Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*
by Marjorie Doering
As lovely as her name, Joanna became my life
… my universe. She entered my world on a wintry London morning. Only an arm’s length away, I resisted the impulse to simply
brush my hand against her cloak.
For months, I studied her from the shadows, watching
in chaste adoration, calculating ways to forge my lowly reality into a more acceptable fašade.
With patience and determination, my new attire
gradually reflected refinement. My grooming became fastidious, my speech more cultured.
A dropped package signaled the end of my self-imposed
separation. Her demure smile caused my heart to soar as I returned the fallen item and introduced myself.
Following several planned accidental meetings,
I won her trust.
I likened our relationship to an elegant waltz--two
people moving in graceful unison, feeling the magic of the music surrounding them. I led; she followed.
Her laughter became my favorite melody. It came
easily and often, as ladylike as everything else about her. Wherever we went, men turned their heads in her direction.
Young men and old, cultured and common coveted her. Even with her gathered close to my side, I sensed them staring.
The fault, I realized, lay at her feet, not theirs.
Her fashionable clothing was too alluring. The rouged apples of her cheeks were meant to attract. At my reprimand, tears
spilled down her face, yet she refused to change.
The truth became clear. Take away all the rest,
it would make no difference. Her eyes gleamed with life and laughter. Her smile was too readily offered, too warm, too inviting.
That which I found so enticing attracted others as well. I had been a fool to think I could keep her to myself.
I tried nonetheless. She resisted.
Jealous? No, merely cautious. Possessive? Why
not? Didn’t she wish to be mine? Still, tears accompanied her claims of feeling smothered. Excuses!
Clearly, she desired other suitors. Time and again, she assured me of her love, but her words rang falsely in my ears.
Our dance lost its grace. The music wasn’t
She pulled back. Doubtless, someone new had caught
her eye. What else could it be? Still, she denied every accusation. If only I could have believed her. After all, what physical
attribute, spiritual quality, or worldly wealth did I possess that could not be outshone by another?
As my hands closed around her throat, a profound
sadness overshadowed her terror.
Even now, as the noose is being slipped around
my neck, I take comfort. Prepared to perform a last dance at the end of this rope, I know Joanna will never waltz with another.
Marjorie Doering is a wife, mother, grandmother,
and animal lover. Her two children are grown; her husband is a retired data processing manager. She has completed three novels.
She is currently working on the next which is the third story in a series of mystery/crime novels. To her delight and
amazement, in 2005, her first attempt at one-act playwriting was produced in Chicago, Illinois. More recently, short
stories and flash fiction have become additional interests. Currently, she’s won twenty-six contests on the FanStory
site. PitWit has awarded honorable mention to three of her short stories. “Winging It” - a short story -
was published in The Secret Attic. She has quite an imagination, but can't imagine not writing.
*Send Flash Fiction submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.
Flashers page is edited by Les Stephenson.