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Weekly Fiction Writing : Week 4
The Ink Well Weekly Fiction Prompt #4: The Way Home
Prompt: The Way Home
Saturday morning arrived. Excitement swelled as Felisha packed their gear.
A few years had passed since she and her husband, Reggie, had spent quality time together. Not like in the old days when their work schedules didn't involve travel that separated the couple for several weeks.
Her mission on this trip as twofold: See the most spectacular waterfall and address some issues in her marriage. Accomplishing both took planning, at which she was adept.
Intermittent clouds dotted the otherwise clear mid May sky. A light breeze that foretold excellent 73 deg. weather, plus less crowds were perfect for their hike on California's Yosemite Falls Trail.
Gathering the essentials for the first leg of today's moderate hike, they left the Park's lodge and headed out on the trail.
Image by whoabgflla from Pixabay
Reggie's head jerked from one side of the trail to the other, as his camera followed, capturing the diversity of the landscape.
Birds and other small animals looked on suspiciously as they warned each other of the couple's approach. However, her husband hadn't spotted a black bear or bobcat yet, but it was only morning.
The view at the top of the cliff was everything his wife promised. Even more amazing was the overall views of the abundant waterfall that rushed over the cliffs. Too far away to feel the mist from the the waterfalls, he still imagined the cool feel upon his cheeks.
The shelf floor exposed the rich greenery of the valley in the distance. They'd have to complete the second leg to get even closer, so this view would have to suffice for his first visit.
Reggie thought it was the perfect time to show some affection to his wife for arranging this incredible adventure.
"You know I love you, even if I don't say it enough." Reggie pulled her close in a tight embraced as they looked out over expanse. He placed several kisses on her neck.
"Time for lunch." It wasn't what Reggie hoped her response would be. However, for Felisha, composure was key now that the first part of her mission was complete.
On their return, Felisha spotted new growth from two weeks ago. Venturing off the trail, she said nothing as they forged ahead. The more experienced, she learned camping and hiking from her brothers. Her small stature didn't hinder her tactical experience, which she never divulged.
"Let's set up here," Felisha ordered, as she directed Reggie how to set up. After lunch, he sat gazing at the tallest trees he'd ever seen.
"Isn't nature the only unconditional love you'll ever receive?" Reggie's question was more of an affirmation of his life's philosophy.
Ready to head back towards the lodge, Felisha lead the way. She pondered her husband's question. Her dark shades blocked out not only the brilliance of the sun, but also the total lack of indifference for their recent loss.
She'd always subscribed to the adage, "nothing worth doing is ever easy." She believed this especially true in any relationship. If things didn't work out, it wouldn't be because she didn't give her best. He'd provided the opening. The stage was set.
"Did anyone warn the third new secretary about your other duties as assigned?" Felisha waited.
"You're always bringing up the past. We'll never move pass this with you holding onto things. Let dead dogs lie." Reggie shoved his camera hard into his backpack..
"Be careful. Loose sand and drop offs are close by. Wouldn't want you laid up for several weeks with broken bones. You know what a baby and whiner you can be." She never looked back.
"You're right. No sense in being in pain if I can't command the attention I deserve."
"You can always hire a private nurse to stroke your ego and anything else. I've better things to do."
"So you say. If you're so miserable, then why don't you leave. Why pretend. Why plan this romantic day trip? You're evil is all I can think of." If a snake was nearby, it would have retreated from the hissing noise spewing from Reggie's mouth.
But he wasn't finished. "You know why I thought I loved you so much? You can take it as much as you can give it. I like toughness."
Preoccupied with his dart throwing, he didn't notice Felisha had slowed down and was now walking by his right side, leading him further off the trail.
Thoughts of the past few years circled through her mind as if she'd pushed the playback button. Yes, she was tough, she thought. But this recent loss hurt. She begged but he refused to accompany her to couple's counseling after the miscarriage occurred. Her rationale fell on deaf ears as to why they couldn't move forward until they resolve the reason their loss occurred.
Talk about unconditional love. A person has to be sensitive enough to receive it. Reggie wouldn't know unconditional if it fell from the sky and knocked him in his head, Felisha thought as she let out a loud giggle.
"Am I allowed in on the joke." Reggie quirped.
"You're the joke. I've filed charges against you and that new secretary of yours for fraud and forging my name on loan documents. I've also sent a letter to your company about the two of you embezzling funds. I found out about your sick schemes a few months ago. I predict long-term prison sentences in your futures." The calmness in her voice didn't depict the swell of rage she felt inside.
Suddenly Reggie lunged at her back. Hoping he would and anticipating the move, she released the backpack straps so they couldn't drag her down. She turned and landed a hard punch to his face. Startled, he stumbled backward, shook his head violently, then pounced forward again in her direction. She sidestepped, leading him towards a large tree.
They struggled briefly before she pushed him backward with her boots against the tree. Just as he was about to lunge at her again, the ground disappeared from under his feet. He was being lifted off the ground and tangled up in some rope-like contraption.
Felisha's brothers taught her well. She quickly disappeared behind a nearby tree and untied a rope. A second backpack fell among the leaves.
Ignoring his screaming and cursing, she worked diligently. She tied a short string to the base of the tree to keep the trap from moving.
With little room to maneuver, Reggie desperately tried to locate, but discovered missing, his pocket utility knife and mobile phone. Frantic, he jerked at the ropes.
Then she moved slowly facing him.
Felisha pulled out the set of flash cards and held them high. Each one contained the year and emotional turmoil that brought her to this day: lies; deceit; infidelities; and criminal activity. Each instance, Reggie spewed out his twisted justifications. He didn't admit to anything, provide an explanation, or ask for forgiveness.
"I was so upset, it caused the miscarriage, and you didn't rush to the hospital to be with me. You never admitted your affair. Then, I found out from her husband that you two promised to leave your spouses. You lied to her too. Then you said it didn't concern me; it was you that needed help; and that you were the one all screwed up. Funny thing is you never tried to seek help." For a second Reggie thought he felt a weakening as Felisha's voice became shaky. He imagined a tear well up in her eyes.
"No. A swift exit is too good for you. I want all the pain and suffering you've dealt me to stand up on the clearing here and stare you in the face like a bad poker hand you misplayed. You can scream for help all you want. No one will come. It's just you and me."
Finally, he started laughing as if it were all a joke and his loving wife would free him after she got whatever in the hell she was doing out of her system.
With that, Felisha flung the flash cards into the soft brown sand. They landed face up in front of her self-professed loving husband's face. He looked down at them crying. Then he held his head back and let out a series of loud cursing words she'd become familiar with.
They fell on deaf ears as she contemplated: belongings in storage. Check. E-ticket purchased and pre-check in finalized. Completed. Only items left is to swing by the apartment and leave the divorce papers in sight.
She was prepared for whatever came next. Surprisingly, she wasn't worried what Reggie would do. He'd be to vain and ashamed to tell anyone what really happened here today.
"You know the way home. If you ever get the chance, think about how you may to change to treat your next wife with unconditional love.**
She shoved a bottle of water inside the ropes; turned her back to him, picked up her backpack, and headed back to their land rover.