Heartless by Design: Flash Fiction
(originally from July 2008)
This was written for a story colab challenge where we used lines contributed by other writers. Though I don;t know which lines they are, or if they survived edits, thanks all the same to Peg, barb, Lonnie, and nita.
Under the light of a full moon, she walked towards the pounding ocean, her fingers twined in his. He had strong hands, yet gentle, and his voice was as soft as the summer rain. She enjoyed the feeling of the sand between her toes as she walked along the shore with him, towards the trees. As they went he asked no questions, only gazed at her with a curious longing. His eyes should have made her uncomfortable but she felt nothing. Her heart was cold as stone.
The forest was still and silent. Even the animals sensed something was wrong. It was time to bring him to meet the goddess of the land; she couldn’t keep him a secret any longer, though she knew what they would do to him – what they would make her do to him.
The clearing was eerily silent, but he smiled as she released his hand. He thought he would impress her by building a fire, and picking her wild flowers. As the flames licked the inky night she settled down by his side and waited, her hand inside her coat and her fingers wrapped around the blade. He smiled his crooked, reassuring grin and settled himself in the damp grass. A chorus of crickets sang in the distance. It was deceptively peaceful. No one would guess this spot was once a battlefield; but it was, and that made all the difference. That was why they had chosen it.
They came from the trees, like wraiths from a dark nightmare. Their call was shrill as they descended. He jumped to his feet, but she choked him to his knees. He screamed as she forced him to the ground, with one hand around his neck the other in his crouch, both gripping tightly. His eyes echoed the agony of his cry, but she had no choice. He must be sacrificed. She was a natural born killer, she was raised that way by her mother, by the witches of the southfold. She was cold, she was cruel and she did not feel.
He fell unconscious on the grass and the women quickly disrobed. Their naked bodies flitted around the camp fire while they hummed their ritual song. She twirled in circles under the moon, chanting and singing with her arms held high. As if in time to her words, the heavens opened and thunder and lightning crashed. In the distance, they could hear the popping and cracking of trees being torn out of the ground by the storm’s fury, but still they sang and danced. The words grew more frenzied as the storm grew, and when it reached it’s zenith she straddled his unconscious form. With the knife to his throat, she ended his life.
The ceremony came to an end and the women rifled through his pockets, looting the corpse that had been her lover. With no feeling, she gathered up her clothes. As she dressed one of the women found the ring in his coat and threw it to her, laughing.
She caught the little black box in her hand. Inside lay a diamond ring. An engagement ring. She hadn’t known about, hadn’t understood his intentions, but now she did. He had loved her. Really loved her.
No on had ever loved her. Not men, not her sisters in the coven, not her mother. She was an item, nothing more, just as they were items to her – weren’t they? He was… he was just… She closed her eyes and tried to force it away, but his face swam behind her eyelids, his grin crooked and reassuring, as if he thought she was frightened of the dark! As if he was trying to tell her he would protect her.
He couldn’t even protect himself from her betrayal.
And that’s what it was. She had betrayed him. He’d given her his heart, his trust, and she’d handed him over to their bloodthirsty goddess, a sacrifice for the midnight meeting. He’d given her something that no one else had ever given her, and she had repaid him with his own blood.
She choked on the reality of it. Her sisters were oblivious to her pain and laughed in time to the rolling thunder. She looked back over her shoulder. His naked body lay on the ground among the dead leaves. The expression on his face still one of pain and confusion.
“How could you hurt me when I only wanted to love you?”
She ran from her sisters. She ran from all the blood she’d spilled on that forest floor, from the ghosts of the men she’d killed to feed a goddess. She ran from the sound of her sister’s chants, from the cold memory of her mother. Most of all, she ran from his face, from his warm, laughing eyes, from his final scream of terror.
The cliff was tall and sharp, outlined by flashes of lightning. She didn’t slow as she neared the edge and, as she leapt clear of it, she hung for a moment in the air, suspended like a raindrop; a raindrop with a soul as black as the night.
And then she fell.
