Gone With The Wind

A while back I entered a contest for a 500 word story. This is another idea I had at the time, but I only wrote it up yesterday.


Crossing the main road was what did it, the relatively open space allowing the wind to build up strength and whip his plastic umbrella inside out. They were practically disposable, it being the third he had bought this year when caught out by the unpredictable summer downpours,and the ferocious wind driving the rain almost horizontally rendered it useless anyway. 

He skipped over a puddle by the opposite kerb, and half ran half walked the remaining ten meters to his own house. He tried to fold up the umbrella but the broken spine proved uncooperative, and after a few seconds of getting even more wet, he abandoned it to the umbrella stand by the door, to be disposed of at the weekend. 

Ringing the bell before he searched his pockets for his keys, he hoped his wife was still awake. Work had been hectic lately, and many nights he would find only a cold plate of food awaiting him, At least, he thought to himself drolly, a minute or two in the microwave would convince his dinner to show him some warmth, something he was finding his wife to be less and less willing to do in recent months.

He didn't mind, though, he knew she was tired from raising two kids, going to PTA meetings and dragging the kids to ballet/swimming lessons twice a week. Her mother was a demanding presence also, her phone calls taking a lot of his wife's time, often when she could really not spare it. He was just happy to have a family, and cherished his two kids more than anything, looking forward to the weekends when he could skip the rigamarole drinking sessions with clients in Roppongi and dive into their world of pirates, ghosts, and monsters under the bed. 

There was no response to the bell, so he opened the door himself and slid into the hallway, careful to make as little noise as possible since it was obvious from the silence already there that everyone was in bed. He noticed that one of the goldfish was belly up in the tank; he would have to flush it before the kids noticed, he thought to himself.
He took off his wet coat, and went into the kitchen to see what awaited him for dinner. What he saw there killed his appetite immediately. He ran upstairs, frantic, and checked the kids' rooms before the one he shared with his wife. All were their usual neat selves, but he could tell that certain specific, crucial items were missing; among them, his wife and children. He plodded back down the stairs, slowly, and stared again at the paper on the kitchen table, its little boxes and blank spaces filled in with the fastidious, clean characters of his wife's handwriting. The thin lines of the ball point pen made the title seem even more foreboding and severe. Three characters stared back at him in bold, green font; "離 婚 届" - "Divorce Papers"

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