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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short story I wrote for my final project in Creative Writing class in college.


Wax-pressed, rubbed into lines; colors dance unrestricted on the sea of white, fulfilling the choreographer's dreams. Two motes of blue-green-olive in an ocean of color, lost, never to find each other. Closing, receding; islands of dismal dismay, of crushed hopes and dreams. Hoping for love, but never reaching out, caught in their own snares.

Jared put down his crayons. He looked strangely like the mailman, but then again, his dad was the mailman. Jared was ten-years old when he first discovered that life was very complex. He knew this fact from the way his parents fought almost daily now. Being an only child, he knew they were discussing him.

Jared sensed a deep chasm opening between his parents, but he couldn't understand it. Why did his mother and father suddenly hate each other? Was it him? Had he done been so horrible as to tear them apart? All Jared knew for sure, was that he was scared.

Sometimes at night, Jared would lie awake listening in the darkness to this parents argue. Two storms slamming against one another in the night. A crack of an open hand; then the quiet sobbing of his mother from down the hall as his parent's bedroom door opened and closed. Something was very wrong, and there was nothing Jared could do, so he cried into his pillow until sleep poured over him.


Jared was seventeen, a high school senior and full of hatred for the world around him. A cold, congealed rage lay within, waiting for release. It had been seven years since his parent’s divorce and four since his mother remarried. Jared wasn’t impressed with his step-dad for he though was a nice when he choose to be he was otherwise a nail hard bastard. Jared wished the fucker was dead, that his mom an dad would get back together and that his frozen soul could be revived again. But for now, his anger-blackened heart was warmth enough.

He was doing fairly well in his classes without really trying but he could have cared less about them, expect for doing good enough to keep his step-dad off his back.

One day, after school, Jared walked in on an all too familiar scene from his youth – his mother being beaten by her husband. However, this time it was different, Jared knew what was going on and 6’3” and 195 lbs., he was more than capable of doing something about it. And he did. He grabbed Robert by one shoulder, spun him around and punched Robert in the face with all he had. Blood fountained over Robert’s face, his shirt and the floor. His nose was now a pureed mass of cartilage and flesh. Robert fell to the floor, a soufflé collapsing inward at a bump, his head cracking hard on the tile. Jared’s mother, Alice, stood zombie still, horrified at the violence her son had created.

“Jared, oh Jared! What have you done? You’d better get outta here.” Alice blurted, her trembling with fear, “There will be hell to pay when he comes to.”

“ DAMNIT MOM! How can you take that shit from him!” Jared hissed between clenched teeth. He wanted to finish the job he started, but his mom’s interruption and passiveness allowed the initial rage to drain. He just turned and walked out.


“Voices. I hear voices. Don’t look back.

Yesterday is gone. Look straight ahead –

You can take it.”

Words written for lyrics in some dusty, ill-lit room. The smoke from scarlaced lungs hangs in the air, a stale coffee spreads foreboding. A single light bulb, hung for unknown crimes, swings slowly over a battered, ragged brown card table. The room oscillates, shadows dancing to the light’s metronomic beat.

Sitting at the table, a bearded, disheveled man in what appears to be his mid-20’s, holds his head in his hands. He looks at the pile of crumpled notebook paper before him, sighs, and reaches for the cigarette smoldering in the ashtray. Jared tilts his head and rest his chin in his left palm, screwing his eyes shut – thinking.

A fly, busy on various household errands, lands on the inside edge of the coffee mug. The fly slowing starts circling around the inside of the mug – deeper and deeper. Jared’s eyes pop open and he notices the fly’s wanderings about the mug. He watches the fly with trance intensity – his breathing shallows, his heart slows and the whole world drifts away except for the fly. The fly, sensing that he is on stage, pauses to check his look in the reflection of the coffee.

Now, in full make-up, the fly ascends to the top of the mug and begins an intricate modern dance on the rim. Spinning, twirling and hopping, the fly flows around the rim. A sense of wonder and awe fills Jared as he moves closer and closer and closer yet to watch. Jared nears to the mug and starts to applaud the beautiful show but the clapping startles the fly into the air. Unfortunately, the fly heads straight for the applause and is quickly overwhelmed by his adoring public.

Dead and crushed, the fly is dumped into the trash and Jared returns to his lyrics.


She sat silently, holding the man’s hand. They had pulled him off all the life support equipment an hour ago, at her request. All she could see was his dark brown hair and battered, purple-yellow lacerated face. And the hand the hand clung to now. The rest of the body was covered, probably for the better. It had been ten years since Alice last saw her son and the condition Jared was in now was almost too much to bear.

Alice wondered at the fact that he was alive at all. Jared had been out riding his Ninja 1100 up and down the winding road of Route 78 out of San Diego. Well, riding was a rather mild expression, tearing hell bent for the devil was a far better description. He apparently tired of that for awhile and decided to stop at a convenient waterhole. According to the CHP and the bar owner, he had put away four beers and the majority of a bottle of Wild Turkey whiskey bourbon in less than an hour. He then came to the conclusion that his state would make riding those curves all the more challenging and fun.

Jared got rather far considering his condition; two-and-half miles down the road from the bar, before a hand reached across the Great Divide in the form of a semi and a hairpin turn, to collect him. As he screamed around the turn, in the oncoming traffic lane, a Kenworth hauling 2X4’s made a cameo appearance. Jared slammed into the front of the semi at over 90 mph; a squashed bug on the grill. The bike went under the truck and Jared flew up over the cab, bounced off the lumber on the flatbed and then skittered across the pavement where he finally came to rest in drainage ditch. They had choppered him to the Trauma Center in fifteen minutes and had him in the O.R. two minutes thereafter. The surgeons had worked for over seven hours, playing all King’s men, and now Jared was in the care of indifferent fate.

Jared opened his eyes, fluttering his lids at the assaulting light and then he looked deep into his mother’s eyes.

“Mother?!?”, he croaked.

“Yes, Jared. It’s me. Alice,” she replied, tears starting to well, “Mommy.”

“Mother, I love you.” Jared whispered, gasping for breath.

A sudden spasm shook Jared’s body just then and his mother tightened her grip on his hand as the EKG and EEG both zeroed out. Fate had decided. Jared then went limp.

Alice calmly got up, closed Jared’s staring eyes with her index and forefinger of her left hand and went over to locked the door as the Code Blue team came racing down the hallway.

Submitted: August 01, 2019

© Copyright 2020 robert a. walker. All rights reserved.

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Small snapshots of a life full of sadness. Just the right amount of detail for each part, all very well worded.

Fri, August 2nd, 2019 7:13pm

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