Blood Across My Screen

Albrecht_Dürer_Oswolt_Krel

 

Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy unblinking eyes. Deep and haunting. Surrounded by the blood pouring down her forehead.  Her left hand reaching for my forearm as I work feverishly to undo her seat belt.  Her breathing is laboring, a gargling sound with each heave of her chest.  My mind races with the endless possibilities I am currently facing. I find myself in this perilous situation alone on a long stretch of south Louisiana country road in near total darkness. Her phone, still in her right hand, provides me with the only light inside the car.  It lights up with every text received from someone who is a total stranger to me.  “911!” I think as I pull myself from inside her window and reach in my pocket for my phone.  I run my finger across the screen to unlock it.  The light now reveals my home screen streaked with her blood and the zero coverage sign on the top bar.  “Shit, what do I do?” I say out loud.  I look both directions on the highway and see the beautiful stars among the large oak trees towering above us.  “The heavens” I think briefly.  The sound of movement inside the car reminds me of the grave situation I find myself in. I stick my body inside and feel her chest rise against my ear as I reach for the seat belt a second time. I hear that deep gargle sound again and a faint “I don’t want to die.” She she is aware of the situation.  “How do the hell I help her?” I think as I wrestle with the seat belt.   I am just a 16 year old farm boy returning home from my grandmothers house when I stumbled into this awful situation. Now, in what seems like only seconds since I arrived, a life before me is slipping away in front my very eyes.  I take a deep breath as the seat belt finally unfastens.  My brain finally registers the smell of burned rubber, gasoline and alcohol.  “What do I do?” I yell as I again pull myself from inside the window.  I attempt to open the door to the car to no avail.  “Miss!  Miss!” I say in a panicked voice.  “Can you hear me?”  The only response I receive is yet another laboring breath.  My mind goes blank. Suddenly I hear a man telling me to get in my car and drive to the next house for help.  I oblige and race to a farm house about two miles south of the accident.  I quickly exit my car and run to the front door.  I knock vigorously.  “I need help!” I yell into the door.  I hear footsteps between my gasping breath.  I look at my feet as the door opens and the light from within shines upon me.  As my eyes slowly work their way from my feet to my shirt and dangling arms I notice I am covered in blood.  I hurriedly tell the man of the situation as he hurriedly pulls me inside the foyer.  He yells to his wife, still out of sight to me, to call 911 while he quickly puts his boots on.  “You stay here with my wife while I head to the scene.”  My body trembles as I notice the injured lady’s handprint on my blood covered forearm.  The farmer’s wife calls me into the living room where she ask for the number to call my parents.  I stood in silence waiting for their arrival.

Now, two days later I stand next to this painting in the hallway of the town funeral home. I am staring at it intensely oblivious to my current surroundings.  I am here at the request of the parents of Shelia Dowling, the young lady I tried to assist on that dark country road. The funeral home employee has gone to tell them of my arrival.  I am scared beyond belief. I don’t know anything about her injuries or eventual passing.  I didn’t read about the accident though my mother told me it was on page two of the daily paper and the internet.  I feel just as helpless as I did that night.  If I leave these men in the painting and walk down the hallway I will certainly see the body of the lady I struggled alone to help.  I have never seen a dead body before.  “What do I say to them?” I think to myself. I was absolutely NO help to their daughter. And I know no one here. I am alone.  My mind not able to erase the vision Shelia’s eyes accompanied by the sounds of her struggling for air.  I am shaking as the parents approach me. The employee quietly introduces us.  “Micheal, meet Evelyn and Sterling Dowling. They are Shelia’s parents and are very happy that you came today.”

Mr. Dowling is the first to extend his hand for mine.  As we shake hands I look at the face of Mrs. Evelyn and notice the red cheeks and swollen eyes.  After my hand is freed, I reach out and hug her.  In a trembling voice I say “I am so sorry.”  I then let out a river of tears accompanied  by my loud wailing as if it was my own family member loss that evening.  I feel the father’s hand on my back and here his words “We are so proud how brave you were to offer help to our daughter.  I am sure your presence gave her much comfort and for that we are forever grateful.” Mrs. Eveyln held me tightly and stroked my back. “Wipe your tears Michael,” she says calmly. “You are a wonderful young man and I wish you nothing but the best in your future.  You will forever be in our thoughts and prayers.”  I wiped my face with a kleenex offered by the funeral home worker.  The visit is brief. The mother kisses me on the cheek and says thank you once again.  I promptly turn around and  walk out into the hot and humid Louisiana air.  As i walk to my car, I understand that I was forever changed.  I will be forever connected to Sheila Dowling though we only came into contact for five minutes of my sixteen plus years on this planet. I will never forget her. I hope to meet her again.

 

This work of fiction was written for The Speak Easy #162 at Yeah Write

Their Souls Weep

The silence broken by breaking waves

moving sand inward then outward.

