Feb. 26, 2021

Reedsy Prompt

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/82/submissions/56500/

Submitted for Contest #82 in response to: Write about a technophobe who’s been given a device to solve a problem they’ve struggled with for years, but isn't sure how they feel about it.

“Tracey Laurence, do you take Donna Renetta to be your wife?”

Desirous eyes and loving smiles paint the faces of two lives sealing a promise that ties their souls together under the watchful gaze of family, friends, and possibly a higher power above. A wonderous blur of a day remembered as a mixture of laughing, crying, mingling, and dancing creating a celebration of a union that fails to hint at future changes.

“Do you promise to be faithful to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love her and to honor her all the days of your life?”

Gradually after the beautiful event that ended in an exploratory passion of newly broken chastity, he began to morph into some perverse amalgamation that wore and gnarled the stolen face of who she loved, of who she thought loved her. Norms became mistakes, family and friends trickled out of reach, her word and pleads went unheard and disregarded. She was his to control, molded to be nothing more than an ever doting housewife—only there to clean, cook, and warm his bed.

The yearning of freedom, the want to not be controlled, the want to feel actual love again helps her break away from his hold. Even with every “No,” “Stop,” and “You are mine,” that he throws at her, she continues to run from his odious grasp, trying her best to never look back. However, if she had, she would have seen the stolen face continue to contort into one of deranged anger fueled by possession.

“I do.”

With each step, it became apparent that freedom only mocked her, laughing at her attempts to run away from her mistakes. Somehow, no matter where she fled to, he found her. What silly games she was playing, that of hide & seek, that of cat & mouse. Now that he has found and rescued his bride, he demands the games to stop and for her to come home to him. Again and again he tracks her down, each one with an increasingly thinner patience.

She had become convinced that he was tracking her through her phone, her computer, by the cameras outside and in buildings, and from her card. All this led her to turning away from technology, afraid that her use of them would only ping her location to her stalker. She also kept her head down and covered at every opportunity, trusting neither cameras both seen and unseen nor the people surrounding her. Even the banks became a suspect, for she withdrew all that she could and never looked back. The life of freedom she craved only shriveled from his constant internal existence tainting and clawing at her thoughts, maniacally zealous with still being in control.

“Donna Renetta, do you take Tracey Laurence to be your husband?”

As morning breaks, the sun peaking out from the horizon to help paint the sky, she follows the sidewalk of a new location. A jacket covers her frame, a hood hanging low over her frizzled hair, her eyes keep to the ground watching her over worn sneakers pass those both new and well loved that sway away from her melancholy and suspicious presence. The side of a newspaper vending machine catches her eye, drawing her out of her uneasy thoughts. The air also catches her attention, filled with the fragrance of freshly baked goods and coffee that dances around her, enticing her stomach into reminding her that she has yet to eat. A newspaper and breakfast sounds like a perfect way to both start a new day and hopefully calm her mind for a time being.

With a newspaper bought, she opens the door to the little café, strengthening the exquisite scent. The freckled redhead behind the counter verbally greets and welcomes her along with a small smile before taking her timid order. After paying, she sits down on a deep green cushioned booth in the back corner with a sigh, trying to release the crawling anxiety that strangers plant inside her. She takes a quick glace at the small woman before letting herself become immersed in the weekly happenings of this location.

Enough time passes for her to read through a few articles, the funnies, and finish her indulgently sweet breakfast. She was about to end her reading escapade, when an ad on the next page boldly grabs her gaze:

———

Are you searching for FREEDOM?

Are you searching for a NEW life?

Are you searching for a way to FORGET all who have wronged you?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, than us at Indulgent Oblivion Inc. are here for YOU! Our well-tested and patented transformation technology is condensed in a microchip that can not only change your appearance to give you a new fresh life, but can also allow you to forget whoever you want in order to help you become someone new. To sign up for this quick and easy procedure or for any inquires please call 1-888-NEW-LIFE now!

Don’t let yourself live in hiding from your past; instead, allow yourself to be free.

———

“Do you promise to be faithful to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love him and to honor him all the days of your life?”

Time seemed to stand still as she stared wide eyed at the ad before her. Such an impossible opportunity presented with staggering promises. Promises that blatantly exclaim that they have the ability to break her out of his cage, that they can help allow her to live her life without fear. The thought fills her with hope, but it also strikes her heart with dread that causes that hope falter and droop.

What if this is some highly elaborate trap that was planted to allure her with false promises that builds up her hope only to quell it with the microchip instead being a small tracker that they’ll embed under her skin, allowing him to find her no matter what she does? She knows that his intelligence is just as strong as his obsessiveness, that brilliance is what first drew her to him, after all. What was stopping him from using what she craves in order to finally completely control what he deems as his? And yet, what if this is finally her chance to truly be free? What if this is a sign telling her that this suffering can finally be over, that she actually has a chance to live her life in happiness, a chance to connect with others without suspicion, a chance to even find love again? Is she actually willing to throw her hope away, to let this crushing fear brought on and thrive because of him continue to control all the days of her life?

A surge of hope flares through her, springing tears that dampen her eyes as she hurriedly slides out of the booth, holding the newspaper to her rapidly beating chest, crumpling the paper. She jogs out of the café, pausing only to look for a phone. Spotting the dilapidated phone booth had her heart soar and an excited smile decorate her face. There she ran, hope bringing life to her as she looked forward letting her hood fall back unnoticed.

Light labored breaths escaped her as she stared at the number pad, her hand lingered above the phone. The optimistic adrenaline seemed to trickle from her now that she is physically here actually thinking about calling these miracle people. Shaking her head to rid of the crawling thoughts, she sets down the newspaper under the phone and fishes out two quarters from her pocket. She tentatively picks up the phone, listening to the hum mingle with the sound of each press of the numbers. It rings and she holds her breath as nervousness clings to her frame. A soft male voice chimes in sounding friendly, “Thank you for calling Indulgent Oblivion Incorporated. My name is Lance. How may I be of service?”

“Hello, Lance. My name’s—,” she trails off, pausing from a bubble of nervous hesitation choking back her words. With a tightening of her hand on the phone, the other’s fingers twisted within the cord, she swallows back the bubble and takes a deep breath followed by a shuttering release, “My name is Donna Renetta and I’m calling about your ad in the paper, the one that’ll let me be free.”

“I do.”

Written by xandraxian

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