Too Late

He spied a blonde wearing too much lipstick and anger.  Hates men.  Yeah, she’s certainly my type, he mused as he clinked the ice in his glass.  It had been… eons, it seemed, since he’d had a drink, and even longer since he’d practiced his craft.  He supposed the digging gold with his sweet lies and tender kisses had been added to the lengthy list of sins to atone.

She looked right at him.

He smiled, lifting his glass of ice water.  Fate.

She turned away.  “Tell the creepster in the corner to quit staring at me!”  Her voice carried through the bar.

The bartender shook his head.  “Sweetie, no one’s there.  You’ve had enough.”

She pierced the man in the corner with her seething glare.

He raised an eyebrow.

She stood and swerved her way toward him.  “What’s your problem?”

He leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest.  “Got none.”

The bartender approached and put his hands on her shoulders.  “Sylvia, honey, you need to sleep it off.  I’ll call a cab.”

She slapped his hands.  “I’m talking to…. to… what’s your name?”

“He thinks you’re talking to yourself. ”

“N-Nick, you can’t see him?” Her voice wavered.

The bartender shook his head.

“I’m outta here.”  She fished her keys from her purse and staggered out the door.

The man followed.

“Get the hell away from me!”

He wrestled the keys from her and shoved her into the backseat.  He didn’t need her address; he already knew where she lived.

The woman safely at home, the man sat on the curb and looked up.  “Well?”

The misty apparitions of the children pinned under his wagon’s wheel two hundred years ago gave him his answer.  He could still smell the moonshine on his breath.

He buried his face in his hands and cried.  His Hell was an eternity of trying to right his wrongs; saving others to save his own soul.

Always grasping for hope just out of reach.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to Trifecta’s writing prompt:  write a piece between 33 and 333 (mine is 331 words using the following word/definition:

CRAFT (noun):  3 :  skill in deceiving to gain an end <used craft and guile to close the deal>

Click the tricycle image to view Trifecta’s site, to read other responses, or submit your own.  Everyone is invited to play along!

Once again, this is a community-voted challenge, which means that readers have the opportunity to vote on their three favorites by visiting Trifecta’s site after the challenge closes on Thursday, at 7PM Eastern time.

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90 thoughts on “Too Late

  1. Catherine Johnson November 4, 2013 / 9:15 AM

    Awesome!

  2. Debbie November 4, 2013 / 11:42 AM

    This is powerful writing, Janna — well done!!

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:00 PM

      I appreciate you reading and sharing your comment, Debbie 🙂

  3. pratibha November 4, 2013 / 12:43 PM

    This is just awesome.

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:03 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Pratibha

  4. anmol(alias HA) November 4, 2013 / 12:58 PM

    Oh! That is such a tender write. Repenting for what was done in the past, by not letting others’ commit the same mistake. Well-written. 🙂
    -HA

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:04 PM

      That was what I was going for, Anmol. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  5. Lance November 4, 2013 / 3:38 PM

    The dialogue is so crisp this felt like half the amount of words. I had to go back and find “craft”. This was very well…ummm, crafted. seewhatididthere

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:06 PM

      Haha, I saw what you did- nice 🙂 I’m glad it flowed well when you read it…and I’m glad the prompt word blended in. Thanks, Lance!

  6. nrhatch November 4, 2013 / 4:56 PM

    Unique twist, Janna.

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:07 PM

      Thought I’d try something different. Thanks for reading, Nancy!

  7. J. Milburn November 4, 2013 / 6:22 PM

    Another great story, Janna! Powerful and inspired. Great story!

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:08 PM

      Thanks, J. I’m glad you liked the story!

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 2:29 PM

      Thanks, Kathy – I appreciate you taking time to read it 🙂

  8. Eleni November 4, 2013 / 7:16 PM

    You really had me hooked Jana, I honestly didn’t know what to expect.

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:09 PM

      Thanks, Eleni! I appreciate you reading it 🙂

  9. Eric Alagan November 4, 2013 / 7:31 PM

    He’s living in his hell of his own doing.

    Very well written Janna.

    • jannatwrites November 4, 2013 / 10:09 PM

      Thanks Eric, I’m glad you stopped by to read it!

  10. Widdershins November 4, 2013 / 10:56 PM

    Very good. I reckon you should submit this to DSF (Daily Science Fiction)

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:12 PM

      Wow…really? I didn’t realize this would qualify as science fiction. Thanks for reading, Widdershins!

