Drama Sad Suspense

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

I'm almost out of love.

I can feel it, feel the pinpoints of searing heartache that prod my beating heart every waking moment. My whole life I'd been wealthy with admiration. My mother, my father, and my sister who had loved me so. Our affection fed each other so that we could live happy lives. My father used my mother's undying fondness to keep a roof over our heads, keep our stomachs filled, and give my sister, Tilly, and I whatever our childish minds desired. He used his children's love to fuel their college funds, which is how Tilly and I both ended up at an ivy-league school. That, and we were teeming with knowledge of the world.

The other kids at school were envious of me until we graduated. Charlie is swimming in love, they whispered. Why can't he give us some?

Then they grew smarter and figured if they befriended me, they would be able to chisel my love out of me through accounts of friendship. But I was too clever by half and had no trouble turning down each person who tried to strike a false conversation. Eventually, they hated me. I was okay with that.

But being smart didn't mean I never did wild teenager things. I threw grand parties that cost absurd amounts of affection. People would show up just because they knew I was well-off and tossed my love around only to receive half an hour of enjoyment. I would be the first to leave - like anyone cared - and find Tilly at home, curled up with a book, a spot already open for me across from her. She knew me like the back of her hand, just as I did. Tilly was my greatest companion.

But life and love only last so long.

That's what I told Tilly when I attempted to take her to one of my parties. It was to be a masquerade held in a beautiful atrium. It was the talk of our entire town. I wanted Tilly to go with me.

"It's not my thing, lover boy," she said, unbinding her brunette coils. "I'll read about it in the newspaper next week, though. It sure sounds fun."

She put her nose back in the book she was reading, but I snapped it shut and threw it on the carpet beside us. We were sitting on a windowsill, sharing a blanket and hiding from the never-ending snowfall. When she shot me a fiery look, I gave her a pleading stare. "If it sounds fun, why won't you come with me?"

"That's pathetic reasoning. Just because it sounds fun, doesn't mean it will be."



I narrowed my eyes, hoping they looked as green as venom. "I'll bury your book in the snow."

Tilly's jaw fell slack. "You wouldn't!"

I smirked at her wickedly and toppled off of the sill, securing her book and barreling down the hall. She chased after me, but I was too fast on my long legs. I dodged the things she threw at me and sidestepped her when she got too close.

I was at the sliding glass door when Tilly finally shouted, "Okay, okay, I'll go!"

I thought I'd won. But I lost terribly.

That night, Tilly and I entered the party hand-in-hand. I wasn't lying when I said it would be beautiful: pillars of plated gold that held up a shining glass roof, diamond chandeliers, golden platters of expensive delicacies, polished marble floors that stunning people waltzed across in light steps.

I looked at Tilly, half of her sharp features hidden behind a sapphire feathered mask. There was a smile on her lips and her emerald eyes sparkled like jewels.

"Charlie Knox, you constantly surprise me," she whispered, reaching a pale hand up to pat my slicked-back brown hair.

"It's a good quality," I replied, and whisked my younger sister away to dance.

It was a grand night. We drank sparkly champagne with sunken strawberries. Tilly made two or three friends - those of which who were not particularly fond of me and cast hateful glances. She received many compliments on her diamond-flecked dress, her smile growing brighter with each one. I'd never seen her so happy and social.

I will admit this once to you, and never to anyone else. The glasses of alcohol I'd consumed were numerous. They kept piling up, a fresh flute always in my hand. I barely noticed until my world started swaying with the music, and I felt I was about to retch.

I was sober enough to catch this and grabbed Tilly's arm. She was talking with a blonde girl who never bothered to look at me.

"What is it, Charlie?" Tilly said, and then stepped back to seemingly get a better look. "Are you alright?"

"I think we should go home," I told her, avoiding the second question. "It's getting late."

Tilly nodded understandingly and led me through the crowd of dancers. I dropped my half-empty glass off at the table before the giant French doors just as we stepped into the chilly winter air. It bit at my nose and bled through my navy-blue suit. Why wouldn't I bring a jacket? I was so ignorant.

I got into the driver's seat and started the car. Snowflakes crusted the windshield, but I was so tired. I didn't take the time to wipe them off, figuring that we lived just a few blocks away.

