#FridayFlash: The Revenge Engine

On the first anniversary of when I first took up with you, I raged and wept. We were together just six months, but it was enough for you to destroy me. A life so full of promise, ruined. A golden, glittering future lay corrupted and shattered at my feet. Just as I'd done every day since it had all ended, I swallowed broken glass and vomited scorpions. Every hour of every day was filled with variations on the same echoing accusation. How could I have been stupid? Why had I thought myself worthy? When and how should I end this remnant of a life?

On the second anniversary, I dreamed of vengeance and retribution. Eaten away by the acid of thwarted ambition, I hated you with a psychotic passion, not least because you had gone on with your life, leaving the wreckage of me behind as just another meaningless husk to be ground under heel. All my talents, all my abilities, all my potentialities were burned up in the throbbing of the revenge engine I had fashioned myself into.

On the third anniversary, I stared at the walls, steeped in the sadness that permeated my life. It hadn't been my fault. None of it had. The mistakes I made were small, but you took advantage of them with brutal ruthlessness. The desires I'd had, the ones you turned against me, they were good and fine. Even though I had lost the capacity to hope, I knew that I was not to blame for what you had done to me. Anger, yes. Occasional rage, yes. Bitterness, always. But mostly sadness and gray shuffling from week to week.

But the fourth anniversary is the one that mattered.

On the fourth anniversary of when I first took up with you, I wanted to move past you. I looked at the recurrent date on my calender app, the one set to "Repeat frequency: annual", and it came as a surprise. It seemed like another life. Therapy and time changed me from the wreck you left behind into... this. Older, yes. Wiser, perhaps. More cynical, certainly. But also with more perspective. I don't feel things as deeply as I used to, not because I'm incapable, but because, thanks to you, now I have the acumen to distinguish what I can ignore from what I should cherish.

Happy anniversary.

I still hope you die.

/////

This story is doing several things at once:
  1. It's my #FridayFlash for this week (duh).
  2. It's a celebration of #FridayFlash in general, which celebrates its fourth anniversary today! I've been a regular for years. I haven't missed a week since September of 2009, if you can believe it. In celebration of the day, I included a significant fourth anniversary in this story AND kept the story to less than 400 words! Happy Anniversary, #FridayFlash!
  3. As a writing prompt arising from a conversation with  @runpetewrite I agree - great prompt!


||| Comments are welcome |||
Help keep the words flowing.

26 comments:

  1. So, how bad a person am I for laughing heartily at the last line? Because I did. Not exactly rooting for that grim outcome, but still, it's such a pithy and petty payoff!

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    1. Yep. All the personal growth in the world doesn't completely take away the desire to see some justice done.

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  2. vomiting scorpions - love that image

    So Friday flash celebrates a happy 4th anniversary, while Tony is ratcheting up the horror with wishing death on a character! Happy 4th to all of us and particularly to you Tony, impressive never to have missed a week

    marc nash

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    1. Thanks, Marc! I can't say they've all been gems, but the journey has been formative.

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    2. absolutely. Leaning to craft 1000 words has radically altered my approach to writing in general and I can feed in the benefits of having thought about flash into my longer work. 4 years ago I'd never even heard of flash fiction, let alone written any!

      marc

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  3. Congrats on your long service, Tony. I loved the last line too. That made it for me.

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  4. Happy 4th, Tony! And I agree about the last line- particularly the pair of last lines, actually.

    That would make a great Hallmark card, don't you think?

    "Happy Anniversary. I still hope you die."

    They'd sell like hot cakes!

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  5. Only an act of will can move someone out of that place. I've been there myself, except I didn't mark the date, of course. Of course.

    Happy 4th anniversary to #FridayFlash! I've had some good experiences and met some great people in the last few years since I took up the flashlight (so to speak).

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    1. Some people never move out of that pit, but that's often because they don't have anyone to help by pulling them out.

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  6. What Bev said! "Recovered from" and "totally forgotten" are not mutually exclusive.

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    1. Experiences change you. You can be recovered, but still carry scars.

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  7. I'm so impressed that you haven't missed a week in 4 years! This flash had guts, plus I too, appreciated the last two lines.

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    1. Thanks! It's been an interesting trip.

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  8. Yeah, I sometimes feel like that, like I've made some kind of progress only to realise I haven't.

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    1. If you go through a day without thinking about what had been done to you, then you suddenly catch yourself realizing that you haven't been thinking about it? That's progress. It's never like a light switch where you are suddenly whole and healthy again like you were before.

      Celebrate the victories, however thin.

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  9. that last line is to die for. Also, that is an impressive track record. I am jealous.

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    1. Glad you liked the last line - it tells the whole story.

      As for being jealous... just keep writing!

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  10. That last line made me laugh too - is that bad? I'm reading this from the bog hop page ^_^ Good track record Tony well done!

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  11. That last line made me giggle. :)

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  12. "...I swallowed broken glass and vomited scorpions..."

    You have a gift for image, Tony. And this one fits perfectly with the stage of anger/grief/anguish at that first anniversary.

    And the last couplet...well, all above have already said it. A great intrusion of the reality of the situation.

    Excellent work. And, I also join in the congratulations on your track record.

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  13. I can relate! I too love the line "...I swallowed broken glass and vomited scorpions."and what a perfect ending. :)

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  14. It may be all the stress from work, but I giggled at that last line! Great flash, Tony, I am so glad you are a part of the #fridayflash community :)

    PS: your blog is the first one I didn't have to refresh at least five times before I could submit my comment. Yay!

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  15. I like best the same two lines that everyone else does. You seem to have found some universal elements there. Nice one.

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  16. Hi Tony - congrats on four years of flash - I've enjoyed your work! You unearthed a rather dramatic chap for this one, vomiting scorpions and all :)

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  17. The first line was such a great hook. I felt his pain throughout, cheered for him when he "got over her," and took delight in the final line.

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