A little over a week ago, I posted the beginning to a short story that I didn’t want to finish. Well, I’ve had some AWESOME responses to it. Originally, I was supposed to announce the winner to that TODAY, but you’ll have to forgive me as I CANNOT choose my favorite! So, it’s READER’S CHOICE! You have three days to vote for your favorite ending to this short story.
To refresh your memory, here’s the beginning:
My hands were numb. In fact, my whole body was numb, but it wasn’t from the snow and cold wind that surrounded me.
I walked with no destination in mind, needing to escape. I didn’t understand what was happening. I really didn’t understand much.
I slipped my hands into the pockets of my jeans, hoping that would warm them. Snow stuck to the bottom of my slippers. I hadn’t even bothered to put on real shoes when the letter came. I had run out the door, dropping the letter in my wake.
I was at the edge of our property. An old bench sat there, waiting for someone to come along and rest their weary feet. But, it wasn’t my feet that were weary.
I collapsed on the bench, the snow melting through my jeans. My body shook with cold chills. The wind tossed around my hair, and cold tears ran down my cheeks. I welcomed the tears. They were the evidence of some emotion coursing through my mind. It was better than being numb. Numb I couldn’t handle.
He was gone. For good. There was no coming back from this. Death was permanent.
The rushing of the water down by the creek drew my attention. I stood, running towards the water. My slippers fell off, and I tripped over a log. I picked myself up and continued running.
I came to a stop on the bank of the river. I could end it. I could end everything. The pain. The tears. All it would take was a dive into the water, pulling me under the current and taking my body away.
I closed my eyes and prayed for forgiveness. Would God grant it to me if I took my own life? The life of our little one growing in my stomach? I couldn’t live without him. He was my everything. But I couldn’t kill our child. It wasn’t fair to it. No. I’d have to find a way to live with the pain.
I caressed my stomach. I’d just found out. I was three months pregnant. He’d been gone for only two months. How could his death have happened so quickly? Why would God let him die?
With one longing glance at the river, I walked back towards the house, praying for some kind of relief.
Someone called my name as I sank to my knees, looking towards the sky. Cold snow fell on my face. My body shook violently, and I knew that I had to get inside and warm up my body for the baby’s sake. But my legs wouldn’t work. I had no will to keep going.
I sank down, lowering my entire body to the ground. I covered my head and violent sobs shook my body.
I was going insane. I could hear him saying my name.
“Traci. Get up.”
I wanted to lay here, give in to my insanity if it meant hearing him speak my name one more time.
Warm hands picked me up easily and carried me inside. A blanket was placed over my body, and a blurry figure walked away from me.
The person rested a hand on my forehead. “You shouldn’t have been out there.”
I forced my eyes open and blinked away the tears.
Ending 1 is by my dear friend, Sylvia Stein:
Once I was able to completely open my eyes. I saw a white ray of light and then I saw him.
“Traci, please go back and don’t do anything foolish, a voice called out.
At first I was not sure if I was hallucinating. Then I was able to see him.
“Adam,” I cried out. “Is it really you?”
“Yes, Traci it is me!”
As he got closer, I could not help and wonder how this was even possible.
“Now Traci,” he said. “Please go back to the house before you it is too late.”
“I am sorry Adam, I just can’t!” I cried out.
“Traci, please listen to me darlin, he pleaded. “What you are planning on doing is not the way baby!” Then he paused and said, “Especially now.”
“What do you mean?” I asked nervously.
“You know what I mean, he stated. ” I am talking about our baby. “Oh, Adam you know about that? I said as tears once again rolled down my eyes.
“Yes, I know,” he said. “Please, baby, this is not the way.
“I am sorry Adam, I never meant to hurt anyone, I just miss you!”
“I know Traci,” he said. “But you must know I will love you and our baby through eternity.”
As he leaned closer to kiss me. I felt a light shine once again. Then I began to feel myself fall down. The next thing I knew, I was back in my warm bed at home.
“Thank you God for allowing me to see Adam once again, and for helping me see the light”. Then I grabbed my belly and said a prayer for my unborn child.
Ending 2 is by the wonderful G.R. Bliss:
“What are you doing here?”
“I just came by to make sure you were okay. I know things aren’t easy for you right now and I thought maybe you could use some familiar company for a bit.”
“How did you get here so fast?”
“That’s what concerns you right now? What you should be concerned about is getting that chill out of your bones. Are you feeling steady yet?”
“Well then how about I make some hot cocoa while you change into dry clothes.”
