RSS

Category Archives: Stories

Fiction: Days Off (662 words)

A little bird chirped outside the window, and Crissa all but sprung out of bed.  It was spring. There was the smell of flowers on the wind.  And she had a free day today. It was going to be a good day.  

She slid on her slippers at the side of her bed, and spun herself over to the cupboard, swinging the doors open wide.  On one side, there were the bright blue robes of the sisterhood, what she would put on if she were heading to the temple this morning for her regular routine. But it was her break day, so she turned to the other side instead, where her sundresses were waiting for her. The dreaded winter wool dresses were already packed neatly and stored in the trunk at the foot of her bed.  She would wait as long as possible before taking them out again. 

But that was a thought for a late fall day. Today was spring.  But—still early spring, Crissa admitted to herself as she flipped through her handful of sundresses. So—she opted for the black knee-length dress with big pink roses all over it. A little bit dark, a little bit spring. A good mix.  

Crissa put on the dress and pulled her dark hair into a long plait.  She didn’t have to worry about gathering any of her other things today, so she made her way down to the dining hall empty-handed and feeling free.   Only then did she start to think about what she wanted to do with her free time today.  

She flumped down hard on the bench near the table, causing her skirt to poof out and settle down gently around her. Maisie and Briar looked at her, with minimal disdain. It wasn’t her fault that they were spoilsports on such a beautiful spring day.  

“Free day today?” Maisie asked. She was still dressed in the bright blue robes and had dark circles under her eyes. Crissa thought that probably meant that she had been up with the early group, meditating before dawn.  

“Yep. I thought I might go shopping in town.” Cassie turned to look at Briar, who was in a pair of blue slacks and a green blouse. “You’ve got a free day too, Bri?”  

“Yes.” She stabbed half-heartedly at the eggs on her plate while Crissa got her own breakfast off the communal plates. “I have no idea what I am going to do with my time though.”  

“Well, then obviously we are going to go for a walk down to town on this lovely day,” Crissa informed her cheerily, “Maybe we’ll get a drink. It’ll be fun. It’s beautiful out.”  

“Oh no,” Maisie sighed, offering Briar a smile, “It’s officially spring. Crissa is going to be utterly unbearable until there is frost on the ground again.”  

“Don’t be mean,” Crissa laughed, shaking a piece of bacon in Maisie’s face. “What are you up to today, Miss Maisie?”  

“A nap, first of all,” she groaned, resting her head on her hands, “Then I’ve got some one on one classes today. I’m most excited for Hana Shelton coming up from town, though. She’s a very talented girl, and I’m going to try another pitch to get her to join The Sisterhood today.”  

“Never going to happen,” Briar interjected, “She loves that farm too much to leave it in the care of hired help.”  

“But, she has so much potential.  She would make a great sister. Just think of all the things we could learn.” Maisie whined. 

“If you convince her to join the Sisterhood, I will take every single one of your morning shifts for the next five years,” Briar countered, “That’s how sure I am that she will never leave that farm.  

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” Maisie threw out a hand and briar shook it. “Crissa, you’re our witness.”  

Crissa laughed, taking another bite of her eggs. It was going to be a good day.  

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 9, 2017 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Fortunes Told

Linea and Eli were not allowed to speak to each other. Minutes ago, the two eleven-year-olds had been at each other’s throats, screaming at each other with a ferocity too strong for children of their age. Now Sallie, the young woman who had been hired to watch them while they were out and about, had each of her hands around the wrist of one of the children and was blatantly refusing to let them say anything else until they were back with their mother’s. They made quite the angry little procession down the main street, and people were quick to get out of the way of the determined woman and the sulky children.  

All except one woman. She was the oldest woman either Linea or Eli could ever remember seeing, with a bend in her back, covered in a dark purple shawl. She stepped out right in front of the three of them, forcing them all to stop in the tracks to avoid bumping into her or knocking her down. “Excuse us, Ma’am…” Sallie started to try to get around her, but the woman stepped into the path again.  

