Category Archives: The Stories I’ve Written:

Just a Quickie Today

Just want to take a moment to share with you, one of my stories titled, The Depression found here: https://flashmobwrites.wordpress.com/ under week 1X26 won an HONORABLE MENTION today! So very happy about this, and ever grateful to Ruth and Cara who run this fantastic site!

If you’re up to the challenge, come #write and #play with us! It’s great fun and #FlashFiction is a great way to hone your #writing for longer stories and novels! Come and check us out!!

The Judge’s comments for this story:

SOLDIER | HONORABLE MENTION | – Pattyann McCarthy | @PattyannMc 

Cara Says: 500 words to capture the love of a lifetime… the result is sweet and sad, and my heart ached for the MC who longs to reunite with his love.

Ruth Says: The payoff on those first ten words (‘Love winds up ripping your heart out if you’re lucky …’) is sweetly wrenching!

Here’s my badge for this newest placement, though the title is incorrect on it, the Judges comments refer to it succinctly: 😀

https://flashmobwrites.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/soldier26.jpg

 

Death Comes Unnaturally

I am a stonehearted, cold-blooded murderer. At least, that’s what others say of me. I prefer the term killer. It just seems, more colloquial, less intended. In addition, I like the play on words, and since I only kill women, my choice of ‘killer’ becomes ‘kill her!’ An inside joke that I find funny, but one you might not get.

Some have also labelled me a ‘psychopath,’ and I enjoy that label because I agree with it! No one would ever guess I run a multimillion-dollar company creating video games, but I do. By day, I’m a jeans-clad, T-shirt wearing businessman creating violent games for the masses who feed on killing gravatars without consequences. By night, I roam Central Park cloaked in my dark blue garb and polished black oxfords looking for stupid women who should’ve listened to their parents and not go out alone in the dark, especially in Central Park. It never ceases to amaze me how many women ignore that piece of good advice. I think perhaps they have an unsoiled notion that death comes unnaturally to other people, not themselves. That’s too bad – for them, but great for me and my hobby! Those creatures that think they’re invincible feed my insatiable hunger for murder and mayhem! I crave the sight and taste of blood, and if I could experience emotion, it’s probably the closest I can get to happy.

I’m a celebrity these days. I see the news; I hear them calling me a Serial Killer, and I smile at that title. I’ve definitely earned it. Seventeen women so far, since I began feeding my desires, and since no one knows who I am, I’m planning to continue my hobby. I’m hoping I can beat Theodore Robert Cowell, aka Ted Bundy’s record! As far as I know, reports state he admitted to killing over 100 people, though not all were women. My plan is to kill far more than that, only I want all my victims to be women! I feel darned accomplished, and I know the system backwards and forwards, so I think I can beat my idols record and not break a sweat.

