Flash Fiction

In The Blink Of An Eye

 

The clock is incessant in its reminder that time is slipping away from me. BANG! Seconds are ticking by. BANG! Each one as jolting as the shots ringing out in the solemnity of that day so long ago. BANG! Yet they don’t stop at 21. BANG! They keep on keeping on. BANG! My blood pressure rises with each one. BANG! My pulse races. BANG! Will my heart burst from chest? BANG!

BANG!

BANG!

BANG!

I hear voices around me, but they are like distant murmurs in the echoes of that clock. I don’t know who they are. I don’t know who has come to say goodbye. In spite of them, I feel so alone in this darkness. My husband waits for me, I’m sure of it. But I’m afraid. This is not a journey I’ve been on before. I don’t know what to expect. I want to join him. But I’m afraid. Was he afraid, too?

Wait, why do I not hear the clock? Where did the murmuring voices go?

“Who are you?” A beautiful being stands before me, wrapping me in light. More specifically, I wonder how it is that I am able to see. I feel the warm touch of a hand to my head.

Time stands still.

“Do not be afraid.”

BANG!

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Written in response to an excerpt of the lyrics from Santana’s and Everlast’s “Put Your Lights On” (songwriters: ERIK SCHRODY © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc):

There’s an angel, with a hand on my head
She say I’ve got nothing to fear

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Shared at Flashy Fiction Friday

 

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Catherine’s Grove

Picking out the family Christmas tree hadn’t been the same since Catherine passed away. She was the best at finding just the right one. Truth be told, he knew he was the muscle of the pair—it was she who had the eye for design. To him, they all looked the same!

That first year, James and Catherine’s son and his family made the trek home from Miami to try to help bring some holiday cheer to the now-quiet home. And he appreciated their effort – but it just wasn’t the same. Robbie picked the first tree he came to and insisted it was the one Mom would have chosen—James knew it was more because his son had become too accustomed to the warm beaches, to stay too long in the Colorado cold.

As the years passed, Robbie’s visits became fewer as his growing family got busier. And James found himself standing alone among the evergreens, hatchet in hand, missing the love of his life. Being in the mountains with Catherine were some of his best memories of their time together. He could almost see her excitedly darting from tree to tree, talking about how many more lights she planned to add to their tree that year.

James wasn’t entirely certain of how much time had passed before he realized it had been snowing. The cold air stung the corners of his eyes, where tears had formed. Blinking and squinting, he didn’t know if he could trust what he was seeing. It looked as if ALL of the trees in front of him were filled with lights.

Catherine had just sent James a gift from heaven. The beauty of the snow-covered trees, filled with more light than he’d felt or seen since Catherine’s death, gave him new inspiration. Instead of his annual trek with a hatchet to take down a tree, he returned to that spot each year with cords and generators and more and more lights, as a gift back to Catherine.

 

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catherines-grove

Shared at Flashy Fiction Friday

 

Some Enchanted Evening

Last night started not unlike most Friday nights. After a long week at work, neither of us was interested in being in a crowd of people (one of the many things I love about Joey, our shared need to be alone—together). We picked up our usual carryout favorites and headed north out of town.

We vary our destination week to week between the beach and the woods, and as the last stop light trailed off behind us I suggested that we go to the woods this week. Joey protested a bit since we had done the woods the week before. The night was expected to be cloudy and we wouldn’t miss the stars as much as we would at the beach. Joey smiled at my reasoning as he steered toward the next right, pointing us in the direction of our favorite forest.

A short walk brought us to “our spot”, just off the trail. The woods are fairly dense, but about a year ago we had found the tiny clearing, just on the edge of the creek. We call it our meadow, though it’s not nearly enough space to be categorized as such.

In spite of the clouds, it was a perfect evening—the weather was warm and the sweet smell of jasmine lingered on the soft breezes filtering through the trees. Our dinner was enjoyed on the blanket spread out in our meadow, and we could feel the stress of the week leave us as we spent the time talking and unwinding and the summer sun set behind the trees. We were cuddled up together on that blanket—my eyes were closed, and I was relaxed, happily breathing in the mixed scent of Joey and jasmine.

Darkness usually comes quickly when in the woods. But last night, time seemed to stand still. Even through closed eyes I could tell it still felt light out, but Joey said it was time for us to think about heading back. Leaving was never my favorite part of the night, and I was reluctant to open my eyes. The soft chuckles from somewhere deep inside of Joey, along with the gentle caresses across my forehead and through my hair coaxed my eyes open.

Soft blue lights filled the trees branches. I sat up quickly—everywhere I looked, I saw the magical mystery! It’s as if fireflies had filled the branches like stars fill the sky. But they weren’t fireflies.

