Most mornings Elaine awoke in dismay. Expecting cloud cover, she was perpetually confounded by the blue patch of sky shining beyond her window. Accordingly, her despondence required some justification. She should already be watering and fussing over the plotted plants. She could be halfway through a twenty-minute mile. She might have polished off a chapter of a highly-acclaimed novel.
On this overcast Wednesday morning, there was inexplicable joy. Elaine mistrusted the illusion of renewal, the phantom of well being that was invading her. She knew it wasn’t real, but felt it necessary to do some spot checks just the same. A glance through her window confirmed impending rain. A gentle roll of her head to the right yielded the customary crackle at her neck but, unaccountably, not a hint of stiffness. A trail of euphoria burned its way down her spine, shooting bursts of warmth through her abdomen.
(She cast an eye to the left, entertaining the possibility of an unremembered bedfellow. Alas, there was just familiar emptiness beside her.)
With a brisk swing of her legs off the bed, she propelled her torso into a sitting position. She waited in vain for the dizzying rush this act of returning to an upright state lately provoked. When none came, she began to let down her guard, to ignore the chimerical nature of her physicality.
She imagined, but did not try, skipping down the hall to her bathroom. She admired the shining tiles, smiled at the dazzling chrome that sparkled under exquisite lighting. Giving herself over to the illusion of youthful vigor, Elaine stretched wide her arms and rose on her tiptoes, filling her lungs with a deep, purposeful breath. This caused her to cough. The coughing made her left ankle twist horribly inward, allowing her knee to give way, then her hip. As she crumbled to the floor, her left temple met the impeccably white porcelain edge of the tub, and so consciousness, with all its devilish tricks, ended that day for Elaine.
333 words for including PHANTOM (noun) 3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal
* While I was away at the #METM13 annual conference in Poblet, my virtual friend Steph let me know this story had placed third for week 101: "Third place this week is KymmInBarcelona. Her story Quickening is a well-written tale of that old Lothario called Happiness, which can disappear at any moment." Many more stories with phantom things can be found: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/10/trifextra-week-ninety-one.html