#FSF : Abandon

 

I should never have visited that ghost town. There, I couldn’t hide from the truth. I couldn’t escape my own emptiness. Among the empty streets, abandoned houses, and emptiness, I screamed, panicked, ran. Until I found myself in an empty hotel, staring out empty windows ask I asked myself,  “When did I abandon life?”


One for Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Abandon. Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.

Two Steps To The Side

[Content Warning: This post speaks of depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. Proceed at your own risk.]

I used to walk more than a mile down Princess Anne Boulevard and Dam Neck Boulevard on my daily walks. It was part of how I survived the events of 2010 and 2011. Many mornings during those days I walked during morning rush hour, with both roads filled with cars, busses, pickup trucks, SUVs, and commercial trucks.

More than once, on those walks, I knew a simple truth. If I turned to the side and took two steps, I wouldn’t have to live with the emotional and spiritual pain I was in. Two steps to the side, and one big truck, doing 45 or 50 miles per hour. I’d never know what hit me.

I knew how to die, escape, leave, abandon this world I never made. A world that had torn my heart out with its fingernails, then threw it on the ground, and stomped on it. A world that said to me, “You’re done!”

I walked those mornings knowing everything was wrong. I wasn’t in my car, driving to work, like everyone else was. Instead, I was spending my days at home. Writing. Watching TV. Doing household chores. And wondering what everyone I’d known, everyone I’d worked with, felt was so wrong, so broken, with me.

I walked when I needed to walk. When my emotional state became so tense, so confusing to me, I couldn’t think at all, let alone think straight, or rationally. I walked when I wanted to scream, when I wanted to punch people in the face, when I wanted to argue with everyone I’d ever met, when I felt completely numb, when I couldn’t feel anything, or think anything.

I walked to find my way back to me.

I can’t explain things better than I have. I haven’t found any words for what I felt in those days. Anguish is such a disposable word. Depression has become a sheet of paper people use to cover up emotional topics. Too many words we use in our society have lost their meaning to me. They’ve become disposable, wink and nod and the world’s OK, cover up words. Words used to filter out things people don’t want to deal with.

I can say I knew, even as I walked, I never would take two steps to the side. I’d have walked through a hallway filled with fire, with a floor covered in burning coals, but I’d never take those two steps to the side. Because I knew. If I took those two steps I’d be running from what I was afraid of.

And I don’t run.

I have learned my doctor, and my family, were more than a little scared about my long walks. Part of what scared them was whether I’d take those two steps. They never spoke of it, other than to say how concerned they were when I had to take a walk.

I’m still figuring that part of my story out. Still figuring out how people reacted to what I was going through. How they felt about my behavior, the things I said, the things I did. I remember being asked, more than once, why I was so angry. If I was OK. If everything was alright. I remember my answer was always, “Yes. I’m fine.” To me, I was. By my standard, by my understanding of life, everything was OK. I was enduring some changes, long overdue ones at that, I was angry, frustrated, scared. Scared of what was happening. Of the unknown, of moving away from everything I’d known, everything I’d done, everything I’d been.

To me, everything was normal. To me, knowing how to remove myself from this Earth is normal. And I do know more than a few ways. Doesn’t everybody?

I’ve also learned my doctor took a while to figure out how tough I am. I know this is true because I didn’t end up locked away in a room somewhere on suicide watch. My doctor figure out I wasn’t at risk. No one needed to lock me up, to protect me from myself.

All I needed was time.

Turned out time was all I had.

To this day, I know the truth. Two steps to the side, and it’s over.

To this day, I know the truth. I won’t take those steps.

I don’t run.

Bring it, life. Bring it.

Mark.

#MWBB Week 2-34 : Gun

Devin let his fingers curl around the grip of the Guardian in his pocket, but kept his finger outside the trigger guard. Wouldn’t do to shoot himself in the thigh by playing with the silly thing, and he’d have a hell of a time explaining it to Beverly.

Beverly, his wife. The bitch. The whore. He hadn’t slept in the same bed with her for three years, and he never would sleep with her again. “Let me think. Thomas, Frederick, William, Hans.” He grinned as his thumb slid down the short, stubby barrel of his gun. “There’s always a Hans, isn’t there?”

