Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Are we really still doing this?

Photo by Tammy Gann on Unsplash

Feeling a Little Lost?

by L. V. Gaudet

Sometimes we feel a little lost. Like we bit off a little more than we can handle.

Between work or school, maybe both, family, friends, and chores. We all have those, chores, some more than others. Other commitments. Things we just want to do. Life can get a bit overwhelming and that drive we feel to write becomes a nagging reminder of what we are not getting done.

That sense of being overwhelmed can dull our drive and stop us from being able to write. It is a fog that fills the head and smothers the heart.

We all have more reason to feel a little lost right now.

We’ve been in this pandemic for over a year. The world is in it’s third wave of this wretched Covid virus. Some, like where I am, are in yet another lockdown. Many have lost loved ones and their jobs or businesses to it. Many have lost their homes.

We just started another heavy lockdown here today. All nonessential businesses closed and those that are open are at 10% capacity. Things that feel essential to us, fitness studios and gyms, religious services, the ability to get a simple haircut, are all closed and can only offer online programs. The massive lineups started yesterday with many trying to get their essentials before the lockdown that was announced with less than 48 hours notice.

It’s a heaviness that weighs on you. A feeling of control over your life lost. Normalcy gone that you just can’t get back as you wonder if and when that normal will ever return.

Anger is directed at those calling the shots, the people locking down our world. Like this is some game of House of Cards and we are the unwitting tenants whose lives they are playing with. It’s easy to point that anger and frustration, fueled by worry and fear, at those telling us we cannot live life as normal, as if the pandemic does not exist.

Following the news is following an inevitable train wreck. In some countries, the pandemic has become nothing more than added pieces to the Game of Politics board for politicians to quibble over in their never-ending callous fight over scoring those political points against their perceived opponents. The unwitting tenants of their game are simply collateral damage they give no thought or care to.

In some countries it is nothing more than another thread in their powerplay, tugged around and used to gain or cement their power. The wealthy use it to grow their wealth even larger and the uncompassionate to make fast cash to the detriment of others.

While the rest of us are just the characters in a story written by someone else. We don’t know where the story will go and have no control over what happens next. The plot just drags on without change.

It’s okay to feel a little lost sometimes.

It’s even more okay to feel a little lost right now. Control of your world and life has been taken away and you don’t know when you’ll get it back.

There is one place where you can have control – in your writing.

Unlike the politicians, who are more interested in opposing each other and growing their political power than actually doing anything that can help their constituents and fellow human beings, you can wreak havoc on your characters’ lives without hurting real people.

Take that anger and fear, frustration, and sense of hopelessness and loss, and pour it into your writing. Let your characters feel the full wrath of everything you cannot express otherwise. Put your heart and soul, your anguish and hate towards what is happening, into the lives of your characters.

It is a great way to not only express your feelings, but also to vent them. It is liberating. Opening a release valve on that pent up emotional pressure. It is cathartic. Healing.

You might also just get some powerful emotionally impactful writing out of it. The best writing can come from the chaos of strong emotions.

Keep writing my friends, and hang in there. No pandemic in history has lasted forever.

Read Full Post »

Falling

By L. V. Gaudet

© June 2009

 

 

     This is a mystery, as best as I can tell.  Or, perhaps, it is just a story about a mysterious journey of the mind.  Is it a crime?  Perhaps.  The crime of dreams unfulfilled, of a mind neglected; a crime of the mind, the heart, the soul.  Ok, perhaps a crime of the body as well.

     It started on a day much like today …

#

     “Where’s the child?”

     “She’s not much of a child anymore.  She’s what?  Thirty?”

     “Twenty-something.  She’ll always be a child to me.  Where is she?”

     “Downstairs.”

     “Quiet?”

     “Yes.”

     “Good.  Does she know I’m involved?”

     “No.  Not yet.”

     “Good.”

#

     Music played, sounding canned, tainted by the faint crackle of static.  It was upbeat music, a stark contrast to the very downbeat expression on the young woman’s face.

     She lay there, not sleeping, not really awake.  Staring, but not seeing.  Her mind rode the wave of the music, not feeling, not thinking, a dull throb of nothing drifting with the ebb and flow of sound.

     The creak on the basement stairs, dull thud of footsteps descending, shifting weight depressing the couch cushion beside her, all of it meant nothing to her, didn’t break into the nothingness that engulfed her mind.