“They are going to fight until the day they die, those two. It’s in their nature.” The old woman smiled, pointing between Linea and Eli.  

“Oh, no, they aren’t siblings,” Sallie tried to correct her, “Their families are just friends.” 

“Oh, I know sweetheart,” The woman crowed, “They are in love. That’s why they fight like that. They are too young to understand it any other way.”  

Linea and Eli looked at each other with looks of disgust. Sallie raised an eyebrow. “Ma’am, they are seven. They won’t even be thinking about love until they are twice their age again. They fight because they are children.”  

“Mark my words,” The woman waggled a finger in Sallie’s face, “They are soul mates and will spend the rest of their lives picking fights and making up. Nothing you do is going to be able to stop that, Missy. If you are going to have to care for them in the future—Then prepare yourself for that.” With a final point of the finger at Sallie and a smile to each Eli and Linea, the woman shuffled back to the chair at the side of the road she’d been sitting in before. 

“She was weird,” Eli offered. 

“You can’t say that! She’s your elder, and you have to respect her!” Linea cried out.  

That seemed to shake Sallie out of the stunned silence the woman had left her in. “Oh, be quiet, the both of you,” and with a gentle tug on each of their arms, they were off down the road again.  

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 6, 2017 in Stories

 

Legal Theft: Visiting Dad (1141 words)

Marcus waited patiently for Lewis to arrive. He should have known better. Lewis, in the entire twenty-one years of his life, had never been on time for a meeting even once. Why would he expect him to start showing up now? Not like this was a hard day for Marcus and he could use the support of having a concrete schedule or anything. Nope. Lewis always moved at his own pace.

When Lewis came around the corner with a pack of fried dough in his hand, and a piece to be handed to Marcus—her forgave Lewis completely. It was the basis of their friendship that Marcus always forgave Lewis completely because it was the only thing that kept Lewis forgiving Marcus when he messed up.

“Does your mom know you’re here?” Lewis asked as a greeting.

Marcus laughed out loud. “She’d kill me. Then you for good measure. And then probably me again.”

Lewis took a thoughtful bite out of his dough. “Fair enough,” he conceded through his full mouth.

Marcus made a disgusted sound, which was only doubled when Lewis laughed open-mouthed with the bread still there.  “I hate you.”

“Course you do,” Lewis grinned, throwing his non-bread carrying arm around Marcus’ shoulders. “Lead the way.”

Marcus did just that. They walked in silence, chewing on their bread.  About a half hour later, they were leaving the outskirts of the town, making their way down the path through the woods, passing the occasional clearing where people had set up little camps. Some of them were the more permeant camps of people who worked in the city but couldn’t afford to live anywhere else inside the city limits. Others were the temporary camps of people who were traveling by but didn’t want any official record of them staying here.  It was one of the latter camps that they were looking for.

It had been almost seven years, but Marcus still recognized him as they approached the camp, as easily as if they’d seen each other the week before—although neither Marcus nor his father looked anything like the same as they had on that night seven years ago.

He finished the last bites of his bread and turned back to make sure Lewis had done the same. Together, they stepped into the little clearing, both of their hands half-raised, fingers spread, so he could easily see that they didn’t have any weapons in their grip.

“Hey Dad,” Marcus called, trying not to startle him.

The old man looked up from his little campfire, and gave his son a small smile. “Markie.” He stood up and shook his son’s hand. “And Little Lewy. Well, I never.”

“Oh, sir, no one calls me Lewy anymore,” Lewis chuckled, shaking the hand offered him.

“Well, I’m sure no one calls him Markie, and certainly no one calls me sir,” he laughed, sinking back down onto the log he was using as a bench at the side of the fire. “So—let’s agree. Lewis. Mark. And Dad or Jameson as our respective relationships dictate?”

“Sure, Jameson.” Lewis offered because Marcus didn’t seem like there was anything he had to say. Lewis and Marcus sat down on a log on the opposite side of the fire.

“So—“ Jameson prompted, but no one picked up the thread, “Well. Uh, does your mother know you’re here?”