Yes, it was a concealed weapon. He’d even concealed it from her. She didn’t need to know about it. Didn’t need to know he’d learned to use it, learned to hit his target. It was his Guardian. The NAA was his gun. It was the last piece of pride, self-respect, and self-confidence he had. Hell, it was probably the only respect of any kind he had.

God knew no one at church or at work had any respect left for him. “Why doesn’t he move out? Leave her?” Yeah, he’d heard the questions, heard the talk. “Doesn’t he know she’s sleeping with other men?”

Yeah, he knew. But he wondered, “What would be the point in leaving?” She’d have the house. She’d have the kids. She’d have the car. He’d be broke, living in a single-wide trailer in a park named Camelot somewhere, sending her all his money every two weeks.

“That ain’t happening. Not to me.”

Hell, two of the divorces in the church and one where he worked happened because Beverly wrapped her legs around the husbands. He knew that, but he didn’t say a thing. Just went to work five days a week, came home five nights a week, watched TV, ate whatever she bothered to fix, never complained, had a beer, and then racked out on the sofa with his tablet, and searched for porn. He liked to imagine it was him fucking all the women. He left Beverly alone.

She didn’t have anything to complain about.

On Saturday, he did the yard work, washed the car, weeded the flower beds, worked in the gardens. He was the model husband. On Saturday night, Beverly went out. Devin figured she was getting banged somewhere, by someone. Maybe even another Hans. He took the Guardian, and went to the range. He wrote names on the targets. The names of the men he knew she’d screwed. It was fun, shooting Hans full of holes.

Sundays, he went out on his boat. More of a dingy, really. He got it so he could go sit on the water, watch the ocean, pretend to fish. Get away from her. Get away from everything. For a few hours. Just watch the ocean.

He carried his Guardian everywhere. Even to work. No one knew. Anytime he got stressed out, angry, or frustrated, he just put his hand in his pocket, and let his gun keep him safe. He’d never shoot anyone. Really. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Not even Hans, whoever the fuck he was. No. He just liked to touch his gun, and remember he really did have the power to change everything.

Beverly? Oh, he’d never leave her. No. He wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. He’d carry on, his little gun in his pocket, and wait for her to leave. He figured she would, eventually. And if she never left? He curled his fingers around the grip again. When it was time, he knew what to do.

When it was time.

He slipped the Guardian under the edge of the sofa, took the last chug of his beer, and stretched out. “Think I’ll look at a few pictures, then crash.” He reached beneath the edge of the sofa, let his fingers touch the barrel of the Guardian one last time, “Good night, my friend. Sleep tight.”

It was his only friend.

663 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for Year 2, Week 34 (Week 2.34) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

#ThursThreads Week 151 – You’re Supposed To Wear It

She handed me the bag, “A gift, for you.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re supposed to wear it.”

I looked in the bag. A tiny sliver of fabric was inside. “What the heck is it? A flag?”

“No, silly. It’s a thong.”

“A what?”

“Thong underwear.” She laughed, “You wear it like regular underwear.”

I stared at the sliver of material. “How do you wear this?”

She grabbed it, held it up to me, “This is the front.”

“Oh.” I took the material, examined it. “That means this goes up my ass, right?”

“Yep.”

“Now. Why am I supposed to wear this?”

Oh, the evil grin she wore. “Because it’s sexy. And I want to see you in it.” She poked my shoulder, “And you did say you want to better understand what women go through in life.”

I stared at the tiny sliver of fabric. “Women wear these…Thong things?”

“Yeah. All the time. It’s how we get no panty lines on our butts.” She patted her butt cheeks. “See?”

“But…” Wearing a strip of cloth in your butt crack all day couldn’t be any fun. And that cloth sure as hell would have… An air all it’s own…

“No buts.” She giggled. “Go put that sucker on, and when you get home tonight, you can show it off to me.”

I wandered to the bathroom to do as she’d wished. “Some things, perhaps, are just not worth understanding.”

237  Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 151. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#FlashFriday – Vol 3 – 5 : A Tale Of Pride – Joan

Jeanne d'Arc, 1876. Painting by Eugène Thirion. Public Domain.Joan sat on the rocks, watching the men who followed her prepare for another battle. By God’s will they would convert the unbelievers, or remove them from God’s Earth. This was her destiny, as spoken to her by the Archangel Michael.

