Circle of Life – Fragment

So, I decided to post this fragment of my story that I wrote for the ‘Opening Sentence’-Challenge (thanks to John Matsui for that wicked awesome piece), but couldn’t finish because RL got in the way. But I want get out of my abyssmal track record of not managing to post something once so far and satisfy certain people – they know who they are – with the knowledge that I’m still writing.

There is more to this story, and once I have two not so tired brain cells to rub together, I’m determined to revisit it, but for now it mainly stands as a writing exercise in dialogue as it turns out.

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Life’s never quiet when you’re a mortician married to a banshee.

One expects people of my profession to be drawn to solitude – or at least bear it well – given that by and large, our customers tend to be the very silent type.

I guess I’m kind of an oddball that way, since my choice of partner means that silence and death rarely cross paths in our house, even though they’re both intimately woven into our lives.

 

In fact, the folks that end up on my table sometimes develop a predilection for talking back when my husband comes around to pick me up from work. He’s always been apologetic about that, but I don’t mind so much – I do like to fill the silences with idle chatter to pass the time and it’s definitely a plus when your counterpart can add their own perspective on days that are long and slow.

 

“Oh my God, I just got these boobs fixed a couple of months ago and look at me now!”

Then again, you have to be prepared for some unusual conversation starters.

“Can you at least make sure to put me in a proper bra for the viewing? I spent five grand on those and I’d like people to notice my nice rack at least once before they put me into the ground.”

 

I can’t help, but sweep my eyes over the body of the young woman I’ve just finished cleaning. It is a nice pair, even if they’re fake, but looking at the left side of her face that’s caved in by the steering column of her car, I don’t have the heart to tell her that an open casket isn’t going to be in her future.

“Sure dear, don’t you worry about a thing.” Towards my husband, who is most likely lingering in the hallway, I call out: “Hi Honey, just a sec. I’ll be right out, just finishing up here.”

“That’s alright, Catherine, I’ll be outside.”

 

For a supernatural creature who trades in the secrets of the dead, he’s remarkably squeamish about my workplace. He says that death didn’t use to be this clean and the cold white tiles and chromed instruments creep him out. It’s somewhat of an in-joke in our family, but that’s one of the reasons I married him. It also helps that he’s incredibly good-looking in my opinion and quite possibly one of a kind – male banshees are born no more than once or twice in a couple of centuries after all. But it’s those odd little quirks that have nothing to do with his pedigree and everything with his personality that drew me to Thomas in the first place.

 

I fridge my young car crash victim and close up shop for the night, before walking out and slipping my arm into the crook of Thomas’ elbow.

“So… where are we going out tonight?”

He looks at me with a mischievous smile.

“What makes you think I’m taking you anywhere? Maybe I just came to pick up my wife for a quiet evening in front of the TV with the take out I picked up along the way.”

I slap him on the arm with the back of my hand.

“Because I know you haven’t forgotten today’s our anniversary and I have a quite fancy bit of underwear on underneath these clothes that I’ve been waiting for you take off me all day. Provided the entertainment delivers of course.”

He looks predictably intrigued at the prospect and I count myself lucky that after five years of marriage, I can still pleasantly surprise my husband with a statement like that.

 

“Good thing I did indeed have something other than couch surfing in mind then.”

“I knew it!”

“Yeah, yeah, you got me there. Come on, we still have a bit of a drive ahead of us before we get there.”

I let him tug me towards the car with a big grin on my face, but my eyebrows do shoot up when I see that he’s got camping gear packed in the back seat all the way to the top of the car roof.

“Darling, that looks like more than a romantic evening date.”

 

It’s his turn to smirk as he nudges me towards the passenger seat.

“That’s because we’re eloping to a romantic get-away, you and I.”

“But… I have work!”
“Not anymore, I’ve talked to Dave and Britt and got you the rest of the week off. We’ll spend the long weekend up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

“But… what about the kids?”

“Relax, your mother is taking the dogs, I’ve already dropped them off at her place. You know how she loves to spoil them, they’ll be fine.”

 

“And about two pounds heavier by the time we get them back,” is what I mutter under my breath, but of course my dear husband’s sharp ears pick it up anyway and he laughs while pulling out of the parking lot.

“They’ll live,” he says with the absolute conviction of a person who deals in death every day, and I realize that I’m about to pout away the beginnings of a spectacular weekend over technicalities that he obviously considered when he made plans.

“Fine, fine, you thought of everything. Can you tell me where exactly we’re going now?”

“I already told you! Our exact destination is going to be a surprise, but I’m sure you’ll be thrilled. Trust me.”

I smile at him fondly.

“You know I do. Alright, have it your way. Whisk me away, oh Prince Charming.”

 

He takes one hand away from the steering wheel to reach over and tug my fingers towards his lips, keeping one eye on the road when he softly kisses the back of my hand.

“You know I love you, right?”

An unexpected tightness seizes my throat accompanied by a pleasant tingle running up my spine.

“Yeah, I know, now quit it you big lug, or I’m going to have to start acting like a girl.”

“Can’t have that now, can we?”

“Shut up and drive.”

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