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Hidden Truth

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Your challenge this week is to use this line as a fourth. It can be used anywhere in the story as long as it is in a 4th position (8th line, 12th line, 16th line, etc). Please be sure the line stands out from the rest of your text by bolding or italicizing or enclosing it within quotes.

Charlie Higgins assumed most grown folks viewed the world cloaked in an aura of thick, murky darkness. His earliest recollections of life manifested in muffled tones of anger capped with fear and dread. It was often those memories which pulled him into troubled slumber.

Charlie barely recalled fleeting images of his birth mother. His young mind didn’t comprehend who she was but he welcomed the warmth her image instilled in the hollowness of his heart. Snippets of a young face twisted with laughter as familiar to him as the uncertainty of his young life. Instinct instructed him to never question the parents raising him.

Until recently, he’d assumed the wrinkled, slightly stooped over lady was his mother. Hadn’t he called her ‘Mama’ for as long as his lips could form the word? The elderly man, permanently scented in stale smoke and whiskey fumes was ‘Papa’; the male half of the puzzle.

It only came through an argument between his ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa” his world became confusingly clearer. They’d consumed their daily “liquid medication” quite early that morning after an unexpected call. Normally, Charlie stayed clear during the morning ritual but the phone call had piqued his curiosity. Conversation peppered with curse words centered around an unknown female. Charlie scanned his memory banks, trying to follow their anger. Whoever she was, there would be hell to pay. “This is Charlie’s mother,” a drunken voice mimicked.

Disbelief swallowed Charlie as the floor gave way. Mouth gasping soundless as the memories of the woman made sense. He stood from behind the chair, ignoring the shocked expressions on ‘Mama’ and ‘Papa’s faces. Things had been much better when he had been hidden. Yes, much better when he’d been hidden from the truth he knew he wouldn’t be able to escape.

 

One Too Many

mancontemp

Well, hello there friend. Mind if I bum a smoke from you? What? Oh, you thought you’d hidden your dirty little habit? Technically, you have. At least from the mortal world. Ah, thank you. Not much of a talker, are ya. Insert a chuckle here. I don’t possess the actual ability to laugh. One of the curses I get to carry.

I don’t know why these cigs are given such a bad rap. Do they not fulfill their function above and beyond expectations? Think about it. You inhale to feed your addiction. It provides you the relief you seek. Can’t think of a sweeter poison.

Normally, I don’t make personal appearances but your thoughts have been, how shall I put it? Annoying? No, not quite. Alarming? Neh. It’s the ones who never entertain the thought who alarm me. Not interesting either.
Does my candidness offend you? I thought not. No need to feign you’re astride that high horse. No siree bob. You’re pretty mediocre at best, I’d say. If I were judging you on a scale of one to ten, I’d give you a minus three. Insert that chuckle. No my friend, you don’t possess any of that hoopin’ and hollerin’. You almost slipped under the radar. So subtle, you sneaky little bastard. Insert a shit eating grin here.

Did you know your partner suspects you of embezzling? Yeah, yeah he does. Pretty convinced it’s you. Don’t that beat all though? Letcha in on a secret. It’s his mistress robbing you blind. Know how ditzy she plays? All an act. She’s Mensa material, that one. Anywho, she’s setting you up to take the fall. If it comes down to it. Gotta love a girl who plans.
So, there I was, sitting in my flames, minding my own business. Believe that or not. Most folks don’t get I don’t come looking for souls. They come looking for me. Kinda pisses me off how you simple mortals twist facts to fit your limited, inadequate ways of thinking. But whatta gonna do? But I digress. I’m sitting there, going over the month’s quotas. Yes, yes, we do have quotas to meet. Much more competition than one might realize.

I stumble across a little oops in my numbers. I don’t have a lot of room for errors. Everything is carefully planned out. The big guy upstairs knows everything there is to know about you before you’re even conceived  That’s where the challenge for me comes into play. I have to find a way or ways to upset the apple cart, so to speak. Wanna know what the mistake was? Thought you’d never ask!

