So, this week is going to be written a little bit differently, because we have to make it special since it’s the 20th writing prompt I’ve done on here!
There are two perspectives. One is in regular font and the other is bold.
Let’s get started:
The moon is low tonight, casting down a silvery shadow on the slippery streets. I think of what my mama always used to say, how it only takes a single second for everything to change.
As I step over and around, I know how right she was.
My entire body stiffens, as I watch from across the room. He isn’t going to do it, I think. He can’t possibly be getting down on one knee.
And yet there he is, falling to the ground with that black box closed inside his balled up fist. How could he just do it here, in front of me?
The woman at his table gasps, raising her long, acrylic nails to her mouth. Her ebony, pin-straight ponytail swishes as she shakes her head in disbelief. His mouth moves to ask the question, and she bounces in her chair.
“YES!” She screams out, drawing the attention from the other customers in the restaurant. “YES! YES! YES!”
He places a gargantuan rock on her finger, and they stand to eat each other’s faces. The room envelops them in rapturous applause, and they devour it.
The waiter moves in to shower the happy couple with celebratory cake and champagne. But then his tray falls to the floor, the drinks spilling from their flutes and the cake crumbling to pieces.
My gaze turns to the happy, or rather now the unhappy couple, as they stare into each other’s eyes for the last time. The red fluid drips from their nostrils like a turned on faucet, gliding down their faces to their clothes to the floor.
And suddenly, then all at once, they fall. Everyone falls. Everyone except me.
The bodies line the once busied street corners. The blood that began to trickle from their noses now pools onto the pavement, making the once cheery town thick with crimson.
It’s impossible to maneuver around the puddles that are beginning to fuse together, and my shoes are now soaked with the red.
I try to remain calm, as the eerie silence spills out of our once noisy, little town. There’s no police to call. No help to be found. Everyone is dead.
Everyone except me.
I walk across the paved roads helpless to the horrors around me. I want to stop looking, to run away without a second glance. I try to coax myself not to cry. Not to scream. I’m a man after all. A weak stomached man, now vomiting up what little bile is within me. I wipe my mouth and press on.
I can’t help but to peak inside the windows, pleading for someone, anyone to still be there. Alive. Moving. Breathing.
But the grocery store, the consignment shop, the diner, the library, and the bank run as red as these streets.
I come across the Italian restaurant at the end. The air around it always seemed to linger with the wafting scent of herbs and fresh baked bread.
Yet, as I stand before it now, there’s only a metallic sting in the chilling breeze.
I’m nearly past it when my eyes deceive me. I double back, knowing surely, surely I couldn’t have just seen something move.
Yet there it is, another wretched soul just as panicked and dazed as me.
They see me from outside, with haunting blue eyes glazed over. And I know them.
I know her.
I don’t know how long we stand there, gazing into each other’s wild eyes. He just waits out there, looking knowingly at me, like an angel coming back to finish the job.
Of course, I know him.
Of course, I can’t believe he’s real.
I don’t really.
I make the first move, finally able to steal myself from this dreaded place.
Yet, outside is no different, and I fail at holding back my panic and tears.
We don’t say anything, as he offers up open arms and embraces me. He leads us away from Main Street, away from town.
But the death is all around us, like a plague seeking to circle back to us and claim it’s missed victims.
We walk up to a house, his house, which I vaguely remember. It takes him a small eternity to quiet his trembling hands so he can grab the right key on his chain to unlock the door.
He lets me in first, not caring that we’re ruining his floor with smudges of thick proof that we’re the only people left.
We sit at his table, he puts on some tea, and I wonder at why he could be so calm. So serene.
It mesmerizes me to the point where I almost forget the streets running with red.
I hadn’t seen Emily in quite some time. In fact, I didn’t know she’d made it back to town.
The last I’d heard of her, she’d graduated college and was more happy and settled than she could have ever been here. No that’s a lie- I am the classic FaceBook stalker, and I’d been keeping up with her for a while.
I know that all of that was my fault. Why she decided to leave in the first place.
So it’s all I can do in this horrible situation to make it up to her. I’m determined more than ever, as she sits in the dining room, to comfort her and not worsen an already terrible situation.
As I pour her a mug full of relaxing peppermint tea, I wonder if this is some kind of twisted fate. Us, the last two survivors of a horrible massacre. Jake and Emily, the once and only high school sweethearts.
