gilded opulence, no more morose symbols comprising the inscrutable puzzle of his religious upbringing.
He recalled the forlorn communion processions, Vincent feeling awkward from such exposure to so many watching faces, disheartened parishioners shuffling along behind him like condemned prisoners. It had been a stifling pageant of faith, parents prodding their children away from them as if specimens of unbearable guilt.
For the first time, all these stories together in one Frank Duffy collection!
Permanent Hunger – a terrifying human population control experiment pushes one man’s faith to the limits
A Greater Horror – a school reunion reveals a decades-old crime and some very familiar monsters waiting in the shadows
Appearances – an alcoholic businessman is exiled by his superiors to a rundown housing estate, and discovers he has more than one addiction to battle
The Seat – a young teacher searching for answers visits an abandoned Polish church, only find something else is waiting for him
The Places – reality and fiction blur as a successful crime writer grapples with the collapse of his marriage
And When The Lights Came On – Warsaw’s last gas lamp attendant is plagued by a series of bloody visions. But what exactly do they mean?
Not Yet Players – The inhabitants of a provincial village become players in a macabre reality TV show
Among Flames, Darkness – A boy and his father take shelter during a German bombing raid, only to find themselves in even greater danger
The Extra – A failed relationship, a night at the opera, and a young man with romance on the brain.
Frank Duffy is the author of five short story collections, The Signal Block and Other Tales (Sideshow Press), Unknown Causes (Gallows Press), Hungry Celluloid (Dark Minds press), Distant Frequencies (Demain Publishing), and Night Voices (joint author collection with Paul Edwards – Demain Publishing). He’s also the author of three novellas collected together in a single volume, Mountains of Smoke (Gallows Press), as well as a chapbook, Photographs Showing Terrible Things (Sideshow Press. In 2021, his debut novel The Resurrection Children, will be published by Demain Publishing.
Frank works as a production director writing scripts for a company creating online video content. He’s originally from the UK, but lives in Zielona Gora in Poland with his wife Angelika and their dog, Mr Mole.
You can visit Frank’s Facebook page TheOnlinePresence