Posted in Challenges and Contests, Flash Fiction Pieces, Story a Day May Challenge, Writers' Resources, Writing in Freedom, Writing Samples

Hollow Laughter for Story A Day May; Day Twelve

The Prompt:

Let those who are in favour with their stars
Of public honour and proud titles boast,
Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,
Unlookt for joy in that I honour most.
Great princes’ favourites their fair leaves spread
But as the marigold at the sun’s eye;
And in themselves their pride lies buried,
For at a frown they in their glorie die.
The painful warrior famoused for fight,
After a thousand victories once foil’d,
Is from the book of honour razed quite,
And all the rest forgot for which he toil’d:
Then happy I, that love and am beloved
Where I may not remove nor be removed.”
– William Shakespeare
Sonnet 25

Hollow Laughter

Marilyn looks around her, hugging herself tightly. The overarching trees lean in too close, breathing on her while they scratch and claw at the sky.

What the hell do they want from her?

But she knows. They want her to go back to that damned rehab she just walked out the front door of. Or they want her to go back to that damned house, with its empty, hollow embrace that feels just like Mom’s laugh….never any joy in either one of them.

Whatever the hell they want from her, she’s not giving it to them.

“Not tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow….” The trees leered at her, scratching and clawing. Those words were from something, but she couldn’t remember, and it didn’t matter.

She had to get away from these trees. That house.

Mom’s ghost.

Foul and pestilent congregations of vapor.

The circles her own head ran around in.

She didn’t know where to go. She didn’t know where any of her dealers lived; they came to her for sex, and she took them in Mom and Dad’s bed, pretending it was her own – but it never had been, and it never would be.

That bed was empty – even when she brought a whole orgy in, or all her dolls, there was still nothing really for her there.

That bed, what she did there – all so that she could get what she wanted from them – the only thing that mattered.

Ways to hide from things like pestilent vapors, hollow laughter, empty houses.

When had she decided to come here, to Ophelia’s tiny little place? She’d only been here once, but she remembered that it was a place that was full- like a womb.

Her hands rolled over her belly. It was full; too full. Overflowing with life that didn’t make her feel any more alive, or full.

She was empty.


She tried the door. It wasn’t locked, so she slipped in.

And there were her precious dolls, all piled together in a garbage bag, waiting for her, because she’d asked her sister to keep them for her. She didn’t want them in the vapors or the empty house with its memories of hollow laughter.

She ran to the dolls, dumped them on the bed, found Raggedy And by the secret threads in her hair.

Yes, yes, yes!

She tears the doll’s scalp, brings out her kit, and shoots up. She wants to rest now, surrounded by the mound of dolls who are her only friends. But she can’t let Ophelia know about their secret treasures, and there are trees outside the window; trees that might spy.

She hides the evidence.

But she can’t lay down…not yet. Can’t, because of the scratching, spying trees.

She has to get away from them.

Into Ophelia’s office – to find a huge leather-bound book with gold-edged letters. Filled with words – a vast wealth or words….Ophelia was rich!

But even that wasn’t enough for her greedy sister, who had already stolen so much from her.

All those words, all that wealth, pouring out and out onto fresh pages in small flowy letters that made words that danced and sang and laughed rich, full laughs.

What will Marilyn do with Ophelia’s book?

Will the trees betray her secrets?

Will she be discovered?

Any guesses?

Come back tomorrow for another installment, and we can explore this new story seed together!


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

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