RSS

Monthly Archives: September 2014

Fiction: Long Lost Relatives (482 Words)

“You think she’s my sister?”  Corey pointed roughly at Finley, who stood her ground admirably. “You think she and I are twins?  And not only that, but we were stolen away from some poor outsider who doesn’t have a clue where we are.”

Oliver was really glad that Mr. Grains was there because Oliver himself wasn’t able to stay a word.  Corey really had that threatening look thing down. “Yes, that is exactly what we believe, Mr. Corey.”

Alexa stood up too, and Oliver began to wonder if all his friends were braver than he was.  He wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out it was true.  “Come on, Corey.  We’ve teased Finely about her resemblance to you since we were like—thirteen.  The way that when you both get mad you get that little crinkle near your eyes and a sort of ‘Don’t mess with me’ stance.  I know you two have had your standoffs. You can’t tell me you didn’t notice the similarities—or at the very least that your friends didn’t.”

Corey’s tight-lipped stare told them all Alexa was spot on. “Okay.  So, we are brother and sister—which doesn’t change a thing—“ He said glaring down at Finley, who nodded in agreement with an equally fierce look on her face.  “What makes you think we’re outsiders? I certainly don’t remember anything other than the station.  We’re just unwanted, parents never wanted to claim us.”

“You wouldn’t remember,” Mr. Grains added quickly, “You would have been brought here before your second birthday, so you could enter the group raising with all the other children at age two. It’s the only way they could bring in outsiders without too much attention. That’s too young to have any properly formed memories. Here.”  Mr. Grains handed Corey the paper, the official sealed and signed page that Finley had read only days before, the one that declared two children from the outsider world known as Terra had been taken in a raiding party.  Anna and Paul Baldwin were to be entered into Class hall #19 under the station names of Finley and Corey when the classes start. Come the fifteen choosing, they were to be ranked as unselected and come the twenty choosing they were to be eased into the general population as unchosen general population.  Anna turned Finley was already graded with high IQ and intellectual potential and was to be directed for the science programs and to be an engineer for the station.  Paul turned Corey was to be trained for law enforcement.

Oliver watched Corey’s eyes go back to the top of the page three or four times before he looked back to Finley.  “Paul? I was supposed to be a Paul?”

“We aren’t unwanted, Corey,” Finley finally spoke, “We’re stolen.  Somewhere out there, our parents are looking for us.  I say we go find them.”

Slowly, Corey—Paul—whatever his name was—nodded.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Helping Friends (210 words)

“How do we balance the line?” He asked quietly, “I mean, there has to be one, right?  A safe point where we can be tolerant and understanding of what she’s going through—but also push her to start getting better? That point has to exist somewhere, right?”

Chris gave Darren a sad smile.  “Well, if there is one—I haven’t found it yet.”

“No—You’re not saying we just have to leave her like this. That we just have to watch her suffer.” Darren insisted, wheeling around on the older man.

“I’ve never found a way to do more, and I’ve never seen someone successfully try.  If you want to try to find a balance, go ahead, I won’t stop you.  But if she tries to cut you out, I won’t stop her either.  Think very carefully about what you want to do here.”

Darren faltered for a moment watching Chris carefully, processing his words. But he shook his head and turned his back.  “No. I won’t accept the idea that the only thing I can do is watch her get worse.  There has to be a way.”

Chris watched Darren hurry from the room, and thought silently it was a shame.  He’d liked Darren.  It wouldn’t be fun to watch him go.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 27, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , , ,

Fiction: Changing the Future (357 Words)

It always felt like a shock. Not a little static shock, but like the time he accidentally touched an uncovered wire for a second—that wave of energy rolling up his arm.  It didn’t hurt, per se, but it didn’t feel good. Daniel always seemed to notice before Arthur’s brain could even fully recover from whatever happened.  He’d steady Arthur easily, and whisper “Who was it?” as if it was ever anyone else these days.

“Maggie,” Arthur would dutifully respond, and Daniel would abandon him.  Of course, Arthur never minded.  If he had the power to help her, he’d have abandoned Daniel in a heartbeat.  She was both of their top priority.

