Welcome to Day 15 of 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing, the creative writing challenge that 4 out of 5 Hydro workers agree is the reason for the other day’s power outage . Today’s prompt is Or Else, and co-blogger Mike is the brains behind this one. Don’t forget to link up at the end of this post if you participated in today’s challenge before the last candle burned down.
A quick note – we really did have a power outage which is why I missed yesterday’s prompt “Where Can I Get A Good Blintz?”. I cried myself to sleep for missing out on that one, too. Heartbreaking, I tell you.
Make it Home Again
The phone rang while she was making supper.
Hi. It’s Maggie.
Maggie? Um, hey. How are you?
Good. I just called ’cause I wanted to wish you happy birthday.
Oh. Thanks, thanks very much. It’s great to hear from you. How’ve you been?
Good. I can’t really talk very long. I have some stuff…
Sure, I understand.
But happy birthday. I’ll be at Mom’s on Saturday for cake. See you then. Take care.
Thanks. It was great of you…
Maggie had already hung up though. She stood there, looking at the receiver in her hand. And then she burst into tears.
She and Maggie were only two years apart, Maggie being the younger. Growing up, they had been close, closer than they were to their other siblings. They shared their secrets, their dreams, their fears and hopes.
Once, when they were about 10 and 12 years old, she’d tried to get Maggie to do her chores for her. Maggie refused. She’d pleaded, cajoled and eventually, tried to blackmail Maggie.
Do the dishes for me or else I’ll tell Mom that you got detention on Thursday.
Well, if you tell Mom about my detention, I’ll tell her about the F you got in math class.
Oh yeah? Then I’ll tell her that you’ve been feeding the dog your vegetables.
Then I’ll tell her that you kissed Steven.
Fine! Then I’ll tell her that you’re the one who broke her vase.
Uh huh. Then I’ll tell her that you wore her charm bracelet to school.
And it went on and on like that for at least 20 minutes. It could have gone on much longer but their gales of laughter put an end to the attempted blackmail. In the end, she washed the dishes and Maggie helped by drying.
The conversation turned to boys and clothes and other subjects of such importance. Their bond undamaged by the “extortion incident”, as it would come to be called.
But nearly 20 years later, she watched with growing dismay as Maggie became more and more erratic. Happy memories were tainted by delusion and paranoia. There was a thief living in Maggie’s mind, stealing her ability to distinguish fact from fiction. A vicious thief, hacking and slashing away at the light and the joy that was Maggie.
She tried to reach out to her sister, but every time she tried – every get together, every phone call – it ended badly. Her dismay quickly turned to anger. Anger at her sister for not being in control. Anger at her own impotence.
Meanwhile, Maggie was drifting further and further away. Away from her, away from reality. Until, one day, she realized it had been a couple of years since they had spoken, at least five since they had seen each other last.
And then the phone rang while she was making supper.
Now, go. Click on the links of the wonderful people participating in this challenge. But bring a flashlight.