Never Again

*I’m normally a non-fiction person. I’m always saying I’ve got too much real stuff that needs to get out before I can have much room for fiction. The other day seemed to be an exception to my rule though and this is one of the stories I wrote…

The snow continued to fall steadily. It had been falling for hours. It was a storm, unlike any seen in rural North Carolina for years. Living on a secondary road, she knew it would be a while before the snow plows cleared the road and more traffic made the way through, though there was never much traffic on the road anyway. Sarah knew no one would be coming to visit, even if the roads were clear. One of the downsides to being a bit anti-social and family living far away.

“Oh well”, she thought as she sipped her tea and looked out the kitchen window at the big fluffy flakes falling. No time for one of her pity parties. Soup was simmering in the crock pot for supper, her little dog was curled up on the couch napping, and she was going to tackle writing another chapter of her book. The book she might never publish, but that beckoned her to write. There were some secrets, which should never have to be kept.

Her words quickly spilled across the page and before long she realized it was afternoon. She headed to the kitchen to stir the soup and get something else to drink. She heard the dog start to bark ferociously from the other room. As she turned around to go check, she saw him. The face she would never forget. The man who had left her for dead once, but was never found. She had moved in hopes she’d never see him again.

“Sarah, I told you you’d never belong to anyone else”, said the man. Before he had the chance to say anything else, she threw the crock pot at him. He cursed as it shattered on the ground and he was splattered with hot soup. She took off running through the back door. He ran out after her, fired the gun, and kept calling her name as he ran towards her.

She ran and kept running, not daring to look behind her. She had never been this far in the woods behind her house. Suddenly she ran out of woods and was in a snowy field. She kept running. She thought she smelled wood smoke, but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. There was just bright white snow all around. She fell and tried to get up, but couldn’t. She moved her hand where the pain was coming from and felt something warm and wet. Looking down, she saw the blood pouring from her side.

The bright red blood, her blood, falling on the snow, somehow reminded her of Snow White’s lips and the bright red apple the witch gave her, putting Snow White in a deep slumber. Of all times to think of fairy tales. Her eyes felt heavy. Sleepiness getting harder to resist. Fading away in the snow, embracing the cold. She was no one’s princess and now she never would be.

Her eyes lightly opened one last time and she saw birds nearby on the ground. Her brain thought of birds…singing…and then somehow, whistling came to mind. With all the strength she could muster, she pursed her lips to give one strong whistle before everything faded black.

Her eyelids began to lightly flutter, and between partially open lids, everything looked bright and white. She thought it must be heaven. She heard a man’s voice say, “Sarah?”. Briefly opening her eyes a little wider, she barely made out the blurred image of a man’s face with the deepest blue eyes she’d ever seen. She said, “My prince” and then gave in to sleep.

A few days later, as Sarah was sitting up in her hospital bed, a man wearing a blue plaid flannel jacket and jeans, looking as if they’d been made for him, came knocking on her door. He wore a friendly smile on his face and sat a vase of tulips down on her bedside tray. She looked up at him and before she could ask who he was, she peered into his eyes. She remembered those eyes. She knew she’d looked into them once before, but didn’t know who he was.

He told her his name was Tim, then explained what had happened. He lived in the clearing beyond her woods.  He heard barking that terrible day and looked out his window. He saw the small dog first, then Sarah lying on the snow. Further back, he could make out the shape of a man. Taking his gun outside to find out what was going on, he saw the man raise up his gun to fire, but Tim had fired first.

She remembered nothing other than the man, the pain, birds and running. She didn’t need to know anything more than Tim told her. She knew she had found her prince and now she knew the man who had told her she’d never belong to another, would never bother her again.

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Woman on a Train

If you’ve been following this blog a bit, you know I don’t do much fiction writing. Yesterday I read this piece, “Stories I Create on the Train”, over at Cara Theoron’s blog and was inspired to write something. It’s short and a bit of a risqué story for me, so there’s your warning if you’d rather not read it. It doesn’t get explicit. I wasn’t really planning on posting it, but someone(who knows who she is if she’s reading this) encouraged me that maybe I should share it…

The train stops one more time. This will be the last stop before I reach my destination, even the word sounds final. I’m nervous, so decide just to stay seated instead of stretching my legs. A woman in love, yet reality is sinking in, I’m leaving the only world I’ve known since childhood. I need a distraction from my pulsating heart, more than my book is providing. I hear the bustle of passengers.

