Dearest Wife

This is part seven of the continuing saga, The Last Grain of Sand, which I began via a prompt at Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam several weeks ago. The six previous parts are available by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post. This new segment is being posted to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday, and it’s titled Dearest Wife. It was actually published as a poem on another Free Write Friday in August of last year. I’ve been thinking it would fit into this story, and today Kellie gave me the prompt that convinced me I was correct. I hope you enjoy it!

Part seven:

Dearest Wife

I scribbled fiercely on the piece of paper. I’d stolen the paper and pen when the commander had left me alone at his desk. I had no idea how—or if—the note would find its way to Anna, but I could only hope and pray somehow it would. If she was still at our home, and not imprisoned herself, she was probably frantic with worry.

I wasn’t sure, but I thought I’d been gone for three days. I was fairly certain I was on an island right off the coast of California, or possibly Mexico, because I’d seen water in every direction the day they’d marched me to the commanders office. I was also pretty sure we’d never left the highway on the trip here, and I was positive we’d not boarded a ferry. I’d tried to think how far we might have traveled, and what islands had bridges to them, but it was impossible. I’d been out cold for the first part of the ride, and as for islands, I wasn’t familiar with the California coastline; I had no idea if there were islands with bridges to them.

I smiled as I wrote, thinking maybe I could put the letter in a bottle. If I could find a bottle.

Dearest wife,

I thought I could fight them, and you know I tried, but I had no idea how deep the roots of their treason had run. They came in the night, and were on me before I had time to react. I saw nothing and heard only faint whispers as they carried me away. My cries were muffled by the rag stuffed in my mouth and the dark hood over my head. They wrapped me in the blanket from the hotel bed, and I was barely able to breath. At some point I passed out.

I regained consciousness as I rode in the cold, rumbling vehicle to wherever this island is they’ve brought me to, and as I jostled painfully on the hard steel floor, I imagined you at our home, sleeping soundly and safely in our comfortable bed; at least I pray you are still there and safe. Or have they taken you, too; to another place? Or, is it possible you are here or someplace nearby?

I doubt I will return. I smell death here.

If this note finds its way to you, please, know I love you. Deny me, if you have to, and maybe they will leave you alone. If you can convince them you knew nothing of what I was up to, perhaps they will at least let you live.

Someone’s coming. I’ve got to go.

I love you,


P.S. – I’m not afraid

I folded the letter and shoved it under the filthy mattress, just before the door swung open. Screaming in rage, I charged toward the soldier. Reflexively, he swung the butt of his rifle at my head. The last thing I saw before it struck me and my world spun into darkness was the look on the young marine’s face; it was one of utter despair.

This gave me hope.

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

Previous parts of this story:

Part one: The Last Grain of Sand

Part two: Hope

Part three: Like a Fairy Tale

Part four: Then There Were Three

Part five: Cinnamon

Part six: L. Aliens in the Morning

Part eight: Dearest John

Part nine: L. Angel

Part ten: The Books

Part eleven: Play Money



  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    Deny you? Never!

  2. terri0729 said

    Your wife and you crack me up! A great work of fiction it is too!! another nicely done chapter, Charlie! Blessings, Terri

    • That’s an old joke between me and Sherry from when I was writing crime novels. Those early novels had lots of sex, drugs, murder and mayhem in them, and one day after she’d just finished a wild chapter, she looked at me all serious like, and said, “This kind of worries me. They say writers write about what they know.” I held up my hands and said, “It’s fiction, baby. I never killed anyone.”
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Terri!

      • Raivenne said

        Is it bad that the first thing I noticed is that you only denied committing acts of murder? From this one cannot help but extrapolate all the other acts to which you may have inside knowledge. 😉

        I also am inquired (or is it accused?) of being a participant in some of the things my muse and active imagination conjure. (And like you, only some of them I have denied * big grin *)

      • A big LOL on this comment, Raivenne. Let’s just say I been around the block in some mighty bad parts of several towns!
        I’ll just betcha I passed by you or your evil twin on one of them laps, too. Just sayin…

      • Raivenne said

        I will neither confirm nor deny the allegation.
        Just sayin’…

      • That’s what I’m talkin bout… or not

  3. Shawna said

    Oh, Charles. Your ending is perfect:

    “it was one of utter despair.
    This gave me hope.”

