My Unintentional Sin

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Stories that Must Not Die

Editor’s note: this story was submitted anonymously.

The internet is a universe unto itself. 20 years ago, if you had told me I could fall for a woman without ever having met her, I’d have pronounced you insane and ceased further interaction with you. I’d have mocked you mercilessly. Now, however, I’d tell you that it’s happened to me more than once. I’d also tell you I hope it never happens to me again and that I’m actively taking steps to avoid this perilous situation.

Last year I met a lovely woman online. She is smart, beautiful, caring, and independent. That sounds like wonderful news and under different circumstances it would have been, but there was one small problem. She lives hundreds of miles away.

Despite the distance we managed to meet. I fell more deeply in love with her after spending some time with her. She returned my feelings…

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I got back in the truck, my cheeks burning from embarrassment, and turned to my roommate, “I don’t see any damage.”

He angled his head so he could look into the rear-view mirror and see the car parked directly behind us.  He frowned and then a moment later his features set into the resolved expression I had grown to know so well over the previous five years.

“You should leave a note, anyway.”

I sighed.  I rolled my eyes.  I pretended to protest, but I knew he was right and I would leave my contact information under their windshield wipers.  I motioned for him to open the glove box and then reached over and pulled out a pad of paper and pen that I stored there.  I scrawled my details out, as legibly as I could, considering the rush of adrenaline that was still coursing through me from having backed into the vehicle.

I still couldn’t believe I had done something so stupid.

With another sigh, I got back out of the truck and walked across to car.  I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t help but steal another glance at the bumper to confirm that I still saw no evidence of damage from the slight impact.

My vision narrowed so all I saw was what was necessary for my current task.  I reached the front of the car, propped up the drive side wiper enough to slip my note under and then let the blade fall back into place.  I was so focused on my anger, at myself for having hit the car in the first place, at the unknowns of what would come of giving them my information, at the universe for fating me into that moment, that I almost missed the slight movement of a head ducking down in the back of the car.

There was someone in there!  A child, perhaps, left in the back seat while one of their parents was shopping inside?

Shaking my head, bewildered by the whole situation, I retraced my steps to the truck, stepped in, and turned the ignition.

“Happy now?” I sarcastically quipped.

“Not really.”

“Me either.”


This tale is a twist on a true story, and was written for this week’s Tale Weaver’s Prompt:

Remember an event that really happened to you, then take a fictional character and insert him in the story. Rewrite the event to include both you and the character, change the outcome of the situation, for better, for worse, however you desire.

Some ideas and guidelines:

– The fictional character can be anything, like: a superhero, a protagonist of a book, a part of your personality imagined and shocked alive as a character and a person that in reality does not exist, archetypes, a character from a dream you once had,  and so on.

– You can rewrite the event and create a real story branching off into a fictional one, or you can write a speculative story, as in “What do I think would happen that day, if instead of person N, Snoopy was with me?”

Word limit: 500


In the true version of this story, I was in the truck by myself, and didn’t have the guiding voice of a friend to help me do the right thing: I didn’t walk back over to leave a note.  Therefore, I missed that there was someone in the car.  They wrote down my license plate and when their mom finished shopping they called the cops: hit and run.


Live and learn.

I fired once, “Bang.”

He handed me the rifle, and I gladly accepted it.  I was surprised that it felt like a toy, despite the name.  It was a toy, despite the name.  Plastic.  No heft.  It was a pellet gun, fueled by air: an air rifle.  It was nothing like the real rifles I had been target shooting with for years.

Still, it was new, it was exciting, it was forbidden.  In my house, guns were not toys.  We hadn’t been allowed to own pellet rifles or b.b. guns.  We had only been allowed to play with cap guns at our grandparents’ house, and those had been purchased by the grandparents without parental consent or knowledge.  It was clear, that at home, guns were not toys.  But, I wasn’t at home.  I was at the neighbor’s house, and there I could be free of my parent’s draconian rules.

I looked down the sight of the rifle and fired twice in quick succession.  Nothing happened.  No kick against my shoulder.  No loud report of gunpowder discharging.  No sound of the projectile striking home.

I suspected it wasn’t loaded.  I suspected it was broken.  I couldn’t have possibly missed.  I had fired real weapons.  I knew what I was doing.  It had to be something wrong with the toy.

The younger sister came out of the house, all mouth, singing and yelling and her noise was a distraction to my concentration.  I turned the rifle on her to scare her into being quiet but she was undeterred.  She knew it was a toy too.  She knew I wouldn’t really shoot her.

I fired once, “Bang.”  I spoke the word to increase the illusion of the toy being real.

Her singing turning to screaming.

I thought she was bluffing, playing along with my pretend firing, until I saw the blood.  A small trickle crept beneath where her hand had slapped against her ear.  She wasn’t pretending.

I had pulled the trigger.  The rifle had fired.  I had shot her.

My mind scrambled.  The toy was supposed to be empty, or broken, or…  It was supposed to be a toy.  How could I have hit her?  Something was wrong.  I was a good kid.  I didn’t do things like that.

And then I made the third and final mistake of the day.  I did the only thing I could think to do.  I fled.  Scared.  Confused.  I jumped the fence and sought the sanctuary of home.

I’m not sure what I was expecting.  The thinking of a child is naive in the ways of the world, hopeful that bad things will pass them by, expectant really.  When the knock sounded out on our front door I rushed to answer it.  One last effort to stave off the inevitable.  The next several hours were spent making apologies, talking through what had happened with parents and the police, receiving disappointed looks,  wallowing in my confusion and regrets.

The regrets lasted the longest.

It was only years later that I realized the full scope of how my life could have changed that day if the neighbor’s parents had decided to press charges, or sue my family, or if the pellet had been an inch to the left.  I try not to think about it.  I try not to picture how different my life would have been and how different the little girl’s life would have been if things had been worse than they were.

Keeping those thoughts at a distance during the day doesn’t keep them from haunting me at night.

time for ice cream?

I was alone in our apartment and, strangely, still hungry for ice cream.

I’d asked if she was ready to leave, but she packed her things and left before I could stop her.

That wasn’t what I meant.


Word Count: 38

This bit of silly sadness brought to you in response to this week’s Trifextra:

We want 33 words in addition to and preceding the following:

That wasn’t what I meant.

So, to clarify, you write 33 words and then you tag on the five that we’ve given you.  Our five come after your 33 for a grand total of 38.

And you, dear kingdomite, how would you get to that closing line?  What have you said before that someone took differently from how you meant it?