The Pause

by | Feb 13, 2011 | Fiction, Flash fiction, Relationships | 11 comments

Here’s my bit of flash fiction for this week. Feedback welcome, of course. :)

The Pause

By Laura McHale Holland

She pulls on the bottom of her cashmere sweater and looks at the tires slashed, the windshield shattered, black paint poured on her dented vehicle and splashed all over the concrete walk and stairs. She tiptoes to the porch in her high heels, avoiding the paint. Upstairs her apartment door is ajar. She pauses, biting her red, red lips. He could have come and gone, leaving all her underwear strewn across the floor, her china broken in the kitchen, her desk upended, photos ripped in two. Or he could be inside, sitting in her old stuffed chair and smoking a meerschaum pipe. She’s tired of running, tired of the fear, tired of the sleepless nights year after year. She pulls a can of Mace from her purse, straightens her pencil skirt, stands up tall, kicks the door open and steps inside.

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  1. Lysle

    I do not think there exists the woman who has not at some point in her life met this man. If she is smart she has a gun in her purse.

  2. Chris Predick

    potent writing.

    I actually took a deep breath when she kicked the door open… so, keep going! Was he in there????

  3. admin

    Hi Lysle, Thanks for the feedback! Just before I checked for comments, I edited the piece a tiny bit by putting a can of Mace in her purse, which I think improves it. For some reason I shied away from a gun. Chris and Jerry want more revealed in the story. I may continue to work on it. Don’t know yet.

  4. admin

    Thanks, Chris, for sharing your thoughts. Jerry left a note on Facebook, asking for more, too. I’ll see if something develops …

  5. Deborah Taylor-French

    Interesting flash fiction, I wonder if she’ll find him inside? Oh, I hope she gives him hell.

    At one time when I was working nights, I carried Tear Gas. This was before Mace was available. Here’s an updated, self-defense tip. A green alternative to Mace is wasp spray. The can is bigger so it is something to keep by your bed or your door. And it’s not expensive.

  6. admin

    Oh my, wasp spray! I’ve never heard of that. Long ago, when I was a young woman living in Chicago and coming home from friends’ houses and classes at all hours, I thought I was protecting myself when I got off the L and started the three-or-so-block walk home by sticking the keys from my key chain through the spaces between my fingers and putting my hand in a tight fist. This was in a neighborhood where the workers at a pizza place a block from where I lived had been recently felled by some thug with a machine gun. And I thought I was so tough with my keys between my fingers.

  7. admin

    Re-reading the story right now with the Mace detail added, I was satisfied with it, for now anyway. Just adding that detail made it more complete. I like letting readers imagine what might have happened. That’s not to say it couldn’t be continued, but I think, now, it’s not demanding that it be continued.

  8. Ruth

    Love the intrigue! It made me realize that my reaction or my thoughts would be different if she were to have a knife in her purse rather than a can of Mace. Ahhh, the power of words.

  9. Jerry Kohut

    the wasp spray shots up to 25 ft. and easy to hit target

  10. admin

    So true. It’s amazing the difference one word can make!

  11. admin

    Wasp spray. Sounds like a much safer thing than a gun to have around for self-defense.

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