The Bklyn Times

writer. lover. woman.

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The Laws of What Once Was

Her eyes shone into the night, glistening with unshed tears.  She thought about the conversation she just had, telling him she loved him.  But more importantly, she remembered his response to her declaration.

He was the only one she wanted, the only one she cared to have in her heart, in her head and even in her bed.  She had come here to tell him everything but when she arrived it was to laughter and hushed voices.  His office door was slightly ajar and when she looked in she gasped just loudly enough to stir Sean and Tara from their precarious position.  She was lying across his desk, her shirt open to the bra, her skirt bunched around her hips.  And all Alice could think about was that night months ago when she looked exactly the same way.

Sean looked up.  Their eyes met and there was a brief flicker of panic, could it be because he cared or simply because he was caught.  She wasn’t really sure but the fact that the look even ran across his face was enough.  He helped Tara to a sitting position and her drunken giggles filled the air between them.  His eyes locked on Alice, she moved into the room to show herself to Tara as well.

"Oh my goodness.”  She hiccuped.  "MY BOSS IS STARING AT MY BRA."

"Tara, take tomorrow off.  Sober up.  I need to talk to Sean now."

"But Alice, just let…."

"I want you to go before you embarrass yourself further."

Alice knew there was nothing for Tara to be embarrassed about.  Sean was on the market, free as a bird to do as he wished.  He made no excuses for his behavior and the women he chose were vapid enough to accept his money and not request his emotions.  If that worked for them that was fine.

But she needed to tell him.  She wasn’t like any of those other women or Tara.  She needed more and this relationship they stumbled upon a few months ago had not ended there.  She wanted more, needed more.

Tara gathered her things and left.  Blush had settled on her chest and tears ran down her face.  She was sure the alcohol intensified the sting of her admonishment but Tara needed to know she looked foolish.

Even if Alice had just looked foolish too not so long ago also lying across his lap, panting his name, begging.  When the office door closed, Alice turned to look at Sean who had taken to adjusting his tie to avoid her eyes.

"Sean, we need to talk."

He shook his head in an attempt to deflect her question.

"All you want to do is talk.  You take this lawyer thing way too seriously if you ask me.  But you aren’t asking me are you?  You don’t ask me much.  You demand a lot though."

She looked at him and smirked.  She knew she would be met with this opposition.  He had this smug defiance that could drive a monk to murder.  He wore it like armor to keep people from seeing him, from wanting to see him.  She shook her head and turned to look away, giving him the escape he needed and the reprieve she needed from his glare.  She couldn’t say it and look at him at the same time, no matter how badly she wanted to, she just couldn’t.  He would change the way she felt, her thoughts, her feelings.  He had a way of getting his point across without listening to anyone.  He had a lot of ways.

“Sean.  Stop.  I don’t want to fight.  I know there are things unsaid…”

He interrupted – “You still have things to say?  How could that be possible?  It is not possible that you have left one word unsaid or one rock unturned.”  He stood to walk towards her and she could feel him standing behind her, too close but not close enough.  “What do you have to say Alice?  What now?”

She whirled around to look at him because now she didn’t want to give him the easy way out.  She wanted to yell and scream and face him.  Not facing him was just that, letting him get away with everything without seeing her pain.  He needed to see it and to understand her anguish, to understand all she has dealt with the last couple of months watching him behave like a single man.  She stood idly by as she watched him disrespect her and listened to him make a million promises as he kissed his way across her body.  Making promises he never had any intention of keeping.

“I walked away from you then you reached out to me.  We have worked together and been a part of each others lives for years and you simply decided not to talk.  Not to smile.  Not to say hello.  I can’t understand.  If you were only going to give me this and even less than this, why bother?”

“Because I can.  That’s why.  You let me.  You always let me.”

He crossed the space between them and held her face between his hands, the tears spilled from her eyes, her eyes cast downward.

“Because I love you Sean.”

“And I can’t love you Alice.  I can’t.  Not again.”

“Again?  When was the first time Sean?  When was the first time because you didn’t show me, I had no clue.  I had no clue.  Don’t you think you should have made something that huge clear?”

He stepped closer to her, “I can tell you exactly when it happened, the first time was when you were here, under me, begging.  Then it was one morning when you stood in the elevator and your smell held my thoughts for days.  I knew I could love you forever.  But I knew I didn’t deserve you so I will it to change.  That’s when things changed and I wanted to walk away clean.  But I can’t because you are here, invading my thoughts, my dreams.  Every woman I am with I compare to you, every good morning lacks the musical sound of your voice, and every laugh is just a little flat.”

His admission left her stunned and silenced.  And he smiled.

“I have stumped you.  I have to stay strong, I want you to leave and not come back here to me looking for things I can’t offer you.”

“I am not going to leave because you can and you will give me all I wanted, all I need.  I am not taking no for an answer.  You can try to prove to me that we aren’t meant to be, you can do terrible things like bring my assistant here for me to see.  You can do all of that Sean and I can’t leave.  I won’t leave.”

She walked him back until he was leaning on his desk and reached for his tie, loosening it even though he worked so hard to fasten his way back into it.

“I love you Sean.  You love me.  It is time to stop ignoring it and start respecting that I can’t breathe without feeling you inside me and wanting to feel that again.  I can’t think.  I can’t let go.”

His hands tightened around my wrists, removing me from touching his neck, his chest.  He placed them down at my waist and raised his eyes to meet mine.

“I am serious.  Alice, I need you to go.”

“Go?  I work here.  I am a part of your life Sean.  I am not just going.  I am not.  I can’t.”

“Alice, you have to do what works for you from now on.  I don’t need this level of commitment in my life, you were a mistake.  I can’t have you chasing women out of my office like some psycho jealous woman.  This was a mistake and I can’t sit here and pretend this is what I want.  Maybe I did at one point, I won’t lie.  But now, now after all this between us, all this unspoken shit and even the spoken shit – I am done.  If you don’t leave, I will.  You know how to let yourself out and in apparently….”

He walked around me and picked up his briefcase at the door, he turned his face slightly and leaned his hand on the doorknob.

“For what it’s worth, I didn’t want it to end this way.  But it has to end.  I will submit my resignation tomorrow.”

When he left the room it was as if all the air was sucked from it, it was too quiet, too empty.  Alice sank to her knees; a small whimper escaped her throat.  She imagined this is what your heart breaking would feel like, the sudden emptiness of her life hung in front of her. 

She found herself on the damp pavement, raising her eyes to the sky, the street lights shining into them.  Even with all the freedom this gave her she stared into her future more bleak than when she walked up there just an hour ago.

She didn’t notice the town car at the curb idling.  The window opened and Sean’s face appeared.

“Get in.  Now.  Get in because I don’t know what I am even doing sitting here waiting but something told me, something told me that I can’t leave it like this.”

“You can’t?”

“No, I can’t.”

“Get in Alice.  I can’t be held responsible for what happens from here.  All I know is that I can’t feel what I did when I closed that door and left you standing there.  I can’t feel that ever again.  Get in, now.”

