I had to do this for creative writing, and since this site is severely lacking, I figured I'd give it a shot.
For my Creative Writing Class
The Faith Healer
He said to her, “I can cure you.”
Wide eyed and desperate, she believed him. She had been to doctors, and hospitals, and oncologists galore. And his hands were soft, and his eyes inviting. She trembled in his embrace as he tried to soothe her aching fears.
“I’m tired of waiting,” she breathed, her chest rattling with effort.
He kissed her forehead and stroked her hair, holding onto her as if his own life depended on it. She pulled her arms up against her chest, her pallid skin moist with cold sweat as she buried her face in his shoulder and he sang to her, in honey-sweet harmonies, and she felt her agony dissolve into a black pool onto the floor. He laid her gently onto the bed when he felt her stop trembling, but he didn’t let her go because her chest was still rising and falling in a steady, slumbering rhythm. He continued to sing, his amber tones coating her in a blanket of warmth. She had faith, and she trusted him like she trusted God. And soon enough, her chest rose and fell for one last time, and then she remained still.
And he kept his promise.
She said, “You know why you’re doing this, don’t you? Because you can never let go otherwise.” But he just closed his eyes and looked away, pretending not to see her. She persisted, but never touched him. “Years and years of devotion. I love you. We had vows. And now, you can’t even look at me. Because you will never let it go.”
She won’t let me, he thought bitterly, but merely shook his head, continuing to ignore her golden hair and piercing gray gaze. He collected his papers and licked his chapped lips, straightening his tie.
“This is our home,” she begged. “Our life. I lived and died in that house. Gordon, please, you love it like I do. I just want to go home again, Gordon. If you do this, I won’t have anywhere to go.”
The sooner I do this, the sooner she will be gone, and the sooner I can mend the pieces of the soul she shattered, he insisted. He took a deep breath and smiled, straightening up in his chair.
She touched him and he felt her ice cold hand on his. “Gordon, you can’t do this to me, to us. We’re supposed to be together forever. Forever is a long time.”
For an instant, he remembered her, how she used to be, young, sweet, free, alive. He remembered the house, the first time he carried her over the threshold, the first time they made love on their bedroom floor because they hadn’t moved in yet, and the time he came home and found her motionless with glass eyes on the couch, staring at something he would never see. And that was all he needed.
He yanked his arm away from her, stood up abruptly and threw the papers down on the table. The men looked at him curiously.
“Burn it to the ground,” he said and left the room.
She was just sitting there, waiting for the bus, kicking her feet back and forth on the bench as she bit her lip and folded her arms, trying to keep warm. She sighed, and the smoky tendrils of her warm breath lingered momentarily in the air before disappearing. She was sitting on her math textbook in order to avoid touching the bench.
And then he sat down beside her.
Her eyes darted sideways at him, but when he turned his head, they darted away. She felt his eyes lingering on her shoulders, so turned her head tentatively to glance at him bashfully, and he looked away sharply. She’d skipped breakfast. He offered her a granola bar. She suggested they split it.
Soon enough, Eric, who was in the sixth grade, came a long, and started to tease them both. He moved a little further down the bench and she hung her head low, her face burning as Eric called her a nerdy little fourth-grader with a puppy dog crush.
And then, the bus came. She looked up at him, but he avoided her eyes. Eric got on the bus first and she followed, tears welling in her eyes. But as she took her first step on the bus, she felt something small and cold slip into her bare hands. She looked down and saw that it was his raw, pink hand that was clasping hers.
It started very simply. I crashed. It was eerie… and then all I could think of was the pain. Yeah, they say you go all spiritual and see bright lights and noises, have your life flash before your eyes… No. You feel the pain. You’d think there’d be more. I wanted to see my life flash before my eyes, I wanted to see a light at the end of the tunnel, I wanted to hear crazy voices. But it hurt too much to think.
“We need to take him upstairs.”
“I’ll call surgery and get them ready.”
You see, I can’t tell you what it’s like right before you die. Maybe it’s the same, maybe it’s different for everyone. But it’s personal. I can’t tell you because… Well, I’m not really here to do that. If you think about it, I’m not really here at all.
“I don’t know how much more this kid can take. We may need to call it.”
“No. Not again.”
You see, I’m not really talking to you. I can’t be. I guess I’m a figment of your imagination. Because I’m dead, Mom. You can’t really talk to me anymore.
“What do we tell his parents?”
But you know, it’s not so bad. Just don’t worry about it, Mom. I left you a poem in a drawer in my end table. It’s not very good, and it’s only one line, but it’s all I’ve got. It says, “I love you.”
“That’s it, we’ve done all we can.”
“Time of death, 12:03.”
Jessica packed her bags at five in the morning with a few changes of clothes, her passport, her toothbrush, and a photograph of her dead father. She crept downstairs to the kitchen where she turned on the light and saw her mother sitting there, in a blue terrycloth robe, nursing her coffee as she watched Jessica. Jessica swallowed, but held her head high as she repositioned her backpack and headed to the fridge where she took out a loaf of bread, two apples, two oranges and three bananas. When she had packed all this in her bag, she turned to her mother and asked her for money.
“What will you do with it?” her mother asked.
“I’m running away to El Salvador,” she said.
Her mother blinked, her face inscrutable, and she slid an envelope across the kitchen table. Jessica took it and put it in her backpack. As she headed for the door, her mother called after her. “I’ll miss you, baby.”
Jessica hesitated for less than a second before leaving without a second glance at her mother.
Several hours later, the sun had risen, and tired and tearful, Jessica stumbled through the front door and tripped, landing in her mother’s arms, who held Jessica tightly as she cried.
The Charlatan of the Charleston Theater
He was the best actor they would never hire, or so he claimed to everyone who bothered to ask why he sat outside of the charred, dilapidated building. It had been abandoned for decades, and yet he always offered to take your tickets as you passed by. Most walk right by him without a second thought. I used to do the same.
And then one day, he called me Isabelle.
“My name is Claire,” I told him simply, quietly, discreetly, hoping that maybe I could be on my way. He made me nervous, this shaggy vagabond that reeked of old milk.
“Isabelle,” he repeated, latching onto my arm. “You walk by me everyday, and I never told you I’m sorry.”
There was desperation etched deep in his arctic blue eyes, and it reached out frozen hands and gripped my stomach, tying it into knots. “Let me buy you a drink,” I muttered, suddenly overwhelmed with compassion as I enveloped his hand in both of mine.
And so he did, and I asked him the questions no one dared to ask a dangerous vagrant. He told me how after his tenth audition, he had set fire to the theater. Three people sustained severe burns, and one had died, but to this day he had never confessed, and had never been convicted of arson. At the bottom of the bottle, he gazed at me, with softer eyes and a sweet smile.
“Thank you for forgiving me, Isabelle,” he whispered, his voice haggard and rough. “I remember the line you said in rehearsal as Joan of Arc, before the fire started. You said, ‘No one could ever love anything as much as I love God.’ Well, I just wanted to tell you, Isabelle… God could never love, as much as I love you.”
Feel free to critique. I'm no softy. Promise.