Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Brief Madness (Three Minute Fiction)

Inspired by my buddy, Robyn over at Lello!, I decided to post my submission for last month's Three Minute Fiction contest on NPR.  The task was to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, so no more than 600 words, in which a character finds something that he or she has no intention of returning.  No use in letting decent fiction just rot on my hard drive!

A Brief Madness

Photo by Rebecca Barray

Miri slipped through the front door like a slug, ugly and unwanted.  Slithering against our green walls in her short skirt and clunky heels like the stain she had always been.  She raked her long fingernails through her auburn hair and smiled at Ben like she still had something sweet to offer.  He wrapped his arm around my waist, and I held their baby a little tighter.  

     She smacked her lips together before she spoke.  “I need you to keep her another few days.”

    “We’re going to see Collette’s parents this weekend.”

    “So take her with you.”

    “It’s not that simple.”

    “Make it that simple.”

     Diem began to squirm.  I pulled her to my chest.  Bring her with us? Why not throw a parade?  They could both ride a float as we welcomed Ben’s careless mistakes back to our hometown.

    “We had an agreement…”

    I tuned them out.  I bounced Diem in my arms, and she grabbed a handful of my hair.  I pulled my hair from her tiny fingers and handed her to Ben.  “I’ll get her paci.”

    He nodded and turned back to Miri.

    When I entered the nursery, I closed the door and inhaled for ten.   I could hear their muffled voices escalate as I blew it out for another ten, like my therapist had instructed.   Forgiving Ben meant letting go of my anger.  I repeated it as I searched for Diem’s pacifier.  I got down and reached under the rocker, patting around without looking.  Forgiving Ben meant letting go…

     “Ouch.”  I drew my hand back and watched as a bubble of blood formed in the center of my palm.  I sucked it off and looked under the chair. 

     Beside the lost pacifier was a diamond tennis bracelet pressed into the carpet.  The corner of one of the rose-cut diamonds sullied by my blood.  I picked it up and sat back on my knees.   

     It was Miri’s.

     It was the first thing I noticed when I caught them outside of the hotel.  They rushed to his car laughing, hiding under his suit jacket from the light rain. 

     “Ben,” I had shouted.  They stopped.  For a moment, I thought I may die.  I thought we all might die.  The bracelet screamed from her wrist louder than her belly poking through her faded trench.  Cutting me deeper than his hand lingering on the small of her back.  It was far too delicate for a woman like her. 

     I knew it was a gift from Ben.

     “It’s nice,” I had said once shortly after Diem was born.  She smiled, stroking it as if he were still hers.

     “It’s my favorite,” she said looking at Ben.  I felt gutted by the smile in his eyes.

     Standing, I pulled the bracelet in half.  I yanked apart each link of the chain until the diamonds were scattered at my feet.  When I was done, I placed the pieces into my palm and squeezed, watching the blood from my wound travel in two thin lines to my wrist.   I opened my hand and looked at the jewels, murky and stained in my blood.  My own laughter startled me.  Ben had been my favorite, too. 

     I pressed a baby wipe into my wounded palm and picked up the pacifier prepared to chuck the pieces into the diaper trash.  Thinking again, I placed the bloody diamonds in my pocket.  A rush of energy added rhythm to my step as I bounced out of the room and back to my place beside Ben.

© 2013 Faye McCray

Love and Light,


  1. Good story. She's good because if it were me, Ben and his slut-bag could take their kid and kick rocks!

  2. She just might. Collette is on the edge. I'm sort of afraid to write more of her!

  3. Makes one think about what she intends to do with those bloody diamonds. Maybe sprinkle them in his breakfast cereal...

  4. Great story, Faye! Love the twist. All stories need a good twist. ;)


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