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Fiction Sad

:: Content warning- Suicide::


“Don’t go,” you whisper. Strands of hair stick to your tear-stained face. Nikki is swaddled against your chest and you are clinging on to her for dear life. She is too good for me. You both are.


“Fuck you.”  


I turn towards the door so you can’t see the flush on my face. 


“At least let me drive you. You’ve had too much. I don’t want you to get in an accident or hurt someone.”  


Your voice is quivering, shaking like a leaf, and you are holding back the sobs. But you can’t hold back the flood that’s leaking from your eyes. I won't watch you drown.


“I don’t want you to die,” you whisper, your breath is now coming in short little gasps. Pain asphyxiating your voice. I killed you the moment I made you mine.


Squeezing my eyes tight, and pushing back the sorrow, I let the anger seeth inside of me. The full fury of my storm barraging you.


“What did you say?” 


“I said I don’t want you to die!” your voice cracks as you try to scream, and the baby whimpers, waking.


There is nothing inside me. a heart without love is empty. You deserve better than this. Better than me.


“I wouldn’t be so lucky.”


The dice roll in my head as I slam the door and head towards the Nissan. They have been loaded against me since the day I was born. The cold rain that can't decide if it wants to be snow or water coats the land, drenching me on the short walk to the car. Figures. Everything I touch turns to ice. You stand in the window watching, disapproving. I deserve it.


The car is warm, and public radio is playing softly in the background. What is it about this shit that you like so much? I shouldn’t go, you are right, but I can’t stay here.


The roads are slick as the rain freezes over. My dad’s place is only a couple of blocks away. He’ll get it. He has always been an escape for me. Every glorious summer I spent in Anchorage as a kid was like heaven compared to being at home. I often wondered why he never let me live with him. He would drag me to the airport at the end of each visit, crying and begging him to let me stay. Each year I would watch out the tiny window, wondering if this would be the last time I ever saw him.  


When I would arrive back home, my mom and stepfather would remind me he was going to hell. If I stayed with my dad, maybe I could save him? One year, I suggested that to them.  


“Michael, don’t be stupid,” my mom had replied. 


My stepfather hadn’t been as forthcoming, but later that night, he let the belt speak for him. I would sing hymns in my mind, This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Again and again, until the fire subsided. I didn’t mind the belt that much; It was better than what my sisters got.


I pulled the car onto the side of the road in front of Dad’s house. I could see he and his wife were on the couch, the eerie blue lights from the television casting shadows over them. My little brother walked in, and my dad put his arm around the boy, snuggling him in close. Fuck this. He doesn’t want me there.  


My dad’s house fades into oblivion as I drive further down the road, not remembering when I pulled away. During my childhood, I had realized I couldn’t protect my dad from hell, just like I can’t protect you from me. I wish I had never met you. You and your perfect vision of what the world can be. Can’t you see that society will never exist? You are going to realize this someday and abandon me, just like everyone else.


We should have never gotten married, and now I am stuck. Why did you agree to come up here with me? Are you that fucking stupid? Now you cling to me and whine about being lonely. Well, that’s your fault. Make some friends, or get a goddamned boyfriend for all I care.


The snow is getting thicker now. White sheets covering the windshield, blocking my view, like the white sheets I would hide under when my stepfather came home angry, looking for a scapegoat. I turn into the lot and can just barely see the wooden sign swaying slightly as the wind kicks in. The snow is accumulating, and it dances around the carved words.


Double Musky Inn. Maybe a steak would help me feel better or soak up some of the alcohol. Instead, I slip into a seat at the bar, trying to drown out the buzz of the crowd. Or is that in my head? The man sitting next to me gives me a nod, then goes back to nursing his drink.


“Johnny Walker, neat,” I tell the bartender, “and, a New York, medium-rare.”


He gives me a nod, pouring the golden liquid into a glass, then disappearing around the corner to put in my food order.  


“You okay?” The man next to me asks.


I raise my eyes and study his face—plain, unmemorable as me. 


“Name’s Barry,” he continues, placing a hand on my shoulder.


“I’m fine,” I mutter, pushing the hand away and turning back to my empty drink. 


“Another?” I say, glancing up.


The bartender has a generous pour, or maybe he can just tell I need it. I tilt my head back, downing it in one gulp. It’s after ten now, and you are probably asleep. The urge to be home suddenly overwhelms me.  


“On more, and I’ll take the steak to go,” I tell the bartender.


“I don’t mean to intrude, but perhaps you shouldn’t drive home,” Barry interjects. 


“Then don’t,” I snap back.


Barry frowns and turns back to his drink.  


“Share a cab back to town, then? I can pay.”


“Will you please just leave me the fuck alone?”


His eyes lock with mine, and I swear that somehow this guy can peer into my soul. My food interrupts us. I pay, and when I turn back, Barry is gone. Good riddance. I sway as I stand up, and the bartender turns away, pretending not to see.


The snow crunches under my feet as I make my way back to the lot, precariously stepping in a set of footsteps so I don’t slip. A wave of nausea comes over me as I lean against my car. 


“You probably shouldn’t drive,” a familiar voice intones. “I can get you back to Anchorage. Please. Think of your young wife and new daughter.”


My brain is a fog, as dense as the snow. The headlights from some car illuminate the squall, as snowflakes dance around Barry’s head in a halo of light. 


“What do you know about them?” I ask Barry, my face heating with anger and my words slur. “Did she send you?” 


You would do that. Ask some dude to follow me. You can be a real bitch sometimes.


“Let me drive, Michael,” Barry repeats.


I know I should let him, but fuck this. No one was going to control me. Not you, not him. 


“Fuck you,” I say and wave my hand around wildly, trying to find the handle to my car.


