Monday, June 20, 2005

Short Story

abandoned guitar
Originally uploaded by Leo L30.
I posted this short story recently in Story Starters on flickr. Yes, the story is a bit dark, but those of you who know me know that's my style. Thanks to Leo L30 for the shot that gave me the inspiration.
I hope to be writing more of these, writing short little pieces like this really primes the pump and helps with the novel I'm working on.

She waded into the river slowly, the water was still icy for early summer. She caught her breath in her chest, like a tiny sob just starting, each time a small wave surged feebly up her bare thighs. How silly she must look, she thought, the guitar slung high across her chest as though she were about to serenade the sun fish that lay, lazy and glinting, just below the banks. That thought, like all the others, pumped through her head, incessant now, like her pulse, yet stronger, somehow.

A boat plowed through the current way out on the river, life rushing by her, the uneven and distant buzz of the motor bouncing across the valley. The wake made its way toward her; she watched it come, dreaded its arrival, the water grey and angry, menacing, slapping up against her stomach now, the guitar bobbing in front of her like a colicky baby in her arms. It was all too much now; the cold, the boat, the bulky guitar, the sound of the motor, on top of everything else, too much. She tore and clawed at the guitar strap; it gave way, the flimsy wood splintering and jagged, satisfying. She thrashed the water with the strap in her right hand while with the left she tried to fling the broken instrument away from her. She was up to her chest in the cold water now, and her arms were weak, the guitar landed just next to her, nodding and dipping like a happy dog. Tears came, anger and relief, her face and chest warmed with it. Her legs and torso smarted and throbbed from the cold water, the pain a statement, something real and tangible, like a pulse, yet stronger, somehow.

She flipped the guitar over, and with both hands, she shoved at it like a toy boat, sending it out into the current where it slowly sank to just below the surface.

She relaxed and let her knees bend, let the river close over her. She forced her eyes open, saw the grey cold water thick and soft above her, felt the thoughts muffle, then die away till all that was left was her own pulse, the rhythm hers, yet stronger, somehow.


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