      • Widdershins November 6, 2013 / 9:46 PM

        Have a read of some of their stories. They have a very broad interpretation of what Science Fiction means. More like the umbrella term, Speculative Fiction.

        Anyway, the worst that can happen is they’ll turn you down … give it a go. What can you lose?

        P.S. They actually pay as well!

        http://dailysciencefiction.com/submit

  11. joetwo November 5, 2013 / 7:50 AM

    What a horrible existence but dare I say well deserved.

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:13 PM

      He was a bit of a wretched man, Joe 🙂

  12. ym1611 November 5, 2013 / 9:34 AM

    Oh, this was a great read 😀
    Nice one, Janna

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:14 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, YM. I’m glad you enjoyed the story!

  13. Draug419 November 5, 2013 / 10:19 AM

    Oooh this one’s really good! Awesome work.

  14. Jennifer Dillon November 5, 2013 / 2:27 PM

    Loved, loved that first line and his own circle of hell.

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:16 PM

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m glad you stopped by to read the story.

  15. Tara R. November 5, 2013 / 3:17 PM

    This was a great take on the prompt. Very creative.

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:17 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read it, Tara!

  16. Leah Sakacs November 5, 2013 / 3:55 PM

    Didn’t expect that ending. But a unique twist to the tale; i loved it.

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:17 PM

      Thanks so much, Leah! I’m glad you liked the ending 🙂

  17. Imelda November 5, 2013 / 7:45 PM

    The ending was unexpected but it was terrific. I feel for this man. Maybe, he’ll find rest soon. Well done, as always, Janna. 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:20 PM

      I hope his soul can find peace as well, Imelda. Thanks for reading, and for your kind words 🙂

  18. Valerie November 5, 2013 / 7:50 PM

    Amazing work, Janna! I had to force myself to slow down as I was reading this story, because I wanted so badly to see where it was heading-and then when I knew, my heart was aching for him. Well done-again!

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:21 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Valerie! Your comment made smile 😛

  19. atrm61 November 5, 2013 / 10:04 PM

    What a unique take Janna!Girl,your writing never ceases to amaze me!Hats off!(Btw,can I borrow your “mojo” for a few days? ;-)) ❤

    • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:23 PM

      I was hoping the lost soul trying to make up for sins committed in his lifetime wouldn’t be a common theme this week 🙂 I really appreciate you taking time to read my stories and share your comments. (And I’m flattered by your nice words…mojo? I didn’t know I had any of that!)

      • atrm61 November 5, 2013 / 10:25 PM

        Yes it is totally new -at least for me-never thought of this angle-a great idea and of course executed impeccably 🙂
        Ah,you do,my dear-whatever words you write,they spell magic!

        • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 10:30 PM

          Magic? I wish! You are too kind, Atreyee…you’re making me blush 😳

        • atrm61 November 5, 2013 / 10:32 PM

          I meant it Janna 🙂 ((hugs))

        • atrm61 November 5, 2013 / 11:20 PM

          :-)And you know who will get one of my votes “:D

        • jannatwrites November 5, 2013 / 11:23 PM

          I’m honored, Atreyee!

        • atrm61 November 5, 2013 / 11:27 PM

          You deserve it-so there!

  20. KymmInBarcelona November 6, 2013 / 3:56 AM

    Love the blond wearing anger, and the smooth operator moving smoothly through pergatory.
    Unexpected, very cool story. Now I know how certain people get home safely…

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2013 / 9:20 PM

      Maybe there is something to that, Kymm 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

  21. CherryPickens November 6, 2013 / 6:26 AM

    A lovely tale of karma and hell, and I thoroughly enjoyed the blonde’s hatred of men as a red herring; it threw me of the scent, and I followed the story throughout, surprised at each turn of phrase.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2013 / 9:22 PM

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the story, CP! It’s nice to know there were unexpected turns in the story as you read it 🙂

  22. Linda Vernon November 6, 2013 / 11:41 AM

    Saving others to save his own soul. An original premise that you carry out so well, Janna. Really good read!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      Thanks so much, Linda! I appreciate you stopping by to read the story 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      Thanks, Susan! I’m glad you liked it that much 🙂

  23. Bastet November 6, 2013 / 11:36 PM

    Really great job here…loved that ending!

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:08 PM

      Thanks so much, Bastet – I’m glad you liked how it ended!

