Wednesday, February 16, 2011


For a little while AOL had a site called... ficlets. Short works of fiction. And I used it occasionally. I found them today in my email... and I thought I'd share them. It's been a few years. Some of these came from prompts and some were spun around photos. You don't have to read them. They're just here. Some I think are contrived and some I genuinely love. Just so you know. please be kind.

I knew I shouldn’t have done it.  But that hadn’t ever stopped me before.  Before I could stop myself, the words just flew out of me.  “She did IT!”
the gasp wasn’t audible…but the vacuum caused by what I had said permeated every corner.
Faster than it had begun, the network of whispers and flying fingers communicated my gaffe and her triumph to the rest of our graduating class. 
Laughing, she smacked me and tauntingly said, “Did what?”

Perfected Purgatory: I suppose they were beautiful.  But the truth is, they were too perfect.  The onslaught of pristine streets, homes, decorations… everything had been so subtle.  We’ll replace that with something better… we’ll replace that with something better…  And now the details that made unique people, people… they were disappearing.  And soon nothing would be the same.  Or rather, everything would be the same.  Perfect, Pristine, Paradise. 

Boulder Hill: The truth… they say it hurts. I find the vacant moments when you can’t help but let the silence crowd your soul …the truth creeps in.
and here’s the truth of my current situation.
I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. I don’t know who to talk to, or where to turn. My comfort zone has shrunk to a bulls eye, and all my darts are dull.
How long has it been since someone really listened. Really, it’s been too long. And making that moment change. Starting the boulder down the hill. all those things are scary, because you don’t know where the the boulder will go.
so I stand. and push. and push.
and at the last moment on the brink of disaster, I realize that where I’m at is no different from what I can see at the bottom of the hill. and so I leave the boulder at the top of the hill and roll…
I should have seen the briars.

Star-crossed Lovers: The rain pounded down around me as my umbrella threatened to rip itself away from my tightly clenched fist. Suddenly a gust of wind tugged the sheltering nylon up and away. Throwing my head back, I looked up at the dark sky to try and pinpoint where it had gone. In a flash through the raindrops I saw that dot of light that was her in my mind.
“Evie,” I’d said. “Every time you look at that star, I’m thinking about you.”
It was true as always. And as the rain soaked through the collar of my flimsy windbreaker memories of her flooded my mind. Memories of her dancing with her head thrown back and her arms welcoming the heaven sent blessings.
Then the rain reminded just where we were. I was here. And she had been ripped away from me as surely as the umbrella I’d just held moments ago.
Beautiful, brilliant, and just as untouchable as that summer.
But the star was there, and it would always be her.

Finished First: Laying in bed drowsily she smiled as her roommates excitedly chattered about what would happen. They eagerly flipped through the pages to find specific events, and stopped abruptly at their bookmarks.
Silence pervaded the atmosphere. As the sliding of pages slipped through the room, the steady whomp, whomp, whomp of the fan seemed to get louder.
From across the room a stifled squeal of excitement shattered the silence.
She smiled serenely, because she knew. She knew what happened, and that made for a very satisfying feeling.

Blushing Bride: She was his. Every single glowing inch of her. from the crown of her shimmering golden hair to the tips of her carefree bare toes.
Emily never thought she was beautiful. She was stupid that way.
But today, today no one- not one person within a mile of her could deny it.
Today Emily was beautiful.
The simple white dress spread out on the steps around her. It seemed to only accentuate the happiness that the rest of us could only bask in.

Blotted Musings: “she wondered just how long it would be until someone noticed she was gone.”
Just as he deftly punctuated the last sentence, the ink blotted.
That was the 6th manuscript ruined. Stupid blots. Stupid.
He had just gotten back into Carin’s head. The character had finally come back alive, and he had to blot it. Why could things never work out the way they did in stories? His mistakes were never the romantic hero type. He just had problems with penmanship and shipping. No duels, no secret trysts with lovely young maidens. Merely insignificant details in a dusty mote ridden workspace. He couldn’t even write well or fast enough to merit a window.
Forlornly sharpening a new pen nib, Ian went back to elaborately describing the suicidal plottings of his willowy ethereal Carin.

