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The Fate of Juliet and Other Short Stories

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The Fate of Juliet and Other Short Stories

Beth Lindsay

Copyright © by Beth Lindsay 2017

All rights reserved

First Shakespir edition

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favorite ebook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Table of Contents

The Fountain Heist

The Multiple-choice Life

The Fate of Juliet

About the Author

The Fountain Heist

“I can’t believe that we did it. We did it, Johnny!” Al said as he slapped Johnny in the arm.

Rain rolled off the windshield of the truck as the wipers swept back and forth. Thunder roared in the distance.

“Yeah. We did. Now, pay attention to the god damn road,” Johnny said. He leaned back in his seat, resting his head on the window.

When they approached a red light, Al dropped his lead foot onto the gas. “Hell yeah!”

“Are you trying to get the police’s attention?” Johnny asked.

“It’s the worst storm of the century. There aren’t any cops.”

“You don’t know that. You can’t see two feet in front of you.”

“Do you see anyone dumb enough to be out here?”

“Us?” Johnny said.

“No. We are the smart one. We went out when no one would be and stole seven billion dollars’ worth of artworks.”

Johnny threw himself back into his seat. An exaggerated sigh escaped his lungs. “This is nuts. You are nuts.”

“If by ‘nuts’ you mean that we are going to be filthy rich, then yes.”

Johnny shook his head. “Not if your driver screams, ‘pull me over.’ You know the feds are going to be after us as soon as this storm is over, right?”

“Ha Ha,” Al said, “It’s a win-win then. If we get away without them catching us, we become stinking rich. If we get caught, well, we become stinking famous. Can’t lose.”

Johnny inhaled and nodded. “Famous in prison with my crazy ass brother for life. That is how I want to spend the next fifty years.”

They approached another light. Al stopped for this life. He drummed his steering wheel to the beat of the song on the radio. The light turned green, and he proceeded forward.

“Happy?” he asked Johnny.

“Not until we get the truck and goods back to the warehouse.”

Blue and red lights reflected in the rearview mirror and on the puddles on the curb. Sirens whined from behind them.

Johnny glanced at Al.

“Don’t say a word,” Al said. His hands coiled around the steering wheel. The muscles in his arms and shoulder tightened. He inhaled deeply. He exhaled. “Not. A single. Word.”

He rolled down the window and water rushed into his lap. “May I help you, Miss officer?” he asked the officer as she walked up to the window.

Her dark brown hair stuck to her face, forcing her to push it back. “Yes. Are you aware that due to the weather, you shouldn’t be on the roads until further notice?”

“No ma’am. I did not,” Al responded.

“Where are you heading?”

“Home, Ma’am.”

“Well, it isn’t safe in your vehicle, sir. Please find a place to take cover for the time being,” she said.

“No thank you, Ma’am.”

“Yeah, Al?” Johnny asked as he glanced behind them.

“What?”

“She may be right. We ain’t safe here. Floor it.”

A couple miles back, the clouds touched the ground, sucking up everything in its path. Rain shielded the danger from being seen.

“What?” Al asked for the second time.

“Floor it!”

Al obeyed Johnny’s commands. Tires squealed, splashing water onto the officer. Small pieces of hail bounced off the windshield, followed by larger pieces. Winds picked up and pushed back against the truck. The mixture of rain, hail hitting the truck at full speed, and the harsh winds created a booming sound that didn’t permit any further communication between the brothers.

In a flash of a second, the truck flew off of the road and into the air.

“What the-” Al said as he was thrown up against the back of his seat.

They spun around in the air as if they got onto a carnival ride. Around and around, higher and higher they went.

“This ain’t good, Al,” Johnny said. His knuckles turned white as he held onto the dash.

“No shit.”

Just as fast as they were sucked in, they spat back out. The truck tumbled down the street, creating a crater with each flip it made. Glass shuddered, allowing the baseball sized hail, cement, and more glass shards to scar the men’s face.

The truck settled on its roof a mile from where it’s original spot. Johnny’s seatbelt snapped, dropping him head first onto the metal top. Al’s face turned purple as he choked on his breath. Blood dripped from Al’s forehead and onto Johnny’s.