The tears filled her eyes, her lip shaking.  She reached for the handle and before she could, the door fell open. 

And she got in…

Filed under love short story romance office romance

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The Ultimate Choice

Jane

I look at him.  I know I want him the way I want him, the way I need him.  He found his way back to me for a reason but can he be different? Can he be more than empty and broken promises?  Everything in my body begs for him to take me back. To his bed.  To his mouth. I want nothing more than to feel him - on top of me, under me, everywhere.  If only.

All the words that were between us hang in the air.  Some unsaid, some shouted on the top of our lungs for the world to hear.  There were secrets he kept.  Things I should have known.   Things I should have told him.  It all goes away in the moments when I see him again.

Levi

I look at her.  From across the room she is perfect.  Silence makes her graceful and her lips pout at her glass.   I want her to be different, less demanding, more pliant.  I need her to be the way I need love to be.  The only way I know how.

My eyes drift over her form and I remember the way she feels, soft, yielding.  Her body is supple and I would indulge graciously if she let me. I want to lay my hands across her and trace her with my tongue.  Her taste is exquisite; it’s the one thing I know I will never be able to forget.  My appetite for her is insatiable.

I meet her eyes and the world goes still and silent.  They smile at me, warm still even in all this anger and hurt.  I see love in her face as she stands to walk to me, tentative in her steps but sure of herself.  She knows if she gets close I will promise her anything.

Jane

I go to him. Walking to him I see the joy in his face.  There is an unspoken forgiveness between us before a word is even spoken.  It is too much, too deep, too constant.  There is no way to live my life without him in it.  Without him here.

My eyes reach for his again.  When I can touch him I rest my hand on his chest.  His heart rests against my palm, its beats slowing as I lay my face on him and breathe in the most familiar scent.  Levi.  There is sweetness in the way he moves his face to look at me, as if he is asking for permission, searching for the access he will always have, searching for acceptance from the one person that could never turn him away.  Love feels like this.  I know it does even if our pasts say something different.  The future is still being written and I am holding the pen.  Even if we hurt each other in the past, love has a way of making things different.  Something is different.

Levi

I look at her face and study every freckle, every line.  My thumb caresses her cheek as I pull her closer, still feeling like I am unable to be close enough.  She has always had this effect on me from the moment I met her.  I wanted her.  And then when I had her, I needed her.  Her song was one I could never get tired of and the rhythm in which we existed was something I could dance to forever.  She pulled and I pushed, she wanted and I gave.  She needed and I fulfilled.  Whatever she asked, I would do in my power to make happen.  Except the one thing that came between us, the one thing that tore us apart.

Marriage.

Jane

He never knew that I changed my mind.  He didn’t understand yet that I thought about his stance and I understood.  I knew what he needed and what he wanted from me should be enough.  I understood that I shouldn’t force my wants and needs on the person that I love.  But it was so hard to not listen to the voices and nags of others –

“When are you going to get married?” 

“What’s taking so long?”

“What is going on?”

“It’s been five years.”

All things I obviously knew.  All things people felt the need to remind me of.  It seemed like almost daily.  And when Levi and I split up over it, the sighs and condolences that they offered me did nothing to soothe the ache his absence left.  The thoughts that ran through my head when he left, then when he stayed away still haunt me.  The things I said before he left our home were worse.  I replayed it over and over in my head until my shame had faded enough for me to swallow my pride and call.

Levi

When my phone rang I quickly glanced at the screen, I didn’t expect to see Jane’s face her nose wrinkled and tongue sticking out, looking up at me.  I smiled because I remembered that day clearly, the cotton candy was still sticky on her fingers when I took it and when I kissed her that night I tasted its sweetness on her breath.  I answered on the third ring.

“Hey Jane.  How are you?”

“Hi Levi.  I don’t know.  I have been better I suppose.”

“Me too.  Something is just missing.”

We let the air hang between us, letting the last comment resonate between the two of us.  It had been a month of no communication and even though we had the same circle of friends, we had managed to avoid each other.  I know she talked to her friends about us and what happened, but it wasn’t some sort of sordid separation – we loved each other fiercely but we fought each other the same.

She finally said, “I know what you mean.”

“I miss you.”

“So let’s do something about that…..”

And now I am here, staring at the woman I know is my future, the only thing I need.  There are so many things that I love about her, so many things that helped me make my decision.  It was selfish of me but there are things that I couldn’t do.  I couldn’t marry her but I didn’t want to share her with anyone, ever.  And maybe my opinion about that would change in the future but right now I wanted nothing more than Jane.

Jane

We sat and the energy between us was palpable.  I knew talking here would be the best thing.  We were in public a place where we could disagree without ending up in bed together.  Well maybe not but we could try.  I smiled, I felt like I hadn’t in the weeks he was gone and I wondered if he felt the same way.  My days droned on and when I returned to our apartment I always understood just how empty it was, how empty I was, without Levi.

I had replayed this moment over and over in my mind but sitting here in front of him I couldn’t say that I didn’t want to marry him, I still did.  Not because of what other people thought of him, of us.  But because I loved him and I wanted to show him just how much.  But all of the time spent thinking made me realize that I didn’t need to marry him to show him.

I had considered what he said.  What he wanted and all this time we had spent apart really made things clear.  Crystal clear.  The love I had for Levi didn’t have to be proved by putting a ring on my finger or signing a piece of paper, our love was just that – our love.  We didn’t need to quantify it or prove it or stretch it or break it or add to it.  We simply needed to be in it.

“I have been thinking.”

“Well this I figured since you wouldn’t have called if you hadn’t incessantly thought about your next step.  So what is it?  What is the next step?”

Levi

I let the question sit while I drank a sip of the wine she chose and just looked at her, willing her to say just about anything that would make sense.  Sitting across from her, somewhat estranged just made no sense and both my mind and body struggled with the notion of being apart any longer.  This was where a decision had to be made and this was where the line that we both drew in the sand last month is either erased by one of us or crossed over, hand in hand.

She raised her eyes to meet mine and my heart wanted me to reach out and touch her.  I wanted to kiss her, take away all the doubt that had taken residence behind her eyes.  I left because in our discussion, she doubted that I loved her.  She didn’t understand the reason that I didn’t want to marry her had to absolutely do with my love for her, but it also wasn’t my lack of it.  I loved her intensely and I needed her to just be mine. 

“I know why you said no now.  I think I understand.  And I want you to come home.  I want us to be together and to not care about what everyone thinks our next step should be.  Whatever that step is, I want us to decide when and if we ever take it.  I want us to know that a marriage will enhance us and not take us away from each other.  And if you don’t know that, it’s because you aren’t ready.  Not because you don’t love me, I understand that now.  It is clear.”

I nodded, the smile that bubbled from my heart threatened to push through my face and I wasn’t sure if that was what she wanted or needed to see.

“But I can’t just forget what I want and need to feel complete.  You would never forgive me if I did would you?”

