Flash Fiction – Avenging Angel

Every mom wants the best for their child, and I’m no exception. I don’t know how many times I pictured your graduation; you, in a white dress, walking down the aisle; you having a child of your own. It’s something a mother almost expects. What they don’t expect is a gravestone.

Yours reads:

My Angel
May 23, 1990 – January 12, 2005
Gone to find her wings…

I wish you could tell me whether or not you like it. I tried to capture you, all of you; but how do you do that in such a small space. You were so large. You filled up every room and the light sort of fizzled the moment you stepped out of it. When you left this world, you took so much of me with you that there isn’t much left; not much reason for me to remain.

I can hear you now, telling me how cryptic I am; how I have so much to live for. I know you’d want me to move on. Perhaps you’d also understand that I just can’t.

I’m not so bold to think you’d thank me for it or that you’d do the same for me. I would honestly tell you not to. But would it matter? I don’t know.

For the last year, I’ve listened and I’ve watched. I’ve attended every court session, heard everything they said about you, about what he did. There were moments that I was sure I was being ripped apart.

I wish I could go back to that night and tell you not to go. I wish I could have yelled at myself to go with you. I would have saved you. Either that, or I would still be with you; the two of us, angels up in heaven. We’d take heaven by storm, just like we were so close to doing here.

The details of that night will forever be burned in my memory, as if I’d been there; as if I’d lived it with you. If only I could take the burden from you; the gruesome horror of it. Why couldn’t it have been me? Why did it have to be you?

I’ve watched those twelve people sitting in that box. I’ve watched their faces. At first, they were horrified. I watched as they sent murderous glares to the monster on the other side of the courtroom. If only glares could do what must be done.

It didn’t take long for those looks to change. Now, they are pensive; thoughtful. There were times, when he was on the stand, that everyone was laughing. How could anyone laugh? But I’ve noticed that he has ways with people, which is perhaps why he has been allowed to continue; why you ended up in his grasp.

When they filed out to deliberate, I already knew what was going to happen. I knew what their decision would be, so I found myself leaving the courtroom. I went fast because I didn’t think it would take them long. I drove all the way across town, breaking every speed limit along the way, grabbed the item I knew would set you free, and then I hurried back.

I was right. My phone rang while I was parking. Their deliberation was done.

My heart started beating in my chest like a trapped bird struggling for flight. As far as plans went, mine was flimsy, but I’d been thinking of this since the moment they pulled back the sheet and I saw your broken body lying on the cold hard slab. I didn’t cry then, but I was forever broken.

I settled in with the crowd making their way back into the courtroom. There were whispers, bursts of laughter, and I heard someone crying. Is that me?

I didn’t bother to sit. I stood in the corner at the back of the room. I wanted to be the first one out. It felt like I hadn’t taken a breath before those twelve people were filing back into their seats.

“Ladies and Gentleman of the Jury, have you reached a verdict?”

“We have, your honor.”

My ears started to ring and within seconds, it was a loud roar echoing throughout my head. When they finally said the words, they replaced the roar and continued echoing around my head.

Not Guilty
Not Guilty
Not Guilty

And even though I was expecting it, I almost dropped to my knees in horror. How could they? Didn’t they see what he’d done to you?

I was the first one out the door. I thought I heard someone yelling my name, but I kept on moving. I ran to my car, grabbed what I needed, ran back to the courthouse steps and stood next to a pillar. Before I knew it, he was walking out the doors. Cameras were flashing and people were yelling questions, trying to get his attention.

“How does it feel to be a free man?”

“What are you going to do now?”

I watched as he smiled into all the cameras and started talking into the microphones.

I didn’t need his attention. I just needed him in hell where he belonged. Slowly, I pulled out the gun. Everything became silent except the buzzing that had started in my ears. Slowly, silently, I aimed for the center of his body and pulled the trigger. I pulled it again, and again, and again. I don’t know what happened first, the gun clicking empty or the mad rush of noise in my ears as I felt something hard enter my chest.

Amidst the cacophony of noise that I can’t make sense of, I find myself looking up at the cloudless blue sky, coughing up blood and struggling for breath. I manage to smile when I see white wings above me, beating in the glow of the sun.

Now you are free, my love, and I will be with you soon.

I haven’t participated in a Chuck Wendig challenge in way too long, but this week, it spoke to me.  He asked us to write a story of revenge in about 1,000 words and this one came out pretty easily.  It felt good to write something longer than 100 words.  I guess I can still do it…

Song Lyric Sunday – Blind by Kesha

There were a lot of obvious choices this week but I wanted to find something that maybe wasn’t as well know, so I went looking through my library.  I’m getting pretty familiar with all the artists in there because I scroll through it every Saturday.  You’d think I’d be listening to it more, but I sort of got into podcasts and don’t really listen to music as much as I used to.

Anyway, I’ve come across Kesha a few times and haven’t had an occasion to use one of her songs.  She isn’t one of my favorite artists.  Some of her songs are kind of annoying, to be honest, but this one fit so perfectly and has such a great beat that I thought I’d share it.

