Daily Post One Word Prompt – Gone -January-3-2017

Gone

He’d been gone for two months when she realized he wasn’t coming back. The thought confused her. Why wouldn’t he come back? Was something wrong with their marriage? Her? Was something wrong with her?

Hadn’t she cooked his meals, cleaned the house, everything he didn’t have time to do when he was working so hard. Eighty hours some weeks. He never listened when she tried to talk about working less, being home more. They didn’t talk about anything anymore. He ate alone, often at 10 or 11 at night. He worked weekdays. Weekends. Holidays. Sometimes all night.

Has she not done enough? Was it her fault?

Slowly, she realized he had abandoned her, abandoned their home, their life, but mostly her. She’d nagged too much. Fussed about clothes left on the floor. By the hamper. Dishes left on the kitchen counter. By the dishwasher. Towels on the bathroom floor. The way stress was wearing him thin.

She’d tried to do right. Tried to support him, to help him. God knows, she loved him, even if he didn’t seem to want her anymore.

It occurred to her he had met someone, some woman, someone who listened to him and loved him, who wasn’t too tired when he got home to have sex. It didn’t matter what she wanted, at least not in the last year. Before then, everything had seemed perfect.

She loved him with all her heart and soul and life. He’d provided for her, for them, given her a huge house, two fancy cars in the garage, a pasture and barn for her horses. Romantic trips to far away places. Parties. Gala openings for movies and the theater. Anything she’d wanted, he’d given her.

Until this year.

She must have changed. He didn’t love her anymore.

She spent the next few weeks crying, frantically looking for him. Calling his cell. His office. His family. No body knew where he was and he never answered his cell. When his voice mail got too full to take any more messages, she stopped calling.

His boss told her he’d quit his job months before he’d disappeared, but couldn’t tell her why. He’d come in one day, given notice and walked back out the door. That was the last time anybody in the office had seen him.

It was then she realized he’d been planning to disappear for a long time. Had he lain in their bed late at night, thinking about how he was going to leave her? Anxious to be with the other woman?

Was the woman one of their friends? Somebody at his Office? A chance meeting at the Coffee Shop? If she just knew who and why, she might be able to accept his loss. As it was, his leaving left a hole in her life and her heart which she knew would never be filled. He was the only man she’d ever loved. The man she’d given herself to on their wedding night, the only man she’d ever been with.

After six months, she woke knowing she had to go on with her life. Either give up and die or move on. She’d tried to kill herself once, speeding around the narrow mountain curves, planning to drive off the road, but she been too afraid to go through with her plan.

She bought a farm out in the country. Sold the house and everything inside. Sold the fancy automobiles and bought herself a second-hand car. Donated all their fancy clothes. Sold her jewelry, the silver, all his things. Moved herself and her horses to the farm to start anew.

She adopted a dog from the Shelter. And a cat. Bought chickens and built a chicken coop by herself, complete with banged thumbs, frustrations, screaming fits, crying, mis-cut boards, broken nails. Back to the lumber store time after time, determined to succeed. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but she’d done it herself. She even thought about getting a cow. Maybe some fainting goats.

At the end of the first month on the farm, near the end of the first year since his disappearance, her phone rang at midnight…

Daily Post One Word Daily Prompts – Liminal 11-26-2016

Liminal

Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

-Wikipedia

The Neighbors, Part 6

There are those among us who live false lives. Nasty men. Vicious women. Forgotten children. You will never see them. They pretend normalcy; friends and neighbors and co-workers. Inside they are monsters.

Am I one? Some things are best discovered on your own.


Sometimes the screams wake me, desperate cries ringing in the dark. I never help. I can’t. I won’t. There is only so much pain a child can endure. That, of course, is where I’ve lived my life since, inside the bloody hollow place where last I was a boy, long before I became the man I am now. I never saw the change coming, never even knew a living death was possible but it is…. gods help me, it is.

I was awake. Really awake. Cold. Dark. Deep. Trapped.

Somewhere a dog  barked frantically.