I notice a woman as I look up from my book. She’s probably in her 30’s. Her auburn hair falls in ringlets right on top of the swell of her bosom. She pulled it to the side with a swipe of her hand when she sat down. She crosses her well toned legs which peek out from the slit on her dress. I’m betting she does yoga and not merely for relaxation. There are more enjoyable ways to relax. It’s not the only thing that crosses my mind.

As I look at her face, I notice she seems self absorbed in thought and suddenly smiles slightly. Maybe she’s thinking of her evening to come, eager to meet her lover. She opens her purse and starts adding some finishing touches, a bit of shimmering rose lipstick and a dab of perfume. She swaps her practical earrings, probably worn in an office, for a dangling pair that glitter in the sunlight.

I imagine the lipstick will not be long upon her lips. Any traces of it will quickly disappear in a passionate kiss with her lover, tongues swirling as they taste each other. He’ll probably begin there, trail kisses down her neck, and quickly find her breasts.

My face warms as I feel a blush across my cheeks, not from embarrassment over my thoughts about this stranger, but rather the delight of remembrance. Memories from long ago just add to my curiosity. I can imagine she has a lover skilled in the art of lovemaking, the kind that will take his time and devour her.

Both of them will be blissfully content afterwards and she’ll immediately begin thinking of when she’ll see him again. Does she take this train to him every week? Are things more complicated and can she only go to him once a month, yet longing for more? Oh, I’m familiar with the bittersweet romances. It can make you wonder if passion is enough. It’s why I’m sitting here now, still in an unsure state, though I was convinced I made up my mind.

I twirl the engagement ring on my finger and suddenly think. I remember glancing at the woman’s hands, perfectly polished pink nails, but can’t remember if she was wearing a ring. Her hands are folded in her lap and I can’t tell now. My stop is coming up ahead. No, I imagine the only ring she wears is for sentimental reasons like a ring from her mother. She’s not promised to another, but bound by heart to her lover for as long as it lasts.

 

 

 

“Unlocking the Words”

* This was a piece inspired by one of the prompts on Inspiration Monday over at the blog Be Kind Rewrite.  The prompt I partook of was — “used words”.  Pop over and get inspired to write something.*

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774

Skeleton Keys IMG_0774 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Rosemary sat cross legged on her bed and swept her long brown hair behind her.  She placed a pillow in her lap, then opened her journal upon it.  She turned to a blank page and began writing.  Writing had become one of her most treasured past times.

Rather than speak, she used words written on paper to express herself.  Of course, she dared not let anyone read the words.  She only wrote when she was sure no one was around.  The words were hers and she finally had power over her words.  She had a secret hiding place for her journals, so no one would be able to read her words.

She had tired of talking long ago.  It had been a couple of years since her lips had uttered words aloud.  Being condemned every time you open your mouth can have that effect.  Her husband had even told her once she could have opinions as long as she didn’t express them.  Of course, he had lightly said he was joking, but she knew him.  She got so used to swallowing her words, she just stopped talking one day.

No one, including her mother, had been able to get her to talk again.  Speaking simply hurt her heart too much.  She had felt sure no one truly listened to her anyway and her spoken words had always failed to protect her.  The words just ceased to flow as they had no purpose.

The door to her room opened silently and in strode a tall man.  He was dressed in faded jeans, long sleeve buttoned down shirt, and cowboy hat.  She knew he was there by the sound of his boots on the wooden floor.  She remembered the sound.  She stopped writing and looked up with a smile on her face.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he took his hat off and somberly said, “I’m sorry, he’s passed.”  Tears silently began to fall from her eyes.  He embraced her and she cried more.  She cried not only for his passing, which she hoped would give him peace he had never had on earth.  She cried as well, or maybe more so, because she was free.  The man stood and turned to leave.  A single plea escaped her lips, “Stay”.