This is the beginning of a ten chapter series of a short story I’m starting. Past post explains the story. I will be posting a chapter every Saturday for the next ten weeks, so keep an eye out for it and don’t miss a Chapter.
Chapter 1—I can’t live without you knowing
He writes with a shaky pen in hand. The scribble scrabbles across the lines on his college lined notebook, but he’s in high school… The girl he’s writing to sits two chairs to his left every day. She walks two inches from his side down the hall to second period, and they have the easiest two way conversation that seamlessly never pauses. If there is pauses in their conversations neither of them notice because they’re connected like magnets, but there is only one conversation neither of them talked about. The fact that they are madly in love with each other. He writes her a letter he never thought he’d write:
I don’t know how to write letters. I mean, we’ve been taught in school, but I don’t know how to write this letter. This one changes things. This one is different because it’s never been written before…
Do you listen to the voices on the radio? You probably do! You still use that old alarm that wakes you by radio, and you say you stay in bed ten minutes longer to hear the newest news. You’re always getting your journalism a polish. Don’t listen to that. Don’t be scared… I know you’re not, you told me so..
Do you remember I told you I needed to talk to you? Do you know what I wanted to say? This is the letter that’s never been written, and…
I can’t live without you knowing.
I’m in love with you, Margaret. I’ve been in love with you since third grade. I’ve loved you every day since the day we met, and I never once for a minute thought I was anything less than head over heels, break my worst addiction, scream at the top of my lungs for the world to hear in love with you.
I can’t live without you knowing. Especially if the atom bomb is true.
I’m on my way to give you this, or I might just drop it in your mailbox. You may never read this, but I must tell it some way.
He folds the letter with two creases, and slides it into an envelope for safe keeping. He licks the back. He couldn’t imagine the letter flying out of the envelope and someone reading it. He writes Margaret’s name in all capital letters and initials three dots to the end of her name. It’s a wishful letter. A wish that she’ll return the passion he possessed the letter to convey, but he knows that’s wishful thinking.
In his room he sits on the edge of his bed. He thinks of the girl two houses down waiting for a letter she doesn’t know about yet. A bird flutters in his chest captured in a loose cage, and the door is ready to swing open. He holds tight to the letter and goes to the living room where his family sits, listening to the news. Nothing makes sense to him. His surroundings are a thick fog, and the meaning of these atom bombs have no purpose. His only purpose is the letter in his hand, the girl waiting for it, and the time it’ll take her to understand his feelings.
He passes in front of the TV and his family on the couch, and they all move their heads around him. He doesn’t look back to see if they care where he’s going or anything. He’s on a mission.
As he leaves the house, he feels the caged bird flap its wings even harder than when he wrote the letter. His hands are moist, and they leave finger prints on the paper. The neighborhood is silent, and no one other than a few porch dwellers sit outside looking up to the skies. They seem to be waiting for the bombs. Like a child coming home for diner. Their coolers full of beer, and their belly’s flushed with alcohol.
He stops in front of her house, 223. He takes a deep breath, and he releases the fluttering bird and it flies away. His eyes are fixated on the mailbox nailed to the right side of the door, that he doesn’t see Margaret sitting next to the window waiting for him. He kisses the envelope, he hopes that wasn’t too much, and he drops the letter in the box. Margaret smiles at him as he turns his back and walks away, but she doesn’t chase him down or call out to him. She waits for him to be long back in his house.
Margaret opens the front door and opens the mailbox to grab the letter. She reads her name Margaret…
She knows the meaning of the letter. She knows how her bothers are, and how they won’t let her keep her privacy. She protects the letter by stuffing it down the side of her jeans. She runs upstairs to her room, locks the door, and digs out the letter.
She reads the name again, but now the name looks unfamiliar. Margaret… She makes sure the letter is for her.
The neighborhood is silenced, but the storm is only about to begin. The hell storm from the havens will soon shower flames from the lake of fire. The people will run in circles like chickens who’ve been decapitated and prepared for a farmer’s diner. Men will scream like children, mother’s will abandon their children to seek refuge for themselves, and the roaches and worms of the earth will feast like kings.
The night falls dark, and the letter beneath Margaret’s mattress is burning a hole through her pillow. She sleeps on top of it, and she saves the read for the morning she wakes.
A heaviness looms above the neighborhood as they listen to the sound of thunder strike throughout the night. Which strike of thunder will be their inevitable doom? No one will sleep this night nor any night until the bombs finally kiss the earth.
I hope you enjoyed Chapter 1 of 10. Please give this a like or share to keep this series going!