Guest Blogger: Kate Loveton (Vocal Dissonance)

Get ready to enjoy a really great story. I’m not kidding or exaggerating. The flash fiction you’re about to read is freakin’ awesome. When I finished it, I felt like I’d gotten away with something because it seemed like I should have paid to read it. Yep, it’s that good.

Vocal Dissonance by Kate Loveton 

I’m a pilot.

After being married to Kurt for ten years, I’d learned to fly carefully. Every day was a journey into the unknown, flying by the seat of my pants, navigating unexpected turbulence. I’d become a master at keeping my mouth shut, at doing ‘the necessary.’

I met Kurt when I was seventeen. Papa had ruled our unhappy house with an iron fist. By the time Kurt noticed me, my brothers had all run away; I was the only one left at home with that mean old man.

Kurt was supposed to be my salvation. Like me, he was a church-goer. Almost forty, clean-shaven and neat, he seemed sweet, calling me ‘Miss Adele,’ holding doors open for me. Treated me like a princess, he did; that meant a lot. I wasn’t used to kind words and caresses. I took that man at face value. If I’d thought harder about things, I might have wondered why a man of almost forty wasn’t already married, especially a good looking one with a fine job – and why that man might be sniffing around a plain Jane like me.

After my experience with meanness, I should have known to fly above trouble, but hope can make a girl do stupid things.

Life was good at first. But one day, while Kurt was working, someone knocked at my door. Standing on the front porch was a thin woman with limp brown hair gathered loosely in a bun. She kept looking behind her. Her manner reminded me of one of them little rabbits Papa used to catch in his traps, desperate and wanting to bolt.

She got to the point. “He home?”

Her name was Sal; said she was Kurt’s ex.

Once I let her inside, the story came out. Told me she’d run off and left Kurt when she couldn’t take the beatings no more.

“You think he’s nice, don’t you? You won’t feel that way long. Soon as you do something he don’t like, he’s gonna use you as a whipping toy. Oh, he’ll apologize, tell you he loves you, act sad like you drove him to it. He’ll tell you he loves you while he’s beating the crap out of you. But them words don’t match his behavior. Actions speak louder than words.”

Guess she saw I didn’t believe her because she took a photo from her purse and shoved it at me. “Here, take a look at this. I dare you to look at that picture.”

I wanted her to leave. I didn’t want to hear her lies about Kurt.

She shook her head and frowned. “Are you afraid? Look, I don’t like being here, knowing he might come home any minute. I’m doing you a favor. I wish someone had warned me before I spent all them years as his punching bag. Go on, look! Uncertainty is worse!”

I looked then. My hands started shaking at the sight of a woman with a split lip and blackened eyes.

“That’s me after Kurt took exception to my not dusting behind one of the photographs sitting on our bureau. Nearly killed me that time. He likes things perfect.”

Maybe I didn’t want to believe her. I’d wanted out of Papa’s house so bad, I’d have probably gone off with anyone. I don’t know anymore; all I know is that I asked that good woman to leave. She’d come to do me a good turn, one I was too stupid to appreciate.

Sal looked sad. “You don’t get it, do you? You think it’ll be different for you. Well, it won’t. Men like Kurt never change. You and me, we oughta be sisters in arms. I’m sorry for you, but I guess you’ll just have to learn the hard way.”

She was right.

Three months into the marriage, Kurt started getting ugly with me. What Sal had said about his words being at odds with his behavior was the God’s truth. Always after me for little things: his shirts weren’t ironed the way he liked them; putting the canned goods away without alphabetizing them according to vegetable; towels hanging slightly crooked in the bathroom. Once I’d forgotten to make a little downward triangle of the toilet tissue hanging from the roll.

These were the kind of things that could down a pilot. So I learned to anticipate things, to look ahead for dangerous currents. I tried for perfection. Ten years, I tried to fly right.

But humans ain’t built for perfection; even the best fighter pilot sometimes gets shot down.

“I love you, baby. (slap) Why don’t you listen? (smack) Why do I have to discipline you? (punch) I work hard all day (shove) You know I love you, baby… why do you make me hurt you?” (punch)

Yes, he loved me more than life. If I was hurting, it was my own fault. I drove him to it.

He almost convinced me during those ten years – in spite of emergency room visits, or wearing sunglasses to hide bruised eyes, or long-sleeved shirts in summer to disguise arms covered with welts.

“I love you, baby.”

Words…

But punches spoke louder than words.

***

Kurt prized his collection of handguns. He was real particular about them, taking them out every couple of weeks, oiling them, unloading and reloading them.

