Wednesday, April 27, 2011

F3 - Cycle 27 - Goodbye

Submitted for Flash Fiction Friday

Prompt: RANDOM FIRST SENTENCE – Following the rules of the game listed above, find your first sentence.
Genre: Open, though Hardboiled, noir, crime action would be nice.
Word Count: Under 700 words
Deadline: Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:30 pm EST
First sentence lifted from Big Trouble by Dave Berry

"Bye," said Jenny to Matt.

"Bye, Jen," Matt said. He stood looking down at her, unable to move. In an instant, he saw their future and their past together, what could have been, what was.

The first day they met: She was standing in the light by a window. She glowed. Her skin was so creamy, like warm alabaster. The light blazed through the browns and reds in her short hair and pixie sparks of dust surrounded her in a dance of joy. His heart and lungs had contracted at the sight of her and threatened never to move again.

They met, they clicked. He marveled that she found him as magical as he found her. Both of them were awash in the grace of the other. Neither felt they deserved to be so happy and lucky. They walked through the gardens together and talked through nights. They laughed so hard their faces and guts cramped. Endless cups of coffee, endless bottles of wine. Sexual nirvana. His racing thoughts lingered there and wanted to stay. He needed to remember that.

But the future, unrelenting, swooped through his mind. They would wed on a beach. Honeymoon in the mountains. Christmas pictures yet-to-be stacked before him of them and their two dogs, then their dogs and their kids. Matching sweaters and well-wishes would festoon their images. He would bring her coffee as she wrote out the bills. She would meet him for lunch sometimes.They would golf...

And the recent yesterdays replayed. He saw the quick switches, the pulse flutters, the nervous glances, so subtle only a lover could detect them. She was hiding things. She was covering up. She was deleting the incoming call list on her phone. Her email trash bin was worn out from emptying. He wouldn't press her, but he did ask her what was going on. Why nothing, she had said, scratching the back of her neck (her only tell).

The photos from the private eye he hired to clear or condemn her cascaded on his dining room table. Flash after flash of naked elbow, hip, ankle, jaw...hers, her lover's...The sordidness of it all screwed his guts. He had vomited, chugged gulps from a fifth of Jack and vomited again. He wrote the check to the PI on checks she picked out for him, "Save the Rain Forest," they said. Save the rain forest! Why not? We are damned. He laughed and couldn't stop laughing.

Her betrayal un-wrote everything. It undid their fabric. It unraveled his soul.

He returned to the moment and saw her again. She knew now what she had done to him. He could see it in her eyes. Satisfied now that he knew she knew what she had wrought, he pulled the trigger and sent her to hell.


  1. Oh my god. This was riveting, the romance so sweet and real. The ending was so abrupt though, perhaps fitting for this - his heart broken for eternity... This is tragedy incarnate! Fantastic job. I particularly liked the first two paragraphs - I'd buy a romance like that...

    By the way, saw the cool widget. Countdown to 40? I gotta get one for my 50 countdown.

  2. I love the shift from the soft-focused loveliness of the start to the brutal and harsh ending. Wonderful job.

    Oddly, we have very similar themes this week, but yours is so much more finely crafted.

  3. Very intense and powerful!

    He wrote the check to the PI on checks she picked out for him, "Save the Rain Forest," they said. Save the rain forest! Why not? We are damned. He laughed and couldn't stop laughing.

    This was my favorite part, to me it was like this little piece of the woman he loved was like a needle to the heart.

  4. Ingrid: Thank you. I wanted to write a story about a crime of passion for the sake of the prompt. I have a lot of fun writing romance, but don't do it very often. Maybe I should start...

    Barbara: Thank you Barbara. I wanted to start in a dream and end in a nightmare.

    Beach Bum: Poor could have worked out differently for him had the prompt not asked for crime. :-)

  5. Wow. Tragic, in such a real way, but so well expressed, so personal - you can *feel* Matt's anguish and see the love turn to anger then to madness. Amazing. :)

  6. Beautifully written... as you said.. "from dream to nightmare". I loved the metamorphosis from love to hate... how the women's betrayal ".. unwrote... unraveled... everything."

    Tragically poetic!

  7. Dreamy and eloquent. Of all of this week's entries, I found this one to be the most unsettling.


  8. Thanks, Veronica & B!

    And Doc: I don't do crime fiction very often, and when I do I usually overshoot the mark. Like I told BB, had the prompt not been crime related, these two would have ended up somewhere else.

  9. Breaking up happy homes this week on F3. Flannery, no whimsy in this week's story. A perfect spiral into the gut. "to Hell"

  10. Whew! It's hard to know where to begin except to just say WOW and a half! This started with such a desparately sad feeling, and then just kept getting sadder with him thinking about what might have been. Once you discover what had been done to him, you feel extra pity for this poor soul, and then the end? His final goodbye. Powerful stuff!

  11. I have to agree with all the other 'wows' your story has already received. Emotional, heart-wrenching, and like you said in the story, gut-twisting.

    The dread hit me hard when the suspicions began because I knew, whether she was cheating or not, this guy had just lost it all...

    Very powerful, Flannery.

    Also, I noticed your in education. I am too. High school English teacher. If you'd ever like to trade stories, let me know!