• findingthebirds

Intoxicated Mistake - Ava Galbraith

“You should not be here.” Jack stared at his computer. His fingers paused on the keyboard. Priscilla leaned stiffly on the doorway; her figure was thin, almost sickly, and her chalky complexion stood out starkly against the obsidian bricks. Her white, dainty dress swallowed her. “I’m here because you want me to be.” Her tone was soft and saintly. Jack shivered, she haunted him. His proposals sat blank on his laptop and his emails left unread. He needed to work and move on with his life, but he couldn’t do that with her staring at him, through him. He turned toward her, rolling his shoulders back, giving her his full attention. She looked softer than he remembered; her hair glowed ethereally. He wanted to comb his fingers through it and kiss her gently. She deserved a tender touch. “Come here.” It had been a long time since he held her. Their relationship had become strained over the years and his big house did nothing but put distance between them. He felt guilty for preferring to lock himself in the office than interact with her. Priscilla wanted a love he could not give her again. “No.” She continued to peer through him. Jack wanted the sad gleam in her eyes to disappear. “Please.” He was crying, his slight inhales were muted as tears stained his crumpled button-down. Priscilla usually ironed his shirts, but things had changed. She used to do so much for him. He had taken her for granted and now he was on his own. “I’m sorry, so sorry for what I put you through.” “I won’t forgive you.” Every time she appeared he would ask the same of her, and her answer never changed. “Will you ever forgive me?” Jack needed to put the problem to rest. “That is a decision you will make for me.” Her tone was solemn and absolute. He missed the days in which Priscilla reminded him of early morning dew and everlasting sunshine. Over time his mind had turned a cloudy gray and all his joyful memories seemed to be covered in mothballs. His conscious was like an attic in which long-forgotten antiques collected dust. “Tell me what to say, to think.” He was tired pleading with his wife. “Why must you torment me so with your appearance when I can’t even touch you. I worry that you’ll leave me.” “I have already left.” Her once ocean blue eyes were dull, Jack could see his reflection in them. “I know that. It was my fault; I should have never gotten into the car that night.” “But you did and now look at you, a lonely man who is withering away,” she chuckled. Her ghostly hand trailed through his thinning gray hair. “I don’t want you to go.” He shivered lightly, what was it like to die? “I miss you.” Her lips brushed his. “Please, I’m right beside you.” He was desperate to keep her fleeting affection. “You killed me.” She faded back into his mind. Jack sat alone in his messy office. Priscilla had given him a different answer. His body felt heavy as he rolled his wheelchair into the hallway. “I’ll see you soon.” Her memory lapped at his ears. “No more tomorrows.”

Ava Galbraith is fascinated by unexpected turns in stories, particularly the reveal of villains. She dives deep into characters’ psyches and uses stream of consciousness to tell stories. Her work has been published on Ripples In Space podcast. When not developing intriguing flash fiction, she competes in equestrian show jumping and enjoys emerging herself in foreign cultures. Ava lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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