It is difficult when a relationship ends, but for some reason it’s nice to think of your ex being unhappy or not finding whatever they may have left you for.  I’ve walked away from most of my relationships, but there was one that I was doubting my decision to leave.  It didn’t take long to realize that I’d made the right decision, but he sort of made it easy when he moved in with someone else within a few months, got married a few months after that, and was pregnant six later, even after he told me he didn’t want kids.

I saw him a few years later, and I have to say that he didn’t look good.  It sounds terrible, but I was almost happy that he looked so miserable.  This song makes me think of that.

I hope you enjoy!

I think you got the best of me
You’re sleepin’ with the enemy
You left me all alone, alone, alone, alone
The beat drops, I’m so low
My heart stops, I already know
You left me all alone, alone, alone, alone
I’m sick and tired of the mess you made me
Never gonna catch me cry oh, whoa, whoa
You must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die
Oh, whoa, whoa, without me you’re nothing
Oh, whoa, whoa, you must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die
Oh, whoa, whoa
I’ve let go finally over you
This drama that you put me through
I’m better all alone, alone, alone, alone
The beat drops, you’re so low
It’s last call and it’s gotten old
Now look who’s all alone, alone, alone, alone
I’m sick and tired of the mess you made me
Never gonna catch me cry oh, whoa, whoa
You must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die
Oh, whoa, whoa without me you’re nothing
Oh, whoa, whoa, you must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die
Oh, whoa, whoa
I trusted you, you were the first
Then you lied and it gets worse
You broke me down, now just look around
(Who’s all alone?)
Who’s all alone now?
I’m sick and tired of the mess you made me
Never gonna catch me cry
Oh, whoa, whoa
You must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die
Oh, whoa, whoa
Without me you’re nothing
Oh, whoa, whoa
You must be blind if you can’t see
You’ll miss me till the day you die
Songwriters: Jonathan Levin / Kesha Sebert / Lukasz Gottwald / Benjamin Levin
Blind lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

The Song Lyric Sunday theme for this week was revenge/vengeance.  Please feel free to click the link, read the rules and post one of your own.


Belfry Echo

Thain in Vain’s week 42 challenge was to take any story previously submitted and finish it.  I read through a lot of entries but finally settled on TiV’s story she submitted for the week 38 challenge.  I remember the first time I read it wondering how Josie was going to get her revenge, so I decided to try my hand at it.  The first part of the story is hers in purple and I pick it up in black.  I hope you enjoy.

Belfry Echo

Josie Zefher stood in front of shelves full of heads in jars, animal and human, lined up like pickle jars in grocery store. She stared at the heads, shrunken and petrified. They stared back at her through murky green water and scratched glass.

A sign to the left asked customers not to touch the jars. She thought that seemed a tad unnecessary, until a jar containing a floating cat head caught her attention. The head was facing down, and she reached to jostle it back to face her. Just as her hand gripped the jar, a stern, female voice with a clipped tone cut through the stillness, “Please, do not touch.”

Josie snapped her hand back, “Sorry,” she called into the small space.

“Not to worry, dear,” said the voice from behind her. She turned to find an old, ancient really, woman, wearing a tartan shawl wrapped around a set of frail shoulders, her pursed and wrinkled face, rivaled those in the jars, with eyes hidden by sagging lids. It was her long, full hair, a coxcomb red hair that stuck Josie. It seemed wrong on her, but Josie couldn’t quite put her finger on why.

“I love your shop,” said Josie. She watched as the old woman hobbled closer, clinging to her cane, an elaborate wooden thing that resembled a branch with knots and knobs. He red hair fell forward, concealing her face. Too youthful, thought Josie. That’s it. It was not the hair of a woman half her age. She wondered if it was a wig.

“That’s nice to hear, lovie. The Belfry Odds likes you, too. Is there anything I can help you with?” Her voice was clear and strong. And too youthful, again Josie thought.

“Honestly, I just stepped in to waste some time before meeting my husband for lunch.” She checked her watch. She was to meet John at two at the new restaurant in the Warehouse District, and he didn’t like it when she was late. She understood, as he was a busy lawyer, and had finally made partnership. Sometimes, she it seemed she didn’t see him for weeks at a time, but she again she understood he was building a life for them.

“Before you go, sweetie, let me show you my most recent acquisition. It’s exquisite.

“I really must get going,” said Josie.

“Please, dearie. Humour an old woman.”

Josie sighed, “Okay, just for a few minutes.” Josie followed the old woman as she hobbled towards a small doorway at the back of the store. Josie looked at her watch again. She would hurry this along, humour the old lady, and have a great story to tell John. The old woman pushed aside a curtain of beads, the jittery cacophony startled Josie. The hair of her neck prickled at she entered the small room. She wanted to turn and leave (run), but didn’t want to offend the sad, old woman, so she pushed past her gut feeling and entered the room.

It was dark. She heard the flick of a lighter and crackle of a wick as a candle sprung to life, illuminating the small space. As her eyes adjusted to the light, Josie looked around the space that she was in, but that seemed to occupy her. She felt as though she had been here before, in this exact moment, thinking this exact thing. A rush of chemicals flooded her body, making her feel queasy.

