full account, empty eyes

Carl’s fingers clicked away on the keyboard, his eyes flew back and forth, scanning and re-scanning the code.  His left cheek twitched, tugging the edge of his lips up ever so slightly, leaving him smiling half smugly and half mischievously.

Sam hated to see him like that.  She usually found him very attractive, but when he was smiling in the glow of the monitor, she could truly see that he was ugly inside and out.  She stuck around because he was good to her and she knew she could do worse.  She had before.

Usually, Sam made sure she was out of the house during his more nefarious activities.  If she didn’t see him working then it was easier to fool herself about where the money came from, about the type of man he was.

“How much longer?”  Her question was a whisper.

“I just have to manipulate a couple more lines of code and then our bank accounts will be full again.”

Sam looked away.  A single tear broke free and slid down her cheek.  She watched it fall to the carpet, free.  The lights of a car driving down their street poured through the window and splashed across the walls.  It glinted off the array of diamonds she wore atop her fingers, wrapped around her wrists, hanging from her ears, and dangling from her neck.

The sparkling light distracted her and she smiled.  She had many pretty things.  She wanted for nothing.  But, her eyes did not match the smile.  They were empty, matching the darkness casting long shadows across her soul.

“Done,” Carl finished with a flourish of key strikes.

He grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair he’d been sitting at and fished his arm around Sam’s as they made their exit.  A happy couple.

“What do you want to buy today, Darling?”

She smiled at him, genuine except for her eyes, as they stepped onto the street.  A new life, she thought.  “Something pretty,” she said.


Word Count: 333

This bit of flash fiction was written for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge:

MANIPULATE (transitive verb)

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2a : to manage or utilize skillfully
b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage
3: to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one’s purpose : to doctor


• Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
• You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
• The word itself needs to be included in your response.
• You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
• Only one entry per writer.
• If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.

What would you manipulate?  Write it up, link it up, and post it up.


63 thoughts on “full account, empty eyes

    • Buy a new life with stolen money… and then what? Perhaps she’s been in this life, this lie, for too long to have anything else she can do. Or, perhaps that’s what she thinks, anyway.

      • Neither.
        Just that there were choices she made that got her in that situation and there are chocies she can make to remove herself if she wanted. It wouldn’t be easy. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but the option is there.
        And I certainly wouldn’t hold myself up as the perfect road to travel. Who knows what twists and turns are ahead of me and what choices I will make when I come to them. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” is a favorite quote of mine for a reason.

      • If we were perfect, then we wouldn’t have any interesting stories to tell. All we can do, I guess, is hope we make the best/right choice when the time comes.
        I have to admit though, that quote sometimes gets on my nerves. People like using it as an excuse not to plan ahead or as a reason not to be held responsible for their actions.

      • I use “Marvel or DC?” to try and figure out the odds of having a decent conversation. So far, I’ve gotten the same answer only twice.
        (No, I don’t discriminate against non-geeks/nerds/comic lovers)

      • I don’t discriminate either… but there is a difference between we can hang out friends, and I’d trust you with my child friends. I don’t think I could trust anyone who hasn’t matched The Magnificent Seven with the Little Prince

      • I usually equate hanging out to trusting. If I don’t trust you, I probably won’t seek you out, because I could spend that time with people that are trustworthy.

      • Valid.
        But… my cadre of closest friends don’t live anywhere near me. So, when I want in person frivolity with friends I am forced to hang out with people I may not trust, but still have a good time with.

      • But then, these are not friends, are they? Friends are to be trusted and treasured.
        Actually, now that I think of it, English doesn’t have a word for a “friend that isn’t close or trusted, but is nice to hang out with”, does it?

      • acquaintance… perhaps
        I see what you are driving at now. Yes, I should call them something other than friend, because friend should be someone that can be trusted and treasured. But, we tend to overuse and oversimplify, don’t we.

      • Indeed we do. We’re not even honest about it anymore.
        That is another word which lost part of its meaning. Perhaps it’s time to invent a new word?

      • New words for friends and people who are more than acquantances but not quite friends… tricky, tricky.
        I think we should just leave friends as how it should be defined. Someone who can be trusted. So, we just need a something for the rest… fauxfriend, quasifriend, semifriend… so fand? quasend? semnd?

  1. That was excellent, for a moment I thought those lights would be Police lights, and i wondered if her thoughts of “a new life” were actually that, she had maybe bought a new life and was going to leave, or perhaps she just liked those Diamonds too much.

  2. An enjoyable read.
    At one stage I was beginning to feel sorry for her but in the end she was prepaid to put up with his activities in return for ‘something pretty’. It’s all about making choices.

    • Nope, not abused. I didn’t want the story to go there, so I was glad the words stopped where they did. We are all for sale, yes, just depends on what’s for offer and who is doing the offering.

  3. Well,both deserve each other-ugly from the inside & outside-possibly she hopes that pretty things will make things look or feel better?An excellent write DJ:-)

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