32 comments

Fiction Sad

This story contains sensitive content

Trigger warning: Sexual violence, suicide/self harm


A little brown wren is unremarkable, easily overlooked while it hides under bushes. It doesn't have a big voice, just a small chirp. It slips in and out, you never know it's there. Being a brown wren has served me well, I've never had to deal with admiration, attention, conflict or pressure.


Nobody sees me so, I don't exist.


I earn a scholarship to an expensive east coast school. My roommate belongs here. I don't. She is a force stronger than anything I've ever known.

She looks me over and finds me wanting.


"Yeah. Let's go shopping."


I laugh nervously. "I'm good. Have fun."


"No, you're so not good.


"I can't afford to go shopping." I'm embarrassed to confess and pretend to organize my textbooks.


She puts her hands on her hips and grins. "Hi, I'm Chastity. I'm your fairy godmother. Now, let's go."


I fight, I protest, I try to get away, but Chastity, like a proper nor 'eastern, once begun cannot be blown off course.


By the end of the weekend, all my clothes, everything I brought with me from my small midwestern town has gone to a thrift shop. I am now the reluctant owner of designer jeans, shirts, sweaters, jackets and dresses and torturous shoes. I never knew there is such a thing as designer underwear. I now own it. She even drags me to a salon. Intricate high lights and ruthless plucking of my eyebrows has been forced on me.


Bewildered and unrecognizable, I perch on the edge of my twin bed while Chastity admired her handiwork.


"Now that's what a roommate of mine should look like."


I feel like a puppet, a pet, a doll. I try to be grateful but avoid looking in mirrors. If I can't see myself, I don't exist.


Classes begin the next day. Suddenly people see me, want to talk with me. What do I think of the prof? What do I think of the class? What is my major? Am I free for lunch?

Why are they talking to me? I'm just a brown wren. I have nothing to say, have never learned to sing. Tucking my head between my shoulders, I give a nervous smile and excuse myself to go hide in a small cubicle on the third floor of the library. I spend most of my time here. I leave the dorm before Chastity wakes and am asleep before she comes back.


But Chastity has time on Saturday to find me.


Again, I hide in the library, wondering if the cafeteria will be empty enough to slip in unnoticed, when I hear Chastity calling my name, ignoring the formidable, angry librarian.


"Roomie! Where are you?"


It'll be just a matter of time before she finds me. She's opening one cubicle after another, disturbing couples who are studying. I sigh and open my door.


"Ah, there you are! Let's go. We have parties to do."


"No, thank you. You go and tell me about it later." I back away, but Chastity does not understand no.


She tells me what to wear and squeezes me into a tight, red dress that is so much shorter than anything my father would allow me to wear. She shoves impossible, high-heeled shoes at me. I don't get a chance to protest before she takes my hand and settles us in a waiting car.


"Let's go have some fun!"


"Where are we going?"


"Just a party. Don't worry, you'll have fun."


"Chastity, the last party I went to had a clown and balloons."


"Hah, you are funny."


No, I'm not. I'm scared. I won't know how to act. But I don't say that, of course. This little brown wren doesn't have a big chirp. Doesn't know how to speak up. And when it is buried under fancy feathers, it is lost.


I don't know where we are. A yellow brick mansion. A manicured lawn. Uniformed valets. Luxury cars. Everything tells me that I am way too far from home.


Chastity rushes us around the house to a patio. An enormous patio, big enough for a bar, a buffet and plenty of room for sitting and visiting. A large turquoise pool. Miles and miles of lawn. At least two gazebos and ultimately the Atlantic.


Chastity hands me a glass, tall, yellow and orange.


"Cheers kid. Here's to all fun and games."


The sun is low, creating intriguing shadows, bathing everything in a soft, generous light. The low lights around the trees. The paper lanterns strung around the lawn. The fairy lights in the gazebos. The soft romantic jazzy music. It's unreal. When I look around, all I see are peacocks, parrots and other pelicans. And I'm just a little brown wren without a bush to hide under.


I sip my drink. It tastes like sweet orange juice and disappears in no time.


Someone hands me another.


A hand rests on the small of my back. A voice tells me I look delectable. I laugh and admit to being hungry.


