For Being Scared – Flash/Fan Fiction

For Being Scared – Flash/Fan Fiction

Happy Monday, all!

So today’s piece of fiction is half flash fiction, half fan fiction. Flash fiction because… it’s short. Fan fiction because the two characters featured in this scene are from the novel I’m writing! (Can you write fan fiction for your own characters? I don’t know, but today we’ll pretend you can.:) )

Look at the ceiling… out the windows… at the cold stone of the floor… at anything but what’s right in front of you. Look at anything that could make you forget the pain.

Myghell gritted his teeth and turned his head to the side, staring at the dirt ground into the shoulder of his shirt. He looked at the stone blocks of the castle wall against which he leaned. He stared at his left arm resting on his knees, determined not to see his right arm where he cradled it against his chest.

“Myghell!”

He groaned and smiled all at once. The little girl was barreling towards him with brow furrowed and arms pumping. He moved his left arm in an attempt to cover the bloodied cloak that he’d crudely used to bandage his wounded arm. Too late. “You’re bleeding!”

“A little.” “You need someone to take care of you.” She looked around the great room full of groaning men and scurrying medics, and Myghell shrugged the shoulder of his good arm. “No one’s available right now, but it’s alright. It’s just a scratch.”

She frowned, crossing her arms. “Scratches don’t dump blood all over your cloak. Lemme see.”

“I’m fine, Kahtcha.”

“But I want to take care of you!” She got down on her knees and poked at his bloodied cloak, pouting when he brushed her hands away.

“You’re not even supposed to be in here.”

“Blood doesn’t scare me.” Her brown eyes glowed defiantly. “How was the battle?”

Myghell smiled wryly. She asked the question as though she were asking about a peaceful flight across the Shire. “Bad.”

“You lost?”

“We did. But the war isn’t over.” Myghell bowed his head. “It won’t be over ’til we win.”

“What was it like?”

Myghell hesitated, remembering the frustration of times past when he’d been shut out from conversations and retellings that were deemed to be unsuitable for his young ears. “It was loud… and bloody… and… frightening.”

“But you weren’t scared.” Kahtcha sat on the floor next to him and hugged his good arm, proud of her mighty warrior.

“I was.”

“But you aren’t scared of anything!” “Everyone’s scared of something.” “I didn’t think you were,” Kahtcha murmured, scooting closer to him.

Myghell grinned. “Guess for the first time, you’re wrong about something.”

Kahtcha giggled and leaned her head on his arm. His eyes scanned the room, then he glanced down at her. “Close your eyes, sweetie. I don’t want you to see all this.” She obeyed so fiercely that her nose wrinkled up. “But I can stay?” “For now.”

They sat in silence. When she finally spoke again, her words startled him.

“Thank you.”

He turned and saw that her eyes were still closed tightly. “For what?”

“For being scared so I don’t have to be.”

Reluctant Hero – Installment #3

Reluctant Hero – Installment #3

If you’ve enjoyed the previous Reluctant Hero stories… here’s the next one!

Before dinner I was charged with the care of three hungry and clamorous little hooligans. Now after dinner I am charged with the care of three jelly-smeared and butter-bedecked clamorous little hooligans.

Prospects are bleak. I have two hours to go.

I s’pose I should start by cleaning them up. I grab some paper napkins and go to work. Only it doesn’t work. Holly giggles and Cameron yells as I smear the jelly in larger and bleaker circles on their faces. “Mommy gets it wet first!”

For good reason. That works much better. Now that the little tyrants are clean enough, I lean my elbows on the table. “So… what do you guys usually do after supper?”

“Mommy reads us books –”

Cameron rudely shoves his words on top of Holly’s. “We sing songs, too! Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o!” He bobs his whole body along to the song as I cover my ears and Holly tugs on my sleeve. “I want more water.”

“Okay, I’ll get you some.”

“Me, too! I want some water!”

Nothing like being followed by bouncing children wherever you go.

Two soaked t-shirts, a shattered glass and a few tears later, I set the dirty dishes in the sink, put the applesauce in the fridge, and pull the kids onto the couch with me. They’ve filled their little fists with all the books they can hold, and I feel a sudden wave of fatigue.

Oh, help.

“This one’s my favorite; read it first!” Cameron shoves a tattered paperback three inches from my nose. “Whoa, buddy; hold on a sec.” Holding the book at a more comfortable distance, I read the title. “Caps for Sale.”

