Short Stories

A Ring Of Ashes

“What are you doing? Stop right now! I ask you to…stooop!” yelled the blonde woman as she curled up in the corner. She was a well-dressed middle-aged lady, dressed in an expensive beige dress, adorned with shiny jewelry and a gleaming necklace covering her naked bust.

Man: “Ohh so now you want me away, is it? You want nothing with any of this anymore?” He pulled down the back of her hair as he whispered in her ear, tingling it with tense electricity, as his voice rambled out of his teeth.

Woman: “I never wanted any of this” She responded with exasperated anger squeezing her eyes.

The man grabbed her jaw with his left hand feeling her cheeks. 

“You didn’t seem to object much the other night honey.” He snarled with a dose of sadistic pleasure.

The woman pushed him back and slapped him in full force with her right hand. 

“Don’t you ever mention that again! Do you hear me?” she raised her finger pointing at him aggressively.

The man held his face with the startle of a pleasant shock, as he looked back at her.

“Don’t you think it’s a bit too late to deny this now?” his warm voice accompanied a slight tilt of his neck to the right.

He was in his mid-30s wearing a leather jacket and his glistening set of hair would fall fluently on his forehead. He had a doll-like smile constantly drawn on his face as if it was scarfed right into his flesh and the playful eyes of a young kid.

Woman: “You are disgusting! You are the husband of my own daughter. How dare you?”

He smirked a big smile as he caustically approached her again with a hoppy bouncing manner.

Man: “I guess the same way you dare it yourself.” he said as he winked at her. The woman seemed astonished and opened her mouth in shock before the man grabbed her with brute force and kissed her vigorously. The woman’s hands although gripped in fists in front of her chest, dissolved quickly into meekness as they dropped straight on her sides. The man was holding her head firmly with his two hands when suddenly a female voice came from the next room.

“Brian? Mother? Anybody here?” The woman threw her purse on the sofa in a gracious way and draped her jacket over the stand. She was a young beautiful woman with elegant dressing and delicate manners. She purred some Whisky in the glass and start removing the set of earrings out of her.

Mother: “She is here! Get out now! I’ll join you in a couple of minutes.”

The man back-stepped away from her, all while looking at her straight in the eye. As he reached the front of the door he yelled “Coming honey” as he smiley winked on the mother and opened the door.

The moment he got out the mother exasperated a big breath transforming from a tough, strong woman to a vulnerable one. She held her two hands in the washbasin and bent her head between her stretched arms, remaining still for a few seconds. She exasperated another big breath and then raised her head again, observing her face in the mirror. She swept off some cries and fixed her disheveled hair and crayon that had shoved all over her face. Her eyes were filled with black circles from the wet make-up and together with the dispersed redness of her crayon it gave an impression of a clownish mask.

She started rubbing her face, cleaning it up as best as she could when she abruptly stopped for a few seconds. With her right hand she touched upon her eye wrinkles, tapping them in a tender way but without showing any expression. Then she softly touched her face over her hand and closed her eyes, smiling, as if she found something beautiful and tender. She remained at this position for a bit before the murmurs of the other room snap her back into reality. She took the rose and start putting some make-up in a hurry as she turned over and shoved out of the door.

Woman: “..and then this guy kept asking again and again: ‘I want to see the manager. Please call out the manager’. And I was all alone trying to calm him down. I tried to speak to him the best way I could, but he wouldn’t listen to any of it. It was such a horrible..horrible day. I only wonder how can people act like that…” she stood for a bit looking at something abstractly. “… like soulless robots.”

Man: “Ohh honey such a terrible day you had there.” He said as he hugged her tightly.

The woman leaned over his shoulders as she cleaned her nose with a white napkin.

Mother: “Ohh darling are you alright?” The mother ran over to her daughter separating her from the man.

Woman: “Mother!” she said in exasperation as she extended her hands to her.

The mother held them up before she cleaned up her face with her two thumbs.

Mother: “Darling I can’t believe you didn’t call me already. Haven’t I told you to talk to me immediately when something happens to you..”

Woman: “I know’s just that everything happened so fast and I got distracted..” she said in a tiresome way taking a dizzy expression holding her head with her fingers.

Mother: “Did he cause any trouble to you? Did he hurt you in any way?” she said alarmed as she tapped her hair in a caring way.

Woman: “No, no mother everything went fine in the end. It just was so stressful and upsetting. It almost caused me a heart attack..”

Mother: “Ohh dear! I think you need to rest. Come inside to lie down for a second. Brian was actually just leaving us anyway. Don’t worry about that. You just follow me in the bedroom and have some time off.” She held her body with her two hands as she turned over to the man.

