Fiction Friday: [In the Shadow of the End]

Rachel watched her daughter run around the yard in awkward, drunken circles. The five-year-old’s arms and legs, already too long for her body, flailed out of control and added to her fun. Emma tossed her head back and the giggles flowed.

Rachel’s heart caught a tumultuous wave.

There was nothing more soothing, more perfect than the sound of her child in the throes of joy. But knowing what her life was to become cast a dark shadow. A shadow that dug deep into her as a mother, cracking her ribs apart and attacking the last vestiges of what had been their normal life.

It was the sudden silence that pulled her from her thoughts. The air grew cold in it. Jolting to attention, Rachel’s eyes fell into Emma’s, whose gangly arms were still raised a bit having stopped mid twirl. By the time she reached her mother, her face had morphed from curious to crumbled. Glassy eyes and quivering lip. It was a look that Rachel had dreaded.

Emma reached up and gently caressed her face and it was then that Rachel realized she was crying. Tears released without permission. Tears she had sworn never to shed in front of her daughter.  

Emma’s eyes held the question she didn’t know to ask. Rachel’s broken heart hung heavy with the answer she didn’t know how to give.

By the time she heard her husband drive up, Rachel had soothed her daughter. By the time her soon-to-be ex’s keys were in the door, Emma was already back to twirling with reckless abandon. 

Fiction Friday: [The Porcelain Predicament]

[I came across this article in the New York Times about how they're rolling out 'One-Sentence Stories' on Apple watches. Full disclosure: I didn't read the entire article. In fact, I barely got through the first few sentences. One, I'm not an Apple person. And two , I quickly lost interest when I couldn't tell the difference between these 'One-Sentence Stories' and their regular headlines. "So what's your point?" the readers asked. Well it's this: the actual headline made me think about containing an entire story in one sentence. This isn't a new concept. Plus, I've been a fan of Smith Magazine's Six-Word Memoirs for a while now. I suppose this was all a long winded way to explain why today's Fiction Friday is way shorter than this lead up! Enjoy!]


The weight of the divorce didn't truly hit me until I reached over and discovered the empty toilet paper roll.

Fiction Friday: [The Trouble With Caring]

Lights from street lamps sparkle and spread into abstract shapes as the rain pours down on the windshield. The urgent squeak of the wipers echo through the car, but do little to help Oliver see the road ahead. It hadn’t rained in weeks and the roads were slick, but he had no time to think about it.

Time was ticking, of the essence and every other cliché related to life or death situations. Slick roads were the least of his concerns.

The message was clear and if he was late, she would die.

He pulls himself closer to the steering wheel and scrunches his neck, hoping to see how far he’s gotten. A beam of light penetrates the curtain of rain and travels across the windshield. The lighthouse.

He’s close.

Vivian had gotten dressed and left for work, as usual, without a word. Their marriage had been slowly disintegrating for years now. And as the kids grew older and left home, it had become a competition of who cared less.

He no longer hid the affair he’d been having with their former nanny—and Vivian invited her for dinner. She started stepping out with the tennis instructor at the clubhouse—and Oliver signed up for lessons with him. The volleying, he knew, had gone on for too long. He’d grown tired of the antics and was ready to file for divorce.

He was surprised when she’d called him that evening, and even more so when she’d left a voicemail, after it had gone unanswered.

She'd had enough and decided to take her life. At 5 ‘clock she was going to jump from the lighthouse. The lighthouse that had once been their special place. She’d only given him the details because she knew he wouldn’t care enough to stop her—their love too far gone.

Oliver had reached the elevator before the message ended, his secretary calling behind him about a meeting in ten.

The message.

Sitting in its cradle, he reaches over to his phone and hits the voicemail button. As Vivian’s voice fills the car, he realizes she’d left a new one.

“Oh, Oliver. I can’t believe you were foolish enough to think I’d let you file for divorce. I haven’t suffered these last years of our marriage to be dragged through the mud and come out with nothing in the end. Now, I don’t want you to worry. I will wear the mask of the grieving widow for the sake of our children. I do need to thank you for them. And the weatherman for an accurate forecast. I can only imagine how recklessly you’re driving through this downpour. Oh…and I also have to thank the makers of the hedge trimmers I used to cut your brakes.”

Before he can react, the car hits a watery patch and hydroplanes. For the briefest of moments, he gets lost in the feeling of weightlessness before trying to right the vehicle. Jerking the wheel back and forth, the car doesn’t respond and his hands grip tighter as it slides across the road until it ends. Tumbling over the embankment, Oliver feels light as a feather.

A revelation fills his mind before he has a chance to truly grasp that these are his last moments.

Vivian has won.

Not only had she led him to his death, she proved that he had, in fact, cared more.