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Why Am I Sad?

A Collection of Short Stories

By Karen Blake

Copyright 2017 by Karen Blake

First Smashwords Edition

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The Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Info

Table of Contents

Introduction

Kayleigh’s Story

The Doorbell

What Will Love Cost Us?

Information About the Author



Introduction

This is a small collection of short stories and flash fictions. This collection is named “Why Am I Sad” because these stories are full of emotions and most of those emotions are mainly sad or depressing. This is done because a lot of love stories are happy and have happy endings but love stories do not always have to have a happy ending. Two of these stories are “prologue” type style writings because they give way to other stories, but they do have enough information and conclusion to be their own stories.



Kayleigh’s Story





By the time I reach a dark, quiet back road, I was already feeling lightheaded from the open wound on my cheek. Stopping on the side of the road, I took a shaky breath as my hands tremble uncontrollably. I was soon ripped out of my reverie by intensely bright lights. “This is it…” I whisper to no one in particular, as the lights came closer and I can see the bright red pickup truck, and I start to wave my hand wildly, hopefully indicating that I need the driver to stop. The truck rolled to a stop and I was shocked to see a strikingly beautiful girl, who looked just as shocked to see me, as well. I couldn’t blame her either; I was apparently gorgeous to people or I wouldn’t have been working in the business that I was forced into and couldn’t escape from without a struggle.

“You look like you need to get away from here, darlin’…” The girl said in a warm, southern drawl. Her voice sounded like honey to me, and I wanted to just break down and cry right there in the road. Quickly, I found my voice and let her know I did. Once I was settled down in the truck, the girl looked at me, her eyes questioning. I gulped in anticipation, would she kick me out for looking like I did? “No bags?” She asked, looking out of her window.

Relieved, I answer the question eagerly. “No bags. Just the clothes on my back.” She turned back to me, and her eyebrows quirked at my remark. My stockings were torn and my heels were too high, my dress to short. I squirmed under her scrutiny. She turned away and began to drive. No longer being able to stay silent, I finally decided to tell someone the truth…a stranger, nonetheless.

As soon as her mouth opened, my skin prickled and my hands gripped at the seat. “My name is Alayna.” She beams at my dumbfounded reaction.

“My name is Kayleigh…” I mumble, analyzing her facial features. She was beautiful, with high cheekbones and perfectly shaped lips. “Are you a model?” I ask, immediately wanting to take back the words. You’re not a man trying to flirt, stop asking stupid questions! I chastised myself silently. Alayna laughs at my discomfort.

“Actually, yes and you should be, too. I can get you in the business.” She offers. “Oh, sweetheart, it’s nothing like that…and if you want, I can always be there to make sure it doesn’t happen that way.” She looked like she wanted to take back that last part, her cheeks flush a beautiful pink. I smile shyly, the nagging fear residing.

“Yes, I’d like that…but what about…” I trail off, turning away.

“I’ll protect you.” She promises adamantly and grabs my hand, lacing her elegant fingers through my own bruised ones.

The sun was starting to peek out over the horizon. A warm and sweet sensation washed over me, was this what safety felt like? I had forgotten over the years. “Are you hungry, Kayleigh? I was on a road trip for a shoot but I can stop for a few minutes…” Alayna says, slowing down after I nod. She pulls into a small diner’s parking lot and turns to me, seemingly memorizing my face.

Slowly, as if not to scare me away, her hand rises, and she caresses my wounded cheek with her soft, perfect hands. Slowly, her finger traces the outline of my cheek, my nose, and my lips. I shy away and she looks hurt.

“Alayna, how old are you?” I quickly search for a distraction.

She squints her eyes at me before answering. “Twenty-three, and yourself?” I smirk, and she tilts her head in confusion.

“I just turned eighteen today.” She lets out a surprised yelp and I’m the one to laugh at the discomfort now. “That’s right, I ran away in time for my eighteenth birthday…isn’t that ironic?” Her eyes fill with something sadly familiar. She smiles through her tears, something I’ve done for many years.

“Happy birthday, Kayleigh…let’s make this a good one.” She says and gets out of the truck, quickly coming around the other side to open the door. I jump out and embrace her. She laughs and encircles me with her surprisingly strong arms. I press my face into her neck, breathing in her lovely scent.

“Thank you.” She was the one to save me, like no man ever did.



The Doorbell





The doorbell rang, ripping me away from my game. I look over at the door, tempted not to answer. “Ah, Hell…” I mutter and get up.

As I made my way to the door, I could feel my skin crawling with apprehension, something I’ve never felt before living in this house. I have always had a problem warding off trouble. I shook my head, clearing my thought. Reaching for my doorknob, my skin prickled. What’s wrong with you? I snapped at myself silently. Fearlessly, I swung the door open and was shocked at the emptiness in front of me.

“Hello,” I call out, “is anyone there?”