Nothing to Search For: I quietly slid behind the desk. Smoothing out my skirt I positioned my hand over the keyboard and quickly pressed the necessary keys. With a satisfying click I tapped the enter button and the screen hummed to life.
Looking at my reflection in the screen I asked myself why I was here. Quickly I recalled the past 5 months as if it had been a romance novel about some other woman.
What is so difficult about telling the truth? Why can’t people just be honest with each other? I had told him everything. What right did he have to keep anything from me? I had to know. It had been too long, and it was my right to know. Wasn’t it?
Silently I pulled up an search engine, my fingers got ahead of themselves. Absentmindedly hitting the enter key before anything had been entered, the machine whirred to life. Efficiently the computer reminded me, “Nothing to search for.” Maybe…maybe it was right. the hunk of metal, plastic, and random wiring was right. After years of blindness and months of deceit, there was nothing left.

Keeping the pieces: “NO!!! no, no, no…”
This couldn’t be happening to me! He was screaming at the men. He had no control. The first man turned to him, offering his hand. I struck out. He recoiled. Again he offered. Palm out. Something in the gesture stopped my rage. I looked into his face and the tears I saw unwept in his eyes convinced me. This man was not to blame.
Slowly I accepted the hand of “the enemy.” I turned and saw his companion gathering my brother into his arms. I wanted to scream, to leave him alone. He was all I had left and it was my job to protect him. Mine! It’s why we’re brothers. But this was different. I was used to fighting, grabbing for each piece of… of anything.
Now, the only remnants of home that I had were carried along by the strong, but tired legs of the American in front of me. And I wasn’t sure how much longer Isaac would last. On the streets, he had been dying. I had been counting the days.
Now… maybe this way… maybe we could keep the pieces together.

Dead Beginnings: A breeze drifted by aimlessly, startling me out of my reverie. I realized in the silence, that I’d been dreaming again. The child never existed! I furiously berated myself for dreaming. I didn’t have time for mistakes in my line of work, but I found myself dwelling on the one mistake, I couldn’t fix. I couldn’t forget.
Two years ago, almost exactly. I had tried to stop the pregnancy to avert the disaster before anyone could be harmed. The sad truth was, I had succeeded.
The only one I couldn’t stop from hurting was me. Everyday I’d been haunted by the image, no the vision of who those luminescent, ethereal brown eyes could have been. Who they were already.
And I hated myself. That was it. Everyday I hit the wall. The Dead Ends.

Perhaps Not: She’d thought the empty house could bring new beginnings, yet the resounding silence reminded her of just how long it had been since someone,
had called.

As the steady dripping of her drying tears faded into silence, she wondered just how long it would be until someone noticed she was gone.

Starting Over in Silence: It was funny, looking back. At the moment, Tia leaving had been just the next thing that happened. It wasn’t a huge inciting incident. It wasn’t a drastic tragedy. It just was. It was the next thing.Real silence.She hadn’t expected it to be so loud.
The final wave goodbye. The engine’s rumble faded away.Turning she surveyed the random debris from six energetic girls, women really, leaving the small house they’d come to love together. This step was supposed to be the one that mattered. Choosing a career. Finding a spouse. Continuing your education.
In general, the people who had come and gone on frantic friday evenings, slow mondays, wednesdays…each person had given her something. And here she was. Holding the things they’d given her. Clutching the air desperately, her empty fists struck out at imagined demons and fleeting shadows.

Announced: Susan enjoyed this little jaunt down the lane every morning. The crisp fresh air, the light sunshine, and the excitement of receiving mail, even if it was only bill notices, always felt like a good way to start off her day.
And today, she had something to mail.

Pulling open the mailbox, she noticed an extra thick envelope. The formal creamy color and texture of the envelope intrigued her. Splicing open the end of the letter, two small photos slipped onto the gravel walkway.
Swiftly she retrieved the pictures and slid open the elegantly embossed card. It read:

We are dismayed to announce the divorce of Johnathan and Sara Richardson. After five sequential years of marriage, their divorce will be finalized at 255 Lily Dr at the law firm of Smith, Call and Lands. Any correspondence should be sent to the enclosed addresses of the specified parties. Johnathan and Sara would like to thank you for your support and love during this difficult time.
Slowly her stack of sealed letters scattered with the wind.

Announcements: “Enough? How can you say that love isn’t enough? That’s all we had, and now we have so much more than that. Look what we’ve been able to build. Together. “
“Jonathan- I… you know as well as I do, we’ve been done for a long time. “
“I just can’t- It can’t be done! After all of this, we just abandon everything and walk away? “
“One foot in front of the other. The same way we got into this.”
“Maybe that’s how you got into this. Me? I jumped.”
“My only hesitation, is… how do we tell everyone?”
“I don’t know Sara. Maybe we can tell them the same way we got into it. Announcements.”

