Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Unhappily Whatever After

Charity clumped down the stairs, helpless to quiet the sound of her boots on the creaking steps. The thoughts within her twenty-something mind were all awhirl, partly from the cocaine she had snorted off her desktop and partly from the festive plans she had for the night ahead.

Not for the first time, she wondered if the boots and miniskirt she wore went with the heavy woolen sweater she’d chosen to complete her outfit. It was the iciest, most bitterly-cold New Year’s Eve in her recollection and her desire to go out battled briefly with her sense of caution. It was a battle whose outcome was in little question. To be anywhere but home with her harridan of a mother was an option she could not ignore.

Shrugging her coat on, she hoped to escape the house without the old woman’s gin-soaked diatribes. Charity simply had no tolerance for the unwarranted criticism of someone who had little room to chastise anyone for their behavior. Before she could turn the doorknob, the voice she most dreaded pierced the quiet.

“Don’t go out that door, missy. I know you’re intent on drinkin’ and druggin’ and whorin’ the night away but you can just forget all about that! You go out tonight and leave your old mama all alone you can just keep on keepin’ on and not show your hussy face back around here.”

Unwilling to entangle herself in the drunken ramblings, Charity spoke over her shoulder only a single word, “Whatever!” before she was gone.

Little did either of the pair realize that single word would prove to be so prophetic. Whatever chance they had at reconciliation was lost along with the car Charity was in when it drove off the Crosstown Bridge. A mother lost whatever had once existed of a daughter beneath the river’s icy waters. In a world so hurried and harried, whatever significance her death or loss might have engendered was entirely lost in the normal course of daily life.

This story was written for the weekly Trifecta Writing Challenge flash fiction word prompt: whatever. 


  1. A single word, so casually uttered, can leave lasting scars under the wrong circumstances. You did a good job of showing that in this story. Good work. :)

  2. That last paragraph was especially poignant. Not much is sadder than unresolved relationships.

  3. So pleased to see your story for Trifecta this week, Jeffrey :)) Sad interaction, painful outcome, well told. Nicely done :))

  4. Great descriptions and such a sad ending. I got such a sense of Charity and her mother in this short piece - well done! And harridan was a new word for me, yay new words!

  5. Love the build up to this and then how everything pivots around the prompt word in such devastating and lasting fashion. Great job. Thanks for linking up!