     The man sat beside her, not looking at her, not listening to the music, silent.

     Finally she spoke, her words slurring as if she’d just woke from a deep slumber.

     “He’s dead, you know.”

     “I know.”

     “Why?”

     “I don’t know.”

     “I loved him.”

     “I know.”

     With a deep sigh the man rose and ascended the stairs heavily.  It was more than his own weight that he carried on his shoulders.

#

     The man paced, the old wooden floorboards groaning beneath his weight.

     “You were jealous of him, you know.  You said you weren’t, but you were.”

     “I know.”

     “You’re too old for her.”

     “I know.”

     “She’s too young for you.”

     “I know.”

     “She still loves him, you know.”

     “She’ll get over it.”

     “She’ll never love you.”

     “Maybe.”

#

     The man held a plate under the girl’s nose.  Well, not really a girl, a young woman, but in many ways still innocent and young, a girl.  It was a paper plate, not breakable.  He’d learned his lesson.

     “You have to eat.”

     She ignored him.

     “You’re getting thin.”

     “I’m already thin.”

     “You’re getting thinner.”

     “I don’t care.”

     “You’ll waste away.”

     “I don’t care.”

     “You’ll die.”

     “I don’t care.”

     “He would.”

     “What?”

     “Care.”

     He set the plate down on a rickety old table next to the couch.  Without another word he went back up the stairs.

 

#

     The man stood in the kitchen, staring at the window over the sink, staring only at his own reflection in the dirty glass.

     “Is she eating yet?” the man asked.

     “No.”

     “She will.”

     “Maybe.”

     “You’re worried.  Did she throw the plate against the wall this time?”

     “No.”

     “See?”

#

     The wind outside howled, rain pelting and raging against everything it touched.

     “Washing away the sins of man,” the man thought.

     “Who says they’re sins?”

     “God.”

     “God or man?  Who wrote the book?”

     “Ok, man.  But we’re made in his image aren’t we?  So, God.”

     “Man is insane, you know.  So, what does that make God?”

     “Us.”

#

     She watched the rain streaming in long twisted rivulets down the small basement window pane.  It didn’t let much light in when it was bright out.  Now it filled the little basement with a cold dark gloominess.

     “Tears,” she thought to herself.  “It looks like tears.”

     “The window is crying.”

     “The house is crying.”

     “The world is crying.”

     “I don’t cry.  Why?”

#

     She lay on the couch in her basement prison.  There were no bars on the windows, no locks on the doors, but it was still a prison.  She had nowhere else to go.

     She thought about the man upstairs.

     The thought repulsed her.

     “He thinks he’s in love with you, you know,” she thought to herself.

     “I know.”

     “He thinks he can make you love him.”

     “I know.”

     “He knows you still love Matt.”

     “Yes.”

     “He’s jealous.”

     “He’s jealous of a dead man.  That’s sick.”

     “He’s sick.”

     “I know.”

     “You should go.  Somewhere.”

     “I know.”

#

     The man was angry, very angry.  His face hardened, carved into hard lines, eyes hard, lips hard.  The pores of his skin seemed like tiny pock marks on a granite surface.  A bright red flush of anger began to spread across his face, starting at his ears, moving across his cheeks and up his forehead.

     He didn’t bother to hang up the phone.  Instead he felt in behind it for the cord, following its length, pulling the cord taut.  With a quick yank the little tab that holds the cord into the wall outlet snapped.  It was a quiet sound, almost unheard.  The little tab went flying to parts unknown, likely not to be found.  The cord snapped back, coiling in the air like a snake being tossed by its handler.  He roughly coiled up the cord around the phone and tossed it carelessly on the worn couch.  It was a rather ugly couch, its fabric outdated, threadbare, and stained in a few spots.  He would dispose of the phone, later.

     He glared at the closed door that, if he walked over and turned its worn knob, would open onto the stairs leading to the basement below.

     The conversation on the phone bothered him.  It angered him.  It frightened him.

     “They want to take her away, you know.”

     “I know.”

     “They think they’re helping her.”

     “They do.  They’re not.  She’s better off here.”

     “No she isn’t, not really.  You know that.”

     “Maybe.”

     “They’ll come and take her.”

     “No.”

     “They will.  You can’t stop them.”