It all happened in a chain of events. One moment I was squinting through the snow, the next the tires were slipping over a sheet of black ice. Tilly's scream filled my ears and pierced through every drink I'd had that night. My foot slammed on the brakes, screeching as we spun like thread. Red light swirled faster and faster, and gradually, slower.

We were slowing down.

We were stopping.

And everything was okay.

I was breathing hard, my heart pounding. I glanced over at Tilly, who was frazzled but looked okay. "I'm sorry," I said.

She shook her head furiously but didn't accept my apology. I closed my eyes and rested my head against the steering wheel, letting the shock and adrenaline ease off. We were okay, and we could get back home safe.

And then the red light flickered to green.

I heard the whir of car engines from all angles. I jerked up, frantically looking out of the window and all around. We were in the middle of an intersection. How did we end up here? I thought we'd spun into a lone street, an alleyway, something that wasn't dangerous. I guess I never considered it.

Quickly, I turned the wheel and stepped on the gas. Which way was I going? I couldn't tell. My mind was muddled with champagne and fear. I kept driving, telling myself I would find a way out by will or by hope. I prayed even though I was never religious.

For one second, one measly second, I closed my eyes. That was the last mistake I made, the mistake that cost more than any party I ever held.

I don't remember much from when the accident happened. It's all quite fuzzy. I recall Tilly screaming my name, two bright headlights, and the crunch of bone on concrete as our car was flipped and we were both cast onto the road.

I was told afterward that I fell asleep at the wheel and a man in a truck didn't see us. I was told that the doctors had to perform emergency surgery on my legs and I would never be able to walk again.

I was told Tilly was killed.

They said they'd save the details of her death so I wouldn't feel worse than I already did. But they did say that she was dead when they arrived. I hate that they didn't tell me what happened. It left too many doors open, too many possibilities of the way she had gone.

Her head could have been bashed on the concrete.

Her body could have been crushed by the flipping car.

Glass could have slit her throat.

Tilly's heart - the heart that provided the love to keep me stable - was six feet under. And it was my fault. Because I didn't fall asleep while driving, even though I agreed that I did. Because I got in the driver's seat, knowing that I was drunk. All my fault.

So, like I said, I'm almost out of love. Tilly was my biggest supplier. After her death, my parents closed themselves off and stopped loving. Stopped loving each other, stopped loving me, stopped loving the world. Which I understand, because Tilly was the world. And because I never bothered with friends and I assumed I would be stable my entire life, I spend each day crippled on the windowsill of my dilapidated house, rereading a worn book that still has her handwriting on the cover. Tilly Knox.

I spend and spend and spend my love on useless things. If I spend enough, my heart will stop. If I could buy death with the dwindling love I have, I'd be first in line.

August 15, 2022 01:08

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Michał Przywara
22:01 Aug 24, 2022

This is a great use of the prompt. Like others have said, it's a love economy. What I find curious is that the narrator is fine also being hated by others, so here love and hate are two distinct things. Not two sides of the same coin, but two different currencies altogether. I like the opening line, and the accident was well done. As soon as he got behind the wheel drunk I figured where this was going. So having them first spin out, but be safe, was brilliant. It added uncertainty and upped the tension. Then when he started driving again, ...


Akhlys Ivy
00:45 Aug 25, 2022

that is very sweet of you and very carefully written out!! I appreciate the time you took to support my work. thank you so much!!!!


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Tommy Goround
06:49 Aug 21, 2022

Love economy. Cool. Clapping


Akhlys Ivy
16:56 Aug 21, 2022

thank you so much!!!!!


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Daniel Allen
11:39 Aug 25, 2022

Very creative idea with an emotive plot. Loved it!


Akhlys Ivy
01:03 Aug 28, 2022

thank you so much!! congrats on your win!!!


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Lily Finch
21:13 Aug 24, 2022

This is rich reading. Love economy is awesome. Thank you for the great read! LF6


Akhlys Ivy
00:45 Aug 25, 2022

that’s very kind!!! I love getting feedback!! thank you so much!!!


Lily Finch
00:48 Aug 25, 2022

Yes, I am a big fan of feedback too. Have a great night! LF6


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