I have quite the year ahead of me and I’m excited to ratchet up the stakes, and I believe I can do that since its early spring and the girls are crawling out of the woodwork! All these babes running through the park trying to get their bloated winter bodies in shape for summer fun; it’s almost too easy. Too bad some of them won’t get to enjoy their summers, slipping into skimpy bikinis, hanging onto their boyfriends arms as they strut their stuff at the beach. They’ll wish they went to the gym instead.

~~~~

Last evening was quite the thrill for me as the sun slowly waned. I went walking in the park, looking for my next victim, and I found her. She was stunning too, even if she was flushed and sweaty from her run. She had the most gorgeous head of jet hair, long and pulled into a ponytail. Her turquoise eyes were the truest turquoise I’ve ever seen; it was almost a shame I choose her, but she was so satisfying. I couldn’t help myself. I really enjoyed Jess, and she never for a second saw it coming! Oh sure, she was apprehensive at first, just like the others, but after I introduced myself, showing her my credentials, she relaxed; just like the others. Works every time!

We sat on a park bench for a long while, talking. I shared my adventures as a video game developer and she shared that she specifically loved my, ‘Murder in the Dark’ game. Said she played it every chance she got when she wasn’t on a modeling gig. That made me happy, or as happy as I can get, and it made me feel more connected to her; we had something in common. I’d decided right then, I’d make it a point of asking future selections if they liked playing video games, because the feeling of being that connected amped up the excitement even more!

I not going to bore you with the conversations we had. It was ‘getting to know you’ stuff and not stimulating at all, but I think she really liked me and thought maybe she had a shot at dating me, which made me giddy, since I already knew where this chance meeting was heading. I will confess, I did give pause to my plans for a hot second, but quickly dismissed it when my hunger overpowered my need for a date.

That hunger always begins the same way with a juicy, hot metallic taste in my mouth. I guess I’m like a German shepherd; once I get a taste of blood, I want more. I feel charged up, like I’ve been sucking on an electrical cable full of juice, and my loins get tingly. My hands and legs grow numb and my vision narrows to a pinprick as I focus on one aspect on my woman’s face. This time, it was Jess’s turquoise eyes. They were simply stunning. Her smile was beautiful too, all those glistening, perfect teeth, but they scared me at the same time! All I could think of was how easily they could bite through my flesh.

When I’m in the zone, I can actually feel my mind disconnecting from reality, the longer I focus on a part of my woman’s face, and then anger rushes over me, consuming me. Not sure why that happens. I don’t really understand it, but a while ago, a therapist said it had something to do with being angry with my mom. I disagreed. My mom died when I was five, so I don’t think I have any reason to be upset with her, other than she died when I was five, but that wasn’t her fault. So no, I don’t think it has anything to do with my mom. And, just in case you’re wondering, I don’t have a specific type. I choose any hair color, eye color and body type, so none of my victims reminds me of mom either. So long as they’re female, they’re fair game for me.

I acted as if I was smitten with her; she played coy with me, trying to entice me to ask her out on a date. Though, when I leaned in to kiss her, she backed away, and I could feel a little fear take hold of her. She stood to leave. I know I moved too fast for her, but I already knew what was going to happen. I actually did ask her out on a date, just to put her at ease once again, and it worked. She sat back down beside me and we resumed our flirting. I asked myself if I would’ve pursued her had she actually walked away, but that didn’t happen, so it’s moot. I leaned in again to kiss her, and this time, she responded. She had the nicest lips, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it!

We held hands as we went for a stroll further into the park; she was relaxed. We were somewhere close to the center, the day turned into dusk and I saw my chance, the park mostly empty. I pulled her behind a boulder, and as she was about to protest, I placed my lips against hers and gave her the smokiest kiss I could. She seemed to like it, so I ran my hand over her body and I felt her nipples responding. She confessed she’d never done anything like this in public before and she groaned loudly when I placed my hand between her legs, fondling her. Things got rough for her after that, and I can’t give you any details, because I don’t recall all of them, other than, I slipped a garrote from my pocket; I seemed to disappear completely into another place.

