Unraveled

The scribe took possession of his grandmother’s knitting. Needles, yarn, and projects in progress. All impeccably, impossibly ordered in the bag. Brightly colored balls tightly wound and thin off-white in ovals ready to be wound, tags keeping it from chaos.
Continue reading

To Try and To Fail

David falls again. Skinned knees and bruised hands evidence of his struggle to hold himself up. The memories of doing this the first time around inaccessible to ease his anxiety about how long all of this was taking and how hard all of it was. He lays down no the tile floor, tears puddling and oozing around his cheek. His mother’s voice echoed across his mind.

Get up. Do it again. We don’t sit there. We try again. Get. Up. David. Continue reading

High School Ultimatum

“Were you sitting next Shelby on the bus?”

“Yeah.”

“Why would you want to sit next to her? You know they suspended her for smoking pot, right? She’s not the kind of friend you should have.”

I can’t stop my eyes from rolling, and I gotta speak before Mom starts in on me about that. “I wanted to get her side of the story. I’ve only heard rumors about it.”

“And?”

“Yeah, she did it.” Mom makes her I-told-you-so face. “But everyone’s treating her like she murdered someone. That’s just stupid.” I grab my backpack from the floor, deciding homework will got a lot faster in my room than in the kitchen.

“I don’t want you hanging out with her.”

“I don’t do drugs, Mom.” I’m out of the kitchen and heading up the stairs. Mom isn’t following me, which is a little surprising. This is the kind of thing she usually digs her teeth into. I pass the framed homecoming picture of Dad and her, not King and Queen but part of the court.

In my room, I slough off my grey hoodie and notice a ketchup stain on my left boob right over Darth Vader’s face. Great. That was probably there when I shoved that football player into the lockers for crowding Tina and stuck my finger in his face and told him exactly what kind of asshole he was being. Everyone knows she’s claustrophobic. A laugh snorts out of my nose while I dab what I can of the mess. He wouldn’t even know how to expect something like that from a 5 foot nerd. He even apologized to her.

The textbooks get heavier every year. We won’t even get through half of this biology monstrosity. It lands on my bed. Start with art. I should save what I love for last, but whether food or work, that’s never been my style.

The polite knock comes as I finish the sketch of the tree outside of my window.

“Lilith, you got a sec?”

I teenage sigh, “Yeah.”

“Can you come downstairs, please?”

“Fine.” I cover the picture with my Pre-Cal book.

Mom is sitting at the table, arms crossed. She had too much time to think about how I won that last conversation.

Dad started, “We’re concerned about your behavior lately.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means your mother and I would like to see you … tone it down a little bit.”

“What is ‘it’?” My eyes haven’t left Mom. She returns the favor.

“Well, your attitude.” Dad is letting that sink in while he grabs the cookies from the pantry.

“No, she doesn’t get cookies. This is not a cookies conversation, Stan.” He puts them back, sighing. Time for him to exit this stand off. He sits down at the other end of the table and just waits.

We glare at each other. Dad coughs once or twice, sighs a few times, and pulls his Blackberry out. He leans down into the chair, legs stretched out and rolls his eyes as he logs in.

“I think my attitude is just fine.” Mom thinks she’s won because I spoke first, but I’ve now set the rules.

“Well, I – we – disagree.”

“So?” Two letters hit her, and she adjusts.

“So, if you don’t figure out how to be a nicer person, you’re going to spend the rest of your high school life grounded.” I smile. Mom’s face turns red.

“Okay.” I get up to leave.

“Sit. Down.” I look at her. How much ground does sitting concede? “Sit down or no more internet.”

I hesitate but sit. Hint of a smile at the corners of her eyes. Damn my Achilles heel!

“I am not going to spend your high school years miserable in this house. Your uncle made us miserable, and you are not going to make me go through that again.” I look at the ground. “So figure out how to act normal or we’re going to -”

“What? Send me off?”

“Maybe. You and your grandma get along.”

“Wait, so I sit next to some girl on the bus, and you are READY TO JUST KICK ME OUT OF THIS FAMILY!” Dad is back up, hand on my arm. I throw it off.

The timer dings on whatever healthy casserole is supposed to be dinner tonight. Mom gets up, “You know that is not what this is about.” Her back to me, I storm out of the kitchen and try to stomp through the stairs. She’s yelling at me to come back, and I slam the door on her voice. The door slows my slide to the ground, and I drop my head into my hands. Maybe grandma’s would be better.

A 10 Sentence Love Story

Today’s story is from this prompt. I am a glutton for feedback, so feel free to leave comments. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite May story!


