Wreckage

There was recently a rather large storm in my area, which took out a lot of trees, and a few houses, which is what inspired this weeks response to the Friday Picture Prompt Challenge on the Writer’s Mess. That and apparently a preoccupation about getting what you deserve, that will return again later in the week. This is the story of a woman whose life has fallen apart, but in the end things might not be quite so bad as she thought.


She sat in the car, in the pouring rain, looked out at the remains of her house and started to laugh. Wasn’t just the perfect representation of her life right now?

Her husband of 15 years had left her, having knocked up the secretary, and he had the gall to blame her for it.

He had tried to claim infidelity on her part, and that was what had hit her the hardest. She had always thought that he understood what he was signing up for when he married an openly ace woman, but it turned out he was just waiting for her to change her mind.

When she hadn’t, he assumed that she she was seeing someone else, and that it was only fair that he get his own action. He said he wanted kids that were actually his, and not her lover, and the blows kept raining down.

He said he knew that she would want kids eventually, and had completely ignored her warnings that she had no intention of reproducing. She had finished out the day staring across the room at a stranger, and let him win.

She signed away the house, she got her stuff, some money, and her dahlia’s from the front garden. As she sat there staring at the wreckage from the storm, that used to be their house, she couldn’t help but laugh.

The only thing untouched, her front garden, where a single red dahlia bloomed. It seemed she had won after all.

Inspiration

This is a response to the six-sentence story prompt of STROKE by girl on the edge. I wanted to go bright and happy on this one and then, something happened at the end.  I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s weird. See afternotes for more details.

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Maddie was smiling so hard that her face was starting to hurt, this was it, everything was coming together at last.

She wiped the sweat from her brow and giggled as she felt the wet smear from the back of her hand, and God there must be as much on her as the canvas, but she didn’t want to stop now, not while she was the zone.

Her agent said she had enough pieces, but Maddie had wanted a big one, a show stopper, and so she was working through the weekend to get this one, the centerpiece done for Monday.

It was going to be perfect, her first gallery opening, all of the friends and family who said that didn’t believe in her, said that she wouldn’t amount to anything, they were going to see how far had she had come, and she couldn’t wait.

She wished Matt would be there, lovely Matt, who made up for all the crappy guys that had left her over the years, was almost perfect, except for the part where he took a business trip the week of her first opening, but it was okay, he loved her, and he would be there in spirit.

She leaned over, dipping her brush in the pool of red, making another long stroke across canvas, marveling at the vibrancy of it, wishing she had thought to try this before, and as she wet her brush again she met Matt’s empty eyes, and she wished again that he could have seen it.

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So I just heard the song The Red Means I Love You, by Mads Buckley.  Which is what was playing when I wrote this and probably why it took such a turn at the end….  If you haven’t heard it before, give it a listen.  It’s…fitting

Suspicion

So this one is from the prompt “A man walked into a bar” and the image below. It is the answer to a few prompts, and a story idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while now. You watch TV, and people can’t remember an event and people tell them the story, and they just accept it, but what if you can’t. What if it feels like there is more to the story than you are being told?


There comes a moment where you feel like your life is a joke, and it feels like the ultimate punchline then when your story starts “A man walked into a bar”.

It’s kind of where my life fell apart actually, before that everything was great. I was probably the most boring guy on the planet. I had a 9-5 job in middle management, that I don’t want to bore you with the details of, a lovely husband, Dylan, a nice little one bedroom apartment that we could only afford because of rent control, and a tiny dog named Lucy.

Then I walked into a bar, a literal bar, like ouch, he should have seen it bar, and everything changed. I don’t remember the bar, all I remember from that day is a picture of of an umbrella tree, I don’t even know where it was, and then nothing.

I wanted to brush is off, but when Dylan told the story, the smile never matched the look in his eyes, and it gave me the tiniest niggling doubt of what had really happened.

I pulled away little by little, and he let me. Six months after the accident we were divorced, and 12 years of marriage effectively ended the day I walked into a bar, or the day they say I did.

