Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. The photo this week is one I took while on a cruise excursion. The couple in the photo look nice and cozy. There is nothing nice and cozy about this story.
For residents of the Carolina’s, Hurricane Florence embodied death and destruction. For Annie, Florence was divine providence. In all things, Annie accepted her fate as the will of God. How else could she have endured the past ten years?
The police pleaded: evacuate. Ray, her captor, affirmed they would stay.
The officer turned to Annie, thin with lifeless eyes.
You can leave, he said.
God wants me to stay. Annie closed the door.
For hours, rain and wind whipped the white frame house. When the electricity went out, Annie never felt safer. The rising water swirled around her ankles.
It is time.
Annie pulled a plastic bottle from her bedding. Inside, a note.
What is that, demanded Ray.
Your death sentence, Annie rejoiced. Written in secret, the note named Ray for the monster he was; chronicled the atrocities Annie endured at his hand.
Annie raced toward the basement, filling with water. Ray followed in pursuit.
Him or me, she prayed.
The sound of a slamming door was lost amidst the howling winds.
After the storm, rescuers spotted someone standing on the roof of the white frame house.
A man in the basement, said Annie.
It was God’s will.
In the story, Ray is named as ‘her captor.’ I will allow the reader to decide how literal to take the take the label. Annie may have simply been trapped in a loveless marriage, in which case, her actions would then be considered murder. Or maybe ‘captor’ should be taken literally, giving justification to her actions during the storm. There were, however, three events this week where I took inspiration. First, the hurricane itself. I wondered, how easy would it be for someone to kill another and blame it on the storm? Second, Wanda Barzee, the woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart, will soon go free. This revived Elizabeth’s horrific story. Lastly, I learned this week that one of my “neighbors,” a known sexual predator who preyed on poor black woman who could not pay their rent recently died of colon cancer. Death was too good for Ray.