     “I won’t let them.”

     “You won’t be able to stop them.”

     “I’ll move her.  They won’t find us.”

     “Maybe.”

     “Maybe.”

#

     The tires of the car growled dully against the pavement, a ceaseless whining drone.  They droned her to sleep mostly.  She didn’t know why she was here, or where they were going.  She knew what the man driving the car wanted, didn’t want it herself, and didn’t much care.  She didn’t care about much of anything.  Matt.

#

     “Why are we stopping?” the girl asked.

     “Engine’s overheating,” the man said.

     “Where are we?”

     “Nowhere.”

     “Good.”

     The man looked at her.  He wondered what was going through her mind.  He wondered if anything at all was going through her mind.  Was she thinking about that boy?  He wasn’t really a boy of course.  He was a man, a young man.  Now he wasn’t even that.  The boy didn’t beg or cry when he died, he just looked kind of sad.  The man would never forget that look.  It haunted his dreams.  It haunted his thoughts when he was awake.  When he looked at the girl, he saw the boy’s sad face, his sad eyes, heard the whisper of the girl’s name on the boy’s cracked lips.  It was an accident, all a terrible accident.

     The tires crunched to a stop on the gravel shoulder of the paved highway.  The car rocked slightly, its worn shocks squeaking.  The car shifted with his weight when he opened the door and climbed out, popping the hood on the way.  It was an ugly car, old, rust spots eating through the worn paint.  The hood’s hinges screeched as he lifted it to look underneath.  Wisps of steam came up from the engine, escaping from the overheating radiator.  He didn’t think the car could limp much further.

     The girl got out of the car, walking to the front like she was in a daze.  She leaned against the front side panel, looking at the man, not really looking at the man.

     “We’ll be fine,” the man said.

     She shrugged.

     He walked over to her, tried to put a comforting arm around her.

     She cringed, not wanting him to touch her, but tolerated it.

     He knew she didn’t want him to touch her.  Sometimes he didn’t care.  Sometimes he cared.  He cared.  He wanted to hit her, to roll his fingers into a fist and smash it into her face.  He didn’t.  Instead, he let go and stepped away from her.

     “We’ll have to wait a little for the car to cool down,” the man said.

     She said nothing, seemed oblivious to him.

     “Maybe we’ll have a little picnic,” he said.  “There’s a nice tree over there.  Won’t be much of a picnic.  I think there’s something left we can eat.”

     She just stood there, looking at nothing.

#

     “We could be together, you know,” the man said as they drove on.

     “I could have been with Matt,” the girl thought to herself, sitting in silence, staring out the window, not looking, not seeing.

     “You could be happy with me.”

     “I could be happy with Matt,” she thought.

     “You could love me.”

     “I love Matt,” she thought.

     “You could learn to love me,” he said.  “I’m not all that bad, am I?”

     “You disgust me,” she thought.

     “It was an accident, you know,” he said.

     “An accident,” she thought.

     He lapsed back into silence.  She seemed to be ignoring him.

#

     The girl was sleeping in the motel room.  It was an ugly room, old, worn, threadbare.  It has seen better days.  Then again, it looked like it had always been old, worn, and ugly.  It probably had roaches and who knows what else too.  He didn’t have any money.  Gas and food; that was all he could manage.  They’d have to skip out on the bill.  That didn’t matter; he’d given a false name anyway.  They were looking for him, looking for the girl really.

     The man sat at a worn half-rotting picnic table outside the motel.  Its paint had long ago peeled away.

     “She’ll never love you, you know.”

     “She will.”

     “She’ll find out.”

     “What?”

     “About you.  About Matt.  That you were there when he had the accident.”

     “It was an accident.”

     “You wanted it.”

     “It was an accident.”

     “You’re glad he’s dead.  She knows, somehow.  She feels it.”

     “Shut up.”

     “She’ll never love you.  She’ll blame you.  She’ll hate you.”

     “Shut up.”  His voice was rising, becoming choked, angry.  He balled his hands into fists on the table.

     “You should let her go.”

     “Shut up.”

     “Let her go.”

     “Shut the fuck up!”  He slammed his fists on the table, pushed himself away from it, untangled his legs from beneath and climbed out of the bench seat.  He stalked off angrily, his shoes crunching against the gravel of the parking lot.