“Read it, read it!” The couch is shaking with their maniacal bouncing, and even Jake’s tear-streaked face mellows a bit. “Okay…”

When I open the book, something magical happens. I can hardly believe my ears and eyes. Are they actually… calming down? I start reading, slowly. They stare, eyes wide and hands still. Page after page after page, until I close the book and they throw another one at me. And another. And another…

Somehow, being suffocated by a pile of children isn’t half as bad as I thought it would be. Even when Jake falls asleep with his face squished up against my chest, drooling all over my shirt, I don’t really mind…

What’s happening to me?

Reluctant Hero – Installment #2

Reluctant Hero – Installment #2

Last Thursday I shared a little piece of flash fiction (you can read it here). I got a couple of suggestions that it could be a series… and since I enjoyed writing the story so much, I decided to write a second installment!

If you’d like to hear more about poor Ryan and his trials and tribulations, let me know, and maybe you will.:)

***

“Guys, this is Ryan. He’s gonna babysit you while Mommy is gone. Ryan, this is Holly, Cameron, and Jake.”

I try not to show my terror as I sweep a brief glance across the three little faces. “Hey, guys.”

“Hi, Ryan! Wanna wrestle?” Cameron screams. Holly stares at me blankly. Jake takes one look at me and bursts into tears. Oh, to be young enough to show my true feelings.

“I’ll be gone for about two and a half hours… that’ll work with your schedule?” The mother of the little brutes speaks in the tone of voice I imagine a prison guard uses when pleading for time off. I decide against asking if two and a half hours will work with my mental health, and instead say, “Uh… yeah.”

“Perfect.” Her sigh of relief is enormous. “Thanks so much for doing this. Bye, guys! You be good for Ryan. Oh,” she says, turning back with her hand on the front door knob, “Supper’s on the table. Have fun!”

Because that’s what you say to a kamikaze pilot.

The door slams behind her with a dismal finality. I turn slowly, muttering prayers for deliverance under my breath, and force myself to make eye contact with my charges. “So… you guys hungry?”

“I don’t like the crusts,” Cameron yells, racing Holly to the table. Jake stares up at me from where he sits on a blanket on the floor, eyes teary and lower lip trembling. Seeing that he isn’t seeking food with the vicious enthusiasm his siblings express, I guess he’s not old enough to walk yet. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to walk if my legs were that chubby, either.

So how does one go about picking up a baby? I stare quizzically at the mini monster. I consider calling my sister, but laugh at myself after a few minutes of consideration. What am I thinking? I can do this! You probably just… grab him. Under the armpits, maybe?

Holding him at arm’s length, I begin to question the wisdom of this method. He’s starting to cry again. Food will help. I rush him to the table and plunk him in the small chair that sits up higher than the others. I assume it’s some sort of baby container – it has restraining straps and everything. Oh, thank goodness. I don’t have to hold the thing on my lap and have him dribble applesauce and drool all over my arms.

 However, the kid lets out a primal yell when his chubby leg gets pinched in one of the buckles.

“Quiet, Jake! QUIET!” his siblings scream in unison, banging their spoons on the table. I try to take deep breaths. It’s gonna be a long night.

Reluctant Hero – Flash Fiction

Reluctant Hero – Flash Fiction

Just another little flash fic piece… I hope you like it!

“No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You cannot make me do that.”

“Ryan, I need you to do this for me. Please.”

“Uh-uh. No way am I gonna spend my Saturday night in torture. I hate noise. And sharp things. And being scratched and spit on and crowded and laughed at. No way.”

“Ryan, it’s not as bad as it seems. Really. You’ll survive… besides, it’ll be good experience. Just think of all the content you’ll have for your stories after this!”

“If I live to write them.”

“Look, you’ve gotta be there at seven o’clock sharp. Got it?”

“Lillie, they’re going to kill me. Kill me.”

“You’re a good man, Ryan.”

***

My knuckles are white on the steering wheel. How in the world did I let my kid sister talk me into doing this? Sometimes I wonder if she lives to put me in terrible situations. When we were little it was the thing with the dog and the airhorn… then the thing with the sled and the watermelons and the nursing home. And now it’s… this.

Is she trying to get rid of me or something?

I check my watch. 6:54. Plenty of time. At least I’ll die knowing that I held up my end of the bargain. I’ll die for my sister’s sake – like a hero. Will they mention something about that at my funeral? I turn onto Galloway Avenue, wondering what my funeral will be like. Yuck… I hope they don’t put flowers all over the place. Maybe I should leave a note: Nix the flowers.

