Broken Up: A short short alternate fiction story
DRIVE-BY STORIES #19
Romeo waited in torment to die with nothing but dank walls and the blood and bowels stink of Paris for company among the mouldering dead. Juliet dead!
He clutched the vial purchased this afternoon at the apothecary after the news had pierced his heart. He'd come to the crypt to lie beside his wife—so short a time they had!—and join her in death.
Only to discover no Juliet, only Paris weeping inconsolable and distraught. In a furious rage, Paris had attacked. It was not Romeo's doing. He was blameless and grieved.
"What have you done with her, fiend!" Paris raged, thrusting his dagger at Romeo without pause for an answer.
Desperate and bewildered, Romeo caught at Paris's arm. They struggled. In the struggle, Romeo discovered his own hand acting as if on its own accord, sinking his dagger into Paris's guts.
Paris screamed then and fell gasping. "Fiend! You are a curse on our house. You've slain me and damn you and your house."
Romeo wrenched his dagger free and his elbow drew back, paused. "I only sought my Juliet, my wife. What have you done with her?"
Blood choked Paris as his eyes widened with the vision of his death. He grinned, showing bloodied teeth. No answer. No explanation for Juliet's absence. Romeo's dagger found Paris's heart and cut the last ties with this world. With Paris dead and foul, Romeo threw his offending dagger aside, staggered back to the slab that should hold Juliet and offered only cold stone instead.
Paris must have hidden her body. Spirited it away to deny him, Romeo, of his final rest with his wife. The poison. Romeo stared at the vial with his dark contents. Denied his proper place with his wife, the poison remained his only comfort. The world held nothing for him now.
A quick poison, the apothecary said. Merciful.
Romeo smiled bitterly. He didn't deserve mercy. He had failed Juliet, as he failed everyone. Was a coward's death his only option now? It wasn't such, if he was to spend an eternity with his bride, but she was gone. That insult must be avenged up those who wronged them both. His much deserved punishment, to go on without Juliet.
Grinning like a skull, Romeo popped the stopper from the vial and up ended the foul contents onto the slab where Juliet's body belonged in rest. He threw it aside and fetched his dagger. Cleaning it on his cloak, he started for the stairs back to the surface and his fate.
Juliet sipped the tall Starbucks latte cautiously. Her eyes widened in pure delight. "What is this?"
The Time Traveler smiled, her red lips curving into knowing lines. "One of the many joys of this period. I can't wait to show you everything."
"I've never seen such wonders." Juliet ran a hand over the soft leather of her new jacket. "And the clothes! The buildings holding up the sky. You say Romeo will not know of my absence?"
The Time Traveler shook her head, red curls bouncing. "When we return not one grain of sand will have fallen in an hourglass, it doesn't matter how long we stay."
It was so wondrous. Romeo wouldn't believe her when she told him of her encounter with the Time Traveler who gave her an alternative than the Friar's potion. They could both escape to this time and live together. First, she sipped the coffee and thought of all of the things she wanted to see before going back.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!
This is a new challenge. I’m writing short short stories, under 2,000 words, many under 1,000 words. I’m sharing them to my Instagram stories. They’ll drop off that, but premium READINARY subscribers can read the full archive of stories here. When I have 100 stories, I’ll publish a collection of them all.
Best wishes, always — Ryan
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