I Still Can’t Breathe

Hey there friends and fans! About two years ago I had a small snippet of a story pop into my head and I wrote it down quickly, placing it both in a blog and on my Facebook page to get outside opinions.

At the time I wasn’t sure exactly where it had come from or what it meant, and I’ve returned to it on and off through the years. At this point I’m thinking it may be the inspiration for  a potentially non-supernatural serial killer story. I’ve dabbled a bit in standard fiction, and I always prefer including the supernatural and horror elements in my work, but I think this piece has promise. I wanted to share it again here, so you could check it out. I’d love to have anyone and everyone’s opinion on this short piece of writing. What do you think as you read it? What do you feel? Can you even breathe, because sometimes I can’t.  Anyway, here is the piece, please give me feedback!!

I can’t breathe. My heart is pounding, my legs are throbbing and I can’t breathe. I don’t know how long I’ve been running or how much longer I can keep it up, but I know I can’t stop. The sun has been down for what seems like forever and the faint light is still clinging to the autumn day. My lungs are on fire; my chest feels like it’s going to explode. It’s just when I think things can’t get any worse that I make a terrible decision. I glance behind me to see how close my pursuer is and my foot finds a hole I hadn’t expected to be there. I feel my ankle snap like a twig, the sound ringing out like a shot in the silence. I hit the ground, feel the wind rush out of me and grab my leg. I don’t even have enough breath to scream as I roll over, mouth open in a terrible grimace and find that my attacker is on me.

                I see now that he is brandishing a knife and realize instantly that he means to use it on me. In the faint light I notice the tell-tale stain of rust on the blade as it arcs toward me, catching the reflection of the tree line I’d intended to be my salvation just before it plunges into my chest and out of sight. My first thought, rather than of my life, is of such a poorly manicured knife and what sickness it could bring if used in a culinary fashion.  I don’t have time or energy to react to the man’s attack, and soon it’s too late.

                I feel the pressure first, like being in school and having the pencil in your pocket stab your skin when you sit down. Before I know it the pressure becomes a white hot poker of misery as split and severed nerve endings begin screaming in a hellish, tortured chorus, the warmth inside my chest spreading outwards as my blood flows from newly opened veins. My last thought is a realization that both allows and solidifies my outcome; I am dying. 

Interesting Writing Prompt

So I recently followed a blogger who gives Friday writing prompts and this one really tickled my fancy so I thought I would give it a go. I will link the original post either at the bottom of this post or in the comments so you can all check it out if you’re interested.

I held the note in my hand, barely aware that I was squeezing the crumpled paper tightly enough to make my knuckles turn white. My body shook as the meaning of the words I’d just read sank in. White hot tears filled my eyes, burning lines into my pallid flesh as they ran down my cheeks. How could this have happened? I could see the words every time I blinked, the severity of the barely legible scrawl seared onto my eyelids, giving me no hope of escaping them. The note itself was small, barely filling one Post-it, but the words themselves seemed to bear down on me with a weight I wouldn’t have believed.

“There was a shooting, your father didn’t make it.”

Those words, circling in my head on consistent loop, made my stomach clench as I opened the note to make sure I hadn’t misread it. Tears splashed onto the page as I felt my heart pounding in my chest. My father, the greatest police chief the city had seen in decades, had been shot. Killed. I hunched over as the first dry-heave wracked my body. I had begged him to stay away from the gang fights, told him to send in S.W.A.T. teams and let them handle it. I knew he wouldn’t listen. He had always felt that one man standing in strength, speaking in peace could do more than a team of men with guns who were ready to kill. In his defense it had always worked, until now.

There was no doubt in my mind that it was my fault. I had seen it happen before I even spoke to him this morning. The dream had terrified me so much that I called my father at four in the morning to beg him not to go, the vision of his body being torn apart by bullets playing in my head as I heard his voice go from being groggy to stern. I told him I knew something was going to go wrong and that he didn’t need to prove anything to anyone. His response was as I expected.

He was stubborn as ever in his certainty that a single man could save the day, and no stupid dream was going to stop him. The silence of the phone had only reminded me more that I was alone, as I had always been. I was aware that the people around me were trying to speak to me, but I couldn’t respond. My tongue filled my mouth, almost cutting off my air, making it impossible to speak. Reaching my hand up, I felt the stubble of my growing beard graze my hand. I looked down at the barely legible blue ink there, the old shape of a half-assed coffin printed on the flesh between my pointer finger and my thumb.

My father had practically disowned me the first time he saw that mark, knowing that when I told him I’d killed a man the week before I hadn’t been lying. He had kicked me out of his house against my mother’s will, leaving me to fend for myself or go to the gang for help. I chose my own path. The gang had hounded me for months, finally giving up when they remembered I had two younger siblings. I couldn’t convince my father of this no matter how hard I tried. He was certain my younger brothers were stronger than I was, that they would never make the decisions I had.

I struggled to my knees, trying to stand as I heard the doors open, a gasp coming from everyone who could see the new arrival. I had seen this part as well and knew that I must prepare myself for what was coming. Screams broke out as my brothers pushed their way into the room, their large pistols pointed right at my face. I had just enough time to realize every bit of my dream had been true as I saw the bloody shape of blue coffin, freshly tattooed on the flesh on my youngest brother’s hand as he pulled the trigger.


I know the prompt says no violence, and I honestly didn’t intend on having any here. This story literally just came through me in a way that I’ve described this week, and I have to say I like it. I know some of you might not like it, just like I know what I tried to do may not have come through, so if you have any questions or issues please feel free to leave a comment! I hope you all enjoyed this and I hope you’ll participate!