#

     She wasn’t really sleeping.  She just pretended she was so he would leave her alone.  Something deep in her mind called out to her.  She shushed it.  She didn’t want to hear what it had to say, didn’t want to think about it, and didn’t want to think at all.  Matt.

     “He’s probably going to do it tonight, you know.”

     “I know.”

     “Leave.  Just get up and leave, now.  Go somewhere, anywhere, somewhere else, not here.”

     Silence.

     “Matt wouldn’t want this.  Not for you, not for him.”

     “Matt’s gone.”

     “You’re not.”

     “I might as well be.”

     “What do you want?
     “Nothing.”

     “You want Matt.”

     “He’s gone.”

     “Yes, he is.”

     “You should go.”

     “Where?”

     “Anywhere.  Away from here, away from him.”

     “Why?”

     “You know why.”

     “Ok.”

#

     The girl was gone when the man returned to the motel room.  His heart sank, it broke, crumpled and crumbled into a million pieces, yet he refused to believe she was gone.  He searched the room.  There was nowhere to hide, but he searched it anyway.  He ran outside, looked around, unable to really look.  He ran to the diner, she wasn’t there.  He ran to the motel office, no girl.  He started to panic.

     “She’s gone.”

     “No.”

     “She left you.”

     “No.”

     “Face it.  You’ve lost her.”

     “I’ll find her.  Bring her back.”

     “Let her go.”

     “No.”

     He jumped into the car, turned it over.  It stalled and died.  He tried again, it sputtered and caught.  The wheels sprayed gravel as he tore out of the parking lot.  He paused at the entrance.  It was a fifty-fifty shot.  Left or right?  It was a greater than fifty-fifty shot.  What if she hitched a ride?  There was no traffic.  But if someone did come, they’d certainly pick her up.  He turned right, accelerated hard, and sped down the road.

     “I’ll find her.”

     “Let her go.”

     “No.”

#

     He saw a figure in the distance, walking slowly on the shoulder of the road.

     “What if it’s not her?”

     “It’s her.”

     “But if it’s not?”

     “It’s her.  It has to be.”

     It was the girl.  She looked too skinny, too skinny and too tired.

     He slammed the brakes on just before coming alongside the figure walking in the road, the tires ground and squealed; the ABS brakes shuddered and knocked, grinding with an ugly gnashing sound.  He threw the car into park, shoved the door open, jumped out and ran around to the girl.

     He grabbed her, holding her tight, so tight it hurt.

     “Where are you going?” he gasped, breathing into her dirty hair.

     “Nowhere,” she whispered.

     “You were leaving me.”

     Silence.

     “Where would you go?  Where do you have to go?”

     “Nowhere,” she thought to herself.  Silence.

     “Don’t leave me.  Don’t ever leave me.”

     “I want to.”

     “I won’t let you.”

     He held on to her arm as he led her to the car, afraid to let go, afraid she might run.

     She didn’t struggle.  She let him put her in the car.  She didn’t really care.  Matt.

     The man drove back to the motel.  He left her sitting in the car while he ran in and hurriedly grabbed their stuff.  He jammed it quickly into the back seat through the driver’s side door and over the driver’s side seat.  He got in, slammed the door and started the car.  They turned right at the entrance and drove in silence.

#

     “Where were you?” the girl asked, “When Matt died?”

     “Nowhere,” the man said.

     “You were following me.”

     “Yes.”

     “You were following Matt.”

     “Yes.”

     “Why?”

     “I love you.”

     “You don’t know me.”

     “Doesn’t matter.  I saw you and I loved you.”

     “You sent me those notes, left stuff on my doorstep.”

     “Yes.”

     “Why?”

     “I wanted you.”

     “I love Matt.”

     “Matt’s gone.”

     “You’re too old for me.”

     “Maybe.”

#

     He looked at the girl sleeping in the seat beside him as he drove.  So beautiful.  Mine.

     “She knows.”

     “No she doesn’t.”

     “She suspects.”

     “She can’t.”

     “You were there, you saw it, you wanted it.”

     “She doesn’t know that.”

     “You do.  She’ll figure it out.  She feels it.”

     “It wasn’t my fault.”

     “She’ll leave.”

     “I won’t let her.”

     “They’ll find you.  They’ll take her back.”

     “I won’t let them.”

     “You’ll lose her.”

     “I’ll kill her first.”