“No Jane, I probably wouldn’t.  But can I ask what do you need that I didn’t provide for you these years?  What did you want for?”

“Absolutely nothing Levi and that is my point.  I have never ever felt like I needed anything, except to be your wife.  It is something that I have always wanted.  And with you, I have never wanted it more.”

I sighed, shaking my head.  Then I interrupted.

“I love you Jane.  Period.  I want you, all of you.  But I didn’t sign up for the white picket fence and 2.5 children.  I signed up for you – under me, over me, whatever way I could have you.  But not this, not what you think would make us healthy according to everyone else’s standards.  I won’t marry you because your parent’s say it’s time, I won’t.  It is not the man I am.  It is not the man you fell in love with.”

Jane

My face fell; I knew that was the way he felt.  I understood it thoroughly even though he swore I didn’t.  He swore I was being selfish, demanding, wanting more than he could give me.  The tears came quickly and I shifted in my seat, uncomfortable by the eyes around me that searched my face. 

“But I love you more than what doesn’t exist yet.  I love you more than the thought of being your wife, I love you more because you are my here and now and that is the only time I can live in.  I love you Levi and I want you to come home.”

Levi

I stood up and took her in my arms, her smell was overwhelming and her teary statement had rendered me speechless.  I pushed her hair back from her face as she raised her eyes to mine, her mouth trembling.

“Let’s go home.  Let’s go home.”

I left money on the table as I pulled her through the restaurant; I wanted no more of this to be public.  I needed her to know that the needs she had would always be met by me, I wanted her to understand that loving me was just that, loving me.  And children didn’t prove that anyone loved anyone else more.  I needed her to understand that I loved her, over and over, I loved her.  I didn’t know how to do anything else as well as I loved her and I wanted to promise to love her, forever and always. 

Ring or no ring….

Filed under love marriage proposal short story romance two points of view couples

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The Monster

He hides in the deepest recess of your mind. Your cells recognize him when he appears, paralyzing them, making them do his bidding. You become powerless.

He  walks in the light day, with you and I making small talk. His  real face hidden beneath a mask of kind eyes and encouraging words. He is your friend. You never know, he just might be.  He is your lover maybe. He is your biggest vice, your darkest most sordid secret.

At night, he resides in the shadows, his sneer hidden by the cloak of the night.  He hunts. He travels from place to place, leaving in his wake the remains of once whole human minds, shattered to thousands of pieces. Broken bodies lie at his feet, pleading and begging. The memories and happiness he steals from them jingle like shards of broken glass and Christmas bells.

He doesn’t sleep. 

He is there always. 

Waiting.  Studying.  Choosing.

He knows weakness, he can sense it from miles away. He is drawn to it like flies to shit. He can’t get enough. Your fear excites him, spurs him on, makes him eager and starved for your soul.  He comes to you, shows himself and you wonder if you have a thing in the world to lose. He plants that doubt, promises all you need and more, gives you doubt wrapped in a pretty bow. He paints the most beautiful picture with his forked tongue.

He slowly devours you from the inside out.  You try to push, to fight but there is no use.  You belong already.  Your heart goes first, distancing yourself from those you love, making you crave the solace his promises bring.  The empty feeling as your soul succumbs is comfortable,  welcomed almost. 

A calm settles over you like a grey cloud with perpetual silent storms, the atmosphere crackling with electricity but still. You stop sleeping, constantly thinking about everything that hurts, thinking about all his reasons to leave.  To go with him. What’s left? Why not? 

You sympathize, you long for him, his company. 

And then he comes, hungry, snarling, demanding.  You feed him all you have, give him all you are until there is nothing left.  And it’s not enough until you are empty, shaking and clawing your way out of the grave he has shoved you in.  You struggle to breathe, beg for help, scream, cry.  He stares passively and steals your soul anyway.

He is the monster that exists already. He is within you just begging to get out…. to walk freely in the world again…

Filed under fiction the monster fear control evil short story

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You

His words float over my skin, haunting my every move.  I arch into his mouth, his lips resting on the pulse at my throat.

"You smell like heaven."

A lazy smile drags its way across my face, my eyes struggle to focus in my drunkenness.  I am disoriented by the darkness and his laughter.  I turn my face up to his, our eyes meet and speak a thousand words and feelings.

His hand comes to my face, caressing my  jaw tenderly. So many things should be said but there are no words only movements and sounds.

I sigh. 

I know what love is,  how it blooms in your heart and spreads through the rest of your body like the sweetest infection. How it takes hold of you and turns you into a different animal - wanting, needing. I know. 

"You are beautiful."

I shift to be closer to him, the pressure of his body against mine is the most exquisite of pleasures. Under him I can read his mind through his eyes and the pounding of his heart.  His physical reaction to me is something he is unable to hide.

But it’s much more than that.  Now we are weaved under each others skin, the patterns blending and blurring.  There is nothing more important to me than the moments I spend with him, wrapped in bliss.  He smoothes my hair back, kissing my forehead and the tip of my nose.  He looks at me, examining the flush of my cheeks and the swollenness of my lips.  I turn my face and kiss his palm. 

"You have no idea what you do to me, what this does to me."

His hand slides down my bare stomach, fingers grazing my hip bones. Soft lace is all that separates his hand and my ache. I want him more than I have wanted anyone. But it’s always been this way - obsessive, crazy, frantic. I want him to devour me, to unravel me, to take me.

He slides up my body and we are eye level. I look up, underneath my lashes and bite my lip. My hands snake easily around his neck and I pull him towards me hungrily. His mouth slides over mine, stealing my breath, his tongue presses into my mouth, his teeth nip my lower lip. I moan, my sounds push him on. My need is evident. I know there isn’t a better place on Earth. Here, beneath him is the place I call home.

Sweat slicks our skin and we slide easily between heat and bliss. He is heavy against me and the familiar feeling of being swallowed alive climbs up my spine. His hands are everywhere, his mouth is everywhere. When I let go, he smiles and licks his fingers.

"You." I breathe.

"You."

Filed under you sex romance love short story love story

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The Waiting Place

Her life was nothing out of the ordinary. She spent her days under the lush blue sky, painting the sea that stretched itself before her. Her child’s laughter filled her days, her nights were surrounded in the lush passion that years of marriage brings.

Being Nicole Adler had become easy.

It wasn’t always. There were things in her past that she and Jason got through. Things he hid for her and a life they agreed to leave behind. Marrying Jay Adler had been the best decision she made, even though guilt crept through her thoughts daily. About the life he could have lived had she not gotten pregnant that night. Had she not kept Poppy.

When the test was positive they wondered what their next step would be. Jay just started law school and as a first year student they knew there wouldn’t be any time for a family if he was expected to do well. Putting it off for a year would only throw up red signals for his family, who felt he had already wasted enough time on her silly ideas of being together.

"Well maybe we can just tell them? We aren’t asking for their help, just their blessing. It isn’t so much to request is it?" She asked with all the hope she had left in her voice. She knew this wouldn’t be easy. She understood how it looked.

