If all the misbehaved, screaming children in restaurants were eaten for dinner.
If tailgaters grew tails, and road-hogs were butchered for bacon.
If lying politicians were publicly flogged by their constituents.
If gossipers were muzzled.
If what goes around really came around, and karma decided the fate of future existences.
He was a handsome young man. In the counseling session he spoke of politics, love, plans for college.
I marveled at his many strengths.
Tentatively, he then announced that he’d written the Beatles’ songs.
He wept in painful awareness of the impossibility of false memories, the cruelty of his illness.
Many years ago, as a mental health professional, Alison worked with this young man. His anguish is still fresh in her mind, yet his resiliency prevailed. Alison hopes that this small story will make you stop and reconsider your assumptions about those who have a mental health diagnosis.
It was a nightly ritual. “Daddy, there’s a monster in my room.”
All the parenting journals promised: “Let her cry; two nights, and the crying will stop.”
Proud Daddy noted that after only fifteen minutes the crying had indeed stopped, as the monster dragged little Dana into the closet’s depths.
Alison spent many a night tucked under the supposed safety of her sheets, crying for Mommy and Daddy to rescue her from night terrors and other perceived threats. She is still wary of the closet and what lies under the bed once the darkness comes.
She had tiptoed through life, always on the periphery of happiness, teetering precariously. The decision brought her peace.
It was not impulsive, but rather long contemplated. It quelled the voices.
She slid over the bridge railings, and as her body slammed into the water, the motorists continued busily on above.
Alison is an executive in a mental health agency. She knows that fostering hope is the most important element of treatment, and she witnesses recovery daily. The trauma of completed suicide continuously haunts her. This is her fourth 50-word story.
As the present world came to an end, things did fall apart.
Masses of now-believers were loosed on the streets. Some wept, some prayed, some turned to the Beast… and some held up signs to the heavens pleading, “Take me!”
God yawned, and chose the ones with the biggest signs.
Alison is not as much of a cynic as this story would insinuate, but rather was influenced by a vivid dream, and the famous Yeats poem “The Second Coming.” She is currently busy working on her sign.
In his basement, Hubert began the disembowelment.
His knife skillfully pierced the flesh with a surgeon’s deftness. Innards strewn across the floor, Hubert then turned his attention to the face.
Afterwards, with a sated grin, he admired his handiwork.
He inserted the jack-o’-lantern candle, ready to lure the next child.
Alison loves a good scare and has a dark sense of humor.
She had waited patiently. He didn’t want a relationship.
Returning to the bar, she heard the taunt from his friends: “Kiss her!” He hesitated as he leaned in, lips touching hers.
She felt herself falling into a chasm, melting down its walls.
Thirty years later, he is still kissing her.
Alison likes to write. She is celebrating her thirtieth anniversary, still kissing the man above.