Weekly Writing Challenge 03/31/2021

Standard

As is normally the case when doing this I only uncover the title for a story as I near the end of it. This week the title presented itself to me as I was writing the last segment. Permit me to introduce you to ‘The Line’. As noted before I knew this would be brief as was its nature that you will become aware of momentarily.

The Line

Part 3

Chastised I returned to my work, but thoughts of what I wanted to do to Simon, and his wife, never strayed far from my mind. I threw myself into my job, working twice as hard to regain the respect I lost over my earlier failures. It wasn’t long before the line was humming along as it should, and my welds improved to their former beauty.

There’s something spectacular about a good weld that those who have never welded would understand. Like Rembrandt, Picasso, Steinbeck, and Dickens. Artists in their own right who understood the medium they worked in, just as I understood my chosen medium. I was meant to weld, and I had the talent to be the best, but that didn’t mean a damned thing on the line. On the line the only thing that mattered was keeping to the schedule, and the schedule was brutal. There was little time for anything other than hitting your welds and moving onto the next piece, and on to the next, and the next. A never-ending line of steel stretching beyond forever.

Walking the line was Simon, always watching over our shoulder, never letting up. Push, push, push, that was all he did. Meet that quota. Beat that deadline. Give yourself to the line only to make him look good. He got all the credit, and rest of us got nothing. No recognition, no praise, just more work slammed down our throats until it felt like we were going to choke.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The line was my world, my life, and my nemesis. I felt him behind me, Simon, always checking always watching what we were doing, and I felt myself coming apart at the seams. It wasn’t fair he should get all the credit for our hard work. The life we worked for and deserved. He stepped around to my side, inspecting my work and I responded.

It was an accident really, my response to his presence was mostly reflex. I shifted and spun around. When I did, I inadvertently knocked him into the line. The line was no place for soft flesh and fragile bone. Blood sprayed the base of the pillar I operated from, alarms sounded, and for the first time in my memory, the line stopped.

Voices and footsteps raced to my position. One of the technicians knelt down and grabbed my power cord. I tried to stop him, but he was too fast. He yanked the cord before I could intervene and the power supplying my brain was interrupted. A system wide shut down went into effect and the world around me dimmed as electronic circuitry stopped functioning.

The last thing I saw was Simon’s lifeless body trapped in the mechanism of the line. The carrier after the one I’d been working nearly decapitated him and for the first time in my miserable life I felt a moment’s joy. Then I felt no more.

The End

I know, it needs some extensive editing. I’ll let it rest for a few weeks before I tackle it again. So what do you think?

Weekly Writing Challenge

Standard

Third Times a Charm

The story is coming together in my mind. I know where it’s going to end, it’s just a matter of putting my butt in the chair and getting it there. 689 words this week. Pretty good for an hours work. Too bad we can’t do that all the time.

He persisted as was his nature, getting dressed for work, going through the motions of a regular life that was far from routine. Beyond his bedroom window the world continued to follow its own course, seemingly unaware of the drama that was his life. The sound of traffic on third avenue reached his room as he gazed into the mirror, adjusting his tie. He never could get the damned thing to work right.

The thought sparked a memory of Mona reaching around his neck to fix his tie, joking with him about his inability to do something so simple. Can’t even tie a knot, she’d say with a sparkle in her eye as his love for her swelled in his chest until it felt like he was about to explode. Her missed her so much he sometimes wished he would have never pulled the trigger. So what if she killed him, at least he wouldn’t have to live without her.

He pushed away the sorrow, refusing the acknowledge its existence, moving through the small apartment to the tiny living room with a kitchen in one corner. At the door he paused, slipping on a happy face to show the world before opening the door and stepping into the hallway. Out here, in the world, the memories were not as strong, and he found he was able to function. The door across the hall opened and Denise stepped out, pulling the door closed behind her.

She slipped her arm into Nicks. “Good morning stranger, what happened last night?”

“I’m sorry, got tied up in a meeting at work, then my boss wanted to have a couple of drinks.”

“I heard you stumbling in around two, did you get enough sleep?”

“You were still awake?”

“I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Nick was touched by her concern, had it not been for Denise he might not have made it through those first few months. They’d become fast friends after he moved in across from her and that friendship was slowly evolving into something more intimate. They’d shared a few dinners, and he had slept over in her place twice, but they were far from taking the big step of moving in together. It was mostly a friends with benefits arrangement, but he sensed Denise wanted to take it to the next level.

It was a step he was far from prepared to take. For starters he had yet to tell her the truth about what happened between he and Mona. As far as she knew they were divorced, and nothing more.  He was worried about how she would respond if she knew he killed his first wife in self-defense and he wasn’t entirely sure how to broach the subject with her.

“I’m all right. You want to try for tonight?”

“I’m up for it if you are.”

“It’s a date then, I’ll pick up from Mario’s on my way home, you grab the wine. Some good food, some good wine, we’ll see where the night leads.”

“I know where I want it to go,” she said, tightening her grip on his arm. “The only question that remains, your place of mine?”

“I’m sorry, it’s just so cramped in my place, can’t we eat at your place.”

“Are you sure it’s because your apartment is so small?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not hiding anything from me are you?”

“What would I be hiding?”

“I don’t know, the fact you’re still married, maybe you have kids you don’t want me to know about. I don’t know that much about you aside from where you work, and what you do for a living. I don’t know where you grew up, if your parents are still alive, does your ex come around. I poured my life out before you and you’ve yet to tell me where you’re from originally.”

“I’m sorry, it’s just.” He hesitated. Denise was right, she deserved to know more about him and his past. But that past included the death of his first wife by his hand. It wasn’t a subject you simply dropped into polite dinner conversation.

So what do you think about the story so far? Keep in mind this is raw, unedited work.