Damned dog. Rising, I pulled on slacks and a pullover from the day, treading bare-foot down cool stairs. The barking got louder. I unlocked the door to the basement and a thing of fur burst past, knocking me against the far wall.

Damned dog.

It rushed to the front door, barking, claws scraping wood. Lying in blood-stains, the only sound water on tiles and a dog in the distance. It couldn’t come in. There was nothing inside me to come into.

As soon as I opened the door, it sprang down the steps and around the fence, towards the neighbors. Good riddance.

I listened for a moment, waiting for silence, but it didn’t come.  The dog barked more and more frantic, sound turning into howls of despair.

Pressing hands hard against my face as if to stop the things inside from rushing out, I closed the door behind me. The grass was chilled, cold from overnight rain. The dog dug frantic at their front door. When he saw me, he started running to me and then back to the door, back and forth, forth and back. Barking.

I would have killed for quiet. I should have killed him the moment I saw him.

The door opened at my touch. He pushed in and I followed. I didn’t want involvement. Solitude was the only salvation I ever found.

The house was a wreak, eerily silent now the dog had stopped his uproar. I smelled it. Not a cut on the finger blood but much, much more. It was a smell I knew deep down in my bones.

Leave now. This isn’t your problem. Pack a bag and go away, find another corner in which to hide. Only I couldn’t. A shard of glass cut my foot. The room – floor, ceiling, furniture – were soaked in blood.

And the smell! The taste in my mouth. The squish of carpet beneath my feet. I heard somebody, somewhere, breathing heavily. The iron taste of madness hung suspended in the air.

I found Jane in the kitchen, no longer a pretty woman. She had been stabbed  until her chest was a bloody mass, head almost severed from her body. Nobody was pretty after that kind of death.

The breathing continued and so did I, making my way into the hall. The bathroom was empty of blood as was the first bedroom. I continued to the final room, cold fear spiking in my chest.

James slumped on the bed, hands between his knees, covered in blood.

I was in the shower. Hearing cries, screams, pain tangible in the air. If I helped, he would hurt me. Again. Again. I feared the hatred in his eyes. He wasn’t my father. He couldn’t be. I tried to be good. I tried.

Pumpkin stood guard in front of the closet, fur bristling, growling low and dangerous.

It hurt,” he whispered. “Hurt.”

There was little blood in the room not on James. You knew and you left me there.”

Crying. Begging. Screaming. Blood swirling round me, down the drain. Dripping down the walls.

“You died,” I croaked.

He shook his head.  “The minute you abandoned me, you died. I knew, knew, you were somewhere, hiding, pretending to be normal. Pretending.”

I drew in a careful breath. “Where is Janice?”

“She’s dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Like you should have been. Like you will be.”

I backed up as he rose, my hand knocking something hard. He raised the knife and I cracked the lamp on his head. He fell, knife laying where it had fallen.

I buried the blade into his back over and over. I’d been wrong to run, to leave him, but what did children know of monsters?

Gone. Finished. Done.

Pumpkin sidled over to me, head down, tail tucked between his legs. His cold nose nudged my face.

“Janice?”

He whimpered, slinking beside me as I crawled to the closet.

“Janice?”

Pumpkin barked.

I clawed the door open. She hurled herself into me, wrapped her tiny body around mine. Her heart beat a thousand thunders.

I carried her out of the room,  past the body of her mother, into the cool night beyond. “It will be all right,” I whispered, “I won’t let anybody hurt you”. Pumpkin trotted beside me.

“It will be all right.”

And it was.

THE END

Read Parts 1-5 here.

Daily Post One Word Writing Prompt – Disagree

Disagree

The disagreement hung there, all those years, between them with the solidity of an invisible brick wall.  He went to war for a year, and when he came back, it was still there, that damned wall. Spent a year drifting here and there across the ocean. Still there. Missionary work in a country where the very faces of the children made him cry. A year spent roughing it deep in the Canadian forest. Even a year with her,  trying for a way to be found.

