Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: The Truth Hurts
Joel stepped back, admiring his carving in the bark of the old oak. Caitlin slowly traced the lopsided heart encasing their names.
“I love it,” she said. “People will see it for years to come, we can visit here all the time. Something permanent, of us,” she said wistfully.”
“Well, it’s as permanent as nature allows.” He fumbled in his jean pocket. “I thought this might be a little more lasting.” He knelt down, raising the little blue velvet box, prising open the lid. “Caitlin, will you marry me?” The sun glinted on the small diamond, shining like a star. “Say something Caitlin, please,” he said, his heart thumping inside his chest, a slither of doubt creeping in, feeding on the silence.
“Yes!” she squealed as Joel took the ring and slipped it on her finger. She flung her arms around him smothering his face in tiny kisses.
They strolled through the woodland, hand in hand, Caitlin admiring her ring. “How long have you been planning this?” she asked.
“I’ve had the ring stuffed in my pocket for a few days and that moment felt so right, I decided to just go for it. No planning,” he shrugged. “Planning’s overrated. I just said what was in my head. You should try it sometime.” Caitlin stopped and looked at him. “I see you deep in thought and I wonder what goes on in that head, the little conversations you have in there, that whisk you away from me.” He combed her dark hair though with his fingers. Goosebumps burst on her skin. “I love you.”
“I slept with Carl.” The words burst from her lips like bullets, fast and furious, hitting Joel in the chest. “It was a long time ago. I’ve wanted to tell you so many times but I could never find the words. But I can’t lie anymore. Not with this.” She fiddled nervously with the ring, waiting for him to speak. “Say something Joel.” She looked into his chocolate brown eyes, now dark, almost black as his face paled.
“You slept with Carl.” He could barely utter the words, not wanting to hear them again.
“It was just once. A silly, stupid moment of madness.” She waited for Joel to say something more but he stood in silence, his face etched in pain. “Aren’t you going to say something? Tell me we’re going to be okay, please?”
“I don’t think we will be.” Tears sprang from Caitlin’s eyes, running freely down her cheeks as Joel slumped down, leaning against a fence post.
“I need to be alone,” he said, his voice calm but cold.
Caitlin ran over the little wooden bridge, across the stream as a thick mist swirled it’s tendrils of vapour, snaring anything and everything in its path, leaving a coat of tiny water droplets on everything it touched as it suffocated and devoured in silence.
Joel stared at the mist. He saw Caitlin run into it. She didn’t know it was there or what it was. It was a good job the mist muffled sound. He didn’t fancy listening to shrieking panic and screaming. But then Caitlin had already said too much, her words piercing his soul. What else could he do?
He pulled himself up and walked over the bridge as the mist dissipated. The clear blue, cloudless afternoon continued. Something glinted in the sun, shining like a star. Joel stooped to pick it up, extinguishing the light as he shoved it back in the box and into his pocket.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x