Retail Therapy

“The French Riviera is so beautiful. Be safe. Love u.” – mum

If looks could kill, Pia would have scorched the damn phone.

Be safe – Really!
If she actually cared she wouldn’t have dumped her off at her father’s place, knowing well that the man was never home. That was the reason for their divorce, wasn’t it!
But no. Now his workaholism is ok, cause it keeps the alimony rolling in.

There was nothing that she wanted from Guess or Boss or even damn Louis Vuitton. But she sure could max out the credit cards she had flicked from her father’s wallet.
Maybe that would get his attention.


In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 19 October, based on a photo prompt by Jilly Funell

The Pampered Daughter

She was the pampered daughter.

Designer clothes, Barbie dolls, expensive trinkets, she got whatever she wanted; even college, even though it was on the other side of the river. She was never expected to work, but they agreed that an educated mother could give her children a better upbringing.

Of course, she was warned to stay away from the riff-raffs from the fishing hamlet. “We employ the lower caste, we don’t fraternize with them,” grandfather had explained.

But used to having her own way, she thought that she could convince them that she wanted Rajesh.

“So, what if he lives across the river? The only thing that divides us is a bridge,” she argued.

They brought her Rajesh; but he was missing a heartbeat.

Some bridges cannot be crossed.

The pampered daughter can have whatever she wants. So long as those are things that don’t impact the ‘family honour’.
After all, a girl can’t ask for too much!


In response to Priceless Joy’s 187th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo by Michelle De Angelis.

All consuming love

The fire burns hot and bright, shining in all its glory. It’s carefree flames leap up in excitement, uncontrolled, unashamedly consuming whatever it pleases. Beautiful, breathtaking and merciless.

Maybe that is why I am so attracted to it. I look at the wild flames, and all I see is you.

You who enveloped me in your smoldering heat, consumed my heart, my soul, my bank balance, and when all I had was consumed, you disappeared like a plume of smoke, leaving behind the charred mess that was me.

As the flames embrace you, I know that you are finally where you deserve to be. You are free to rage without pretence.

And all it took was my little spark.


In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 17 November 2017, based on a photo by J D Hardy

Emotions recycled

Steel dragons. As dead as the relationship that I called marriage. As cold as the man I called husband.

Everything unwanted should be recycled, he always said. So everyday, every moment, I strived for perfection. Always afraid that if I let up for even a moment, then I would be unwanted, discarded. Just someone to be recycled.

Reused. Refused. Recycled.

The security tapes and backup have been deleted. I always told him not to use birthdays as passwords. The man was too arrogant to listen. He never did understand technology. Never understood that the cameras recording the employee movements, recorded his movements too. Never understood the concept of remote monitoring.

In the forge, the furnace simmers leaving no evidence of its greed and rage. No bones. No ashes. No evidence of sweaty undulating bodies. No evidence of blood soaked steel.

Everything unwanted should be recycled.

Emotions recycled.

Karma. The ultimate recycle.


In response to the 140th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge based on a photo provided by Enisa.

Moving

Keep moving, rushing, focused on aisles and platforms, anchored by the weight of your baggage.

Don’t slow down long enough to look ahead, don’t tarry long enough to look behind.

The past might break your heart, the future might unsettle your soul.


In response to Week 90 of Three Line Tales based on a photo by Andre Benz via Unsplash

Blessed silence


Photo © Ted Strutz

The constant noise went on and on, all day, all week, giving him a splitting headache. Then there was the tossing and turning and whistling at night.
He was fed-up. It was time to fix it.

Out came his tools, and the tarp of course. He needed to keep the floor clean. A few strikes with the hammer fixed the noise problem. Washcloths helped with the spillage.

But the nuisance was still in the way. Plus putrefaction was a concern.

So he sailed to where the current was the strongest, weighted her down, and tossed her overboard.

Ah! Blessed silence.


In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 6 October 2017

Shutdown

I just wanted something to eat. Instead ma’s walking around banging empty pans. The old factory finally closed and da’s out of work. No work means no money. There is nothing in the larder and the baby is on the way. Then da comes staggering in, drunk, which makes ma even more crazy. They start fighting. She’s shouting, and he’s shouting, and then he hits her. She falls against the table clinging to her belly screaming that he’s killing her baby. Ma’s bleeding and da’s still shaking her up. I beg him to stop but he doesn’t hear me. So I grab the pan and smack him with it. All the noise stopped.

Now I’m cuffed and off to prison.

At least I wont be hungry.


In response to the Friday Fictioneers challenge of 29 September 2017 based on a photo by J. Hardy Carroll.

The eyes have it

The vultures are always watching, hovering overhead, waiting for a sign of weakness, so that they may sweep down and devour. Don’t show any weakness. Most importantly don’t harbour a bleeding heart. No matter how carefully you camouflage your emotions, they can scent blood.

You may be a single parent with a beautiful smart golden haired baby who needs to be dragged kicking and screaming to day care, you may have an ailing mother at home who eats more medicines than her granddaughter eats candy, and you may be driving a beaten down old car that has far outlived itself, but you better not dally, you better not stop to fret about your abysmal life, cause the clock is ticking, and the vultures are waiting.

You cant see them, but they are ever watchful over you, because you see they now have these devious little aids calls biometric attendance systems and closed circuit cameras. They will know if you enter the office late.

In response to the Sunday Photo Fiction‘s prompt of 18th June with photo by A Mixed Bag 2012

The break

The thing with small towns – everybody knows everybody’s business.

I had ridden to the next town just to buy a pregnancy test kit. For seven stressful days and seven sleepless nights, I had kept the results to myself, almost as if I were an unwed mother. Eventually I made myself a promise. This was my decision, my responsibility. My baby would always have a family. There was no going back.

When he heard he was becoming a father, he was proud enough to buy the entire pub a round and pleased enough to permit me to work. The baby had to be provided for, and honestly, I was more than willing.

Smart, friendly, helpful, my princess was perfect. When she looked at me, like I was the most important person in the world, I determined that she was not going to waste her life like me. It didn’t matter if my back ached or my eyes burnt, her hug could cure everything.

Time passed like the bling of an eye and soon it was time for her to go to college. Tuition was expensive, but I had been saving up ever since she won first prize in middle school.

It was when I logged in to pay that I discovered I was down to minimum balance. It had to be a mistake. Definitely a mistake! I rushed to the bank. I had signed no cheque. I had withdrawn no money. And that’s when I realised the rumors had been true. He had debts, great big gambling debts.

Nothing moved him, not her tears, not my pleas. He just left for the pub like it was just another day.

I meant to follow him to continue pleading. I never realised that I had accelerated until I rammed into the tree.

The coroner came for him. The cops came for me. No questions were asked.

That’s the thing with small towns – everybody knows everybody’s business.

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Written for Michelle’s Photo-Fiction #90 challenge