What Could Happen By Matthew C. Funk.

Cassie's hands were shaking when she woke up. They were able to turn off the alarm clock. They grabbed a Power Bar just in time. They turned the lock on the door even though it would only take a small rock to break her front window.

Her hands were no good when it came to making things steady, though. Cassie kept them at her side as she walked down Claiborne Street toward the Saturn Bar.

Cassie's hands hadn't been steady since she read about Laurie Young being found.

Passing by the Black Cat Mini Mart, Cassie looked at the hand-painted sign propped in its windows. The sign was a pair of dice showing boxcars-two sixes. Cassie wondered if people had to dream of being lucky before they actually were.

Was it the same with death? Did people have nightmares the night before they died? Did they wake up, shake the monsters away and go into their day, never suspecting that this would be the day it all ended?

The alternative seemed worse.

Cassie looked at the sidewalk ahead. Kids had chalked a picture of flowers and guns there. An ambulance roared by down Claiborne. Somewhere there was laughter.

Did Laurie Young dream good dreams the night before she was taken and torn and dropped in the alley behind Big Lots? Did she have a dream of dancing at the prom she had shared with Cassie? Did she dream of her family, wake with a smile, and was taken anyway?

The Saturn Bar door jingled. Neon was smiling above beer signs and posters of jazz musicians. The air smelled like cigarettes and peppers and a dozen perfumes.

So much joy, sad and happy alike. Cassie marveled at it. She lifted the bar divider with shaking hands and did not meet the eyes of Alan, the bartender.

"Alan," Cassie said. "Do we have a gun here?"

If Alan gave her a look, Cassie didn't see it. She was looking at the cherries and the limes and the olives in their neat containers. She wondered what taste would be good enough to be a last taste.

"A gun?" Alan chuckled. "Why? What could happen?"

Cassie no more knew how to answer than she knew how to stop her hands from shaking. She used them to punch the clock and tie on her apron.

That would have to do.

Matthew C. Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily, and a writer for FangirlTastic and Spinetingler Magazine. M. C. Funk's work features at numerous sites online and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crimefactory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.


McDroll said...

Thought provoking one this..so much left unsaid....love that!

Thomas Pluck said...

You capture the fear well, every crime has a ripple effect that goes on for miles.

Madam Z said...

Yes, any day could be our last. Being reminded of that makes my hands feel a little shakey right now. Well said, Matthew.

Anonymous said...

Indirect and powerful, Matthew. Post Traumatic Shock ain't just for Soldiers. nice cange up to your fastball, man. See you next Sunday at Noir At The Bar?

Christopher Black said...

Great writing. That last line couldn't be more perfect.

Bruce Harris said...

We've all experienced those thoughts. I like the way this one ends.

Benjamin Sobieck said...

The paranoia seeps through every line in this piece. There's so much story here. I love the bit about choosing her last taste. It's consuming her. I want another installment!

Anthony Cowin said...

This really did shake my mind a bit.

As others say that knowledge we have that this could be our last is often pushed to the back of the cupboard in our mind, but when me move stuff about and see it it unnerves for a while.

I like the bookending of the clocks- one the alarm to shock her into waking, the other to clock into work and fall back into a sleep of ignorance about death. Highlights how we're all just living between ticking hands.


Ben said...

Nice work! I like how you structured this around her hands shaking. Very human approach. I love your stories, man, but I can't wait until I can read a novel from you!

David Barber said...

Great works as usual, Matthew. Really enjoyed this. A very REAL piece of writing. Well done!

david james keaton said...

good stuff. bad thoughts worming their way into the brains of everyone, no matter how unconnected to a bad thing that happened.

John Kenyon said...

You cover a lot of psychic territory in just a few lines here, Matt. Haunting.

M. C. Funk said...

Thank you all for the inspiring comments. I had hoped to hit the mark by aiming for the indirect. Exploring the terror of what's unsaid and yet undone was a pleasure. Your feedback has made it a blessing. I am happy to haunt you by sharing my ghosts.

Nick Mott said...

The beauty of pieces like these are that the reader has to fill in so many blanks all to the literal theme-tune of the fear that you've created. Nice one. enjoyed a lot.

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