Pride’s eyes gleamed. Joan was such a treasure. The way she believed his disguise, the words he whispered in her ear, the tasks he asked her to perform. “Your way is the only way, the way of God the Father,” he whispered the words once more. “Our Father in heaven, may your will be done.”

Joan’s eyes glazed as she thought, “God picked me to lead this fight.” Her right hand formed a fist before her chest. “I shall rid the world of unbelievers.” Her gaze swept over her followers, “No matter the cost.”

Pride laughed mightily, knowing the body count would rise so long as Joan survived, and performed the so-called will of God.

157 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Volume 3  Week 5 (Vol 3 – 5) of FlashFriday! Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#DailyPicspiration – Week 132 : I Watched The Candles Burn

It took all day to draw the sketch and I still wasn’t happy with it. It left so much out. So many feelings, so many details. The color of her eyes, the texture of her hair. It left out all my feelings, my emotions. The excitement I felt, the way her eyes drew me in, I wanted to get lost in them. Lost, and never find my way back.

That first kiss. That day we stood beside her car, amid the morning rush of people getting breakfast on their way to work. That day I looked at her, into her eyes, oceans of hazel, and couldn’t look away. That day her fingers touched my cheek, and the world was gone. That day she leaned forward and her lips touched mine for the first time.

I’d tried for weeks to capture that moment, that breath, that heartbeat of my life. Sketch after sketch, day after day, failure after failure. I’d lost count of the hours of sleep I lost trying to capture that moment on a sheet of paper. The days I’d gone to work at night, wondering how I’d drive home the next day without falling asleep as I drove.

Still I tried. Another day of lost sleep. Another failure.

I closed my eyes, tried to imagine what I’d missed on the paper. What I’d failed to capture with my pencils. If I’d missed any details. Any moment. Anything at all.

I worked in the dark, the curtains closed, the lights off, my music playing. The only light came from the candles I’d set on the table. Candles nearly burned away, all that remained were small fragments of wax with wick. I watched them burn, the tiny flames flicker, the light they cast shift as the flames moved.

What had I missed? What had I done wrong?

How do you capture a feeling? How do you draw it? Bring it to life? Put it on paper?

I’d tried everything I knew. Every technique. Every skill I’d grown over the years. None of them worked, none of them did what I wanted, none of them showed that moment. That first kiss, burned into my memory forever.

As the candles burned, I pulled out another sheet of paper and once more drew my pencils. If I couldn’t capture that moment, perhaps I could do something simple. A simple sketch of the candles, before they burned away.

Lines appeared on the paper, shadows, reflections. How do you capture a full color, burning candle in shades of gray? How do you capture its color when you have no color? How do you capture the flickering flame in a static image?

One hour, then two. I stared at the sketch I’d made. Three candles, burning away to nothing. Flames clinging to wicks, light reflecting off glass. It was all there. Every detail. The way the candles made me feel was on that paper.

In only two hours, I’d done it.

In a simple sketch, in shades of gray. I looked at the sketch, then at the candles. They looked so different, though they were the same. I shook my head, I’d left so much detail out of the sketch. Missing shadows, missing wisps of smoke. It wasn’t a photograph. It was a sketch. A drawing.

And I knew, in that heartbeat, I knew how to bring the sketch of that first kiss to life.

I erased details here and there, removed background images, highlighted key details, her eyes, her lips. Nothing but the her, and the kiss mattered. The rest was secondary. The rest was detail, distraction, useless.

I looked at the finished sketch and knew I’d done it. I’d found the way. I’d captured that moment.

I watched the candles burn away, and waited for the door to open, and her to come home. So I could give her what I’d created. Share with her what I’d felt.

The moment she first kissed me.

The moment my heart sang.


This story created itself for my last Daily Picspiration story. Every two weeks, I write another story for Daily Picspiration. You can find these stories, and many other, created by many talented souls, at:

Daily Picspiration

Go. Read. Enjoy. And don’t be afraid to tell everyone there how you feel about the stories they’ve created.

Mark.