For the record, a garrote is not my weapon of choice. That would be my hunting knife! The serrated edge does a nice job of mangling their beautiful faces and sexual organs, and I almost feel like Jack the Ripper! I keep that stowed in its sheath down the back of my pants, uncomfortable, yes, but necessary to get the job done.

After I had my morning coffee, I had an incredible experience as I stood with a group of spectators near the crime scene. An inspector was there, dressed in a makeshift hazmat suit so he didn’t sully the area, examining the body of poor Jess who was already in a body bag, her blood seeping through the cheap canvas, and I was hoping they’d put me to work since I was wearing my Police uniform. Did I tell you, I used to be a N.Y.C. cop? I still have my old badge too. Is it any wonder those women trusted me? However, I’d like to believe it’s my charm.

A Real Quickie for You!

Just a quickie today, as I’ve soooo much to write over the next few days, and the NYCMidnight Flash Competition begins this Friday, which I’m VERY excited about!  I’m honored and excited to share with you that yesterday, my story ‘Tripping with Jack’ snagged 1st Place yesterday, here:  www.thetsuruokafiles.wordpress.com

Check out my winning story under the Mid-week Blues Buster week 3.08 and four others written by amazingly talented peeps! Running off to create some more magic! And I leave you with the Judge’s comments, which nearly blew me off my chair, and here they are with my newest badge of honor. . .

Judges Jeff Tsuruoka’s Comments:

We had another low-turnout week here at the MWBB.

I had five great entries to read, and read I did. So… without further ado, here are the Winners.

This week’s Runner-Up is… Ruth Long.
Ruth’s story featured fantastic banter. I’m a total sucker for fantastic banter.

And this week’s Winner is… Pattyann McCarthy!

Pattyann crafted a tale with vivid sensory imagery and an understated, highly effective emotional punch.

Mazel tov to both of you!

Pattyann – here’s a Winner’s Badge for you;

bbster

Wow! Blown away!

One of my recent submissions this past weekend received a Special Mention! I’m absolutely blown away because it’s just a fun little story that sang to me to write, and so I did.  This happens most often at night, just before bedtime where I’m compelled to stay up late and get the story committed to my laptop and more often than not, submitted before bedtime too. The website is here: www.flashfriday.wordpress.com and it’s a tough nut to crack for a Writer! There are many, many talented Writer’s on there with brilliant stories and run by a fantastic Admin team and my hat’s off to them for keeping it all running perfectly.

Each week the Judge’s rotate, and do they ever have their work cut-out for them. Last weekend, over 70 stories posted to the sight, all incredible by incredibly talented Writers!

I hope you’ll bounce over there and have a read for yourselves. They’re all Flash Fiction pieces based on book prompts; this past weekend’s was George Orwell’s “1984′, where we choose two of the 5 prompts listed, such as totalitarianism or dystopia, or theme, or character and so on . . .

They’re all quick reads and I hope you’ll grace them with a visit!

Without further ado, here is my story that received a Special Mention with the Judge’s comments after! Have fun!

Conflict (Man? Vs Society)
Theme: Totalitarianism
@PattyannMc
WC: 224

One Down, One to Go

Wee red Smud and black Hairy Harry precariously walked across a glass table.

“This is kinda scary, Harry. What if we fall through?” His eyes shifted everywhere.

“Don’t be scared, kiddo, we ain’t gonna fall through.”

“It’s slippery too!”

“Well, put yer glue on yer feet. We’re almost to the edge.”

Voice trembling, “I don’t know bout this, its awful high!”

“Yer okay, foller me!”

They glided down a gossamer thread, reaching the ground. Wee Smud cried as he fell, petrified. A world of weird fibers, thick and twisted, was a forest of obstacles, as they struggled to go round, over, and under. Flecks of debris and strange-looking dusty tumbleweeds stood in their paths, barring progress. Insects as big as boulders attacked them, one in particular was after Smud.

“Harry, whatda I do? Help!” Smud cried.

“Keep yer wits about ya and run! Put yer legs into it.”

A wall of rubber blocked their way, and then it raised. All sixteen eyes reflected the tread as it came towards them. Harry split, all eight legs making a run for it, while wee red Smud became a red smudge, eight legs splayed around him, a goner!

“Janice turned to her husband, what can I say? It’s a totalitarian society in this household, and we don’t abide spiders. One down, one to go. I’ll get it!

Most Terrifying Dystopia, Arachnid Edition: Pattyann McCarthy, “One Down, One to Go.” Rollicking fun, though not for the hilariously-clepped characters!

THAT makes me happy! 😀

Incredible!

Rolling right along, baby-stepping in the right direction . . .

