Fiction Friday: The Power of a Child

This is the next in a series of short fiction pieces that all mesh together. Feel free to catch up with the previous installments or start here.

  1. Broken
  2. The Failure
  3. The Letters
  4. The Rock
  5. Wandering Thoughts
  6. Just Coffee

The Power of a Child

“I…have…to…I have to go, Jack. I’m sorry. I’m really really sorry.” Those words cut like a knife to his heart. She was leaving. She was just. Fucking. Leaving. She climbed into the car and drove away. Jack didn’t know if he’d ever see Mel again. He didn’t know what to do. He wanted to call her. To tell her that his heart was breaking. To tell her how his best friend just…vanished.

He had planned to kiss her. He was going to ask her to prom. And he knew he would say yes. They were like two peas in a pod. He was going to tell her he loved her. That he had always loved her. That he wanted to be with her. She was the one.

But she was gone.

He stood there. For a minute? An hour? A day? He couldn’t be sure. At some point he stumbled home, and crashed onto his bed, alone with his thoughts. I’m all alone. Alone in the world. No friends. No Mel. No one. I’m worthless. I’ll never find anyone else. Fuck this shit.

A bleak future paraded itself through Jack’s mind for days? hours? weeks? The thoughts proceeded to get darker and deeper, until those same worries, doubts, and fears became dangerous. Terrifying. A vision of a kitchen knife flashed in his eyes. The gun in his father’s safe. He could see it so clearly. An option. A way out. The idea laid itself out in his mind, so perfectly, that he could feel its potential release.

Jack opened his eyes, and for the first time, noticed his six-year-old sister, Leah, standing over him, gazing nervously.

“Jackie?”

He looked at her.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“You don’t look okay. You look sad. Do you want to watch Tangled? That makes me happy.”

He looked at Leah, with a half grimace, pulled her into his chest and hugged her. Jack took in the scent of his baby sister. Felt her warmth. Soaked up her love for him. Without question. Without knowing. Just. Love.

Love.

“Jackie, are you crying?” The sound of the little girl, her concern so blatant, brought him back to reality. He pulled away from her. Looked down at the little raggedy doll in her tiny hand. Gazed into her big blue eyes. Jack saw the fear. The worry. He knew that he needed this little girl more than ever before.

“Leah, can you get mom? Now?” She looked at him, as if she were trying to see what he was thinking, but not quite sure what to do with what she saw.

“OK.” The girl hopped off the bed and ran out of the room, shouting, “Mooooooom!!!!! Jackie needs you!”

**********************************************************************************

“Good morning, Jack. This is our fifteenth session. Can you tell me why you’re here?”

“Because I have had thoughts of taking my own life.”

“Good. And can you tell me the last time you had suicidal thoughts.”

“Two weeks ago.”

“Was that in our session?”

“Yes.”

“Do you remember what we talked about?”

“Melanie.”

“And did we talk about her the whole time?”

“No. We also talked about Leah. And my family. And how I was not alone in this.”

“That’s right, Jack. And is Melanie the reason for your thoughts?”

“No. She was a catalyst.”

“Her actions were a catalyst, Jack. Her actions.”

“Right. Her actions.”

“How are you feeling today?”

“I’m okay. Leah is in a school play today. I’m going to see it with my parents. They’re doing some musical play about a tiny Christmas tree. Then I’m going to meet my cousin Steve for lunch. I’ve got a full plate, and I’m looking forward to the day.”

“That’s great, Jack. Tell me again about the decision to ask for help.”

“Leah. I didn’t want her to lose her brother. She just kept looking at me with those big eyes. Like I mattered. She cares so much. She’s so young. And innocent. Melanie used to be like that when I met her. Sweet. Caring. I don’t know what happened to her. She makes me so fucking angry. Whenever I start thinking about her. I know I’m not alone, but she makes me want to scream. I can’t stop thinking about how pissed off I am. She left, like a fucking bitch. A scared little brat, who didn’t have the nerve to tell me what the hell was going on.”

“Jack. We were talking about Leah.”

“Oh. Right. Leah.”

**********************************************************************************

Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales

The Fiction Prompt

The Ides of March — Your character is betrayed, hardcore, by a friend. The relationship is forever altered, “killing” a little piece inside, of our protagonist, yet empowering her/him despite the damage.Imagery, dialogue, movement…800-1500 words.

Go read some of my friends, the Fearless Fiction Femmes Fatales and their blogging/writing/fiction/awesomeness.

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Comments

  1. this was so good and sad and real sounding. poor jack; love is so complicated. thank goodness for leah, but thank goodness for jack too — he knows.

  2. so saaaddd…..

  3. Thank goodness for little Leah. It’s really scary how many teens contemplate suicide. I need to go back and read the installments leading up to this one. I’m very intrigued. Great story telling!

  4. I’m so glad Jack is getting helped and can feel that he matters to Leah at least. Children are so insightful. Loved when she asked if he wanted to watch Tangled because it makes her happy. So simple and pure logic to a child.

  5. A moving piece Chrissy, Touched at heart. I could feel through your lines Jack’s love for Leah, his reason to stay alive…

  6. Wow. I could really feel Jack’s emotions – his desperation and will to live dissolved. It was so very sad. Looking forward to the next installment – hopefully things start to pick up for him.

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