"Nic. This is my mother. Evil head mistress of all that is miserable and grim. And her sidekick Sir Nods Yes Alot. This is going to be as painful as it gets."

"Jay, stop. We said we weren’t going to let her get to us. Lets just agree,to have her opinion be just that… Just her opinion."

"Easier said than done."

When she opened her eyes again it was years later, she was trapped in that moment in the past when their lives were starting together. She looked at him running down the beach, their dogs weaving in and out of the rolling surf.

The time had gotten away from them, Poppy sulked ahead of her. Thirteen had been rough on her, her wild hair and smattering of freckles were the fodder for many a bully in her life. She was tall like Jay, all angles and sharp edges but very introspective, like her mother.

Jay ran back and grabbed Poppy, picking her up. She yelled and kicked and screamed as he splashed into the water with her, the dogs following in. Nic stopped a few feet before them and sat. Jay looked back toward her, shielding his eyes from the bright afternoon sun. She smiled fully, blowing him a kiss and waving, knowing he would look to her but not see her. He raised his head to warm his face in the sun.

He was beautiful.

Nic was happy he could find this time with Poppy. Somethings are not promised and they all understood that time was one of these things. He took and forced moments with his daughter because she was at this awkward stage in her life and wouldn’t freely offer them to him. Nic made sure their relationship was strong and solid. She nurtured it and grew it from before birth until now.

Nic could hear Poppy’s laughter hanging on the breeze. Nic felt her daughter’s smile, breathless and loving. The ocean noises couldn’t drown out this moment, they only added to it. To the reality of it. She wasn’t a part of this moment, this memory would be theirs and theirs alone. There would be thousands of moments like this now. Thousands of times when she wished she was still there.

The dogs ran passed her and into the house they shared for years, with its perfect wrap around porch and white shutters facing the blue of the ocean. Poppy ran out of the water wringing her tshirt, dripping on her as she passed and laughed. Nic reached out to touch her and missed by just a hair.

"My baby girl." The words floated from her mouth, gentle and sweet. She longed to connect with Poppy again, to talk and laugh. But there was nothing but pregnant silence now.

Jay strode out of the waves. He looked like a god, perfect in all his imperfection. The water dripped down his face, his tshirt stuck to him in all the right places. He was always fit and could lose a pound by sneezing. She smiled knowing she had done well. She also knew Poppy would grow up to be stunning.

Just like he was.

Nic tucked her arms around her knees, burying her face as he passed. She suddenly felt overwhelmed and tears built a wall in her throat. He didn’t stop, he looked over in her direction but jogged inside to continue his day. His break was over and he was probably chastising himself for taking a minute to just breathe.

His voice carried out from the open door - “Poppy, dry off. Burgers in 20 minutes.”

Instinctively Nic turned toward the sweetness of his voice as it floated passed her in ripples and carried on the waves. She stood and turned to walk to the house and stepped through the door tentatively as if she hadn’t lived there for the best years of her life. She could hear Jay and Poppy just above her - slamming things just a little too hard as they both did so well.

Her picture sat on the mantle above the fireplace, regal and in a position of authority amongst the rest of the gilded frames. She touched it gently, paying her respect to her sister who had done her makeup and allowed her to look “not sick”.

Jay walked into the room, walking passed her, the picture twirling and falling from its perch. He picked it up, touching her face.

"I miss you so much Nic."

He spoke to her picture as she stood behind him, reaching her hand out just before she could touch him. She was so close she could feel his electricity, his energy.

"I miss you too." She whispered, afraid he would somehow hear her from there.

"I think you would be so proud of Poppy. Well I know you would be. The last couple of weeks have been rough but we have turned a corner. She’s eating and talking and laughing. Like really laughing. I wish you were here instead of me, a girl needs her mother and we are both like lost puppies trying to find our way."

"I am proud my Love. But I’m more proud of you and the job you are doing. You have listened and loved her and me. You’ve done the best you could. Please know I love you. From the other side I still do."

She backed away from him, wishing she could say all the things she didn’t get to before the pain wrecked her body, leaving just a shell of the person she was before. Their house felt cold to her and everything flooded back to the last minutes when she was in their bedroom, dying of Cancer.

Then she was not his wife or her mother. She was just Nicole Adler. She was losing the battle everyone said she would win. The weight of how unfair it was hung on the air. She was as much of a ghost then as she was now.

Now she was here watching people she loved living without her. Unable to touch them, speak to them. Unable to move on. She didn’t know what hurt more to be quite honest. This was her hell. This was the place where she would wait for him. Then they would wait for her. But until then Nic was there alone; listening, crying, waiting.

Loving him. Loving them, still.

Nicole Adler was in the waiting place.

Filed under love story ghost story true love short story cancer fathers daughters mothers family missing you

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The Secrets We Keep

Life emptied itself of all happiness pretty quickly after she left. It had only been a few hours since she slammed the door and walked out, yet it felt like time was standing still.  I willed myself not to pick up the phone again.  She knew I was sorry and that’s all I could really ask for.

Lying to Roe wasn’t something that happened easily.  She was sharp as a tack on her worst days and she didn’t see many bad ones.  She kept me on my toes and I thought about what my days would be without her.

What she didn’t understand was that I lied to protect her.  Not from any evil person lurking just around the bend or anything sinister like that.  I protected her from the person I really was.  And it wasn’t.

The person I used to be, the boy who existed before this man.

She had the right to be upset.  I had omitted key details of my life that she certainly deserved to know.  But I wasn’t malicious as she suspected or wanted to believe and it hurt me that she would think I was. 

When I met her that night four years ago I knew there were things she would show me that I had never seen.  Her thoughts played out well across her face and the softness of her lips.  She was beautiful, fierce, amazing.  From the moment I saw her I loved her intensely.  When she spoke her voice stirred something low inside me, making me weak instantly.

She was trouble in its best form.

When I walked over to her, her friends danced away, feigning interest in conversations elsewhere.  She stood before me, her caramel skin almost g listened in the low lights of the bar and I leaned down close to her ear.

"I’d like to talk to you when you have a chance that is."

Her eyes looked at me passively.  A smirk crawled from her lips to her eyes and began to settle there.

"I have a chance."

And then she gave me one.

When the night was over, I had her telephone number and a sweet chaste kiss before I put her in a taxi to Brooklyn.  She lowered the window and tucked a loose curl behind her ear.

"Thank you for a great night."  Her hand curled on the open window, I reached out touching her fingers before she drove away.  I couldn’t wait to see her again.

But time had passed and this time was different.  I probably wouldn’t see her again and the thought of that crushed me.  I had ruined the best thing that happened to me in a long time and I had done it to protect her from something she deserved to know.

Things were always great between Roe and I until they weren’t.  Suddenly, she became paranoid.  She began obsessing over my whereabouts and prodding me for details about things that meant nothing now.

