Youth | The Ink Well Weekly Fiction Prompt #2: The Moment When...

in The Ink Well2 months ago

Image by jwvein from Pixabay

I always found it hard to fit in, so I never imagined pretending to be her would even be easy.

I watched from the corner of my eye as Betty came rushing into the living room, her wild red hair emphasizing the brightness of her personality. I didn't utter a word as I sat in a corner by the adjoined dining area, pretending to focus on my studies instead.

“Linny! Come and meet my friends! We're going to the park today!” Eyes bright with innocence, Betty tugged at my sleeve, urging me to tag along.

“I'm busy.” Shrugging away her tiny hands, I stood up to get away from her but instead saw the disappointed look on her face.

“Maybe.. next time?”

I had already looked away the moment I saw the beginnings of hopefulness in her eyes, trying not to acknowledge the prick of guilt that I would feel at what I was about to say next, “Don't count on it. There won't be a next time.”

The moment when I stopped feeling bad for her, would be the moment that father said I'd be free...

I should be grateful for the downy sheets and soft bed, but this simple luxury only made me lonelier as the day slowly came to an end.

The gentle rasping from my door caught my attention a moment before it opened, revealing a tiny floating light—no, it was actually a candle, slowly giving light to the darkness of my room as it sat atop a cupcake.

I could only stare at Betty's beaming face as she carefully hopped towards my bed, holding out the tiny pastry with its colorful frosting as she whispered excitedly, “Happy birthday, Linny...!”

I remembered how father only gave me a quick pat on the head this morning, greeted with the same words as he handed me my present of yet another book about “the art of politics”, but here was Betty—the cheery cupcake in her hands perfectly capturing the enthusiasm exuding from her, “Well? Go on, make a wish!”

Wisps of smoke from a forgotten wish mingled with the steady steam coming from the respirator as I slowly emerged from my act of reminiscing, focusing instead on the young woman laid out on the hospital bed—her bright red hair a striking contrast to the snow white sheets as she lay there almost as though she was asleep—save for the tube placed through her mouth.

If wishes were truly made to be real, then you would have remained safe, Betty.


The Ink Well Weekly Fiction Prompt #2: The Moment When...


Hello @iamraincrystal,
What was Linny's birthday wish? This the reader is left to ponder. A complex blend of guilt and resentment motivates the narrator as the story ends. The situation--a young girl on a respirator--extraordinary, but the emotional tension is not. How many siblings go through life with these conflicts? Love, hate, resentment, envy. And at the top of the sibling triad, the father. (Think of Lear.)

This is really a quite typical family cast in a remarkable circumstance.

I still wonder, what was the wish...although I think I know.

The kind of story that goes around in your head...

Wow, what an intriguing story, @iamraincrystal. I am absolutely smitten by it, even though I have read it twice and can't quite get my mind around what is happening. I am wishing for a few more details. Who are Betty and Linny to one another? Why does Linny tell here there will be no next time? Which of the things that happen in this story are in the present and which in the past?

Even though I'm not clear on all the details, I do love it. It is rich with detail and emotion and I was carried away by the storytelling.

Your post has been voted as a part of Encouragement program. Keep up the good work!
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I will always be envious of people able to write so much within few lines. Not even slightly less envious of the way the story was laid out. A simple start of a simple day like any other it seemed. Not sure if me avoiding reading the prompt before going into stories helped with the impact of the twist, but I am glad I didn't.

Once you read the ending, the sound of regret seemed clearer upon re-reading it again and the sound of the character fear of sharing the truth so the character itself won't have to hear them is clear.

Absolutely loved it. Thank you for sharing this.