Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Whimsically Dark

Deb over at San Diego Momma challenged us to write a short story inspired by this photo, using the word "empty."  This is very first drafty and totally unedited.  Be nice to me.

This scene reminds me of Delaware Water Gap, and makes me kind of homesick.

Kerri took several deep gulping breaths and willed herself to calm down.  How long had she been sitting on the shore? Long enough for her jeans to soak through from sitting too close to the marshy edge. Long enough for the sun to raise high in the sky.  Not long enough to stop crying, however.  Her shaking hands patted her pockets for a pack of cigarettes, which she left on the coffee table of the now empty house over on Jefferson Island.  Suddenly she remembered all the other things she left on Jefferson Island--her purse, her clothes, HIS clothes, and everything else that tied her to that life.  “Fuck! I have to go back,” she thought.  She wiped the tears, which seemed to flood steadily down her cheeks, and stood. 

She walked back to the canoe, the squishy shoreline sucking at her Keds®, and climbed in. Kerri hated the double-sided oar that her husband bought late last summer after he accidentally lost one while fishing. “What’s wrong with two oars?” she thought.  “It’s not a kayak, dumb ass.”  Slowly, she made her way back to the island, thanking God it was still early enough in the season that hardly any of the summer residents were in yet.  Most of those homes were on the far side of the island anyway.  There was Mr. Myles, who was a year-round resident, but his house was set up far enough back from the shore that unless he was really watching the river, he wouldn’t notice her coming.  She decided to skirt the shore until just across from her house, just in case he was really watching the river.  This meant rowing upstream, but the river was fairly calm in this section and the rowing was not difficult.  This also meant she’d avoid passing over Charles, who by now should have hit the bottom.  “I should have weighted him.  He’s big, but even fat guys float.”  She said a silent prayer that by the time Charles surfaced, she’d be long gone. It was hard enough getting him in the canoe and then subsequently out of the canoe.  The extra weight would have been too much.

“By the shores of Gitche Gumee,” she said to no one. “by the shining Big-Sea-Water.”  She giggled to herself; in her head, she heard Bugs Bunny reciting these lines.  She searched her brain for the rest of the poem. “Daughter of the moon, Nokomis….aw, screw you, Longfellow.”  Kerri’s breathing had returned to normal.  She sighed deeply and began mentally preparing for the days ahead, the trip back to the city by Greyhound (must leave Charles’s keys behind), the new ID, the flight, and a thousand other details.  Lists were good. Lists were calming.  Soon, she began to sing, “She’s the daughter of Rosie O’Grady. A regular old-fashioned girl.”   


Jaclyn said...

I want to know more! Write the book and I'll be your first reader.

Dora said...

I agree, I want to know more! What pushed her over the edge? Was this her plan all along? And if this was her plan all along, why is she crying at the start of the piece when at the end of the piece she seems very calm and focused?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Keep going, It has me sucked in already