She was an open book that much was true.  When she met me I was a locked vault and it was something she accepted about me.  I loved her and felt like that should be enough.  What we shared was different, special but she wanted to make it the same as everything else.  But still, even then in my most selfish moments, I knew it was wrong, so very wrong, not to tell her who I was.

She asked me about women, she believed I had been hiding some type of infidelity.  In a way I was.  I had misused her trust and now all this time had gone by.  I didn’t know what my life was without her anymore and I was scared to find out.  The fear paralyzed me and overrode my common sense.  I was too scared to lose her, too scared to tell.  Now I didn’t have a choice. 

She pushed about my family and the ties I had to all things in the shady grey area of legality.  It was as if she was devouring every bit of information about me for another purpose.

I should have told her.  When she asked, I should have offered her some semblance of truth before she slammed down article after article about my trial.  My young face looking into the camera, my real first name (instead of my middle name), my real surname (instead of my mother’s maiden name) staring up at me.

"Thomas isn’t even your name" was all she managed to get out coherently before my world came crashing down around my ears.

I stood and raised my hands up.

"Where did you get those?  Let me explain."

I knew by her exhalation.  I knew.  It was too late.  She had branded me a murderer already. 

"It was you wasn’t it?  You ran my Mother off the road and killed them.  Did you know who I was when you started dating me? Did you?"

She screamed with all the fury of a woman in agony.  She screamed like a woman who had been lied to.  She cried like a woman who had been made to fall in love with the man that killed her family. 

“I didn’t know.  I didn’t know it was you until recently.  And when I did find out I wanted to tell you.  I swear I wanted to tell you.”

I didn’t know who she was at the beginning.  But when I did, I kept it to myself, greedily wanting to make her love me so she wouldn’t leave.  I wanted to make it impossible for her to want to go, no matter what I had done.  It was the must selfish thing I had ever done besides getting behind the wheel of my car that night.

She stormed around my apartment, stuffing things into a bag haphazardly, not even looking, tears streaming down her face.

“But you didn’t tell me, Thomas or should I call you, Caleb?  You killed my family.  And when you figured out it was me, you didn’t tell me.  When you figured out all that you had taken from me, you didn’t tell me.”

I shook my head, looking at her. 

“I couldn’t tell you.  I couldn’t lose you for an accident that happened when I was drunk and reckless and fifteen years old.”

“No, you are right.  You didn’t lose me for that.  You are losing me for lying about something that we could have discussed.  You should have told me as soon as you found out and we could have dealt with it together.  But instead you let me dig, you let me find out on my own and you let me believe you were someone that you weren’t.  Someone that you aren’t.”

There was nothing I could say in that moment that would change what I had done, the trust I had destroyed.  She was absolutely right, I had no right to her, I didn’t have a leg to stand on and all the love in the world couldn’t heal the rift that opened like a chasm between us. 

“Roe, please listen to me.  Don’t go.  Let’s talk and let me explain why I didn’t tell you.  Why I couldn’t tell you.  Maybe there is something that you don’t know.”

Exhaustion settled on her shoulders and she sighed, tears stained her face and her eyes were rimmed with a shadow that wasn’t there before.  She stopped walking to the door and turned to face me, her bag settled in her hand. 

“There is nothing left to know Caleb.”

“I am Thomas.”  I pleaded with her to realize that I wasn’t that boy in the court room anymore.

And just like that, my world was empty and I was left to deal whatever was left for me in this life.  I picked up the articles placed in front of me, my solemn face and eyes staring into the camera. 

I was sorry for what happened then and I am sorrier now than ever.  Sorry that I couldn’t help her heal from it and sorry that I wasn’t man enough to face what it meant for her and I.  But most of all I was sorry that I wouldn’t be able to see her again.  Even if she could find it in her heart to forgive me, I knew I didn’t deserve her.  I wanted her, but she was better than me.  Roe was infinitely stronger and braver than I could ever be and it was crystal clear in the hours I spent bathing in her silence. 

The next morning after a night of fitful sleep, I thought I was imagining noise around me in an apartment that should be empty now.  I pulled myself from my bed and walked into the kitchen, where Roe sat eyes downcast.  When I saw her, my heart jumped and I wanted to gather her up and carry her to bed, to show her that I loved her and that I could be truthful in at least that.

“I came to tell you that I had some time to think.”

I pulled the chair out and sat down, not wanting my voice to scare hers away.

“I don’t think I could ever forgive you for lying to me.  But I can forgive you for what you were a part of.  For what happened.  I understand now that you were young and out of control.  It was what you did when you were in control and an adult that I have a problem with.”

The brown in her eyes was set so deep I knew she hadn’t slept.  She licked her lips and I just wanted to reach out to her, knowing how hard of a struggle this was for her.  I admired her for even being here but I knew that it was because she loved me that she was.

“Tell me what I can do.  I know I can’t make it right but I can try to make it better if you let me.  I can try if you let me.”

“I can’t let you.  I just can’t.  But I can tell you that I loved you more than anything and I know that had you told me the truth, trusted in us that I would still be by your side.  You aren’t the person I thought you were, that is clear now.  And I love you that is also clear.  But you broke me, more than even their death did.”

“I am so sorry Roe.”

She got up from the table and laid her hand on my face, her eyes settling into mine.  She leaned down and kissed me – “I know you are.  But it’s not enough.”

And as quickly as it started that night four years ago, it was over on a sunny morning four years later. 

With the closing of that door, I knew my life would never go a day without missing her.  I still hear her laugh or smell her scent and turn with the hopes that it is her.  But it never is.

Filed under breaking up lies secrets deceit short story leaving

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The Right Thing

A lot of time had passed since they were in this house alone together, in this room.  She was waiting for him when he opened the door and stepped in.  He stared at her, pain hung on his face and rested comfortably in his eyes.  There was nothing left between them, they both knew this. There was nothing left to say.  She thought she had the right to talk forever, that she had forever to explain but he simply felt no need to listen then.  Now the look in his eyes betrayed him.  He looked like all he wanted to do was hear her, hear her explain, listen to her voice.

She accepted that it still hurt.  Sometimes so badly she lost her breath.  Seeing him now, she knew he felt the same way.

The house was empty now.  They had sold it a few months ago and split the money.  Since they had squandered all of their savings on the house, they paid dearly for the life they chose to live.  They grew further and further apart as their successes grew and they began to grow separately but not together.

The living room was huge and their voices echoed no matter how low she tried to speak.  She preferred soft hushed tones while he had no desire to whisper any longer.  She knew he wanted and needed to be heard.

Ten years of marriage and they had become like strangers.  It only took a year for it to unravel and fall apart.  All their hard work and time, all of their memories blown like away like the flame on a candle.  But even after all she had done, she still loved him.  She still wanted to make it right.  She still needed to make it right.

And standing here she realized she loved him now more than ever.

She stared at him as he moved from room to room, checking for any small shred of his life he might have left behind.   She thought to remind him he had left her behind, moved on and started a new life without her.  She thought to remind him how much she loved him, still.