#

     “He fell, you know,” the girl said.

     She didn’t look at him, just stared out the car window at the passing scenery, not seeing it, un-focusing her eyes so the trees and grass were nothing but a blur, a mind-numbing blur.  Numbness, it was her salvation.  She didn’t feel anything, didn’t want to feel anything.

     “I know,” the man said.

     “How?”

     “I heard.  It was on the news.  Ok?”

     “Ok.”

     “I don’t know why he was there.”

     “I don’t know.”

     “Why did he fall?”

     “He fell.”

     “Why did he die?”

     “He fell.”

     “I’m empty now.”

     He didn’t say anything.

     “All our plans, our hopes, our dreams.  They’re gone.  Broken.  Broken with his body, on the ground.”  Her voice was as empty as her heart.

     He drove on in stony faced silence, his teeth clenching, knuckles white from their hard grip on the steering wheel.  He wanted to hit her, to shut her up, to shut her up forever.

#

     “You haven’t touched her yet.”

     “No.”

     “You want to.”

     “Yes.”

     “She doesn’t want you to, you know.”

     “I know.”

     “She doesn’t like you.  You disgust her.”

     “I know.”

     “You don’t care, do you?”  It wasn’t a question.  He already knew the answer.

     “I love her.”

     “She doesn’t love you.  She loves a dead man.”

     “She could.”

     “She won’t.”

     “I’ll make her.”

     “Let her go.”

     “No.”

#

     She just lay there, motionless, not feeling, not thinking, not caring.  The man grunted and moved on top of her.

     He finally stopped and rolled off her, angry.

     This wasn’t what he wanted.

     He wasn’t what she wanted.

     He wasn’t Matt.  Good riddance to Matt.

     He glared at the girl.  She just laid there as he left her, motionless, half dressed, eyes staring sightlessly at the wall.  He felt dirty.  He felt like hitting her.  He didn’t.

     “Are you hungry?” he asked the girl.

     Silence.

     “You should eat.”

     Silence.

     “I’ll bring you something back.  What do you want?”

     Silence.

     “I’ll bring something.”

     “I don’t care,” she thought to herself.

     He left the motel room.  It was a different motel.  Just as old and worn and ugly.  So, it was different, but it was the same.

#

     The man ate his burger, sauce dripping down his chin.

     It grossed her out.  Her burger sat on its opened wrapper where the man left it, untouched.  She wasn’t hungry.  She didn’t feel like eating.

     “If I don’t eat, maybe I’ll die,” she thought to herself.

     “Where were you?” the girl asked, not looking at the man.  “When Matt fell, where were you?”

     “Nowhere.”

     “Everybody’s somewhere.”

     “It’s not important.”

     “You were there.”

     “No.”

     “You where there.”

     “It doesn’t matter.  Matt’s gone.”

     “It does.  You were there.”

     “Ok.”

     She glanced at him, looking away sullenly.

     “Did he know?”

     “Know what?”  His heart raced, it stopped, and it stuck in his chest like a lump of dry hamburger that would not go down.  He started to sweat.

     “He was about to fall.  Did he know?”

     “Yes.”  He swallowed.  He didn’t want to do this, didn’t want this conversation.  He wanted her to just shut up.

     “Was he scared?”

     “No.”

     “No?”

     “No.”

     “Then what?”

     “What?”

     “He wasn’t scared.  He must have been something.”

     “Sad.  Just sad.”

     “Ok.”

#

     She lay there in the dark motel room, on the bed.  The weight of the man dented the mattress beside her.  He snored.  He disgusted her.

     “You should leave.”

     “I know.”

     “He’s asleep.  Just get up, put your clothes on, and go.”

     “Yeah.”

     “So why aren’t you?”

     “I don’t know.”

     She listened to the night noises outside the room, insects buzzing, a distant car passing by.  Not much else.

     “He lied.”

     “I know.”

     “He said he wasn’t there, you know, when Matt died.”

     “He was there.”

     “He was.  You knew it.”

     “Yes.”

     “What else did he lie about?”

     “Everything.”

     “You should leave.  Go somewhere.”

     “He won’t let me.”

     “He’s asleep.  He can’t stop you.  Go.”

     “Where?”

     “Anywhere.  Go home.”

     “I can’t.”

     “Why?”

     “Matt.”

