Purple

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The room was decorated in Marnie’s  trademark girlish fashion – bursting with pink and lace.  I stood out like a fly in the punchbowl.  I wasn’t invited.  Not to the bridal luncheon, and definitely not to the wedding.  Our friendship was long dead.  I was only there to show Marnie there were no hard feelings.  I smiled warmly as she gratefully accepted the wrapped gift from my arms.

When I heard the loud burst from the hallway, imagining Marnie’s ivory dress dripping with purple ink, I smiled wider. On second thought, I’ve never been that forgiving.

 

A sort of sideways take on the Moral Mondays prompt, which is Bless Those Who Curse You.

 

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Drill

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It was clear that Bianca, the nervous patient fidgeting in the reclined chair, didn’t remember her. But Lauren, Dr. Asher to all of her patients, certainly remembered every cruel word Bianca had ever said, despite the intervening decades.

“Is it going to hurt much? No offense, but I hate coming to the dentist,” Bianca squeaked.

“It won’t hurt a bit,” Lauren said with a placid smile as she wielded the drill. She asked her assistant to shut the door.

 

The Six Sentence Story prompt this week is Drill.

Beacon

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The night had started well.  She could remember his playful laugh, the way she felt his eyes lingering on her as she walked away.  You can look, but you can’t touch, she’d thought with a giggle.

She looked at him now, slumped over in the passenger seat.  She stopped in an abandoned lot, dark and still at 3 AM, but bustling in a few short hours.  She let his body tumble onto the wet asphalt, the mysterious drug he’d intended for her still coursing through his veins.

She stared at the word written on his forehead in crimson before driving away.

RAPIST.

 

The Moral Mondays prompt this week is Look, Don’t Touch.

Thursday Thriller – Descent

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Read Part 1 – Watched

Read Part 2 – Watcher

Read Part 3 – Harmless

Read Part 4 – Caught

She didn’t dance any longer.  She couldn’t.  Not after what Liz had done.   That last, violent confrontation.  A hotel maid had found her hours later, unconscious, in a pool of her own blood.  Liz was long gone.  Marley told the authorities the whole story once she recovered, but it was too late.  Liz seemed to have disappeared.

At first, it was easy to forget.  There was a flurry of activity around her.  The ballet dedicated a performance to her, honoring her onstage at the end with an award and a gorgeous bouquet of white lilies, which used to be her favorite.  She never told anyone that Liz used to send those to her too, always with a hidden, hateful message enclosed.  Friends invited her out, threw parties in her honor, her phone rang day and night.  But seasons change and people are fickle.  Marley had nothing to offer the world any longer, now that the one thing that set her apart was gone.  The attention faded, and she became something she’d never been in her entire life.  Ordinary.

She spent hours alone in her stuffy apartment, the sickly sweet smell of those dead flowers she couldn’t bring herself to throw out for some reason suffocating her.  Liz Randall.  That name swam in the darkness before her when she closed her eyes.  It had taken her a year.  A year of her slowly descending, retreating, hiding.  But she’d found her.

The door was open.  Liz was confident she would never be found.  Or just stupid.  Marley stepped into the tiny, squalid house, the oppressive heat and the stench of rotting garbage and animal waste bearing down on her.  Liz was sitting in a beat up metal chair, facing the window, her back to the front door.  She turned when she heard Marley’s footsteps.  Her mud brown hair was matted and filthy, a dribble of red sauce, from the pizza she’d just consumed Marley deduced from the greasy box on the kitchen floor, ran down her chubby chin. There was no surprise on her face as Marley approached.   She just closed her tiny, dark eyes as Marley raised the gun, knowing it would all be over soon.

*

Speeding home on a meticulously plotted route, Marley felt lighter than the breeze blowing through her hair.  She was finally free.  Somehow, she knew she would find a way to dance again.

 

 

Thursday Thriller – Watcher

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Read Part 1 – Watched

Marley and I were friends in high school.  She was a star.  The lead in every play.  A perfect, graceful dancer.  Popular, yet gracious and kind to everyone.  After each school play, she invited the entire cast back to her house for an after-party, including those of us on the crew, like me.   Once, she even let me see her room.  It smelled like her, sweet and airy, like rosewater.  There was a stack of laundry sitting in a basket on the floor and I slipped one of her shirts in my pocket when she wasn’t looking.  Sometimes, I wore it to school, under my clothes.  It was special and secret, like our friendship.

Everyone else just ignored me, but not Marley.  She spoke to me every time she saw me in the halls, even if she was with her popular friends, the pretty girls who looked down their noses at me.

“Hi Liz,” she would say, offering me her usual sunny smile.  “Have a great day!”

“You too!”  I’d beam back at her.

When I found out she was performing in New York, I drove 12 hours to see her dance.  I stood outside the theater in the frigid cold for over two hours, waiting for her to come out.

“Hi everyone!”  She greeted the fans with a wave and the same bright smile, stopping to sign a few programs.

“Hi Marley!”  I shouted.  She turned to me.  This is it,  I thought to myself.  The moment she would tell them to move the barrier that stood between us, that I was her friend.  She’d invite me out for coffee where we’d catch up and laugh about old times.  There was no recognition in her eyes.  She smiled at me blandly, the same way she’d smiled at everyone else, scribbling her name on my program before she was whisked away to a waiting car. I didn’t want her pathetic autograph.

