The Writing Life

…a literary journey

Prescription; a short story


The following story’s first line is prompted by a random line
from Neal Schusterman’s Undivided, book 4 in the Unwind dystology.

If Elina is uncomfortable with the silence, she doesn’t show it. I told her we should try to draw Ethan out more, at the dinner table for example,” Martin told the doctor.

The other man nodded.

“She said it will just make things worse.”

The fact that his fifteen-year-old son lived behind a locked door, headphones glued to his head, didn’t faze Martin as much as finding his wife still in bed with the curtains drawn, when he came home in the evenings. The house was a silent, impenetrable shell with separate chambers for its hermits.

“Do you talk about the affair?” the doctor asked.

Martin dropped his head, shaking it until the carpet squares confused his eyes with its alternating patterns. He stood up and walked to the window, listening to the noise rising from the street below. Horns blared as a bus pulled out from where it had picked up a group of riders, into the lane a taxi was already screaming down. Children said morning goodbyes to parents and ran around the fenced school grounds of an elementary school. He thought of Ethan at their age and felt distressed for the parents who would wind up in this very office one day, wondering why the smiles fell off their child’s face, or why their wife started fucking someone else.

“No, not since she came home,” he admitted. “So, is this life from now on? My counseling, her counseling, couples counseling, family counseling? I mean, shit.”

“Shit, what Martin?” the doctor asked. “Shit, you’d like to stay in your room and listen to metal? Or shit, you’d like to lay in bed all day, wishing you hadn’t left your lover?”

He went back to the tufted leather couch and laid down. “Can you shut the window?”

2 comments on “Prescription; a short story

  1. amwoodswriter
    December 8, 2017

    Great story Vicki.

    Finally posted mine (better late than never)

    http://amwoodswriter.com/2017/12/08/pohutukawa/

    Love seeing the different directions a single prompt can go…

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