Marcus didn’t find the question as humorous this time around. “You’re not in shackles, are you? Do you really think that my mother is at all aware you are in the same country, let alone the same town?”

“That’s…a fair point,” Jameson replied. “I know I’ve told you before, but I feel the need to tell you, again and again, I never meant to hurt you and your mother that way. But I can’t choose who I am and I can’t change my nature. It was foolish of your mother to think I could and it was foolish of me to try.”

“I know, Dad. I’ve heard it before, and you haven’t changed the song,” Marcus answered, softening despite himself. He hated his father and unconditionally loved his father all at the same time. It was such an awkward position to be put into. “Why did you ask me to come out here, Dad? This can’t be the first time in seven years you’ve been in the area. Why now?”

“I found something.” Jameson’s hand went to a charm that was hanging off his neck. “It was your grandfathers—and then it was mine for a while before it was lost. And—I figure that it should be yours. You’ll keep better care of it then I ever could, and you can keep it in the family if you decide to have a family of your own.”

He pulled the cord off from around his neck and handed it over to Marcus at the side of the fire. It was a silver disc, about half the size of Marcus’ palm, tied to a piece of leather cord. “It’s supposed to be good luck if you believe in that kind of nonsense. Your grandfather certainly did, and I know your mother does—I’m not so sure. But I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.”

Marcus turned the circle over and over again his hand, trying to figure out what the appropriate response was to a random piece of metal. “This is it?” he finally settled on. “You wanted to see me because you had a necklace to give me.” He could feel the anger starting to rise in his blood, and tried to stamp it down as quickly as it had appeared. His father was the one with the temper—and Marcus did all he could to try and hide the fact he had inherited that.

“Well, yeah,” His father looked a bit deflated, “It was your grandfathers, and I thought it was something you might like to have.”

Marcus considered tossing the necklace into the fire—but that was the temper talking.  That was something his father would have done. Not him. Instead, he slipped the circle into his pocket and gave Lewis a look that said it was time to go.  “Thanks, Dad,” he offered, starting to pack away from the fire.

“Will I see you again while I’m in town?” Jameson asked.

“I don’t know, Dad. I don’t know.”  Jameson didn’t press for a more concrete answer, so Marcus turned on his heel and walked away.  Lewis caught up with Marcus quickly, throwing an arm around Marcus’ shoulders again. “I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea,” Marcus confided.

“Well, at least we got some good bread out of all this,” Lewis offered with a grin. “That’s not nothing.”

Marcus laughed, suddenly remembering why he had invited Lewis to this. “Yeah, that’s not nothing.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Our Place (495 words)

“The joys of being homeowners, love,” Harvey laughed brushing his bangs out of his eyes.

“I hate this,” Nyssa groaned, twisted sideways, holding the pipe in place so that Harvey could get back at it with the wrench.  “I want to have a landlord back.”

“Hold steady, dear,” Harvey sighed as he got the wrench in place, “and no you don’t.   We are taking care of this the same night we found it.   How long do you think it would take if we still lived at the King James house?”

Nyssa tried to blow a piece of her hair away from her eyes, with no luck.  “A month.  If Miss Johnson was in a good mood, it might be three weeks.  But a month easily.”

“Exactly. Okay, I think you can let go, it’s almost as tight as it’s going to go.” Nyssa pulled her arms out from under the table while Harvey tightened all the pieces the last little bit.  He pulled himself up from under the sink and wiped off his hands.  “I think, I hope, that should do it.” He turned to look at the faucet then turned back to face Nyssa. “Do you want to do the honors?”

“Oh, why not?” She sighed, stepping forward, and then flipping up the handle on the sink.

When the water started to flow, they both ducked down together to watch the pipes as if their lives depended on it.  After a solid minute of water flowing without a single drop coming through the pipe, Harvey made a crow of joy and wrapped his arms around Nyssa, knocking them both off balanced and sprawled across the kitchen floor.

