The Day After

The Day After

A Story by Aimee Mahathy

Four girls and their parents


All at once, Blanche, Lydia, Paula, and Shirley took in a glowing puff of their cigarettes. For an instant, the car was full of the scent of stale menthol. Speeding down that asphalt like a w***e out of Church, the car was just a blur of shine and night. The edge of the cliff lay in sight. It grew larger, darker, and closer with every second the quartet exhaled. There was a brief smile from all the red lips as the Plymouth 4 door sedan careened off the dusty rock and prepared to meet the world head on. No more evading life, no sir. They were headed right to the heart of it. Death.

Back at home, Blanche’s mother picked up the army green telephone to dial her friend Diane. No, Diane hadn’t seen the girls either. Lydia had left with Blanche, but was still out. Diane asked her husband Henry to go drop by Luella’s house. In his blue paisley formal shirt, he set off and returned. No, Luella had only seen Paula with her two little friends, but they hadn’t come home yet either. The same for Shirley and her mother. Well, they must be at the drive in, all the parents thought. Where else would our good girls go at 6:30 on a Saturday night?

As the night wore on, and the girls were sleeping soundly in that hollow, the parents worried their hands and smoked their own cigarettes. A father or two made out with small, crystal glasses.  Diane felt the need to calm everyone down. It would not do if all the PTA were found without sleep at tomorrow’s meeting. So she took a high-heeled walk down to the all-night diner. Surrounded by the ever-present scent of grease and beer, she spoke with her friend, Harry. Upon returning she told the family that she’d spoken with her daughter and that they were sleeping over at their friend’s house, and not to worry. Well, word spread, as it will, and by 9 in the evening, the adults were getting much needed rest.

Morning rose in New Hope, Michigan and the birds were letting the world know. In all the houses, radios were being switched on with a million turning dials. A voice came through on the WTTB news station. Dick Henderson, the svelte morning news anchor, was informing the town of a wreck that had happened north, on the cliffs. Apparently, a utility truck driver had noticed some new skid marks that rode right off the edge. Upon looking down, he noticed some burn marks and alerted the authorities. The bodies of four high school girls were found amidst the chaos of metal and rocks. Names were being withheld from the public for the time being. A telephone rang in each house. “Hello?” The parents said.

All at once, Luella and her friends fell to the floor and sobbed.

© 2010 Aimee Mahathy

Author's Note

Aimee Mahathy
A story I wrote inspired by tonight (nothing horrible happened, XD) for the group 500 words :3

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this is an ambitious narrative to cover in only 500. Your first paragraph was dynamite, but the ones that followed felt a bit rushed. You did well using your parameters, but I would challenge you to stretch this one out, it deserves ample ample words from your gifted hand.

Posted 13 Years Ago

A similar event actually happened when I was in High School, and then another involving two boys and their girlfriends less than a week later. This story really brought that to mind. I like the photo, too.
You did an amazing job using novel metaphors and avoiding trite expressions here. Great writing.

Posted 13 Years Ago

wonderful piece! much different from the others!well i think most included death but your was a different point of view. well done i love it!

Posted 13 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on March 13, 2010
Last Updated on March 13, 2010
Tags: plymouth, poetry, girls, 1940s, tragedy, PTA, parents, children, high school, cliffs, death, mourning


Aimee Mahathy
Aimee Mahathy

Bloomington, IL

I'm 33 now, much more settled into myself, and getting back to it again. The previous about me is gonna stay for now, since it's still somewhat accurate and I need some time to figure out what to say .. more..


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