     “Matt’s gone.”

     “Yes.”

     Another car passed by.

     “You could hitch a ride.  You’d be long gone when he woke up.”

     “He’d only come after me.”

     “You knew didn’t you?”

     “Yes.  Knew what?”

     “What he was.  What he wanted.”

     “I suppose.”

     “He was there.  Why?”

     “He was always there.”

     “That’s just creepy.”

     “Yes, it is.  He’s creepy.”

     “You think he did it, don’t you.”

     “No.”

     “You do.  You think he killed Matt.”

     “No.”

     “You do.”

     “Ok, I do.”

     “Leave.”

     “No.”

     “Why?”

     “I’m scared.”

     “Scared.  Why?  What are you scared of?”

     “Me.  Him.  Matt most of all.”

     “Matt?”

     “He’s gone.  That scares me.”

     “Ok.”

#

     The man was walking across the parking lot, getting the car to bring it closer.  He kept a wary eye on the motel room door.  He had to make sure the girl didn’t try to sneak away again.  They would be skipping out on the bill again.

     “She’s getting weaker, you know.”

     “I know.”

     “She hasn’t eaten in days.”

     “I can’t help it.  What do you want me to do?”

     “Let her go.”

     “I can’t do that.”

     “Why not?”

     “I just can’t.”

     “She’ll die if you don’t.”

     “Shut up.”

     “She thinks you killed Matt.  I can see it in her eyes.”

     “It was an accident.”

     “You were there.”

     “It was an accident.”

     “She doesn’t believe that.”

     “No.”

#

     They stopped for gas.  The man carefully counted the money he had left.  Not much.  He was scared.  He didn’t know what to do.  He needed money.

     “I could call her family, ask them for money.”

     “Then they’d know where you are.  They’d come, they’d take her back.”

     “I need money.  I have to look after her, feed her.”

     “She won’t eat it anyway.”

     “I don’t know what to do.  I’m tapped out.  I’m tired.  I’m scared.”

     “Steal.”

     “I can’t.  That would be wrong.”

     “What you did was wrong.  Taking the girl was wrong.”

     “It’s too late for that.”

     A police officer walked out of the little store at the gas station, turning his head to watch the man filling the car with gas as he walked past to his squad car.

     This made the man nervous.

     “Why is he staring?”

     “He knows.  He recognizes you.  Let her go.”

     “I can’t.  Not now.”

     The police officer looked at the unhappy young woman slouched in the car seat.  He looked at the car.  He looked too long.

     “He doesn’t know.  He can’t”

     “He does.  They’re looking for you, looking for her.  It was only a matter of time, you knew that.”

     He fumbled the nozzle, almost dropped it.  He returned it to its rest and turned back to the car, leaning in through the open window.

     “Stay here,” the man said to the girl.

     She ignored him.

     He walked stiffly to the store to pay for the gas.  He was nervous, sweating.  He hurriedly grabbed a few bags from the chip rack near the checkout, not even looking at what he grabbed.  He paid quickly and walked a little too fast to the car.

     The police officer hadn’t really been interested in the man.  He was just some guy at the gas station.  It was the man’s obvious nervousness that piqued the police officer’s curiosity.  He noticed the young woman in the car.  There was nothing special about her, nothing out of place.  She looked sad.  He wondered briefly why she looked so sad.  He looked at the car, the plates.  They’ve come far from home, these two.

     The police officer was going to just get in his car and drive away.  The man seemed so nervous.  Why?  The man seemed to become downright agitated over the officer looking at the girl.

     He watched the man walk to the little store.  He walked too stiffly, as if it was all he could do not to bolt and run.

     He ran the plates.

#

     The man got in the car, started it, and pulled away.

     The girl turned and looked at him, her eyes blank, unfeeling, uncaring.

     “You’re scared,” she said.

     “Of what?” the man said a little too gruffly.

     “I don’t know.  What are you scared of?”

     “Nothing.”

     She turned to look behind them, at the police car now out of sight.  The cop had been doing something in the car when they left.

     “The cop?”

     “No.”

     “Then why are you in such a hurry?”

     “I’m not.”

     “You’re driving too fast.”

     “So?”

     “You’re running, trying to get away.”

     He wanted her to shut up.

     “You killed Matt,” she said emotionlessly, her voice sounding dead.  She felt dead.

