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.