[ kə-PREE-shəs ]
- Given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior.
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem, painting, dance move—inspired by the word, capricious, where does it take me? Where does it take you? Learn more about “The Word” here.
Sarah sat in the same black leather armchair that she’d come to know so well, her therapist sitting in a stiffer armchair across from her. She waited as he took a few notes—the usual start to one of their sessions. Date and time stuff, most likely, she thought.
“Welcome back, Sarah,” said Dr. Betts. “Why don’t you start by just recapping your week? Anything important to report?”
“Yes!” Sarah blurted out like a damn opening. “It hasn’t gotten any better. It’s almost every day something happens.”
Dr. Betts didn’t react but simply made some notations in the file. “Tell me about the most recent.”
“It was yesterday at lunch,” Sarah began. “I was in a pretty normal mood for a Wednesday at school. Just… I don’t know… blah. Not happy, not sad, just… blah.”
Dr. Betts nodded, and Sarah continued.
“Then, all of a sudden, at the lunch table, I started laughing. I mean laughing hard—couldn’t control myself. My mind knew there was nothing to be laughing about. I still couldn’t stop it, though. I couldn’t even explain to everyone what was so funny.”
“What did you do?”
“I just got up and went to the bathroom, which was a struggle with how hard I was laughing.”
Dr. Betts again took down notes when the sounds of a commotion sounded outside the office. He looked up and then back to Sarah. “Give me a moment,” he said, and got up, taking the file with him.
He opened the door, and there was definitely something going on. Dr. Betts closed the door, and Sarah got to her feet to pace the spacious room. The library section, a whole wall of books, was the most defining feature, and she walked over to it.
A book was on the floor, sprawled open…
… clearly having fallen off the shelf. Sarah picked it up, studied the cover briefly, and sought its home upon the shelves. She found the gaping hole where a single book would fit, but before she put it into place, her eye caught the corner of a small white square on the back of the shelf.
Sarah moved some of the books around to discover a switch, like a light switch. She shrugged and flicked it. Immediately the wall clicked, and a door-sized portion of the bookshelves opened a crack.
“Holy crap,” she uttered under her breath. This was the stuff of movies, not real life. The curiosity couldn’t be contained, though. With a quick glance back at the still-closed office door, Sarah pushed the bookshelf in and stepped inside a small room.
It was the size of a generous walk-in closet with shelves that lined the three walls. The shelves were full of dolls, and in the middle of the room, a collection of index cards rested on a small round table. Sarah walked straight to the doll on the far wall that had her braided black hair and red glasses.
There was a pouch sewn into the doll’s chest, and inside was a blank index card. Sarah turned to the small table and read the index cards there. They were all full of emotions written in scripted black ink. Sad, one of them said. Laughter, said another, and Sarah’s stomach dropped.
Just then, she heard the sound of the office door opening…
This one was definitely a lot longer than the normal ones I write for The Word. In fact, it’s about twice as long. But, sometimes, when you have an idea, you have to just run with it.
This Voodoo Doll idea came to me instantly when I read the definition of capricious. Then, the question was to write it as a comedy or a horror? I think the ending of this shows which direction I decided on.
But, it could easily turn into a dark comedy. So, where could this go? Obviously, this therapist is doing some weird experiments, probably in the name of “helping people,” of course. Yet, it would prove satisfying if Sarah, and maybe some others, turn the tables upon Dr. Betts.
What do you think of Capricious?
Would you have gone comedy or horror, or dark comedy?
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did capricious or my story take you?
If you liked this story, check out my podcast of short stories, More Than A Story.
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