“Say, do we become famous for being the art thieves who died?” Johnny asked in between coughs. Sharp pains traveled up his sides.

Right above him, his brother’s eyes flickered open and close. “N-no.”

“We going to be rich in the afterlife?”

Al laughed. “Maybe.”

“Al?”

“Yeah?”

Johnny gagged on his brother’s blood, but his body refused to move from its location. “Next time you say, ‘hey let’s go steal a urinal that is on tour,’ I am going to kill you personally.”

Al hummed. “Johnny?”

“Yeah?”

“Next time, we are going to steal Campbell’s Soup Can.” With that said, Al let out his final sigh. His eyes closed and his muscles went limp.

The sun broke through the black clouds. Sirens echoed throughout the city as the rain slowed. Dogs resumed their daily barking.

Johnny burst out laughing, closing his eyes as well. “As soon as I can move, Al, I’ll get our urinal back home. Then, I am going straight to New York to get that soup can for you.”

The Multiple-Choice Life

“Fate16, where in the bloody hell were you?” my mother asked as I walked in (and by in I mean stopping at the threshold, not wanting to go any further, in) the most horrifying kitchen ever created. The entire room screamed Barbie dollhouse. The walls were plastered with bright, pink plaid wallpaper. Neon pots and pans hung above the stove, trying desperately to outdo the brightness of the wallpaper. An old ‘60s style refrigerator stood at the other side of the room (which was only five footsteps from the door).

My mother camouflaged with the room. She was short and round like a plum. Her hair hid behind her neon blue hair cap. Her wrinkled lips matched the shade of pink on the walls. The drapes she referred to as a dress had bright pink and yellow flowers splattered all around.

That intoxicating colored room became louder than my mother’s nagging. My mind intertwined itself within the bright pink and yellow lines on the wall. The wallpaper almost engulfed my entire being if it hadn’t been for the dialogue selection popping up, shielding my eyes for the horror.

What was she talking about again? I thought as I glanced at the options.

Tell her the truth.

Tell her you went down stairs for fresh air.

Give her the flowers.

Ignore her and walk away.

What should I pick? Man, I have no freakin’ clue. Okay, think! What did the teachers always say when you don’t know the answer?

Mother waited, tapping her foot to the beat of the cat clock in the hallway. Her bright green eyes transformed into a dark, inescapable void, demanding me to give her a response soon.

I sighed. When in doubt, pick “C”.

My fingertips felt the warmth of the selection button as I pressed it. The sensation traveled through my nerves up my arm and to my chest, giving me a slight shock.

I watched as all but one of the selections vanished, turning into tiny pixels before my eyes. In their place, smaller pixels gathered. Reds, and yellows, and blues all gathered into tiny teams to form many colors. Those colors collided together to make the shape of a bouquet of daisies.

“For you.” I handed her the bouquet. “I wanted to show my appreciation, so I snuck out and bought you those. It.. . was supposed to be a surprise in the morning . . .but—um—surprise?”

“Oh, Fate16, you shouldn’t have.” Her eyes lit up green once again.

Ten points appeared beside her face. I was clear for the time being. I no longer had an objective in that horrible room. I thanked every creator out there for letting me pass that objective, and I thanked every teacher that told me the answer to all of life’s challenges.

The Fate of Juliet

Flames danced around me. My long, blonde hair reflected the warm colors of the fire. Ash coated my face. The smell of the burning wood filled my lungs. Tears filled my eyes but vaporized in the blaze.

The popping from the burning wood muted out the screams and screams from the audience.

I rushed over to the boy trapped under a fallen light fixture. I struggled to pull him out and guide him to safety. The light was too heavy.

“Just go,” he said.

“I am not leaving you,” I said, staring into his emerald eyes. “Romeo, I love you.”

“Juliet, I love you too, but please, don’t sacrifice yourself for me!”

I smiled down at him. “This is our destiny. We were born into this world to find each other and die together once again.” The ceiling crashed down around us.