  24. lexy3587 November 7, 2013 / 8:52 AM

    Great piece – I love how ambiguous he seems almost right until the end. When he pushed her into the back of her car, I figured she’d be meeting a bad end, not getting a ghostly DD!

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:09 PM

      A ghostly DD – love how you put that, Lexy 🙂 I had hoped that it would appear he meant to do her harm, so I’m glad that came across.Thanks for stopping by… haven’t seen you around for quite a while, so I’m happy to see you posted a response this week, too!

      • lexy3587 November 11, 2013 / 7:09 AM

        Yeah, I kind of fell into the habit of not-writing, and it is HARD to get back out of it . it definitely came across the way you intended

        • jannatwrites November 11, 2013 / 8:25 PM

          Hope to see more from you soon,Lexy!

  25. momtheobscure November 7, 2013 / 1:01 PM

    Haunting! I love how it slowly peels away the layers to reveal the true story.

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:10 PM

      I appreciate you reading and sharing your reaction to it. (I’m also glad you enjoyed the story, Momtheobscure :))

  26. TNT November 7, 2013 / 5:46 PM

    A really great piece. Like others are saying, haunting! Nice story.

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:11 PM

      Thanks, TNT! Thanks for reading and sharing your comment.

  27. Ivy (Mommy Dourest) November 7, 2013 / 8:25 PM

    “wearing too much lipstick and anger” <— Love this!

    Wasn't expecting the story to go where it did. It kept me intrigued throughout. Nicely done!

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:12 PM

      Thanks, Ivy…I had hoped that line would capture interest enough to keep reading 🙂

  28. Ashley K. November 7, 2013 / 9:55 PM

    This did feel very tender and sentimental. It was sad but endearing. Well done.

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:12 PM

      Thanks, Ashley! I’m glad you stopped by to read the story.

  29. trifectawriting November 7, 2013 / 10:38 PM

    Wow! Great job, Janna. I loved the anger and darkness and then sadness. Thanks for linking up. Don’t forget to vote!

    • jannatwrites November 7, 2013 / 11:13 PM

      Thanks! This was a different sort of story for me and it’s been encouraging that many seemed to like reading it. Probably due to the great prompt, right? 🙂

  30. Joanne November 8, 2013 / 5:18 AM

    I like this. Though headed toward darkness, the light of redemption ( if not salvation) shining through. Nicely done.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2013 / 8:57 AM

      Thanks, Joanne! Even though, right now, it seems like he’ll be stuck in that place forever, one day it could change for him.

  31. Michael November 8, 2013 / 6:25 AM

    This was awesome. I wonder if he’ll ever be able to find redemption at last and be free? Hm.

    • jannatwrites November 8, 2013 / 8:58 AM

      It’s possible, Michael. Maybe two hundred more years of saving souls will redeem his former self 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to read it!

  32. tedstrutz November 9, 2013 / 4:28 PM

    You have taken my breath away with this piece, J.

    • jannatwrites November 10, 2013 / 11:08 PM

      Thanks so much, Ted. I really appreciate you taking time to read it!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2013 / 8:26 PM

      Thanks so much, Susan. I was thrilled with the unexpected win!

  33. pattyabr November 11, 2013 / 8:12 PM

    as always powerful writing Janna!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2013 / 8:26 PM

      I’m glad you stopped by to read it, Patty!

  34. pattisj November 14, 2013 / 11:36 PM

    Great story, but so sad for him.

    • jannatwrites November 18, 2013 / 12:50 AM

      Thanks, Patti. I like to think that he is eventually released from his misery.

  35. seablackwithink November 15, 2013 / 6:20 AM

    Amazing.
    My heart broke for him.
    Years of my life were spent in shoes similar to his.
    Your words felt so familiar….you are a very deserved first place!

    • jannatwrites November 18, 2013 / 12:58 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind comment, SBWI. I’m sorry that you could relate to his search for freedom from his mistakes, though 😦

      • seablackwithink November 21, 2013 / 10:59 AM

        Janna, thank you for the kind words…I am profoundly lucky in that I have found freedom and made peace with past mistakes…this was truly a wonderful insightful piece…I always look forward to your words:)

        • jannatwrites November 21, 2013 / 8:57 PM

          I always appreciate you reading and sharing your perspective, SBWI. Forgiveness is hard, but it’s easier to grant to others than ourselves…I’m glad you found peace!

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