Tag Archives: Loss

Inspiration Monday – End of Forever

Having returned to something approaching normality, I am pleased to bring you a new InMon story, based on the excellent prompts from Bekindrewrite. If you head over there, you’ll find a handful of great other stories based on either the phrase I used as my title and inspiration, or various other words and phrases. I hope you enjoy my story. As ever, I am open to comments and critique, so please do leave your thoughts.

End of Forever

We were so different, Patrick and I. He roared into love liked a tsunami, casting aside every obstacle, every question, every other possibility except that we would be together for all time. He never professed any religion, nor any concrete ideas about what happens after death, but he was certain that love was everlasting, and that we would be together for eternity.

I admired his passion all the more, because I had none. My love was a calm emotion: waves washing gently over a shore, unstoppable as a whole, but yielding on a smaller scale to piers and groynes and to the big problems that we encountered in those early days. And I believe in heaven, but not as a family reunion; my vows were only until death us do part.

And so I bury him with more finality than he would have done me. I am free to love again. I am free to find another man who will sweep me off my feet with his passion and vigour. I am free to listen to a new promise of happy ever after, of eternal devotion, of love forever.

But there is nothing after the end of forever. There is only darkness and silence. A bed that is too big for one person and a table with too many chairs. After the end of forever, nothing and never begin, and I am there, hoping I am wrong about heaven.

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Friday Fiction – What Doesn’t Kill You…

Another great FF photo to inspire us this week, this time from Fictioneers Regular, Claire Fuller. I would love to hear what you think, but I’m unlikely to get much reading time over the next few weeks, so feel free to skip it if you think that’s unfair.

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

Alfie could build anything out here. “Anything except a good marriage,” his wife, Betty, said. They were together 54 years, though, so he got something right. 54 years without an accident: not on the unguarded saw bench, not with the safety-less nail gun, nor the open wiring above the sink.

I once asked Betty if she worried about it. “Safest place he ever goes,” she replied. “No smoking in a workshop.”

She caught on early to what Alfie called the “Cancer Craze” about smoking. Alfie said coughing was just a reminder of mortality. He was right, but so was she.

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Friday Fictioneers – Dreams

Next week being Christmas, I might be skipping FF to celebrate. Sebastian, bless him, found a present this morning and opened it, so he’s obviously ready! I’m close… just one more thing to buy, I think. Whatever you’re doing, even if it’s not celebrating ancient rites or a Christian festival, I hope you have a great couple of weeks and a happy day on the 25th.

As usual, the Friday Fictioneers are hosted by Rochelle and many other responses to the prompt can be found through her master page over the next few days. Our picture comes from Jean L. Hays, who holds the copyright. [I’ll link her site later if I find it, please feel free to send me a link if you have it].  I hope you like my offering; I welcome your critique and comments.

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Dreams

She dreamed of backyard swimming, of friends splashing in the pool. When the dreams grew tired from overuse, she added dolphins. In desperation, she imagined a lazy river and waving to her mother who wore a pretty dress and a wide-brimmed hat.

The hat was necessary, to hide the face she could no longer properly recall. The swishing water drowned out the voice she couldn’t bring to mind. The garden, she knew, no longer looked anything like the one where she had played. Before she agreed to help Him look for his dog. Before the room. Before the nightmare began.

***

Click here if you don’t think it can happen

 

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Friday Fiction – Islandspeak

I hope you will forgive me a longer introduction today. If you want to skip straight to the story, it’s below the picture (this week’s FF prompt, from longtime Fictioneer Ted Strutz). Enjoy, and please do leave your thoughts if you have time.

Now, an interlude. This is my 101st story for the Friday Fictioneers. Over the last couple of years I hope I’ve made you think, and feel, and occasionally laugh. In spite of my reputation for darkness, very few people have died (well, unless you count the nuclear bomb) and there’s even been a birth. There have been familiesarguments, love stories and divorces and – OK – a good helping of grief.