Into the vastness and endless blue water

that have taken many a soul over time.

Listen to the howl of the crashing waves

or the slight whistle of the waters breeze.

And hear those lost at sea

cry for help from the depths below.

They couldn’t escape the waters grasp

nor nature’s wrath.

Their last breath taken away by

the very beautiful waters before us.

Hear their cries in the waves.

Feel their tears in the mist.

We see beauty from the beach while

they saw a beast from below.

Now their souls weep.

May we honor them forever.

This was written for The Mag #159

A Mother’s Love

copyright - Jennifer Pendergast

I lay on my back staring at the light above. Alone. Why would anyone want to be here? I am hated by most, including my kids.

I saw my mother’s face above.

“I knew I would die alone, Mama.  I have lived terrible life.  Lies. Manipulation. Hate. No one cares and I don’t blame them,” I confessed.

A tear formed in the corner of my eye.  I felt its coolness as it slowly ran down my cheek onto my earlobe. I labored to breathe. The light above intensely bright in the center yet blurry outward. 

“You’re not alone,” she whispered.

This is fiction written for FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

Join the fun!

Alone; The Journal of PFC Patterson

With Anthony gone, Arlene sat alone on the couch staring at the journal on the coffee table before her.  Her eyes glanced up from it to the window. The rain ran down the panes like blood must have on her son.  She took a sip of wine and placed the glass next to the journal. The plastic bag holding it was worn and dirty with grains of sand that once touched his hands.  The room was eerily quiet.  Her emotions swayed from anger to sadness.  

Why did he send the journal to her?  Wasn’t losing him enough! Now must she read his own words.  She was frozen in the moment.  Too scared to open the journal, she stood up and walked towards the wall holding his pictures.  The pain of losing Michael was as agonizing now as it was when two Marines in uniform delivered the devastating news last November. 

This is fiction written for VisDare.  This work was inspired by the photo and written for the ongoing story The Journal of PFC Patterson.  Stop by and read more about a mother dealing with the loss of her only son in Iraq and the turmoil created after reading his journal.

Father or Facade?

Copyright – Beth Carter

Cleaning out his drawers I found numerous photos of women.  Who were they?  Does he know them?  Are these pictures the reason he didn’t come home so many nights?  I must dispose of them before mama sees them.  I don’t know what her response would be but it’s a moot point.  What a waste of a man.  A father.  

The town loved him. The big shots who frequent the bars worshiped him.  He was a well-respected citizen in the community.  His funeral services at the church Monday overflowed with people paying their final respects.  His life was a facade.  He lied to all of them too.  But they didn’t live within these walls to know the real him. 

This is fiction written for FRIDAY FICTIONEERS

THE CHALLENGE:

Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.

THE KEY:

Make every word count.

Join the fun!

Too Long

We go through life not knowing those we once knew.

I hadn’t seen you in what feels like light years.

Now you are gone.

So sad.

Why did you leave us so soon?

In memory of my cousin Faye.

This was written for Trifextra: Week fifty-five.

For this weekend’s challenge we’re asking you to include some hyperbole in your piece.  It doesn’t have to be the whole piece, but it needs to be in there, and we’re looking for 33 words, as usual.

Sounds Within Silence

The projectiles scream in flight,
ripping flesh howls in pain.
The grunting floor absorbs the fallen.
Silence yells as life ceases.
Blood spitting onto white carpet.
Four walls cry at the view below.

This was difficult for me.  Not sure if I got the essance of personifaction.

This was written for Trifextra: Week Fifty-two

We want you to give us a 33-word example of personification.  Wait.  What?  You forget what that is?  It’s the practice of attaching human traits and characteristics with inanimate objects, pheomena and animals. (http://literary-devices.com).

He Deserved It

Another day, another sensless murder.  Shit, when will this end? 

I joined homicide fourteen years ago.  I never imagined the amount of cases would increase so much yearly.  My cell phone rings at all hours of the day.  On a dinner date with my girlfriend.  On the shitter reading a Steven King novel.  At my son’s eleventh birthday celebration.  During triathlon training.  I suppose there is never a good time for a murder. 

Today a shooting interrupts my church service.  Nothing like my phone vibrating when in line for communion.  Is this a good time to say “Holy” crap”?  I slowly step out of line, do my best sign of the cross facing the altar then exit the church.  Out the door I go into a beautiful sunny day.  A day that others will enjoy.  A day I will see yet another dead body. Probably someone far too young to be laying face down on a sidewalk or in an abandoned home infested with needles.  I won’t see a beautiful day for a week or so when I able to purge yet another unsitely scene from my mind.  I hate my job!  I love my job.  It’s all I know how to do. 

I arrive at the scene and meet with the officer in charge.

“Detective Marshal, I am Officer Brently,” he says.

