Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Weight of Truth

This was written for the Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge write the last 1000 words of a non-existant novel.

First time I've tried this so hopefully it is okay.


The door closed with a soft click. Mel dragged a hand down his face, not even caring about the rasp of stubble under his fingers anymore. Hand going to his throat he loosened his tie and popped the top button on his shirt. Dropping his scarred and battered briefcase to the floor, he trudged into his apartment, pausing to stare at the suitcase by the couch.

On top of everything else his tired brain just couldn't take this in. Catching movement out of the corner of his eye he turned to find Heather standing in the doorway to the bedroom, another suitcase in hand.

"Going somewhere?" he asked after a moment, voice as bone weary as the rest of him.

"What do you think, Mel?" she said, voice dripping with bitterness as she crossed to the couch.

"I don't know what to think. Why don't you tell me."

"Oh, come on, Mel. We both knew this was coming."

That was true, he couldn't deny it, though he had in the past and probably would have continued to. But now, he truly didn't even care to try.

"So, I guess its time for the tough to get going?" he asked, a bit of bitterness entering his own voice.

"What did you expect, Mel?"

"I don't know. A little understanding? A little loyalty?" he asked, a bit of life coming back into his voice for the first time since he left the office.

"Loyalty?" Heather said incredulously. "What about loyalty to me? Did you ever think about me before you set off on this little crusade of yours?"

He held her eyes for a moment then looked away, his gaze dropping to his shoes as silence wrapped around them. That, unfortunately, was true. He hadn't thought about her, but he had thought, had hoped, that she would understand.

"You just couldn't leave well enough alone could you?" she said, voice barely above a whisper.

That would have been the smart thing, what he had done before. But...

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," the memory of his mother whispered in his ear again.

But this time he just couldn't stand aside. Even now that it was over he couldn't say why he'd done what he had, but he just couldn't look away anymore.

"No, I couldn't," he murmured.

"You know, I really don't get you anymore, Mel."

"Then I guess you didn't really know me."

"I guess not," Heather murmured before hefting her suitcases and heading for the door.

For an instant he thought about calling her back, to try and talk things out. But that time had long since passed, if it had ever existed at all. So, in silence, he listened to the door open and gently close.

Alone in his now very empty apartment Mel pulled off his tie and tossed it onto the couch before heading into the kitchen, past the island and the wine cooler to the refrigerator. Opening the door he took the last beer Harry had left, popped the top and chugged half in one pull. Letting the bottle dangle by his side he rested his head, against the door and let his eyes droop.

He was tired. He was so, so tired. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a decent night's sleep, or a proper meal for that matter.

Knock knock

And it seemed like both would have to wait a little longer.

Setting the half empty bottle on the counter he left the kitchen. Feet dragging, as he moved to the door, wondering if he could just ignore them.

"Yes?" he asked as he opened the door and paused at sight of the Sue standing on the other side.

"Hi, Mel."

"Sue. W-What are you doing here?" he asked, almost tripping over his own tongue.

"Well, I saw Heather leaving with a couple of suitcases and wanted to come see if everything was okay," she said, not quite meeting his gaze.

At first he wanted to say everything was fine, nothing to worry about. But he just didn't have it in him to tell one more lie. After everything else he just couldn't.

"No. No, not really," he said. Slumping against the doorframe he proceeded to pour out the whole torrid affair.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. Are you all right?"

"Not yet," Mel said taking a deep breath. "But I will be. Thanks for asking, especially after ... well, after last time," he said, now unable to looking her in the eye and letting his eyes move to the safety of the floor.

"We both said things we shouldn't have, so let's just put it behind us," Sue said, her gaze moving to join his in studying the carpet.

"Still, I'd like to say sorry. You were trying to help and didn't deserve that kind of treatment," Mel said, shifting from foot to foot.

"I'll accept yours if you'll accept mine."

"Deal," he said, offering a small smile and receiving one in return.

"Listen, Mom sent me home with most of a lasagna and I can't eat nearly all of it by myself. Would you like to come over and have some?"

"That sounds ... really good," Mel said, smiling a little wider and thinking that maybe, just maybe, the future wasn't quite so dark.


  1. Good job. The dialogue was really smooth and natural.

  2. I liked this. Well written and descriptive without being overwrought. Makes me want to know what he was fighting against and why. You also did a good job of capturing his emotional state through your descriptions instead of just saying, "he felt like shit." Show, don't tell.

    Nicely done.

  3. Nice job, good dialogue, & descriptive without being over done.