And it was all due to Daniel that those shocks were so small, not the crushing pain Arthur had felt before—knowing the worst had happened to someone he cared about.  Daniel could move fast enough just quick enough to stop it before it could get too bad—sometimes before it happened at all.

So slowly Arthur made his way back home, sometime taking hours to get to that house in the woods, sometimes days.  But no matter what, it was worth it.  To be greeted at the door by Maggie—to have her wrap her arms around him and say “Thanks, King.  I owe you another one.  You’re always saving my life.”  To which of course Daniel would always get mock huffy and complain that he does all the heavy lifting and Arthur gets all the praise, but in the end everyone’s okay and they order pizza that Daniel always has to go pick up because Maggie doesn’t want to give out her address to people she’s never met.

And it takes a while, but Arthur finally admits—he’d rather get shocked every day, he’d rather take all the weight of every crushing pain he’d ever experienced at once than let one bad thing happen to Maggie. And he is so grateful for Daniel that he doesn’t even know how to start to say it—and then as if he’s the psychic, Daniel gives him a wink and a smile and says, “Don’t worry, you’ll figure out how to tell me.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , , ,

Fiction: Afterlife Thoughts (194 words)

Tay’s life was over.  It took him a moment to realize that—Life was complicated, and so was the transfer into the afterlife.  But—he figured it out fast enough.  And as soon as it clicked into place, it was amazing how quickly it became not about him anymore. After all, he was dead. What was the worst that could happen to him now?

Poor Bess. She’d been sitting in the café with him.  Was she alive? Was she okay? Was she getting the help she needed after the accident?

Oh, Dean.  His best friend since they could walk. He’d already lost his mother, his younger brother, and was losing his father.  Now his best friend was gone too?  That was an awful lot to bear with.  How was Dean supposed to deal with this blow?  It’d be too much for anyone.

And of course, Poor Shauna.   Now his widow. They had such plans.  He knew she’d be strong enough to move on—but he hated to have to leave her to figure out her future alone.

How could Tay be worried about his own death? He had too many of the living to keep track of.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Goodbye (356 words)

The most heartbreaking words I have ever heard were “I don’t understand Momma. Did I do something wrong?”

I tried to smile as I brushed the curls away from his face.  “Oh no, Angel.  You’ve been very good.  That’s why you get to go on an adventure with Aunt Nancy.  She’ll take good care of you.”

There were tears in little Henry’s eyes–and I tried so hard to show him a brave face.  He stomped his foot in temper, and I bit down my usual scolding about keeping his temper in check.  I didn’t want his last memory of me, my last words to him, to be a scolding.  “I don’t want to go with Aunt Nancy. I want to stay here with you and Dad.”

“You can’t, Henry. You have to go.”

“Why?”

“Because you didn’t do anything wrong, but Dad and I did.  So, Dad and I are grounded while you go on a lovely adventure.  Be good for your Aunt Nancy, yeah?  And try to have fun for all three of us, okay?”

Henry blinked hard, and two tears rolled down his cheeks.  “Okay.  Momma. If you say so.”

“I do, Henry.”  I pulled him in for one last hug.  I was almost tempted to never let him go—but I knew we were doing what was right, the best thing for him.  I kissed him on the forehead.  “Goodbye, Henry Love.”

“Bye, Momma Love.”  My sister picked him up and set him on her hip, and they left out the back door.

When Peter came home, I was still kneeling where I’d hugged him, almost afraid to stand up and face the house without my son. He kneeled beside me, curling an arm around my shoulders and pulling me tight to his side.  “We might see him again, Liza.  Maybe it wasn’t goodbye forever.”

I managed to pull myself to my feet, straightening Peter’s tie as he stood as well.  I offered him my best brave smile and was more successful than when I had tried for Henry. “I hope it was forever.  For Henry’s sake, I hope we never see him again.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Cool (362 words)

Ash wasn’t one to notice too many little cues—social hints were not his thing, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred he wasn’t even sure of what was accepted as normal, let alone when something seemed off about anyone.

