Goals for Getting Even

Submitted into Contest #179 in response to: Write a story in the form of a list of New Year's resolutions.... view prompt


Holiday Crime Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

New Year’s resolutions always seemed pointless to me. My situation was hopeless. I was a victim, you see, with no way out of my troubles. But then I began making my own plans again and things changed. It’s amazing how having a goal can improve your attitude. They say if you put your goals in writing, you will be more likely to succeed. So here are my goals for this wonderful new year.

1.      Catch up with old friends.

We used to be besties, Violet and me. We told each other our deepest secrets.

That was in elementary school. In high school we were inseparable. We shared clothes and wore our hair the same. We even got scholarships to the same college. It was in our sophomore year when everything changed. She found new friends and all of a sudden, I was on the outside looking in. I got in some trouble and everything spiraled out of control after that.

I lost track of Violet but lately I’ve been thinking about the way our friendship ended.

I didn’t need the so-called doctors to tell me my health was improving. The more I thought about Violet and how I could maybe find her again and talk to her, the better I felt. Being sick for so long taught me one thing though.  I learned you can’t waste time. You may be walking around feeling great one day and flat on your back with an IV in your arm the next. Whatever you want to do, you better got at it before it’s too late.

So when I found myself out of the hospital and on my own, I decided to live every day as if it were my last and one thing I definitely want to do before I die or they lock me up again is catch up with Violet. You can’t move forward until you purge, can you? She and I were like sisters back in the day.

That’s why her betrayal cut so deep.

2.       Take up a hobby.

I always wanted to learn archery. It’s such an elegant sport—the graceful curve of the bow, the twang of the string as an arrow is released and archer and target become connected by the ethereal arc of arrow across sky.  Then the sudden, inevitable finish as the sharp tip buries itself in the heart of the target. So much more satisfying than using a pistol or rifle. I’m sure I could excel at archery, learn to assess my distant mark with the eye of an assassin, calm my heart beat, still my breath. God knows I played dead in the hospital enough times. I had to if I wanted any peace.

But let’s face it, It’s not the Middle Ages anymore and archery takes years to perfect. I may not have that kind of time. They’re probably looking for me after the way I left. They might even suspect I’d come home.

I think I’d like to learn something more elegant still than archery, more exotic, more personal. A friend I made in the hospital told me about the Chinese art of Linchi, the slow slicing. Death by a thousand cuts. I can see the beauty of that. Infinitely more satisfying than a quick arrow to the heart. And there’s a lot of room for exploration, for innovation and experiment. No hard and fast rules-- just the intimate play of knife against skin, the ebb and flow of blood. I would think that after a few slices, hope would die pretty quickly. I know about that.

Of course, satisfaction is only part of it. Justice—that’s what such a lingering experience would serve. I believe in Karma so I know Violet would one day reap what she has sown, but I also believe people are sometimes called to be agents of Karma. I feel like it’s my duty somehow.

After Violet and I parted ways, they put me in a place where they said they would help me, but it was really just a holding pen—a place for people no one wants to think about anymore. I believed what they told me for a long time but I’m better now. The drugs are wearing off and I’m thinking more clearly than I have in years.

3.      Eat a healthy diet.

Violet works in an art studio in the trendy part of our home town. I hear she’s very successful now. I stopped in once, when I knew she wouldn’t be there. Even though I’ve changed a lot in the past few years, she might have recognized me and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I’m quite looking forward to watching her eyes widen and her mouth fall open when she sees me for the first time in ten years. I hope she makes that little gasp I used to love so much.

 I’ve spent a lot of time across the street in a vegan café with a good view of the brightly lit gallery windows. After years of hospital food, the quinoa salad and crispy grilled vegetables tasted like absolute heaven. I’ve even lost weight despite all the holiday decadence.   

I’m going to need to be in tip top form. Violet is in great shape. She walks the four blocks from the gallery to her home every day. In the past few weeks she hasn’t noticed me as I follow her. I wonder if she gets a little prickle on the back of her neck as I watch her through the slits in her blinds or on weekends when I sit on the path where she takes the dog for a run in the park.

She doesn’t have many friends. It’s kind of sad because she used to be the vivacious one—always dancing and flirting. She keeps to herself now and doesn’t make eye contact with strangers. I could almost believe she feels guilty about something.  

She wears long sleeved blouses even inside the warm gallery. Probably to hide the scars. Well, I have scars too.

4.      Spend time in nature.

Deep in the national park, I know a secluded spot. Violet and I often hiked the trail to an old cabin. I went there just yesterday. The forest was quiet at this time of the year and the stream nearly frozen over. In spring, the place is a riot of flowers and vines and home to several species of endangered plants. It’s not very well known. We found it by accident. Not very many people go there.

We always loved to sit beside the stream and paddle our feet in the water. Long ago.

The next hike in is going to be tough. I don’t think she’ll come with me willingly, so I will have to be unpleasant. More unpleasant than last time.

5.      Take a long vacation.

Violet is successful and wealthy and admired. All the things I could have been.  I know once we have our talk, she won’t mind if I use her money. At any rate, she won’t be able to object.

Now that I’ve lost so much weight, I look a lot like Violet. When we were kids, we dressed just alike. I fit in her clothes and I’ve dyed my hair to match hers. If anyone sees me leaving her apartment with a suitcase, they will just assume I’m her. In a week or so, I’ll send a message to her gallery, telling them she’s quitting, that she’s going to be studying art in a primitive region in Africa or something.

I may go to Brazil or Peru. I need some sun after all those years spent inside under fluorescent lights.

I haven’t really thought about that part of it too much. I’m too excited about seeing Violet again after so many years and talking to her about old times.

And those are my goals. I'll hang them on the mirror in the bathroom for a few days--just to keep me inspired. I've already got a good start on making them all come true. I feel so good about this year. I wonder what kind of resolutions I'll have next year.

January 07, 2023 02:32

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Wally Schmidt
17:13 Jan 10, 2023

Welcome to Reedsy! So happy to be here for your inaugural story and it's a good one. The title is catchy and the line that drew me in was "I was a victim, you see, with no way out of my troubles." (I probably would have lead with that , followed by your first line). That kind of sets you up for the mentality of your MC. While the story is chilling, I liked that you did not dive into the details about what exactly Violet had done (or was that just the MC's perception?) and why the MC had such an obsession with harming her. This way the reader...


Sorchia DuBois
16:28 Jan 12, 2023

Thanks so much! Writing more short stories is actually one of my resolutions--a vague but somewhat binding goal. I was thinking of Poe's "Casque of Amontillado" as I wrote this one--not that I'm Poe or anything near that--but in that story, the narrator is unreliable and you don't know if he has actually been wronged or if it's all in his mind. I tend to think the latter and I wanted to get a little of that feeling in this story. Thanks very much for your comment!


Wally Schmidt
16:41 Jan 12, 2023

I'll have to go back an read Poe, truly a master of eerie. Good luck on your writing resolution!


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Delbert Griffith
18:37 Jan 07, 2023

This is a really creative take on the prompt, Sorchia, and it is done very well. I loved what you did with the resolutions and the rationalizations behind them. This is a very well-written tale about revenge. Nicely done. Nicely done indeed.


Sorchia DuBois
16:30 Jan 12, 2023

Thank you, Delbert. I tend to write revenge tales in the winter :) I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for commenting!


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