Short Story #15

Today’s story is a little dark. I have some of those hidden in me I’ve learned over the years of writing, but what I’m also learning is to plan my stories – I didn’t do that for this one. Even if it is a rough sketch, I need to know where it is going, otherwise I get stuck. I’ve always liked pantsing – nothing to do with anyone’s underwear, but rather writing by the seat of my pants and whatever comes to mind, but it can be a waste of time when you get to a point and have no idea where to next or how to finish. I had no idea where this was going, thus the trip down the rabbit hole.


Collecting His Wives
 
Jillian crawled through the snow, grabbed the thin trunk like a walking stick and pulled herself up. Placing all her weight on her left foot she stretched to her full reach, teetering like a drunk flamingo. She extended her swollen red hand to pluck the vibrant frozen cranberries from their branches.
 
Once she had snatched a handful of the fruit she wobbled, turned and plopped onto her bottom. She stared into the vast nothingness that she had come from, catching her breath. Lowering her scarf from her mouth she painstakingly ate the berries one at a time to prevent her stomach from going into spasms of shock. The hunger cramps had subsided a day or two ago, but the reintroduction of food after ten days of nothing except crushed snow had to be done with care.
 
When she put the last one in her mouth, she noticed the tips of some of her numb fingers were blue. She slumped against the bush hoping for a surge of energy to allow her to continue in search of some kind of civilization.
 
Rubbing her eyes Jillian thought the berries she had eaten must have been hallucinogenic. The handsome dark-haired Adonis walking towards her had to be a trick her mind was playing on her. She had given up on heroes and knights on white horses and last chances when her abusive husband of three months had pushed her out of the car into the storm, miles from anywhere and driven away. Hope was something that had left many days ago.
 
“Let’s get you up,” the apparition said.
 
Hands going under her armpits and pulling her to her feet felt real, and so did the rope-muscled arms that she was lifted into once she was standing. Her head fell against his shoulder and she vaguely heard his words as she drifted off.
 
“He must have already blown through the last wife’s life policy. I wonder how much he took out for you, Number Four. Sorry it took me so long to get to you. What do you think he’d say if he knew you were all alive?”

by Debbie Gravett © 2020.12.09

Image by Екатерина Гусева from Pixabay

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