Speakeasy #144: Moving On

“Why do you do this to yourself every year?” The voice, roughened from years of chain-smoking, blared through the receiver. “I’m not gonna to tell you what you want to hear.”

Luke stared at the scrawny man wearing an orange jumpsuit tied at the waist, wife-beater covering his lack of chest. A black spider-web spun from the neck down to the shoulder, its creator dangling down on what a generous person would call a bicep. “New tattoo, I see, Jerry.”

Jerry sneered through the partition separating them. “You want to waste your time with small talk? Fine.” The sneer turned to leer. “How’s your sister? Ooops, that’s right…she’s dead.”

Casey walks to the subway after her shift at the restaurant, tired, but happy at the tips for the evening. Every little bit helps in her quest for a new car to match her shiny new license. A pair of feral eyes watches her…stalks her, waiting for the right moment to pounce. “Give me your cash, bitch.”

Her eyes widen at the glint of metal in the dim street-light, and she realizes how alone she is at the moment. She hands over her earnings with shaky hands, her twinkling eyes dulled by terror. The monster, undaunted by her cooperation, slashes. Crimson flies as she slumps, her body pulling her death along to jut from her breast. Coward’s steps echo as Jerry strides away, counting the stained bills in his hand.

Luke shook off the scenario he’d constructed and replayed thousands of times since that night. Lips quirked into the approximation of a smile. “Nice try, Jerry.” He leaned back, stretching out the cord of the phone attached to the side panel. “In the past, that might have been enough to make me storm out of here.”

“Guess you finally grew a pair, huh?” Jerry chuckled, a dry wheeze that turned into a wracking cough.

Luke waited, sure more was coming. Jerry didn’t disappoint. The murderer put his hand to his forehead in a mock swoon. “Oh, my sister! Why? Why did you do it? Just tell me and I’ll leave you alone forever! Please!” His face screwed up as if he were crying, whimpering sounds finishing the performance.

“Luke, you’re giving this bastard too much power over you.” Hurt traces a gleaming path down Sylvia’s cheek. “It’s been ten years! You can’t keep doing this to yourself.”

“Some things can’t be forgotten.” The words sound hollow, even to him. He thinks of all the nights spent wondering, the difficulties in connecting, and the patience of his girlfriend as she soothes him when the nightmares strike.

“No they can’t, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be accepted.” His eyes flare and she strokes his cheek. “Can you even think of Casey anymore without his face there? Do you really want him forever tied to your memory of her? Don’t let that night take two lives away.”

“Don’t let it take our life together away,” she whispers.

Luke stood to leave. “I didn’t come here today to spar with you again, Jerry. I came to tell you, I’m done. You did it, and I accept that you won’t ever tell me why. As far as I’m concerned, you’re just a pathetic loser not man enough to own up to your actions.”

“Hey! You can’t talk-”

“Shut up. You’re powerless, and I’m through with you.” Luke hung up the phone, ignoring the panic in Jerry’s eyes. Silent “Wait! I’ll tell you, don’t go!” bounced off the sound-proof glass in futile fury as Luke walked away.

“Luke!” Casey bounces into his room, hands behind her back and grinning so wide it looks painful. “Guess what I got?” she sings.

“A present for the awesomest big brother ever?” he says in the same sing-song voice.

Little sister annoyance flickers across her features, but the smile takes back over. “No, doofus.” She pulls out a piece of small rectangular plastic with her picture on it. “I got my license!” she squeals.

He shakes his head in mock dismay. “Oh, God. Time to warn the neighbors.”

She punches his arm. “Stupid.” Her arms wrap around him and she pecks his cheek. “Thanks for teaching me.”

“My pleasure.” He chucks her under the chin. “You’ll do great.” Her grin warms as she floats out of the room. “Just watch out for mailboxes!” 

“That was one time!”

The stars glittered like diamonds against a black velvet sky on the drive home. They reminded Luke of Casey’s eyes.

“Love you, sis.”

Word Count: 750

Speakeasy #144. The prompts this week: “Some things can’t be forgotten” and the video below:



  • Your post must be dated January 12, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • Your piece must include the following sentence ANYWHERE (except as the title): “Some things can’t be forgotten.”
  • The Speakeasy is for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please don’t submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice.
  • Please don’t post long explanations before your post. We want your writing to be the star of the show. If you need to clarify anything, feel free to do so at the end.
  • The badge for your speakeasy #144 post is found in the sidebar. Add the code to the html view of your post before publishing.

Head over and read some great writers take on the prompts. Join in as the challenge is open to anyone!

Hope you enjoy.

Happy Reading and Writing!

J. Milburn

17 thoughts on “Speakeasy #144: Moving On

  1. As always, very good sir!


  2. This is so good, Jeremy. It hurts to read it, but I like the way Luke sets both himself and Casey free in the end. Nicely done!

    • Thanks! This one took me a while to form. The idea popped in my head almost as soon as I saw the prompt, but I struggled to shape it into a coherent story that fit the word count. I’m glad you liked it!

  3. Good for him for taking the control out of Jerry’s hands. I had to smile at the last part about her getting her license… that’s the type of exchange I’d have with my older brother.

  4. I like the transition that Luke goes through and how he frees himself in the end. Beautifully written.

  5. Ah Luke has developed some love in my heart ! Interesting story….Facts were hurting lil bit but overall a wonderful read 🙂

  6. oh I really enjoyed this piece, despite it being a bit hard to read. 😦

  7. I like how you foreshadow the license piece in the beginning, and then wrap up with Luke’s memory of the day that Casey got her license. Nice job.

  8. Good on him for working his way through it. It seems the criminal had come to need him more than the other way around. I like the dialog between him and Casey. This was very well-written any way I look at it. Kudos!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you picked up on that part about the criminal creating a dysfunctional relationship with Luke, and him being terrified that relationship would end.

  9. Oh that is such a beautiful and heartbreaking ending. I love the way you worked the line into this piece, such a natural part of the conversation. I thought for a moment that Luke wouldn’t be able to keep walking away from Jerry when he was desperately reaching out. But I’m glad he did.

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