Well, that is how you wish the story would have ended. Juliet sacrificing herself for her Romeo, for them to burn in the flames of destiny for all eternity. I don’t blame you for desiring this ending. All my audiences were subjected to this idealism. Since the world of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet were cursed to be star-crossed lovers and to die a painful death together with no regrets.

We were no different. I, Juliet Fiera, was the modern incarnation of Juliet, and Romeo Puerto was my destiny, bound together by these cursed names, so it only makes sense that I would remain by his side until the end. However, I’d be lying if I told you that is how things ended.

“Fiera!” I snapped out of my delusion and stared down at Puerto. He was still trapped. Blood streamed down his face, mixing with his snot and tears. His free hand reached out for help.

“Fiera,” he said once again.

One thing I appreciate about Puerto is that he never called me Juliet. From the first day of middle school, I wasn’t his Juliet, I was just Fiera.

“Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet.” My sixth-grade class sang while we played outside, pushing Puerto and me together. “You should kiss your love.”

“Yeah go kiss him.”

“Kiss her and live happily ever after!”

I snapped my head in the opposite direction, tightening my fist. My body trembled as I dug my fingernails into my skin. Blood rushed through my swollen veins and into my head.

“Leave her alone,” Puerto said. Back then, he had dark brown hair that he failed to comb daily and wore tore up jeans with marker scribbled all over them. “Can’t you jerks see that Fiera doesn’t like when you harass her?”

Before I could react, Puerto dragged me by the wrist past the crowd and through the back door of the school. The halls were empty, echoes of teachers’ lectures and the sound of our fast pace steps were the only occupants. He pulled me down several corridors until he reached our locker pod. He sighed.

“Sorry, Fiera,” he said. “You were uncomfortable because of me.” I pulled my arm out of his grip and rubbed the red mark away.

I turned away from him. “Hmph. Yeah, whatever.”

His eyes concentrated on the back of my head. Shivers went down my phone, knowing he was watching me.

“It’s not like I couldn’t take care of them on my own,” I added. His response was a burst of laughter. I snapped my head back in his direction. He bent over, slapping his knee and holding his stomach, struggling to breathe in between the chuckles.

“What is so funny?”

“You,” he said. He glanced up at me. “I didn’t think girls like you existed.”

“Why do you call me Fiera?” I asked. I leaned back on one of the lockers. “I mean, you transferred here a few weeks ago, and you are the only one that calls me that.”

“Well,” he said, “it would cause problems if I call you Juliet.”

I turned my attention to him. He smiled down at me.

“Besides Fiera is much more suitable. You are a little firecracker.” He laughed. I grinned my teeth and slapped his shoulder.

“You jerk.”

“Fiera, please don’t leave me,” Puerto said. Smoke filled every inch of the room. It kicked out the welcoming oxygen from my lungs, burning me from the inside out. If I stayed any longer, my heart would turn to charcoal dust. Puerto’s cries for help held me captive in my place on stage.

“Please help me. I don’t want to die.”

My lips trembled. A steady stream of hot tears rolled out of my eyes, down my cheek, and dripped off my chin. This is fate, I thought. We don’t want to die, but we must.

Tears fell from my eyes. A blurred apparition stood before me. The taste of salt lingered on my trembling lips. ‘oohs’ and ‘awws’ blended in with the laughter in the room.

“I know name you, husband and wife. Muah!” One of the girls blew a kiss at us.

“Fiera, I- I didn’t-” a thirteen-year-old Puerto said. His soft pink lips trembled just as much as mine did.

“You are a jerk. Stay the hell away from me,” I said, punching him and breaking his nose. A painful ‘fuck’ escaped his mouth as I scrambled out of the practice room. I ran as fast as I could away from them, from him. Closing my eyes, I attempted to tune out the tune of our peers’ chants.

Loud footsteps echoed behind me. I ran faster, turning a corner into a locker corridor. I stumbled but pushed myself back up before I could land on my face.

My breath became hollow, and it hurt to inhale. Cold sweat formed on my face, putting chills down my spine. My legs weakened, each pounding step becoming more exhausting than the last.

I slowed down right before the school exit, panting.