One of my recent flash fiction pieces titled ‘Indigo Mourning’ won 2nd place on www.microbookends.com So incredible and so incredibly honored. The prompt was a picture of kids playing stick ball in the street, and the bookend prompts were: child and star. It was a brilliant challenge to make something of all that, but we writers, well, we’re creative like that, and it’s fun! Here’s what this weeks Judge Foy S Ivers had to say about my story, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart:

2nd Place

Indigo Mourning by Pattyann McCarthy

This piece took the idea of a lost childhood and peered at it from a fresh angle. That of a mother, her “dreams disappearing into vapor,” dealing with a childless reality as it forms. That originality alone clinched a spot on the winner’s podium. Through stunning imagery, the author captures the soul-shredding pain of a miscarriage (“I’m learning how to breathe, how to exist”), and the irrational guilt that often follows (“my uterus couldn’t sustain him, killing my son”). Life begins as a blinding joy, friends and family singing with you, only to dim, singing silenced, as the heavens appear indigo “through mourning eyes.” Personally it was difficult to read and I was grateful that the final line held so much truth: “In the midnight beyond, my baby’s the brightest star.”

Her words made me cry and I couldn’t be happier! The winner of Micro Bookends round 1.38, Iskandar Haggerty with his story, ‘Dull Silver’ is well deserved!

Pop over to http://www.microbookends.com and have a read of my story, and the winner’s, along with many, many talented and oh so creative Writers! Have a look around, and if you’re a flash junkie like me, jump on in and give the competition a go for yourself!

The point is, it sharpens and hones your skills, you get kudos out the wazoo, you get the voices of other talented writers’ in your ear, pick up a word here and there you might not have thought to use, and it’s so much FUN being a part of a community! Writing can be a lonely business, but it’s not so lonely when you’re amongst your peers dealing with the same struggles as yourself, so swallow your fears and just do it, like I did, and you know why I did it? Because,  I love setting up challenges for myself and because,  I’m Just Me . . . 😀

I'm Just Me . . .

My Flash Story ‘Intervention’ took 3rd place!

#microbookends

http://www.microbookends.com/

I am so incredibly honored and jazzed that my flash fiction piece took 3rd place in Micro Bookends flash fiction competition! It’s my first competition win – ever! Not a 1st place win, but I placed, and that’s okay. Baby steps, and I’m stepping in the right direction and so, this is monumental! Here’s what Judge, Geoff Le Pard had to say about my story . . . MY story!

3rd Place
Intervention by Pattyann McCarthy
Here is a live story told in 100 words. Elsie is a relic of the past, fighting her corner and for others amongst newly infiltrating gangs. She assumes she’s left alone because she is an anomaly but in fact it’s because she is the legend of the streets. Of all the stories this contained so much, allowing me to imagine a whole life spent and imagine the future too. Excellent.

This story was based on word and picture prompts given at the start of each competition. The word prompts were ‘Urban Legend,’ which must ‘bookend’ the beginning and end of the story, and the photo prompt was a picture of a photographer in a room lined with mirrors.

And now, here’s my story that snagged 3rd place!

Intervention

Urban sprawl is just another day for Elsie, one of a handful of ancient Caucasians living in the area. There for decades, she refuses to move. She’s home in the backstreets of Chinatown, actually enjoying the suffocating stench of fish markets, and nearly everyone knows her.

She’s taken on the street gangs plenty, her bravado saving herself and others in need; standing against a knife, or talking down a shooter, interrupting fights amongst feuding, roaming crews. She’s saved lives, snapping their photos for posterity.

She figures the hoods view her as a relic, leaving her alone, but the hoods see her differently. To them, she’s an ancient legend.

Off to writing some more and see what kind of trouble I can get into next, because, well, you know, I’m Just Me . . . 😀

The Dead in the Night

Her bow rends the black swells one thrust at a time. The ship appears serene in silhouette against the bold moon glancing the horizon. Fog crawls across the deep, blocking the moonlight, surrounding her on all sides almost touching the escutcheon that reads, ‘Maiden of Death’. No eye that falls upon her could know the horrors in the bowels of the ship, and no eye ever fell upon her in the light of day, for she is a ghost ship of truest measure and when the light of dawn falls upon her weatherGhost Ship Wallpapers 2worn figurehead, she vanishes from the day. She sails still, though unseen.

