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The Vortex

(Note:  Much of my inspiration for writing comes from dreams, which I typically interpret in the form of poetry, but recently I have been challenging myself to write prose.  A Bee’s Perspective is the poetic response to the dream behind this piece.)

Even as the floorboards beneath her heave and crack with a thunderous roar, Mackenzie remains fixated on the screen in front of her, unable to wrench herself from an all time high game score.

Upstairs, she knows, the children are alone, too young really to console themselves against the raging winds that encircle their tiny vessel of a house – a ship, she’d once thought of it, a dream come true.  But that was so long ago and the build up to this storm had been so gradual, so inevitable, that she cannot pull herself away from distraction long enough to address the mountain of needs stockpiling around her.

A buzzing close to her ear warns Mackenzie that a bee has flown into her tempest and the threat of being stung and suffering an anaphylactic reaction is very real, and yet; she continues, hands locked on controller, eyes riveted.

Dave sits at the kitchen table, sipping his late night tea, absorbed in some absurd self-satisfaction, oblivious to the drama unfolding around him.  His external persona is subdued – polite civility, he calls it – and he is more observer than participant, cannot tolerate conflict, prefers to let his wife deal with the household, the children, and other mundanities.  His disinterest is far-reaching, and even as he sits, his very presence spurs Mackenzie on, driving her deeper into manic desperation.

The presence of chubby legs at the upstairs baby gate breaks her reverie, and in a moment of sudden clarity Mackenzie realizes the safeguard is not hinged, and she senses before she sees her son’s tiny body propelling forward, as the rails give way.  Her arms reach out helplessly ineffective as the tot plunges, their cries a tangle of shock and woe.

It is over in an instance, and neither husband nor the baby’s older sister startle from their reveries, and Mackenzie, the now limp body of her child crumpled at her feet, hears the drone of the bee’s buzz, her last conscious awareness before succumbing to the vacuum pull of a personal vortex.

(Image: witnessandtestimony.blogspot.com)

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Categories: family fiction marriage short story writing

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V.J. Knutson

Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.

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