After a lot of (slightly hysterical) laughter, they managed to detangle themselves and get up to turn the water off. This time, Harvey wrapped his arms around Nyssa in a more controlled manner, tipping his head down to kiss her gently on the lips. “This is our place, Ness. Yours and Mine. We can do whatever we want, and we can fix it when things go wrong.”

Nyssa let herself melt against him, turning to stare at the sink again as if it was one of the greatest wonders of the world. “Yeah, I guess it’s not so bad. We can figure this out.”

“Damn right,” Harvey’s joy at fixing the pipe was starting to bubble over again. “Let’s go find something fun to do in order to celebrate our handiness, shall we?”

“If by something fun you mean take a shower and then go to sleep because we both have to be at work much sooner than either of us want to admit, sure. I’m all for it.” Nyssa countered.

Harvey looked at his watch. Twelve fifty-six in the morning. His alarm was set to go off at six am. Suddenly, there was no more bubbling excitement. “Yeah, okay. Good enough for me.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2017 in Stories

 

Tags: , ,

Fiction: Opening Doors (504 words)

“We’re not allowed in here,” the nine-year-old boy said quietly at the doorway, not bothering to hide the fear in his voice. The five-year-old girl heard that fear and hid from Linea behind the boy’s shoulder, still not letting go of the boy’s hand. “We can’t afford to be kicked out,” the boy continued, “We don’t have anywhere else to go.”

“Your sister is too scared to sleep downstairs,” Linea pointed out, “You guys have been here for three nights and she hasn’t shut her eyes once.  It’s my room, and I am allowed to do say who is and isn’t allowed to be in here.” She gave a small stomp of her foot with the determination that only a well-protected nine-year-old had.

The boy still looked hesitant to come into the room, and Linea crossed her arms over her chest and rolled her eyes. “If you want to be stubborn for your own sake, that’s fine, but that girl needs to sleep. Are you really going to let your pride prevent her from sleeping?”

That was the final blow. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do for his sister, and Linea had already figured that much out. Not that it was hard to figure that much out from him. He wasn’t shy about his love for her.

“Thank you,” he said, almost meekly. He stepped in and had to give the girl a gentle tug on the arm to get her to follow him across the threshold. “Come on, Nia. She’s letting us use her room so we can be alone. Isn’t that nice?”

The little girl gave the smallest of nods.

He looked up at Linea with a genuine smile.  “Nia, what do we say when people do nice things for us?”

Nia stepped out from behind her brother and let out the quickest and quietest “Thank you” Linea had ever heard before disappearing back behind her brother. He rolled his eyes good-naturedly at Linea like can you believe her?

“Nia, you can have my bed if you like,” Linea offered, “I know you’ve had a rough couple of days. I can stay with my mom in her room so you two can get some sleep, and that way my mom will know for sure that I let you two in here myself, and there won’t be any question of making you leave the house for being in here.”

She started to head out of the room, but the boy came forward and took Linea’s hand carefully. “Thank you. Truly,” He repeated earnestly.

“Of course. I’ll see you in the morning.”  Linea dropped his hand and shut the door behind her. It was only as she was walking towards her mother’s room that she realized that she knew the little girl was named Nia, but she had no idea what the boy’s name was. She would have to find that out tomorrow. Because she had a feeling that tonight would not be the last time that she was interacting with those two.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 17, 2017 in Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Legal Theft Project–Retail Therapy (501 words)

“It’s not my fault—There was a sale.”  

Charles looked around the room at the dozen, maybe two dozen, bags that surrounded Georgia. “Oh my,” he muttered softly, carefully picking his way over to his arm chair, sitting down carefully. “Oh, Georgia, what did you do?”  

“I only went in for one thing,” She insisted, making a faster path around the bags than he had, coming to sit on his lap, “But it was a sale. A summer sale. The biggest sale the store had ever had. What was I supposed to do, say no?”  

Charles knew there was no point in trying to explain to Georgia that he would have expected her to say no. She’d never been the type of person to pass up something shiny and new, nor the type of person to pass up a bargain—so put the two together and she would have been utterly helpless. He’d known all this about her when he’d agreed to marry her, and he guessed he had to pay the piper at some point. Or—he supposed—pay the credit card bill to be more specific.  