Now here I am, sitting in a bar, divorced, homeless, dogless, telling a complete stranger how my marriage fell apart, like a complete schmuck. How’s that for a punchline?

Gone

This is the story of Jackie, who one day finds that a friend is missing, then another, and then a lot of people are gone…Where are they, what happened to them? No one knows, read Jackie’s story as she struggles to figure out if she is losing her mind, or people are really just gone. At first blush it wouldn’t seem obvious that this was inspired by the idea of surviving a zombie apocalypse, but it was. The idea that at some point along the way that surviving just isn’t enough anymore, and with no end in sight, being bitten would be a blessing.


As a child Jackie had read a story about a girl who found her face on a milk carton and everything changed. The girl soon discovered that while she lived a happy life with her “adoptive” parents, or as she called them, parents, her biological family had been devastated. There was no going anywhere alone, always a parent present, their lives had been forever changed.

Jackie guessed thats kind of what she expected. It would make sense that a person disappearing would leave a hole in the the lives of the people around them That the not knowing would drive them crazy, though Jackie felt that in some cases knowing was actually worse.

So when one of Jackie’s closest friends, Betty, had disappeared, she did not expect what came next. More specifically she did not expect to be the only person who remembered Betty. She couldn’t understand how this was the case. Betty taught second grade, she had a boyfriend, parents, a sister, an apartment, and a car.

When Jackie went looking, she could find no evidence of any of this. Betty’s parents knew her as the girl down the street, Betty’s sister loudly stated that she was an only child. Betty’s boyfriend, single of course, resided in Betty’s apartment, and drove her car. Each person Jackie spoke to, looked at her as if she had two heads, they had never heard of Betty.

It went about as well as you would imagine, when Jackie showed up at the police station to file a missing persons report on someone who had no record of having ever existed. Seventy-two hours later she walked out of the psych ward with a prescription, a follow-up appointment, and a tentative diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Jackie however knew the truth; Betty was real, and Betty was missing. She took the medication though, despite the side effects, because Jackie believed in modern medicine, and even she had to admit her own story sounded insane.

Then she went to visit Betty’s sister again, only the person who opened the door wasn’t Betty’s sister. Martha had never heard of Grace, or Betty, and offered to call someone when she saw how upset Jackie was getting. Jackie left, and headed straight for Betty and Grace’s parents, who still recognized her as the girl next door, but claimed, rather vehemently, that they had not had any children.

This time Jackie skipped the police station, and a week later Betty and Grace’s parents were gone. Jackie got her meds adjusted, and it seemed like that solved the problem. No more of Jackie’s friends, and family went missing, and even she agreed it did seem likely that she made them up. Even though her imagination was never quite that good, and she still had very vivid, life-long memories of these people.

It was almost a year later when she started to notice the cracks in the foundation, so to speak. While Jackie’s friends and family were around, there seemed to be less people around in general. Cafe’s, theatres, and other business’s everywhere were just a little too far below capacity for it not to be noticeable. It wasn’t just her that noticed this either, well, it kind of was. It was complicated.

No one seemed to notice that people, on the whole seemed to be missing. Instead the reports focused on the negative impacts of over-development in small towns, how building too much was almost as bad as too little, that local business owners were struggling to keep the doors open with so few customers coming in each day.

The strangest part was, they seemed to accept it, despite the fact it quite obviously made no sense. If no one was gone, no one had left, no fewer people come to town, then why were the businesses struggling now? Why, wasn’t it a problem 10, 20 years ago when they opened? None of it made any sense, and It seemed everyday now someone disappeared, a shop missing, never opened, and then it happened.

She stepped into her parents house to see a wall of pictures of only her. Ben never existed, her own brother was gone The worst part was, all she felt was relief. It seemed to travel in families, the disappearing, and that meant that she would be next. That there wouldn’t be anymore waiting, no more fear, no more pills.

When she saw the thing in the fog, she didn’t run away, but walked towards it. It looked, surprised as she eagerly took it’s hand. “About time.” She said amiably, and it filched. The fog grew heavier and heavier, until at last Jackie couldn’t see even herself, and she too was gone.