The crowd dispersed.  People stared at me strangely as I tossed my signed program in the trash and stormed off.  That was the moment I decided she would pay.

I’m watching her now.  She thinks she’s safe, moving so far away, changing her name.  But I’ve found her.  I’ll always find her.  The music ends.  She looks up, right into the camera lens, slowly stepping closer.  Her hand covers the monitor and the screen goes black.

Read Part 3 – Harmless

Thursday Thriller – Reunion

 

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Read Part 1 – Wallflower

Read Part 2 – Smoke

Read Part 3 – Fury 

Present Day

As I watch Cat and Charles, I think back to my escape from that burning house.  The violent pain in my leg, which I limped on painfully through the woods until I reached the main road.  Hitching to Alma’s house and grabbing the rest of my saved cash.  Starting over.

I keep drinking, thinking I need the liquid courage, but it only weakens my resolve.  I’m going to go home. I finally conclude.  Why am I even here?  I ask myself.  What’s done is done.  I have a good, if dull, life now.  Everyone’s moved on and it’s time I did too.

In the parking lot, I’m trying to decide if I’m good to drive or if I need to call someone, when a pair of powerful hands grabs me from behind.

I wake up in the trunk of a moving car.  My mouth is taped.  I’m not afraid, just angry and humiliated.  I’d been so foolish, thinking I was going to out all of them to the community, ruin their lives, make them suffer the way I had.

The car stops, and the trunk opens shortly after.  Cat’s face is the first one I see.  Meredith, Tommy, Laura, and Charles surround her.  Cat’s crying softly.  A gun gleams in the moonlight from Tommy’s hand.

“I never meant for any of this to happen, Casey.  I’m sorry.”  Cat tells me through her tears.  I look at her, making eye contact, and I nod.  I forgive her.  I forgive them all.  Why not?  I never really existed anyway.  None of it matters.  No one will look for me when I’m gone.

Charles looks at the ground as Meredith leans into the trunk, her lips snarled.  “You should have stayed away.  We won’t let you ruin everything we’ve all worked for.”

Tommy steps closer, until the gun is almost pressed against my temple.  I close my eyes, wanting it to be over, when I hear a scream.

“No!” Cat yells, knocking the gun from Tommy’s hand.  It goes off, grazing Meredith’s shoulder.  During the ensuing confusion, Cat pulls me from the trunk and we race deep into the woods as more gunshots sound in the distance.  I look at Cat, adrenaline churning through my veins, and, even though I have every reason not to, I smile.  No matter what happens, we are Cat-n-Casey once again.

 

 

Thursday Thriller – For Anna

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“Jess!”  He exclaims as I come in the room.  He always exclaims when I come in the room, like I’m a long-lost friend, not an office minion who works in the cubicle just outside his palatial corner office.  He’s almost right though.  We have a history.

“Hi, Gregg.  I pulled your car around front.”

He claps his hands together and smiles as though it’s the greatest news he’s ever heard.  “Great.  Ride down with me?”

“Sure.”

We’re silent in the elevator on the way to the lobby, which is unusual for Gregg.  He always seems eager to fill the silences whenever I’m in the room.  He’s uncomfortable alone with me, yet he always seems to want to be alone with me.  I push the red button.

“What is it?”  He looks at me with a mixture of titillation and confusion.  I step closer, snaking my arm around his waist.  His body feels chiseled and muscular beneath his suit.  He smells like rich leather.  I stand on my tiptoes so I can whisper in his ear.

“She told me about you, you know.  She told me what you did.”

I step backwards, so I can see his eyes widening with realization.  The framed picture on my desk of my childhood best friend, Anna. Our mutual acquaintance.  The funeral I attended just last week, the life she decided she didn’t want to live any longer.

“I was just a kid…” he sputters.

“You were old enough to know better.”  I turn away from him and press the release button.  We’re moving again.

When the doors open again, he pushes past me in his haste to get out of my presence, racing across the marble floors to the revolving front door.  I stand at the curb and watch him zoom out the parking lot much faster than normal.  I don’t flinch as he loses control of the car and smashes into the dividing wall, turning his car into a pile of bent metal and smoke.

UPDATE

Written for the Story a Day prompt – Write what you know.  Write a list of things you know about. Pick one. Give that knowledge to a character.

My inspiration – as a child, a friend told me about something awful another kid had done to her and swore me to secrecy.

New Girl

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It didn’t take him very long to realize something wasn’t right.  The address she’d given him wasn’t for a restaurant, but a private home.  Anya answered the door almost immediately.

“Simon!  You made it!”  She was just as beautiful as her profile pic, if not more.  “Make yourself comfortable.”  She scurried back to the kitchen.

A framed photo caught his eye.  The chubby, sad girl behind the glass somehow familiar.  They’d gone to school together.  He reddened, remembering how he’d treated her.

“I figured you wouldn’t recognize me.” Anya stood in the doorway.

“Why have me come here?”

“Are you really asking that?”

Simon looked down at his shoes, high school memories rushing over him.

“I’m sorry, Anya.  I really am.”

She nodded.

“I have to go.”

Later, she  opened her high school yearbook and drew a dark line through Simon’s photo.

“Five down, five to go,” she whispered.

 

Written for the Miniature Writing Challenge