The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
…All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck
by Sheri White
It was ludicrous to think ignoring that stupid penny was responsible for the nightmare her life had become. But still…
Picking up pennies became second nature; whenever Grandma saw someone leave a penny on the ground, she would huff and say, “Must be nice to be so rich you can leave money on the ground!” Charlotte’s cheeks would flame when her grandmother said it loud enough for the mocked person to hear.
Her ex-husband would point out pennies to her whenever they were out and about. “Get it, Charlotte! We need the good luck!” She had three plastic pretzel barrels full of coins in her closet, most of them pennies but among them quarters, Canadian coins; Charlotte grabbed anything that looked like change. Even her kids grabbed them for her. They wished on the pennies before throwing them into the town fountain.
That day, though —that day she was just in a hurry to get home. Robbie spotted the copper coin, Lincoln’s profile shining in the sun. “Mommy, wait! We need to get the penny!” But Charlotte grabbed his hand, practically dragging him to the car.
“Robbie, come on! Katie is waiting for us.” Katie was only eight, but constantly begged her mother to let her stay at home alone for a little while instead of running errands.
Reluctantly Charlotte agreed that day since she would only be out for no more than an hour. She gave Katie strict instructions to just stay in the living room and watch TV. Keep the front door locked, no using the stove.
Charlotte and Robbie walked into the house to see Katie in a puddle of blood on the floor, her throat slit, and a man sitting on the couch. Charlotte never thought her ex-husband would show up. Of course Katie would let her father in. She didn’t know he was dangerous. Before Charlotte could scream, react, her ex crossed the room and grabbed Robbie, then slit his throat and dropped him to the floor.
“You left me, bitch. Live with it.” He pulled a gun out of his pocket and shot himself in the head.
Now, six months later, Charlotte stood over the fountain her children loved, clutching a penny in her fist. Moonlight danced on the water, the spray of the fountain hitting the concrete soothing. She was alone; the town was sleeping.
Charlotte climbed in, the water sending goosebumps over her skin through the flimsy dress as she sat down. She dropped the penny into the water, then grabbed the razor blade she had set down on the edge of the fountain.
She drew the thin steel up both arms, then closed her eyes and leaned against the side.
She wished only that dying would hurt less than living.
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Sheri White:
Once Upon an Apocalypse: 23 Twisted Fairy Tales