Save the Date!

Save the Date!

A Story by gwyndolin
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Lucy Fischer receives a funeral card for a familiar face.

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Lucy Fischer was a postwoman, and she was good at what she did. She was never late, she knew everybody’s names, and everybody on her route loved to see her drive by. When Lucy Fischer arrived in her shiny, red mini-van to Shepherd Street West at exactly 12:46 PM every day, she would get out of her car, check both ways before going to her trunk, and she would begin sorting the mail with precise movements and practiced, quick glances to make sure she knew where everything was going - which she did, always, because Lucy Fischer knew the name of every box number in every unit on all of her route.

But nobody knew Lucy Fischer. They knew her smile, the red waves of her hair and the way the roots barely glowed grey with early age. All of the kids knew Lucy Fischer as the woman whose smile crinkled the corner of her eyes with glee when she got to see them, and rarely was it that Lucy Fischer didn’t smile at them.

“Good morning, Miss Fischer!” Called Jonas Easton that afternoon, no different than every afternoon at 12:46 PM exactly.

“Mornin’, Jonie!” Lucy replied, as always, at 12:47 PM exactly, with the same rigorous candor as always. He giggled because he always giggled - everyone always giggled at the woman with the Southern drawl in the middle of northeastern Washington. “I think you’ve got yourself a letter today, little man!”

Jonas’s eyes shined with curiosity, and off his tire swing he leapt to meet her. Lucy held out the letter to him, and watched his little hand envelop the envelope, fingers scuffed from holding the rope of the tire swing too hard. He tore into the letter, and Lucy continued her work sorting mail into the unit of boxes before her. Jonas ran inside, hollering to his mother that grandma sent him a birthday card. 

Lucy knew that Grandma Ruthie sent him a birthday card with his first $100 bill because on his 12th birthday, which happened to be just yesterday, Jonas had an appointment with his orthodontist to get his first pair of braces. Lucy knew all of this, every inch of Jonas’s life, of his parents’ recent divorce and the way his grandmother coddled him, because Lucy Fischer knew everybody on her route between Shepherd Street West and Evergreen Road, and nobody knew Lucy Fischer.

Lucy knew herself, though, and the way loneliness ached into her bones like worn oak. Old and brittle and getting older, Lucy had nobody and nothing but her bright red minivan and the dirt freeway that ran thirty minutes into the city and out to her route at Shepherd Street West and Evergreen Road. Her house was small, practically a cottage. No mail routes went out to her, but she had a P.O. box which grew dustier and dustier by the day. 

Every night at 4:23 PM exactly she would finish her route and return to the post office. Dutiful Lucy Fischer, came the whispers through the postal workers, always working so hard to pick up the mail before the morning. It must be hard

It wasn’t hard. Get home, make dinner, sit down. Her letter opener was sharp, with a pearl handle and a polished blade. The knife slipped easily beneath the folds of well-glued letters, so imperceptible to the eye that not even a scratch could be found on the paper. So that night after she returned home, made dinner and sat down, she would take out her letter opener with its pearl handle and slip the polished blade beneath each one. Lucy couldn’t help but think about Jonas Easton as she read. How did he look, she wondered, when there was no $100 bill in forgetful Grandma Ruthie’s card to him?

Letter by letter, fold by fold, she went through her pile. Open, re-seal. Open, re-seal. Thanks for the tip, she thought to herself, ever so saccharine as she slipped gift cards from belated Christmas greetings. ‘Tis the season, after all! Something stopped Lucy in her tracks, though. A white envelope with sapphire-inked calligraphy. No return address, no stamp. The letters practically shimmered: To Whom It May Concern.

Lucy opened the envelope in maybe the cleanest swipe of her trusty letter opener she had ever made. Inside of the envelope was a white card with only one face, with gold trimmings and black typesetting. She read the card, and she read it again. She read it four times because the first three didn’t register. 


We celebrate the long-awaited passing of beloved ex-wife, mother and daughter to the Fischer family, Lucy Fischer.


