Monday, April 02, 2007

Flickr Fiction: Close Calls

"I'll do it, I swear!" She shook the bottle of pills at him, a strange gleam in her eyes reflecting from the sun weakly filtering in through the kitchen window. Her voice was so raw and rough it made his own throat constrict.

Anyway, he didn't know what to say. It wasn't like she hadn't done this before.

Yelling back was what she wanted, some twisted confirmation of her own low self-image that, perversely, made her feel calmer, vindicated. Soothing, placating tones only provoked rage, only increased the likelihood of the cap coming off the little plastic safety canister.

He didn't want to go through it all again—the ambulance with sirens screaming, the emergency room with its odor of fear and blood, her sleeping face the color of ashes on the white pillow. He hated hospitals. They were full of serious bad vibes.

But he'd never tried silence. In their two years together, it had somehow not occurred to him. It was so easy to talk; not as easy to stop talking and hear.

The silence was involuntary this time. His throat simply would not function. Usually, his first instinct was to turn to those meaningless platitudes that rolled so easily off the tongue. He clung to them himself like a daily regimen: It's just a bad mood. Sleep on it; you'll both feel better in the morning. She doesn't really mean it. It's a cry for help.

But the quiet was like a fog that rolled over both of them, muffling the screaming, the rattling pills, the shuffling of his feet.

"Say something," he barely heard her whisper, and then she put the pill bottle down and bent forward, arms hugging her stomach, resting her forehead on the cool tile counter.

***

This week's piece was inspired by Day 53 - Soma by Flickr user Miss Emily goes bananas. I seem to only write angst-ridden pieces these days; sorry. I'll try to be more amusing next time. Check the usual suspects for more Flickr Fiction: The Gurrier, Isobel, Elimare, Chris, TadMack, Neil, Valsha, and Mari.

7 comments:

DaviMack said...

Liked it. I'd forgotten what the picture was since I'd read the others, though, so it had to stand on its own ... and it did. Quite well.

Why would you try to be amusing, if what calls to you is Angst? It's not as if we can't enjoy Angst, is it? I mean, none of the others are going for funny (or, at least, not "ha ha" funny). Maybe you've got Angst to write about!

TadMack said...

Except for maybe two lines (especially the one that said that that hospitals were full of "bad vibes")I almost wouldn't have thought you had written this. It is totally out of character, in a way... Not necessarily by topic, since I don't think you or anyone has to always be amusing, but it didn't seem/feel/sound like you. Wow.

Well done, incidentally -- :)Writing anything after Trying Times With Relatives is meritorious enough to get you gold stars!

a. fortis said...

Thanks!! It's funny...the one line that really bugged me (as in stood out to me) is the "I'll do it, I swear!" which strikes me as a little cheesy, but it was the best I could come up with...

Valsha said...

Oh, I like this. I like those moments when everything changes and you've captured this one so well.

Donal said...

You caught the mood in this one really well. Flaming arguments, dire consequences and feelings of helplessness, spot on.h

Miss Emily said...

I don't mind if you use my photos and credit me (even if it was just an offhand mention), but please leave me a comment on the photos saying that you've done so.

-Miss Emily

DaviMack said...

Interesting: is it "using" someone's photo if you merely link to them? Maybe if you use them inline, as an image in your post, but if you've merely cited them as inspiration?