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For the minute challenge

By Laur F.Published about a month ago Updated 17 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - April 2024

Later, she would remember that minute in bursts, as though she were standing behind a bright light that flashed between scenes, flickering oddly with colors that were too bright before her eyes:

First, there is the banality of the restaurant, with its beige walls and beige tables and beige faces, and she struggling to keep her eyes focused on the woman sitting across from her while the woman tried in vain to keep her attention, a woman who was visibly deflating with each unacknowledged attempt at a real connection, a future promise, and she feeling badly but unable to give her what she wants, and only herself wanting the meal to end, and why had they scheduled a first date on Easter Sunday anyway;

Then, there is a burst of anger from somewhere in the room, and the kind of instinct every woman has to learn in her lifetime rears its weary head and she tenses, and the woman across from her tenses and for the first time they are utterly in sync;

Then, a series of sharp pops and pain: an astonishing tearing that feels as though her chest is being squeezed on both sides by the weight of the earth, and how could anything be so consuming, she may have screamed or she may have just froze, froze in utter denial as the noise racked her body;

Faces above her, beige bleeding into beige turning red and yellow and blue, and she feels the cold linoleum floor against the naked skin of her back, and she remembers choosing this sexy, low-cut shirt in a burst of optimism that was destroyed almost as soon as she got to the restaurant, and something warm is seeping across her body, sheltering her, herself giving up herself for herself;

Screaming and the weight of bodies moving around her, joining her in the vigil on the cold floor. She would have moved if she could, but a deadness is creeping along her arms and torso, and she feels as though she is melting away, her body liquefying around her just like the spilled bloody mary that has fallen next to her, and she thinks that she would have liked to finish that;

She thinks maybe this is her punishment for being such a bad date; maybe Juliana had told that man to come inside and shoot her for not paying her enough attention, even though she had only reluctantly agreed to the date anyway and Juliana knew that, knew she wasn’t really looking for another partner yet, not so soon after Annie left - but even so, even going on the date warrants some expected level of engagement, some unspoken modicum of interest, and maybe she was going to die for not playing by the rules;

But maybe I’m not going to die, she thinks, as the pain continues to squash her torso like a giant fist, maybe I’m supposed to live and learn some grand life lesson - but then she comes to herself and thinks she may have laughed, bleeding on the floor with people panicking around her: What bullshit, what utter bullshit to think this has meaning, this bullet in my side during easter brunch in Nashville in the year 2024, it has no meaning other than its own utter absurdity; no justification that can make this right; and how can anyone with a beating heart live in a world where some people walk into restaurants expecting to be shot, and other people hear about it and call it part of a grand plan;

She closes her eyes and waits to see what will happen to her, and just before she finally passes out, she thinks it again: what utter, utter bullshit.


About the Creator

Laur F.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (9)

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  • Andrea Corwin 24 days ago

    A grand plan indeed! Wow, breathless reading this!

  • Flamance @ lit.25 days ago

    Great piece of work great job

  • Anna 26 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Kendall Defoe 30 days ago

    So many of these entries are about death that I'm beginning to wonder if there is something in the water we Vocalists imbibe. And this is excellent. 👌

  • People nowadays are really lost so this is all for you guys

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    This is very powerful. I was there, with her as she is falling and thinking and fading. Like within her stream of consciousness. This line, "the pain continues to squash her torso like a giant fist" is such a great visual image, almost cartoonish but shows how her life has been crushed. Excellent.

  • Laur F. (Author)about a month ago

    Author's note: This is a fictional imagining of a horrific, real event in Nashville this Easter, where an argument between two men resulted in one of the men's deaths and 5 other people being shot.

  • Sandra Matosabout a month ago

    This was a well-written story. I felt what was happening to your protagonist. It kept me in the game so much that I wanted to know that she lived! (notice I said "that" and not "if" Hee hee) Good luck in the contest!

  • D. D. Leeabout a month ago

    Congratulations on TS and all the best in the challenge.

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