When I got home, there was still a bit of sunlight coming through the window. The house was silent except for a Miles Davis track playing in the living room. Stella bought the CD on our last anniversary and she loved dancing to the tune. I called out but heard no answer.

There was an apple at the far end of the sofa. It had a bite on one side and was sitting on a page of Vanity Fair. The page wasn’t even halfway through the magazine. As I came closer, the bite began to look more like a crater carved up by a knife, as if it was the only satisfying portion of a forsaken fruit. But there weren’t any knives beside the magazine. There was no trace of Stella.

I went up the bedroom to take a nap. Whatever it was, she’d soon be back. No worries, she always said. In my dream, we were dancing again in my friend’s wedding.

“Tell me your plan,” she said.

“My plan?”

“Yes,” she smiled more openly. “What’s your plan?”

“Ah, I don’t know,” I said, looking past the balcony and into the faint outline of hills beneath a trail of stars. A breeze touched our faces and I watched her squint off her smile.

“Let’s just go like we always wanted,” she said, looking like a child again. “Tomorrow.”

“If you say so.”

When I woke up, the place still felt motionless like there wasn’t even air. I had left the CD playing and the smooth trumpet was the only sound that answered my voice.

On the sofa was a CD case and an issue of Esquire open to a page with a poem about James Franco on the sidebar. The page that followed had nothing but a bottle of perfume. There was no apple and still no knife beside the magazine. But I found Stella on the playlist at the back of the CD case.

There was no Stella for me to call. I picked up the phone and dialed someone else. There was a hollow, carved-up feeling when I heard her say hello.



This piece of very short fiction was written for Magpie Tales #30 back in 2010. I remembered this while talking to a friend a few minutes ago. I remembered this was the first and last story I ever finished, and that no one who read it before thought it was.


Magpie Tales is a weekly writing blog hosted by poet Tess Kincaid.


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