It’s time to announce the Cursed Love Flash Fiction Writing Contest results.
Congratulations #3, The Bell Tower by Edward Palumbo
By: Edward Palumbo
Regina arrived. It had been a week since she had sat at Rick’s kitchen table, where he had explained all the reasons he was wrong for her. The young woman had nodded in response to each argument, but she was not convinced. “I am not here for a reconciliation,” Regina promised as she entered the one-bedroom apartment.
“Really?” asked Rick, clad only in his pajamas bottoms.
“Yes. I am here to tell you an amazing story. A budding fiction writer, like yourself, should hear this story.”
“Then I’ll hear it.”
“Do you know the Davis Street Church, the one they closed?”
“Yes,” Rick replied.
“Did you ever notice that there’s no bell in the bell tower?”
Rick shook his head. “I’m sure they pulled it out when the boarded up the church.”
“Yes,” said Regina, “but it still rings. I heard it ring last night, at midnight.”
Rick rolled his eyes. “What were you doing at an abandoned church at midnight?”
“Seeking redemption,” said Regina, “or out for a walk – one of those.”
“If there is no bell, there is no ring, read your bible.”
Regina sat on the couch. Rick opted for his desk chair. “There was a ring, a ghost-bell ring,” Regina insisted. “I heard the ringing and it didn’t scare me – actually, I liked it. It soothed me, like a glass of merlot or that medicated baby powder.”
“Nobody drinks merlot anymore, nor baby powder, anyway, you heard nothing, no bell, you just wanted to come over to see me.”
“Bull!” Regina punched a few buttons on her cell phone. She rose from the couch and held the device to Rick’s ear.
“That’s a ringing bell,” he said, “but it could be from anywhere.”
“Yeah,” said Regina, “anywhere, like the depths of hell.”
“Why are people like you so consumed with the depths of hell, like the upper levels of hell are more livable?”
“The ghost-bell rings,” Regina half-whispered, “that is a reality you have to face.”
Dusk prevailed. Rick finished his run and he passed behind the bleachers. Regina watched him from the stands. She caught up to her love in half an instant.
“Nice run?” she asked.
“Slower than usual,” said Rick.
“Surprised to see me?”
“Never.” Rick replied.
Regina smiled. “I’ve been thinking a lot about our wedding.”
“Who is our?” he asked.
“I figured,” she replied, “that since we fight so much, our wedding colors should be black and blue.”
“Funny,” said Rick. He stopped walking for just a moment and he turned to her. “No wedding, not ever.” Rick trod onward.
“Do ever think about me?” asked Regina.
“I saw you yesterday.”
“What do you remember most about me?” she asked.
“The way you look from behind, when you’re leaving.”
“You can’t make me cry,” she said through a sniffle.
Rick increased his pace. His car came into view and that gave him solace, but Regina persisted. “Do you know what I remember about you?” she asked.
“What?” he asked.
“The way you used to cut me, with that razor you call a heart. But still, I love you,” she said.
Rick became flushed. “It’s not about love, with you, Regina. It’s about the chase. You want anyone, who doesn’t want you. Once, you really have me, you’ll lose all interest.”
They reached Rick’s car and stood beneath a street light.
Regina held out her hand, displaying an engagement ring and wedding band. “Look what I have, you won’t even have to buy me rings.”
Rick recognized the jewelry. “Those were my mother’s,” he said.
“Yes, she wanted me to have them. She thinks we’ll be great together.”
“She was buried with them, three years ago.”
“Your mother wanted me to have them,” Regina promised. “She said so.” Regina fell into Rick’s arms. “We’ll be so happy together.”
“You win,” said Rick.
“Of course, I won. I knew I would.”
Rick kissed Regina gently and he took the opportunity to nuzzle her neck. He lingered for a moment, before sinking his fangs into her soft flesh.
And he had never felt more at one with anyone.
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