The crashing waves welcomed her. Cold water pulled her down, but she didn’t fight. She let the water suck her down, down, deeper and deeper, but she refused to open her eyes. She knew she’d see nothing but darkness, no light to guide her home. It was somehow fitting. In darkness she’d lived and in darkness would she die. Ill fated as she was to discover that even she had a heart only as it shattered to a million pieces.
could use some more development, but the idea is there, anyway.
song playing at the moment – “Immortal” – The Rasmus
(originally from November 2007)
Cotton candy clouds floated above the landscape, thick and colored gray like something dead. Beneath them trees clawed the sky; naked branches were bony fingers stripped of flesh. A cold wind shook loose the last of the autumn leaves and sent them to mingle with the driving rain.
She stared through the window and watched the heavy drops drip down the glass; each one a tear she couldn’t shed. Thunder pounded relentlessly and lightning cut through the haze in streaks that left a brilliant gash in her vision like a scar; only it faded much faster.
She lifted a hand to touch the window, but stopped just before her palm made contact. The rain was outside and she was in. Its closeness was only an illusion, like so many others. So many people she thought she was close to but, when she needed them, she discovered that chasms separated them and that she was alone.
Her throat felt thick and she dropped her hand uselessly to her lap. Her eyes followed, but stopped at the empty wine goblet on the sill. The faintest trace of burgundy liquid remained in the bottom in a tiny, sticky pool. It reminded her at once of blood, red and congealing, like the blood slowly running down her arms.
Her eyes flicked once more to the window. Outside darkness gathered, and she wondered one more time where he was. Was he in the arms of another? Was he alive? Dead? Was he happy? God, how she hoped he was happy. She hoped her pain had bought something for someone; that her destruction had been for something.
The glass rattled in the frame and a cold wet leaf slapped against it; plastered flat with its edges fluttering. She traced the intricate lines of the leaf’s underside with her eyes. Each miniscule vein that had once given it life was now empty of chlorophyll, brown, withered and useless.
But even dead the leaf was beautiful: a rich orange with a patina of golden brown. It hung, seemingly suspended in air, dead and yet miraculous. How many times in her life had the sight of dead leaves blowing cheered her? The drifts of bright colors signaled the end of heat and the beginning of the frozen winter when white snow would fall to blanket the world in its cleansing purity.
She lifted her tingling arm and looked at the bleeding gash. She was like this leaf, though she still clung to the tree of life by a sender stem, waiting only for the final wind to shake her loose. When it did she would drift away and leave behind a corpse, paving the way for the next step when she’d go to the great beyond. There her soul would be bathed clean of everything and reborn; whole, pure and cleansed, like the untouched snow.
A soft smile flitted across her lips and she pressed her hand against the window, numb fingers splayed to match the leaf’s shape. She let her last tear fall, and then closed her eyes, at peace with her chosen fate. Yes, she would die and she would be reborn, and the pure white snow on her soul would once again be tainted by the touch of man, trampled by children’s thoughtlessness, the peace and tranquility ruined by the noise of the rabble, but it didn’t matter. Everything had its season and its place and right now she was ready to start the next one – right now she was the leaf.
Fav Song of the Moment – All the same – Sick Puppies
(check out Sue’s blog – http://sassyspeaks.wordpress.com/)
(originally from April 2008)
Drawn from a line in the song Ten Years by Bullet for my Valentine (Hint: the line is “I’ll bleed if you want me to”)
Fav song of the moment – Cancer – Sick Puppies
Artwork – Blackbird
(originally from March 2008)
It’s another “song art” piece. Ths one was drawn to the song “Black bird ” by Alter Bridge.
Fav song of the moment – No Easy Way Out – Bullet for my Valentine
Just Another Secret
(Original version July 2007. Rewritten 2010)
Keeping secrets for other people can be a dangerous business that leads to heart ache and misery. You might think it’s an innocent secret, you might think it can’t possibly hurt anyone – but sometimes you can be wrong.
It was a year ago when I saw him at the grocery store talking to Linda, the check out girl. He caught up with me in the rainy parking lot and asked me not mention it to anyone. He’d lied about being sick to get out of a dinner party his wife, Barbara, was keen on going to. He couldn’t stand some of her friends, after all. What harm is there in that?
The suicide note clutched between my fingers screams out the damage done. Tonight, of all the nights, Barbara finally found out where he really was. But, it wasn’t as innocent as I thought, and no one was as surprised as Barbara when Linda called and announced she was pregnant with his child.
Their affair started that rainy night. He’d chatted with her at the checkout line, cast a joke in her direction, and she’d taken the bait. They’d met after her shift for the first time in a flea-bitten motel room while I’d gone home and had a cup of tea and his wife had smiled and chatted at her dinner party. He’d betrayed her while she told stories about how dashing he was.
