Monday, July 14, 2008

Entry #34

Shadow Cast – 4:18
by Dottie Camptown


My husband walked from the garage holding his throat to stem the torrent of unstoppable blood. I met him as he collapsed at the back door. The police later concluded that the jagged leg of a metal ladder sliced open his neck as he unsuccessfully tried to hoist it into the rafters.

To stop my nagging, he had been cleaning the garage. It was impossible to get anything out.

I stroked his hair. Our eyes locked together until his lost focus. I felt lucky in the way that people in trauma bargain with how things can be worse - our teenage daughter wasn’t home.

The doorbell rang. I left him to answer the door. A policeman stood holding a helmet covered in Skinny Puppy stickers, mine from college.

“Where did you get that?” I asked.

“Do you own a motorcycle?”

“It’s in the garage.” But by the look in his eyes it was not.

She had taken it. Our daughter broke rules with the inadequate judgment of someone who has never viewed the panorama of consequence. She hadn’t sped. She wore a helmet. She simply hit the soft earthen lip of a darkening road.

“Is that blood on your shirt?” he asked looking behind me, my husband’s body in plain view through the open back door. We both tried to make a linear narrative of seemingly disparate events.

He drew his gun as a precaution. I sprang toward him to flesh away the bones of his uncertainty. He justifiably fired.

26 comments:

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Losing both of them at the same time!Her pain really gets to the reader.

Beautiful narration.

Beth said...

Dottie, I always look for your stuff because it's so far off the beaten path. Not old people or mushy gushy or happy death, but a strangely woven tale. You've definitely done it again with this one.

wrath999 said...

An unexpected ending, cop drawing and firng a gun. Excellent tale of family tragedy..

'Our eyes locked together until his lost focus'

alex

24crayons said...

This was excellent! Horrific, but excellent!

Parabolist said...

Definitely weird, but well written and wonderful!

Sarah Hina said...

Dottie, I love your entries. They're always so fresh and unique. You really twisted the knife here. I shuddered at that last line.

Such a tragic string of coincidences would cause anyone to take that leap. So horrific...and so well told.

Brilliant all around!

Dottie said...

Thank you for all of the positive feedback, Clarity Friends.

Scott said...

Wow, that packed quite a punch, and carried with it an awful lot of story in so short a span. Loved it. Really.

SzélsőFa said...

Very delicious and full of suprises and unique composition of words.

Wannabe Writer said...

A voice from beyond the grave. OOH! What a sad tale. A whole family gone in less than a day. -Rita

BernardL said...

Well done ghastly tale.

JaneyV said...

Such a great story - sad, gruesome, unexpected, moving and violent. Were there really only 250 words. Really amazing!

klgilbert said...

I have to say, that I would be tempted to jump in front of the gun, too. Unique story in a brevity of well chosen words.

September said...

What a tragic story! Father, daughter, mother...all killed. Talk about a great CSI case.

The girl taking the motorcycle, was a twist in itself but then you added that ending.

So much detail in such a tiny story. Very well done.

David Martinez is: said...

What a great piece! I loved absolutely everything about it!

JefeB said...

What a feat of storytelling! A perfectly self-contained vision of blind coincidence workings its worst. This piece reconfirms both my love of flash fiction and my belief that Dottie is an angel straight from heaven.

Dottie said...

I really enjoyed writing this, but almost every word was devoted to furthering the plot. Not much space left for philosophical reflection which I love to do. Thank you for taking the time to share your reflections. (El Jefe, thank you for feeding my juvenile need for overboard adoration. I just wish I had thought to add a unicycle...)

Aerin said...

So...I'm not sure what to say except this is far too fantastically morbid for my taste. My brain tells me it's well written, my heart tells me it can't, can't be true, and my stomach churns a little at all the blood. :




And I mean that all in the most positive way possible!! :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Reminds me of some of the story lines in the movie "Magnolia." Dark, odd, scenarios that make sense when you analyze them.

angel said...

this was fabulous! its so typical how assumptions can change situations so fast!

c.s. said...

this is so, so tragic...

very well-crafted writing. among the best i've read here.

Posolxstvo I said...

My random thoughts:

- Go Skinny Puppy fans!
- why would she lunge? so foolish.

laughingwolf said...

a triple tragedy, horrific!

Missy said...

Oh, my - this one stabbed me from behind whilst I was guarding my heart! Artfully conspired.

jason evans said...

Quickly being overwhelmed by horrendous tragedy. I don't blame her for leaping. She didn't endure it long. Great lines in there. Good pacing and impact.

Anonymous said...

bravo!