The date is a joke; a dare from other friends who don’t understand our bromance. The dress she wears, though, reveals the kissable swan curve of her neck and the way my hands fit perfectly on slope of her waist. The after-dinner hockey and cookie dough somehow morphs into her fingers twisting in my curls and purring how easy, how surprisingly natural this all felt. We fight stereotypes for a good 6 days. She moves in, and we adopt a cat. I hold her hand when her mom passes away, and she lets me sob into her shoulder when keeping the cat alive becomes cruel. We meet our first daughter in another state with her birth parent and our second at home with a midwife. Before our kids start school, we move out of the city, planning to move back after they graduate. Our grandkids join the family just as she starts to leave. But I make her promise every night to let me go first.

Transition: (Final) Day 31 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today, the final day of the challenge, the prompt is to write a story of transition.


The hood of the car dipped under the weight. They leaned back and let the car hold them as they search for shooting stars. Tomorrow she would leave. Tomorrow was a new life, a new person she got to become. She’d miss the creative writing classes and contests. They were part of her childhood, and it was time to put childish things away. She could still write on her own or something if she wanted to.
Continue reading

215: Day 30 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is the number 215. This story is a start, and it is on my list to keep writing into a full story.


Everyone gets 215, then they die. We know that. What we don’t know is: 215 of what? Some people’s 215 seem obvious: car crashes, black-out drunk nights, heartbeats. People that’ve figured it out tattoo their visible skin: hands, feet, necks, heads. People whose loved ones’ 215 happened too fast tattoo their hidden skin. The most tragic stories push out into daylight.

Continue reading

Start A Riot: Day 29 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story where a riot is started. I mulled this one over all day, trying to figure out exactly what and how I wanted to tell it. So, I decided to go with a classic.


Published on the front page of Sun Valley High School’s website, May 29, 2014 12:35 AM CDT, following the May 28th lunch riots.

The unanimous declaration of the women of Sun Valley High School and their true allies.

Continue reading

Holiday: Day 28 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a holiday-themed story. I’m a little crunched for time tonight (giving myself about 30 minutes to write this), so it is just a beginning.


 

The first Christmas Eve is an embarrassment of presents. The first grandchild is here. Adults outnumber children, even counting one teenage aunt and one teenage uncle as kids. Amongst the plastic, newborn toys are eight “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments, handpainted on glass. Grandma found them to preserve this moment of change in the family.

Continue reading

White Out: Day 27 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story based on this illustration:Image


 

“Uncle Bo! What’s on your leg?!” Aw, crap. He wasn’t supposed to let her see that until she was at least 10.

“Um, nothing?” She laughed like she always did at his I’m-not-hiding-anything-I’m-definitely-hiding-something voice.

“You’re silly.” She moves his hand where he was trying to pull the cargo shorts back over his ink. “It’s a funny little guy! Did you draw that? Mom says you shouldn’t draw on yourself, ’cause you’ll get poisoned.” He got a little spit shower on that word. “But I can show you how to get it off! One second!” And she ran off. Should he just tell her? Or pretend it was somehow magical? Magic would probably mean she would draw on herself. Telling her would mean … well, either way, his sister was going to be pissed. (She really needed to relax.)

Casey ran back in with her Little Mermaid washcloth, dripping a water-trail behind her. She squatted down and started to scrub. He watched until she got that determined but frustrated look she had when she knew something was supposed to work but didn’t. “Maybe it needs soap.”

He caught her and tickled her and hugged her tight before she could get away again. “UNCLE BO! I HAVE TO GO GET SOAP! LET ME GO!”

“Case, it’s not gonna work. That little guy is permanent.”

“No. You just need to wash it better.”

He laughed. “True. But all the washing is not going to get it to come off. It’s a tattoo. I got it when I was a teenager, and it’s gonna be on my skin forever.” Her face looked exactly like her mother’s when she had first seen it.

“Why would you do that?”

“I have no idea.” He tickled her again to erase that face. “No, kidding. I … I was young and dumb. But – I don’t know – I like him. I just… He reminds me that the things I’m scared of, scared to do, are totally ridiculous and I should just laugh at them. He makes sure I don’t take myself too seriously.”

“BO! WHAT. No, cover that up. Don’t tell her about that.” His hand was instantly on his shorts, putting them back in place.

“Uh, too late?” His sister rolled her eyes.

“No, Mom, it’s okay. It helps Uncle Bo.”

“Helps him how?”

“It makes him laugh.”

“Really? That’s what you told her? Did Uncle Bo tell you the part about how he wished he’d never gotten it?” His face flushed. He didn’t want to tell her that part. His niece is looking at him with a question.

“Yeah. I mean, I – if I could do it again, I wouldn’t have gotten it, I think. But it’s mine, so … yeah.”