As there are now 100 stories in my portfolio, I thought it would be fun to make a 100-word story out of their last words. So I’ve punctuated it, but not changed any of the words or word order. It doesn’t have much structure, but perhaps it’s like modern art, and there are things to see within the apparent mess!

Bet grave happy roaches progress up, dear. Litter buy shop, present her me. Soar, winter, know all flashlight dreams, all albatross music. Ridiculous it. It? Course father railing beautiful rosebush, Ryder had angry drunk. All shell engine dreams themselves, returns dust, waits. Victim boys, cold sunshine off world. Ted fall door start. Think Texans it microwave step me now, watermill entry silhouettes judgemental. Ago off back ever swoops horizon bush stream. More France again, that else daughter walls despair. Enough forgotten darkness, it away dreams. Will bone gone mushroom winter. Boulder promised second trees. Tail last success. Rebellion, sleep named.

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Islandspeak

Back home, we’d call this weather mild, but I’ve been away long enough to class it as pissing cold, and the empty ferry suggests any would-be tourists agree. The Exit sign blinks, but no emergency on board could make me jump. The locals would call the water cool and choppy. Icy waves splash at the window and wash the decks outside.

It’s my upbringing that helped me survive the crash. As soon as the pilot said “slight technical hitch”, I looked for a parachute and a way out. But Gracie always bought into Islandspeak.

She’d have called this feeling “sadness”.

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Friday Fiction – A Different Journey

It’s FF time and the photo from Claire Fuller which inspires us today is gorgeous. I’m a big fan of old churches and this one reminds me of the Norman church in the village where I grew up. I could happily stare at it all day.

But that wouldn’t get the story written! Head over to Rochelle’s masterpage if you’d like to see what other Fictioneers came up with. As always, your comments are welcome and constructive criticism is actively encouraged.

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A Different Journey

Misty’s mother pulled the dress slowly over Misty’s head – careful not to disturb a single perfect curl. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked at her little girl: all grown up and moving on.

In the distance, the church bell chimed noon. The car would be here soon. They’d always expected she’d be married there – a nice boy, a traditional ceremony, a sunny day. Rain slashed the windows today, but it seemed only right for sending her on a different journey.

“She’ll be happy with Him,” said Dad, his voice quiet and croaky. “Until we’re ready to join her.”

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Friday Fiction – An Eulogy

Another piece for the Friday Fictioneers – thanks to Rochelle’s leadership and Ted‘s prompt.

When I saw this week’s prompt, I came up with a character, and this week’s piece is arguably more character sketch than story, but either way I like it. It raises the useful reminder that we should endeavour to create unique characters with rich and unusual histories. Which is why, when I made a typo half way through, I used it as a jumping off point instead of correcting it, and ultimately it became the title. I’d love to hear what you think – of the story as a whole, and that part in particular.

No edits this week, they weren’t very interesting.

icon-grill-ted-strutzAn Eulogy

Back when her paintings sold for thousands, someone had offered a million dollars for her “installation piece” and she’d said no. Sure, she could’ve replaced every bottle for that and kept the change, but it had taken her a long time and a lot of heartache to build her collection – a rough approximation of her Dad’s consumption. An eulogy, she called it. With the ‘n’: the punchline of a joke she never shared.

These days, no one wanted Mary or her paintings, and the bottles were gradually turning from full to empty. Her final tribute to her late, beloved father.

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In Mon – Myth Kit

In Mon’s prompts this week include “Recycled Heart”, which reminds me of this piece I wrote a while back for a not dissimilar prompt. Anyway, I digress, because the prompt I’ve used this week is not that one, it’s Myth Kit. I make no apologies for the seasonality or lack thereof of this piece, and dedicate it to all the Joes out there who make a difficult lives a little happier every year.

Writing-wise, this story actually started off just being the first part (up to the ***), but then Melanie wanted in on the action. You remember Melanie, don’t you? Let me know what you think!

