Tag Archives: Story

AC

 

She exhaled. The air froze her breath, turning it to mist.

She turned, her high ponytail bouncing, and headed towards the fridge.

In her home hung icy stalactites. The floor was slick as a rink.

She cracked off an icicle as she passed through a door and picked her teeth with it.

Once this room was stiflingly warm, full of chaos and arguments and pets and children and steaming meals. Every blanket was a shared blanket. There wasn’t enough house to go around.

Now things were much better.

She checked her fridge and swore to herself. There wasn’t enough milk for her to make the ice cream. It was already time for another grocery run?

Grabbing her keys, she put on a visor and sunglasses, a light shawl, considered sunblock but decided against it.

When she opened the door, the sun hit her hard, even through the sunglasses. She took a deep breath of conditioned air before heading out. Her mantra would get her through this: only five minutes, only five minutes. Then she could be back home, making ice cream, enjoying the cold dark quiet isolation of her safe, safe house. With any luck, she wouldn’t have to talk to a single person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Doomed to Repeat

This is almost entirely based on a bad dream I had. A little sci-fi/horror/I don’t know what. Interpretations are welcome, if you dare plumb the depths of my psyche.

 


 

He looked at his watch. “It’s almost time,” he said.

The kids groaned and put down their forks.

“Come on outside. Come on! No dawdling, do you want to drown in the kitchen?”

“What does it matter,” grumbled the older daughter. “We’ll die either way.”

“Don’t talk like that,” the mother snapped. “Just… please. Come out here on the porch with me and hold hands. We don’t know that it could be the last time.”

“Mama, how many more days?” asked the younger daughter.

“I don’t know, sweetie. Maybe until somebody does it right. Maybe until somebody fixes it. We tried once, to fix it. We tried building walls together. Do you remember all the people?”

The child shook her head.

“Well, it happens all over the world. We can’t get away. So for a while, all the people tried to get together and build a shelter. But no matter how many hands we had, one day just wasn’t enough time. After a while, we started to stay home…”

“It’s here,” dad said with grim finality.

“Remember, kids: if you survive the impact, breathe deep right away so you drown quick. I’ll see you again this morning. I love you.” She had to shout over the rumbling of the approaching tsunami.

“I’m scared, mama.”

“I know baby. It won’t last. It won’t last.” Knowing the outcome did not prevent her from protectively curling her body around the child, who started to cry. The elder daughter and the father stood together, gripping the railing of the porch and waiting silently.

The tidal wave took them.

 

 

 

 

 

Fading

I am an old woman.

I have a history. I have had a beautiful life. It’s made me the strong person that I am today.

We went hungry. For a while my husband and I were eating roadside dandelions and bad cheese from the deli garbage. During this time I got pregnant. When I found out, I cried.

I had four miscarriages and four children. A soul lost for each gained. Our marriage survived it all.

I got a job selling tickets to the movies. Ten cents a pop.

Then my husband got a good company job. I quit working and spent more time taking care of the kids. I watched them grow up. Watched them make mistakes, fall in love, get jobs, fail out of school, neglect their health. I watched them gain scars as I did, earn wrinkles as I did. One of my sons nearly lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. We held his hand in the hospital. My other son got arrested protesting. We bailed him out. My daughter married too early and fought with her husband, until my grandkids had to go through a divorce. They lived with us for a while.

Every day my husband says he loves me. Every day I make him breakfast. He fixes the plumbing. I remember birthdays. We take care of each other.

My scars make me who I am. I have seen so much. I have lived a full, rich life. Everything I’ve been through has given me a bottomless well of strength. My arthritis is painful, but I don’t really mind. My hip is like fire. Some days my hands ache so badly, we just eat store bought muffins for breakfast. But I remember the old days; we are lucky to have this food. It’s an easy life. Pain is part of living, and every day I have left is a blessing.

 

I am an old woman.

My memory isn’t what it used to be. I write down birthdays, but they keep slipping by me. It’s hard to keep track of what day it is anymore. The calendar is always marked up wrong, I get tired of fixing it.

My husband is very patient. Sometimes I forget to make breakfast. Sometimes I am so full I suspect that I made us two breakfasts, but he doesn’t say anything. The kitchen is a little more disorganized than I like it lately.

My children don’t visit very often. They always protest and say they do. Maybe they do. Maybe I’m just complaining. I don’t want to be any trouble so I try not to complain too much, but I can’t help missing them. I want to see their bright little faces. I heard one of them got married? I’m not sure which. I get them mixed up when thinking back, but when I see them it’s alright. I just haven’t seen them in so long.

My husband looks a little worried. I think whatever’s worrying him is aging him too fast. I hate to see him suffer. Maybe I’ll cook him something nice tonight; that always cheers him up.

 

It’s frustrating, living in the house with this old man.

He’s like a warden. Today I was done visiting and went for a walk back to my own house. I know it’s in this neighborhood. He chased me down and brought me back here. Nothing happens, I just get so antsy!

The kitchen is in disarray. He rearranges everything. Nothing is where I put it. It’s like living in someone else’s house and never getting past the house tour stage. What kind of devious person would keep moving the silverware drawer? I want my own house back.

My hands hurt. My hip hurts. Sometimes I forget and move wrong, and then the pain hits me, hard.

I miss my parents. I miss my sister. Sometimes people visit me, people I don’t know, and they claim to be family. I pretend I know them because they seem so sure, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

I cry a lot lately. Nothing makes sense. I yell at the old man. He laughs like it’s nothing to him. What a bastard.

 

Ah…

Who is this holding my hand? An old man… he’s crying? And a few other people.

I am hooked up to machines. It’s hard to breathe…so hard to breathe. I must be sick.

Oh no. Everyone looks so sad. The old man is crying for me.

Don’t cry. I don’t want you to cry. I hate to worry anyone.

But I can’t talk. My breathing is too weak; I’m wearing a mask over my mouth and nose.

I don’t know how to handle this. I can’t take it.

Anna

Still not a hundred words or less, but WHO CARES.


 

Anna

I could see her little profile in back seat of the Lincoln. I waved to get her attention. She waved cheerfully back.

I pulled my nose up at her. She smashed her face up against the glass.

I exhaled on the cracked apartment window, creating a patch of fog. In it I traced a heart. I pointed at me, pointed at it, pointed at her. I love you.

She exhaled on her glass. Started scrawling with her too-thin fingers, but it was backwards, misspelt. Impossible for me to read.

The light turned green and she moved forward. Toward a different, better life. Toward a childhood she deserved.

Now that she was gone, I allowed myself to cry. I wonder if she did the same.

Devotion

“Goodnight,” he whispered, kissing her softly.

Juliana slept through it. So beautiful, with those long black curls and that delicate bone structure. How had a loser like him ever managed to snag this angel?

She’d rejected his first proposal, and his second. But eventually his persistence paid off. Their first night together, he carried her over the threshold, and they made love. After, he cried. Juliana never judged him for his tears.

The next morning, she let him put her in a dress which he’d picked out for her, and burn the clothes in which her family had buried her.

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