Saturday, February 19, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (Cycle 19) Desert morning surprise

(Author's note: Flash Fiction Friday again and this time the assigned genre was romance with the option of constructing a story around unrequited love or composing a "Dear John" letter. As usual I probably screwed something up but this is as best as I could do.)

Lying in the bed Emily Garret shared with her husband she looked out the large picture window facing east watching the morning sun just begin to rise above the Brazos Mountains of New Mexico. The sky above the peaks glowed copper as the night slowly retreated forcing the stars to fade from view. Emily shuddered in pleasure at the sight reveling in the contentment of the comfortable king sized bed she had slept in that night.

She looked across to the far side at her husband, Bill, who had stayed up very late and was still deep asleep. Knowing how heavily he slept she was able to get up without waking him. Emily still tiptoed across the room to the dresser retrieving her pocket book that contained her cell phone and then stepped out the room softly closing the door behind her.

The ranch-style mansion was like a tomb, the rest of her husband’s family had left the day before leaving only the smell of the countless flower arrangements brought to mark the passing of Bill’s father. Emily sniffed instinctively with contempt at the thought of the numerous cousins and other distant family members that had tried to curry favor with Bill since his father and him had reconciled over a year before with Bill now standing to inherit his father’s massive estate.

It had taken a lot to get Bill and his father back together; she had first met her husband in college with him studying contemporary art and her biding time studying anything that she could pass looking for just the right man. Bill had fallen head over heels for her right from the beginning sending countless bundles of roses and performing every sloppy romantic thing in the book to win her affections. It had gotten so bad Emily had contemplated reporting him as a stalker or sending her boyfriend at that time after him. While Bill’s puppy dog level of infatuation and romantic antics appealed to her on several levels his sloppy artist persona made him look like a homeless person walking around the campus instead of the son of a rich oil man.

An offhand statement overheard in her dorm about Bill’s true financial situation changed everything with Emily quickly breaking up with her preppy boyfriend and then latching onto Bill and riding him through college. It wasn’t easy, Bill’s father hated Emily and his son’s artistic tendencies to the point he disowned the boy after they were married. She had seriously considered divorcing him after his father gave him the boot  but stayed because his art quickly developed a following and there was always the hope of the long-term payoff.

Being a practical girl, Emily did everything she could to hedge her bets in the mean time by first getting pregnant by Bill and giving him a daughter. Afterwards with Bill caught up in his paintings, sculptures and being a father Emily had plenty of time for a long series of lovers.

After walking by the room where the Mexican nanny, Carmen, was taking care of her daughter, Emily passed through the living room and stepped out on the deck overlooking the mountains enjoying the morning sun. While she hated the southwestern cowboy décor of her late father-in-law’s house the miles of desert terrain that stretched before her without any sign of other people appealed to her greatly.

Almost trembling with anticipation Emily pulled out her cell and activated the phone, with all the relatives around and her needing to act like the supportive wife several days had passed since she had a single moment alone. Now with the house empty and Bill up to his neck in paperwork dealing with his father’s passing the time was right for her to slip away.

The screen on the phone glowed showing two missed calls from the day before along with the same amount of voicemail messages . The callers were listed as unknown but she instantly knew it to be her latest lover and attorney who would handle the coming divorce making sure she would walk away from the marriage with most of her late father-in-law’s wealth.

“Hey sexy,” Simon whispered after Emily entered her secret number into the phone to play the messages. “I will be waiting at the cottage as you instructed. I can’t wait to have my way with you again.”

After Bill and his father reconciled and they moved into the mansion Emily’s relationship was still strained with her father-in-law. To ease things he built a cottage out in the desert for Bill to have a place to paint and her to have some alone time. It was so far out in the desert that its source of electricity came from an on-site propane-powered generator. Emily encouraged her husband and his father to grow closer, which was so successful that Bill moved his paintings into an unused section of the mansion leaving the cottage to her alone.

Eager to fill the touch of her lover only minutes passed before she rushed back to the bedroom, changed, and was out driving toward the cottage. A small kiss on Bill’s cheek and whisper of where she was going was all the explanation she needed to give him. 

Fantasies of what awaited Emily preoccupied her to the point the long drive went by in a flash. Sure enough as she approached the cottage she saw her lovers’ rental SUV parked partially out of sight. Yet as she rushed inside only silence greeted her, the cottage was dark and cool with the curtains closed but her lover was nowhere to be seen.  Turning on the lights and opening the curtains she discovered an envelope addressed to her on the kitchen counter. Knowing something was very wrong she ripped the envelope open and was shocked to recognize her husband’s hand writing. With a sinking feeling she sat down at the kitchen table to read it.