And with that, he kissed me on the forehead, turned, and walked into the kitchen. My head was swimming.
I had been alone when I was outside, and other than the sound of trickling stream water, there was nothing but dead silence. I had also been facing the long gravel driveway – the only entrance to the property – the whole time I was outside. Was I that out of it?
“Teacake? I have some of those tiny marshmallows. How many do you want in your cocoa?”
The sudden boom of his voice startled me back to reality.
“Uh… four or five I suppose”
I looked around the room and saw my favorite pj’s folded neatly on the chair in the corner. When had I put them there? Wow, I WAS out of it.
A few minutes later I was dry and heading down the hall to the kitchen… and then it hit me.
The last time I had seen these pajamas was when they were torn to bits and scattered all over the floor along with shreds of my pillows and the stuffing after my dog, Chansie, had been left alone in the house too long.
Chansie had died 3 years later… when I was 17.
“You okay Traci? Come sit down, you look like you’re about to pass out.” And then I did.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the couch with my head in Daddy’s lap.
“Welcome back.” He said with a wink.
“It’s alright, Teacake. You just took a little spill in the hallway. I half expected that to happen about now.” And he winked again.
I rolled a little and turned my head to look directly at him “You did? Why?”
“Teacake, the minute I saw you out there wandering around, upset and holding your belly like that, I knew you were still hanging on a little too much. That’s a confusing place to be.”
“Oh Daddy, I miss him so much!”
“I know you do. And he misses you too. You need to let him go and stop worrying about the baby too.”
“But what if something goes wrong Daddy! I’m all alone! How am I going to take care of this baby all by myself?”
“Oh, my little Teacake. I love you so much.”
“I love you too Daddy, but…”
“You really need to let go and start to move on. It’s time for you to start seeing things as they are. You can’t change what happened no matter how much your heart wishes for it. You’ve got me and I’ll help you get along now. Take a look at your belly”
“See? Everything’s going to be fine.”
He brushed the hair off my forehead and looked at me with all the love a father can have for their child. “He misses you as much as you miss him and, as much as it hurt, he knows how much love it took for you give up your life to save the baby.”
Ending 3 is by the wonderfully talented deshipley.
It wasn’t him. Of course it wasn’t. He was dead. I shivered with a fresh wave of cold, pain, and disappointment… but not from fear. I didn’t recognize this man moving around my kitchen, pouring hot water from my kettle into my favorite mug. But something about him was as comforting as the scent of steeping chamomile filling the room.
“Do I know you?” I asked as I watched him stir sugar into the mug. Two teaspoons, just the way I liked it. He sure seemed to know me.
He shook his head. “I’m a friend of a friend. He told me you were going through a rough time, so I came to lend a hand until things get better.”
My eyes flooded again as he placed the warm mug in my shaking hands. “I don’t see how things can get better. I don’t see how I can go on without him. I’m just not strong enough.”
“I know you’re not, Traci,” he said, gently smiling. “And you don’t have to be. Let our mutual friend be strong for you. Let him carry you with my arms, and serve you with my hands, and comfort you with my words. I will stay with you as long as you need me, and he will stay with you long after I’ve gone.”
I stared at him. “Our mutual friend…?”
“Has sent the relief you asked him for. Drink up, Traci,” he said, tapping the mug. “You’ll get through this together.”
With a watery smile, I whispered, “Thank you. You’re an angel.”
Chuckling, he knelt to slide my feet into my slippers – unexpectedly recovered and miraculously dry – while I sipped at the tea, and felt its warmth slowly draw the numbness from my hands.
I shoved his hand away. “What are you doing here? You were supposed to bring him back. You are his best friend.” I walked over to the fireplace, with my back against him.
The fire warmed me. “Tell me what happened.”
“He’s not dead.”
I turned and faced Glenn. The best man at my wedding.
“He faked his death. He did what he had to. He did it to protect you.”
“He wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t make me suffer like this.”
“I am here to take you to him. If you are willing to give up everything and never come back.”
“Where is he?”
Glenn held out an envelope. “The less you know the better.”
I took the envelope. I dropped the envelope into the fire.
“I need your answer.”
“My husband did what he did to protect me. I will do what I need to do, to protect our child. When you see him. I know that you will. You tell him, that I will be waiting for him. We took our vows, for better or worse. For richer or poorer, till death do us part. You tell him, I expect him not to forget what we said, before God.”
Glen didn’t stay long. I welcomed the warmth of the fire, as I sat in the rocking chair, knowing that one never knows what God has planned for us. Sometimes you just have to put your faith in God.