December 28th, 2021 at Ashwood Memorial

100 Roosevelt Boulevard, Roseland, Washington


Come pay your respects in rancid memory of the deceased.


“What?” A mutter in the dark leaves her lips, the chill of the evening snow in her bones. How ridiculous - what a cruel joke, too. 

Without a thought, Lucy tossed the card aside and went on with her evening. She picked up the next letter, and sliced it open. Her finger adjusted red against the envelope - red? Red like blood, prompting Lucy to look at the newfound paper-cut on her finger. Just a nick.

So she moved onto the next one. Another cut, on the web of her thumb and index finger. Clumsy Lucy Fischer, moving too quickly. Unnerved, and by what? A little prank one of her snot-nosed nephews decided to leave her? A sigh - no, a scoff of air left her before she continued. Another letter, another cut. Another letter, another cut. By the fifth, Lucy couldn’t bear to hold the knife any longer, dropping it to the coffee table. The clatter was heavy against the sound of TV static - when had she turned on the TV? She doesn’t even have cable - and the thrum of her tinnitus in the silence. 

Time for band-aids, she resolved. An’ time for bed, too! The comfort of her sheets and the warmth of her space heater soothed her aching wounds, the stiffness of her aging bones. Sleep took her quickly into the dark, into silence until exactly at 12:47 AM she was awoken by the soreness of her papercuts. 

Annoyed and discomforted, she pawed in the dark for the lamp, slipped on the cord until she finally turned it on. Blood soaked the chain, soaked her sheets and the bedside table bright crimson against dark oak and woven white. Lucy screamed, distressed, panicked as another cut appeared, gashed into her skin above the elbow, and then another where her shoulder met her neck. She watched, staggering out of bed as lacerations gathered on her freckled skin, gripped the wall for support when another appeared in her leg. Hot tears seared into her eyes, and her breathing came ragged.

In the midst of her breaths, though, Lucy heard it - the sharp cut of a letter opener into paper, one after the other. Schrip. Schrip. Schrip. 

Wrenching open the door, she listened, shaking, gripping the nearby railing to the stairs as blood slicked the polished wood landing. Schrip. Schrip. Schrip. Letter by letter, cut by cut Lucy began to power down the stairs, through the pain, through the beating of her anxious heart in her eardrums. Schrip. Schrip. Schrip. Amid the paper tearing was the creak of her rocking chair - her favorite rocking chair - by the fireplace. 

The living room was cold, and the fireplace was dark. But there, as her eyes adjusted, she could see herself. There in her rocking chair Lucy sat, rocking, opening letter after letter, casting them aside without needing to read. Another letter, another cut. Schrip. Schrip. Schrip.

“Stop!” The word came out choked, haggard and panting. Wake up, she begged herself, but she couldn’t. This had to be a dream, had to be! But even still, no matter how much she wished or how much she begged, the creaking continued, and the letters opened.

Down to her knees came Lucy Fischer, bleeding into her rug, through the creases of her floorboards. She fell into the letters she had yet to read, soaking them through. She wept, there on the floor, slowly fading, slowly bleeding to death on the thing she loved the most, but didn’t know what she wept for. The rocking chair rocked, and down past her came her rotting, carved up hand. One final letter. Just one more letter, just one more - !





A coroner’s report:


Lucy Fischer, age 41. Time of death, 1:34 AM, December 28th, 2021.

© 2020 gwyndolin


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I never expect such a sad ending for a wonderfully written work.

Posted 9 Months Ago



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Added on August 31, 2020
Last Updated on August 31, 2020
Tags: horror, supernatural, short story, fiction

Author

gwyndolin
gwyndolin

Newmarket, Ontario, Canada



About
Gwyndolin (Gwyn is ok!) | 24 | They/them I'm an aspiring horror/supernatural author with 8+ years of independent writing experience! I'm a member of the LGBTQ(IA)+ community and I believe in the no.. more..

Writing
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A Story by gwyndolin