Myth Kit

Joe rubbed the rouge into his cheeks, then picked up the lipstick.

“That’s my Estee Lauder!” Eve used to cry, when she saw him use it. “Can’t you use something cheaper ?” She’d bought him some unbranded crap from Boots, told him to put that in his myth kit tin, but he always ended up grabbing hers anyway, just to see that look of horror mixed with pride cross her face.

Every year, it was the same. He’d sit in her chair, dolling himself up in her mirror, with Eve hanging over his shoulder: smiling, chattering, fussing. Then last year, there had been less chatter and more coughs. And this year, there was no Eve.

Myth kit tin, he thought, chuckling. That had been one of her ideas too – a name for the box of tricks that turned an ordinary man into a legend.

He took a final look in the mirror, straightened the beard and pulled on his coat.

***

At the hospital, they were all ready for him. A couple of nurses were wearing the obligatory elf outfits, and in the back room, piles of gifts were stacked next to signs saying things like “Girl 5-8”. A queue was already forming, so Joe glanced in the mirror and then took his seat.

The first child was a boy about eleven or twelve years old. He was not suffering any obvious illness, but you never know, Joe reminded himself. Later, he’d be touring the children’s ward, so most of these kids were relatives not patients, but there’d be a few of the walking wounded amongst them.

“Now then, young man, what would you like for Christmas?”

“I know you’re not real,” the boy replied, a little too loud. Joe looked around to see if any of the other kids had heard, but they were being distracted by the elves.

“Up to you,” Joe said, “But I’m guessing you still want something for Christmas?”

“’Course.” The boy was sullen; Joe thought the only thing he deserved was a good hiding, although people didn’t do that these days. That’s why the kids end up rude, he mused. The boy was still talking, listing some toys or games Joe had never heard of, but which were probably expensive.

“Well, if you’re a good boy, I’m sure you’ll get what you deserve,” Joe said, in the sweetest voice he could muster. “Would you like a little present now?”

“What d’you think I’m here for?” The boy grabbed the gift from Joe’s hand and ran off. Someone shouted that he’d missed the photo, but he was long gone with his spoils.

They weren’t all like that, mercifully. Most of the kids were quiet and grateful, or boisterous and fun. Joe enjoyed the childish pleasures they brought out in him. This year, more than ever. He wondered why he and Eve had never had children of their own.

One little girl took his hand and held his eyes with hers. They were deep blue and incredibly serious. Joe thought he might cry, just looking at them.

“I’m Melanie,” she said.

He pushed thoughts of Eve as far back as he could. Eve’s eyes, gazing into his, the way this little girl’s did. Eve’s hand, holding his tightly. Eve talking in that calm, quiet way of hers.

“You’re supposed to say ‘Ho ho ho’,” said a voice, which wasn’t Eve’s. The little girl was still holding his hand, but now she was patting it gently.

“Oh! Ho ho ho and a Merry Christmas,” said Joe, with gusto. “Sorry, I was just, err, thinking about all the japes the reindeer will be getting up to while I’m away!”

The little girl smiled. “Did you leave Mrs Claus to look after them?”

“Of course. They are quite silly if no one’s watching.”

“I bet Mrs Claus is beautiful,” said the girl, and then, as Joe began to feel he might cry, “May I sit on your knee for the photograph? I have something special to ask you for, for Christmas.”

Joe nodded, “Jump up!”

She climbed onto his lap and, as Milton angled the camera, whispered in his ear. “I’ve asked Jesus, but I’m hoping you can help too. Please can you make Mummy better?”

Joe looked out, past the little girl, past Milton and the nurses, to where a woman stood watching them. No older than forty, she wore a hospital gown and held onto a walker. She gazed at the girl, beaming with pride. Then, as he watched, she bent over the walker stricken by a bout of coughing. Just like Eve, he thought, and a shudder went through him.

“Why don’t you ask Mummy to join us for the picture?”

 

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