Small Cuts (20) Genevieve

To find links to all parts of this story, please visit the Small Cuts Page. Here is Genevieve:

I think it’s finally happened —I’ve disappeared. No one will talk to me. They talk about me as if wasn’t here. What does that mean? I can’t see them, I can only hear them. They don’t even whisper, they speak in normal tones. Wouldn’t you think they would keep their voices down if they knew I was here? Maybe this is just a bad dream. Yet, it seems to be going on forever… I suppose that’s how it is in dreams. You can live a whole lifetime in the span of one night.

My mother and sister are here. They are always here. Or at least they used to be. Not so much anymore. Oliver, Daddy, and my brother, Craig were all here in the beginning, too. Beginning of what? The beginning of my fade from existence? Am I in a room in my parents’ house? That doesn’t make sense. There are too many other people here–people I only hear moving about in the dark, people I’ve begun to recognize simply by the noises they make. There’s one who chews gum loudly, one who sings bad ‘80’s music. “Everybody have fun tonight; everybody Wang Chung tonight!” Seriously? The worst one is the noisy breather. He —at least I think it’s a he— makes a sort-of squeaking noise drawing air in and breathing out through his (?) nose. Never says a word, just squeaks. I’m afraid of him.

Allison is crying. Don’t cry Allison. You were always Mom’s favorite.

I thought I heard Oliver and Daddy arguing, then Dad and Mom arguing. Then some other man –the loud breather, I think– trying to calm everyone down.

Maybe I lost time again. I think there are a lot of people here now. I can tell by the murmur of voices behind the ones I hear more clearly. Then everyone gets quiet and I hear just one voice, remotely familiar, but not at all welcome.

“God our Father…”

What is this? What’s going on?

“Lord, those who die…”

Stop!!! I’m not dead! Am I dead? Am I dead?

“…to sing your praise forever and ever. Amen.”

“Goodbye, Genevieve. Go in peace.”



I hope you’ve enjoyed (if you can enjoy such a gloomy story) reading Small Cuts. This was an exercise in writing outside of my comfort zone in both content and construction. I found it a challenge in organizing the four ‘voices’, keeping them all straight, and in writing a set of very disturbing themes: Self esteem issues, relationship issues, depression, and adultery. None of these characters was truly likable. That is what I intended. Thank you for reading and watch this space for new fiction as I develop some new ideas. ~ Meg Sorick

Small Cuts (19) Oliver

To find links to all parts of this story, please visit the Small Cuts Page. Here is Oliver:

“We killed him, Oliver. And we nearly killed Gen too.” Those were the last words Elaine spoke to me that night. I had tried to soothe, to assuage the guilt, but she was having none of it. She turned her back to me, pulled the covers up tight and when I tried to lie beside her and take her in my arms, she stiffened and shifted away. Panic began to rise like water in a pot about to boil over. I was losing everything. I couldn’t lose Elaine, too. Willing myself to calm down, I determined to give her some space and try again tomorrow. Reluctantly, I kissed the back of her head and left.

I drove aimlessly, not wanting to go home to my empty house. My mom had offered to come and stay with me, but between spending so much time at the hospital and the rest of it with Elaine, I thought it would be pointless. Besides, Gen’s family was enough to deal with without having my mom hovering, too. Nevertheless, tonight the last thing I wanted was to be alone. I had imagined spending the night with Elaine —the first night we’d have together without fear of discovery. I had needed that comfort tonight. Needed the solace of her arms and the promise unspoken that we could be together after everything had been resolved. And so much was left to be resolved. So many decisions to make and ultimately only me to make them.

Without realizing, I found myself following the route to the hospital. As much as I dreaded the visits to Genevieve’s side, I knew it was the right thing to do. The doctors encouraged us to talk to her in the hopes that maybe something would register. So far it hadn’t worked. The prognosis was grim. The life support machines were the only reason she was still alive. If you could call it that… Though the rest of her injuries had been successfully dealt with, her brain had been without oxygen too long, her heart only restarted when the paramedics arrived. The damage had been severe, the levels of brain activity were negligible. The doctors couched this diagnosis with the caveat that it was still early and the situation could change.

