Featured Stories, Week of January 14th: "Connie" and "The Well of Happiness"
Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at one of our meetings: This week's assignment was sneaky - we handed out an envelope full of folded-up strips of paper containing prompts and told everyone to write for 20 minutes - and not to show anyone else their prompts. After we went around the circle and read, we revealed to the group that they all had the exact same prompt:
Found True Love
Has A Wedding
Was Killed In Jealousy
The variety of stories that came out of the exercise was so amazing! As a group we narrowed it down to two stories to share on the blog this week, so here they are.
by Roxas Cole
Delain didn’t know how she got here. It was pleasant because her whole view was the collection of cotton clouds in the perfect sky, but no matter how captivating the scene was, something in the back of her mind replayed screams and cries. She couldn’t remember why she was on her back, immobile, and cold. Mustering her remaining strength, Delain sat up and looked around the hillside. She smiled at the lovely gazebo at the bottom of the hill. It was decorated in lilies and violets. Delain sighed out in happiness.
“Someone’s getting married.”
She stayed sitting like a child in a field of wild flowers, soaking in the wedding venue, wishing it was hers. It was like someone had read her mind. Almost too exact to her specifications. Rage suddenly filled her cold, senseless body. She touched her neck and felt a gaping hole on the side. She looked down at where she was sitting and saw the splatters of blood like an angry artist throwing paint at his failed canvas. Her neck slowly craned to look down at her outfit: a wedding dress.
Down the hill, where the festivities continued, Delain targeted said bitch. Connie. Though appearing as yet another clumsy human specimen, Delain saw right through her act.
“You weren’t even invited,” Delain grumbled to herself. “And this” she pointed to her corpse remaining on the ground, still staring at the clouds “is why!”
The Well of Happiness
by Ryan Carbery
The Well of Happiness, it turns out, is an actual place. Like most places with names like that, however, it's largely ironic.
Obviously there was good intent. People sat in rooms and made sky-eyed proposals about décor and landscaping options. Internet searches on types of flower and fauna were made to find the right combination to make the well, which technically had stopped being a well fifty two years prior and now just remained a stone walled hole in the ground with a bucket on a wench, live up to its name. A name they were giving it.
There could be a philosophical argument about whether the well failed or the people naming it failed. The well continued to be formerly a well before and after the renovation. It could be no more or less sad as an ex well. The surroundings of the well were never under the well's control.
The Well of Happiness is where Jessica met Dave. On the Thursday they met, the Well of Happiness was still trying. The carefully researched flowers were still being watered, the bushes that were finally agreed upon for the way they take to shaping were still being trimmed. People who sold things at the Well of Happiness did so with wheeled carts and business licenses.
On the Thursday that Jessica and Dave met the Well of Happiness had, for at least Jessica and Dave, lived up to its name. Jessica and Dave were very happy to meet each other.
Alice was less happy to meet Dave.
It's not that Alice hated anything specific about Dave, she hated the idea of Dave. It is difficult to win someone over who hates you as a concept, but Dave tried. Much like the committee that created and then abandoned the Well of Happiness, Dave did not fully realize this goal.
The Well of Happiness had been Jessica and Alice's thing. While neither of them were on the committee that decided on the bushes and learned about flowers, when they saw the initial results of their work they were in favor of it. Perhaps unimaginatively, but then they were at a well renamed the Well of Happiness, they called it their happy place.
Alice wanted Jessica to be happy. It is unclear if Alice was aware that she meant she wanted Jessica to be happy with Alice. Perhaps things would have turned out differently.
Perhaps Alice did know that. Perhaps she had lost one to many friends to ceremonies in temporarily pretty parks. Perhaps she was tired of titles like “man” and wife” getting to have ceremonies in themed gardens and be so much more importance that “BFF.” Perhaps she was stewing on that in her bridesmaids dress she secretly loved but was culture bound to complain about right before she pushed Dave into the Well of Happiness. The invitation for someone to object has always been a problematic aspect of wedding ceremonies.
Perhaps if the first wedding at the Well of Happiness had not ended in the death of the groom The Well of Happiness would have a chance to live up to its name. Perhaps there was no way for a former well to live up to a name like “Well of Happiness”.