“Fiera,” Puerto said. He bent down, holding onto his legs. He took a few deep breathes. “Fiera, I’m sorry. I didn’t know they were going to do a kiss scene this year, and they, they pressured me to do it, and I should have thought about you and said no. I should have asked your permission to go along with it.”

My hand, just a centimeter from the handle, froze in place. I don’t want to be here.

“You can beat me up for the next month if you want, okay? Just, come back to rehearsal.”

Why should I?

“Just so you know, I will never fall in love with you. Our names don’t mean crap to me, and neither does your existence. I wish you never moved to this stupid town,” I said. I pulled on the handle and walked out into the humid, summer air. My chest tightened with every step I took. Puerto never chased after me for the rest of the day.

Together in those flames, my chest all the same.

“Don’t you dare leave me, Fiera. Fiera, don’t let me die.” The sizzle and crack of the inferno canceled out the rest of his pleads.

I glanced down. A script burned below my heel.

“Wherefore art thou Romeo,” I read off the letters that turned to ash. How many times had I said that line and not mean it? If I had to guess, since the first year we were forced into the drama club.

“Romeo, oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo,” I said, rolling my eyes. In the seats below, the other actresses took photos and snickered.

“Juliet takes this seriously,” Mr. Hide said. He was a tall man with a round belly. His white hair had receded to almost nothing, and his toupee stood out more than a clown in a courtroom. “The play is in two days, and you look like you would rather murder him than marry him.”

I chuckled, glancing over at Puerto. He sat on top of a crate, used as a prop, with his shoulders slumped in a relaxed state, holding his script with a loose script. “It wouldn’t be far from the truth.”

“Juliet,” Mr. Hide said with a heavy sigh. “As long as you are on this stage, you are not Juliet Fiera, you are Juliet Capulet, and you are in love with Romeo. That is called ‘the beauty of acting.’ Now, Let’s try this again.”

“Just give it a rest, old man. She isn’t going to play the part. Let’s find a new Juliet. I mean, how do you expect me to fall in love with a firecracker like her?” said Puerto.

“Mr. Puerto, please refrain from calling me, old man.”

“What did you say?” I asked.

Puerto grinned. “I said you couldn’t play the part if you tried.”

“Is that a challenge?”

“Three meals at Mary’s,” he said, “with dessert.” He winked.

I growled but then coughed. I closed my eyes and opened them once more. “Romeo? Oh, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” I sighed a melancholy sigh. “Deny thy father! Refuse Thy name! If thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, I’ll no longer be a Capulet.”

I glanced over to Puerto. His face was red, and sweat rolled off of his face. “Uh-uh.” He panicked and started flipping through his script. “Uh-Uh. Shall I hear more?” His voice trembled. “Or sh-shall l I speak at this?”

“Romeo, don’t lose focus, here. We only have two days left,” Mr. Hide said. He sighed and shook his head.

“Sorry, Old Man, won’t happen again,” Puerto said. Mr. Hide blew up, throwing his papers in the air. He lectured Puerto about respect and how to behave properly.

Puerto rolled his eyes and turned in my direction, and our eyes made contact. I chuckled and lipped, “Mary’s with dessert.” He signed and nodded, waving an imaginary white flag.

“Mr. Puerto, are you even listening to me?”

By show night, rumors spread about the legendary Juliet excepting her fate and the Capulet within awoken to be reunited with her beloved Romeo. Not a single seat was left over, and the principal even pulled out folding chairs for the extra guest. That night, Puerto and I made out stage debuts as soulmates.

Since that time, I have said that famous line hundreds of time, but never felt the real agony behind them. At that moment, with the school theater burning around us, I felt them.

Why is fate so cruel? I thought. Why must we die here? If this is fate-

I walked through the flames towards Romeo. Kneeling down, I tucked my hair behind my ear and leaned closer to him.

“Fier- “I gave him a small peck on the lips. It wasn’t like the several kisses he had on that stage. The kiss was brief but was enough to remember for a lifetime. The bitter taste of a poisonous fate lingered.

“I may have fallen, but I will not follow,” I said. “I won’t die here.”

I shook my head as the tears began to fall, taking a step back.