Walking the deck of the haunting beauty is her Captain, Santos. Surly, mean, diabolical. His ghost ships’ only purpose is to roam the waters of the night, capturing the crews of stranded vessels and plundering their treasures to stow in her lastage and then she’s back to grinding through dark waters looking for Santos’ next prize. Some captives come aboard easily; cowards they are and not worthy to set foot on her, but Santos prepares those men for service to his beloved ghost lady. He takes them to the quarterdeck where he performs secret rituals. His crew lashes the recreants to a special chair with wrist cuffs spiked with nails, a gleaming copper bowl underneath catches their drippings. After, some serve in the galley, others to the cannons, and others serve on dogwatch, and fear of the Captains’ devious intentions keeps those cowards from rebellion.

Those who were courageous enough, who fought to resist capture come to incomprehensible ends. Each locked away in the lady’s brig awaiting their punishment for bravery. One by one, just before the lady vanishes in the early dawn, the courageous are forced to walk the plank. Heavy chains bind their arms and legs and the heaviest hangs round their necks. Pushed from the gangplank, there is no escaping the weight of their anchors.
They don’t sink to the ocean floor just to lie there, no. Instead, keelhaul is their punishment. Dragged along the bottom of the sea until their flesh scuffs away by the sea coral and debris that lie aground. The creatures in the depths of the ocean nibble greedily until the bones are bare and held together only by unappetizing ligaments. On the next eve when the lady comes to life, the poltroons hoist racks of bones from the saline.

In the quarterdeck, Santos performs his diabolical rituals on the bones, sprinkling the blood bled from the cowards, speaking his dark magic upon them and the bones walk and obey, forever under the control of the dark one called, ‘Captain’. Once courageous men follow blindly to the bowels of the ‘Maiden of Death’, and seated by a scuttle. There are no chains to ground them as they cannot disobey their master. An oar is placed into their bony palms and they begin the dance of rowing; forever rowing with their deafening clickity-clacking noise into the night.

Written by: Pattyann McCarthy 1/21/15 for competition.

Photo courtesy of: Ghost-Ship-Wallpapers-2.jpg February 27, 2015

 

Perfect Zen

An internal shift from anger and chaos to calm and peace,

Like fog that lays upon the landscape of emotions,

Covers all that lies beneath it in stillness.

Serenity and tranquility,

Lay softly upon the grasses of my heart,

Hard-scrabble emotions are softened,

By the cottony edges of clouds,

Touching me, touching my soul . . .

Perfect Zen.

In The Field

(This story was written based on a picture prompt of a field of sunny safflowers, and the written prompt was of a woman who stopped to admire the flowers and was found dead in the middle of the field.)

I feel no shame standing in a field, idle, my face turned up, enjoying the noonday sun bearing down and warming my delicate petals as my head heavily sways and bobs in the light breezes that tickle my flesh. The multitude of others for miles in any direction enjoying the same; we each drink in the quiet solitude and serene beauty around us; nary a sound but for the winds and the whispers of the other safflowers swaying, creating a chorus.

There’s no intrusion upon our peacefulness, usually, for we detest disturbances that bring us out of revelry. But once in a while, the barren road on the horizon brings noise and generally, the noise passes and we relax once again into peaceful suspension. Though today, a passerby stopped to admire us, left the shining noisemaker, and plowed into the center of us; I was there, angry at her audacity.

She was beautiful in her own right, but we hated her the longer she lingered; the longer she kept us from our tranquility. As the sun set, she remained, lying on the soil at our feet, asleep. We detested her intrusion. Hundreds of heavy heads laden with seeds pummeled at her, our seeds flying from our faces, resting in her opened mouth, clogging her throat. She scrabbled and ceased.

The noisemakers won’t depart now. They watch us as the licks of flame for our actions scorch us at the roots, I feel shame now as I burn.

‘A Miserly Man’ A short story by: Pattyann McCarthy

There once was a miserly man who desired to be a decent person but he never quite reached that level, for it was outside of his grasp to his shame, and shame he did not recognize before it was too late.

Edgar awoke one morning to a dreary day outside his narrow and unadorned window; the day full of rain and thunder; he was lonely at the age of sixty-three and he sought to change his ways, but, change them how, he didn’t know. He only knew that he must, for he was a sad and miserly creature. He had no friends and no one to talk to, and it was his own behavior that brought him to these unfortunate circumstances. Deserved; perhaps, but none-the-less unfortunate for him. He roused himself off the bed and went about his usual routine in getting ready for the day, but being so dreary, he wasn’t looking forward to it, though carry on he must, so he did. Today, he was determined to make a change in his life for the better. He would change the way people thought of him if he had to stand in the storm all day.