He looked at her solemnly, lines etched the corners of his eyes and the smile he gave her was tired, hurt, defeated almost.

"How are you, Hannah?"

She stared at him, a seemingly easy question but one that had so many possible answers.  She wasn’t whole. She was broken. She was everything she never wanted to be.

"I don’t know anymore.  Some days I feel fine.  Others I feel like this house, empty and pretty much worthless."

"I know we took a loss on it. I will give you a portion of my half to make up for the loss since the money is what’s important."

He paced back and forth in front of her.  She knew he was angry and this wasn’t the way the conversation should have gone.  But they always found themselves here.  It was why it ended in the first place, too much pacing, too much running and not enough talking.

"Peter no one wants your money. I never did. You felt the need to prove something to me.  All I wanted was for you to love me. And you couldn’t without tying it to a dollar."

She looked at him and her heart broke.  He really couldn’t understand how much she loved him. How much she wanted to start over, to make him love her again.

Could he?

He crossed the room and sat on the floor in front of her.  She looked down at him and a pang of longing flooded her stomach.  She reached out and touched his hair.  Then she sat too.

"Remember when we closed on this house? It was after you sold your first painting and we thought we would be rich forever.  I stared at you and thought the world of every breath you took.”

He placed his head in his hands.

"What happened?  Why did you do it? Why didn’t you talk to me?"

She waited a long time to have this conversation and she certainly didn’t think it would be here or now. Peter was cagey when prodded and when Hannah’s truth came to light, she simply let him think what he wanted for as long as he needed to.  When she couldn’t take it anymore and she was tired of his silence, she tried to talk.  By then months had gone by and he was passed the point of listening.  He didn’t want an explanation.  He didn’t want to know why.

"I can tell you why if you are willing to listen. But before I do I have to say something.  There hasn’t been one minute of one day that I haven’t thought about what happened or what I did. I have loved you obsessively these past few months and I wish that I had the strength to come to you sooner.  I wish I had the strength to say no.  I wish I would have told you that we were breaking."

Peter raised his eyes to hers.  He looked like he had aged years in the months since she’d seen him last. She reached out and took his hand.   He flinched but let her hold on.

"I know why you left and why you didn’t want to hear my explanations.  It made perfect sense. You knew I was going to somehow blame you for my mistake.  I had enough time to think and during that time you met Winnie and this is where we are."

Peter sighed.  He was supposed to be thinking, not moving on.  He had met and moved in with a woman in six months.  He broke her heart but after she broke his first.

"Hannah, we are here because you slept with another man and you did it in my bed; more than once.  We are here because you weren’t brave enough to fight for us and face me."

She felt the tears nipping at the back of her eyes.  Her throat began to close with them.

Before the affair, Hannah and Peter were disconnected in more ways than one.  He was working more than ever to keep up with their lifestyle, art was an expensive job but very lucrative provided you could sell a piece.  Essentially they had become a one income household and were drowning.  They fought over money constantly.  It came to a certain point where silence was the best policy sometimes.

The memories of the affair flooded her thoughts.  Hannah met Trey at an art exhibit.  They exchanged business cards but never called each other.  They soon found themselves travelling in the same circles.  He was an art dealer, she was a painter.

After a few months of mild flirtation, they found themselves at the same art show.  When Hannah arrived at the Reception Dinner, Trey greeted her as soon as she entered the room.  They spent most of the night talking and drinking wine.  She felt free and uninhibited.  She didn’t think about Peter or the problems they were having, she was just Hannah.

They had sex in the elevator on the way up to his room.

The next three months consisted of Hannah juggling her crumbling marriage to Peter and her affair with Trey.  Her life was a balancing act and she learned how to lie better than the most expensive rug.  Some of her best work was done on her back.

When Peter began showing up in her studio or in her gallery she didn’t think he knew.  She was above being caught, above justifying her actions, above it all.

It wasn’t until she was naked in Trey’s arms and heard the door close that she figured it out.  It wasn’t until she was staring over Trey’s shoulder into the eyes of her husband that she realized she was doing something wrong.  That she had something to lose.

Peter simply walked away.

She never heard from Trey again.

Hannah moved a few things into her studio.  She painted.  She sold art and got on her own feet. And she thought about Peter constantly.  She called. She wrote. She showed up.

Then she stopped and gave Peter his space.

It was during this time he met Winnie.  She was what he called “simple and easy” to which she snickered and was admonished for.

Peter told Hannah he chose Winnie.   Peter told Hannah he wanted a divorce.  Peter told Hannah that Winnie was pregnant.

Looking into his eyes she suddenly understood the only choice there was to make.  A weight was lifted and she didn’t feel the need to explain because she knew where he was meant to be.

"It doesn’t matter anymore Peter.  I love you, I will always love you.  There is nothing anyone can do about that now.  I had my chance with you and we shared ten wonderful years together."

Tears ran down his face because he understood.  He knew this was right.

"It’s time.  I will sign the papers tomorrow.  Be with Winnie, raise your child and start new.  I had my chance with you and I ruined it.  I am not your final chapter Pete, she is."

She stood up and he did too.  She dusted the dirt from her pants and walked out of the room and to the front door.  Peter was behind her and took her hand.  He turned her slowly and she slid into his arms.

She breathed in his scent for the last time, her senses flooded with all the promises they made for their future.  She loved him so much, so much she let him go live the life he was meant to live with the woman he was meant to live it with.  She let him go.

And she knew for the first time in a long time that she had done the right thing.

Filed under breaking up letting go moving on love romance mistakes the end

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The Music

The music ran through my veins and I wondered if everyone felt the way I did when he sang.  Things were always moving so fast and I had promised myself a time of steady slowness.  Yes.  Slowness.  The feeling of languishing under his gaze, I craved his world now.  The sweet guitar danced through the air while I watched his hands.  Expertly he touched and pulled and I imagined a place so long ago when I was his instrument.

His eyes rose to meet mine and he smiled in the faintest of ways, his lips curled around the beautiful words tumbling from them.

I knew time had passed.  We had spoken a few times since I saw him last and email/text seemed to be our main choice of communication.  It was easier when he was in a different time zone to respond to one another when time permitted.  We were easy that way.

I arrived during the first song and sat in the back, settling in for all the catcalls and whistles and women swooning over the man on that stage.  They were in love with this man that sat on the stage but I knew he was so much more.  He was so much more than any of them knew or could possibly comprehend.  Dex sat unassumingly on a stool, glass of water at his feet, hands rested reverently on the strings, playing, singing, humming.  His eyes closed thinking of the times that helped him write those words.  I knew the set list so when he launched into my song I walked up front so he could see me.

He told me he always played it last for a reason.  He told me it left him wanting to hear me, to taste me, to see me.  I wanted him to know that it was an option.  It was always an option but tonight he could do just that.  Tonight I would be his muse again, a role I missed filling for these last months apart.

