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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Fiction: The Letter Assignment–Letter #3 (382 words)

March 7

Madam Bad Example,

I am far more entertaining than a silly old paper, and I am sure that just basking in my imagined presence lent you the strength and motivation to write a superior paper.  I expect news of your A++ paper in your next letter.  Besides, I’m sure before you sat down to write my letter you already had all of your information researched and a detailed outline that was half the length of the paper just in its self. You’re weird.

As for the 11:47 call, that was a pocket dial—I mean, it was of course an error by the phone company because my phone was off and in my locker during school hours as required by Mill Dam High School rules, and I would never keep my phone in my pocket during class!  (But no, it was a pocket dial, and I will be keeping my phone in my locker from now on, I’m sorry Mr. Hill)

Think, think, think.  I was thinking of something to write to you earlier in class, and now—oh well, I guess it couldn’t have been that important. Life at home is actually pretty boring, or just as boring as they normally are.  Dad is on a “wave of motivation” so of course he’s locked in the study for about twenty hours a day.  Mom’s bratlings are crazy, but they always are.  I think that’s why I miss you the most.  For some reason I’ll never understand, you have that magical power over some of the demon spawn to make them sit down and shut up.  I swear, James and Richard have gotten exponentially worse in your absence. The Identical Terrors.  If you know some trick to making them shut up, please pass on your wisdom, for my sanity.

Tell me about your school.  It’s got to be more entertaining that anything I can tell you about home. Mom says hi.  Mom also says that we’re having VA Beach Chicken for dinner tonight.  I don’t think that she really intended me to put that in the letter, but the part of me that is a cruel little sister put it in here to taunt you because I’m sure you wish you could be having VA Beach Chicken for dinner. Moohahaha.

Your little angel,

Margaret

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Letter Assignment–Letter #2 (381 words)

March 4

Dear Margie,

So, it’s letter writing time again?  Yeah, I’ll write you some letters.  It’ll give me a legitimate excuse to put off working on my own homework for a little while.  I’m a bad example of a sister.

Normally, I would completely disregard your insinuation that I am screening your calls, since you and I both know the truth of the matter, but since we have a third-party reader, (Hi, Mr. Hill.  I told you that you’d miss me once you had to deal with my sister, didn’t I?) I feel the need to defend my honor.  The last five calls from Margaret Ashford to Elizabeth Ashford: 1) February 27, 5:20 AM 2) February 24, 1:23 AM 3) February 20, 6:14 AM 4) February 18, 11:47 AM 5) February 18, 4:19 AM.  Four of those times I was blissfully asleep, like any sane person would be, except for the 11:47 am call where I was in class at the time, and you should have been too, so, have fun explaining that one to Mr. Hill and do remember that you were the one who brought up the phone calls in the first place.

As for the “art” of your voice mails, yes, I have listened to each and every one of them.  I was particularly fond of the one that was just you saying my name over and over again before hanging up.  “Hey, Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth, Beth—” and so on and so forth.  Do you realize how long that message went on, Margie?  Three minutes and forty-three seconds.  You need more things to do with your time.

And besides, it’s not like we haven’t talked. We’ve had more text conversations than I care to count, and the last three times I was on the phone with Mom you took the phone away from her.  Again, I stated all this just so our third-party reader’s view of me is not tainted by your unfounded accusations. But I will follow the rules, so no more calls, or texts, or any of that mess and thankfully—I mean, regrettably—no more artful voice mails.

So I return to you your beautiful letter, and I wait eagerly by the mailbox for your next letter.  Or maybe I’ll actually get started on that paper I’m supposed to be writing.  That would probably be best.

Your own personal bad example,

Beth.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: The Letter Assignment–Letter #1 (440 words)

March 1

Dearest Darlingest Sister,

Okay, so you remember Mr. Hill’s history class? You remember the letter writing project?  Well, guess who has two thumbs and the same assignment?  This chick.  Okay, so that actually works between when you can see me, but you get the point.  I figured I might as well write you because you NEVER ANSWER YOUR PHONE when I call anyways.  You know I’m only your only baby sister, struggling through the toils of high school.  Maybe I have a life altering question to ask you.  But no, it’s cool.  Just let me go to voicemail.  Speaking of which, I hope you’ve been listening to my voice mails, because they are works of art.  ART, I say.