“Now if you would excuse us, Brian. Kathryn needs to take some rest.” she nodded at him with a rough meaningful expression that the man picked off and approached the door.

The mother guided Kathryn on the bed and stand over her as she lied down to sleep. 

“Ohh mother it’s all fine you don’t need to exaggerate the whole thing.”

Mother: “You don’t worry about any of that now.” She tapped her hair again. “Just have some rest and we can chat about it tomorrow.” She smiled at her as she got out of the door.


The next morning came with a beautiful spring sunrise. The mother was waiting in the kitchen but unlike other times, she skipped her usual newspaper reading, setting her standing in the table incomplete, with a mere cup of coffee. She seemed relaxed but alert at the same time. Kathryn came out of her room and approached with a morning yawn and hair that would remind a rampant bush. She scratched her head with her right hand and said:

“Ain’t that some beautiful morning now?” She stretched her body end to end reminding the morning wake-up of a big feline.

The mother sipped over her coffee and waited for her to finish.

Kathryn: “Are you alone here? Where is Brian?”

Mother: “Why don’t you sit down for a moment. I would like to have a talk with you.”

Kathryn: “A talk? That doesn’t sound like a good start for such a day… why are you so broody?”

Mother: “Well…maybe because we need to get serious if we are to fix certain things”

Kathryn: “ohh…Mother why don’t you tell me what happened?”

Mother: “The thing I ‘ve been telling you for so long happened! I don’t want you to see this man anymore.” she exasperated. Kathryn seemed motionless for a bit.

Mother: “He is not a good man for you! Can’t you see this? You deserve so much better.”

Kathryn: “Mother I thought we were passed the teenage years for some time now.”

Mother: “Ohh stop it now! you know what I m talking about. He is the person that would abandon his family to save his own ass. He would leave you in a split of a second if there was a reason for it.” She raised up and stared at her with an expressionless look. “He…can not…be trusted.”

Kathryn: “Brian has stood for me all these years! I never understood why you hate him so much!”

Mother: “I don’t hate him. He is just not worthy of you honey. Can’t you see that?”

They got into a quarrel that continued for some time. They would rarely get into fights but in such cases their words would become harsh and rough. Like knives were thrown all around between them. As it always happened the discourse would end with the mother leaving crying in the midst of her despair.


In the evening Kathryn met with Brian at his apartment. She seemed content as she lied her head over his hairy chest. Her fingers started marking a path over his body as she gleaned them over him, from the belly all over to his neck.

Kathryn: “I can’t understand why she is opposing us so harshly”

Brian sipped a big puff out of his cigarette as he was staring straight ahead at the ceiling.

Kathryn: “She was always against me somehow. She was always trying to find the smallest of reasons to attack me.” she said as she pinched her fingers on his body. Brian held her hand restricting it from going any further.

Kathryn: “Especially since father died she has been drifting quite a lot.” She started tapping her fingers consequentially one after the other. “I think she needs someone in her life.”

The man took her hand out of his chest as he raised from the bed.

Kathryn: “What got into you?”

Brian: “Nothing. I got to go to work.” he said grudgingly as he started dressing up.

Kathryn: “Somebody is in the mood today, isn’t he?” She turned on her back as she stretched her arms wide open. And turning her hands into fists she stretched her whole body spreading it in the 4 corners of the bed.


A few days later.

“Kathryn?” yelled the mother as she opened the door. “Are you here honey?” she asked as she gave a look around the room. There seemed to be nobody there. She took her purse and her jacket off and headed over the sofa before the door opened and Brian showed up.

Brian: “What a nice surprise! I knew something good would come up today.”

Mother: “Ohh it’s you.” she took a scolding expression pressing her lips. “Where is Kathryn?”

Brian: “She is out..” he said in a casual tone. “Want a drink?” he showed her a bottle as he took one out and poured liquor into a couple of glasses.

Mother: “No it’s fine.” she dismissed the idea with a hand gesture.

“Don’t you know where she is? When is she coming back?”

Brian started approaching in his usual sardonic manner as he held the 2 glasses in his hand.

Brian: “Ohh don’t you worry about that. She should be back in an hour or so. Why don’t you have a drink? It’s good..” he said as he extended his right hand, offering one to her.

She raised her hand on her chest as if trying to avoid him but then she hesitated. She looked at the drink and then right back at him. He was holding his gaze steady at her not been affected by her wavering. She glanced at him and took the glass.

Mother: “You better don’t think you can gain my sympathy with your little acts” she pointed at him while raising her glass and then sipping from it. 

“I want you out of my daughter’s life. For good!” She said as she emptied the whole glass.

Brian: “Wooow, don’t you think you are going a bit too far with this?” He responded in a sarcastic way semi-laughing.

