Saturday, April 14, 2012


This is the conclusion to my short story for the AtoZ challenge.  I'd recommend reading the first five parts before this last one, if you want the full effect.  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.


They spent the last two days hiking the trails in the park as a family. Now, at dusk on the Seventh Day, a community of five families gathered at the base of the Spire, talking quietly among themselves. No one said it, but they all knew it was very near. The moon was a blood orange, wicked and sinister, poking through the metallic colors in the sky. Jodie held her kids near her, relishing every second, knowing each one could be their last. Ronnie looked up at her, a smile on his face.

"I love you, momma," Ronnie said, hugging her belly. 

"I love you too, Ronnie." Jodie wanted to cry, to tell him what was going on. It felt like a betrayal to keep it from him. It would be to tell him. "Did you have fun today?"

He nodded eagerly. "A lot. Can we come back here next year?"

Jodie's heart broke. "I hope so," she said. "I really do." President Hombs' speech once again flashed through her mind. Relinquish any hope that you may be clutching. This is an irrefutable and inescapable event... She wanted to be mad at somebody, something, but all of her anger burned out with two blasts from a shotgun. A strange peace filled in its place, coated heavily with a dose of catastrophe. 

The sky began to flicker, like a loose fitting lightbulb. Stars began disappearing. Kyler wrapped his arms around her other leg, squeezing tight. "I love you, Mom. I love you, Ronnie," he said.

Ronnie laughed. "I love you, too, bubby." Wind howled, buffeting the Spire with a furious assault. "Is it always this pretty out here in the country?"

Tears were flowing unashamedly. "Yeah, always. The city lights drown out a lot." She didn't know if Kyler could hear her over the wind.

The moon vanished. A second later the Spire followed. Jodie's breath caught in her lungs. I love you boys.

Time failed. The planet ceased rotating, ceased orbiting. Atomic reactions turned inert. All matter dissolved away, leaving nothing behind.


That's it.  My personal challenge was to make a story focusing on the letters H-M.  Most obviously it had to do with the title, but the title also reflected a thematic element, too, I think.  Does it wrap up neat enough, or does it leave you aggravated that I didn't say what happened between Jodie and Darrel?  Are the discrepancies between the world of this story and our world too subtle (i.e., former President Austen, the St. Louis Nationals, etc.)?  Do they even matter?

Whatever.  I hope you enjoyed.  Thanks for reading!


Jordan Baize said...

I loved it, buddy. I'm not critic, but it was an enjoyable story.

Jordan Baize said...

*** I'm not *a* critic.

I hate typos.

Damyanti said...

Look forward to the rest of your challenge run…can’t believe we’ve had 15 days already!
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

leslie said...

I can guess a few scenarios that would cause a woman to know she could get a way ending a life instead of allowing it to end.

the violence and grief involved in relinquishing hope, and the grasp for control.

as always, I enjoy your way with dialog. I really liked the boys. wouldn't have minded a moment in Ronnie's thoughts.

Man, but this made me sad. I like the quiet though, over the choice, like many to make the ending riotous and set in an urban landscape, instead of communal and in nature.

thanks for sharing this, Logan!

L (omphaloskepsis).

logankstewart said...

@Jorge: I hate typos, too. Insidious they are. Thanks for reading, and glad you liked it.

@Damyanti: Thanks! It's been a fun challenge so far.

@L: Thanks for the compliment on dialogue. That's something I am particular about, and I feel that it goes a great way in conveying a certain tone. So I very much appreciate it. Glad you read.