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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fiction: April 21st in Dana Science Building (498 words)

The science building at 11 pm on a Saturday night is dead silent.  Most of the lights have been turned out by the security personnel as a part of the school’s going green policy.  In fact, once or twice during the semester, the guards had turned the lights all the way down to safety lights on her.  She didn’t mind too much though. No one really expected anyone to be in the silent building at that time of night anyway.

But she liked being there when the place was still and quiet.  She was an oddity anyway, an English and Film major who actually went to—let alone enjoyed—being in the science and computer science building.  And in the middle of the night, she headed over there, her backpack loaded down with textbooks and notepads.  She took over a whole section of computers, spreading her stuff out over several desks.  When she got bored with one subject, she spun in her chair to the next desk, to the next topic.  When she started to get a little tired, she slipped off her ballet flats and ran a couple of laps around the courtyard barefoot, just to get her blood pumping again.  If it got to be too much, sometimes she would take a twenty-minute nap on the couch in the lobby.  But most of the time, she just worked through the night until the dining hall opened for brunch on Sunday morning.

She always slept her Sundays away.  Her friends believed that it was just the week’s exhaustion catching up with her, or else her own little way of preparing for the next week’s stress.  No one really thought she sat up all night, humming to herself, getting as much work done as possible.  That silent, solitary work place, was her favorite part of the campus, and one of her favorite parts of being in college.  As much as she never wanted to admit it to her friends, some of her favorite times too.

In just under a month, she was going to be graduating.  She did have a job waiting for her.  Not a good one, mind you, but in this climate, it was more than she could have hoped for.  She was going to move into an apartment with far too many other recent grads so that she, and they, could afford to save some money in the next few years.  She would no longer have access to these kinds of twenty-four-hour facilities, nor would she have the luxury of pulling weekly all-nighters, just for the hell of it, just to get caught up on a slacking to do list.  So, four more nights like this, and then she’d be done.

She leaned back in her chair and took in the three desks covered with her stuff.  She could do this. It would be hard, but she could do this.  First, however, she would enjoy her last few days, her last perfect Saturday nights, to their absolute fullest.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Family Way (Part 1) (408 words)

Nature and Genetics decided to make my sister and I identical.  Our psychologies and priorities made us dramatically different. I was a geeky kind of girl, often to be found in the library or on a couch in front of a television or movie marathon. My fondness for Hershey’s kisses and distaste for exercising left me a little bit on the chubby side of things.  I am also stubbornly lazy, so my hair is long, still it’s natural reddish-brown color, and can frequently be found in a ponytail, in its natural state of somewhere in between straight and curly.

Marta, on the other hand, was about as far away from geeky as physically possible.  She started playing sports when we were about four years old.  Well, we both did, but Marta embraced it with a passion that I never even dreamed of.  She didn’t ever do cheerleading, she never delved into that cliché, but pretty much anything else you can name, she played, and she was good.  It made her rather popular, and she found that she liked the attention.  So, she kept it.  Her hair is also long, but in a much more stylish cut, and she spends a solid hour locked in our bathroom each morning flat ironing and re-curling her hair so that it sat just so.   She also uses some sort of sun in product that really brings out the red highlights and makes her hair look so much lighter than mine.

Needless to say, our social circles don’t overlap a whole lot while we’re at school.  Really, the only “club” that were both a part of is “Roundtable,” the clever name that our school came up with for the student government executive board since we are the “Mill Dam Knights.”  As seniors, Marta was the Vice President of Social Events, and I was the Student Liaison to the Computer Science Department.

You would think that this is some sort of story of bitter identical twins, who resent each other and run in separate circles to separate themselves from each other.  Nope. Marta and I are still the very best of friends.  I don’t understand her, and I’m going to go ahead and assume that she doesn’t understand me, but she has always been my best friend.

So when my sister approached me with some life changing news, I knew, without a doubt that I was going to help my sister, whatever the cost.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Avery and Marta

 

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Fiction: Half a Second (99 words)

He brushed her hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear as they waited.  It was a small and simple movement, well-practiced, and probably unconscious, but it dropped the tension in her shoulders dramatically. It was the small reminder that he was there, that he loved her, that no matter how hard this was, it was not just her burden, and she didn’t have to carry the weight alone.  That was really all she needed to know. That throughout it all, she wasn’t alone. And really, she could do anything as long as she wasn’t alone.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Airport Orphans (241 Words)

In her head, she’d started to call them the airport orphans, partly out of sleep deprivation, and partly because she thought it was kind of clever, but then again, that might still be the sleep deprivation talking.

