A Warm Place

A Warm Place

A Story by JHByrd

Made a view revisions and more are sure to come.


A Warm Place 

-J.H. Byrd-

            The whiskey bottle tipped; what little remnants persisted were now spilling onto the already stained floor next to a pile of ash from a burning cigarette. Taking with it what little was left of his spirit. The cigarette sat between the fingers of a man, un-smoked and forgotten, as the ash accumulated and smoke filled the room. A drop of salted water fell to the ground next to the capsized bottle coming from an eye covered by an otherwise unoccupied hand.


His head bowed, hands caressing his temple, sitting in the rotting forbidden tomb that was his room, the man trembled. He had searched all night among thoughts for the strength of this origin; some stronger godly hand to return his strength as he slowly became more lost. He drowned out this sorrow, now spilling out onto the floor.

            His soul was sundered. Why couldn’t he pull it all together again like before. It was eating his mind, haunting his dreams. Before he grabbed the bottle of whiskey, looking for that warm place again, he had seen her. He first blamed himself; then he blamed her. He blamed everything there was but nothing made it feel any better so he gave that up.

            She had come to him again, resting on his lap, starring into those deep eyes so full of mystery like the tiding oceans. Solemnly he grasped her arms, remembering that divine touch.

            For years his dreams had been filled with this woman, this “dream girl”. Never having a face, she would dance with him, talk, walk among sacred beaches and every time he fell in love with her. She always wore a black dress, long and slender, cut off at the arms to show her magnificent skin, radiating as if she had consumed the moon and it now was emanating from her very soul. Yet she never bore a face to remember.

            Waking from a dream, convinced that it was real can be shocking. Waking from a moment of falling in love is devastating. This waltz of madness and love had drifted on for years. Slowly, it ate away at his dreams until he was dying to go back to sleep just to dance with her again.

            This time she came to him. This time in his own home. He opened his eyes to see her gazing back at him, so lovingly and filled with all the beauty he had remembered. He knew that face from years before and here she was, in black dress, caressing his hair like she used to.

            “You’ve come back?”
            “Yes,” she whispered “and together, we shall live forever.”
            “My darling, I have missed you so. How many nights has my mind turned over just the thought of you? How many of those times did you come in my dreams, faceless, yet here you are now?”

            “I know my love; you have suffered. Your queen has her conquistador, noble and brave.”
            Gasping for air he opened his eyes, realizing she had gone. Frantically, he looked around him. Nothing. Emptiness. Not wanting to believe it had been another dream he searched around him still. Finally, he succumbed to the truth he knew was reality. He screamed from the depth of his soul into the empty blanket of the night.

            This is how he came to be in present state. This is how he had come to ask himself “Why?” so many times. “Why had she gone?” “Why did she haunt his dreams, tormenting him so?” “Why could he not escape it?”

            His thirst only numbed him but it could not cure what ached.

© 2020 JHByrd

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• The bottle tipped.

For you, who know where we are in time and space, what’s in the bottle, if it’s tipping into a glass, a well, the sea, the mouth of a living being, or onto the floor, this makes perfect sense. For a reader it’s just meaningless words, spoken in a monotone. And though you clarify, you can’t retroactively remove confusion. So why not give the reader context for where they are, who they are, and what’s going on? A small thing like, “The whisky bottle tipped.” And since bottles don’t tip by themselves, make them know what’s going on. Without that, the words are just words, not story.

There’s a lot to writing fiction that's not apparent, and the report-writing skills we’re give in school gave us none of them. So some time spent in the fiction-writing section of the library would be time well invested.

Jay Greenstein

Posted 2 Days Ago


1 Day Ago

I see what you mean. I was wanting to make it seem more like a sudden action and I felt more descrip.. read more

1 Day Ago

• I agree that it might be more valuable to expand on it.

Nope. It’s not expansio.. read more

12 Hours Ago

Great! Thanks for the feedback, especially those tidbits regarding cigarettes. Sounded good when goi.. read more

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1 Review
Added on March 26, 2020
Last Updated on March 27, 2020



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