When the song ended the applause rose to the ceilings threatening to push the roof off of the place.  He stood and raised his guitar, pumping it in the air.  When he moved to the end of the stage and walked down my heart skidded to a halt.

He pushed his way through the crowd, accepting pats on his back and vigorous handshakes.  Congratulations all around for a flawless set, offers to buy him drinks, to change his life.  Offers to lie beneath him or on top of him, whichever he preferred.  But he couldn’t take his eyes off of me.

I waited, rooted to the spot.  I couldn’t move if I tried, his gaze pinned me to that moment.  I felt as if the air had been sucked from the room and I waited for him to breathe life into me again.

He put his guitar strap over his shoulder and swung it around his back.  Such a normal position for him he told me once without it he feels off balance.

When he reached me, my smile beamed.

“Hello Stranger, funny finding you here.”

I stepped closer to him, people tried to interrupt and he simply didn’t move his face from mine, our eyes locked, our hearts visible on our sleeves.

I retorted, “Factually, I found you, as I always do.  It could probably be considered stalking if you wanted to be a stickler for the law.”

“Fiona, I tell you where I am.  Always.  I will always tell you where I am.  Have I mentioned I love when you use that word?  It makes it seem like this has been us forever.”

“It has been Dex, it always has been.”

His hand slipped behind my neck, finding the most familiar of places.  His fingers were buried in my hair, pulling me toward him.  He lifted my face and planted the lightest of kisses on my jaw snaking them down my neck.  I sighed and leaned into him, wanting more, needing more – no matter who was there or how it looked.

It was so easy to fall into him, to find my way back into his life, into his songs.  It always felt like I had never left, like I had never told him to go and chase his dreams – failing to explain I could not chase them with him. 

He let his hand slide down my back, fluttering across my arm – his hand fitting perfectly into mine.  We walked to the bar and sat – people still clamoring for his attention, still wanting what I craved to be solely mine, tonight and forever.

“I don’t know if I can handle being this close to you and not having you to myself.  I stay in the shadows because it just makes sense that way.  I am too jealous to handle this Dex.  I am.  You know I am.  I want you to have it all but I don’t know if I can handle all of them wanting to give it to you.”  I was jostled around the bar, women clamoring to get a shot at him and a shot of me.

He adjusted his guitar and looked at me, emotions filled his eyes and I wondered if he understood the way this felt.  He put his hand out to me and I took it without hesitation, I would follow this man until the ends of the earth.  He knew it.  I knew it.  There were no questions now, no hesitation.  His dreams were mine, his struggles were mine.

Dex was mine, whatever that entailed.  I wanted all of him and I wouldn’t rest until I had it.

He tugged me off the bar stool and onto my feet and led me through the bar and out onto the crowded street.  The cool air ran across my face, refreshing me when he turned suddenly to look at me.  He closed the space between us and I stepped into his orbit, unable to fight it or him.

“I want to take you home and write music about you, I want you to give me a reason to, to show me.  I want to play you again, every note.  I want to hear you.  Can I again?”

And I said the only thing that I could with this man towering over me, staring into his eyes, seeing his need, feeling his love…. “Yes.”

Filed under romance love short story writing flash fiction love story soulmate music

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The Vanishing

The murky water pools at my feet.  Dirt and rocks slide down the drain.  This is the first shower I have taken in awhile.  We spend our days now searching, hunting, gathering. A primitive society trapped in a dismal and dark future.  The fallout has left the world scorched, rotten - its smoke and ash hangs like a drape over a blotted sun.

Nothing could have prepared us for what would happen.

We gave up. As a whole.  We gave up on each other.  Society collapsed after coming so far.  We had grown leaps and bounds above where we were and life was finally happy.  For just about everyone.

And now there is no way we can survive here.  

When The Change happened it was as if the world shifted.  There was a constant sense of consciousness. One day people stopped killing each other, started working together, started to understand and accept. 

We woke up in a day when there was not one murder.  In the whole world.

The scale of that at the time was unimaginable.  Vitriolic behavior had reached astronomical proportions and we were all at war with each other in a million different ways.

But humans began to establish a society where all were respected, tolerated.  A massive change in social consciousness had occurred.  We had turned a corner and it seemed as if humanity was winning.

Then the children began to disappear. 

They called it The Vanishing.

One by one, parents woke to empty beds. Parents left clutching worn pictures, their tear stained faces enough to break your heart.  Children vanishing monthly. Then daily. Then weekly. Then hourly until they were simply all gone. 

Every free space of wall was tacked with missing posters of smiling faces and lopsided toothless grins.  Pictures of infants,  their eyes shining with the light of new life.

Gone.

Vanished.

The government called it a “reaping” of sorts.  The news broadcasting over AM dials set to 1010.  Religious zealots came out of every nook and corner of existence to tout victory over naysayers. 

This was God.

This was punishment.

This was our tithing to pay.

We had lived in excess, ruined our gifts, became unfaithful to religion.

Women became property.  Single women were attacked, jailed and said to be farmed to repopulate the earth.  We became cattle. It took years of abuses for them to figure out nothing would work.

We were barren.  Infertile.  Useless. 

Some men protected their wives, others sold theirs into slavery or to be used by the government for reproductive experiments. My husband protected me and my girls until the very end. I loved him fiercely and when we ventured underground, I trusted he would keep us safe.

Adults also waited. We all knew eventually we would disappear too, go someplace else and just cease to exist also.  We didn’t know what was waiting for us.

Since the children went first we assumed it was good.

Since we were ALL children we waited for our time.

I lived in fear. We lived in fear of the day when one of us would be left alone. But still hoping our girls were beyond, waiting.

When our children disappeared,  we weren’t as prepared as we thought we would be. We had taken to letting them sleep with us in order to spend their last moment with them. We weren’t sure if they would go together, we prayed and hoped wherever they disappeared to that they would be together and safe.

Micah turned to me the day before she and Ginger vanished and said she loved me. From a 14 year old girl running from god knows what, it was a lot.

"I love you too my brave girl."

Her shoulders sagged, the weight of what she faced every second of every day anchoring her to this world. Ginger was much more carefree. As much as she wanted to be with us, she also wanted to see what was in store when The Vanishing came. She thought anything would be better than this life we weren’t living. Anything was better to her than running from what we couldn’t see. 

They were taken from us on March 8. I am not sure of the year anymore.  

I shook the memory from my eyes and let the frigid water wake my senses.  My teeth chatter and the tears run down my face. My emotions and love swirl down the drain and I watch them helplessly.  I am scared. Scared that we are going to die. Scared that I will be murdered or taken or my husband will be hurt.  I haven’t aged since The Vanishing and I look at my husband’s greying hair and panic rushes through me.

I miss my girls. This took them from us. And now it is just him and I.  His heavy boots pace outside the door, keeping watch. Protecting me, the only thing he has left. 

The Earth begins to burn. Heat disintegrates the crops and livestock die. We move from place to place but the heat follows. Not sun. Inexplicable heat.

