Wednesday, February 20, 2013


This is fiction, Ma.

"Sacrifices must be made, Svetlana."  Gregor's voice was hoarse with fatigue and cigarette smoke, but he was firm.

Svetlana stared across the table at Gregor with bleary, half-closed eyes.  They had stayed up all night arguing, a bottle of vodka between them, but Gregor always won these kinds of disagreements.  He could exhaust a topic, spinning a web of words around her until there was no escape; she must give in to his demands. She had tried to leave him before, even moving to America, but he always found her.  Now he offered her a way out.

"How long did Nikolai give you this time?" Svetlana's voice was tinged with a weary resignation; always, Nikolai must be paid, because Gregor could not pass up a wager. 

"Until the end of the week."

"So soon?"

"Nikolai has a reputation, even here in America."

"What if I were to get another job dancing?"  

Gregor snorted at her idea.

"Svetlana, my dear," he smiled at her patronizingly. "You were a has-been before you ever stepped on the stage.  No, there is no other way.  The insurance company will pay double for an accidental death." 

She was too exhausted to get angry at his insult, and so she pushed herself up from the table and stretched, picking up her purse and rummaging through the contents. 

"Will it hurt?"  Her voice was small. 

"Not at all, Svetlana.  It will all be over quickly.  Then the insurance will pay me, and I will pay Nikolai."  He poured the last of the vodka, raising his glass toward her in a toast.  "I will cherish your memory forever for your sacrifice, my love." 

Svetlana picked up her purse, her hand still immersed inside, and the .38 went off with a roar that made her head ring.  Gregor slumped forward, the empty vodka glass shattering on the floor.  She stared at the blood spatter on the wall behind him, and waited for her neighbors to call the police. 

"Sacrifices must be made, Gregor."

Prompt:  The word is EXHAUST:  3a : to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely  
  b : to try out the whole number of


It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.
—Ayn Rand
Edgar Degas painting


  1. Love this. Especially the ending except I'd rather she run. Great one. Glad this is fiction. :)

  2. I love this! Such an excellent use of both prompts, too. Good for Svetlana.

  3. Good for her! I wonder how much insurance he's worth (:

  4. Well frankly, he had it coming. What a feel good ending.

  5. I hope he felt it just-a-little...

    I am surprised she summoned the courage, but I'm glad she won't be terrorized by him any longer.

  6. Nice work! This is why we don't talk finances over bottles of vodka. :-)

  7. Well damn... I didn't see that coming, but good for her! Loved this!

  8. I love how the one asking for a sacrifice turned out to make it!

  9. I loved this story! Very good! Held my interest all the way through. Excellent and well-written! :D

  10. great story :) so glad it ended the way it did :)

  11. You were a has-been before you ever stepped on the stage.
    Ouch. The trigger comeback is about as last word as it gets!
    Great noir with a twist, Tina!

  12. Now *that* sounds like the right ending. You did an impressively seamless job working the prompts together; it all works in beautifully!

  13. Ah,I sensed this coming-you cannot keep pushing someone indefinitely!Loved it-great story -you built it up perfectly-hurrah for Svetlana-great last line:-)

  14. Yes! I'm glad she got to him first. I didn't like Gregor at all. I like how this multiple prompt response didn't seem forced.

  15. Okay, this was a great use of words: "spinning a web of words around her until there was no escape..." I love it. I liked the twist because I would have very mad at Svetlana had she made the other choice. I agree with lumdog2012 -- I wanted to scream at her...RUN! Sacrificing herself seemed unfair after what Gregory put her through.

    You do an excellent job of making me see the entire story with just this scene. That's difficult, especially with the word limit you had. Well done.

    Sara, A Sharing Connection


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