Anyway, even though I know that you have participated in Mr. Hill’s annual rant on technology—I mean, of course, his annual attempt to educate us on the way life was in the past—I still have to write out the rules for you, because the assignment says I have to.

This is an experiment in understanding communication from the past, when you couldn’t hop on Facebook or whip out your cell phone to communicate with people who did not live in your immediate area.  Here is the assignment: You are to choose a “pen pal” that you will not see in person for the duration of the assignment.  The only communication you may have with your pen pal is through handwritten letters, sent via the post office, for the duration of the assignment.  That means no Facebook, no phone calls, no text messages, no e-mails, no other forms of technological communications that I am not yet aware of, only letters. For the assignment to be considered complete, you must send three letters and receive three letters in response from your pen pal.  These letters will be turned into me at the end of the assignment, so please refrain from writing things you would not want to turn into me, and advise your pen pal to do the same.  Also, ask your pen pal to return your letters with their replies so you will have all letters on hand when it is time to turn in. The assignment is due March 27th.

So, what say you, Beth dear?  Think you can stand to write some letters to your sister, help her earn some easy points in history class? I’ll temporarily bump all my Facebook privacy setting so you can’t see me anymore.  I know you will miss my ILLUMINATING statuses, but it’s a sacrifice you’ll just have to make to help me further my education.  You’re a doll.

Your ever-loving sister,

Margaret

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Early Mornings (757 words)

Every single part of Madison Danielle Markson’s body hurt.  She had been awake since long before the sun was up. Her mother’s handmaids had woke Maddy up, forced her into a dress that was way too tight for comfort, and a pair of shoes that were way to pointy in the toe.  Her long, normally stick straight hair was now thoroughly tugged and tacked into a ridiculously curly up-do that Maddy thought made her look like she had a dark brown bush attached to the top of her head.  Her face was covered in a thin layer of pale goop to hide all of her freckles, her lips had been painted a dark red, and her eye lids had been painted purple.  Dressed like this, Maddy felt like her older sister, Melanie, which was not something to be celebrated, in Maddy’s opinion.

“Miss Madison Danielle, is there anything I can get for you?”  Miss Rosie asked as she put the final touches on Maddy’s hair.

“A couple more hour of sleep,” Maddy requested. Maddy could see Miss Rosie’s face grow uneasy in the reflection.  They were supposed grant all of Maddy’s requests, and this one being impossible concerned Miss Rosie.  “I’m teasing, of course.  A mug of hot chocolate, as quickly as possible.”

“Yes, Miss Madison Danielle, as soon as possible.” Miss Rosie hurried off quickly.  None of the servants much liked being around Maddy.  She was too sarcastic for their tastes.  Maddy reached out and plucked her ribbon off of the vanity in front of her, tying it quickly around her neck.  Printed on the thick dark green ribbon was the symbol of her father, Lord Blake Marcus Markson, the Lord of Nall. Even though Maddy did not like being a noblewoman, she did love that ribbon, for some reason she could not entirely explain.

Miss Rosie returned with Maddy’s hot chocolate, and her elder sister in tow.  “Oh, Maddy Darling, you look practically stunning!” Melanie gushed.  Four years older than Maddy, Melanie was the perfect example of a noble woman and the daughter of a Lord.  She was everything that Maddy was not.  Any day now, Maddy expected to be asked to help her mother plan a grand dinner to announce Melanie’s engagement to one of the nice young noblemen in the Land of Krall.

“I don’t understand why I have to get all dressed up.  All I will be doing is going to sit in a giant temple to wait around for hours until I can be tested for Magic.” Maddy complained, sipping on her hot chocolate.

“Yes, but you will be sitting with all of the men of you age in the Kingdom.  They will start looking at you right then and there to see whether or not you are fit to be a future bride for them. After all, I hear that Young Jonathon Polis will be there today.  Isn’t he born in your year?”

“Yes, he is born in my year, but I don’t see why Jonny being there has any effect on what I should be dressed like.” Maddy did not like the look that her sister was giving her.  That sort of smug smiled on Melanie’s face did not bode well for Maddy. “What?  What do you know?”