His sister walked over and picked up her daughter, accusing him with her eyes, but saying as nicely as she could, “Dinner’s ready.”

#

His dream was suddenly tickling him. Which was unfortunate because the beach scene where he was hunting for a single, seafoam green eye melted away into his room. The beach was nice. He couldn’t remember why he needed the eyeball. He felt a brush on his leg and automatically kicked away.

“Hold. still, Uncle Bo. I’m fixing it.”

“Casey?” His eyes were starting to adjust; he could make out the faded purple Minnie Mouse nightgown. “What are you doing?”

“Mom says this is how you get rid of mistakes. Your tat. toooo. was a mistake, right?”

“Um, kinda, yeah.”

“Then I fix it! Hold still.” She reached out with some white brush and painted his leg. He sat up, trying not to disturb her work.

“What is that?” She held out the little bottle, and he took it. He leaned over and flipped on the bedside lamp. White-Out. He started laughing. “Oh, Casey. You clever little girl.” She beamed. He handed her the bottle and slid his tattooed thigh closer to his niece.

Talent Show: Day 26 of the Story A Day Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a story about a character that is not going to miss their kid’s talent show.


 

Of course they were stuck in traffic. Of course. This couldn’t just for once be easy. Lacy slammed her hand into the horn. She never honked at people, but laying into that sound scratched the frustrated itch under her skin. The were going to be late. Jack yelled from his car seat that the horn was too loud. When she stopped honking, he told her it doesn’t make the cars move.

He was still in his ballet stuff, because she had this scheduled down to the minute to make sure that everything was covered and that they got to the show on time. She wondered if maybe she and Jo had taken on too many foster kids.

Jane never did anything outside of school. Lacy had gushed so much when she told her that she had signed up for the talent show that the quiet twelve year old turned red. She had offered to help her practice or whatever she needed, but Jane said she wanted to do it herself. It was going to be a surprise.

The cars started to inch forward. Her phone started ringing, but she hit ignore without looking and put the phone on vibrate. Nothing was going to distract her from getting to the show. It was probably Jo wondering where she was. Mike’s basketball practice ended earlier and was closer than ballet, and Lacy was sure there was no traffic for Jo (who was supernaturally lucky with these things). Anyway, she was pretty sure she would just start screaming about traffic right now if she answered the phone. Glancing at the time, if they started moving at speed, they would only be ten minutes late.

The phone buzzed in her bag. Damn it, Jo, I’ll be there as soon as I can.

The cars were moving and then moving at speed. Lacy whipped around a couple of them and got to her preferred 12 miles over the limit. The cars in front of her broke open more, and she pushed up to 20 miles over. She was getting to this show.

The parking lot looked stuffed, so Lacy didn’t even try to find a closer space than the back row. Jack already has his straps undone when she opens the door. She popped him on the ground and told him to hurry. Her phone was buzzing again. Jo! Stop it. I’m here.

Jo was at the door talking to another mom when she sees them and waves. Her hand abruptly stopped, and she looked confused. Lacy stopped in front of her.

“Where’s Jane?”

“What? You brought her.”

“No. I brought Mikey. You were … Wait. Who was supposed to get Jane?

“SHIT.”

“Jack, go inside and help Mike save our seats.”

Lacy pulls out her phone and looks at the missed calls. All the house phone. “I forgot -”

“We forgot -”

“Can you call Jim? I’ll call Fred. One of them has to be home, right?”

“You call home first and tell her -”

“Yeah.” Lacy dialed and listened to the longest set of rings. “Come on come on come on. Pick up.” Voicemail, shit.

“Jim’s already got her. Jane, that smart little sucker, already found herself a ride.”

“I am a terrible terrible mother.”

“Yeah, you are.” Lacy punched Jo’s arm harder than playful. “Ow. I was just kidding!”

“We owe Jane a big something.”

#

Mike and Jack ran into Jane’s room and jumped onto her bed. “Hey! I was sleeping!”

“It’s first Saturday! What are you going to do today, Jane? Huh huh huh?” Her foster brothers started Jane’s First Saturday Talent Show Breakfast after she just made it to the school one. Jane did a number from Wicked, and the two of them decided she needed to do more. She was always at their recitals and basketball games.  Jane wasn’t a morning person except on first saturdays.

Pancakes wafted from the kitchen. Lacy and Jo always made her favorite for this day, guilt still playing in their eyes for forgetting to pick her up. She was still a little mad, but suddenly she felt a lot more noticed in the house, more a part of it. So that was something.

She got out of bed and slipped on her costume they bought her after that night and went down stairs to put on a show.