     “No, I didn’t.”

     “You were there.”

     “It was an accident.”

     “You killed him, and then you took me.”

     “No.”

     “You didn’t take me?”

     “Ok, yes I did.”

     “So,” she paused, “you killed him.”

     “Yes, I mean, no.”

     She stared at him, couldn’t look at him anymore, and looked away, staring out the window.

     The man drove.  He didn’t like that cop.  He’d looked too long and hard at him, the girl, and at the car.  He had to get as far away from there as he could.

     “Why did you kill Matt?” she asked, her voice bland and empty.  She felt empty.

     “I didn’t.”

     “Was it because I loved him?”

     “No.”

     “Because he loved me?”

     “No.  I didn’t kill him.”

     “You were there.  You’re always there.”

     “It was an accident.”

     “An accident.  Your killing him?”

     “Yes, no.  I mean no.”  Why wouldn’t she just shut up?  He felt like hitting her, making her shut up.

     “You wanted me.”

     “Yes.”

     “At all costs.”

     “No cost.  No cost could be worthy of you.”

     She saw Matt, standing there, looking at her in her mind’s eye.  He looked sad.

     “You killed him because you couldn’t have me.”

     “Yes, no.  I mean, I couldn’t have you.  You loved him.  It was only an accident.”

     “Nothing’s an accident.”

#

     The man pulled off the road.  There was nothing around here.  Field, trees, one of those large hydro towers not far off, the kind that have power lines strung across them from tower to tower but look like they should be in a giant’s playground.  Giant ugly monkey bars in a row that vanishes in the distance and strung together with cables.

     He sat there, thinking.  He didn’t know what to do.

     “They’re going to find you, you know.”

     “Maybe.”

     “They’ll take her away.”

     “I won’t let them.”

     “She wants to go.”

     “I won’t let her.”

     “You can’t run, you know.”

     “Sure I can.”

     “You’re lousy at it, I mean.  There’s only a few roads out of that town.  You won’t be hard to find.”

     “Maybe.”

#

     “Do you have to pee?” the man asked the girl.

     She just shrugged noncommittally.

     “If you do, you should do it now.”

     She got out of the car and looked around.

     “There’s no place to pee,” she said.

     “Go behind a bush,” he said.

     He watched her wander off.  He thought about following her, putting his hands around her neck, squeezing.

     He heard distant sirens.  He froze, listening.  He turned this way and that, looking, couldn’t see anything coming.  There was a bend in the road going both ways.  He was getting more scared.  He might lose her.  He might really lose her.

     “Where’s the girl?”

     “She’s ok, just peeing.  Not far.”

     “Where?”

     He looked, couldn’t see her.  He got out of the car, started walking, walking in circles, looking, looking in circles.  Panic filled him.  He had to find her.  Now!

     He finally spotted her.

#

     The girl looked down.  The bar she sat on was very uncomfortable, digging in.  At least she felt it.  She didn’t feel anything.  It was a long way down.  The tower was very high, she was very high.

     She saw Matt’s face.  He wasn’t smiling.  He looked sad.

     “Matt.”

#

     “Come down,” the man yelled.  His heart was in his throat, choking him.  He couldn’t breathe.  He stared at the girl.  She was so high, so high.

     She leaned forward, dangerously.

     “No!” he wanted to yell, but didn’t.

     He stared at her, unable to look away, knowing what was coming, not knowing what was coming.

     He saw Matt’s face.  He wasn’t smiling.  He wasn’t scared either.  He just stared back at him, calmly, looking sad.  So very sad.  The boy never struggled when he pushed him.  He probably knew there was no point, that he would die regardless.  The boy had only stared at him, so sad.  Then, as he toppled past the brink, past the point of return, he whispered her name.  That had been all he said, that name, whispered so softly, caressed so gently, so lovingly, across his lips.  And he was gone.  A dull thud moments later.  He’d thought he felt him hit the ground, but wasn’t sure.  It could have been his imagination.

#

     She saw Matt’s face.  Sad, so very sad.  He whispered her name.

     She leaned forward, not seeing, seeing only his face, not feeling.

     Falling.  Falling.

     “Matt,” she whispered, the word softly caressing her lips.

     Moments later, a dull thud.

Bookmark Falling by L.V. Gaudet (Murder/Mystery Short Fiction)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: