A vignette a day keeps writer’s block at bay

Along with my insights and sometimes obvious observations I’ll share vignettes on Melted Words. These could be snippets from a large work in progress, or just a situation that pops to mind that seems interesting to explore. Today’s vignette is titled, “Let it go” – the first two lines have haunted me for the last few weeks, and felt I needed to take it a bit further.

Let it Go

“Touch the table,” she said, gesturing gently towards the pock marked cherry wood surface. “You’ll see that everything I’ve told you is true.”

Deadra wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. The act seemed simple enough, yet the implications made her pause. Could this really be the final artifact? The one she had devoted the last twenty years of her life to uncovering. She turned her eyes from the table and looked at her unlikely host. Calling on the practiced intuition that years as a psychologist had honed she was almost certain Viola was telling the truth. Or had been so thoroughly convinced that her body betrayed no knowledge to the contrary.

“Be careful,” she muttered under her breath, just softly enough so the words disapated before they could be heard. Continuing now only to herself, “There is power in this belief that you barely understand.” Unconsciouly she rubbed at the still healing incision on her left thigh. It was barely an inch long, but served as a tangible reminder of how lucky she had been. And how quickly it could go wrong.

“What do you want?” Deadra said, shocking herself at the confidence that rung in her voice. “I’ve already paid your price.” Viola laughed. A horrible, tension filled sound that seemed to jab at the air around her. “Child, after all these years you still don’t know the right question to ask.” “As you say, you have paid our price. We have what we want.”

Viola paused, shaking her head. Deadra knew better, but it almost seemed for a moment that Viola was disappointed in her. Her parents had looked at ther the same way when she had turned down a scholarship to a prestigious medical school. Shaking their heads in disbelief, as if the gentle disapproval of that motion could convince Deadra to change her mind.

No, Viola wasn’t disappointed in her. She was grappling with her own loss. She’d given too much of herself to the artifact that even the thought of it’s loss seemed to age her. Deadra couldn’t be certain, perhaps it was just a trick of the light, but Viola looked visibly tired now. As if their conversation had gone on long into the night, instead of just a few minutes.

“Was it just a few minutes?” Deadra thought as she glanced up at a large plastic wall clock that hung out of place in this otherwise tastefully decorated room. The artifact had a way of changing time. She breathed a mental sigh of relief, only twelve minutes had passed. That seemed about right.

“It’s not what we want,” Viola said, rasing her head to look at Deadra, “but what you are willing to give. To the artifact.” Viola seemed to gather a thought from far away. “I wonder, ” Viola continued, “how far are you willing to take it?”

A patch of sunlight flickered through the window. Now Viola looked dinstinctly harrowed. It was as if something were feeding on her life energy. Sucking her dry like the last remnants of a big gulp on a warm Saturday afternoon. Just twelve minutes ago Viola had looked the picture of health – a strong and determined fifty something woman. Despite the circumstances that brought them together, Deadra respected her. Now she was fading quickly, she looked more like an anorexic clinging to life than the CEO of one of the country’s most powerful corporations.

“It will do this to you too,” Deadra reminded herself, “if you let it.”