I pulled into the Jefferson Hospital visitor’s garage and parked. Then taking a moment to brace myself, I locked the car and began the long walk to the ICU. Gen’s mother and sister were a constant presence —her father and brother left at home to mind the nieces and nephews. One or the other of them slept curled up in the uncomfortable hospital version of a recliner every night. They were both by her bedside when I entered the room. I nodded my hello. Without saying it, their looks told me they thought I should be the one keeping vigil.

Gen’s injuries had spared her face, so that as she lay in the intensive care unit, she looked just like she was sleeping. With her golden hair and delicate features, I imagined her as a fairytale princess under the spell of a wicked witch. Except I was no Prince Charming to kiss her awake. I stepped to the side opposite my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. “Anything to report?” I asked.

Gen’s sister, Allison shook her head. “No, nothing.” Gen’s mother cleared her throat. “We thought you’d have been here earlier….” she said with a frown.

“Yeah. It was James’ funeral today. I needed some time…”

Her expression softened. “Oh. I’m sorry, Oliver. I forgot. How is Elaine holding up?”

“She’s resting. Her family went home today. I think she’s overwhelmed.”

“She’s going to need your help, Ollie. You and Gen, when she gets better.”

I smiled what I hoped was a sincere smile. Denial. I wasn’t buying into it. Gen was gone and with her, well… Oh, if they only knew. If they had any idea of the secret I kept from them. The secret I could barely admit to myself. Which is why I couldn’t stand the thought of losing Elaine. She was all I had left. She was my only chance at happiness. My only chance at redemption. My only chance to make things right. If I lost her now, it would make all of this horrible ordeal unlivable. I had lost my best friend, I was surely going to lose Gen, and as the doctors informed me shortly after they had stabilized her, she had lost the twelve week old fetus she had been carrying. The child I so desperately wanted was lost to me, too.

Small Cuts (18) Elaine

To find links to all parts of this story, please visit the Small Cuts Page. Here is Elaine:

I moved on autopilot. My life for the last two weeks had seemed like a film in which I was merely a supporting actor. I left decisions up to James’ family, my family. I was still out of work, told to take all the time that I needed. I was numb, disconnected, wanting to wake up from this nightmare. Mom and Dad came to stay with me right after the accident up to the day after the funeral. All the commotion and chaos keeps you from fully realizing the loss. Once everyone had gone, all that remained was wilting flowers, leftover casseroles and the echoes of cliched condolences. And Oliver.

It was the first night I was alone that the story of James’ connection to Genevieve made the six o’clock broadcast. Must have been a slow news day in Philadelphia. How on earth had that bit of information got out? It had been bad enough dealing with James’ death and Gen’s grave condition without having reporters asking us to bear our guilt in front of the cameras. It was hideous. Wait, did I say guilt? I meant grief. Oh, god….

It was true, it was true. This was all because of us—Oliver and me. Somehow James and Gen must have figured it out. I needed to talk to Oliver. He was the only one I could really talk to now. He had maintained a discreet and appropriate manner when we were in public—just close enough to be the grieving friend. Add Genevieve’s condition to the situation, and he was very much the sympathetic character. Whenever we found ourselves alone, however, his true feelings were apparent. He loved me, he still wanted to be with me, even though things had gone so terribly wrong. In my emotional state, I found myself leaning on him. I picked up my phone and called.

At first Oliver tried to find other explanations, but that was just wishful thinking. He eventually admitted that James had probably seen him drive by our house and had likely followed him into the city. Then, he told me after Genevieve’s things were retrieved from the wreck of her car, he discovered that she had the address of the Park Hotel entered into the GPS on her phone. That was the final proof if you asked me. I had dropped the phone and run to the bathroom to throw up. I heaved and heaved until there was nothing left. Now my body felt as empty as my heart. I slumped against the toilet and wept. That’s where Oliver found me.

“Baby, here, let me help you,” he said, lifting me into his arms. I was too weak to resist. He carried me from the bathroom to my bedroom and laid me on top of the covers. Then, sitting on the edge, brushed my hair from my face.

“He’s dead because of me. This my fault,” I said. I grabbed Oliver’s wrist as he reached again to touch my cheek. “We killed him, Oliver. And we nearly killed Gen, too.”