“I am sorry,” I said. Without giving myself a chance to reconsider my decision, I bolted out of the theater. Puerto screamed in agony like a lobster thrown in a boiling pot of water, not even the power of the flames that consumed him could contain his cries.

The flames chased me throughout the school, down every corridor, until I reached a fire exit. I joined the audience and my peers in the parking lot. The cool breeze greeted me and wrapped me in a blanket of safety. The other girls in the drama club rushed over to me and sobbed into my arms. They blubbered some nonsense apologizes and pretends concerns for my well-being.

The firemen arrived at the scene. Some rushed into the building in an attempt to save Puerto while the others contained the fire. It was too late. In a matter of moments, the building turned to ash, taking Puerto with it.

“Get off of my desk,” I said, walking into the classroom. Only Puerto and a couple early birds sat in the room. Puerto leaned forward with his stupid grin on his face.

“Oh, come on, Fiera. Can you at least greet me with a smile?” He laughed. I walked up to him and threw my twenty-pound bag at him. He caught it, never letting that grin disappear. “Smile, my love.”

“You know that I don’t want you around me unless we are on stage. You know that, so what the hell do you want?” I said. I sighed, placing my hands in my pocket and looking behind me to make sure the others wouldn’t rush in.

“Let me borrow your math notes,” he said. “Maybe even the assignment.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Fine. Whatever. Just get lost. Okay?”

He hopped off of my desk and unzipped my bag. Within a second, he pulled out a blue notebook from the disorganized organization called my backpack. He kissed the notebook.

“You are a life saver, Fiera.”

“No, I just don’t want Romeo to be late to his own death tonight because he is stuck in detention,” I said.

“Still.” Puerto pulled me into an embrace. He held me tight. His hand found its way into my hair. “I don’t know what I would do without you. You are the most amazing person I have ever met. I couldn’t have asked for a better soulmate.”

He pulled away, slipping his hands onto my cheeks, and stared into my eyes.

“I mean it.” He picked up the notebook and rushed out the door.

“Soulmate? Don’t fuck with me,” I said. I sat down in my seat and pulled out my notes for English. “If my name weren’t Juliet, you wouldn’t be calling me your soulmate.”

I don’t remember much when they announced his death. The drama club said I went into a fit, breaking thinks and throwing things. They said the paramedics had to wait for me to calm down some before going near me. When I did calm down some, I fell to my knees, holding myself and sobbing like a widow. I woke up a week later in that hospital feeling that huge pain in my chest.

Maybe I should have laid down and died with him. Maybe I should have accepted the fate that was given to me instead of fighting it. However, that wasn’t what I chose. I chose to live without him. I chose to live with guilt and this aching pain in my chest. Right or wrong. It was my choice.

###

About the Author

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Beth Lindsay is a graphic novelist that works in the fantasy science fiction genre. She is working towards a Bachelors of Fine art for Creative writing and currently working on a new graphic novel series The Dream Catchers. Despite the fact she is a writer, Beth Lindsay will stay up some nights to paint the images she remembers from dreams rather than writing them down in a journal. You can read some of her short stories, poems and sneak peaks into her graphic novels at http://www.writerscafe.org/Linzi or at https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabeth-lindsay-269253139/


The Fate of Juliet and Other Short Stories

Two men try to steal a famous art piece. A young girl struggle with her fate. A teen needs a way around her mother's wrath. THE FATE OF JULIET AND OTHER SHORT STORIES is a collection of short stories by Beth Lindsay, ranging in genre and length. The collection includes "The Fate of Juliet," "The Multiple Choice Life," and "The Fountain Heist." These stories tackle themes related to consequences of one’s choices. Two men break into a museum during a dangerous storm and must escape unharmed in the story THE FOUTAIN HEIST. THE Multiple Choice Life explores a world where all a person's choices are presented before them, and they must make a choice from only those options. The Fate of Juliet follows the decision making of Juliet, a high school girl that hates her name and the fate that associated with it.

  • Author: Beth Lindsay
  • Published: 2017-05-28 23:35:09
  • Words: 4013
The Fate of Juliet and Other Short Stories The Fate of Juliet and Other Short Stories