Waiting to hear: Time had passed. and unlike so many cliches and fortune cookie sayings, it had not passed quickly.
The memory of him gazing at me through the dusty flecked windshield was permanently inscribed on that day.
The snow outside belied the fact that it could ever be swelteringly hot here. So hot, the sweat seems to roll in rivers down my back.
Now six months later ,the little moisture to be found in the air seemed to glaze over the numerous goosebumps on my arms.

I slipped into my coat, and reached into my gloves looking for some lost warmth.
I slowly trudged down the driveway. It stretched endlessly down to the old rusty faithful mailbox.
In what seemed to take hours I finally turned to fumble at the handle. The thick fingers of my gloves made grasping anything a very elusive task. So I risked the inevitable, slipped one hand out of it’s sanctuary, and flipped the mailbox open.
The musty smell, and taunting clang of the emptiness were all too familiar for someone who just needed relief from fear.

Slant Eyed Focus: I closed my eyes and struggled to remember what the paper had said.
The sweat dripped slowly, oh so slowly down my eyelid and slipped through the vanguard of eyelashes to rest, stinging my eye.
Needs to focus That’s what it had said!
was that why dad left us? Mom said he loved me, but maybe I just hadn’t focused enough.
How do you focus on something?
How do you focus on something?
How do you focus on something?
dictionary dictionary dictionary. I need to know.
FOCUS : Main emphasis concentrated effort or attention on a particular thing, area of concern, sharpness of image, focal point disease origin point on cone, adjust lens adjust vision…

but none of those things make sense. I can focus just fine. tommy was the one who couldn’t see right. He lived on the next block…Why did I need focus?
But Mom said to always listen to the teacher, so I picked up the paper, screwed my eyes up to a squint, and tried again.
Nothing changed.

Distances: These words aren’t personal. They’re descriptive.
Each character is inscribed by cold hard lines.
I can’t get close enough to feel the empathy I eloquently phrase.
Couched in rhythmic sweet tones of pure irony I write what I cannot feel.
From the tip of my pen to the paper seems immeasurable to the throbbing of my heart.

Picture Perfect Memory: Side by side. Moment by moment. The memories were drawn together and woven through the holes in my memory were rosebeds waiting to bloom. Rust colored skies, bright blue bikes, yellow sparrows, green grass, all fenced in by a black thread of honesty. The thorns crept through the vanguard of truth to catch at my shirtsleeves and shred my pride with what I’m hiding.
The colours ran with each tear I shed.
Which was odd, because I didn’t think colored pencil color could bleed.
The tip of my finger swept up some sapphire tears and I tasted freedom, clean freedom.
The red sky I’d sketched smelled bitter.
I saw the green, green grass and visions of success came with waves of dollar bills.
I heard the yellow birds chirping, and I thought it was joy.
I felt the black edged picture shake with fear.
I found a new crisp white sheet of paper and I felt hope.

Sitting on a shelf, Waiting: No! It’s not fair. Why is it that Alex gets to leave? What makes it so that I’m the one standing here watching. . . watching him walk away. He should have to know how it feels. He said change would be good. He said that- it doesn’t matter what he said. It matters what I say. It matters what I do. I hate being left. I hate being right. He drove away just the way I knew he would. A sincere, trite, wornout apology. I’ll put it back on the shelf, he’ll find it when he comes back. As he always does.

Word Vomit 2: Then vomit was everywhere. All over him.
Apparently words were the only thing I couldn’t get out.
Word Vomit: It all started upside down. Well perhaps it was up.
And that was the problem.
I could feel everything inside me trying to right itself.
I resisted. I would just let it all out.
Then the world turned.

“He rescued me! How dare he rescue me!” I could feel myself protesting feebly as my lips were fervently sucking away at the rim of the cup trying to wash away the scent of vomit from the back of my mouth.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked.
I turned to give a grade A tongue lashing to what I assumed would be an overeager, but thoroughly charming young man.
Unfortunately I was all too correct on the thoroughly charming part.

” I…” “I…”
For the second time in as many minutes I was speechless.

Plop: PLOP !
Perspiration dripped, sliding, slowly, achingly down the salt trail left from the tears I had cried hours before. Alone with no one to see, it must not exist.
Lying face down on the dock, the little drop sent waves shimmering out into the lake.
Out there, a sylph catalogued my woes that were numbered by my tears and evidenced in concentric circles.
Patience , I think “time will ease my-” No. I want this pain to remind me. And the ripples ebb against the dock that I cannot leave.

1 comment:

  1. These are awesome Brianne! I really liked 'Waiting to Hear'. Are you going skiing this week? There will be PLENTY of fresh snow to cushion your fall. :)

    Hope you have a happy day today!

    Love you.