“Know?  I don’t know anything.” Melanie would make the perfect nobleman’s wife.  She was all about the wording, and saying things without saying them.

“Alright, fine, you don’t know anything, but if you were perhaps to speculate on something that may concern Jonny…” Maddy set up.

“I might speculate that I heard Mother talking with Lady Clara Polis about you the other day.  Lady Clara might have said she thinks you are an absolute sweetheart, and she may have half a mind to make sure that you and Young Master Jonathon are introduced in a more official capacity.” Maddy made a face at herself in the mirror.  Jonny, the only son of the Lord and Lady of Holl, was a good enough guy, and was a fun kid to play with when they were younger, but to court him…Maddy didn’t think so. “Oh put that face away, Madison Danielle.”

“You are not my mother, Melanie Amber.”

Melanie rose in a huff. “Well, fine, if you are going to be like that.” and gracefully waltzed out of Maddy’s room.

Maddy hadn’t been nervous about her Test of Magic, and she still wasn’t worried about her test, but now she was extremely nervous about what would happen while she waited in the temple.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in Stories

 

Fiction: Video Letter (296 words)

Thomas remembered the first time that Brian suggested they make these videos.  They were just over fourteen years home from their first literal battle.  They’d both been hurt—not seriously—but enough so that they both realized that this was an actual war they were fighting, that they might not make it out alive, or even worse, only one of them might make it out.

So Brian suggested the videos. It was something to watch, one last letter, message from their brother in case the whole thing went sour.

Thomas had felt so awkward recording his, sitting alone in a small room in the middle of the night—talking to his brother as if he was already dead—knowing anything that he said would be the last thing Brian ever heard from him. But it had been important to Brian so Thomas sat down and tried to record a goodbye letter for his brother.

Now he was grateful for it.  He held the DVD in his hand, and read over the dates that had been written and scratched out and re-written as Brian re-recorded the video through the years. Thomas hadn’t redone it quite so frequently.  Perhaps it was a good thing that Brian had gone first—as to not be disappointed by Thomas’s mediocre letter.

He spun the disc once more—still not ready to open the case and put in the player.  If he watched—Brian was really gone.

But then again, Brian was gone.  Not watching the video wasn’t going to change anything.  It was disrespecting one of Brian’s wishes to not watch the video.  Thomas had to watch it, for him.  He put the DVD in the player, grabbed a bottle of something strong, and sat down to see the last thing his brother ever had to say to him.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Allies (181 words)

“Did your mother believe you?” David asked as River slumped into a chair.

“She did, actually.  Without a moment’s hesitation.  Just asked me if I did it, and when I said no, that was it.”  River said quietly.

“Wow.” David stopped in his crossing the room, stunned.  “I did not expect that.”

River looked up at David wide-eyed.  “To be honest, neither did I.”

David pulled another chair up to River’s, raising an eyebrow. “I thought you were sure your mom would be on our side.  I thought you said she’d be an amazing all, and all you would have to do is speak to her.”

River shrugged, staring a little past David now.  “I thought I would have to convince her–remind her again and again how I’ve never lied to her.  I knew she’d be on my side, I just though I’d have to fight her, to convince her.  I thought–”  River blinked hard and refocused her gaze on David.  “I think I underestimated my mother.”

David reached out and patted River on the knee.  “I’m sorry, sweetheart. So sorry.”

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Loss (407 words)

She saw the look in Thomas’s eyes and she knew what had happened. She saw the heartbreak that echoed her own but at the same time was so much stronger–and so much weaker–than Irma could ever properly feel.  “Oh,” she whispered, “Oh. Oh.”

Thomas stepped forward, and Irma pulled herself carefully to her feet.  He grabbed her tightly and held her in a hug, practically crushing her into his chest.  The doctors probably would have protested if they weren’t so stunned into silence by the heartbreak taking place in front of them.

“He loved you. He loved you. He loved you.”  It was a chant, over and over again. Thomas murmured it into her head, squeezing her just a little tighter every time he said the word ‘loved.’ It hurt, but at the same time, it was a comfort to have that contact.

He continued through the chant, and Irma began to sob, properly sob.  She’d known from the second that she’d laid eyes on Thomas, but it was just now starting to sink in.  Brian, her love, her husband, the father of her child, was gone.  Not just dead but truly and properly gone.  She’d never see him again.  Never.

