You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #28 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.
The prompt for this podcast is One. Two. Three. He caressed each bullet in the palm of his hand before slipping it into its chamber…
* * * *
James stopped typing mid-sentence and glanced across his desk to where she sat. Her sweet scent alerted him to her presence. He knew she’d return this morning to continue their conversation of last night. Mesmerized, he watched her put down her writing tablet and unwrap the long, silk scarf from around her neck. Curled up in her favorite chair by the picture window, knees drawn, her face revealed a woman of timeless beauty and infinite wisdom. Torn between his love for her and his work, he re-read the three nonsensical paragraphs on his computer screen. They were the same words he’d been typing for the past several days.
She wanted out; he couldn’t imagine writing without her.
“How can I go on if you leave me?” he said. “You’ve given me the best five years of my life, helped me through the darkest hours when I thought I would never see light again.”
“Oh stop it, James.” She pursed her lips in a manner that showed her annoyance. “You’re being melodramatic, cliché in fact.”
He wiped his brow and sniffled. “I need you Calli—now—more than ever.”
She took a deep breath and let her shoulders drop, as if to unburden herself from the responsibilities she held. “You don’t need me anymore, James. I’ve been your mistress, your lover, your confidante, but lately, I’ve been nothing but a roadblock. It’s time I move on. You know I’m right, and ….”
James cupped his hands over his ears and squeezed his eyes shut. “La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la …” He repeated over and over hoping to drown out Calli’s voice. Surely, she had to understand he couldn’t just let her go. Without her, he would never have written his three best-selling novels.
“James, please, stop being childish. We’ve had an incredible relationship—a true meeting of minds, but it’s time to say good-bye.”
He opened his eyes to see a sunbeam brush Calli’s hair and highlight her face in a colorful prism. She was a goddess, beautiful even when he exasperated her. She was the one who taught him perseverance, listened to him ad nauseam as he cried over missed deadlines and rejection letters. She stuck with him and helped him hammer out hours upon sleepless hours of prose, dialogue, narrative, description, and then one day, her persistence paid off. In exchange, he cast her in a thousand scenes, made love to her, worshipped her, but now … her impatience with him hurt more than anything.
“I can’t say good-bye to you,” he said.
“You must.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “You’ve come to an impasse with your writing, and the only way to move forward is to let me go.”
He pouted and cradled his head in his hands. “Now who’s being cliché?”
Calli released a heavy sigh and slowly rose from her seat. She glided gracefully toward James. When she stood in front of him, she gathered up the skirt of her flowing, purple gown and crouched at his feet, resting her head in his lap.
“You know I love you, James. I always will, but I’ve been around much longer than you have, and it’s not good for us to continue like this. You will grow to hate me when your wellspring of creativity dries up, as it is already beginning to.”
James stroked Calli’s head and unraveled her tightly braided hair. He splayed her long, golden tresses down her back, breathed in her clean and earthy scent that held a hint of roses. He loved her even though he’d felt the past months tinged with boredom and lack of motivation. He wanted to believe the feeling would pass, but it didn’t. Only when confronted by Calli did he realize he was too cowardly to end it himself. Now her permission to do so flooded him with guilt.
“Calli, how can I go on without you?”
“You can, and you will.” She picked herself up and knelt in front of him. “Take this.”
He eyed the revolver she held in her hand. “What? Where did you get this?”
“Never you mind,” she said in her characteristic melodic lilt. You know I’ve lived long enough to have many sources.” She slipped her hand into the folds of her gown and pulled out a handful of metal. “You’ll need these too.”
James stared at the bullets she gently placed in his palm. “Calli … no.”
“You must, my darling. It’s time.”
James stared into dark, emerald eyes and witnessed centuries of creative inspiration gone by. She was right, after all. He’d have to kill her if he held any hope of ever writing again. Her lips curved in a tiny smile and she closed her eyes, seemingly ready to accept her fate.
His fingers trembled as he caressed each bullet in his palm before slipping them into the gun’s chamber.
“Farewell my love,” he said with tears rolling down his cheeks.
* * *
James awoke in the middle of the night agitated but filled with wild ideas. He jumped out of bed, flipped open his laptop, and pounded away at a fresh, new manuscript.
If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of erotic flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash, which includes two non-erotic stories too.
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