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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.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Stories

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2014 in Stories

 

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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.”

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Stories

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Stories

 

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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.”

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Stories

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2014 in Stories

 

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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.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Stories

 

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