Terrified, I go to close my door when I saw a box labeled with my name: Hayden. Other than my name being scrawled out in perfect calligraphy, the box was ordinary. Slowly, I bend down to pick up the box. Once I have it in my grasp, I retreat into the comfort of my home. I put the box down quickly and stare at it numbly. I don’t remember ordering anything and I surely never get surprises from my family, seeing as they hate me for “abandoning” them to live with my girlfriend. In the middle of my foyer, I sit down and gaze at the box with reproach. Should I wait for Layla to get home? I shook my head at the idea, she would laugh at me for being scared. With care, I reach into my pocket and grab my knife, ready to open the box.

Ignoring the warnings in my head, I rip open the box and met with a book labeled again with my name.

“What the…” I whisper.

Angry now, I reach into the box and snatch the book up. Even with an overwhelming feeling of foreboding, I rip the book open, the binding protesting. I’m met with drawings of me, my family, and seemingly every moment in my life. My heart stops. Do I have a stalker now? I look at the beginning of the book and see no “author”. Panicking, I flip through the pages, seeing all my laughter and heartbreak. I skip around, feeling a little creeped out more than anything. I get to the page that I don’t recognize. It’s a drawing of me crying over a coffin. Dread fills me and I run over to my couch, hurriedly trying to find my phone.

Once I find it, I see that I have missed a call from an unknown number. They left a voicemail, as well. Gulping, I open the voicemail.

“Hello, Hayden? Is this the right number? It’s Layla’s mom, we’re at the hospital. She was attacked and when they saw the ring on her finger they freaked out…she didn’t make it, please call back and be safe. I’m sorry we never got to know you before this…alright, call me back.”

What? This was too soon, this wasn’t real, this can’t be real. Hoping for a different story, I turn on the TV, tears flooding my eyes. Switching to the news, I held my breath as I read the headline…

“Young Woman in Critical Condition after a Vicious Robbery.”

A reporter recited the name of my soulmate and that they just received word that the victim did, indeed, die. Falling back on the couch, I try to collect myself but I can only think irrationally. I want to scream and cry but it stays trapped inside. My soul is scratching at the surface, wanting to exercise its feelings but I bury it, for now.

I drop my phone and remote before I charge back to the box, tearing it open, looking for anything to tell me where it came from. Coming up with nothing, I angrily throw the box to the side and open the book open again. I am now looking for when I go, because I can’t live without her. Hysterical, I flip through the book, ignoring pictures of myself with a family and a new wife. I can’t accept it; no one will ever make me feel like Layla does. Angry at the book and the person that sent me it, I throw it down and look around for a match.

“Layla, I know you love candles, where are those matches, my love?” I scream, feeling my sanity slip from my grasp.

After tearing my house apart, I found the matches next to her favorite candle. Sobbing, I light it before find the book and lighting it on fire. The next step is to add fuel to the fire. I walk to my garage and grab a can full of gas. A new, unsettling calm falls over me as I poor the gas all over the house. Once I was satisfied, I sit in front of a picture of my soulmate and wait.

“No one tells me how I’ll go out!” I yell once more, my sore raw from the smoke already.

This is it. I refuse to live the happy life planned for me when the one person I love is gone and died painfully. This is how I will cope. I don't have the strength to scream when the flames lap over my skin.





What Will Love Cost Us?





“Alexander James and Layla Hadley,” a voice says. “In our custody for violation of the Population Restoration Act.”

“Well, these two sure have made a lot of trouble for us,” another voice says, and I feel someone tremble beside me. “I can’t believe it took us so long to tame them.” I hear a muffled sob and I know exactly who it is; the love of my life. I push against my restraints, hearing the rope struggle to hold me. A laugh pierces the air, and I halt in my struggle.

“Looks like they realized how screwed they are, boss,” the same voice says before it dissolves into a muffle fit of laughter.

“Yes, it surely seems that way…” says the first voice. “Please, relax. We’ll undo the blindfolds now. They surely aren’t necessary anymore.” I feel my blood run cold at the promise behind those words. I hear footsteps nearing before my eyes are met with dim light. I blink rapidly, trying to focus on the figure in front of me. The man steps closer and looms over me. Despite my obvious physical inferiority, I give him a steady glare.

“Well, considering the given situation,” he says. “You still want to protect your woman? What a great boyfriend you are,” he laughs and continues to speak.

“I’m sure you have heard of me, I’ve been called the Enforcer by your people,” he says and laughs, slapping his hands together. “I suppose it is true in some sense, I carry out the law and the consequences set by our leader, but you can call me Trevor.” I watch his minion tear the tape off my partner’s lips. I cringe when I hear her cry out in pain.

“I suppose we got found out,” she says, her breathing ragged. “I’m sorry, Alex.” I grunt when the tape is ripped off my mouth.

“Don’t apologize, Layla,” I say. “I should have been more careful.”

