Lighter Path


Photo credit: Christine Xu (modified)

I berate myself for not seeing what you were earlier.  Handsome, yes, although not as much as you imagine.  You grow uglier with every criticism, every sneer.  So certain you are worthy, that you are owed things no person should sacrifice for another.

I smother under the oldest spell known to man.

You prod me, herd me, shape me into this thing of yours.  Each step is too much, too far, surely this time I will… not.  I keep the path.

Then this: one laugh too many.  The invisible leash snaps.

My feet gain their courage before my thoughts can form, before my doubts stop me.  And I am walking, away, down a new path, suddenly familiar.  Ah, me.  I remember now.  The strength builds in my legs, flows upward, fills my lungs, my heart, my too-unused smile.

Ahead is a torch, a tavern, promising people.  Protection.

Your admonitions turn to curses, yet still you sit, sprawled out proudly, not believing.

You rise, scowling, but it is too late.  The light beckons.  I shall not return.

Word count: 175  Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.  Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting, and for Maria from Doodles and Scribbles for providing the original photo prompt, below.  Click here to read the other stories.


Photo © Maria at Doodles and Scribbles

18 thoughts on “Lighter Path

    • Glad you think so, Sammi, thanks! I think that moment of breaking free of a bad relationship is like breaking an enchantment; suddenly all these other hopeful possibilities arise.

      Funny how it was so obvious in my head that the narrator was a woman and her “bad romance” was a man, but when I look at it again, it could be any combination, I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The “oldest spell” I was thinking of was “love,” but I can see him actually putting a curse on her too — it’s always so interesting to see how other people interpret something differently! Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A wonderful piece of writing, Joy. Your story’s a lesson for anyone in an abusive relationship, too scared to make that vital break. Courage often takes time to muster and/or too often the abused person loves her abuser and lives in the hope that he will change, or that she/he is at fault and deserves the punishment meted out. I’m glad your character eventually reached the point when she could take no more.
    I ‘read’ your character as a ‘she’ but realise it could be a ‘he’.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Too true. Sometimes it can be like the frog that slowly boils — the criticisms and other abuses come on so slow and build up, and by the time the person realizes how unhealthy it is, they’re already too deeply in. It takes a great deal of courage to get out, I agree. Thanks for commenting!


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