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Guilt

Gravestone FFFC Ambage Flash Fiction Guilt

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#1 Offline Velox

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Posted Nov 21 2012 - 06:31 PM

Guilt

I knelt silently before the grave, the small white card a temporary gravestone.

ADRIANA MARTINEZ

1974-2012

LOVING WIFE AND MOTHER

     My eyes couldn’t leave her name. As much as I wanted them to, I couldn’t help it. Couldn’t help but let the torrent of memories rush upon me. I remembered the first day we had met, how I had spilled her coffee accidentally, walking without paying attention to where I was going.     “Oh, I’m so sorry,” I said quickly, taking out a napkin and handing it to her, picking up the fallen cup. “Here, let me buy you a new one.”      I would’ve thought she’d be furious at me, but instead she simply smiled and allowed me to do so. I smiled back, and together we walked back into the coffee shop.     It seemed so long ago now. A lifetime ago. Yet at the same time, it seemed like just yesterday. We shared a coffee together afterwards, and somehow I had had the courage to ask for her number, and even more of a miracle was that she had given me her real one, especially after I had just stained her blouse. That was one of the greatest days of my life.     Then I remembered our first real date…how nervous I had been, how much I had prepared for it. How my best friend Aaron had helped me make it as perfect as possible.     “Dude, chill, it’s going to be okay,” he said to me.      But I couldn’t help it. I fidgeted nervously, wringing my hands together and pacing the backyard. I had set up a table accompanied by candles and a waiter in a tux: Aaron. Every second she didn’t show seemed like an hour.      “Are you sure everything’s okay?”     “Yes, it’s fine! Just look at it, it’s perfect,” he replied. I had to agree, it did look pretty nice. But that didn’t stop me from worrying. I had never felt this way about a woman before. I remembered just two days ago when I had only met her because of my clumsiness. I remembered the lovely conversation we had, where we discovered so many similarities. I remem—     The doorbell rang. The intense desire burned in my heart all the greater and I rushed toward the door.      A tear fell from my eye. She had loved that date so much, the perfect smile of hers always present on her face the whole night. Yet I couldn’t see it now. The memories were all a fog, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not see her face. Why? I asked myself, but could think of no answer. I shook my head quickly, trying to forget, focusing again on the happy memories. Yet that only made it worse as after every smile from every memory I realized that that was what I had lost. Her. Gone forever, those memories the only thing left of her.     I buried my head in my hands as I remembered the day I proposed. A beautiful dinner at a fancy restaurant with a garden and balcony overlooking the ocean. I remembered how happy she had been when I got on one knee, but I couldn’t see it. Couldn’t see her smile, her face.     It was the guilt. I had done this. It was because of me that she was dead. I should’ve listened to her when she begged me to leave my job – an undercover cop infiltrating one of the most vicious gangs in Los Angeles. It was dangerous. I knew that the moment I slipped up, the moment they found out, my family was dead. But I thought I was good enough. Good enough to evade their discovery forever.     I was wrong.     More tears fell. ”I’m sorry,” I whispered to the makeshift gravestone. Hoping I could say it to her, but knowing that I never could. I only wished she knew…knew how sorry I was. But it was too late now. She was gone.     I tried to think of other happy memories – almost every moment we had spent together; our wedding, the happiest day of my life; the birth of our child, the second happiest day of my life. But I couldn’t. Now all I saw was her body with a hole in her head, a pool of blood under it. The duct-tape on her mouth, hands, and feet. The look of fear in her still-open, dead eyes. This picture of her face, her half blown-off face, would be the only one I could ever see again. Never again could I see her smile – only her fear. Her lifeless eyes.     The guilt consumed me.     Aaron approached from behind, probably wondering why I was still here, hours later after the funeral.     “C’mon, man,” he said, “it’s not your fault.”     “But it is.” And I knew that now, because of me, our children would have to grow up without a mother.

~ :: ~

A flash fiction piece I wrote a while ago for the Write-Off theme "guilt" -- saw that it fit the theme "gravestone" so decided to enter it into the contest. Not completely fond of this one, but we need more entries. If I wasn't in the middle of NaNo I probably would've re-written a lot of this, but oh well. Still, at least it's not the worst Write-Off piece I've written. Comments/etc. are welcome, but preferred in some other works of mine (such as Eldritch Abomination) that can be found in my library, the Shadowy Verge.Posted Image

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender


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[ The Shadowy Verge :: Midnight Voltage :: The Ambage :: SSCC ]


#2 Offline Kragghle

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Posted Nov 21 2012 - 09:01 PM

:kaukau: I will admit, it doesn't feel of the best quality. I'm not totally sure why you didn't just take the time to write a 600-1000 word story out of the blue, since words tend to go fast when you're working with short stories with an upper limit. You could have probably come up with something that used the space a lot better if you used a flash-fiction piece instead of a write-off piece, because I definitely get the sense that you just started writing and used whatever words came to you mind whether they fit or not, whereas a FF piece would have used the space better.As for the story itself, I'm honestly not very fond of it. The reason for that is because of the feeling I get from his memories of the relationship, which sound more like the reflections of a teenager in love rather than that of an adult who has been married who has known what it is to be like a husband and a father. The plot twist at the end wasn't really in my tastes (I always think that these scenarios sound a bit contrived and they reflect some ugly fantasies I have hhad of my own importance). As for the flow of the story, there are things that I like and things that I don't, but what I would advise is that when talking of the death of a loved one the best thing to do, when a story is presented as a confession, that it should be made to sound as natural as possible.Now, the addition of a third character such as Aaron I like. It adds a far more human element, something that seems a bit more like life and the small things therein. If it's from life, than it's a little truer. However, given the way you used the space you have here, he wasn't given enough attention, and overall the story focused more on the melodrama of stating emotions with grand gestures.Don't worry, though. We've both seen worse. I look forward to your next entry when we're done with NaNoWriMo and can relax a bit. Meanwhile, I have a few ideas to propose to you and I look forward to future discussions (which I allude to in this post because part of me wants other BZPers who see this to get curious). In light of a brighter future, don't forget I will hold you accountable for writing good stories! :)

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