Submitted for Short Story Contest #2 Obsession

This week’s theme is “obsession.” You could do anything from a funny story about a woman obsessed with finding the perfect purple pen, or you could do something a little darker, like a stalker obsessed with his victim.

  • Keep your word count between 1000-1200
  • The story can be funny, dark, romantic, dramatic, or anything you want. We will not accept explicit pornography.
  • Please post on your blog and link back to it in the comments.
  • If you do not have a blog, you may post it in the comments.
  • Leave your Twitter handle at the end of the post so we can notify you via Twitter (and promote you) if you win.
  • Please do not edit your submissions after you’ve posted here!

Deadline is Saturday, 10/11/2014, midnight Central Time (Chicago, USA).

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The Character Obsession

“A couple of us girls are going out after work tonight. Care to join us Joan?” asked Emily.

“Thanks for asking but I can’t. Spencer is missing and I have to see if the agents have found him yet,” said Joan.

Joan could hear her colleagues whisper as they walked away. They didn’t understand how much binge television has become an obsession. They didn’t understand how watching several episodes in one setting has made it so that the characters are real to her and she walks among them. They didn’t whisper last year when the entire office was obsessed with Walter White, his sidekick Jesse and their methamphetamine RV lab.

Joan shut down her computer, grabbed her handbag and left the office. Driving home, she couldn’t get Doctor Spencer Reid out of her mind. That mad man had him captive. A few blocks from home, a driver in a white unmarked van drove through a red light and Joan had to slam on the breaks. Managing to avoid an accident, Joan thought that probably the driver was involved in a criminal act. In her mind, the city was rampant with serial killers. SSA Aaron Hotchner would need her to tell all she knows or Agent Derek Morgan would have her close her eyes and remember. Joan turned right and began to follow the white van.

Soon Joan found herself in a part of the city she never ventures into. She could see people up to who knows what lurking in alleys. Deciding to give up her investigation of the white van, Joan switched on her dashboard GPS and programmed it for home.

The pleasant GPS voice said, “Turn around when possible.”

Joan looked in her rearview mirror and on the road in front of her and began to make a u-turn. This action brought her some unwanted attention. Joan pressed the door locks to be sure they were engaged. Just when she had her car turned around, her GPS gave the next direction.

“At the end of the road, turn right.”

Joan didn’t expect to be turning so soon but she was at the mercy of the GPS.

After signaling, Joan turned right and drove two blocks when the next direction sounded.

“In four-hundred feet, you’ve reached your destination on the left.”

“That can’t be right,” said Joan to herself. She turned off the GPS and then switched it back on. After programming it for home again, she continued driving.

“Turn around when possible.”

No longer able to depend on the GPS, Joan pulled over to the side of the road. After switching off the engine, she rummaged around in the glove box looking for a map. She would need to go old school to find her way home. When Joan sat back up in her seat, a man rapping on her driver side window startled her.

“Joan what are you doing? I came out to retrieve the garbage cans and I saw you drive passed our home,” said the man.

“How do you know my name? I don’t know you.”

“What? You’re kidding right? I’m your husband Mark. It’s cold out here. Park the car and let’s go in the house.”

“I’m not going in any house with you. Leave me alone or I’ll call the police.”

Joan looked down at the map but couldn’t remember where she lived. Looking out, nothing looked familiar. The strange man was still standing outside the car. He took out a cellular telephone and made a call.

“Jillian, can you and Mike come over our house right away? It’s your sister Joan. She is acting strange. She is sitting in the car and doesn’t appear to know where she is or who I am. Thanks.”

After disconnecting, he addressed Joan. “Your sister and her husband will be here soon. I don’t know what is going on Joan but I love you and I want to get you some help.”

Joan tried to think. Her mind was scrambled but then she remembered that Penelope Garcia at the FBI would be able to help. She was a technology genius and would be able to help straighten out the GPS.  Joan took out her cellular telephone and began to look for a contact that wasn’t there.

“I don’t know what I did with Garcia’s telephone number but I can call information.” Pressing 4-1-1, Joan waited for the operator.

“Information. How may help you?”

“I need the telephone number for the BAU.”

“City and State please?”

“Quantico, Virginia.”

“I’m not finding any such listing in Quantico, Virginia.”

“It is probably listed under the F.B.I. It’s the Behavior Analysis Unit.”

“Is this an emergency? Do you need 9-1-1?

“Yes it’s an emergency and Penelope Garcia is the only one that can help me.”

The operator recognized the name of a character from a popular television program. Taking initiative, she notified the police.

Outside the car, Mark listened to his wife’s telephone conversation and grew alarmed as he recognized her recent obsession and witnessed it take over her life.

Jillian and Mark arrived just as a police cruiser with it’s lights flashing arrived from the opposite direction. Jillian got out of the car and went to her sister.

“Joan, its me Jillian. Come on out of the car and lets go in the house.”

Joan stared at Jillian but didn’t seem to recognize her. Soon the police officers joined the crowd outside her car. Feeling confused but knowing it was safe to roll down the window with the police present, Joan turned the key to auxiliary and pressed the button to open the window.

The man was speaking to the police officers. Joan heard the officer mention sending for an ambulance.

“What is going on? I don’t need an ambulance. All I need is directions so I can drive home.” Joan pointed at Mark and continued, “I asked that man to leave me alone but he wouldn’t and then he called these other two people. I don’t know any of them.”

“This man claims that he is your husband and that this is your sister and her husband. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” said the officer.

Joan nodded consent.

“What is your name?

“Joan Fox.”

“Hello Joan. I am Officer Williams. Can you tell me where you live?”

There was silence and after a minute, Joan said, “I can’t remember.”

“Joan. What do you think is going on?”

“I don’t know but I know if you contact Aaron Hotchner or David Rossi of the F.B.I, they can vouch for me and straighten this mess out.”

Officer Williams gestured to his partner who returned to the cruiser to call for an ambulance.

“Joan I think you may be a little mixed up and we’re going to get you some help. We’re calling an ambulance to take you to the hospital.”

Resolved to get to the bottom of her troubles, Joan said, “Ok officer. Can you ask Doctor Spencer Reid to consult on my case? I think he could be very helpful.”

Find me on twitter @ma_holloway

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2 responses

  1. Birgit says:

    Oh my this was really well written because there are people who can’t figure out what is real and what is from TV. There are so many who get angry at soap actors, for example because they think that character is real. It is so sad but you did a great job…and one wonders still if there is not something more to her story….

    Like