The news that I do hear comes in pops and crackles.  They say there is no explanation.  They say we should hide, we should retreat underground where we are safe from the dust and the death. We scavenge. We search. We wait.

I turn the water off.  Running water is scarce and when we turned the tap and it poured out crisp and clean I nearly jumped in with my clothes on. We stumbled upon a place the heat hadn’t reached yet and we seemed to be two steps ahead instead of behind. 

I can see my skin now once it is clean, the layer of caked dirt missing.  I am grey.  My eyes ringed in purple, my cheeks hollowed.  My bones protrude in weird angles, my hair hangs in wet mop like strands. 

We cover ourselves in mud and dirt to avoid windburn when we are outside as a shield against whatever elements we come across.  There is no sun. No moon. Just constant overcast and heat.  Until you break passed it and find areas that are still green and teeming with life.

I am still pale.  Starving. Dying.

The light bulb pops and the brightness of the room fizzles to darkness. Just the grey emptiness and loneliness of this solitary life.  Running from everything and to nothing all at the same time.

I keep my composure and step into my dirty clothes. They are crisp and caked with dirt.  My skin protests against the stiff burlap feel.  Once I am dressed I exit the bathroom and walk into the underground bunker we found three days ago, when the sirens blazed into the night.

He turns to me, pain crowds his eyes and I reach to touch him. My clean hand is a stark contrast to the layer of mud that has settled on his once soft skin. He looks defeated, empty.

"You can go, I will stand watch."

He steps around me and lays a kiss on the top of my head. I lean into him, missing his real scent, his real taste.  He steps into the bathroom and I stand watch, hoping the weapon laying across my lap stays unused.

Humans have digressed.  We attack each other for supplies and food now.  All that we learned before The Vanishing is gone and people believe that our great step in evolution is what led to the demise of our species.

Our kindness toward every man led to weakness.

When I hear the groan of the faucet, I stand and pace.  It is in these quiet moments that I feel our girls, tugging at my memories.  Their laughter was a beautiful song and now my life is left searching for their sound.

A loud bang leaves me scrambling for my footing, I scream out in fear and realize that it came from inside the shelter. I turn and lunge for the knob of the bathroom, my heart beating so loudly in my ears it is impossible for me to process much else.

His clothes sat in a pile on the bathroom floor, the cold from the shower hung on the air in the empty room. 

He was gone now too and I was alone.

Tears slide down my face and I sit on the floor cradling my husband’s abandoned garments.  Sobs escape my throat and I howl into the air like a wounded animal.  His wedding ring sits on the ledge of the sink and I place it on my chain with Micah’s and Ginger’s rings that were also left behind on their pillows the night they disappeared.

I waited for The Vanishing to take me but I feel like it will never come no matter how much I beg.  I feel like I am still impatiently waiting in this world, waiting for the sound of my daughter’s voices or the feel of my husband’s kiss to wake me.  I miss him now and coupled with the loss of everyone I know and love, I am alone.  I am still praying to be good enough to leave.  I pray that I am next.

I pray with all that I have left.

I sleep.  I don’t hear the bang or feel the pull into my next phase.  I tumble forward, my body twists in impossible ways as if I am made of rubber.   I stretch endlessly and suddenly my eyes are wide open.

I am staring into the face of my husband.  Smiling.   Light bathes him in a warm glow.  My daughters are there.   I sit up.  I am healthy.  Perfect, unharmed by the years I had just lived.   My family is here and I am safe from harm.  Those that wronged me are forgiven instantly, my love outweighing any anger I once carried in my heart.

After all those nights laying awake, waiting, listening for the breathing of my girls, then my husband.  All those nights alone,  running, hiding. I was safe.  I was here with them. 

I am back where I belong.

Filed under apocalypse reaping shortstory the vanishing suspense science fiction sci-fi

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What She Has

My doorbell rings in the middle of the night and jars me from my sleep.  I lurch up, my heart beating like a wild drum.  I slip my feet into my slippers and walk to the door.   A loud boom of thunder made me jump, the lightning flashed through the room.

The doorbell rings frantically again.  My cat weaves through my legs, curious yet tentative.  We step forward and I place my eye to the peephole.  I see them, standing at my door.  Innocently enough he has sent a young girl and a woman.  But she is talking to someone off to the side and out of my line of sight.  She is disheveled, her hair hanging in wet strands around her face and her lip is bleeding.  I cannot see the little girl’s face; she looks ahead as if she is not fazed by the rain beating down her back.  The woman raises her head and looks into the peephole.  Lightning and thunder crack and I stumble back against the wall, away from the door.  My cat scatters and retreats to the safety of the second floor.

Instinctively I walk to the back door and pull the curtains closed, flattening them with my palm to keep them from swaying.  If the curtains aren’t moving, they can’t detect movement from inside the house.  Maybe they will move on, tell him I am not here.  Maybe they will tell him they couldn’t find me.  I check the locks and go back to the door when the doorbell chimes again.

This time someone lays their finger on it, trying to wake me.  A purposeful knock accompanies the ringing this time and I know they have decided tonight is the night.  They are not moving on from this house.

They are not moving on from the thought of this victim, from his intended victim.

I dart up the stairs and lock my bedroom door.  I grab my cellphone and lockbox keys and go into the bathroom.  From under the bathroom sink, I pull out the box and sit in the tub.  I open it and feel the weight of the gun in my hand.  Mr. Chatsworth walks out of the linen closet and jumps into the empty tub with me.  I scratch his head and realize this might be the last time I see him, so I snuggle him close, whisper I love him.

We wait.

The first loud bang was the men coming through my back porch door.  The glass shatters under their weight and they break through the aluminum as if it is sheets of paper.  The door folds easily and they enter my house.  My security system screams into the night and I know someone is on their way.  I just need to hold on for the ten minutes it will take for help to arrive.  Sweat beaded the back of my neck and I struggled not to scream.  They took the stairs two at a time, the sickening thud of their boots echoed through the vents in my old drafty house.

I raised the gun as the bedroom door splintered and pushed into the room.  By the sound of it there were four of them, plus the woman and the young girl.  The thunder boomed and the gun shook in my hand.  My palms greased with sweat, I continued to pray that I could hold on.  I reached into the box and pulled out the extra clip, securing it in the waistband of my pants.

They ransacked my bedroom, breaking my things for no reason in particular.  I suppose it was to prove to him that they could, that they would.   I knew what they came for and so did they.  They wanted the information that I vowed I would die to keep.  Mr. Chatsworth jumped from the tub to the safety of the linen closet and I didn’t blame him.  If I could hide I would.

Six minutes left.

The silence was deafening as their boots stopped in front of the bathroom door.  The light shone from under into the darkened room.  I stood with my back to the wall with my hand steadying the other as it held the gun.

My husband’s voice rang in my head, “They will come for you.  When they do, I will be waiting.  You will give me the number or I will kill you.”

The door opened slowly and I pulled the trigger.

Filed under suspense shortstory thriller