Her Final Day of Sadness

Submitted into Contest #204 in response to: Write a story about someone seeking revenge for a past wrong.... view prompt

14 comments

Drama Fiction Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.


The dawn was starting to make its appearance over the hills with the breath-taking colors of God as far as the eye could see. The pinks and the oranges mixed and swirled with the clouds, and the songs of the early rising birds filled the air.


Last night’s dew was evaporating into a fine mist that made the prairie look as if a thousand spirits were dancing and stretching up to the sky.


This is my favorite time. It’s quiet and it’s peaceful. No one is stirring yet, so I embrace the silence. The town is still now. The chaos of the night having long settled down. My bones are tired and so sick of it all. They creak and groan.


There is nothing but anger here. Nothing but pain, and the sins of the occupants are starting to weigh on me. I grieve.


More windows were broken last night in the upstairs rooms. Men fighting with women over the cost of a thrill caused a lot of broken things, including the bodies of the living. A “Soiled Dove”, as they are called, was tossed from the second-floor balcony just last night.


I remember her name was Alice. She was much too young to be here. I was furious when she arrived. Too innocent for such horrendous job duties. Too young to leave the world that way.


The walls have become like a beacon in the night for women and men alike. The noise, the cards, the money, the alcohol, and the desire. It draws them all in like sad children searching for their mothers. Some seem to be running from something, and some seem to be running towards destruction.


Ever since the gold was found here, the living seems to have lost their way. They all want to make it rich, but don’t want to do it respectably.


I have been here for the past thirty years. I have seen so much in this short period of time. More than I care to keep reliving for even another day. Time is growing short, and my body is wearing down.


It seems I lost myself and my dreams on the very first day of being here. When the bar was built and the piano was brought in the main doors, I knew all hope was lost.


Before long, women started making their homes upstairs with an endless trail of different men panting at their feet. The “Soiled Doves” will hang out the windows on the second floor in their white flowing dresses to entice the men walking or riding by.


Several are miners or loners passing through, but some are what most would consider prominent in the community.


I see the married sheriff come and go a couple times a week. His visits are “on the house”. I often see him after, walking by the windows with his lovely wife and small daughter without a care in the world. It pains me to know what sins he has committed behind these walls.


There is a young lady now that uses cosmetics to cover the bruises on her neck and face because of the well-adored sheriff. She is not much older than his small daughter. I grieve.


My heart has been broken by the constant sounds of gunfire. Seeing the men outside yelling and waving their guns around is getting to be too much for me to bear.


An elderly woman walking across the street with her groceries was struck down by a Colt Revolver for being in the wrong place at the wrong time just the other day before sunset. She lay there suffering, with her husband at her side, for an hour before passing on.


I can no longer pretend to turn away from the dreams I had for myself and what has taken over. And to turn away from what is going on around me and inside me is impossible.


There is no escape for me other than this. There is nothing but pain and darkness on the horizon now. It will all be over soon enough.


The women, once beautiful, are now sickly with disease and heartbreak. Even though, walking through my doors has brought them a small fortune, they may have otherwise never gotten, it also has brought decay.


Their bodies, their minds, and their souls have withered and grown weak. Some have taken their own lives to escape the abuse and the sad reality that there is nothing else for them here. I grieve.


I have watched men gather around a table drunk off of cheap whiskey as they lose every bit of money they earned for the week, in one hand. I have saw several of them lose their lives, by not being able to settle the debt that was owed to the winner of the hand.


One even gave his wife away to clear his name. The walls are riddled with bullet holes, blood stains, and tears now.


I always wanted a family to share this with, this sunrise. This home. A husband, with a couple of kids, and maybe a dog or two. To have them rush home to me, would’ve been heaven.


It would’ve been a life worth being around for. It would’ve given me someone to take care of and someone who would take care of me. The walls would be full of love, full of care, and full of light.


There is no light here. The dead are embedded in these walls and in these floors. Their cries of their sorrow and their anger will never let me rest. From child to elder, they roam these bones, forever lost.


Forever alone and locked in place on an endless loop. I see them and I hear them, but they do not see or hear me. No one does.


The darkness has injected itself into the frame now, so there is no going back. The walls are sour, and the air is becoming suffocating.


I feel myself giving in to eternity, and I welcome it with open arms, whatever it may offer me. The dead will come with me, I suppose, but will hopefully find their way to freedom as I hope to do.


