This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The short story, below, was written for practice. Practice makes perfect.
Jacy sat amongst the regimented and identical bleak white headstones and talked to her father. His name was carved on one that lay near a Live Oak not far from the back fence. She came here a lot when she needed advice, or had to think things through. Jacy had never known her father. She knew a few things though. She knew he was the only man her mama had ever loved and that he had been killed ‘by’ the war. Not ‘in’ the war, but ‘by’ the war. Her gramma made sure that she had understood the difference.
Kordell Williams had been twenty years old when he brought the war back from overseas. Seems that he couldn’t leave it alone, couldn’t go back home without it.
Some parts he could touch; he brought home a Purple Heart, pinned on his tunic, and some shrapnel lodged in his hip. The doctors had saved his leg. The Morphine helped with the constant pain, it helped a lot.
Some of what he brought home was less tangible; they called it ‘Battle Fatigue’ in those days. Doctors didn’t understand it. Most thought it was a character flaw.
“Man up,” was their advice and painkillers were their treatment.
Catie was happy. Her young husband was back and she was ready to start a family.
He found work at the foundry. She was soon ‘with child’ and, on the outside, the Williams’ family seemed to be ‘All American’ and maybe they were, but Kordell’s mood swings were becoming more frequent, volatile, and violent over time. He slept with a Forty-Five under his pillow; he had taken to heavy drinking . Soon, the Morphine wasn’t enough. He began to supplement it with street opium and black tar.
Jacy was only a few months old when Kordell lost his job and Catie began losing her world. The stealing had started small but it grew fast. He had an expensive habit now as well as a family, and he had no job. Even though he was only taking a few tools from work and pawning them, the Foundry was unforgiving. Kordell moved up in the world after that and began holding up liquor stores and gas stations. Catie left him when she found out and Jacy was not even a year old. Kordell died when his daughter was 17 months old. Her mama went to join him two days later. Catie was assisted by a Saturday Night Special. A cheap revolver that she bought from Mr Patterson, an angry man who lived down the block.
Jacy went to live with her grandparents. She lived with her father’s parents but was always close to her mom’s folks as well.
Now, things were changing again. She needed to talk to her daddy about it.
“Gramma passed away last weekend, Daddy. You probably already know that. I want you to know that I’m going to be OK. I’ve only got one semester of school left. I’ll finish, but I don’t know what’s going to happen after that. I’ll try and make you proud. I’ll really try.” She fell silent, then fell asleep. When she woke it was dark. Jacy Williams sat beneath the night sky and listened to the cars on the freeway. Cars that she could hear, but couldn’t see.
This week’s prompts are:
- I don’t think I ever said that
- I really need you to
- watch this shit
Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.