Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trifecta's writing prompt 100

PHANTOM (noun)

1   a :  something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence :  APPARITION

     b :  something elusive or visionary

     c :  an object of continual dread or abhorrence <the phantom of disease and want>

2 :  something existing in appearance only

3 :  a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal <she was a phantom of delight — William Wordsworth>


    Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.

    You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.

    The word itself needs to be included in your response.

    You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.

    Only one entry per writer.

    If your post doesn't meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.

    Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

- See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/


I was four on 9/11/2001, that day has forever changed my life.  My parents both worked there the day the planes hit. I can’t even remember what they looked like; they're images are just phantoms that have gradually faded away like an old cash register receipt.

Aunt Eva got me; she’s nice and does her best, but she never had kids so we just kind of wing it. In the beginning I’d ask for mommy and daddy. I’ve been seeing a shrink ever since I can remember. They put me on some anti-depression meds when I was thirteen. I no longer felt depressed; in fact I didn’t really feel anything. I went through life on autopilot not caring about anything, just doing what was expected of me.

At sixteen I skipped school heading for the 9/11 memorial.  Standing among the long sheets of bronze, waterfalls and the setting sun, I still feel nothing. I’m off my meds; it’s nearly a month now; nobody notices but there’s clarity about things. My parent’s names are engraved here. I lay a hand on the cold bronze, gripping the box cutter with the other.

Such a small thing to cause so much destruction. The razor’s edge turns blood red  from the setting sun. The names will be lit up soon. I’d like to see that, if I’m still here. I flip my left hand over; my pulse throbs. My ears are filled with the sounds of the waterfalls, and the pounding of my heart. People walk by; a whiff of perfume and I think of my mom.  The cutter’s poised above my wrist. One fast, deep stroke. That’s all; that’s why I’m here. Still I feel nothing; I should feel something, maybe once it’s done.

An old man is, staring at me.
“Do it and you let those bastards win.” he says
I stare back for one long moment, dropping the cutter with a clatter, sinking to my knees and begin to bawl.


  1. This is so sad. I got a little choked up at the end. All those years of not feeling...that's a lot of crying to make up for.

  2. Thanks, Ir was a bit more powerful at 509 words, but I had to pare it down. I had to stop near the end to go blow my nose and wipe my eyes.l

  3. I was bawling by the end too. This was an heart wrenching, amazing piece of writing!

    1. Thanks, this all came to me in a dream one night this week. When I got it down it was 509 words, the hard part was getting it down below the 333 mark.

  4. Very sad, very touching. I really liked the brusque, hard words of the old man at the end - the contrast with all of the emotional weight was very effective. Nice job!

  5. Seems like the logical thing for him to do, a dramatic end to his lonely, tragic life. It also seemed like he was waiting for someone like the old man to say something.
    Will take a while for those tears to get done!

    Bit of crit: the prompt is for a noun (pretty easy fix), and the end, 'began' should be 'begin'.

    1. Thanks for the read and the crit, I saw that after I posted it. I'll fix it now that someone else has pointed out.

  6. My favorite part about this was the descriptions of life with the childless aunt. Great job staying in character there. Thanks for linking up.

    1. Thanks, I'm really enjoying the challenge. I love writing short and to the point.

  7. Great build up with so much upheaval in in the initial stage with loss,grief unexpressed leading slowly to a seemingly "getting to be normal" life,ending almost tragically-saved at the last minute by the old man-a stray character and all that pent up grief let out in that "bawling" -awesome!

    1. I really appreciate all of this great feedback,