Trevor clears his throat and pulls a chair directly in front of us before plopping down. “I love the romantics, guys,” he says with a laugh. “I really do, but I’m not here to help decide whose fault it is.”

“Then what are you here for,” Layla says, her voice lowered into a hiss. “Other than to ruin everything we worked for?”

Trevor smiles at her. “You are feisty for such a small girl,” he says and leans back into his chair. “I wonder how much pain your body will be able to take before it shuts down.” I incoherently growl at the man, throwing my weight into my restraints. Trevor laughs before leaning forward.

“There’s no need for that,” I finally choke out. “Why would you need to do that?”

“That is the punishment,” he says and puts his hands up in a defensive manner. “I’m just the messenger and executioner, don’t shoot me.”

“Torture and death is the consequence?” Layla asks, her voice small.

“Oh, no,” Trevor says. “One of you dies and the other gets tortured. Lucky for you two, you’re the first pair who have had this punishment, so you get to choose who gets what punishment.” I feel my stomach heave as I list the options silently in my head.

“Please, kill me and torture me,” I say. “Do it anyway you want, but don’t hurt her, please. She doesn’t deserve either, this is my fault.”

Trevor grins and shakes his head at me. “Wow, what a man you are,” he says. “If you were smart and really cared for her, you wouldn’t have started up such a relationship with her, though.”

I grind my teeth. “If our laws weren’t so horribly unfair, we wouldn’t be in this predicament,” I say. “If we weren’t forced to marry someone the government picked out, we wouldn’t have any problems.”

“You know it’s for the greater good, don’t you?” Trevor says and shrugs. “You know, restoring the population to make us a greater nation?”

“That’s a load of bullshit,” I say, my voice echoing off the wall in the empty warehouse. “You know it is.”

“You’re in my house, boy,” Trevor says and leans forward. “You’re not gonna disrespect me in my house, are you?”

“Wait,” Layla cries out, her voice shrill. She gives me a glare before continuing. “Is there no other option, like a trial or something?” Trevor looks mildly amused, a smirk on his face.

“What case would you build for yourselves?” he asks. “You’ve clearly defied all the laws set down for you, but maybe you can sway me.”

“We can’t be expected to love someone we don’t know,” Layla whispers. Her voice raises as she carries on. “We can’t be expected to bear children from someone we don’t love, it’s just not right.”

“We’re not cattle,” I say and look over at Layla. “We shouldn’t be expected to act as such.”

“That’s right, we can’t help who we fall in love with,” she says. “Emotions can’t be controlled, why are we tasked with such an impossible feat?”

“We fell in love and can’t be told to do otherwise,” I say. “We didn’t plan this…but that’s how love works.”

“While this really is touching and such,” Trevor breaks in. “I hate to break it to you that your feelings mean nothing to our leader.”

“As long as I have a voice to speak,” Layla says and fixes her gave on Trevor. “I’ll forever advocate for everyone to have a choice in who they love.”

“I’ll take it upon myself to make your final decision for you two lovebirds. Layla will take on the torture, because we can’t lose and Alex to take the death sentence,” Trevor says. “I’ll be sure to make sure you never speak again, Layla.” I look over at Layla and watch her face crumble with emotion. Her muffled sobs deafen me as I struggle with all of power to try and touch her, my skin burning from the resistance.

“Mike, take care of our loving boyfriend,” Trevor says, and stands. “Leave the girl to me.” I start to cry hysterically too, my hand just barely missing hers as Mike rips my chair backwards and presses a sharp object to my throat.

“Please,” I say, my voice cracking. “She’s pregnant, don’t hurt her!” I feel a warm liquid start to trickle down my skin.

“Trevor,” Layla cries out. “Please don’t, he’s the father of my child, don’t let our child go without a father!” Her tone is pleading and desperate. Trevor’s hand catches her hair and he forces her head back violently. I scream once more.

“I’ll make sure not to hurt the fetus, seeing as that is why we have these laws anyway,” Trevor says. “Although I am making good on my promise of you never speaking again.” Layla’s chest heaves as she sobs loudly and I would do anything just to comfort her once more.

“Goodbye, lover boy…” I hear a voice whisper in my ear before pain erupts through my whole body and my vision goes black. My only comfort was Layla’s voice crying out my name, even if I could barely hear her through all the gurgling noises my ears were being assaulted with.

“Goodbye, my love,” My lips form the words, but I’m met with silence.



###

Thank you for reading my book. I hope you enjoyed it and if so, feel free to contact me and follow any of my pages. I try to post updates and new stories frequently.

About the Author

Karen Blake is a student and author who attends Full Sail University online and is enrolled in the Creative Writing in Entertainment degree program. While attending school, she works as a pricing associate at a local grocery store. She has two publications on the Scarlet Leaf Review. The genres that she writes in most times is Horror/Suspense and Romance Young Adult.

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