Last week I tried memoir; this week I’m attempting fiction. I’ve read it, but I haven’t written any fiction since 3rd grade when I wrote about Lady Cordelia in a little purple spiral-bound notebook. The writing prompt comes courtesy of The Red Dress blog, where I’m linking up today.

***

Antique Medicine bottlephoto © 2009 Chris Willis | more info (via: Wylio)

 

A crowd of bottles cover my night stand. Vitamins, herbs, oils, pain relievers, stimulants, laxatives, sleep aids. Crumpled Kleenex litter the floor like leaves in October.

My body is dead weight. I can barely get to and from the bathroom without collapsing on the chilled tiles or clinging to the pedestal sink for support. Heaven help me if that pedestal ever gives way. I’ve been deathly ill for years. I should have died by now.

But, my best friend always acts like I am faking it.

“Get out of bed! You’ll feel better if you move.”

“I’ll get you your favorite pizza if you’ll meet me there at noon.”

“Your husband can’t keep doing all this alone. You need to help him.”

I hate when she gets after me. Sometimes I go, but … well, it doesn’t matter now. It won’t happen again.

Seven days ago, I stared at the shell of my best friend, painted a clay-flesh color nowhere near the glowing peach of her life. I touched her hand at the casket, expecting it only to be cold. Instead, her skin was hard, chalky, like the outside of an egg-shaped malt candy. Some clown had styled her hair huge, just like we used to do in the 80s. No-one told the funeral home that she just washed, brushed, and wore her hair natural, I guess.

It didn’t look like her. I never understood how people could live in denial after a viewing. But there I was, swearing to myself that it couldn’t be. She couldn’t be dead.

I went straight to bed after, and in seven days, except for the bathroom, I haven’t left.

The door knob clanged like someone trying to be as noisy as possible. My husband smacked the light switch on, and plodded toward the bed. I swear the man has no respect for grief.

“You got some stupid joke mail,” he growled.

He flapped a postcard around, then smashed it with his fists and hurled it at the window as if he could make it break through. He spun around and pulled the door shut behind him with a bang.

I shut my eyes and tried to settle back into the numbness of sleep.

For the first time in a week, sleep failed me. My mind kept crawling to the edge of the bed to peer at the postcard, wondering what could have set off my husband. I’d yank my mind back and stuff it into the dark under my pillow, only to catch it creeping back to the edge of the mattress again.

Enough. I slid over the side of the bed. Drag-thumped my body towards the paper. Plucked it up. Flattened it out a bit. It was a photo of my favorite pizza place.

On the back, a message was written in capital letters.

“I’M NOT DEAD. MEET ME TONIGHT AT GUIDO’S PIZZERIA. TELL NO ONE.”

I snapped upright, curiosity flaming. Who would do that? Could it be? No, it was impossible. Outrageous! This must be dealt with.

I jerked to my feet. Anger tangled with impossible hope propelled me down the hall to my car.

“You are NOT going.” My husband stood up from the table. “Go back to bed. Aren’t you the one who is always sick and hasn’t been out of bed in a week? No way.”

I brushed past him and snatched my keys off the hook where they’d been hanging for weeks. “I have to go tell this wretch off. No-one messes with me that way.”

It took me a minute to remember where the parking release was on my car. As I backed out of the garage, I looked up at my husband, who stood in the doorway with a strange smirk on his face.

***

So, what do you think is going on?

And, what do you think of the story writing? Like I said, I haven’t written fiction before, so I’m looking for constructive criticism.

 

***

Don’t miss a post! You can get Joy in This Journey in your inbox or reader for free.