    Greatest ability is shown in saying much in few words. Your closing does just that.

  4. You were right to share this… it works well and even if it didn’t I still love this so much, Charles. The line, “P.S. I’m not afraid.” really touched me. It was like all this fear for you and sadness about what might happen and worrying that you were frightened and then BAM you say that and it’s like peace. Nicely done. Brilliant. LOVE your work as always! Thank you!


    • Thank you, Kellie! You are so kind! I’m glad you enjoyed this latest addition to the story.

  5. I like it. Looking forward to seeing all of these tied together.

    • Thanks, Mark. If I’m going to bring this together and do a novel with it–which I am seriously considering–I’ll probably have to stop doing these small segments. I’m really getting the itch to take of with it.
      Thanks again for the comment!

  6. Raivenne said

    I’m not sure which line reached in more…

    “P.S. – I’m not afraid”

    “… the look on the young marine’s face; it was one of utter despair.
    This gave me hope.”

    Both lines render me speechless for the sheer depth of them.

    I’m so drawn into this.

    • I’m drawn into it, too! There’s not much doubt that I’ll have to write this story. It’s constantly running wild in my head these days. When something like this gets hold of me, I literally see scenes in my mind throughout the day of what each character is doing and what might lie ahead. It’s a strange and wonderful thing, and I love it! I love that line about the look on the marine’s face, too; I keep seeing it, and it is key to this story! Man! I’m gettin wound up! The line, “I’m not afraid.” is also key, as you might imagine. These two could be the lead characters in the story. Oh, yes, I’m about ready to go on this!
      Thanks for the inspiring comment!

      • Raivenne said

        Oh my!

        That is almost exactly how my words come to me! Sometimes, just one line will come to me, or it’s an intangible mood that grips me first, but It always becomes as a scene in my mind’s eye. Everything springs from there and I cannot rest until it written out. .

        I look forward to the next installments on yours.

      • Okay! I’ll keep you posted!

  7. Oh I love this next chapter in your story…With each installment I wonder how it will end.

  8. Neeks said

    I’m really impressed Charles, I’ve stopped by before and enjoyed it, but this really has me wanting to read more. The soldier looking despaired, giving him hope, Genius!

  9. elizena said

    Oh wow Charles, this was another awesome chapter. I could actually feel the vehicle he was in bumping along and him trying to figure out where they were going with each turn, his heart pounding the entire time; left, right, now straight for several minutes. The love he feels for his wife in order for him to tell her to ‘Deny me, if you have to, and maybe they will leave you alone.’ Wow again!! Now I want to know what he did!!!! Why is he to blame? I wanna know, I wanna know! (Whine, whine, whine)
    Maybe this new character along with the young marine become another part of the little band of survivors that are slowly but surely emerging in your story. Okay, I guess I’m a little too caught up in this, but how can I help it? Awesomely done!! Now I’m waiting for the next exciting chapter. Blessings!

    • Okay, you have more than earned my “made-my-day” button for today; in fact you may get a weeks supply. All your wonderful comments have me floating in the clouds this morning. How could I not go on to write wonderful things today!
      As for the story, the idea actually began with the poem by the same title that I posted last year. There was a second poem entitled “Dearest John”, which may be the next segment of the story, then I picked it up again with “The Last Grain of Sand”. I am so deep into it now, and the characters are so alive, I don’t know if I can stop. Especially, with comments like yours and others to spur me to continue!
      Thanks again for all the awesome comments!

  10. Kirsten said

    I enjoyed this chapter especially the silent exchange from the marine. Facial expressions can portray a thousand words in one brief second. Well done!!!

    Me thinks these two shall meet again 🙂

    Okay, I really need to stop for today!

    • Are you sure! You know you’ll keep thinking about it!
      Thanks, Kirsten! I really do appreciate you reading and commenting on the story!

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