Consumed by the Chesterfield

I remember that I was listening to the soundtrack for the movie Across the Universe, when I had the idea to write a depressing story based on a song about a warm gun. I don’t recall writing this truly depressing short story where the main character is suicidal, depressed, and unable to get off the couch. Reader be warned, this is horribly depressing.


The couch had eaten her, or so she texted, to explain why she wasn’t going to the movies. Claiming exhaustion after a hard week was easy, her messages light, and funny, but she wasn’t.

For all intents and purposes the couch had eaten her, her will do anything but lay there was gone. Colors flashed on the TV, but she couldn’t focus, just laying with it on, so that the excuse of watching TV would be there. A song came on, and the words of joy expressed over a still warm gun sent chills through her. She knew where she would be right now had the option been available, and she was glad for lack of ownership in these situations.

The only thing that kept her going, was not going on would take action to achieve, and she didn’t have the energy to so much as get up off the couch. She was still there when her roommate came home, bringing her something to eat.

She had a love/hate relationship with the roommate, who she had never wanted, but had gotten on the recommendation of a therapist long since dismissed. She didn’t need someone to pay half the bills, didn’t need someone taking half her space, and the first one had only lasted days. She lowered the rent, and found someone who would stay, but she had lowered it enough, that they were determined to stay no matter how terrible she often was. Given their tenacity in staying, it would take more spoons than she had available on any given week to try and get rid of them.

They liked her well enough, or maybe they just realized that if she died they wouldn’t get to keep the rent situation, so water was brought to her on the couch, food, and she was checked on regularly when she was in this state, of laying. If she laid there long enough, roommate would make her go take a shower, as roommate drew the line at a certain smell. Roommate who apparently didn’t draw the line at being known as roommate because she could never find the wherewithal to remember roommate’s name.

It would pass though, and she knew it would pass, it always passed, and for a time things would be better, she would be better, and she would do things and see people, and be happy for a bit. What kept her lying here at the moment was the other knowledge, and that was that she would always end up back here again too, maybe in a day, or a week, maybe if she was lucky it would be months, but she would end up here, on the couch, not wanting to be, and for now she just let it overwhelm her, let herself feel what she was feeling, and hope that soon, soon it would pass and she would be her again.

The Reaping

This is a just desserts type of response to the six-sentence story prompt of the week, which is ERUPTION. This follows an unnamed first person narrator, and her ongoing interactions with that jerk, Clay.


My mother always told me to be nice to people, that sometimes they might be going through something you can’t see, and while I agreed with her most of the time, I knew deep down that Clay was just a jerk.

He had friends, a good family, played sports, did okay in school, but he was one of those guys that if you were just the least bit better than him in something, you would live to regret it.

He never hurt anyone, not really, but he played jokes, spread rumors, and just picked at you until you started to think that getting the top grade on the math test wasn’t actually worth it.

I tried to rise above it, help him out here and there, and I even spent the better part of a term trying to become his friend in 5th grade, but it was pretty much hopeless.

So 6 years later, when Clay was assigned to be my lab partner for chemistry, it became the class I dreaded going to, until he went to far, until the day of the magnificent eruption.

I tried to tell Clay that he was making a mistake, that those were the ingredients to two different experiments, but I gave up, taking cover when he dropped the sodium cube into the sulfuric acid, and I felt a little guilty for the rest of the year at the relief I felt from never having to see that guy again.

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.

The One Rule

This is the response to this weeks girlontheedge six-sentence story prompt KEY. This one features Jane, and it is inspired by Jumanji, The Magicians, and the way that childhood gives you a strange contrast of the sharpest and fuzziest memories of your entire life.


Jane hadn’t been to her grandfather’s home since she was twelve years old, the summer passed away, and for the most part her memories were a confusing blur that bled together with those of lemonade and warm summer days.

There was one thing that she could remember though, in picture perfect clarity, the case that sat in the room at the end of the hall on the third floor.

She had been allowed to roam the house at will, do what she wished, but that one room she had been forbidden to enter, and being a good girl she had managed a whole three weeks, before she tried the door only to find it unlocked.

It was empty, save for a single case sitting in the middle of the floor, the keyhole taunting her, and though she looked each summer from her first at a mere six years old, to the last when she was twelve she never found a key, or forgot about the case.

She tried to put it out of her mind, for which was mostly successful until the day of her 27th birthday when she received the letter from her grandfathers estate, full of warnings, woe, and an ornate silver key that she knew in an instant opened the case in the room at the end of the hall on the third floor.

As she looked around at the carnage that surrounded her, blood dripping down her face, she felt the key digging into the flesh of her hand as she desperately clenched it in her fist, and wished more than anything that she had taken the time to read the letter more carefully before she opened the box that had destroyed everything she held dear.

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I just want to take a second here to apologize for not responding to comments the last two weeks. I have read and appreciated them all. I just got a new job, and I have been pretty dead at the end of the day, barely getting these out. I will however make sure I take the time to go through them all this week, and to take a look at some of the other lovely six-sentence reponses!