Her last punishment happened where it had all begun. As she drifted away on her blow-up raft, he watched from the beach; watched until the tiny speck of her was gone. He hadn’t tried to save her because she hadn’t wanted to be saved. All her life, she’d been planning  the coup de gras, spear from her heart to his. This time, she’d let the pain destroy her. Hating him, flowers, trees, cars. Happiness.

With a deep sigh, he picked up his towel and walked away, back towards their house. Their home.

His home.

 

 

Friday Fictioneers September 21,2016

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

The sparkling lights reminded her of the stars which, when she slept, protected her from the dark.  This morning, she had no time for stars, running out the door with toothbrush and toothpaste in hand. No makeup. No bling. Almost no sandals, but she dashed back just in time. Clattering up the bus steps, she smiled at the driver and settled into a midway seat.  Unusual, but not earth shattering.

She sat, arms full of the necessities of the day.  In other words, nothing. These things, as all things, were nothing is the light of day. Imagined the ticking, the counting down, in rhythm with her heart.  Held herself as if to protect the unborn child she would never have.

Minutes ticked.  The bus grew fuller, stacked with humans like wheat stalks in the field.

Minutes.  Minutes. Minutes.

All she felt was a flash of agony, a moment when the stars settled down around her, gathering her into their arms to fly away.

FFfAW Challenge

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – week 8/2/2016

1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.

3. Please credit photo to photographer.

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please stay within this limit.. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by Phylor.

“We didn’t know which car you might want, so we arranged for both on trial. You can drive them for a week and then decide.” Parental smiles.

Crying, sniffling, jumping, hugging, ohhhh and ahhhh. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thousand butterfly wings fluttering in her chest. A car! Her own car!

“They are both kinda old,” she mentioned, dream of a fire-engine red mustang fading.

“Old is better,” Dad informed her, “and these are antiques.”

“Why did you bring Thomas Aquinas here?”

“We didn’t,” Dad responded. “Maybe he felt left out.”

Thomas was a great escape artist. Still she wanted a car, wanted the freedom of not being chaperoned, Go where she wanted, leave when she wanted. No feeding. No forkfuls of manure. No coming in smelling like horse.  No horsie  kisses. No summer meadows dozing in the sun. Nobody to listen

She hugged her parents again, thanking them for the wonderful gift. “The cars are beautiful.” Then she walked past both to wrap her arms around Thomas’ neck. Buried her face in his mane.

Some friends can never be left behind.

 

 

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FFfAW Challenge – Week of 07-05-2016

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.

3. Please credit photo to photographer.

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try to stay within this limit.

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This week’s photo prompt is provided by Yinglan.

 

I saw them every day, the two dogs behind the chain-link fence. I never saw anybody with them, petting them, playing with them, loving them, only two lonely dogs, wind or rain or snow or sunshine. Heat or cold. Dry or wet.

For the first month, I tried to ignore their hopeful looks, but it started hard and got harder. God, it got harder. Gradually, I started to talk to them, to pet them, feed them through the fence, slide a bowl of water underneath.

I took off from work to spent a day watching the house. No cars. No people in and out. No mail. No paper. Could they have gone and left those dogs behind? Nobody would be so cruel.

Would they?

I walked back that night. They came running, tails wagging rumps. Cuddling them was heaven.

 

FFfAW Challenge – Week of 06-28-2016

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.

3. Please credit photo to photographer.

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try to stay within this limit.


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Picture by The Storyteller’s Abode.

The scarecrow was all she had left. Ironic that after all these years, the only thing he left her was a tattered thing in her old clothes. Why build a scarecrow so far from any crops crows might conceivably bother. Moreover, who build a scarecrow to guard gate, concrete and hill?

Maybe he had gone mad like they’d said, those men who’d come looking for him.

Ripping off the flower, she torn the scarecrow to shreds, scattering pieces across the damp ground. Taped round the pole was a plastic-wrapped paper.

‘Susan. In the concrete vault behind the scarecrow are accounts set up for you.  Love forever. Mike.’

Now came the tears.