They’d all showed up somewhere around two in the morning, watched the board carefully, and with looks somewhere in between extreme disappointment and resigned defeat, they all made their ways to the chairs near the check in gates.  They didn’t say anything, but gave each halfhearted nods of people who realized that they were in a sucky situation together.  They turned to their various electronic devices, they read their books, they looked around in vain that the check in desk might be opening earlier, and they slept a little here and there. They still didn’t talk, but they were friendly in the way that they didn’t call TSA when one of them stepped away from their bags to use the bathroom, nor did they still steal each other’s stuff, so that counted for something.

When the clock struck 6:30, they all rose like a single unit, gathering their things together, and making their ways towards the counter. Same airline, different flights, they all checked in, and gave each other those same sort of smiling half nods if they ever made eye contact.  And just like that they were off again, hours watching each other, watching each other’s stuff, and they’d never see each other again.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Teamwork (254 words)

Lindsey refused to acknowledge that George was a traitor, and she refused to sign the paper that would make it mandatory for her to turn him in to the authorities if he ever contacted her again. Because of that, they had her spend the night in one of the low security holding wards. She pretended to sleep, her back turned away from the door and the security camera, eyes wide open, trying to think. Even if she had wanted to sleep, she’d never been able to. Without the sound of George’s even breathing, she’d never felt safe enough to fall asleep.

She had always hated sleep deprivation training when she was younger. But now, she was happily reaping the benefits. Without a full nights sleep, her mind had somehow become clearer, starker, and making connections that she had missed in the weeks before. When they came in to take her back to discuss George again, she had a plan. But then again, she always had a plan. George was the man of action. She wasn’t sure if she would be too good at the action part, not sure if she could get all the pieces to fall into place, but heaven knew she had to try.

But then an alarm blared, and she had to smile to herself–the timing was just too good, too perfect. It had to be George. Every doubt about not being a woman of action fell away from her mind, and she put her plan in motion.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Sweet Little Family (302 Words)

River leaned against the door frame. She knew she should have gone to bed ages ago, but she just couldn’t make herself walk away. Four-year-old Stephanie, affectionately called Stevie by the rest of the family, was curled into a little ball in her “big girl bed,” curled around her brown teddy bear that her father had bought just before her birth. Unlike his sister, two and half year old Jackson was sprawled out in his crib, arms and legs going in completely opposite directions, head lolled back, mouth wide open. They were the most beautiful creatures she’d ever seen, her children, and she didn’t really want to turn away from them.

She felt an arm slink quietly around her waist. “You coming to bed?” David whispered into her ear.

“In a minute.” She replied, not mentioning that she thought ‘a minute’ would have actually been several minutes ago.

“They’re wonderful, aren’t they?” David murmured, resting his chin on her shoulder. “How do you think we got so lucky?”

“Well, we certainly had more than enough of bad luck before them, didn’t we? The world needs to balance itself back out. Do you think that’s why we got them as wonderful as they are?”

“I don’t know, but that’s as good as a theory as any.” David kissed her neck gently. “Are you afraid for them?”

“Every moment of every day.” River answered truthfully. “You?”

“All those moments and all the moments in the nights too.” David sighed. “We did some stupid things, didn’t we Rivs?”

“Yes. Many. But those two, they aren’t part of that.”

“No, and I’ll make sure that stays true no matter what.” David kissed River on the neck gently once more. “But come to bed. We’ll tell them how wonderful they are in the morning.”

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Sober Sitting (370 words)

She helped him to bed, which was an interesting feat in itself considering their size difference. Still, she managed to half guide, half carry him into his room, and get him up onto his bed with only minor difficulties. She convinced him to drink a glass of water, and then to get under his blankets.

And when she was sure that he was comfortable and not likely to get back out of bed, she turned to leave and he cried out, “No, no, don’t leave.”

She turned back to him with the long suffering smile of a woman who had put many a small child (and many a drunk) to a reluctant bed time before. “Why do you want me to stay? You’re going to fall asleep.”

“Because I want to talk until I fall asleep and I don’t want to talk to no one because then I sound crazy.”

“Or you’ll just sound drunk. Which you are.  So, don’t worry about it.”

“No, no, no. Please stay. I promise I won’t try anything, I just want to talk to you. Please.”  He pulled out his most impressive puppy dog eyes–and she sighed.

