The Lull – Prologue

The Lull – Prologue

I’ve been working on this – shall we say – “piece” for a while now and found this hidden away in my drafts. Any thoughts would be appreciated. In case you can’t tell, this is going to be a medical thriller, someday. Here’s hoping.

I’ve been waking up at the exact same time everyday, 3:30 AM. Sometimes I think I can hear noises, but that’s probably just my imagination. Truth is, I haven’t been sleeping well and it’s been eight months now and I know it’s not the new mattress. The clumps of hair I find in my hands every time I run a few fingers through my hair feel like warning signs. Multiple warning signs. Back in my day as a doctor at the hospital, I would see cancer patients on therapy losing hair this alarmingly. I don’t know what’s wrong with my body, but I sometimes feel like a part of me is kind of dying. And that isn’t comforting.

Who is going to take my place when I am no more?

The pain in my tailbone is bad today. I would rate it a solid eight point five. I can’t remember when it started but I can feel it intensifying. My normal ignore-it-till-it-goes-away tactic isn’t working anymore. Which is funny because it works really well when I have my dysmenorrhea. I try chamomile tea. It’s now almost four in the morning, and it’s cold, and dark and wet outside. It hasn’t stopped raining in forever. The wifi goes for a toss when thunderstorms happen and I temporarily have no access to Instagram. I like to stalk – no, keep up with – a few people when I am alone. I like to see what Rita is up to with her brand new side hustle, or what Nikkie is up to with that judgemental mind of hers, and what Tina is doing with life. These guys were my best friends in college, and then we went our separate ways and then the whole pandemic happened and all hell broke loose.

You’d think they’d check up on me, but I am someone they secretly like to call “The Dismissed”,  and they’re not wrong. I’m a has-been, a pariah, the one who threw her life away. I have no job, no prospects, and I don’t know if I would ever see my patients again. There’s a health crisis raging outside and they need me more than I need them but they don’t see that.

After all, what would anyone see in a emaciated former doctor in her late twenties who lives in a shoebox of a house, savings dwindling, with no one to turn to? I close my eyes and touch my back, that’s where they surgically implanted something so Nikkie could get away with something else.

Their life, happening.

Mine? Nothing but a lull.

Twitch.

Twitch.

I wake up with the worst headache.

And my right brow has been twitching too. I’m either super dehydrated, or I’m in need of new glasses. The latter seems to be a very impossible mission right now, what with the pandemic and all, so I’ve to make do with some water.

I gulp down a huge glass of water and wait for the headache to pass. It doesn’t. An hour goes by. Nothing happens.

I’ve to deal with this twitching eye. It’s driving me mad at this point. I go to the mirror to have a closer look. It’s twitching harder than ever and I can see something poke through.

I clamp my hand to my head. Another hand pushes it away. Bloodied. And it has claws. I scream in agony as my inner devil rips out through the twitch and starts to consume me.

Frankennovel.

Frankennovel.

She’d gone missing one Sunday morning. Her husband had woken up to find an empty kitchen, and he’d thrown a fit and called her name, angrily, a bunch of times.

She didn’t show. Neither did she make the coffee that morning.

The husband called her cellphone and it rang shrilly, indicating it was somewhere around the house. He looked around and found it lying on the couch. And there was no sign of her.

He knew nothing about his wife. They’d been dating for two years and had only gotten married six months ago, but he knew nothing about her. He knew nothing about what she liked, or what her favorite color was, or what perfume she wore. He’d never made the effort to get to know her, really. To him, she was a waste of space, a spineless creature who only lived off his money, who did nothing constructive. But she also came from money herself, which was precisely why he’d married her in the first place, despite having fallen out of love with her months ago.

He made himself some coffee and started walking around the house. The silence was nice. Padded. Comforting. It felt so much nicer than having her yell at him constantly.

I hope she stays missing, he thought, sitting down on the couch. Something poked him in the side. It was a hard-bound leather notebook. He opened it and realized that it actually had stuff written on the inside in his wife’s handwriting. She seemed to have been penning down a story. Intrigued, he started reading. It was the story of an unhappy marriage between a corporate guy and a housewife who seemed to have a habit of cutting herself.

He winced at the gory descriptions of the woman cutting herself open and sewing herself back together. Every time the man made her feel small and insignificant, she cut herself deeper.

The story ended rather abruptly with the woman and the man in a verbal tussle. The woman seemed to be hiding something behind her back…

He was shocked when a woman – the same woman in the story – rose out of the pages of the notebook and stabbed him multiple times. The last thing he saw was the woman stepping back into the pages of the notebook and closing it behind her.

Short: “Becky With The Camera”

Short: “Becky With The Camera”

Becky’s had a crush on her best friend’s man, Jared, for over three years now.

One day she accidentally sends a screen grab of her gallery to her friend. The very next day, Jared ditches his girl for Becky.

