By Jessica Spindler

Olivia slumped into the hotel room’s lime green armchair and propped her legs on the ottoman. She ran her fingers over the golden tin cigarette holder and popped the clasp. 

“I thought you were quitting?” he said. 
“What’s the point?”

Henry flicked the lighter open and struck a flame.

The filter was smooth between her lips and the heat warmed her insides as she inhaled. The first drag was the best. The heavy ceramic ashtray rested in her lap. She flicked the embers into the tray. 
Henry sat on the edge of the bed and loosened his tie. He reached for the clicker and switched on the TV. The disheveled news anchorman pounded his fist on the desk while chain smoking. Henry laid back on the bed and the anchorman’s words faded into the background. 

Olivia rose from her seat and grabbed the metallic ice bucket from the bar cart. She ripped out the plastic insert and crumpled it in her hand. 

The hall lights flickered. She walked barefoot down the hallway. A hotel maid rolled a laundry cart out of a room. She pulled the door closed and turned towards Olivia. The maid flashed a weak, but genuine smile. 

The ice machine was in a room beyond the elevator. The room was cramped and had fluorescent lighting with several broken bulbs. The whirring noise coming from the ice machine overtook the room. Olivia set the bucket on the ledge and pushed the lever. The machine ground but nothing came out. She pushed the lever again and grimaced.

Olivia walked back empty-handed. The door to the room adjacent to hers opened and a little boy stepped into the hallway. He wore black suspenders over a white collared shirt. A gas mask covered his face. She passed by him. In the room, his mother sat on the bed sobbing into her hands. The husband paced the floor and then pulled the little boy back into the room before closing the door. 

Henry greeted Olivia at the door with a willful grin and a whiskey bottle dangling from either hand.

“What’s say we take a bath?”
She lifted the ice bucket. “No ice.”

He set the bottles on the cherry wood desk and cupped her face. “No, baby. Don’t cry. It’s just you and me now. We don’t need ice.”

Henry embraced Olivia as they swayed to him humming their wedding song.

The crystal hanging light trembled. Each piece clanging into the next like a wind chime. The light bulbs popped and showered them in shards of glass. The bed frame gyrated towards the center of the room. Liquor bottles vibrated and smashed through the glass cart.

Olivia shrieked and covered her head. “Oh God, Henry!”
Henry took her by the hand and sprinted toward the doors. They stepped out on the wooden balcony. The trees buckled and fell like giants crashing to the ground. Falling rocks on fire blanketed the city setting ablaze to everything they touched. Streaks of red illuminated the night sky.

Olivia turned to Henry and brushed her hand over the stubble on his cheek. “Do you remember when we came here?”

He caressed her cheek and ran his fingers through her blond wavy hair. Tears seeped from his eyes. “Our first anniversary.”

About the Author:

Jessica Spindler is a short fiction writer with several flash fiction works in the publication pipeline for 2020. Jessica works as a marketing assistant for a globally recognized hearing aid company. She provides support to the marketing manager and contributes to the marketing expansion among audiologists. Her background in communication, both verbal and written, has aided her in this position. Jessica has recently enrolled in Full Sail University in the Bachelor of Arts Creative Writing Program. She has used what she’s learned to assist with content writing in her position. You may learn more about her background and skills here at