After his grooming, he left the dingy, worn bed sheets rumpled, most of them flowing as lava on the floor, but he didn’t care, because he is that kind of man and he had no one to impress. Leaving the tiny sparse bedroom, which held a single unshielded lantern and one small dresser, he made his way to breakfast; one that he would have to prepare for himself, as he had no woman to tend his needs, which he realized was his own fault. No woman would have him. His reputation far-reached the townswomen and far-off villages for miles around as word traveled from one place to the next of his manner, or his lack of manner, and the women knew, he was more trouble than he was worth.

After he finished his breakfast, he went for a walk through his village of Osprey, so named because of the Sea Eagles that dwelt there along the banks of the flowing river, and he was determined to make a change for himself. He perched a ratty hat upon his head to shield himself from the rain and off he went for a trek.

Smiling came hard to Edgar, though he did make an attempt at it, but it came off looking unnatural and forced and it scared the women he graced with it, they, moving far aside to allow him passage without having to engage him. He engaged them anyway, feeling awkward.

“Good morning, m’lady. Tis a miserable morn to be sure,” he would say to those bustling about and scurrying in and out of the quaint shoppes lining the street, but the reply was silence; looks of disdain written upon their faces as they hurried inside.

They were repulsed at the sight of him with his one rotted tooth sticking out from between his thick and livery lips. He worked hard all his life at not taking care of himself and it showed. His long smattering of greasy hair, needing a snip, tied back with a dirty kerchief underneath the hat, his face full of pocked holes and nose dirt always on display so that one was forced to look away. He made many attempts at speaking kindly to those he passed this day, wanting desperately for someone to acknowledge him, be it woman or man, just to have someone to while away some time, but no one wanted to engage, wondering what evilness he was up to now. For as it’s been said, he was a miserly creature, known for his evil ways and taking a whore to his bed for company since no woman of decency would tarry with him.

While he trod along the muddy streets, he thought back to the reasons he was so unwelcome by his townspeople and recalled with sadness of a time long past. He wasn’t always miserly; there was a time long ago when he appeared to be a happy man, young, virile, and very successful at his money changing business for he owned the bank, made so with old family money. He had a wife in those days, young Elizabeth, who was pretty and gentle. They seemed to be happy, and they were well received by their neighbors. Word spread quickly that the seemingly happy couple were expecting their first child and everyone came around to wish congratulations upon them, though all were unaware of the transgressions that took place behind their closed door. For you see, young Elizabeth at a tender age of fourteen, had been forced into marriage to Edgar who was the age of twenty-two, and unlovely to look at even then, and bought for a tidy sum that he offered up quickly to secure his future with an heir, though none of the townspeople were aware.

In public, they were the perfect couple with everything going for them. Dressed in their finery, they held hands and cooed to each other, walking about the streets smiling and greeting everyone they came across as friends. But behind their secured door and in the darkness of their abode, ugliness took place that some would call madness if they would have been privy of the goings-on. For Edgar had a much unrestrained temper, and it was that temper, and that alone that brought him to the sad state he finds himself in today. Though, back then, he did make attempts at controlling himself, but some part of him was already vile just as his father was, and it was a part of him he couldn’t ignore or deny.

When Elizabeth was in her third trimester, she thought Edgar would soften to her and respect her as the mother of his child, but Edgar did not disappoint and he did not soften. Instead, as the anxiety over his becoming a soon-to-be father held terror for him, he lashed out at his expectant wife and his fists flew during an argument over the child’s name; for Elizabeth hoped for a she, and Edgar insisted it best be a he, too selfish and ignorant to understand that it was neither’s choice to make. To say he beat her would be an understatement, for he far more than beat her. By the time he was finished with her, punching and kicking her wherever a blow could be landed, her face looked like rotted fruit pulp, meaty and blackened, her eyes swollen shut, her lips so swollen and split that she could hardly open her mouth to scream, and worst of all, between her spread feet on the dirt floor, her unborn child lay, still connected to the umbilical cord.