“Over here, Joss,” a voice said from deeper in the room. It was the old woman’s voice, but it was different, deeper, and Josie detected a smirk. She was positive she heard the old woman say Joss, a name she hadn’t heard in a long time, but how could this woman know that name. She followed the flicker of the candle, deeper into the room.

“Here it is,” said the old woman as she came into view, her red hair, aflame and cascading around her face. Her cane was hanging on a shelf next to Josie’s head, and she was standing upright, holding a small, dark wooden box. Josie moved closer to the woman, and peered in the box. It contained a tiny human skeleton, nestled on a bed of purple silk. The pale, fragile skeleton was on its back, staring upwards with dark, empty sockets. Josie jerked back and turned to leave.

“This is Joss. You remember him, don’t you?” Josie felt her world shrink and implode as a cascade of memories flashed across her consciousness. She remembered how proud John was at the prospect of being a father. He had told their friends and family, decorated the baby room, and decided a name even before she had hit the first three months. He wanted to name the baby after his grandfather, Ross, but she didn’t like the name. He suggested Joss, and she feel in love with it.

She lost Joss at thirty-six weeks. She knew something was wrong. She felt the loss of the connection, but her body still needed to give birth. She hadn’t thought about it in a long time, choosing to look forward, yet the memory of dilating, pushing, and giving birth to death is ever-present, just behind the mask. Darkness spilled into her vision, as she sank to her knees.

“You don’t know this, but John sacrificed your first-born to me. He wanted to make partner. For his, for your, sacrifice, I have youth, forever. Josie saw the women grow younger before her eyes; the lines and wrinkles smoothing, green eyes growing bright, gnarled hands opening, curved spine straightening. Red hair glowed on the head of the beautiful young woman who now stood before Josie.

“Josie, I want you to have the skeleton of Joss. For your sacrifice, you will have revenge on anyone who has or will do you wrong. John did you wrong. So wrong. Get your revenge for Joss.”

Josie cried out in disbelief. Her pain palatable in the room. Her memories piecing together those last few months before losing Joss. She wanted to believe everything was okay. He barely looked at her and was not there for the birth. He was working on a critical case. Again, she understood.

But not now.

She looked at the woman and reached for the box, “I’ll take it.”


Leaving the artifice of the dutiful wife behind in The Belfry Odds, Josie quietly hurled accusations at John in the restaurant at lunch – cheating, lying, controlling – everything but the real reason she was vibrating with vengeance.  His phone buzzed through his shock and the mounting tension, managing to end lunch prematurely.  Without a word, she let him leave, let him think she would let it go.

She didn’t have a concrete plan until she arrived home alone, the box still clutched in her arms.  Dying was too easy.  He didn’t deserve something that simple.  He deserved a lifetime of misery to match the holes he had torn open inside her, one in her heart and one in her womb.

Sometime around midnight, she heard the lock turn in the door announcing John’s arrival and she didn’t waste any time continuing what she had started in the restaurant.

She shouted at him, threw things, and followed him in and out of rooms when he tried to disengage.  He placated her, begged her, shushed her, worried the neighbors would hear.

She was counting on it.

Finally, in a frozen silence that descended between them, Josie stood at the top of the stairs, John only a few feet away.  With a creak that echoed through the stillness of the house, Jose slowly opened the box she still held and showed him the contents.

She watched the color drain from his face and in that moment, she hated him more than she ever thought possible.

Before he could speak, she laid the box on the floor in front of him and without saying a word, hurled herself down the wooden staircase.

“Josie! Oh my God!”  She heard John scream before her head slammed against a stair and darkness swam before her eyes.  She didn’t feel her body smash against the hardwood floor at the bottom of the stairs, didn’t know how long she blacked out before coming to.

The first thing she heard was John’s voice.

“I don’t know why she did it!  Please, you have to hurry.  She’s unconscious.”

She slowly assessed her body, checking to feel how much damage she had done.  She assumed she had a concussion and her right side was throbbing, all the way from her leg to her shoulder.  She decided it was best not to move and continued to lay on the floor, eyes closed, slowly breathing in and out, waiting.

It didn’t take long before she heard the sirens stop in front of their house; heard John run to the door to let them in.  She heard them kneel next to her with their equipment, so many voices and noises swirling around her.

“Josie, can you hear me?”

She slowly opened her eyes.

“You’re awake.  That’s good.  Can you tell me where you’re hurt?”

Her soft voice barely made it past her lips. “Right side.”

She cringed when they put a brace on her neck and heard them lay a stretcher next to her.

“Josie, we’re going to lift you up onto the stretcher.  We’ll be as gentle as we can.”

She cried out when they lifted her, the pain intensifying.  Once she was on the stretcher, she opened her eyes and managed to find John.  He was standing a few feet away, speaking to a police officer.

“You’re saying she just threw herself down the stairs?”  She saw him nod and knew this was the moment.

Gathering what little reserve she had left, Josie screamed, “No!” as tears pooled in her eyes and escaped out the corners.

“It was John.  He pushed me.”