I have one too many people for the month. Can’t say that’s ever happened in the history of my ruling. Hell, I even shot a quick prayer up to the big guy when I realized what was going on. Wanna hear a funny? I think he answered it. Go ahead, insert a good ol’ chuckle for me. That’s how I started hearing the murmuring of your thoughts.

If I do it, will the insurance pay? What if the insurance doesn’t pay? Will the kids hate me? Will it bail out the business? Will Myra remarry? Should I make it look like an accident? How should I do it? Pain? No pain?

Pretty common thoughts, wouldn’t ya say? Now, as much as I’d like to accommodate your solution to your problems, I have to simply ask that you not follow through on your intentions. I’m not really sure what would happen to the dynamics of heaven and hell if you throw the numbers askew.

How ’bout I have one of my guys seduce the hell out of the mistress, get her to trip up? Set it up to where she takes the fall and you’re in the clear? Once that ball gets rolling, things will start looking up, dontcha think? No pressure or anything for a decision. Just that I need an answer in an hour or so. Gotta get the corrected figures to my accountant so we can close out the month.

I’ll sit over here and letcha think, my friend. Mind if i bum a cigarette? Never a sweeter poison, I say.
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Barb Black gave me this prompt: reconsidering.

I gave Jester Queen this prompt: a lingering scent, a bus, a phone

 

Acceptance Is The Key

The doctor woke up afraid. The woman beside him stirred. He froze, shame flooding his existence. In one night, he’d obliterated a lifetime dream. Feeling the pull of her stare, unable to resist her power, he swung his eyes towards her. He wasn’t surprised to find her lips curled in victory, mocking his defeated existence.

In the beginning of their acquaintance, she’d appeared as a desirable, tantalizing creature, teasing him with her charms. How quickly he’d been seduced. Oh, she could make a man feel good, on top of the world. What’s one time? What can it hurt? I’m in control, he’d convinced himself. When had wanting slipped into needing?

No matter how he’d tried to dodge her, she’d snake her way back in. Sometimes, she changed her appearance to represent an old familiar friend stopping by to relive the long passing of glory days. Nothing wrong with a trip or two down memory lane, she’d whisper.

When his wife began complaining about his frequent absences as a father and husband, she was right there, comforting him, nursing his wounded ego. Such an ungrateful wife, she’d cluck. Tsk, tsk, tsk. She doesn’t deserve you. I’ll be your wife. You don’t need her.

The partners at the clinic began to assault him with complaints regarding his shoddy work and lack of concern for the patients. You’ve changed, they admonished. What’s going on with you? You’re not the doctor we recruited. You don’t need them, she reassured him. They’re nothing without you. Good old-fashioned jealousy is all it is, she’d hiss in his ear.

However she appeared, she’d always managed to lure him back.

Until he was faced with the threat of losing his family and career. Ultimatums from his wife compounded by the termination of his contract with the clinic broke her spell.

He’d hoped, believed he’d finally erased her from his existence this last year. His wife supported his decision to relocate across the country, leaving everything and everyone she knew. An old college friend gave him a chance and benefit of the doubt he could beat his problem, bringing him into a well established practice. Yes, the last twelve months boasted a stronger marriage, a second child on the way, along with a town full of adoring and grateful patients.

The woman shifted, sitting up. Reaching for a cigarette, she ignored him. Swallowing fear, he instantly understood. Sensing his new-found knowledge she turned towards him, smiling. How stupid of him not to have known, even sensed she’d been behind the success of the last year. She’d never really left, only giving the illusion of disappearance. She’d been silently building him up, biding her time for the very moment he was convinced he had it beaten.

Acceptance is the key, she’d always whispered into his drug induced mind.

Acceptance is the key, he told himself as he stuck the needle into his eagerly awaiting vein.

I came across the Master Class while reading one of the stories on Sam’s blog, My Write Side. This is my first time participating and I look forward to future prompts. As I wrote the doctor’s story, my mind delved into the people who are affected by his story and will be adding a couple of more stories, using prompts from Bloggy Moms Writing Workshop. Stop in and check out Sam’s blog and the writing prompts.

 

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