She looks up to me through dampened eyelashes. Her hands encircle the mug and yet, she doesn’t take a sip.
I don’t quite know what to say, but she’s already ahead of me.
“This, this is crazy.”
It’s as if she’s read my mind, and I find myself breathing out in agreement.
I can’t remember how I could have ever hurt her the way I did, say things I never truly meant because I was too afraid. She looks better somehow, even with the tear-soaked cheeks. I must have been such a fool back then.
I steal glances here and there, reminding myself of how he broke my heart.
I was only seventeen when he did it, right in this very room. And I never forgot the blow. The shocking words that would send my life into a damaging spiral.
“I just, can’t be with you any more, Em.” I held my breath knowing what was next. “You’re just not good for me.”
I’d heard it from so many other sources in my life. I was the daughter and niece and granddaughter of waitresses. All the men in my family were either too drunk to care or not there at all.
Yet, Jake always believed in me. It’s why I liked him so much. He didn’t care about that sort of thing. He was my best friend first. Briefly more. And then nothing at all.
It was his friends. His family. His coach. His teachers. The guy at the grocery store. The woman running down his street for a jog. They’d tell him, you’ve got great things ahead of you, Jakey! Don’t waste you’re bright future on that Janson girl!
They poisoned him.
They made him turn against me. So as soon as I could, I’d left this wretched town behind. Only to come back a stronger woman, with a degree none of these half lives could have ever accomplished.
I sit across from him, and he’s offering me his hand. And even though I have a good feeling of what will happen next, I’m too weak not to take it. Butterflies swirl in my stomach, just as they did the summer before he decided I was no good for him.
I ask her how she’s been, and that’s when she leans forward to tell me a story. I devour each word.
She tells me how after she graduated she needed to get as far away as possible. She refused to waitress, and instead was able to snag a secretorial position for a law firm while taking night classes. She decided to become a lawyer, met a nice guy at school, and they were engaged. But a year ago, he OD’d. She didn’t even know he took drugs.
So, she invested all of her time and energy into finishing school and advancing her career.
She changes gears. Tells me that if it weren’t for me breaking her heart, she wouldn’t be where she is. I stutter out an apology.
But she says she doesn’t blame me.
“I blame them.” She sniffs. “Frankly, I’m glad they’re all gone.” There’s a bite to her last words, something cold and sinister in the smile that curls up on the corner her lips. But it vanishes as quickly as it appeared.
“I don’t know why I said that.” I mutter, turning away from him. “That was terrible of me.”
He then stands, his chair squealing against the hard wood as he wobbles away from me. “No, it wasnt.”
Aside from the fact that he’s aged, he doesn’t look different at all from the boy I knew. But now there’s an unrecognizable change in him. I freeze. “This whole town meddled in our lives. They ripped a part any hope I had for being truly happy with you.” There’s something unkind and dark with him as he clutches the back of his chair, knuckles turning white.
“Last year, I was determined to find you. To be with you. To right my wrongs. But then, you had moved on. I did what I had to. I made it look so convincing.”
The room begins to tilt and sway. I think I’m going to throw up. Or pass out.
“And then I come back here, and they all look at me. Judging me for breaking my leg in that final game and derailing a potential career. Judging me for being a failure.”
I feel weak now, as I go to stand, dizzy and confused.
“But my only failure was not being with you. You know, it’s funny.” He begins to laugh so hard his eyes water.
“We had so much chemistry, Emily. And now, because they made themselves a part of us, I shared some chemistry with them.”
“What have you done, Jake?” I’m backing away to the door now, but he pulls out a gun and aims it right at me.
“Do you have any regrets, Emily? I regret so much.”
Tears are falling on my cheeks now, as I know, surely this must be the end. Why did I decide to visit my aunt now? I should have never come back.
“But all of my regrets start and end with you.” He laughs once more, his light brown eyes suddenly cold and black. “I’m glad you’re here. I didn’t know you would be. But I’m glad.”
He turns the gun on himself. The shot rings out. And now there truly is nothing, nothing but the red.
***Writing Prompt: Everyone in one town instantaneously drops dead. Except for two people. The one who caused the deaths. And the one who doesn’t know why they’re still alive.