Flash Fiction: Escape

After only two months, Helen decided to become an exotic dancer.

She couldn’t stand it any longer. Only days after the wedding, John had her up before dawn milking cows and slaving away long after dark, hauling limbs and feeding the last of the animals. She had thought she wanted the simple life of a farmer’s wife but realized quickly what a hard life it was. And worse yet, John thrived on it, jumping up at 4 am and whistling while pulling on his overalls.

The more hours they worked, the more energy he seemed to have until she slipped away one evening after he’d fallen asleep and pushed the truck down the driveway before starting it so she could go beg her old boss for her job back. He agreed, but not without a promise of fringe benefits.

Five months went by when Helen and her new boyfriend were drinking champagne and losing their shirts at the Indian Casino when John walked in. Helen was shocked at his appearance. His face was gaunt, his hair stringy, and he was still wearing his work overalls, smeared with cow manure. Helen wrinkled her nose in disgust as he came close.

“Did I mention you have some unfinished business at the farm?” he said as he spat tobacco juice in a small can he was carrying. “You’ll need to come to talk to me if you have any hope of ever getting a red cent in our divorce.”

Helen knew he was talking about the stallion they’d bought right after the wedding. The horse with papers that promised a long-standing breeding career and lots of money along with it. “Okay,” she said. “I’ll see you on Monday at noon.”

Helen had every intention of going back, getting the rest of her things, and leaving John forever. But when she arrived, he was cleaned up, freshly shaven, in regular jeans and a button-down shirt. Somehow, the way he was methodically defrosting the refrigerator re-kindled something deep in her heart. She touched his arm and said, “Any chance we could make a new start?”

“Maybe I worked you too hard,” he said softly.

“Maybe we both could learn to say what we need,” Helen said, noting the deep blue of his eyes.

They kissed, then heard a loud whinny from the nearby pasture. Peering out the window, they watched as their prized stallion raced down the pasture, cleared the fence, and disappeared into the hills beyond, his coat glistening in the noonday sun.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. judyalter says:

    I think the firs word that comes to mind is enigmatic

    1. I maybe should have added one more sentence.

  2. I love this story, a flash piece you can be proud of. Your writing is energetic and this story reads like a dance with a perfect image at the end to reinforce the title and theme. You managed to add real conflict in a very short space. Brava Len!!

    1. Thank you, Joan. And I appreciated your wonderful suggestion on this piece. Completely shifted the ending. Many thanks!

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