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One Last Time II

A revamped version of an older story for the Unspoken challenge.

By Ashley LimaPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - September 2023
One Last Time II
Photo by Cassidy Dickens on Unsplash

I hadn’t entered the room since the night that it happened. How could I?

Everything about her space remained the same. Frozen in time. And I was afraid to face it. I was even more afraid of the fact that one day, we may move away from this home. The only one she had ever known. Then, everything she had ever touched would be lost. Forever.

It was night. The house was quiet. Empty, except for the ghost who echoed in the walls. I swallowed my heart. Reached for the knob.

The white wooden door was covered with posters of her favorite TV shows and musical artists. Teeny-bopper stuff I could not relate to, but I brushed my fingertips against it anyway. Aching to understand. On top of the collage, a sign that read “DO NOT ENTER,” was nailed into the wood. I told her not to do that.

Too bad, Abby. I’m entering.

The smell hit me like a swarm of bees. Disorienting. Yet, my nose could not take enough of the scent in to satisfy the craving; the missing puzzle piece of my heart. It was how she always smelled. A hint of weed intermingled with her favorite Victoria's Secret perfume. Less potent than I was used to. The fragrant mixture surrounding the area almost made me choke - on my tears, not because it was unsavory.

Her bed was unmade, the off-white duvet half hanging off the mattress. Her pillows were in disarray. One halfway down the bed because she used to sleep with it tucked under her arm like a stuffed animal. Just the way she left it. She never made her bed, no matter how many times I asked. I was grateful for that now.

There were a couple of pairs of different pants and shirts spewed about the floor, marking a hard decision.

I wonder which was harder to make.

On top of her crowded bookshelves were young adult fiction stories collecting dust. She used to love reading genres of all kinds, nerding out about the latest rom-com she was engulfed in. I always rolled my eyes, now it seemed I had some reading to do.

The snow globe from our family trip to Niagara Falls caught my eye. The snow settled neatly in place at the bottom, never to be shaken again. Plaques from sportsmanship awards in soccer and honor roll hung proudly on the walls. All of her accomplishments and accolades compounded into lost moments. Fleeting, final, finite.

I brushed my hand along her electric keyboard as I made my way to her bed. She marked the keys with colored stickers identifying each note. The stickers were shaped like flowers. A bouquet worn down by her deft fingers, making music never to be heard again.

I hesitated, but let myself lay back, sinking into the memory foam. The glow-in-the-dark stars on her ceiling brought me comfort. I could almost feel her with me as I counted them. Over and over again.

I decided to sleep there with my daughter. She used to come into my bedroom late at night when she had nightmares, this time, she protected me from mine.

I just wish I knew why.

Young AdultShort StoryLovefamilyCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator

Ashley Lima

BA and MA in English. Editor by profession, novelist, short story writer, and poet in my free time. I enjoy writing fantastical realism, horror, mystery, and nonfiction.

On partial hiatus <3

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (30)

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  • Patrick H.2 months ago

    Outstanding piece of writing. Well done.

  • Donna Morgan 2 months ago

    What a beautiful read, your description of grief is felt . Congratulations on top story

  • Sian N. Clutton2 months ago

    Wow. That was a hard read. Brilliant portrayal of grief!

  • So well done. Such an incredible emotion stirred

  • You write so descriptively and emotionally. Really beautiful! 💙Anneliese

  • Gerald Holmes2 months ago

    This was so beautifully written. The emotion just jumps off the page. Congrats on the Top Story.

  • Mauz Mauz2 months ago heart goes out to you, what a beautiful story! God bless your heart! 💖

  • Rob Angeli2 months ago

    Very sad, they say it better than me.

  • Mesh Toraskar2 months ago

    Oh gosh this one hit hard. It felt cinematic thanks to your rich descriptions and wonderful writing, like I could see this whole scene play out as you'd written it. Powerful stuff when that happens. Perfectly flowing into the challenge's prompt not only from the story perspective but also from an emotional perspective. My interpretation is the same as Mackenzie's. Our speaker's actions are heavy with grief. But I can see how different interpretations can exist harmoniously. Congrats on the TS as well! Loved this so much!

  • Mark Gagnon2 months ago

    Another top story! You're on a role, Ashley. Keep it up.

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Congrats on the TS

  • Onah chidera2 months ago

    Wanna read something scary (Great work no doubt)❤️

  • Kristen Balyeat2 months ago

    Really incredible work, Ashley! This tore my heart in two. Each line so heavily weighted– evoking emotion that I felt in my bones. This loss...unimaginable.

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    This is very sad! Well written 😢

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    “There were a couple of pairs of different pants and shirts spewed about the floor, marking a hard decision. I wonder which was harder to make.“ Damn. I find myself grieving alongside our speaker. My interpretation is that Abby committed suicide, and the mother does not know why. But then again, I could be wrong; it could have been a poor choice that lead to an accidental death. But im definitely reading clues about a permanent absence. I remember this story! I was getting hints at the beginning, but I definitely read this one, months ago. Fantastic reworking, Ashley. And congratulations on top story!

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    Top Story...indeed!

  • Naomi Gold2 months ago

    I felt this so hard. Even though my son is alive and well, he’s no longer living with me, and I spent a year grieving. I definitely slept in his room a few times. I guess that’s how moms feel when their children leave for college too. I like the ambiguity of not knowing what happened to Abby. If she was kidnapped, ran away, or departed from this world. Ending the story with “I just wish I knew why” leaves me feeling the mother doesn’t have the answers either, so I am right there with her. No closure. The most she can hope for is the temporary comfort of sleep, surrounded by her daughter’s belongings. Very well done. Good luck in the challenge and congrats on Top Story. 🥂

  • Jazzy 2 months ago

    I love that this made top story!!!!!!

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    Absolutely gorgeous, Ashley and it suits the challenge nicely!

  • Jazzy 2 months ago

    Ashley, this was so beautiful and so sad. Oh my goodness, the tears will fall today! What a great entry!!!

  • Onah chidera2 months ago

    Can you check mine out 🥹

  • Kelsey Clarey2 months ago

    This is so well written and incredibly heartbreaking. You captured the emotion so well.

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Oh my goodness, Ashley, this was so well done. Heartbreaking, one of my worst nightmares.

  • This is one of the worst kinda pain that someone can experience. Your story was so emotional!

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