A chance at luck

by HRM on January 5, 2012

flash fiction by Lacey Haynes

Branches in water
photo by Julia Grummitt

The leaves are pushing past and through the open hole. It has now been roughly two minutes since the bay window in the master bedroom blew in. A blast far more potent than the one dancing the leaves to and fro smacked the glass and ruptured the pane into so many pieces. I always loved the soft blue and ivory of the bay window frame for my own reasons. Now Daniel, he’d had his hiss over the color scheme when we played with paint chips – he in his underwear, I in a lace nightie – not so many years ago. So you want to live in Marie Antoinette’s abode? – he exclaimed as we rolled about on the new duvet. The fresh linen was crisp and smelt like dried lavender. I’d tucked little sprigs into the pillow covers when he was downstairs sanding the new mantelpiece. I thought it might mean good luck. Foolish thing, trying to alter the fate of a family.

All the golds and reds are pocked black with disease and born to the wind, seeking refuge on the rain spattered floor of our home. Daniel once said it takes a tree like that a hundred years to pass, but I think it’s dead now. I think it died in the moment between the bullet piercing Daniel’s head and the window shattering. I haven’t seen his body yet, but I can feel his blood seeping into the ground at the base of the trunk. The duvet is dotted with glass shards. They shimmer with wetness bouncing soft light, but still look sickly. The yelling from below stays a distant echo, my ears instead filled with sounds of wet leaves as they fold into the floor boards: the braiding together of two deaths.

They would be up for me soon. Daniel’s investigations would have us both executed. They had been leaking poison into the land, monitoring whether toxicity levels in trees directly impacted oxygen output. The devilish side project was to better understand human resilience. They’ll torch the house and the papers will first write about an electrical fire – the Scientist and the Wife had no time to escape. I imagined Daniel’s blood purifying the soil, the tree coming back to life in a dramatic flourish of fresh green buds and smooth brown bark. It would return to its virginal state from before they arrived – before Daniel was called in. A faint smile swept my lips. They were too late. The package had already been sent that same morning. Like blood, like toxins, the information too would soon be leaked.

My eyes fell closed. Let them eat cake! – Daniel had dotted my nose blue while we drank wine and painted the trim of the window. I had read someplace that blue meant protection. In my reflection from the dresser mirror, I can see now the frivolity of my clinging to that dot that had long since been washed away. Footsteps in the hall outside the bedroom door split through my thoughts like a knife. Moving into the window frame, I can see Daniel as my fingers trace the painted sides. A shard catches my skin. Blood falls, mixing with the rain water on the wooden floor boards below. The bedroom door bursts open and air gushes in, pushing and pulling from all directions. The wind catches my clothes as leaves peel from the floor and return to air. The noise, the lavender. I too am ethereal.

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