Drama Fiction

It was just one meal. That was all. 

It was supposed to be idle chatter, hollow laughter, nibbling, and then out the door. 

How was I supposed to know that one single meal that begrudgingly accepted invite would completely change my life?


It started off simple enough. We arrived and were greeted at the door by Bartley, who dutifully took our coats and led us to the dining room. He announced our arrival as Mom and Pop approached us to give us the routine kiss on each cheek, their dry words of welcome all too familiar. 

After our usual pleasantries with the rest of the guests, dinner was announced. We all conjoined to the dining room, where we were served the most expensive steaks, a green salad, and only the best wine. For dessert, we were served our own super mini lava cakes. 

I have to admit, the food was good. 

More idle chatter as dessert waned on, the men retiring to the smoking room, the women to the front sitting room. Daniel and my eyes met desperately over the dinner table, neither wanting to be there, but we moved with the crowd anyway.

Once in the sitting room, the usual gossip began about who was stepping out on who and who was wearing last year's fashions. It was such a waste of air. 

I sank back in my chair and let the memories overtake me. 


I had grown up here. At the time, I believed this place to be magical, full of stories and secrets. My imagination had plenty of room to flourish here with the mystical gardens and the nooks and crannies inside this grand house. 

There had been enormous parties with hundreds of guests. Beautiful ladies in their evening gowns, men dressed to impress in suits, donning charming smiles. The laughter had seemed genuine then, the laughter of true friends. It had not turned out that way. 

In the summer of ‘19, my brother had gone out hunting with the Charleston brothers and another friend Walter. My brother, Kent, and the Charleston boys returned, but only Walter’s horse did. It was rumored Kent, and the Charleston’s had murdered him, but his body was never found. 

My brother vehemently clings to the fact that he had nothing to do with it. That they honestly didn’t know what had become of Walter. With no evidence and no body, the case had eventually gone cold, but not before the town had turned their backs on my family. They had left us to battle the horrifying incident all alone. 

That’s when I realized how hollow the laughter had truly been. And how the laughter only seemed to be there when the food was served, and the drinks were making their rounds. 

This life was not what I wanted in the least. 

That thought made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. I had to get out of this house, away from all of this…. shallow performance. I excused myself for some air and went to find Daniel. 

I peeked through the doorway of the smoking room and caught his eye. He knew I was ready to tear out of there with a nod. He politely excused himself and met me in the hall. 

“Ready already?” He asked with a slight teasing to his voice. 

I rolled my eyes at his rhetorical question and answered, “Yes, since before we even got here.”

He chuckled as he gently steered me toward the door and Bartley. 

“Your coat, miss?” He asked as I stepped into the foyer. 

“Yes, please, Bartley. Thank you.” He retrieved my coat, passing it to Daniel to assist me in it. Then he opened the door for us. 

“Goodnight, miss. Mister Daniel,” he said and nodded his head at him. 

“Goodnight, Bartley. Thank you so much.” Daniel said as we stepped out into the cool night air. 

“Well, that was…interesting.”

“I know, such a bore. I’m glad we are out of there now. I realized I couldn’t breathe, sitting there listening to those busybodies talking about everyone’s dirty laundry.” I rolled my eyes once more as Daniel once again chuckled. 

Suddenly, there was a loud bang. The world around me lit up bright as day. The wind whipped past me as I felt like I was flying. Heat raced passed my skin, seaming to scorch me as it did. Then I felt myself slam into something hard. I heard the crunch of bones as the pain went through my body like a bolt of lightning. Then everything went black. 


I opened my eyes slowly. My head was pounding, and it was so incredibly bright. Why was it so bright? My eyes continued to try to focus but what they saw made no sense to my brain. There was white. Lots of white. And it smelled…what was that? Bleach? Rubbing alcohol? I realized I was hearing a high-pitched beep that sounded far away like it was in a barrel. 

I felt my stomach roll and I closed my eyes against nausea. The darkness came again. 


I opened my eyes to bright sunshine streaming through the window. My body hurt so bad. I felt like I had been beaten half to death. I tried to turn my head and my neck hurt. I was so thirsty that my tongue felt like cotton. 

“Why hello, sunshine. How are you feeling?” The nurse startled me as she entered the room. Wait…nurse? 

“Where am I?” my voice sounded husky and dry. 

“You are in the hospital, doll. You’re lucky to be alive. Did you know the people in the house?”

“In the house? What house? 

“Oh. What do you remember, hon?”

“Nothing. I was at dinner at my parents and then…a bright light and excruciating pain. What happened?”

“I’m going to get your doctor. I’ll be right back.” She scurried from the room in a nervous rush. 

Five minutes later the Doctor Smith came into the room, a sympathetic smile on his face. 

“Good morning, how are you feeling right now? Do you feel much pain?”

“Yes, my body aches so much. What happened?”

“Do you remember being at your parents' house?” I nodded. “Well, there seems to have been an explosion. You were thrown quite a way and into a tree. You are lucky to have survived an impact like that. You have several broken ribs and a broken place in your breastbone. There is no internal bleeding but there is a lot of bruising. Your muscles will definitely feel this for a while.”

“Wait…an explosion? What do you mean? Is my family, okay? What about Dan? Where is Dan? Is he alright?” I started feeling panicky like I couldn’t breathe again. I tried to sit up but that only resulted in a massive wave of pain from my ribs. I thought I was going to vomit. 

The doctor gently pushed me back down to my bed telling me I was going to hurt myself worse. I heard him calling for a nurse who came running in with a syringe. She pushed something into my IV and I suddenly felt…calm. The pain floated away, and I felt a smile creep up on my face. The doctor was saying something to me, and I had to force myself to focus on his words. 

“Get some more rest. It’s the best thing for you now. Don’t worry about anything. Dan is alive and he is just down the hall. You’ll be able to see him soon.” 

And with that, the world faded away and I drifted off to sleep.

September 08, 2022 22:53

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