Sunday, November 17, 2013


Last week, the Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge was to write an opening line of 15 words or less. This week, the challenge is to write a 1,000 word story based on one of those.

I didn't participate last week--my current work in progress was holding me hostage.  It has since loosened its grip, so I thought I would select one of the openers and slide in a story after it.  Brennan's opening line (set in bold type) was what I chose, and it worked beautifully to begin my twisted little tale.  Please enjoy.


The sun shone down as it always had, and for a moment, everything was perfect.  Oddly, this had seemed a good idea at the time.  Wearing nothing but a black cloak to mock the darkness of the world we were departing, and to pay homage to the darkness of the world we would be joining.  Our eternal bond sealed with a last kiss as we leapt from the cliff to be impaled on the jagged rocks below…

Yeah, I know.  Sounds like an old B movie, but I figured it was all some kind of mystic symbolism.  At sunrise, Willow and I would strip down in the parking lot by the observation area, put on long black capes, and walk to the edge where she would chant some nonsense while waving around some foul-smelling incense.  After she was done with all that crap, we would head over to my beach house and she would screw my brains out.  Not a bad way to start the morning, huh?

My name is Ralph Mobo.  Not exactly a made-for-Hollywood moniker, but I’m not exactly a made-for-Hollywood guy.  I’m a semi-pudgy, 66-year old retired CPA, widowed close to 4 years.  With the firm’s retirement package and my 401(k), the oceanfront condo was a steal.  The house on Morning Glory Drive belonged to the old me--the one who was married 41 years to a well-educated, socially accomplished, not-too-hard-on-the-eyes woman I had met in the stacks at college.  I found myself in a bit of a fog after she passed, but once it cleared, I decided to grab life by the horns and take it on.

I was walking through the park one afternoon when I saw her by the fountain.  White gown, long blonde hair, humming, and splashing paint on a canvas.  I wondered what it would be like to do it with an artist.  She noticed me watching, dropped her brush and pallet, ran to me, and said I was her destiny.  Okay.

“I am Willow,” she whispered.  “Unlock your shackles and live with me on the wind.  Let us unite our souls.”

I was all for that ’uniting our souls’ bit.  I took her to my condo and we did it on every surface in the place.  She said it was important to cover everything with our spirits, to aid the wandering dead with their quest for solace.  Whatever.

Last night, after a particularly rigorous one-on-one, from out of left field this 19-year old wild child springs this ‘we need to jump off a cliff tomorrow morning’ thing on me.  Naturally, I didn’t take her literally.  She always spoke in metaphors and tried to create elaborate illusions with her stories.  I never understood any of it, but, since she’d be all over me while she told her little tales, I’d smile and nod.  Every time.

So here we are.  The point’s deserted most mornings.  Good thing, because we’re both stark naked, doing it on the hood of my Mercedes.  When we’re done here, I’ll run it through the car wash on Fifth and Delmont.  If nothing else, they’re discreet.  The cloak she made for me looks like a black bed sheet with ties.  This is definitely not something I would want to be caught dead in.  Good one, huh?

“The time has come for us to surrender,” she says.  “We shall seek darker regions still and remain forever in torment, punished for the sins of humanity.”

She dons her cloak, takes my hand, and moves us closer to the edge.

Wait a minute.  All I wanted to do was try to break out of my mold and maybe unclog an artery or two, but this kid‘s serious.  She releases my hand and leans in for one last smooch.  I give her a slight nudge.  She just a wisp of a gal; drops like a stone.  The mist-covered shoreline obscures my view, but I’d heard the thud.  I quickly put on my jeans and sweatshirt.  A fella could freeze his woo-woo’s out here.

As I pass the old fairgrounds on my way home, I notice the circus is back in town.  I pull in and watch the high-wire gal rehearsing.  I wonder what it would be like to do it with a…

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