The morning is still, and the time is now. My frame starts to tremble and shake, slowly and then violently. I hear the frantic cries of the living still inside. I ignore them. This is my destiny.


The dead are stirring and looking around as if knowing what is about to happen. One by one, they appear and start to help me rip myself apart, desperate for any kind of peace.


Piece by piece, my walls start to give way as boards are ripped and torn from their thirty-year hold.


Floorboards begin to come undone and fall from the third floor, to the second floor, and to the first. Occupied beds and furniture start to fall into the fresh openings and land on the ground below, crushing some that have tried to flee.


Oil lamps that were recklessly left lit the previous night, now light up the curtains and begin to engulf the dusty wooden walls.


The morning has broken, and my destruction has caused all to be awakened. Some make it out the door, and some try to escape through the windows.


The broken window glass and crumbling frame hold them hostage without hope of escape. The twisting and shifting feels like an earthquake underfoot, but it is my sadness that is deconstructing all that I am.


One last cry in pain is all it will take. I groan out and take one last breath, and now breathing out, I rock my walls from the frame.


The roof crumbles and battered bodies lie all around and under me. I see the dead, that were trapped here, smiling and heading towards the Sun.


I will never have to be in such darkness again. There is a freedom in the rubble, that once was me. As the flames start to engulf me and all that is inside, I feel no more pain.


I just focus on the glorious morning sky and the sweet singing birds as the smoke starts to fill the air.




June 27, 2023 21:15

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14 comments

Kevin Logue
18:58 Jul 06, 2023

Wow. That was badass. I was waiting to see who the POV was, then the line of them walking through your doors and the penny dropped. Then the dead help the building destroy itself. What a creative take on the prompt Shannon. Your writing is brilliantly atmospheric, with a dash of suspenseful horror. Excellent 👍

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Shannon C.
19:58 Jul 06, 2023

Thank you so much for liking my story! I really appreciate the review. I very much like the dark, but I tried to give this one a little more sweetness in a way.

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Kevin Logue
20:12 Jul 06, 2023

The sweetness came from the innocence of the house, the want for a family, for love. That was apparent, well written.

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Russell Mickler
14:22 Jul 06, 2023

Hey there, Shannon - I really like the narrator's voice and perception as you launch into the piece; "My bones are tired and sick of it all..." Building out the world from her perspective, inside then out, was also pretty clever, then revealing it's a brothel. I thought that was also a good device, leading the reader in and building out the setting. The idea of loss and missed expectations for settling out west are good western themes. The narrator dives into an abyss of feeling and self-pity; we're compelled to show empathy, but it fee...

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Shannon C.
15:50 Jul 06, 2023

Hey Russell, Thanks so much for the kind words and the honest review. I really appreciate how much thought you put into my story and that it did come out the way I wanted it to. I am learning as I go, and this one meant a lot to me. I am glad you liked it. Thank you, again!

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Graham Kinross
22:10 Jul 05, 2023

This is an interesting tale of the gold rush and the debauchery of those in the towns that sprung up around the mines. Some of the metaphors could almost be descriptions of a world of undead. Is it about the Rapture in the Wild West?

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Shannon C.
22:43 Jul 05, 2023

Thank you for reading it. The Rapture would've actually worked too! Great idea. I was basically trying to find the emotion and despair of the actual building that all these sins were housed in. It was a Saloon with a soul. With a want and need upon being built to be a home with life, love, and happiness, she knew quickly that was never going to be. She had suffered long enough and wanted peace. As humans, we can feel those same things but we don't think about what energy the walls of our homes could/can hold and feel too. Thanks again!

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Graham Kinross
22:46 Jul 05, 2023

If these walls could talk!

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Shannon C.
22:50 Jul 05, 2023

Exactly!☺️

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Graham Kinross
23:10 Jul 05, 2023

Then they’d never stop talking and they’d spill all of the secrets…

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Shannon C.
23:38 Jul 05, 2023

And oh the stories the could tell!

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18:25 Jun 28, 2023

BRAVO! I can not find any other words to describe the stunning and absorbing story line and words that you so eloquently put together to form what is a truly amazing story. The raw and unbridled emotion this released in me has me speechless.

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Shannon C.
19:27 Jun 28, 2023

Oh my! Thank you so much Elizabeth for your kind words. I am so very glad you read and liked my story. I am so glad you felt it for what it was and what I was trying to convey.

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