When Elizabeth felt the baby rip from her insides, the fluids she held spilling out of her, she looked down to the floor when she heard a thud and screamed with heart-wrenching agony as she watched her baby gasp once and then no more. Her little boy-child was dead.

Her body slumped to the floor and she bled profusely after ejecting her son, wailing in heart-wrenching agony, pain sliced into her heart as she’d never felt before. Edgar realized with eye widening fear and guilt what he’d done, he killed his unborn child in his rage, and a boy child at that. One he desperately wanted, but fear of becoming a failure as a father, just as his own father was, chilled him to the bone and in his rage, he aborted the tiny thing. He buried his dead son near a tree in his yard, and carried his battered wife to their bed where she lay for little less than a week before her sorrow stole the last breath from her body.

Word spread quickly through his village and to the surrounding villages that he murdered his child and his wife, but being the wealthiest man, he’d gotten away with his crimes as he paid for his freedom, and he paid dearly. His bank lost their clientele and his fortunes dwindled quickly since no one would have ties to him and before the next month was over, Edgar found himself completely alone. A detestable creature he’d become; the townspeople scorned him, feared him, and ostracized him, and deservedly so.

As the years went by, he managed to live on his dwindling fortune but by this time, while he walked the streets looking for a friend, he was long since destitute and long since deplorable. No one would give him a kind word, or even take the time to look upon him, as memories of an awful nature do not leave the mind quickly. He felt the weight and sting of his shame, just as he did after he murdered his child and wife all those long years ago; the shame keeping his shoulders hunched and his head bowed under its oppression, and his smiles faded just as fast as he thought to have them. Defeated and abandoning his new desire to make a change since no one would tarry with him for company, he sought a different goal; to make as many people as miserable as he possibly could, and once more to his shame, in that, he was successful. He went out of his way to speak meanly to those he passed by, hurtling insults and curses with a hateful scowl plastered on his face, and those verbally assaulted quickly moved out of his way as he picked up his walking pace making his way back to his rundown cabin.

On his travels back home, an unkempt dog approached him hungry and looking for food. Edgar thought to kick the dog away but stayed his foot as the dog sidled against his leg, rubbing his muzzle across his shin, and Edgar softened to the mangy-looking creature and realized they had something in common, neither were wanted or tolerated. He bent and scooped the filthy mongrel into his arms and trod towards home, the dog lapping at his face and for the first time since he was in his twenties, Edgar laughed, feeling wanted and needed.

The dog went home with him, and after a good bath and some fresh water and food, the two began to bond. While he sat by the roaring fire to chase away the chill, the dog cradled in his lap, scratching him behind his ears and cooing to him, he realized that he finally found a true companion and one who had no memory of the awful person he was in his past, and still thought to be, and one that cared not for the horrible things he had done so long ago. He found what he sought after for so many years, a friend. Something needed him and wanted to be with him and he accepted the dogs’ friendship and unconditional love without hesitation.

While the months rolled away behind him, he and his dog, whom he named Jack, would take leisurely walks through the village. No longer did Edgar feel the need to try and change the opinions of those he passed by, for he was content with his new companion, and he began to see as time marched on, that the townspeople were speaking to him! Only civilities at first, which surprised Edgar, for he did not feel he’d changed in any way, and he made no further attempts to engage his peers, but the townspeople were reacting to him, acknowledging his new friend and Edgar found himself sincerely smiling and proud of his beloved Jack. He saw that Jack was the bridge that connected him to his village and its peoples once again, and he found a contentment beyond his understanding, one he never thought he’d find.

One day, when his dog was very old and wearing thin in his years, Edgar came to understand, he had a son after all and his name was Jack.