Category Archives: Short Stories
“I can’t believe that’s how it happened… how it finally happened”
Sometime the tension that builds in the silence after a comment takes on its own persona, like a third entity sitting menacingly on the console between the driver and passenger seats.
“O my god Jamie, I have to pull over, I don’t feel right.”
The red Mercury pulls off to the side of the road and the boy anxiously puts the car in park.
“What’s wrong” is the first interjection that Jamie has made since it happened.
Raising his head and removing his hands from his face in an attempt to make eye contact he says “I just thought…I always thought it would be different.” Jamie still hasn’t turned her head towards him, instead she remains staring at the windshield as though she were trying to melt it.
“It’s getting late Eran, please just take me home, my mom’s already suspicious.”
Without another word the red Mercury starts back up the street. It is that time of the evening when almost all of the light has faded into a gray world of shadows, shadows that play tricks on the mind as they dance and jump off the road in front of you. As the car is approaching the intersection on the edge of town dividing the rural landscape from the suburban atmosphere, Eran shoots an uneasy glance towards Jamie. There are tears running down her pale face.
“Jamie! Jamie whats wrong. Please, please let me help.” Jamie bursts out into sporadic sobs, yet still stares straight ahead. Eran is crying too.
“Jamie. I do not know what to do. I’ll do anything, anything, just tell me.” She hardly has the strength or the capacity to make a coherent plea, but she does: it comes out in a gargul.
“Take me to see him.”
“I want to see him!”
“Are we even allowed. It’s getting dark.”
“You said you would do anything, you promised!”
Any light that had remained glimmering on the edge of the shadows is now gone. The couple are now driving down the highway and the light from Eran’s headlights bounces in all directions off of the red reflectors as the couple speed towards their destination.
“Turn them off.” Jamie whispers.
“What are you talking about?”
“Turn the headlights off!” Jamie’s command comes out in a sharp hiss.
“I don’t think -”
“If there is one thing I have ever known Eran, that I have ever known for sure, it is how much I hate those headlights right now. Turn them off” Jamie has become eerily striking and composed.
The highway which had previously had only one visible inhabitant is now seemingly deserted as they continue their drive in the silence.
It was nearly 9 o’clock when their journey had come to its end. Had you been observing the scene from afar, you would have seen something like this. The red light on Atherton Street turns green, and a maroon Mercury with its headlights turned off turns right and again immediately turns right onto the road leading into the graveyard running parallel to Atherton Street. You would have heard the engine go silent and the clicking of the passenger door as it opens and slams shut followed by the rustling of the grass as a young girl dressed in tight jeans and a white t-shirt whose brown hair bounced on her shoulders as she walked amongst the graves. You would have seen her as she approached the road. When she stopped to look back, a teenage boy, short with messy blonde hair stepped out of the driver’s seat with a look bearing a mixture of reverence and horror slowly walked towards her. You would have seen the girl walking until she reached the final row of graves before Atherton Street, and the boy, 20 yards behind, stop while she stands several feet in front of a marble tombstone.
The leaves rustle in the wind as the cars seem to silently jet by.Eran is overcome with concern as Jamie fixes her eyes on the grave of her father. Coming up behind her he puts a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t touch me!”
“I’m sorry, I – ”
“It’s him you should be apologizing too!”
“Jamie, what are we doing? I never meant to -”
“You don’t understand! Why don’t you understand?”
Eran goes to speak but can not find the words and instead approaches the tombstone. As first he says nothing, then he begins in a whisper, almost pleading.
“Your daughter means everything to me… I’ll take care of her I promise… I have to – no, I need to… I just don’t know how. She needs someone stronger. She needs…” Eran can not finish because he is crying hysterically as he drops to his knees.
“I can’t do it! God help me please! I can’t do it myself. I can’t! Help!”
Eran continues to moan, rolling in the cool grass, expecting Jamie’s warming touch to come but it never does.
If you had been watching this scene from afar, you would have seen a boy, broken, laying amongst the dead. If you were watching from afar, you would have seen a girl, coolly composed, walk away into the darkness.
A man and a woman sit in the middle of a sun room, at a high mahogany table. The walls are covered with various paintings, Van Gough’s Starry Night hangs in the corner opposite the plasma screen television, above the mantle of the fireplace. Sunlight shines in from the frigid air outside through the window, beating down onto the already heated floor. The couple are sharing a dinner together, sitting at the table.
It is the man who speaks first.
“I think a king would be good. No, a king is too much, a queen should do”
“I want a small bed so that even when we fight you can’t get away from me” The woman interjects.
“We get along, we won’t fight” says the man starring at his mashed potatoes which are being shoveled onto his fork.
“That’s what I thought about me and John” the woman’s potatoes sit untouched, the view of which is being blocked out by the long brown hair hanging down in her face.
“Wouldn’t a small bed be the most romantic thing Mark?” Maggie’s green eyes open wide, and pushing her food aside she moves closer to Mark.
Mark, looking up makes eye contact with Maggie as he brushes away the strands of greasy black hair.
“I have to make a run back to the store after dinner, we forgot milk” he says
“I remember the first time you looked in my eyes” Maggie says. A smile widens across her face
“You thought they were so beautiful. Then when you kissed me -”
“That was a long time ago”
“Do you remember when you met me at Stacy’s wedding? You had only just met me, but still you snuck into my room. John could have come back any moment, but you didn’t care. I knew then how much you loved me”
“That was a foolish thing for me to do, if I was your husband and it were me you were cheating on I would have shot you and him both” Mark who has finished his dinner, now stands up.
“Don’t be silly darling. I never loved John, he was not like you. Oh you look so manly, so commanding”
“Don’t be ridiculous Maggie, he was still your husband. Will you do the dishes while I’m gone?”
“Of course, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you my love.”
By the time I recognize this moment, this moment will be gone, I will bend the light pretending that it somehow lingered on… The smooth tone of male vocals can be heard floating on the air from the surround sound speakers.
Mark opens the door and without acknowledging Maggie’s expression of love, walks out.
Maggie did not move, she was watching the shadows overcome the brightness of the light dancing off the well decorated walls. A phrase her mother had always said was now sticking out in her mind.
“The grass is always greener on the other side”
Indeed it was. Sometimes in the Spring the grass would seem so green and unreal after a long winter, almost as though it were a dream. Inevitably time goes on and the heat builds, until finally nothing is left but the hard dirt where the now scorched grass once sat. Then autumn would roll along and one morning you would wake up to the scent of freshly mowed grass seeping in through your open window, and you wouldn’t believe that it had returned. But alas winter comes with no particular wonder and the harsh cold takes all the grass with it, covering everything in white. It was in the bitterness of winter that you realized the grass would never remain green.
There is silence except for the song now coming to an end in the background.
The rock candy’s melted only diamonds now remain..
She thought of John and she thought of Mark. Outside the sun sank down below the horizon and the light that remained was now gone, leaving nothing but darkness and a cold uneaten dinner. The snow was coming down silently, covering the grass.