A Story by mark slade

The bathtub had become a sea of red.


       Amanda awoke lying in a pile of leaves in the middle of a country road. She had no idea how she got there. The last thing she remembered was taking a long, hot bath after work. Before that she had came into her apartment to find her cat home after being lost for nearly a year. Mingles had left out the window a year to the day, then disappeared. It was even a bigger mystery how he'd gotten inside the apartment, maybe the manager let him in?

    She fed Mingles, took her bath, fell asleep, now found herself on this country road walking, miles from home. The road it seemed was covered in dusk, the evening never ending. She soon discovered she'd been walking for hours, passing the occasional person, a young girl of twelve skipping along until she'd dissolved into nothing. An old man passed by, mumbling to himself about the price of crude oil---again, he mended with the trees and the twilight.

   The whole year had been one long disaster. After mingles had gone, Amanda met Joey. Joey didn't work out. It turned out he was a married man. Her job as a graphic artist for a magazine company turned to dust. Work in the field became scarce. She had to take a job in a Jewry store as a clerk.

    Amanda felt a scar on her left wrist. It was fresh, painful, and the memory of what happened in the bathtub came to her like a thousand stab wounds in the heart. She felt another scar, and the loneliness of being cut off from her family drowned her.

              The bathtub had become a sea of red.

     Amanda came to where there was a fork that led to the left, another that led to the right. Beyond that, the road went on forever. She heard a meow and saw Mingles brushing against him. He was rubbing his gray and orange striped head on her ankle. She bent down to pet him and he took off to the left. Amanda stood watching the cat sprint down a road where the sun showered the trees with it's rays.

     The cat stopped turned to her. “Well,” Mingles said. “Come on! I've got a lot to show you.”

               Amanda followed her cat down the long country road.

© 2011 mark slade

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Let's hope she's on the road less travelled.
Might as well follow a cat as any manipulative lover or life-style guru or cultural guru. Look where they got her.
Well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Great concept (as you've probably heard a thousand times). It is a bit skeletal though. This could definitely have been fleshed out a lot more. You introduced several intriguing characters but then the story ended! Even so, I enjoyed reading it.

Posted 8 Years Ago

This got me interested. Like the name Mingles for the cat, the name alone was enough to get my stodgy mind wondering. A nice scene, suits the coming season.

And thank you for submitting to Surreal-zine--home of wandering animals.

Posted 8 Years Ago

You Mr. Slade are a concept magician. Bottle me some and send it I always struggle with what to write more of, what to write less of. One word more or less can be like cooking spices, one dash can ruin a dish or turn it into a gourmet treat.
At the risk of spoiling the broth, I might suggest developing the relationship just a tad between Amanda and mingles, pointing toward what he meant as a panacea to her emotions and then losing him heralded a bad relationship...
Second, I might work with the people she sees on her walk. Are they people in her life? Are they pieces of her dissolving? etc.
Some readers like to fill in the blanks themselves. I do to, but when a good story has a set number of "gems" they need to be polished and shining clear.
Great piece, you're a gifted concept-mancer

Posted 8 Years Ago

A gripping tale that draws me in. I like most of all your strong narrative voice. It gave me the right pace to follow this.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Interesting. It's mysterious, and makes me wonder where will she end up.I would like to read more about Amanda and where she is going with her cat.
I posted a new story, this one is what I like to call the sequel to Promise of a new day. I am now in the process of writing the third part of this story and I call it At the end of the day. I will post it as soon as I finish it.
Thank you

Posted 8 Years Ago

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6 Reviews
Added on September 15, 2011
Last Updated on September 15, 2011


mark slade
mark slade

williamsburg, VA

a writer of horror and dark fantasy more..


A Story by mark slade

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