The door sticks as I try to open it, but eventually, it yanks open. My fingers tremble as I try to shove the key into the ignition and miss. Damnit. I let my head fall against the steering wheel.  


“You can still let me drive or call a cab even.”


My head crashes back, and I nearly wet myself.


“How the fuck did you get in here?”


He gives me an even look and points to the door.  


“Door was unlocked. If you won’t let me drive, can I at least catch a ride to Anchorage?”


“Your death wish, buddy.”


The snow is blinding me now as I weave my way through the roads, faster and faster. There is freedom in the power of chaos. When I was younger, I always needed to make sure everyone was happy. If I could just juggle all the balls, my sisters would be safe, and maybe I wouldn’t feel the belt on my skin or the fist on my face.


I’m flying now and racing with time, running from you, running to you. How could I have ever thought it was okay to invite you into this freak show? And now Nikki. She had no choice. Maybe it would be best if I died.


Beluga point was ahead. If just keep driving it would be over. That would be best for everyone. My foot sinks into the gas pedal, and the car picks up speed, faster and faster. I shut my eyes, and a peaceful resolution washes over me.  


“Michael,” Barry’s voice is calm.


FUCK. What was I doing? I had forgotten he was in the car. I slam on the break and feel the wheels slip. Tumbling over and over, bathed in steak and bearnaise until there was nothing but darkness.


I open my eyes, and you are there, leaning over me. Eyes rimmed in red, dripping with blood. Or are those tears. I can’t tell. My throat hurts, and my head is aching. 


“I love you,” you whisper.


“Barry?” I croak out. “Is he okay?”


“Who?” you ask, concern on your face.


“The man that was with me.”


“No baby,” you say, “You were all alone.”

May 19, 2021 06:41

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18 comments

H L Mc Quaid
11:42 May 20, 2021

Great writing and a captivating story, plus believable dialogue. a few small things 'that's leaking' here: "But you can’t hold back the flood the is leaking.." should be 'Name's' here: Names Barry As for titles: steak and bearnaise Nice work!

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Beth Connor
13:54 May 20, 2021

I think you have a gift for those aha moments. This story was inspired by something that happened almost 20 years ago, and to this day “Michael” can’t eat steak with bearnaise.

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H L Mc Quaid
14:22 May 20, 2021

oh dear. 😂

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Daniel Hayes
16:18 May 23, 2021

This was a great story Beth! I think you captured something powerful in this story. I thought you did a wonderful job writing this and I really enjoyed it. There were some amazing lines here: "I killed you the moment I made you mine." and "a heart without love is empty" - these were fantastic, and I loved them. Overall I would give this story a 10 out 10! Great job!!! :)

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Beth Connor
18:55 May 23, 2021

Thank you so much for the words. I feel encouraged!

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Daniel Hayes
20:35 May 23, 2021

I'm so glad my words encouraged you. I look forward to reading more of your great stories!!

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K. Antonio
22:21 May 22, 2021

I loved the spirituality in this, and the descriptions were smooth. I thought the dialogue as mentioned before was really natural, and I like that you used first person directed when speaking of the MCs wife. It was a really captivating story, I think you succeeded in putting something very cleansing and personal out there. Great stuff! Jealous that you can write somewhere away from a desk. I get so distracted that if I had penned this on a flight it would have turned out terrible. 😂🙃

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Beth Connor
23:03 May 22, 2021

Thank you! I’ve never used first person direct, and have been wanting to play with it- so I’m glad it was effective! As for writing away from my desk- it’s certainly not the norm, but If I didn’t get that one out of my head- I would have been to afraid. Currently feeling much more whimsical- if I get it finished in time, this weeks will be a bit more light hearted.

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Mark Wilson
07:22 May 21, 2021

Beth, wow how powerful! What a great ride! I'm sorry I missed the Title Naming, but you chose wisely! Your writing is just so, captivating. Rich emotional depth (like a fourth dimension) and the fact that the tragedy was actually avoided at the end was refreshing, while maintaining the raw and reckless emotions of Michael - On a personal note; Steaks (ribeye, medium) and Scotch (Johnny Walker, Black, rocks) and Scary rides, with shaking hands and unseen twists? (even the rolling of vehicles), Really? It's as if 'you' have been the one ...

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Beth Connor
13:37 May 21, 2021

I’m so honored this resonated with you. One the best things getting (back) into writing has done for me is to be able to embrace the moments the define me. I spent a lot of time hiding the tough stuff and these types of stories are freeing and cathartic to me. It’s a bonus to be able to bring others into the world and it feels a bit less lonely. Thank you for reading!

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08:33 May 20, 2021

"The dice roll in my head as I slam the door and head towards the Nissan. They have been loaded against me since the day I was born" are amazing lines. I also really loved the ending. I thought it was building up to a tragedy, I'm glad he survived at the end.

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Beth Connor
13:55 May 20, 2021

Thank you for always taking the time to read my stories!

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15:04 May 20, 2021

I always enjoy them! :)

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Blue Green
09:28 May 19, 2021

Great story, I'm so glad he made it! As for titles, how about simply "The road to Beluga" ?

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Beth Connor
13:50 May 20, 2021

Thank you so much for that suggestion, I ended up going with Steak and Bearnaise, but I find it amazing that you and Heather both picked up on important (in my mind) moments in the story, that I didn’t intend to stand out.

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H L Mc Quaid
14:24 May 20, 2021

Sometimes it's easier for the readers to find those moments. :)

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Blue Green
16:53 May 20, 2021

:-)

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Beth Connor
06:44 May 19, 2021

Wrote this while on a red-eye flight, on my phone. Needs a better edit, and a better title, but I wanted to get something cathartic out this week. Better title suggestions are welcome!

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