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March 29, 2011

My @IndieInk challenge from @Lazidaisical: You (or your fictional character) wake up next to pieces of paper scrawled with strange symbols, breath smelling/tasting of metal and lavender. What happened prior to you falling asleep?


She feels dead inside.

He was there when she fell asleep.

He was gone when she awoke.

That’s what she’ll always remember. Not that he’s gone. Because that will never change. That she can accept.

No, what she can’t accept is that she was there. He was with her, by her side, entwined in her limbs, hand in hand. And still she didn’t know.

His heart, her heart.

Still she couldn’t stop him.

She had breathed him all night. His scent of wood, wax, strength, sweetness, love, possession, desire, sex – she buried herself in his neck as she always did, her favorite place in the world to be. She claimed her spot, not that he ever minded. His fingers would play up and down her back, massaging her in circles, relaxing her into sleep.

Her inhale, his exhale.

She woke up to find him gone; he had made her favorite drink, his special blend of green tea and lavender. As he did every morning. He knew she loved the scent. He knew she liked to start her day slowly, quietly.

As she took her first sip, she noticed the flutter of papers floating by. Had he left the window open? He was always so careful to lock up. Her body chilled. The first sign something wasn’t right, was so incredibly not right. Her subconscious knew then what the scrap of paper warning was trying to say.

He’s not coming back.

She grabbed a scrap – symbols, drops of red. It made no sense. Her heart sank. She knew it didn’t matter. The lavender scent took on a rank metallic stench, making her want to retch.

She remembers dropping the cup, watching the tea stain their much-derided white carpet.

She wonders now—if she had woken up, would she have smelled his sadness, his desperation, his detached air? 

His death, her breath.

He told her once, she remembers, these two words have no other rhyme but each other.

If she could go back, she thinks…

She would open her eyes, instead of her heart.

Comments welcome, retweets and mentions loved.

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  1. Haunting, heartbreaking, and beautiful.

  2. What I loved most of all was all the questions you left unanswered. This was so powerful in its simplicity.

  3. Rachel,this is simply amazing. Heartbreaking, but beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  4. To open her eyes instead of her heart, what a brilliant way to capture the recklessness of love. This was a beautiful response to a great challenge.

  5. haunting and beautiful and evocative.. and I love the reckless love that Karla mentioned!

  6. Well done, Rachel. I, too, appreciated the line — To open her eyes instead of her heart.

  7. Ha! This turned out great! I don't think I expected the prompt to take the form of a doomed romance. Great surprise! And written so provocatively. I loved it!

  8. Beautiful. The language, emotion evoked, and use of the prompt to dig deep into something raw and real is fabulous!

  9. Thanks everyone SO much for your comments on this post.

    I loved creating this fictional character and seeing where this took me. Initially, I was going to go sci-fi with it, but that ended up being too silly. I enjoy writing about the male/female dynamic and the prompt gave me such a great visual to work with.

    I'm glad you all enjoyed the result.

  10. Hauntingly beautiful! There is a lesson here, if only we all knew to open our eyes before our hearts. (Hugs)Indigo

  11. Sheilagh Lee permalink

    that gave me tingles the good kind great short story.

  12. Loved the story…it was crisp and biting. I could feel her pain as she slowly awakened to her new reality. It is so much harder to see than to feel.

  13. Marjorie McAtee permalink

    Excuse me while I go and have a cry.

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