“How much did you spend?” He asked warily, reaching up to wrap one of her curls around his finger. No point in delaying it. Might as well find out the damage now.  

Georgia at least had the decency to look a little ashamed as she said it. “Four hundred thirty-six dollars and ninety-one cents.” Charles flinched at the number, so Georgia rushed to add, “But I saved six hundred and seventeen dollars. That’s one thousand and fifty-three dollars worth of stuff all for less than five hundred.  It’s a deal.” Georgia said it with such hope. All she wanted was confirmation that she hadn’t messed up too badly, that Charles still loved her in spite of this, that he wasn’t mad.  

Charles sighed again, trying not to think about how many times he would sigh before this was all said and done. He did still love her, of course, he still loved her, and in the grand scheme of things, he couldn’t even be mad.  This was what she did. And if he loved her he had to love her for the full package, not just the parts he liked best.  

“It is a deal,” he conceded, and before he could stop himself he added, “I probably wouldn’t have gotten all this stuff—but you cannot deny that it was a deal.” Georgia frowned up at him adorably, so he wrapped his arms a little tighter around him. “Oh don’t. It’s okay. I know you can’t pass up a good sale. It will all work out in the end.”  

“I just—It was a sale.”  

“I know, babe, I know.” Charles dropped a kiss on her forehead. “And you just can’t pass up a good sale.”  

She curled in a little tighter, and he pulled her in to snuggle closer. “I absolutely cannot pass up a good sale.”  

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories

 

Tags: , , ,

Fiction: Legal Theft Project– Caring for her Father (518 words)

She almost didn’t answer the call. Jean knew the number by now, even though she had never saved it into her phone. She looked down at the number and for a moment, just a moment, thought that she just didn’t want to know. She didn’t want that added stress in this moment. She could wait, and find out what was wrong later.  

But just as fast as the thought came into her mind, it vanished.  She swiped the green button and pulled it up to her ear. “What’s the news now?”  

“Not good, Miss Strune,” Her Dad’s nurse replied, calling from the phone in his hospital room. Jean was always impressed how she managed to sounds just cheery enough to be reassuring, but professional enough to not give bad news in an annoyingly perky way like some of their previous nurses had been. Jean liked this nurse an awful lot. Maybe that was the reason that she really had answered the phone. “We’re having some pretty serious memory problems today. I’m sure that Mr. Strune would absolutely love a visit from you today to help him fill in some of the blanks if you have any time.”  

“Right,” Jean said slowly, “Well, tell him that I love him and that I’ll try to be by this afternoon.  Remind him that he really hated the place that Mom was staying before—that might help placate him for a little while until I can show up and be a bit more helpful.”  

“Thanks a lot, Miss Strune.  Sorry that I could have better news for you this morning.”  

“That’s alright, Jasmine. I know it’s not your fault.  I’ll see you this afternoon.” Jean waited for the click that meant she’d hung up. She never hung up first just in case there was something else that the nurse needed to tell her before the conversation ended.  Luckily, there was no more today.  

Jean chuckled to herself darkly. Luckily all she had to deal with today was the continuing degrading of her father’s mental state, to the point where he was slowly forgetting the years of his life further and further back.  

Jean looked at the work laid about before her. She had such lofty plans for what she could get done with her free time today. She should have known better than to try to have an all work day. It was like her dad could sense when she had a lot to do and saved his most spectacular breakdowns for those days.  

Jean took a deep breath and tried to bring her temper back down. She could be mad that all this shit was happening to her dad, no one would blame her for that. But getting mad at him, especially for things that weren’t actually his fault—that wasn’t going to help anyone at all.  

She was going to take a deep breath, spend some time properly enjoying her breakfast and keeping her mind in check, and then she would head over to the nursing home and try to figure out which ways she could help her dad today.  

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 1, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories

 

Tags: , , ,