“Okay. Okay. You have an hour to talk to me and fall asleep, and after that, you’re just going to have to make do with your imaginary friends, Deal?”

“Deal!” He grinned and patted the edge of the bed insistently  She told him to budge up, and sat down, resting her back against the headboard.

He wasn’t kidding when he said that he wanted to talk until he fell asleep. He didn’t mean that he wanted to have a conversation, he meant that he wanted to motor mouth until he slipped into unconsciousness, which he did–as far as she knew.  Because listening to him discuss every topic from Television to his dog to advances in technology and his favorite movie as a kid, she started to get comfortable.  And even drunk he had a lovely voice.  So it wasn’t long at all until she was the one asleep in the soft warm, bed. He leaned in to give her a quick kiss on the head, and then fell asleep himself, his sober sitter curled into his side.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Dish Washing (338 words)

He watched her in silence.  She was humming to herself, a tune completely different from the one that was playing through the kitchen.  He knew that probably meant that she had a song stuck in her head, the one that she was subconsciously humming, and the loud music was an attempt to get the song out, an attempt that was failing.  She rocked back and forth from foot to foot as she washed the dishes, and carefully put them into the drying rack.

She was wearing pajama pants decorated with the logo of some sports team she’d told him about but he’d long since forgotten, but they were old and faded, or as she would have called them “well worn-in for optimal comfort.”  On top of that was a simple tank top, and one of his older button -up shirts that she had claimed as her own in the early stages of her relationship, sleeves rolled up to the elbows as she worked at the sink.

She stopped humming and shook her head slightly, angled her ear towards the speakers, then resumed humming but to the tone of the song echoing through the room.  This was too much for him, and he laughed before he could stop himself.  She whipped around and grinned widely.  “You’re home!”  She cried, and soapy hands and all ran towards him and hugged him tightly.

“I’m home,” he confirmed, and squeezed her tightly, feeling the wet grip of her dishwashing hands soaking through the back of his sweatshirt.  He kissed her on the crown of the head.  “I’m home, and you’re doing dishes. Miracles do happen.” He teased.

“Oh, Haha.  I get bored when you’re not here, and I do chores.  So, if you want me to do chores, leave more often.”

“No, no. I’ll do the chores, all the chores, don’t let me leave for that long again.”

“Fine by me. You’re stuck with me for good.”

“Excellent. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s say we get that sink finished up, hmm?”

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Researcher’s House (889 Words)

“Oh, love of my life!” Maggie smiled to herself as she heard Daniel come crashing in through the front door.  “Where is your beautiful face?”

She crossed the room, carefully hiding the scotch between two specially placed books on the shelf, before calling out, “I’m in the library, Danny.”

She heard a bark of a laugh, “Which of these bookshelf lined rooms do you call the library, Mag?”

“Back room, red carpeting—actually, you know what? I’ll just meet you in the Kitchen!” Maggie shouted.

“Okay! I’ve got a friend with me though, so don’t freak!”

“You’re the freak, freak!” Maggie made her way carefully through the rows of stuff she had stacked in piles throughout the house.  By the time she got to the kitchen, Daniel had already made himself at home, taking a long swig from his beer, leaning against the counter next to the fridge.  Blonde headed friend was sitting at the kitchen table, an unopened beer on the table in front of him.  “Is that my beer?” she asked with the slightly accusing tone that would be understood as a joke by Daniel.

“Of course it is—I don’t bring my own beer.  You have much better tastes, Miss Maggie.”  Daniel put on his wide-eyed suck up grin.  Maggie rolled her eyes.

“I’m glad I hide the good scotch then. Friend opposed to beer?” Maggie held up a hand and Daniel tossed her a bottle in a smooth well-practiced motion.

“Opposed to drinking a stranger’s beer.  So, introductions all around.  Maggie, Arthur, Arthur, Maggie.”  Daniel indicated to them in turn with the tip of her beer bottle. “She’s our resident recluse researcher.”

The blond friend, Arthur, stood up quickly and offered Maggie a hand to shake. “Pleased to meet you.”  His accent was crisp-Posh Londoner unless Maggie was mistaken, but Maggie wasn’t often mistaken.  She ignored the hand and crossed the room to lean against the counter next to Daniel.  “British—“ she took a swig of her beer, “And younger than you usually shack up with, Danny-boy, I have to say I’m border line impressed.”