But—the way that Samuel was watching him—Ash could tell something was off with the kid or his interaction with him, or—well, something was off, even if Ash couldn’t identify what exactly it was.

“If I’ve offended you in some way—I apologize.  Please, inform me of my misdeed so I can endeavor to avoid offending you in the future.”

Samuel blinked up at Ash in confusion. “Wha?” he asked, wide-eyed.

Ash blinked back for a moment.  He needed to “tone it down” as Kinglsey was apt to say. The boy was only seven after all.

If took him a moment to think it through, but he settled on “Are you mad at me?”

The boy’s brow furrowed in concern and for a second he was the spitting image of his older brother.  “No. Are you mad at me?”

“No. Why did you ask that? Why would I be mad at you?”  Ash asked appalled.

“I don’t know.  Why would I be mad at you?” Sam asked back.  Ash couldn’t fault that logic. After all, as far as he was concerned, Ash hadn’t done anything wrong.

“Well, then why are you watching me like that?” Ash figured he probably just should have asked that from the start.  It would have been a lot less confusion.  He made a mental note to revisit the thought in a later social situation if one should arise.

“You’re strange,”   Samuel said boldly.  Ash knew it was true, he knew everyone thought it, but no one had ever said it to her face before. “You’re different, and different is cool.  I like to watch things that are cool. You’re cool.”

“Oh.”  Ash didn’t know how to respond to that one, so he remembered Jo’s rule when in doubt, say “Thank you.”

“Sorry if I made you uncomfortable,” Sam said politely, “I can go if you want.”

“No. It’s okay.” Ash couldn’t help but smile.  The kid thought he was cool.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Between Twins (167 Words)

“What did Grandmama want to tell you?”  Timothy had finally worked up the courage to ask Anna.  She’s just seemed so upset when she first came back, he was hesitant to push any buttons.  But, in the end, curiosity won out.

Anna got a look on her face like she’d just sucked a lemon, and Timothy immediately regretted asking.  He was very aware that Anna could easily kick his butt whenever she wanted to.  But then the sour look was gone and she smiled at her brother.  “Nothing.  Well, nothing that you need to be concerned with.  Just a little girl talk.”

“Okay.  Because—you’d tell me if it was important, right Anna? We share everything important.”

Anna gave him a bright smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.  “Right, Timmy, of course. We share everything important.”

Timothy tried to smile back as naturally as he could.  It was the first time Anna ever lied to him, and they both knew that the whole world had just changed.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Fiction: Before the Funeral (270 words)

Sarah sat down gently next to her brother.  She didn’t talk—she didn’t try to comfort him—she just waited.  It was her way of letting him know she was there for him, but without stepping on any toes or becoming over bearing about it.  She just waited.

They sat in silence for the better part of a half hour before he reached over and placed a hand on her knee. “Hey, S.”

“Howdy Dean.” He gave her knee an encouraging little squeeze, so she pressed on.  “How’s Bess doing?”

“Well, she’s getting stronger every day.  They think she’ll be released I time for the funeral.”

“That’s good,” Sarah smiled, “I know she’ll want to be there. Pay her respects, you know?”

“Yeah—I do.”  He turned to look at her, and his eyes were rimmed with red. It almost made her want to start crying again, “Do you want to come, Sar? To the funeral, I mean.”

“I—yeah.  As long as I wouldn’t be getting in anyone’s way. Don’t want to be the annoying little sister pushing my way into your stuff again.”

Dean laughed—it was a bit hollow, but it was still good to hear.  He leaned over and kissed Sarah on the top of the head.  “No, of course not.  You’ve known Tay just as long as the rest of us.  If you want to come, you should come.”

“Okay.”  They were silent for a while again before, “Dean?”

“Hmm?”

“I’m really sorry you lost your best friend.”