Barbara clutched the phone with shaking hands, and I looked up from my pasta with too much concern. Tears filled her eyes and smeared the world into a melting kaleidoscope; one where my friendly worry was not longer important. She looked through the watery haze to her husband, who sat with a fork halfway to his mouth, spaghetti hanging off like an unfinished sentence.
She went insane when she hung up from Linda, if you can call the phone thrown to the floor hanging up. A purple vase soon joined it, and then a pot. She hurled razor sharp abuses at him like she hurled their possessions, and all the while her eyes demanded, “How could you?”
And I ran. I pushed my plate away, mumbled some excuse and I dashed to my car. The safety of my house was welcome, and I hid behind the walls with my knowledge. How could I have told her that I’d seen it all begin? Something so innocent that I’d never bothered to mention it, not even to my sister.
But guilt gnawed at me with pointed teeth and so I came back, only to discover this scene. The body sways on the end of the rope, turning in slow circles, a mocking dance, and the note left behind says simply “I’m sorry.” But she isn’t here to read it; she’s left and taken her suitcase of belongings with her, leaving him alone.
The swaying shadow flickers across the wall as he turns slowly, lifeless face gazing at me, whispering to my imagination. “Don’t tell,” he seems to say, asking me to keep another secret.
Fav song of the moment – “Away” – Breaking Benjamin
“I see you coz you won’t get out of my way
I hear you coz you won’t quit screaming my name
I feel you coz you won’t stop touching my skin…”
Rain Falls – Flash Fiction
(originally from June 2007)
This was written for a MySpace writing challenge where you are given the first sentence and must compose a story no more than 500 words. This is actually my second attempt, my first was good but wouldn’t fit the limit without being choppy. This one is actually only 481
so…. without further ado…..
There’s something tempting about a locked door. Something compelling about the hints of depth I see in your eyes while you face remains passive and you tell me everything is fine.
Why do I so desperately want to get inside your mind to discover the twists and turns of your most intimate psyche? Why do I hunger to know what you dream? I know I won’t like what I find, but I can’t help but wonder, do you ever dream of me?
You grunt as I ask you if you want to talk, shrugging your shoulders so eloquently and looking off into the distance, passive and unreadable. Is that a yes? A no? A maybe? But you never make yourself clear, do you? Is that because you don’t know the answer either?
And so you leave again, leaving me alone in my living room to stare at the door so recently closed, the smooth wood that cuts me off from you as you make your way to your car.
I stand at the window, watching. The rain starts as you drive away, a red metal monster gliding down the street and disappearing among trees and parked cars, the face of humanity hiding you from me; just as your shield hides you.
Another night alone, wondering where you are and what you’re doing. Did you go straight home or did you stop to visit her grave one more time? Did you feel the need to torture yourself yet again, to take the blame upon your smooth shoulders for a life lost? It wasn’t your fault, and every time I try to tell you, you simply shrug and look away, impassive as always. I know you don’t want to talk about it, but behind those eyes you’re talking all the time to yourself, cruel whispers of blame and hatred. I know, I can see them flash through your irises when you think I’m not looking.
The rain falls and thunder rolls as I call you on the phone, but you won’t answer. Why would you? You do your best to entertain me, but you don’t love me and I fear you never will. After all, your dreams are full of her, aren’t they?
The rain falls and I stare at the window glass, a lone tear sliding down my face. I want to scream at you, she left you! She chose to end her life, to abandon you, yet still you love her. Still your soul bleeds for her, the way mine bleeds for you.
The rain falls and I stare at the razor blade in my hand, at the smooth, pale wrist I hold in offering. The blood runs down my arm, like the rain runs over the windowpane. I lean back and close my eyes, a smile flitting across my face. Perhaps now that I’m dead you can love me too.
Cheerful, huh? 😀
Interesting video of Dan Rather on Fox news discussing what’s wrong with modern news – I find the phrase “dumbing it down for the younger generation” insulting. Not that he’d SAY it but that they DO it! Why is the younger generation so stupid they need it dumbed down? Maybe if the world quit dumbing things down they’d have to catch up with the rest of us!
And for a special edition of “Random Things from My Hard Drives” I give you
Fav song of the moment – “Empty Chairs” – Don McLean