My eyes darted from branch to branch as Joey sat next to me, chuckling softly. However, when my eyes turned to him, I realized he wasn’t looking at the lights, he was watching me with his own sparkle of magical mystery. Before I knew it, I was looking at one more sparkling bit of magic that I now wear on my left hand—and after hearing words about how I make him over the moon happy and wanting to give me the stars though they paled in comparison to the sparkle in my blue eyes…I said yes!

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starlightwoods1_preview

Shared at Flashy Fiction Friday

 

Your Life’s Fortune

(Author’s Note: For those who are used to seeing only poetry here, I do an occasional “flash fiction” piece. That’s what this is…)

YOUR LIFE’S FORTUNE

Exhausted, Karen couldn’t cope with the thought of cooking anything after the long day at work. She could barely muster up the energy to make her way through the crowded sidewalk leading to her train stop. She could hear the “L” approaching and hurried the final steps, not wanting to miss the last train.

Once on board, Karen exhaled. And prayed. The hard work she’s put into sealing the deal on this new client was finally coming to fruition. The terms were settled. The contracts were prepared. She would meet with her boss and the client tomorrow for final signatures. And her promotion should come soon after! Nothing was promised—but it was what she had been working toward.

Glancing out the window at the passing businesses, Karen felt the rumble of hunger in her stomach. A quick check of her watch told her she just might make it to her stop in time to pick up something to eat from her favorite Chinese carryout restaurant on the corner of her block.

Rushing off the train with a renewed energy (and sights set on Moo Shu Pork), Karen made it just in time. With order in hand, she walked past the row of Brownstones. Finally home, she leaned against the counter and reached inside the bag, feeling for the familiar wrapper of the cookie which she always ate first.

fortuneBreaking the cookie in two, popping one half in her mouth, Karen pulled the fortune from the other half. One side taught her the Chinese word for “family”. Looking around her flat, she sighed at the emptiness that surrounded her. Slowly, she flipped the paper over to read, “All your hard work will soon be paid off.”

Thinking about her life’s fortune, she penned the following poem:

PRIORITIES
(a shadorma)

Fortunate,
I am, in some things.
In others,
not so much.
I suppose that’s just the way
the cookie crumbles.

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Written for Flashy Fiction Fridays

Coming Home

COMING HOME

“Whew – what a trip!” Bernadette sighed as she, exhausted, dropped into her favorite chair and closed her eyes. In an instant she remembered the sights and sounds that filled her senses on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea: the bluest blues and the whitest whites, splashes of vibrant colors in the flowers that filled the air with the sweetest aromas; sea birds calling to one another and the gentle shushing of the water on the shore. It was enough to make Bernie forget all about the world she was trying to escape. Burying her toes in the warm sands of Santorini was a preferred alternative to burying her head back home.

But now she was home.

Opening her eyes to the familiar environment, the reality of being alone hit her all over again and the tears that had dried up for a while made their reappearance and began to streak silently down one cheek and then the other.

Michael was never coming back.

Through watery eyes she looked at their wedding portrait on the mantle. The smiles on their faces radiated the love in their hearts, with no sign of what was about to happen. Tears came faster now, remembering that day just a year and two weeks ago. In spite of the one-night stand (as they had playfully called their wedding night, knowing their honeymoon would be delayed until their first anniversary), that was the happiest she had ever been. The morning after their wedding, Michael was killed on his way to work in a horrible traffic accident.

Since his death, she saw Michael everywhere she turned. She missed him so much, yet knew she needed to move on. Bernadette followed through on their dream and took their “honeymoon trip” alone in hopes of reconnecting with her life, as well as moving to the next chapter.

Now that she was home, Bernadette wondered if she would ever be able to move on.

Hours passed before she realized and she needed to get unpacked. Dragging herself from the chair, she looked around her home. Bernie froze in her tracks. She sensed something wasn’t right. Everything looked familiar. But what was it? What was different?

Bernie’s eyes landed on Michael’s Bible, which she couldn’t bear to move from where he left it on the coffee table. It was open. Crossing the room to get a closer look, she saw there was a passage that was highlighted in bright yellow. Jeremiah 29:11 – the passage that was read during their wedding. A promise that Bernadette hadn’t believed to be true for her after Michael’s death. A promise she thought was meant only for the newly pronounced “Mr. & Mrs.”

“For I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.”

Sinking to her knees in front of the coffee table, Bernadette did not know how the Bible was opened to that page, but believed that Michael somehow had a hand in giving her the message she needed in order to move on.

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Written for Flashy Fiction Friday, May 2, 2014.