Jared’s newest post on his feed is gorgeous. He’s shirtless and his skin is glistening. The caption reads – “Becky snapped this while I was in the shower, and boy, that girl is a keeper. No one’s ever made me look this good.” The photo is one of the pictures from Becky’s gallery, which Jared’s ex had immediately forwarded to him, demanding an explanation. The only thing she’d gotten in return, unfortunately, was a total termination of the relationship.

A famous underwear brand sees the post, and they contact him to model for them. Jared says heck yes.

His Insta blows up, Becky goes from being trashed as home-wrecker to being hailed as a photography hero, and her best friend goes into rehab for drinking a little too much. The things people do for a little social media attention, would stun you.

50 Word Story: Vegan

50 Word Story: Vegan

Read the first part here.

Mia had recently gone vegan, and had promptly grown as an influencer.

Unfortunately, Shay had caught her eating bacon at breakfast the other day.

“Thought you were vegan.”

“I am, for the ‘Gram,” Mia smirked, posting a photo of her milkshake to her feed. “Hashtag Vegan. Shay, go like.”

50 Word Story: Milkshake

50 Word Story: Milkshake

“Mia, look I got you a vegan milkshake! It’s yum, I tried it the other day.”

“Ooh, thanks Shay!”

It would be the last time Mia ever spoke again. By the time the rat poison showed up on the autopsy results, Shay had already left town.

Short: The Hotel

Short: The Hotel

Sabine was twenty when she got married. There were rumors that she had actually been forced into marrying Pierre, who was eighteen years her senior.

He was wealthy and Sabine’s mother wanted to get rid of her anyway.

Sabine was a vision in her beautiful white gown, which sparkled against the lavish walls of the big fancy hotel ballroom. Nobody noticed the desperation and pain in her eyes. Everyone was too busy marveling at Sabine’s wonderful luck and Pierre’s expensive taste.

No one knew when the fire started. The alarm never went off. By the time the firefighters got to the scene, the place had already burned down.

Fifteen years have passed since. They say if you drive down that road in the wee hours of the morning, you can still hear the blood-curdling screams of Pierre and his family as Sabine burns them down over and over.

“Cubic Zirconia”

“Cubic Zirconia”

“Look, I just got engaged”, Mel said, showing off her enormous diamond ring. “This is a five carat diamond, babe! I mean, have you seen me? I’m a solid ten. And have you seen my dear fiancé? Oh my God, fiancé. Kinda weird saying it out loud but I mean I’m WAY out of his league, so the bald old dude has to keep me happy, right?”

Taken aback by shock at Mel’s choice of words for her new fiancé, Sylvia did her best to act happy. She smiled at Mel and raised her glass to her.

“I’m so happy for you Mel,” she said quietly, feeling miserable that she didn’t even get a real ring from her fiancé. That cubic zirconia sat on her finger, almost reprimanding her. Sylvia could hear her mother’s voice telling her, from somewhere far away, “I told you not to marry Tom, you could have found someone so much nicer, let’s see how he takes care of your stupid high-maintenance butt.” She pictured her mother, fresh from a Botox session, saying no vehemently to meeting Tom for the last time. And that had been the final straw. Both women were headstrong but Sylvia was also obstinate to the point of no return. Or at least she had been.

Her mother had married young and had Sylvia at twenty one. They had been wealthy. And she grew up spoiled and then, fell in love. That was three years ago. She’d married against her family’s wishes and her parents had cut her off. She and Tom lived in a tiny shoebox apartment, barley managing to make ends meet. She worked as a teacher and Tom, a struggling entrepreneur. They didn’t have much; but Tom was an amazing husband and they loved each other. As she remembered their very, very tiny court wedding, she felt a warm glow in her heart and realized that her mother had been wrong and that Tom was indeed, the best she could ever get.

Her phone buzzed loudly; and she snapped out of her reverie and she saw a message from Tom:

“Home early, I’m going to pop into the shower and order takeout. You’re going to take ages to choose so I’ll just order my favorites. BUT you are my favorite and I want you to know that. How long are you going to be out with Mel? I miss you!”

Tom had been away the whole week, meeting a few investors and trying to pitch his ideas, but with zero success. And he didn’t want to be upset about it, because Sylvia was a compulsive over-thinker and would stay up late if she found out that he was feeling low.

Sylvia smiled at the phone and replied to Tom’s text, saying she’d missed him too and that she’d be home just in time for dinner.

Sometimes you don’t need a five-carat diamond, you only need a five-dollar takeaway meal, and love. Pure, unadulterated, beautiful, love.

50 Word Story: The Wife

50 Word Story: The Wife

They had a commuter marriage. Neither could afford to switch jobs.

On her birthday he stopped at a bar on his way to surprise her. A blonde offered to give him a lap dance.

Nothing could have prepared him for what followed: the blonde was his wife of six months.