“Oh, don’t be like that, Margaret.  No need to be jealous.”  Daniel put down his beer and swept Maggie into a quick waltz, “You’ll always be my main squeeze.”  He dipped her carefully and kissed her gently on the forehead. He spun her back up, all without spilling a drop of her beer.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before.” Maggie sighed, taking another sip.  “What is he?”

“Psychic.  Good too. Practically untrained, been using it as a party trick most of his life, but already testing at a level three.”

“Okay. Kind of cool.”

“And you are?” Arthur asked, finally sinking back down into the chair at the table and opening the beer.

“Human, plain and simple.  But, recluse, half-drunk, and a genius even by genius’ standards, so – I’ve got my uses.”  Maggie gave most of this speech more to her kitchen table than the man sitting at it.   She downed the end of her beer and hit it on the table.  “Speaking of uses, I’m sure you broke into my house for a reason.”

“Broke in? I have a key.”

“You stole my keys and made your own copies, so I say broke in.  Reasons?”

Daniel smiled wide and pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to her.  She gave it a quick once over and said, “Yeah. I’ve got that.  But it’s heavy.  King, come with me.”

There was a moment of silence before Arthur looked up and went “Who? Me?”

“Yeah. King Arthur,” Daniel confirmed.  “Maggie doesn’t like to use names.”

“She calls you Danny. That’s your name.”

“My name is Daniel.  Anyone else tries to call me Danny, you included, I’d filet him.  Besides, I’m special, ain’t that right, Mags?”

“Yeah—mmm—something like that.  Little help, King?  I don’t trust Danny near my liquor cabinet.”

“I don’t even know where your liquor cabinet is.” Daniel protested.

“Yeah. Let’s go ahead and keep it that way.” Maggie started out of the room and heard Daniel insist “Go!” before Arthur got up to follow her.

“You trust him already? Maggie asked over her shoulder as she walked.

“I-uh-“Arthur had to turn to avoid a stack of things hanging over the edge of a shelf, “Yes.  Daniel’s a good guy. He’s looked out for me. I trust him.”

“Good.  I trust him too.  And I tend to trust people who trust him.  Well—as much as I trust anyone.”

“Known him long?”  Arthur asked, a little too eagerly.

She smiled, since she was sure that Arthur couldn’t see her face.  Daniel was playing it close to the chest. She wondered if Arthur even knew what Daniel could do.  Arthur was desperate for information and was hoping that Maggie would let something slip.  Sorry, King, try another day.

“Oh, yeah. I’ve known him forever.  You heard him. I’m the love of his life.” She gestured at the giant book sitting on a desk.  “Heavy lifting, King.  Use your knees.  Back to the Kitchen.”

Arthur lifted the book and they made their way back towards the Kitchen where Daniel was singing “Love Me Do” loudly and rather off-key.  Behind her, she heard Arthur knock over a stack of papers and start apologizing immediately. Maggie was going to need another drink.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Maggie's Stories

 

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Fiction: Best Kind of Love (281 words)

Jackson weaved in between my legs as I wandered into the Kitchen. I took small deliberate steps to make sure that I wasn’t going to squish him or step on anyone’s toes, literally. “Hey, Momma,” He started.

“Yes, Jackson.”

“Will you tell the story of how you and Daddy met again?”

“You know I don’t remember how Daddy and I met. We were children, babies even. Younger than you and Stevie are now.”

“What about the story that you always tell Stevie?”

“I tell Stevie the story about when Daddy and I fell in love. That was very different than when we met.”

“So, it wasn’t ‘love at first’ sight then, Momma?”

“No, sweetheart, it wasn’t ‘love at first’ sight.”

“But isn’t that the best kind of love? That’s what Jamie said at school.”

“Well, I guess that’s Jamie’s opinion, isn’t it? But, no, I don’t think that’s the best kind of love.”

“Well, then what is the best kind of love, Momma?”

“I think that the best kind of love is any kind of love that you can feel. I think that the best kind of love for me is the love for your father, love for you, love for little Stevie. Those are the best kinds of love.”

“So, my best kind of love is for you and Daddy and Stevie.”

“Yep. Those are the best kinds of love.”

“And the love for Andrea.”

“Righ–Wait. Jackson. Who is Andrea?” Jackson began to giggle and sprinted out of the room. I forgot all about making dinner and chased my six-year-old out of the room. “Jackson Roderick, you get back here right now and tell me who is Andrea!”

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in River's Story

 

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