700 Word Short Story Challenge: Joanne

empty house short story horrorI was challenged to write a 700-word story. This is by no means an easy task for me. I am a long winded mf. However, this time I was able to do it. Now whether or not it is good? Well, you be the judge. The starting line was provided as, When a man takes lunch to his wife’s office, he’s told that she hasn’t worked there in weeks…

“How’s that possible. She walked in yesterday?”
“Sorry sir. That’s just not possible. You’re going to have to leave.” The woman had her finger on the phone, security was a push away.
“Okay. Yeah. I’ll go.”
Henry left the building, steaming bag of China Night in his hand. As he passed the trash he chucked the Cashew Chicken. He walked, shaking his head and furrowing his brow, to the Brown line and hopped on. He rode the 20 minutes to his stop, absolutely racking his brain.
How could that be “not possible.” He literally just saw her there yesterday and this morning he had kissed her on her way out. The stupid woman at the desk must have been new. She obviously heard him wrong.
The biting air felt cold and stinging to his eyes, so he was glad when he opened up the door to his small apartment and slunk inside.
Joanne was at the counter in front of the window.
“Hey. What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at work. The lady there, well your receptionist is an idiot.”
“Oh, yeah,” She slowly turned around and looked tired, “Sorry, I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
Henry’s heart fell into his stomach. She seemed so pale. He silently begged for this to not be another “attempt.”
“Honey, I know you don’t love your job but it’s important to go. We can work on finding you another one too. Please don’t just not go.”
In the glint of the light from the window, Henry almost couldn’t see his wife. He put his keys down on the stand to his right and walked up to her. Now shadow played over his eyes and Joanne’s black hair looked blacker.
“You should go. You have that lunch with Rick. You’re supposed to go. It’s Friday.” He could barely hear her voice. Leaving her alone wasn’t a good idea.
“I can’t leave you here like this.” Henry reached out but Joanne held up her hands and smiled. She always did that when she just needed a sec alone.
“It’s fine. You don’t have to worry about me. I promise.”
“You sure?”
“Sure.”

Henry sat at the table not really eating or talking to Rick. He seemed to notice.
“You okay?”
“Yeah, Joanne’s just acting strange again. I’m worried.”
Rick’s face paled. He set his silver fork down on the side of his plate, next to his mashed potatoes.
“Joanne?”
“Yeah. It’s been a long while since, well you know. And she seemed alright, but now I’m afraid she’s gonna do something.”
Rick looked like he was about to speak but he couldn’t sit there anymore. Henry got up and dropped a twenty on the table.
“Hen—”
“Sorry Rick!” Henry was already running off to catch the next train in the subway, “I just have to check on her!”
“No! You’re not…” But Rick’s voice was fading into the background din of voices and cars and birds and wind. He didn’t know what he was going to say.
Henry rushed back inside the stuffy two-bedroom. Joanne wasn’t in the kitchen. When he walked to their room she wasn’t there either. He heard water running.
Henry ran to the bathroom. As he opened the door a puff of steam escaped and blinded him momentarily. She was standing in the middle of the room, but the tub and sink were empty.
“I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry. I really regret this. Yeah, I can still regret.”
“Honey what’s going on?”
Henry’s phone rang in his pocket. He answered Rick in a cold voice.
“This isn’t a good time Rick.”
“Henry I’ve let this go on long enough. You need to talk to somebody. This isn’t right.”
“What are you talking—”
Joanne moved to stand by the tub and she looked down at it. Rick was rambling in his ear.
“Enough already Henry,” Henry turned away to keep the conversation from Joanne.
“I—”
“She’s been dead for weeks. You can’t keep doing this.”
Henry stopped. When he went to look at Joanne, she was gone.

Advertisements

Death Like Raindrops

Death like raindrops falls upon the Earth,

washing clean a surface of pain and degeneration.

Death like wind blows gently the waves of the ocean,

rushing toward far, yet familiar shores.

 

We will stand upon it. We will walk the pale

beaches of lost knowledge

and find again what once was laid deep

in our bones.

 

We will rest upon the foamy water line,

seaweed and life tangled in our hair.

Till we rise and walk down the horizon’s edge.

Sharp like a knife it will cut our lives apart.

Letting what should fall away

be cast down into the pool of the Creatrix.

To be made again with purpose and skill.

 

And if we find that we can balance,

on the wedge of the Great Womb’s Divide.

We will walk on to a new realm

of knowledge and communion.

 

If not,

we will teeter.

Back to the World’s Shore

and find again our chance,

our responsibility,

to cultivate our simple truths

and forget

the false anchors that fasten us.

 

Till we know again, as we always do.

That life breathes death breathes life.

The hoop of vast chaotic energy

of We.

A Full Moon Calls to Me

Rising bright and fair, it calls to me.

I must go running,

leaping into the night.

 

Wind rushing behind my heels.

Breathe life, freedom.

Power galloping through a monochrome landscape.

 

Freedom dance beneath a pale, white smile.

 

Run, breathe.

Run, breathe.

Fly.

Tagline

So as an activity for summing up a character and learning how to describe them both wholly and succinctly I was tasked with making character “taglines.” For example, Hope’s for the first part of her book before her growth as a character is “Not my fucking problem.” In doing this activity, I thought about what my own tagline would be and honestly the closest I’ve come is to is the first part of a line from Futurama. “You can’t give up hope just cuz it’s hopeless.” It’s a good sum up of how a feel. An idealist sure, but I understand there are fights I can’t win. I’m still going to fight them though. To me, that’s the point. I have to try, I have to fight the good fight, and if I end up losing or giving my life to the fight I will know that at least I can say I never gave up. So the R.E. Johnson tagline:
“You can’t give up hope just cuz it’s hopeless. Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”
Johnson out.

