1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Winner picklzzz Short Story Contest 108: The Kitchen

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jan 16, 2012.

    picklzzz - Deeply Wrinkled

    The blade slices through the threads that hold the buttons onto Marian’s shirt, one by one, with agonizing slowness, until she is left exposed and breathless. As unwavering hands tear her blouse from her shoulders, a gasp escapes the duct tape. Norma tries to call out in her defense, to stop her mentally challenged son from whatever he is about to do. Instead, Norma’s voice comes out a low, inconsequential gurgle as she struggles against the restraints that bind her. The blade continues, now on Marian’s bare skin, winding up her side, circling around her breast, scraping against her ribs as they jut in and out with her ragged breath. When the knife reaches the hollow of her neck, she tries to scream, but the tip has plunged into her soft flesh far enough to render her mute.

    Marian bolts upright in her bed, sweat pouring down her face. At once, she feels for her throat. Although there is a slight ridge of a scar from when she had her thyroid removed years ago, her neck is still whole. She sighs deeply, her relief tinged with an unyielding sadness.

    “I can speak,” she says, just to be sure. She recites her morning prayers aloud more to hear her voice than anything. There is really nothing left to pray for.

    It had only been a matter of minutes before Marian would have lost her voice completely at the hands of her neighbor’s insane son and his very sharp knife. It was a good thing the worker from the landscaping company was insistent on collecting for the week and called the police when he heard strange noises coming from within the house. It had been too late for poor Norma, but Marian had been saved. For reasons still she can’t figure almost a year later, her life had been spared. Only now she has the pleasure of reliving the horrible ordeal every night in her dreams.

    Kicking off the stifling covers, Marian steps onto the cool tile floor, avoiding looking at the alarm clock entirely. She doesn’t remember the last time she’s gotten a decent night’s sleep, and it isn’t worth being shocked by the early hour anymore.

    She heads to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face. As she reaches for a towel, she notices the sheet that shrouds the mirror has partly fallen away. She tries to replace it without even a quick glance, but as she stretches to secure the corner, her reflection scowls back.

    She quickly looks away, feeling shame for being unable to bear even a glimpse of her own face. The wrinkles that formed in the past several years are now enhanced by the scars Dooley carved with his knife. He’d said he wanted to cut away her wrinkles, to make her pretty again. She reminded him of Lydia. At the time, Marian didn’t know or care who that was. She later found out Lydia was a nurse at his psychiatric facility who tended to him before he was deemed fit for society and released. Dooley had wanted to make her into the woman he fantasized about, and so he sliced her and did unspeakable things to her, things that no man should force upon a woman, before the police came and mercifully stopped him.

    The surgeries have created smooth parts between the deepened wrinkles, which makes everything look even worse. The doctors insist her appearance will improve after a few more procedures, but she has finally given up. It is senseless to continue with the painful laser sessions when she’ll never recapture her beauty. Dooley’s knife and her advancing age would prevent that no matter what the doctors did. Her husband was already gone and he was the only one she ever cared to impress with her appearance anyway. Besides, the scars within are much more damaging, and according to her therapist, they are the ones that require her attention most.

    Marian throws her towel onto the mirror. Much better, she decides. Her first inclination is to wallow in despair over what has happened to her. That’s how she usually copes.

    “No!” she shouts to the taunting mirror. “I won’t do it!” Her therapist taught her to fight against those debilitating feelings with verbal refusals. Instead, she knows she must devise a plan so that she doesn’t fall into the inescapable abyss of depression that tends to swallow her whole and spit her out completely shattered.

    “Today I will do something different!” She feels foolish for talking to herself, but who is really around to know or care? “Today, I will take down every damn mirror in this whole house! I will put away all the clocks. And then, I will make some nice pasta and sauce and have a wonderful lunch!”

    Her orange tabby bounds in silently, rubbing against her leg, purring his approval. “That’s right, Whiskers, I will not be terrorized today! You have my word on that!”

    The rest of the story: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=48704
     
  2. pinkgiraffe
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    pinkgiraffe Member

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    Congratulations picklzzz! I thought your story was very gripping and I found the main character's determination to move on, even in small, ordinary ways, inspiring and uplifting.
     
  3. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thank you! I really appreciate it. I also found the character quite moving as I wrote. Funny how that can happen sometimes!
     
  4. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    Well done picklzzz!
     
  5. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thanks Ziggy!
     
  6. GemmaB
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    GemmaB New Member

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    Congrats picklzzz! What a gripping first paragraph..I found myself holding my breath..the knife at my throat..lol. Great job!
     
  7. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thanks GemmaB. This is actually based on a true story (unfortunately) of someone I knew about and what happened to her. It still saddens me to this day and gave me inspiration for the story. Her story didn't have as good of an ending.
     
  8. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    Brilliant writing picklzz. Got to say, it's inspired me for one.
     
  9. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thanks, Inspired Writer!
     

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