“He loved you,” Thomas said once more, and kissed her on the top of her head.  She stopped sobbing, but she was still shaking.  She head Nessa say somthing to Thomas, and he replied with “okay” but it came through a fog in her head and didn’t seem real to her.

When she finally pulled herself together enough to step away from Thomas without feeling like she was going to shake apart, it was hours later than she thought it was, and she and Thomas were alone.  “Oh. Thomas. No, you should be with Nessa, or Ciara.  I don’t want to step on your mourning. You don’t have to stay with me.”  Irma rattled off quickly.

Thomas shook his head for a moment, and watched her.  Irma could see the gears turning in his head as he thought of what to say.  “Nessa understands.  Ciara understands.  If there was anyone who loved Brian as much as they do–as much as I do–it’s you.  We need to stick together and help each other as much as we can.  I think–I hope—that’s what Brian would want from us.”  Even as Irma nodded in agreement, she felt herself start to shake again.  Thomas wordlessly pulled her back into the hug.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Stories

 

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Birthday

Birthdays have a special place in my heart. Birthdays are days for doing as little as possible that you don’t want to do, using the excuse “but it is my birthday” at every turn.  They are days to wear a button or tiara or sash or whatever strikes your fancy to announce to strangers its your birthday.  They are days for your younger brother to look you in the eye and say “You are in your mid-twenties, shouldn’t you be over this silliness by now?” and you refuse to answer because he’s probably right, but what they hell.  Most importantly they are days to not stress out because you don’t have a short story written for your blog.

Sorry, guys, back to your usually scheduled programming tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in BekahBeth's Thoughts

 

Fiction: One Year (317 words)

They stood close together, still outside the door of the mausoleum. They didn’t want to go in, but at the same time, they knew they had to go in. Dean put an arm carefully around Bess’s waist—knowing all too well that the psychological trigger of being here was going to make her leg hurt again.

It was a year to the day that Bess and Tay were sitting in a coffee shop, celebrating securing Tay’s wife’s favorite band for a surprise party, when a drunk driver went off the road and through the shops front window.  Bess had more broken bones in an instant than most people had in the entirety of their lives, but she made it out.  Tay wasn’t so lucky. He hadn’t even made it until the ambulance got there.

Bess often thought about how unfair it was.  Everyone told her it just survivor’s guilt, but she thought that it was just logic.  If Bess and Tay had entered a room, and only one could walk away, Logic dictated it was only fair that Tay be the one to walk.  He was married. He and his wife were trying for a baby.  He had brothers and sisters and a promising career lined up in front of him. His life was just beginning.

Bess, on the other hand…  Well, her mom would miss her, and it would suck to leave her mom alone, but Bess was single.  Bess’s dad and sisters had died before her.  Her dream job was making just enough money to live paycheck to paycheck, and she had no real desire to leave any lasting impact on the world. She should have been gone—Tay should have gotten to stay.

“We can come back—“ Dean offered, “We don’t have to go in now.  If you’re not ready for this.”

“No, no, I’m okay.”  Bess straightened up, and tried to smile.  “Let’s go see Tay.”

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Silent Treatment (210 words)

Isa and Ayden weren’t talking.  This wasn’t an unusual situation in of itself.  There were a lot of times that Ayden pushed his luck and Isa knew the best way to punish him was the silent treatment. The train listened for the silence to break and took bets to try to figure out what Ayden had done this time. The longest run was forty-two hours, and that was when Ayden accidentally implied that their marriage wasn’t really a marriage until she decided to have kids.

But this time was different.  This time, Isa sat patiently outside, waiting for Ayden to talk to her again. This time Isa swore she wouldn’t make the mistake again, and knew that all she could do now was wait for him to decide that she’d been punished enough.

Everyone gathered around that night.  Everyone wanted to gossip, the desire to place bets was at an all-time high. But, not for lack of trying, no one could figure out what Isa would have done to make Ayden that mad.  After all, they had all once seen Isa insult Ayden and every ancestor of his she could name and imply they were all the lowest of the low.  What in the world could she have done now?

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Isa's Stories