Another drink. Did I finish the last one?


"Ready for some fun?"


"Wha- fung?" Why does my tongue have difficulty with those two simple words?


An arm around my back, rubbing my behind. I try to step away, but I trip.


"No, pretty girl, don't go away." A whisper in my ear.


"I'm no- prithy. Lemme go, pleash." Why can't I talk?


Someone hands me another drink.


The world spins.


"Let's just have some fun, girl."


Chastity's words echo in my head. funan'gamesfunan'gamesfunan'


My dress is pushes up. I struggle and try to fight, but someone stops me. The dress continues higher and higher. My panties are torn away.


"No!" I'm shushed. Lips cover my mouth. I can't protest. I can't move. The world tilts.


Nausea.


Hands hurt me.


Pain!


I scream into a void.


The pain doesn't stop.


funan'gamesfunan'gamesfunan'games fun ...


<>-<>


I hurt. I shiver. I'm cold. My mouth is dry. My head pounds. My eyes are crusted shut. The ground is cold and damp. The cold white light of the morning sun.


I hurt. A gazebo. My dress is bunched at my waist. My panties are gone. Blood is smeared across my thighs.


I hurt. I stumble to my feet. Hold onto the gazebo for balance. Struggle to pull the dress over my hips.


I hurt. Rub my hands over my face. lurch on shaky legs and bare feet toward the house.


I hurt.


None of the peacocks and penguins are there. Just three men who sweep the patio and straighten the chairs. They look at me. I must not be invisible anymore because they look at me! I burst into tears and run to the front of the house. All the fancy cars have left. Everybody is gone.


I wish I could disappear.


I fall to my knees and stare at the grass. I don't know how long I sit there. Eventually, one of the men who had swept the patio drives me to the dorm.


Eight weeks later the student health nurse tells me I'm pregnant.


<>-<>


In her parents' house she's still a little brown wren, unremarkable, easily overlooked and shunned. Encouraged to hide under bushes. She doesn't have a voice, not given a chance to explain why she was never a match for peacocks and peregrines. She has never learned how to deal with disappointment, anger and rejection.


The bridge is tall, the water cold, the current swift.


April 16, 2024 04:41

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32 comments

Harry Stuart
21:14 Apr 16, 2024

You’ve done it with this work, Trudy. You’ve captured what we all aim to do as writers – impart those shared experiences, fears, discoveries, heartaches. From the start with that perfect analogy, I could feel the dread and the loneliness as the wren hurtled toward its destiny. It left me with a sadness….when stories make you feel something deeply, you know they’re good. This one is a winner, no doubt.

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Trudy Jas
23:59 Apr 16, 2024

Ah, my friend. From your lips to ... Thanks for the glowing review. Even tough the story is sad, you put a smile on my face.

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Hannah Lynn
11:48 Apr 16, 2024

So good. You captured the different personalities perfectly calling the MC a brown wren and the others peacocks. The poor little wren forced out of her comfort zone into the harsh world. Heartbreaking.

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Trudy Jas
12:21 Apr 16, 2024

Thank you, Hannah. Your story inspired me.

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Hannah Lynn
13:25 Apr 16, 2024

Oh wow! I love that you said that! :) :)

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Trudy Jas
15:13 Apr 16, 2024

:-))))

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Martha Kowalski
00:44 Apr 26, 2024

Wow, stunning Trudy - the parallel of the MC with the wren is clearly the star of the show but the writing style, especially at the end of the party scene: that was a work of art! Interesting switch from "I" to "she" in the last paragraph - is that a way for the MC to disassociate herself from what happened to her? Wonderful!

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Trudy Jas
01:02 Apr 26, 2024

Thank you Martha. I'm glad you liked it. Yes, I changed it on purpose. Both, as you said, to separate the little wren from her reality, but it was difficult for me to visualize a possible suicide in the I form. Maybe I'm being too literal. :-} Tha nks for the kudos.