He gave her another little squeeze on the knee and kiss on the top of the head.  “Me too, S, Me too.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Waiting at Home (319 words)

“He does love you.”  I looked up from my books and felt a strange Déjà vu to when my life was simpler and Brian Sheenan leaned against that door frame and asked me for a favor.  Everything had changed after that moment.  But this time it was Thomas Sheenan moving in to sit down at the opposite side of my desk.  “In case he’s been to chicken shit to actually say it to you, I have it on good authority that he does love you.”

“He did tell me,” I answered easily, “But thank you for the thought, Thomas.”

“You’re welcome.  And good. I was always worried that he would be too dedicated to The Cause to remember to let other people in on his own thoughts and feelings”  Thomas reached out to put his hand on one of the books stacked on the desk, “Oh, do you mind if I help?  I could use something to keep my mind busy for a little while.”

“You hate it when he goes out there too, don’t you?” I answered, gesturing for him to take the book.

“Oh, more than anyone—except maybe you and Ciara—could possibly imagine.”  Thomas smiled, flipping the book open with one hand.  “I have this sinking feeling that Brian is going to be the death of us all.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me.”

“But hey,” Thomas picked up a pencil and spun it between his fingers, “He’s just my brother.  You’re the one in love with the poor bastard.  How’s that going for you?” I made a frustrated noise in the back of my throat, and Thomas laughed.  “Yeah, that sounds about right.  Well, Irma, welcome to the club.  We have t-shirts, and semi-monthly panic induced heart attacks.”

“Excellent. I’ll see you at the next meeting, gathered around his hospital bed.” I sighed, underlining something with more force than was strictly necessary.

“Yeah,” Thomas added quietly, turning to his own book.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Queen’s Truth (492 words)

“Here we go, sit up just a bit,” Natalie braced Amy’s shoulder gently while the maid readjusted the pillows.  Natalie lowered her back into the half reclined position and pulled the blankets carefully around Amy’s eight and a half month pregnant belly. “There we are.  Does that make your back feel better?”

“Yes, Lady. Thank you.”  Amy replied weakly.

“Don’t worry about it.  You’ll learn your own little tricks after you’ve had a couple of these kids yourself.  I’ll get Daisy to bring you some warm water skins later. Keeping them under your calves will help you sleep.”

“Why don’t you hate me?” The question burst out of Amy before she could stop it.  Natalie continued to smile as she arranged the blankets around Amy, but something changed in her eyes.  “I mean, we’ve never talked about it and I know you’re not an idiot and I know I’m the bad guy here so why don’t you hate me.”

Natalie finished tucking in the edge of the quilt and then sat down gently on the edge of Amy’s bed. She asked for a moment of privacy with the Lady of the Rose and then waited quietly until all of the servants left and shut the doors to Amy’s room.  Amy’s heart was racing.  Surely the Queen wouldn’t kill her here, in her own bed while she was still with child, right? She was a better woman than that.

Only when the room was empty, did Natalie turn to her and her smile changed.  Less the regal smile, and more one of sympathy and sadness. “Oh, Amy, I really hope you haven’t been beating yourself up over this.  Martin told me he told you the truth of it.”

“He told me something,” Amy answered softly, her bravery gone with the initial outburst.

“But you weren’t sure if it was the truth or if it was just a lie he tells his mistresses,” Natalie finished for her, nodding slightly, “Oh, I should have thought of that.  Kings lying to their mistresses are in all those children’s gossip stories.”

Natalie turned, pulling her legs up to sit cross-legged on Amy’s bed.  For a moment, they could have looked like two girls gossiping together and nothing more.  “All right, Amy, I’m going to tell you the truth of this myself, and this way when my story matches Martin’s will you believe me?”

Amy hesitated and then nodded.  “I’m sorry, Lady, I don’t mean to be a pain.”

“No, sweetheart no.  I know you don’t believe me at the moment, but I feel nothing but love and care for you.  I want you to know the truth, and I don’t want you to think that I’m out to get you or that you have to be watching your back.  I want us to be friends.  Amy, I really do.” Natalie reached out and gave Amy’s hand a little squeeze.

“Okay,” Amy said softly, “Tell me your truth.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,