He never once used them, just cleaned them all the time. I was thinking about that when the phone rang and Kurt got up to answer it.

Guess he never expected a quiet flyer like me to take it into her head to touch his guns.

This time, though, the pilot decided to change course. It was time to land the damn plane and finally put an end to those flights. After ten years, I’d run out of gas.

I couldn’t take it no more.

Kurt finished his call and came back into the room. There was a surprise waiting for him.

“I love you, baby,” I said.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

My flying days were over.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kate Loveton spins tales on her blog Odyssey of a Novice WriterBio: Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I’m a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are ‘Once upon a time… ‘ Won’t you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?

Faith Simone says:

See? What’d I tell you?! Freakin’ awesome. Flash fiction is so much harder than it seems. It takes a special talent to pack so much emotion into a few words. I especially appreciate the tone of the narrator. Without spelling it out to us, we know that the narrator is poor, young, probably lacking formal education and lives somewhere rural just by the way she tells the story. Do yourself a favor and make sure to visit Kate Loveton’s blog for more amazing content!

What did you think of Kate’s story? Have you ever written about a heavy subject like domestic violence? Have you ever attempted to write flash fiction?

 

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38 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Kate Loveton (Vocal Dissonance)

  1. I don’t in any way condone violence. But this guy had it coming to him. A surprise and very satisfying ending: “I love you. baby,” I said. BANG. BANG. BANG.
    Well done, Kate and Faith, you were right on in saying this is an awesome flash story, for all the reasons you gave. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved that ending too! Yes, it was violent, but real. Unfortunately, a lot of victims of domestic violence stay in the situation and end up snapping. Then they are left to deal with the consequences of taking the law into their own hands. For the life of me I can’t think of the name of the mental illness that is often cited in court when a victim kills their abuser after years of mistreatment. But it’s a real condition that causes a previously meek victim to snap and take their abuser out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • What’s at stake here is that the abuser has pulled the victim emotionally and psychologically so low to a point of despair and depression and as you said, meekness.
        I don’t know of the mental illness but Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) could also be at play.
        Studies on women who are victims of family abuse have shown why women stay. It’s pretty well documented. The work that still needs to be done is prevention, on the part of men (so they understand thier abusive behavior) and on the part of women (leaving an abusive relationship).

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  2. Hi Faith! Thanks so much for featuring my story on your blog – and for the kind words. I am so grateful!

    I want to thank your readers above, as well, for their kind comments.

    Domestic violence is a continuing and troubling problem. It affects not only the spouse, but also the children who grow up seeing it. My story had an extreme ending and not one I advocate, but I’m glad readers could identify with the narrator and her emotions.

    Thanks again! 🙂

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on Odyssey of a Novice Writer and commented:
    Faith Simone has a wonderful blog! She subtitles it ‘All Things Written…To Encourage & Inspire.’ She’s a generous person who has kindly featured my flash fiction, ‘Vocal Dissonance,’ on her blog today. I encourage you to check Faith’s blog out. She’s a very cool lady. 🙂

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  4. I shudder: “I love you.” (punch) etc. did me in. A wonderful story by a talented scribe. The narrator doesn’t whine, she tells it straight. That’s what pushes the emotional roller-coasting. Ten years! She DID try. I don’t condone violence either but by golly, a person reaches the end of her rope… Bang. Bang.
    A bang up story, Kate (no pun intended). ⭐

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I shudder: “I love you.” (punch) etc. did me in”—–ME TOO! How can someone say they love you while beating the mess out of you? It’s pure craziness, but it shows the dynamics of domestic abuse perfectly.

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        • Yes, people in love do some crazy things! And it costs so much to stay in a dangerous relationship: much more than anyone should ever have to pay. I was fascinated by the #whyIstayed campaign because it gave women (and probably a few men) the platform to speak out about domestic violence. There’s so much shame associated with being a survivor of domestic violence, and it shouldn’t be that way.

          Like

    • Thanks, Tess – it was important to me to keep the story and the narrator from being too sentimental – I wanted her strong enough to survive 10 years with the man, but in the end unable to take her life with him any longer. She saw her opportunity, whatever we may think of iher subsequent actions – and she took it. Thanks for your supportive comments! 💜 I always enjoy receiving your take on my stories.

      Like

  5. wow Faith – Bingo! Another winning, detailed and great interview – The interview is a powerful introduction a wonderful lady of valuable journey. I congratulate both of you!

    Faith – I hope you will agree with me to have a live interview!

    Liked by 2 people

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