My Dearest,
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to write that our marriage is over. My love for you was the purest from the day I first saw you in college and in many ways I still care deeply. I still consider the day you agreed to marry me the happiest day of my life, only the birth of our child comes close to rivaling it. For years afterward I did my best to move heaven and earth to make you happy, even to the point of telling my father to go to hell.

However, as much as this might surprise you I am not a fool and at some point I did realize you never loved me. It was your persistent efforts to push my father and me back together that forced me to accept that our marriage could not go on. Over the years while you were very careful hiding your affairs you still slipped on a few occasions and they all have been well documented. I must admit though I eventually slipped myself, at some point Carmen and I fell in love, just know she will be a fine mother to our daughter.

I do have one last surprise for you, put down this letter and go open the door to the storage room. It will have to serve as my divorce settlement.
With deepest sorrow, your husband

Shaking in both rage and fear Emily walked down the small hallway to the storage room, the doorknob was stiff forcing her to twist harder but it eventually opened and as it did she heard a heavy mechanical click. The lights came on automatically and in horror she saw her lover lying on the floor. His hands, arms, and legs were bound together with rope and he had duct tape across his mouth, his only means of communication were his eyes showing utter terror.

A small television sitting on the shelf where canned goods was suppose to be came to life with Bill’s smiling face on the screen. “Emily,” her husband said, “excuse this impersonal prerecorded message but there is one more thing you should know. My father understood you right from the beginning, so much that when he and I reconciled he actually built this cottage with you in mind. Dad made his money in oil but was an electrical engineer by training and when building the cottage rigged an electrical fault in the generator that will detonate the propane tank in about ten seconds; of course, it will look like some unfortunate accident.”

For Emily time slowed to a crawl as she tried to turn and run but her body refused to move.  Bill’s last words hung in the air as she spent her final seconds on earth. “Honey, you know my dad was very happy in the end with how you changed me into what he wanted all along, Goodbye.”

Back at the mansion, Bill held his new love Carmen close as the sound of the explosion reached him.


Pixel Peeper said...

Unrequited love with an explosive twist!

And I was expecting another one of those Myrtle Beach "just missed each other" type stories!

Windsmoke. said...

Plenty of gold digging women around. She got what she deserved in the end for all her betrayal's and sneaking around, fantastic twist at the end, well done :-).

Coaster Punchman said...

Dude! You are scary! But this is very creative - loved it.


Liberality said...

Uh, whatever happened to d.i.v.o.r.c.e.? It's a better way of dealing with an unfaithful asshole rather than killing them don't you think. Men. :~P

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: You know I still wonder about that couple I saw in the bar not far from the now gone Pavilion. Of course the greatest detail on that story was made up but the guy did spend a long time clearly waiting and after he left I did hear the lady ask the bartender about someone waiting and basically describe the guy that had left.

For this story I wondered about a honest and goodhearted guy who was remade by his wife, of course this could have easily been turned around with the wife the "good guy"
although Bill the husband wasn't a good guy.

Windsmoke: In my mind the dad was already a slightly more than power mad type with his son taking a more genuine and open approach to life and people. The irony was that Bill's wife took advantage of the basic character in her husband and made him into what his father wanted all along.

Coastal Punchman: Thanks, I have a bad habit of blowing things up in my stories. I really need to get away from it.

Liberality: Like I mentioned above I sort of see Bill's dead dad as a mega-J.R. Ewing and Bill himself as a corrupted Bobby Ewing. The main reason for offing Emily was money which makes people do insane things. Especially since Emily had plans to rip the financial guts from Bill.

On a lighter note I hope I get back west one day, I loved that section of the country although I would not want to live there.

Marja said...

Lol a romance turning into a horror story. Very creative beach

Cloudia said...

ka BOOM!

Aloha from Honolulu,

Comfort Spiral


Beach Bum said...

Marja and Cloudia: I wrote something that might be called a "romance" story several months ago, but that was a special situation. It based on a guy waiting hours for someone in a Myrtle Beach bar only to leave a short time before an attractive lady came running inside to find him.

As fiction goes this is the best I can do.

Akelamalu said...

Oh she SO deserved that!!

Fabulous writing Dominic.

