How could I be so stupid? I just wanted to celebrate the good news. We got a distribution deal. We'll finally be making money. Why did I have to smoke a cigar?
They're going to figure it out. They're going to know it was me that burned down the vineyard. Ten years of work gone. All because of a stupid cigar. I could swear I didn't drop any ashes out there. I can't believe this happened.
Holy shit! What is that? I slam on the brakes, the truck skids off the road, I hit a ditch and the truck flips over.
The airbag busts open in my face. I feel like I hit a brick wall. Uggggh, my head.
I crack my eyes open and see a cow staring at me. He's frozen. As stunned as I am. Christ. I nearly killed myself to save that beast. Someone will probably be eating him for dinner tonight. What the?
Lucky for me this truck is built like a tank. I'm not hurt but I can smell something burning. Unbelievable. This really can't be happening.
5 days later....
"It was a beautiful service, Ann. We're so sorry for your loss." everyone said over, and over again. Tom was gone. I couldn't believe it. The truck was so badly burned all they found was his old work boots. We had plans. We were going to marry. We were going to tour wineries in Italy on our honeymoon. What was I going to do?
I felt numb. First the vineyard burns. Then Tom dies. Why did this happen?
I pulled up to our house and stopped at the driveway. I really didn't want to go in. I grabbed the mail and plopped down on his favorite chair on the porch. I mindlessly sifted through the mail - bills, magazines, junk, and a postcard.
My whole body shivered. Was this a joke? Guido's was in Tahoe. What the hell? Tell no one. What do you mean you're not dead?
My heart was racing. I couldn't think clearly. It was three o'clock. I could be there by five thirty if I hurried.
I don't even remember driving.
I saw him at the bar as I drove up. I would recognize that hat anywhere. My heart jumped. I flew in the door and jumped on him, and hugged him, and kissed him, and then I just started balling. I couldn't believe it. He was alive.
Wait, how could he do this to me? I hit him on the chest with my fist. I am pissed. I started shouting "I thought you were dead! We buried you. How could you do this to me!!!?" The rush of emotion had me crying so hard I collapsed in his arms a puddle of tears.
We walked outside to my car.
He told me the whole story. The cigar. The fire. The accident.
A trucker saw him after the accident and asked if he needed a ride. He was going to Tahoe so Tom went with him. He doesn't know why. He knew it was wrong. He knew he should have called.
"I was scared. I don't want to go to jail." he said. "Let's run away to Mexico. Everyone thinks I'm dead. We can start over." he whispered, holding my hands and kissing my fingers.
"What will we do in Mexico? What will I tell everyone? They'll think I'm crazy. My mother. She won't believe it." This was all just too much for me.
We sat in silence lost in our thoughts.
Finally I spoke. "We have to go back. They'll understand. It was an accident." I pleaded. "Please, we can't run away. It will be okay. I promise." I felt like someone had sucked the life from me.
He just sat there listening, his head hanging, breathing slowly in and out. All I could hear was one deep sigh after another. He looked at me. I could see the stress in his face. His blue eyes were begging me to help him.
And then I had an idea.
This week's TRDC prompt was to write fiction based on one of these prompts. 700 words max.
"In the middle of the night, you get an urgent call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Something terrible has happened. What is it and why is he/she calling you?"
"One week after attending the funeral of a close friend, you receive a postcard in the mail with the words, 'I'm not dead. Meet me tonight at Guido's Pizzeria. Tell no one.'"
Thanks for your comments and concrit!