Mother: “I know what you are. You are a scum bug spending your time trying to deceive people for your own benefits. But you are not fooling me. I know you exactly what you are doing and what you are after. And I can’t let that happen. I can’t let you drag down my little sweetheart.”

Brian: “Does you little sweetheart knows that you fucked her husband?”

Mother: “You disgusting bastard.” said as she slapped him.

“Get out of my sight now! I don’t want to see you again!” She screamed as she tried to hit him again. But he caught her hand before she got the time to do so.

Brian: “Now you hold on there. I wasn’t the one that started any of it! That’s all your doing!” he yelled still pressuring her hand tightly.

Mother: “Let me go you bastard!” The woman fought him with all her power but he was too strong for any of it. He threw the glass on the floor and shook her up as he held her by the arms.

Brian: “Stop you dam woman. Stop!”

The mother was still fighting him as she was tearing to pieces and her rich blond hair were covering her whole face.

Brian: “Stop it damn you, just stop it! Can’t you hear me?”

He said as he grabbed her head and kissed her violently. The woman initially put up a fight trying to resist it but eventually she gave up completely into it. Their connection was like a moving inferno. They kissed each other passionately as their movements reminded the little dancing flames make as they burn.


For the next few days the mother didn’t pay any visit to her daughter. She avoided any calls from her, more than necessary, and minimized all interactions with them.

Kathryn: “Very strange for her not to visit for my birthday.” She said in a sad tone. “She would never miss such a celebration for the world.

Brian: “Maybe she doesn’t feel very well” he said indifferently.

Kathryn: “I don’t know it feels strange. Not what I ‘ve been used of her for all my life anyway.”

Brian: “People have different sides we never see. Maybe there are things you don’t know of her.”

Kathryn : “You shut uppp!” She said teasingly throwing a towel at him. “Are you really suggesting I don’t know my own mamma?”

Brian: “You can never know a person 100%. Not even yourself. Albert Einstein!”

Kathryn: “Einstein never said such a thing!” She laughed. “You are so full of shit!” 

Brian: “Aren’t we all honey?” He joked as he sipped over his beer. 

“We run out of drinks…” he said bewildered.

Kathryn: “Ohh darling I forgot to bring some drinks back today. What would you say..” she raised up and ran on him hugging him from his back. “…if you would get over the corner to bring some?” she smooched him playfully on his cheek.

He laughed and shrugged in disbelief. “Were you always so lazy darling?” he joked as he kissed her back. “..I guess you don’t leave me a choice there do you..”

Kathryn: ‘No I guess I don’t!” She said as she snuggled her face at him”.

Brian got dressed and got out for the usual neighborhood mini-store. Although a small place it had enough variety to refuel any shortages that could occur from time to time. A handy little convenience he could capitalize on in less than 10 minutes.

He got inside the store and picked a full bag of different varieties including drinks he would barely touch himself. The night was set about to include friends and some good old fashioned home celebration that would most likely drag till the morning hours. That meant he had to account for some supplies just in case. He gathered everything up and got out of the store again. It was already late afternoon and the darkness had already started settling its way all around. As he walked down the alley his footsteps would make a tense clap noise that he would always find very amusing. Like the beating of his heart he used to think. His little amusement though was disrupted by some whispers coming out from behind him.

“Who is there?” he yelled as he turned around to check. He remained motionless for a few seconds as his eyes darted left and right. He couldn’t spot anything concrete so he started marching back on his road again. Although it seemed like a calm night he was frightened and alert. As if something was giving him the creeps. And then he heard it again.

“Who is there?” He yelled even louder. He couldn’t spot anything particular but he was sure someone was around. He checked really carefully but he couldn’t detect anything at all. His face took on a worried expression as he started walking vigorously in a hurry. He could still hear the noise closing up on him, so he started running urgently. The house was only around 5 minutes away so he should be there in no time.

Another noise struck behind him making him turn back to check when a big strike hit him from afront throwing him down in the ground. His vision got dizzy as the fall was abrupt. He could merely make anything out when a gun appeared in front of his face. The guy cocked it.

Brian raised his hands in front of his face and pleaded back at him. “Man please don’t! I ‘ll give you anything you want!” he yelled.

“Sorry pal, this is nothing personal” the voice said as he shot at him twice…


A few days passed and the mother found herself having a coffee in a little outdoors-cafe. She was dressed in a full black dress with accompanying black gloves and a black hat. She was having a peaceful morning sitting in the patio as her phone start ringing. She left the coffee down and answered with a warm voice:


“Ohh Nick darling how are you doing, is everything good?” She waited for a few seconds.

“Thank you for your services you did an excellent job I have to admit.”

“Why don’t you come over the little cafe for a quick catch up?”