Mother Theresa said...

Hmmm...remind me never to cross you. ;) Just kidding, I really think it's a great story, with an interesting twist. Oh, and I have an award for you over at my blog, so come check it out.

lime said...

wow! that packed an explosive punch i never saw coming. well done!

Sue H said...

Excellent twist - I loved it!
(and she deserved it!)

Beach Bum said...

Akelamalu: Thanks! I would have addded more to Emily's dark character but I ran up against the maximum word count. I sort of had an idea of having her planning an accident for Bill.

Mother Theresa: Thanks, really I am a halfway decent guy who wouldn't hurt a tiny bird. Also, thanks of the award and will work on it by Wednesday.

Lime: Thanks! I have a friend at work who said I could switch the characters around with Emily being the winner and I would have a great Lifetime movie.

Sue: Thanks! I had one problem, I had a hard time accepting the word "cottage" for the small desert house built for Bill and Emily. Its didn't seen right for the setting but I went ahead and used it.

Flannery Alden said...

Justice! Sweet justice. I really like what you did with this story.

MRMacrum said...

Missed this one til now.

Very well done Beach. You definitely seem to be getting the hang of this fiction stuff.

Loved the ending. But then I have always had a weakness for explosions when the bad guy, uh gal gets it in the end.

Beach Bum said...

Flannery: Thanks, wasn't sure it fit the requiremens.

Mike: Yeah, I like a good explosion but thats just the redneck in me. Was in that area while in the service and want to get out west again sometime.

Doc said...

Never, ever apoligize for having a twist ending or killing the villian. I have to say BB, this is the best one I've read so far of this weeks offerings. Other than a few missing commas, I can't find a fault with it. It reads like the sort of short fiction I used to read in Playboy. You should be proud.


Flannery Alden said...

Hey BB, just so's you FFF requirements are more like the Pirate Code; they're really just guidelines. :-)

Joyce said...

How devilishly delicious! This was terrific and I adore the twist at the end! Fantastic.

Beach Bum said...

Doc: Thanks my friend! Seriously all this story proves is that if you put a redneck monkey in front of a computer with a word processor given enough time the balding primate will hit enough random keys to make a decent story.

Flannery: LOL!!! I am rather fond of old movie pirates and consider myself born two-hundred yers too late for my true profession. Those 21st century pirates don't fit the movie mold.

Joyce: Actually thought about having the dead dad give the prerecorded speech and explaining how happy he was with his son and praise Emily with how her bad behavior changed him but could not get it to fit right.

goatman said...

A pleasant thought!!

I guess death has to be involved.

Ranch Chimp said...

Good Morning Bum!

You write pretty good short stories actually, your like me, I like those romantic memories, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh :) And I'm one who never even read much fiction to begin with. But alot of this just brought back ole pleasant memories for me Guy ... the setting that is, I realize it's somewhere's in New Mexico, but remind's me of time's out around El Paso, there is a small sliver of New Mexico that hang's down seperating the state's of Texas and Arizona over there, it was alway's like a brief New Mexico visit for me on my way to Los Angeles (Via I- 10), such beautiful country out that way Guy. I am old enough to remember when Juarez was cool and a bunch of fun too! I especially loved the house in the picture, look's great! And yes ... propane, generator's are a way of life out there. I have alway's fantasized of my retirement home's/ area's as being about 50- 100 mile's east of El Paso (some remote area's over there I explored and loved, but I been all through Big Bend country too ... or else another little area that's down around the Valley of South Texas ... around the Brownsville area, I love the tropical area of that, and like being close to Mexico in particular for easier access, just a cool place to go (when the cartel's arent at each other's throat's of course). I live in Dallas, which doesnt have any flavour but the urban sort of any other town basically, but it's a fairly cool town, just not as cool as out there.

Later Bum!

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Carmen, the Mexican nanny. I'm thinking, double b, that that could easily be out mutual Facebook friend, Eluvia. Guatemala, Mexico close enough, no?

Beach Bum said...

Goatman: I'm Southern, we like explosions.

Ranch: I'm serious about finding some place way off the map to get away from people. I'd like it to be green and tropical but it could also be out in the desert. For that reason I have looked a little into propane generators.

Will: Mexican ladies are my eternal fantasy.

Oso said...

Very cool! I followed the FB link to the zombie tale, and find there's others I'd missed. Like going to the fridge knowing you don't have any soda or beer in there, and discover a couple way in the back someone missed.