“Nice to meet you Brently, what do we have.”

“Fifteen year old shot his dad.  Mother was out drinking.  He’s an only child,” he explains matter of factly.

As always I am baffled by society .  Senseless.  It is all senseless.  It’s like the old west.  Everyone enforces their own law.  Why do I do this?  Fifteen years old.  I don’t know his story but I am sure it isn’t a pleasant one.

“Where is the suspect?”

“In my car.”

“Did he say anything that I should know about before I start my investigation?”

“All he said was he deserved it.  Aint it a bitch.”

In homicide it sure is.

This is fiction.  Written for Trifecta Writing Challenge Week Sixty-One

This week’s word is:
BITCH (noun)

1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals 2 a : a lewd or immoral woman    b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse 3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant
Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

Relief

This post was written for Father Friday.  Click HERE to read about it.

It was a Tuesday morning, the last week of high school for me.  It was finals week.  Ah, how nice!  Done with school.  I parked on the one way side street as I did each day my senior year.   A group of us always parked here and talked before the bell rang for home room.  I headed to home room after the bell and sat at my regular seat.  My teacher, Mrs. Jones said “Ronald to go the counselors office and see Mr. Smith.  Take your books with you too please.”

Off I went for the walk across our open campus.  I crossed one street wondering if my transcripts were for some reason messed up.  “Am I going to graduate this week?” were my thoughts.  I walked into the office and the student aide said just go into Mr. Smith’s office.  Now he was a very nervous acting man.  I walked in and he stood up and said “I need to take you to the hospital, something happened to your father.” 

“I drove to school, I can take my car” I replied.  I thought nothing of it.  My dad had been hospitalized many times before for various reasons, many concerning his heart. 

“No, I must take you.  Leave your books here and don’t worry about finals.  I will take care of everything.”

That was my clue that something was not right.  I graduate in less than ten days, why would he say not to worry about finals.  We got into his car and headed off campus.  He said nothing.  My mind raced with different thoughts, but for some strange reason I knew.  As we pulled up in front of the entrance to the hospital,  Mr. Smith looked at me and said “everything at school will be taken care of.  I am sorry.”

I stepped out the car and walked towards the entrance to the visitors lobby of the hospital.  At the door was a classmates mom and nurse, Mrs. Russo.  I am from a small town in Cajun country of south Louisiana where you know most everyone in your town.  I have known Mrs. Russo all my life.  I walk up to her and she simply says “I am sorry Ronald” and hugged me.  I now see my mom sitting on the couch in the lobby with my Aunt Sydney beside her.  My dad’s youngest brother is there already. 

I don’t know how you are supposed to react in that moment. I know I acted differently that I thought I would. I thought about this moment often growing up.  I just knew I would throw myself on the ground, beating  it with my fists asking “Why?”.  I remember walking by his room some days while he napped and I would stop to make sure he was breathing. I did this the Saturday that had just passed. We were mowing the lawn when he stopped and said he didn’t feel good and needed to rest.  I mostly worried about him killing himself in a car accident after stopping at the bar after work, which was a regular occurrence.  My reaction was nothing I had thought about.  I just quietly walked to my mom and hugged her.  Then my aunt.  And my uncle.  There were no tears shed at that moment.  For me, mostly silence as other family members gathered in the lobby. My uncle took me into the hall of the hospital and talked to me about going to my house and chosing a suit for my dad.  As I stood talking to him the funeral home workers were wheeling my dad’s body down the hall in the opposite direction.  He then said he had to go break the news to my grandmother.  I returned to the lobby and was hugged by more family members.  Finally it was agreed that my mom would go to my aunt’s house and I would go to ours and chose a suit to take to the funeral home.  Off I went.

I had a friend bring me from the hospital to my car, which was still parked along the side street near school.  I don’t recall the conversation any longer if there even was one.  I got in my car and drove the five-miles to my home in the country.  I suppose it was being alone for the first time this morning that my mind started to wander.  Where it settled was a surprising place and one that is so very clear even to this very day.

Relief.

It was over.  I didn’t have to worry about being yelled at any longer.  I didn’t have to worry about what he would call my mom after a few drinks.  I didn’t have to worry about him being killed in a car accident.  I didn’t have to worry about his mood.  I didn’t have to worry.  It was like I was free.  I recall feeling a physical lightness to my body.  Relief.

Now that is not to say despite all he put me through I didn’t love him cause I did.  That is why I worried so much I suppose.  I don’t feel bad that my first real feeling was relief.  It’s not hard to tell people about my feelings at that moment.  I am sure it is very different from how otheres would feel upon learning of the death of their father.  For me, it is what it is and I make no apologies for it. 

Maybe some who will read this can relate to my feelings at that time.  I am sure many people will be horrified to read how I felt.  If you knew the truth, you to would have be relieved.

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo