Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I'm joining the folks at again this week for a bit of fiction. I'll post my prompt at the end of this little story. When I began formulating the story in my mind, almost immediately after I'd read the prompt, I kept seeing a woman clinging to a rocky cliff face as the love of her life fell to his death.

Sure, it was a completely morbid thought. Not that I'm ever above having a morbid thought. But, my great joy in being an artistic writer type is that I get to have all kinds of thoughts that I can weave into my work. All the insanity, none of the guilt.

Anyway... without further ado...


Tuesday, October 30

"You rat bastard!" Sonja shouted. "You know I hate heights!"

"That's just your fear talking. You know what fear is, right? False. Evidence. Appearing. Real."

"I'm going to divorce you for this."

Fifteen feet above her, Trent clipped another carabiner on his line. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. You have to get to the top first. C'mon. It's only another 200 feet."

Sonja looked up the sheer rock cliff. "Fuck y..." The words lodged in her throat as Trent's body flew past her toward the ground.

Moments later Sonja stumbled into the kitchen wiping tears and sleep from her eyes. Trent looked up from the magazine he was reading as he sipped his coffee. He saw the look on her face. "Oh, baby. Again?"

"Again," she said. "This time we were climbing a cliff. You were above me and then you fell. I don't know why I keep dreaming shit like that. Where's the anxiety coming from?"

"I don't know. You know I love you. I'm here for you. I'll always be here for you."

"I just don't get it."


Wednesday, October 31

Sonja squeezed her eyes shut and gripped the railing as tightly as she could. She said, "You're evil, you know. How did I let you talk me into this? I'm totally freaked out right now."

"What's there to fear?" Trent asked. "This is perfectly safe."

The ferris wheel jolted to a stop and their gondola swayed slightly at the top. "Oh, my god. That's it. I'm leaving you for a man who likes to stay at ground level."

"Oh, c'mon, baby. Look." Trent stood up and started doing the chicken dance on his side of the gondola. "See? Harmless." He flapped his arms.

"Stop th..." Sonja watch in horror as Trent toppled from the side of the gondola just as the ferris wheel lurched into motion again.

She woke, sure that her scream of terror had, at least, been real. But she could hear Trent out in the kitchen, pulling mugs from the cupboard as the coffee pot chugged along. She scrubbed at her eyes, then grabbed her bathrobe from the end of the bed and pulled it around her as she stood up.

She stopped in the kitchen door, looking at Trent's back as he stood looking out the window and waiting for the coffee to finish. She thought about not telling him, but he would know she was troubled. He always knew. She started with, "I love you."

Trent turned, a smile on his face, "I love y... baby, baby, baby..." He rushed to take her in his arms. "I'm so sorry you're going through this. What a horrible thing for you to go through."

Sonja didn't respond. She only rested her head against his chest and listened to his heartbeat.


Thursday, November 1

Sonja stayed in bed. She just didn't have the heart to get up, didn't want him to see it on her face again. She lingered long enough that Trent came into the bedroom, carrying two cups of coffee. He handed her her mug without saying a word. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed next to her. He put his mug down on the end table and reached out to take her free hand.

That sat like that for a few minutes, holding hands, Sonja taking sips of the coffee and trying to dispel the last of the dream she'd just had. It was a dream much like the others. This time they'd been stringing Christmas lights on a high, steep gabled roof. Their banter was all about her fear of heights. Then he was gone.

Sonja shook herself from her reverie as she felt Trent squeeze her hand. She tried to give him a wobbly smile. He said, "Baby, you can't keep going like this. You need to find out what this fear is all about and deal with it. It just isn't rational."

Sonja smirked. She was almost pissed off at him for calling her out on her slice of crazy. She knew she was only pissed because his words were exactly how she felt about it. She let out a heavy sigh. "Well, it's not very fucking kind either."

Trent squeezed her hand again. "You have to let it go, baby. Just let go."


Thursday, November 1

Trent kept holding Sonja's hand as the doctor checked her chest with his stethoscope  Only when the doctor stood up and cleared his throat did Trent look at him.

"This is it, huh." Trent said it as a statement rather than a question.

"I believe it is," replied the doctor. "You know, she's fought this cancer so hard, but her body just can't do it any more. Her system is failing, she hasn't eaten in a week. She hasn't been lucid since, what... Monday night? She's trying to let go, I think, but she's fighting it too."

"Is there anything else I can do for her?" asked Trent.

"Just keep holding her hand. Keep loving her. Keep talking to her. If you can do it, give her permission to go. I'll leave now, but the nurses know how to get in touch with me and I can be here in 10 minutes."

"Thanks, Doc."

The room was quiet but for the hissing of the oxygen being fed to Sonja and the occasion click as the pain meds were automatically pumped into her veins. Trent continued to hold her hand and brushed his thumb gently across the back of it. He crooned an exit litany to her, softly, almost a whisper, "I love you, baby. I always have, I always will. You will always be here with me. So, it's okay to go. I'll be okay. You can let go. Just let go."


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Katri gave me this prompt: Fear isn't rational or kind.
I gave Lance this prompt: He opened the door and along with a cold gust of wind, she came in.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


She had been writing furiously for over an hour, breaking more than five pencils in the process. Despina flung the most recently broken pencil to the floor, plucked a new one from the table and continued writing. She had to get this down. It wasn't just that it needed to be let out, although it did, but it also needed to be written for the record. She paused, looking out the small window, wondering how a day could be so gray without there being any rainfall.

Despina shook her head and muttered, “No. No sidetracking. Have to… have to… do… this.” She gripped the pencil, ignoring the cramp in her hand, and started a new paragraph.

“I realize, for anyone who ends up reading this, that I probably sound insane. I've certainly been told that I’m insane, but only by those who, I believe, do not have my best interest at heart. I have threatened and been threatened, lied and been lied to. I've cried, cajoled, contacted every authority I can think of, and yet, I don’t feel anyone has listened to me! Not properly. At best I get a nod and an “oh dear” before I’m passed off to some other agent. At worst, I’m physically restrained.

“That’s why I am writing this. I don’t know who will see it, if anyone will see it, but I can’t stop trying. If you’re reading this, I am not crazy. I only want to see my daughter again. Or if that is simply impossible, I want someone to tell her that I love her and that I've been desperately fighting to be with her. To have her with me.

“Five years ago they took her away with no explanation. They just came and took her, ripped her from my arms. Now they tell me I’ll never get her back and I’ll never see her again. Why? I've yet to hear a reason that makes any kind of sense to me. I've lost everything in the process. My relationship crumbled. All my relationships crumbled. Even my own family ignores me. I lost my job, lost my home. Everything.

“A year ago I was on the streets, sleeping in doorways, begging for meals, and taking pictures. Like Paul Simon sang in an old song, I saw “angels in the architecture, spinning in infinity.” The world pulsed around me, as if I’d been swallowed by some great beast. According to the worker who threw me out of a McDonald’s, I spent forty five minutes talking to the light that refracted off of an ice cube on the table. I have no recollection of this. Even so, I say I am not now, nor was I then, crazy. I think I was just on overload in every possible way.”

Despina let out a guttural scream as the pencil lead broke. She flung it into a corner and reached for another one. “Interruptions. Always those. Never any… any… what’s the fucking word? I don’t know. It doesn't matter. It’s just a word, a word, a bird song, a night long, a cloudless moment of gray being normal. What am I saying? I need to write. Write on the white and all will be right.” Despina let out a choked half sob, half laugh at her little rhyme. “Write. Write, write, write.” She closed her eyes to recapture the moment. “The word is grace. Never any grace.” At this revelation, she laughed outright. She began to write again.

“Grace was her name. My daughter’s name. It wasn't the name I had picked out for her, but she came out of me with such ease, such grace that… well, you get it. It was a good name for her. Everything she did seemed to come so naturally to her. Even as a little girl everyone could see that she was gifted, intelligent, beautiful. She had the kind of poise that most adults envy. She was Grace. And when she was eleven years old, Grace was taken from me. Pulled from me. Sucked out into the night and never seen again.

“I could say I hate them and you’d understand that, wouldn't you? But, I don’t hate them. I can’t. I have no room for that kind of wild rage. The frantic worry that I carry constantly takes up all the extra room in my head…” Despina paused and tapped the pencil against her lips. She turned and looked into the mirror, shocked that she looked so old and unkempt.

On the other side of the mirror a nurse shifted slightly in her chair and made a few notes inside a chart just as a doctor walked up to her station. They were silent for a moment, the doctor surveying the gibberish scrawled on two of the walls inside the room. It wasn't even a language he could decipher, at least not yet. It was just a series of squiggles and circles and lines.

He frowned, turned to the nurse and asked, “No medication for the past three days, right?”

“Yes, that’s right doctor. She hasn't eaten in 48 hours, has barely even drank anything, and she hasn't slept in… let‘s see… 32 hours. She just writes, or whatever you call that, and mutters to herself. Of course, it‘s all on tape, but I can‘t make out any words when she talks.”

The doctor sighed, “We’re going to have to put her back on her meds. She’ll kill herself if she keeps this up. I was hoping that a little freedom of expression would somehow awaken her at least a little. If we could just get her to a point of acknowledging what happened…”

“Doctor,” the nurse interrupted. “Clearly her mind is fractured. We can’t even get her to the point where she will recognize that her daughter is dead! How will you ever bring her to the point of acknowledging that she was drunk and thought she was shooting a burglar and not her daughter who had just come home from a movie?”


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Eric Storch gave me this prompt: She had been writing furiously for over an hour, breaking more than five pencils in the process…

I gave Michael this prompt: The first cold, crisp day of Autumn always reminds me of...