Women

As I began my work day today, I listened to Pandora. As I always do. Well, a new feature is the thumbprint radio station which allows you to listen to songs from all your stations which you have thumbed up. Today a song I hadn’t thought about in a while played. Bitch by Meredith Brooks.

This got the wheels in my head turning. I thought about all the things I love about women and how very different we all are. So, I thought I would share some love for my fellow women out there.

 

We are amazing.

Sometimes we are tall, sometimes short.

Thin and curvy. Straight hair, curly hair, crazy hair.

Fair skinned, olive skinned, dark skinned.

Book smart, street smart.

Athletic, introspective.

Outgoing, quiet.

Emotional, logical.

We sometimes experience lives of struggle and wanting.

Sometimes we have lives of excess and success.

We are mothers, alone and part of a unit, raising a new generation.

We are single, business women pursuing personal goals.

We are born in our bodies and we change our bodies to fit our hearts.

We love men, women, both, all, and none.

We are flawed. We are perfect.

We are amazing.

We are women.

Hear us Roar!

Sight Sensing

My eyes are brown.

Like moth wings

with awkward cream spots

floating around the center.

 

When I look close

at the edges and valleys.

I can see spires of rocky, brown landscapes.

Mountainous, spiraling curves which dip

and duck and flash

as I blink back

droplets of imperfection.

 

What would it be?

To live in my eyes.

To explore the crevices

and get lost in the black cracks

between bark-colored crags.

 

I do not know

the heart of my eyes.

I have never been there.

I see

them only from distance.

A meteor passing

by the foreign world

of my optical orbs.

 

I know what it is

to touch

a moth’s wing.

To have your hands

and fingers sullied

by the powdery, flight ash.

 

Would my eyes,

my own means to traverse the world,

also leave dust

upon woeful travelers?

Dusty remnants of unoccupied roads.

Found deep within

my moth-wing sight.

The World

My world crashed a bit. As things are returning to their proper axis, I have found that I don’t have quite as much time to just be as I would like. However, I am not complaining. After pursuing avenue after avenue for a position to support myself, I did it. I obtained a job so I can be a big kid and pay my bills. So life is great.

But…

What is happening outside of my little bubble of a world fills my soul with frustration. This blog is meant to be a place of light, love, and an escape from the darkness that surrounds us. I cannot however pretend that it is not there. What I can do is to shed some light. “Look for the helpers.” So many brave and wonderful souls are continuing to fight against this rising tide of violence and they each make this world a better place. Here’s to them.

Here’s to the helpers, the dreamers, the doers. All who are taking courageous steps forward and working to change the world. I stand proud with you. Together we can make this world a better place.

 

Restoring Faith in Humanity 2015

Seedling

Gray squares obstruct my light.

Dead and progressive slabs,

Cover my feet and block my path.

The light bounces furiously,

With no soft place to land.

Where once there were carpets of green,

Now only slate, hard, cold tiles.

Breaking, fighting my way free.

Reaching for Apollo’s face,

Green hands fly up.

One small triumph,

A step toward my Mother;

In a world of metallic giants.

Walking Home NSFW

I walked down
a road of dirt and gravel.
The ground rattled
and my thumb curved toward County I.
The rusty smell of road kill
filtered through my nose.

Dry mud flaked
off my pants with each step.
Half a bottle of Jack,
a pack of Red Apple cigs,
and my lucky
black lighter.

I met a man in red flannel.
“Goin’ to join the hippies.”
His rough voice dragged
through my ears.
I shook my head,
took a sip of Jack.

It was ’92,
what hippies?
Must have had the IQ of a dishrag.
I wished for his innocence.

He wiped a tear
on his shirt.
“Gonna miss days like this.”
He was talking to the sun.
“Looks like God just stirred up the sky with a stick.”

Stick echoed in his throat,
as he squeezed the trigger.
Even after his blood hit my face,
I thought he was god.
The hammer of the gun
was the only sound for miles.

Turned

I wanted to break the rules with this one. Most professors and poets and people will say that in a poem you should not use many adjectives. I dislike this rule. Adjectives are my favorite. So this was my way of saying, “I do what I want.” Also I like vampires, so there’s that in there too. Clichés and too many adjectives, take that poetry rules!

Burgundy, velvet drapes

dusted the ground

near the high round window.

Breathing cobwebs

hung in shadowed

corners.

Jumping water

echoed off the marble

floor.

Chocolate wood

lined the frozen

walls.

Each rhythmic ping

took longer

than the last.

My mind strained

to hear the next

expected

drop.

Sleeping lights

would not shed

their glow

on me.

Emerald eyes

stalked

in the distance.

Rough

breath scratched

on my throat.

My wet, bare feet

slid on fierce,

marble floors.

My drugged body

fought for safety

from the intoxicating

poison.

Cold, strong hands

grasped my unaided

arms and hurled

me into the dank,

solemn bedroom.

Short breaths escaped

from my lips

and icy sweat

dressed my brow.

Smooth canines

pierced the skin

by my clavicle

and strong lips

sucked out my blood.

Warm, liquid rubies

caressed my skin.

Cold no longer stung

my eyes.

The dripping water

trembled in my ears

and my arms went slack.

New vision filtered

my sight and ghostly

shapes took form.

No cold, no warmth.

Only the still

sound of water

on bloody, marble floors.