October 2, 2011

I'll fade from sight leavin' only dust.

My breath fogged up the windows of the old car. I reached up at used my sleeve to wipe off the rear view mirror and give myself a clear view of the house I was there to watch. I could see the reflection of the manicured lawn, the illuminated windows, the flag waving gently in the breeze. All taunting me.

I had been here for hours-parked down the street, behind the neighbors neatly trimmed hedges. I could see them, but no one could see me.

For better or for worse, I had to know what was going on. My gut ached with the weight of what I already knew, yet had no proof of. Tonight I was there to prove something. Why I had become so hellbent in proving myself right was still a mystery. It would ruin my life, yet I had to know.

It had become a sick obsession- I scrutinized every detail of him, every day. His smell, the dirt under his fingernails, the inflection in his voice. I had followed him here, doing my best impression of every stealth car chase I had even seen-stay a few cars back, never let them see its you. When he pulled in the driveway, I had driven pass the house, stopping finally when he had gone inside.

I positioned the mirror so I could see the front door of the regal Victorian house. Which room were they in? The kitchen, cooking and laughing together? The living room, snuggled up in front of the fire place? I knew the answer, of course. The bedroom.

The thought made the hairs on my neck stand on end. I continued staring at the mirror, but was not seeing anything but us, and our bedroom. I tried to catch my breath, suddenly everything hit me like a ton of bricks.

When I snapped back to reality, I saw a stream of light from the open door and they were standing on the stoop. He had his arms around her as she nestled her head into his neck. He used to hold me like that, I thought. But it was so long ago, I can't even remember what it feels like. I turned the car on and went to shift it into drive.

A car pulled up next to me and parked before I could even register what was happening.

"You think I didn't see you following me?" He asked, his voice a low growl.

I was shocked. Without saying a word, I put the accelerator to the floor and sped off. I wanted to believe I was leaving him in the dust, but I knew in my heart it was the other way around.

This post is in response to Flicker of Inspiration Prompt #18: Objects in the Mirror at The Lightning and the Lightning Bug


May said...

You do this type of piece so well. You are very in tune to the emotions and feelings of your characters.
My favorite part here is the ending...the leaving in the dust twist is perfection.

J. Ross said...

Great story. I get a really clear sense of the conflict and anxiety of the character, and you really characterize the man very well considering that he only says one line. I think it's especially effective for being the only line spoken in the entire story; if the main character here had been talking to herself, for example, it might have lessened the impact of the man's words.
I also like the fact that this first-time would-be private eye tried to be inconspicuous, like we all would in her place, and failed, like we all would in her place. It's kind of tragic, because he not only betrays her but intentionally makes her look and feel foolish. It all very effectively gives the male character a lot of vivid indirect characterization.

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