Saturday, July 16, 2011

Entry #40

Not Today
by Peggy McFarland


A disembodied voice. "Had enough?"

Sounds like Zeke. I don't answer. Yes, I've had enough, but no, not enough. Never enough. I crave more.

But not today.

Nausea waves. He's not here. Zeke cannot be here.

"Are you a quitter?" Zeke's voice again. His derisive laugh.

I am a quitter. One hour at a time.

I hug my knees and shiver on the bare mattress. A spring stabs. All I've got. Dirty clothes piled on the floor among ashes and rot and I don't know what else. A torn shade blots the window, but does it cover cracks or glass—windowpane? window-pain? only pain—I don't know what's on the other side.

I am a quitter. One minute at a time.

My room. My world. All that's left. And it reeks. Sweat. Vomit. Despair.

I am a quitter. One dry heave at a time.

Just have to make it to the other side. The clean side. Withdraw.

Headache.

Check.

Chills.

Check.

Hallucinations...

...all I see is black light within a red haze. My world is a negative. From the corner, a crack pipe glows. His laugh mocks. He should not be here. Zeke is dead....

Check.

My negative hand floats before my vision. I reach for Zeke.

An ember flares, ignites, takes wing. Not a pipe. His force. His soul. I push. I could follow.

But.

Not today.

29 comments:

j a zobair said...

This is very powerful. I hope she makes it. I hope she doesn't end up like Zeke. Nice job!

Precie said...

Excellent. Not today, indeed!

Clara said...

One of the most remarkable entries I've read. Loved it!

Anonymisty said...

Wow! I loved this one.

Mikki said...

Very nice work. I felt your character's pain, her despair. The details were expertly added, guiding your readers into your world one hazy step at a time. I almost felt as though I was the one hallucinating!

Thanks for sharing!

SzélsőFa said...

quite chilling - it lingers long on after reading.
i hope she quits. today :)

Aimee Laine said...

The throes of depression? That's how I see it anyone. It'll never get better will it?

Jay R. Thurston said...

Great work as always Peggy! You've captured inner turmoil with great craft.

J. M. Strother said...

Haunting story, Peggy. Downright chilling.
~jon

Peter Dudley said...

This makes my short list. Strong, direct, and raw. Well done.

Michael Solender said...

Whoa Peggy very solid piece here.

Jodi MacArthur said...

The emotion and humanity is strong in this piece which is neat, because she is so obviously struggling with the disentanglement of it. I thought seeing the world as a negative with the glowing red was an especially powerful vision. Love your work, Peg.

fairyhedgehog said...

I hope he or she makes it through. I felt the courage needed to endure for just one more day, one more hour, one more minute.

Timothy P. Remp said...

Very powerful piece! You wrapped the prompt picture with your story extremely well.

-Tim

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Powerful. I too hope she survives her addiction.

Dottie

Col Bury said...

The micro-sentences offered immediacy. Impactful work, Peggy.

Regards,
Col

Jade L Blackwater said...

Powerfully told story! I really like how well this piece keeps me in the presence of the narrator's mind.

bluesugarpoet said...

It wouldn't be called an addition if it wasn't undeniably powerful, eh? Your story draws us in just as the crack draws in its unwilling victim. ~Jana A

Old Kitty said...

Your use of short jagged sentences really makes this a very powerful very disturbing story, thank you, take care
x

Richard Levangie said...

This was raw and riveting, and captured the emotions and feelings keenly. You really do take it one minute at a time.*

Well done, Peggy! Very impressive.

*I was never a crack addict, but was prescribed methadone for chronic daily migraines. I went through withdrawal for six months coming off it, and it was the hardest thing in a hard life. The only thing you missed was the itching, the feeling that thousands of ants were crawling over your skin.

C Sonberg Larson said...

Very powerful. You did a great job showing the reader what your character is experiencing. Very deep. I'm rooting for her recovery!

Deanna Schrayer said...

Powerful indeed! This is oustanding Peggy. So much feeling, so much pain, determination...EMOTION, in so few words. One of your best ever, if not the best.

Sandra Cormier said...

A sharp, painful example of a self-imposed prison. Freedom is within her grasp but she is bound to her fate.

I hope she breaks free.

John Wiswell said...

Ethereal take on the picture. Less showing the experience, and more the essential feeling of it. Good work, Peggy.

JaneyV said...

This is an extremely visceral portrait of withdrawal and the determination it takes when someone is at their most fragile to drag themselves up from rock bottom.

Terrific, strong writing.

Aniket said...

Unique and genius take on the prompt. And brilliant writing overall. It seemed a hell lot more than just 250 words.

Makes my top 5 for sure.

Erin Cole said...

A great entry. I liked the jerk of inner thought and senses, as I imagine this is exactly what it would feel like to withdraw. Great visuals too.

Chris Allinotte said...

Excellent entry. The pacing and the way you break up the experience is mesmerizing.

I don't pretend to know how horrific it must be to wrench free of this awful disease, but you've suggested a telling glance through a dirty window here, and it's frightening.

jason evans said...

That was so potent. And the approach lifted it perfectly. Great! A high scorer!

Congratulations on the honorable mention!