A Shining Forth


DEADSHESDEADDEADSHeisdeaddead…” Marnie, prostrate on Rebecca’s grave, despair so complete. I did nothing to help her, as I had done nothing when the bullet ripped through our child. I did nothing.

A month passes, and Marnie is still at her parent’s. She won’t talk to me. I don’t blame her. I could have ended that drunken bastard’s life, the picnic lunch splattered with Becky’s blood, dying in our arms. He went down with one punch, and I had his gun in my hand. All it would have taken…

The police screwed it up, four conflicting reports and misplaced evidence. Andy Selles got away with it. Got away with murdering my little girl. Eyes wild, waving that gun of his. Reckless, uncaring. Bastard.

“Marnie, I did nothing. I’m sorry, so sorry,” I say, to the phone on the table. I pick up the pad, with his name and address scrawled in fiery red ink. Checking my pocket, I head out.

At Selle’s house, it’s pouring, and I’m not sure if I can go through with it. He deserves it, oh Becky…oh…Marnie…he so deserves it. Tears race down my cheeks as my feet just move me around to the back of the bastards house. To the back door. It’s unlocked. Stupid, stupid bastard.

Entering the kitchen, it smells like a dive, stale cigarettes, stale beer, and piss. I want to vomit, mostly from the smell. As I make my way, tripping over some crap on the floor, the knife in my pocket is now in my right hand. They both shake in anticipatory fear. I feel sweat pouring out of me, running down my back, my chest, and I clench my teeth so they stop chattering.

The TV is on in the next room. Japanese voices? I peek around the door frame: Rashomon?  This bastard, this drunk bastard is defiling Kurosawa? Marnie…oh damn it…she loves this movie, made me love it too, falling in love with her as well that night.

Selle is on the floor. The contents of a bottle of Seagram’s is voiding on the floor. He must have just fallen over. The liquor drizzled to a stop,  it’s aroma mixing with the melange of putrid air.

The knife is vibrating in my fist. I want to drive it into his back, ripping and shredding him, like his bullet did to my little girl. Like it did to my marriage. On my knees now, and both of my hands are wrapped around the knife, my samurai sword, to deal the death this BASTARD deserves.

A baby’s cry startles me. The climatic scene from the movie. I watch as it unfolds. The priest, finally, has a reason to continue having hope in humanity, as the woodcutter takes the abandoned child, to bring up as his own.

I stand, taking a step back, kicking an empty pill bottle. Pills and Seagram’s.  I don’t do anything. I leave. It stopped raining. I call Marnie as I get in the car.


Author’s Note: This is a story written from a prompt for #SaturdayShorts, a weekly writing contest I’ve entered, and won, before. The writers have until Saturday, June 11th, to post their stories. At noon (EST), entries are closed and a poll is posted, and you can vote for your favorite story up to 8pm that evening.

So, please visit LM Stull’s page at Between The Lines on Saturday, June 11th, 2011, between 12:00pm and 8:00pm, EST (East Coast American Time). I do want you and your friends to vote, but VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE STORY. If it’s other than mine, then so be it. I don’t like the American Idol style of voting blocs. I’d rather win for real merit of the story. I am very serious about that. May the best story win!

Thank you.


21 responses »

  1. I liked your opening a lot, it caught my attention and pulled me in immediately. I thought you content was gritty in it’s descriptions. The way you brought somethingtotally your own, (not suggested or implied
    in the storyline to be used), the old movie playing on the TV, and used it as the turning point in your story, made a real impression on me. So, those are my thoughts on your piece.
    Jill B


    • thank you Jill. I LOVE Rashomon, the storytelling style, and in all honesty, it came to me only when he entered the house. Glad you found it the way intended. I felt it added so much to the characters.


    • Thanks Rimly. As I mentioned above, this is fiction. The fact so many have contacted me, thinking it was real is kinda a wow moment for me. Pure fiction. I went this way simply because of the prompt.

      Just so anyone else looks: I would NEVER write such a personal story on a blog. Never. The fact I’ve shared one or two things here and elsewhere ( to help other people out). Not my style. I prefer fiction. I spill my guts out that way, through characters. Isn’t part of what we write come from within?


  2. I couldn’t even imagine this subject for a write up – that piece there is a sign of a true writer – no matter what the subject. the grip over it is solid. Great Job Stuart!


  3. Because I was born and raised in Tokyo for 12 years, Samurai and ninja’s were my cowboys and Indians. Akira Kurosawa is amazing. Something interesting to ponder: In the movie Ran, we hear “life sucks and then you die”, now a univeral saying. It has been said that it was quoted by Louis Creed in Pet Semetary by Stephen King in 1988, but as you know Ran came out in 1985.

    Love your stories!


  4. Well presented – it’s easy for writing about such an intense subject to slip into the “maudlin” arena. This doesn’t. It’s also believable, which is a plus. We may dream about revenge, but when faced with the actual act of murder, deserved or not, one who is capable of great love is generally incapable of inflicting great damage. I also like how you slipped in the little psychological element of guilt – “I should have done something”. Hopefully your character will one day forgive himself.
    Please remind me to vote Stu – you know how forgetful I can be. 🙂


    • Thank you Li. I tried to layer this, and I’m glad people are seeing it (I’ve gotten more emails on this instead of posting here. WP needs to make the comments thing more accessible.). If anyone knows Rashomon, I really put in elements. One of my favorite movies, from my favorite movie director. I’ll remind you!! The writing is the object, not the award. Well, that and a nice contract from a publisher would be nice. 🙂


  5. Scary. I didn’t want to go there. I’m impressed that you can right so clearly about these dark subjects. I want to know more, but I don’t want to either. Ooooh. Ugh.
    Despite all that…. great writing!


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