Imaginif prompts for daily writers.
If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the below photo (changes daily) as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and your link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Stories below are copyright and are Megan Bayliss' writing around the below daily picture prompt.

Atropa bella donna

My husband was a violent drunk. Correction, my husband was violent. He was always drunk. The night I drugged him was the biggest achievement of my life but it's hardly something to put on the resume, particularly given I got away with it.

He'd been drinking with our local head master. They'd been fishing and the salty build up around their sunglasses and chin stubble confirmed that a trip straight to the pub was in order. Normally, he'd drink at home, hit me, and drink some more again. At least on fishing night he wouldn't hit me until we got home.

In the beer garden, I sat and listened, bored but dutiful. Co-dependent I think its called. If I moved he may have thrown an empty beer jug at me. Was a fairly easy choice to just sit still and listen to them. They were both so drunk that even the words that came out of their mouths had a head on them. They were foul. Embarrassing. Abusive, filthy and not far off comatose. If only they'd pass out before the new woman heard them talking about her.

I'd seen the newcomer around a bit. She stood out because she had long hair and wore bright, silky, skirts and matching scarfs. Her hair was bottled red, straight, shiny and all the way to her backside. I think I liked the look of her or maybe it was just that she was so noticeable in average town.

Out of the pub she came and through the beer garden she moved toward me, one long confident stride after another. Her brightly painted lips smiled at me. Her green eyes held mine. My dark eyes held hers, and begged her to not come anywhere near me. He would kill me or cause an almighty scene.

She didn't understand body language. She sat beside me and offered her hand straight to me.

"I'm Carole," I think she said. My mind was so busy panicking that it took away my ability to hear.

"I'm Carole. I'm just here working for a while, cataloguing all the poisonous plants in the town area. You've got some deadly ones right under your noses. Atropa belladonna is just everywhere."

Like a dart straight to bullseye I heard her words. Like a whiff of ammonia beneath my victimology, my fear was taken away and my senses heightened. I marked Carole as a must know person.

Behind my husband's back, I met with Carole many times over her stay in average town. Carole's job was to ensure that the new Government site (Child care and a hospital) was poison plant free prior to building beginning. She would catalogue and somebody else would remove. Through field work, she taught me all about the toxic plants in our area and explained how the toxins break down and what they do to the animal that may consume them. Amazingly, Atropa belladonna mixed with alcohol, produced a quick death in humans. Even more amazing, the poison could not be traced IN the body once the person died because it passed through as the bowl and bladder let go at death.

I asked for the contract to remove and destroy the poisonous plants. On Carole's recommendation I won the job.

The night he died was the happiest night of my life. Even through my swollen shut eye and half face of a boxer, with my two broken fingers and a broken rib, I could still stir the jug of beer with the sweetest stick of Belladonna that I could find. Not enough and he would experience delirium and hallucinations. That would be no different to every other night. The right amount and his heart would stop and all poison pass from his body as bladder and bowl released.

Bowl movement, no problem. He was naked, a drunk and we were country people with a half dingo as a pet. I simply had the dingo clean up his waste. No different to any other night.

Flash fiction research: "Atropa bella donna" is derived from an admonition in Italian and Greek meaning "do not betray a beautiful lady."

If you wish to join the Writers Prompt Daily simply use the above photo as a prompt and post a short story, poem or paragraph to your blog. Leave a comment and the link here so that all participants can come to you and read/comment/encourage. Story above is copyright and is Megan Bayliss' writing around the above picture prompt.

6 Response to "Atropa bella donna"

Julie G said...

A thought provoking piece.

I too, know off such a plant, I wonder if it is the same one.

I am saddened, to think that people locked in those situation go to extrodinary lenghts to be set free. We shall be free !!

Carole knew, The angel of freedom.

Megan Bayliss said...

The plant is fairly common around here and has large bell shaped flowers. It's commonly called Bella Donna. It does cause hallucinations and can cause death but that stuff about it passing through at death was poetic license.

Julie, I have worked with so many women surviving domestic violence. They are simply amazing women, with the most fantastic skills. If only we could collectively support them to use their survival skills for life without the violence.

The name of the beer glasses, Head Master, was just to good to pass up. I aimed to show that even people in positions of authority and care can hurt.

I wrote this as a piece of bibliotherapy so I hoped it worked....although I DO NOT advocate anyone killing anyone.

Julie G said...

I agree, I now know there are different ways out of all abuse, what ever form it takes. But I must admit I understand how people can go there in their heads...

Abuse has no boundaries. Headmaster.

Becca said...

This was excellent, Megan! Very accurate as far as the woman's personality. I loved the twist with the bella donna.

PS--thanks for the comment on my blog today. The Finding Attalie story won't be a book. It's just something for my blog :) The style of my book is a bit different.

I haven't done the recent prompts but likely I'll do one tomorrow. I've been writing though! In fact, you could say your image today inspired the first chapter of my newest novel!

Keep writing. Your pieces are inspirational.

Megan Bayliss said...

Oh Becca, thank you. Your encouragement means a lot because I think your writing style and voice is just captivating.

Writing daily, whether to these prompts or something else, is all I can hope writers will do....and you are doing it brilliantly.


Mountaingirl said...

You have a very powerful voice Megan, and the ability to command sympathy and empathy for your characters. Loved this one.

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