Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response under 300 word (recommended, not law). I will re-blog your post to my site.
Better late (really late) than never!
Waterfall studied with dogged determination,
Wary of water not in a bowl.
Warm fuzzy heart in a pink sweater.
The passageway tilted and oozed, rough floor slanting under my feet, walls swimming in and out of my vision. I could see light far away, at the end, but didn’t know if I had the strength to reach it. I’d tried so hard to be good, to be right, yet, somehow I always failed. Nothing turned out as I thought and wished and dreamt.
Take today. All I’d wanted to do was take my family out on a nice trip, just for the day, I’m not into historic homes, but the wife likes it and so does the kid. I couldn’t care less if James Madison was born here or George Washington slept under that tree. I’m not much for the past myself. Can’t make nothing out of the past.
I waited outside while they toured the house, smoking a cigarette, chilling under some big-ass tree. That’s where they found me. I’d tried to do right by them, but I didn’t. Not my fault, but there it was.
All that was past now. Long past.
Just get down the corridor. Find Carrie. Donny. Everything would be all right. Hospital and stuff, but okay long as I got them with me.
The walls ballooned around me; shrank, squeezing me between. Floor rougher, catching at my feet, slowing me. The light was closer, shimmering, calling. One step at a time. One and one and one and one.
One more step. Just one more. Light. Shimmering. Shining. Carrie beyond….
Two cops stood over the body under the spreading branches of a black oak tree.
“Poor bastard, never knew what hit him.”
“Dead before he hit the ground.”
Jasmine. That’s what moonlight smells like to me. I know, cliché, but I’m a sucker for the truth. That or death and decay, depending on where you might be. I’d been in both places. Can you guess my first choice?
She died on Christmas Day 2019. Quiet and unassuming as she’d been in life. I’d like to say I missed her, but I didn’t. I really didn’t know her.
The marriage was one of convenience, a perfect cover, but I’ve come to realize that maybe that wasn’t fair, not to her. Don’t get me wrong. She agreed to the farce, whole-hearted and happily, but I think she had expectation which turned out to be false.
The funeral was the next day, quiet and unassuming as she’d been in life. Was I sorry for the way her life had turned out?
Maybe, but probably not. A man like me doesn’t live long with emotions. I was gone so much, I always thought she’d take a lover, live her life without me, but I’m finding out now that she didn’t. Never. Ever. No lover. No life beyond the false curtain of our lives.
Damn, the woman.
I don’t normally swear. Not in my nature. Not the man I am or want to be. But sitting here by her gravesite, watching the jasmine glowing in the moonlight, I’m not sure any more of what kind of man I actually am.
I quit the day she died. Used grief as my excuse and they believed me. Not for long, but I’ll be gone by then. You see, they didn’t let me go, just…. gave me a vacation.
I sat awhile longer, watching nothing, listening always. What had I missed? Had I ever really known her? Can one suddenly realize their whole life has been a lie without destroying everything in which they had believed?
No regret, but…. maybe there was.
Maybe I wasn’t so truthful as I believed. Maybe I had been the one missing life all along. Maybe she had been the one to teach me if only I’d listened.
I dropped a cluster of Jasmine on her grave and stood, hefting my pack in one hand.
Maybe, but my life had become one of maybes.
My cell vibrated in my pocket.
“Yes?” Softly, barely stirring the air before me.
“Are you still at the grave?”
“When are you going to come?”
“Well, yes. It’s taken you a long time to understand.”
I thought about a show I’d seen years ago. A vampire show. Watched one of those long stretches in some jail somewhere or another.
“Don’t use words you don’t understand,” the vampire had said. Then, “Don’t use words I don’t understand.” If I’d believed in vampires, I might have believed in him.
“I’ll be there.”
A soft laugh, almost unheard. “I know. You have to know, don’t you?”
I nodded, knowing she couldn’t see.
“Maybe you’ll understand then.”
Snapping the phone shut, I stuffed it back into my pocket, glanced around. Empty graves never did much for me, not even if the moonlight smelled like Jasmine.
I vanished into the darkness.
“They’re coming,” Renfield hissed, peering out the restaurant window. “Coming….”
“Then perhaps you should get back to the kitchen,” his master said dryly, patting down his cloak in preparations for the guests.
With a disgruntled sound, Renfield humped back towards the kitchen.
“Remember to wash your hands,” Master called, stepping up to the wooden row-boat turned on its side to form the cash register station.
With a twinkle of bells, the door pushed open and two young men stepped inside, looking around at the gaudy decorations plastered all over the interior.
“Wow,” the first of them said, looking over at Master. “Pretty wild.”
“Do you like it?”
The second man shrugged. “It’s cool, I guess.”
He would be the one to go. Normally, Master avoided snap decision. One could never tell one’s deliciousness from first glance, but this time he would make an exception.
“Come sit,” Master replied, smile on his lips, fake that it might be.
The two men sat, picking up menus.
“All you got is seafood?”
“We are by the sea.”
“You got any burgers?”
With a long-suffering sigh, Master replied, “I am sure we have some ham somewhere which can be ground up.”
“Shut up,” his friend growled and he did. “I’ll take your tuna steak sandwich and a beer.”
“Excellent choice, sir,” Master replied, heading towards the kitchen just as his faithful servant had moments before.
“A tuna steak sandwich and,” he frowned, “and your special hamburger.”
Renfield pulled out some ham and put it into the grinder. “How many, Master?”
“You decide, my faithful pet.”
The servant pulled a handful of dead flies from a jar and dropped them into the hamburger meat. Soon there were be more flies. And more and more and more.
Giggling and giggling and giggling.