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Martha Kowalski
01:13 Apr 26, 2024

No, not too literal at all - makes perfect sense to me! :) Makes it all the more powerful too Don't know if you've ever seen, but the little brown wren analogy reminds me a lot of a Criminal Minds episode titled "Nelson's Sparrow" - also a shy, quiet bird referring to a shy, quiet character

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Trudy Jas
03:41 Apr 26, 2024

No, I didn't see that. The term has been used a lot in historical fiction. I actually looked on Wikipedia to get my fact straight. So proud of myself . LOL

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Kim Meyers
18:31 Apr 23, 2024

Truly tragic. I gasped when I read that last line. Beautiful use of contrast with the birds as others have said. Marvelous work!

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Trudy Jas
18:37 Apr 23, 2024

Thank you, Kim. So glad you liked it. Thanks for reading me.

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Claire Trbovic
04:18 Apr 23, 2024

Trudy, what a piece. The wren analogy is so wonderful, especially because it gives you the vehicle to compare against the peacocks and peregrines. I especially enjoyed (I use this loosely because it is a brutal tale too true for too many people) the scene at the mansion, you really capture the newness of it all for our MC. I particularly like miles and miles of lawn, very Gatsby. A big contender for the week 😀

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Trudy Jas
05:02 Apr 23, 2024

Thanks! One can only hope. I must say, I did "see" the Gatsby mansion/yard. Glad you saw it too. And yes. It's not depicting humanity at its best. But those (harlequin) stories are a bit boring, aren't they? Thanks for reading. I've been "holding the phone" as you told me. LOL

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Claire Trbovic
06:04 Apr 23, 2024

Ha! Sorry I made you hold it a bit too long! UK time lag 😂

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Kristi Gott
18:05 Apr 19, 2024

Written with uniqueness, vivid sensory details, good dialogue that reflects the characters' personalities, a fast pace, and a compelling story. Well done!

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Trudy Jas
19:05 Apr 19, 2024

Oh, Thanks, Kristi. I'm glad you liked it. And yes, I'm all about stealth, you know. Go in, tell the story and back out. LOL Sometimes that works better than others.

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Ty Warmbrodt
08:39 Apr 19, 2024

This is a powerful piece. I love the comparison to the wren. I think you'll be in competition for the win with this one. Heartbreaking that it's such a reality for so many girls though.

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Trudy Jas
11:05 Apr 19, 2024

Thank you Ty. Let's hope you're right. And unfortunately, still so true.

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E.L. Lallak
00:24 Apr 19, 2024

Well, this gave me the feels. The throat-clenching ones that make your eyes wet. Midwestern girl here. Feeling little Wren's pain. It's a whole different world when you fly from your nest. Stupid peacocks. Ugh.

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Trudy Jas
01:32 Apr 19, 2024

Yes, it's a whole different world out there. And let's face it, brown wrens just feel better, taking care of their little corner. Thanks for reading.

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04:52 Apr 17, 2024

Love it 💙💛

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Trudy Jas
11:06 Apr 17, 2024

Thank you, Mariana. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

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13:10 Apr 17, 2024

Np

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Mary Bendickson
20:01 Apr 16, 2024

If not too late read through to catch some minor editing flaws otherwise a wise message flawlessly given.

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Trudy Jas
20:07 Apr 16, 2024

Thank you, Mary, will do (hints will be appreciated.) :-) No, not your job. I think I got most of them. Thanks for the heads-up. Thanks for the kudos.

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Mary Bendickson
20:56 Apr 16, 2024

I was going to get back and try to find them but glad you did. Mostly annoying little goofs that happen to us all.

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Alexis Araneta
09:18 Apr 16, 2024

Oh, Trudy. What a heartbreaking tale. I wish your protagonist could have mustered her courage to say "no" one time (or get reassigned to a new roommate). The bird imagery was so impeccably used. Great job !

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Trudy Jas
11:20 Apr 16, 2024

Thank you, Stella. The meek may inherit the earth,... but the peacocks get noticed. Glad you're back.

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Alexis Araneta
11:29 Apr 16, 2024

Thanks, Trudy ! Last week was a whirlwind for me, so I couldn't write.

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Unknown User
09:41 Apr 16, 2024

<removed by user>

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Trudy Jas
11:15 Apr 16, 2024

Thank you, Dustin. Your praise means a lot to me. And yeah, not ordering maggots anytime soon, either. :-)

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