Here it is – 666 Galloway Avenue. The 666 unnerves me, and the driveway is lined with the bony fingers of dead maples reaching to seize me as soon as I leave the safety of my car. Honestly, I’d rather die here in the darkness at the hands of the trees than at the clawing hands of the monsters that await me inside.

The ancient porch creaks and groans as I step onto it, and my fist reaches out to make a confident-sounding assault on the door. Shrieks and screams leak through the windows, and the edge of a curtain is pulled furtively from the window. I quickly turn my eyes to study the doorbell I neglected to see before.

The door swings open. I straighten my shoulders and smile weakly.

“You’re Lillie’s brother? Thanks so much for watching the kids tonight.”

Like Me – Flash Fiction

Like Me – Flash Fiction

I shiver. Had I known it would be this cold up here, I would have swiped another sweater from that clothesline. But I didn’t. So I shiver.

I can hear Tommy hissing in my ear now: Serves you right. You deserve worse. Knowing I should be in the clink only makes things worse, and my legs are shaking so badly now I can hardly move… but I’ve got to. I’ve made it this far, and I’m too close to the hope of a new life to turn back now.

But a tiny whimpering stops me. The scrubby bushes on my left tremble slightly. Scrambling on my hands and knees, I search. There’s a puppy, small, damp, spotted, and dirty, staring out at me with brown eyes too big for his body.

He’s alone. Like me.

“It’s okay, buddy.” I inch my hand towards him. My arm won’t stay still… but the cold’s not to blame now. I think it’s the foreign feeling of letting my guard down around another living being.

The little fellow whines again as I grasp his ribby body, but he doesn’t try to run. That’s a first. His eyes are glued to me as I lift him out and hold him close. He’s shaking, too. “It’s okay, buddy.”

While I unbutton my coat and slip him inside, he’s shaking and crying. “Shh… shh. It’s okay. It’s okay, buddy.” I let myself stroke the hairs on his tiny head. They’re matted and grimy. “Are you lost, too?” He just looks at me. He still doesn’t run.

Maybe some company on this trip wouldn’t be so bad.

Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash

Stones and Souls – Flash Fiction

Stones and Souls – Flash Fiction

Rolling, plunging, falling, pounding… the roaring of the falls gave voice to the storm raging inside.

He stared at the white foam that billowed where the water hit the rocks. Veiled by mist though they were, they were there all the same… bare, silent, cold. They sat in helpless immobility, the rushing waters stripping them of life.

He felt a strange affinity.

Crouching, he let his fingers brush the thick and thriving moss that clung to a nearby boulder.

Perhaps someday…

Photo by Kyle Cesmat on Unsplash

Eternity’s Wake – Flash Fiction

Eternity’s Wake – Flash Fiction

After years of procrastination, he opened the door. The room would not empty itself.

His breath caught as he peered in at expressions of her wild glory. Bed unmade, the quilt carelessly crumpled. Bookshelves cluttered, their overflow strewn on the floor. Dresser drawers protruding, socks and jeans pouring out.

She had not readied the room for death.

He shut the door behind him, staring with vision already blurred. Where to start?

He stooped and began to gather the mementos of life she’d left scattered on the carpet. He turned over a chocolate wrapper and stared at the white paper lining. Her scrawl was smudged with chocolate. funny looking at times open loud very blunt

What in the world? A corner of his mouth twisted upwards, and he folded the wrapper carefully. A few pennies, note cards, and dirty socks later, the floor was clean. Clean was relative. She never vacuumed.

The corner of a notebook peeked from underneath the bed. He pawed at it and cradled it in his hands. The same handwriting that made the candy wrapper priceless labeled this cover July 24th, 2016 –

2016 – Eternity.

He flipped it open and paged through. Records of schoolwork. Stormy friendships. A recital and her first trip by plane. Some of the pages bore wrinkled bumps. Tear stains, he guessed. The brown spots had to be spilled coffee.

The last entry – written under a date that was seared into his heart – caught his eye and held it.

I’ve just got this feeling… it’s gonna be a great day.

It certainly was, he thought…

For you.

Photo by Martin Castro on Unsplash

Alone – Flash Fiction

Alone – Flash Fiction

Finally… I’m sharing some fiction here! Let me know if you want more.:)

The sun had long since set, but the terror of darkness was absorbed by the new-fallen snow. Soft and silent, winter’s cloak sat still and listened to the crunch of boots.

Their tread was ponderous… slow and ever slowing. At last it stopped, and the boots stood silent in the snow.

Their owner paused and cast a searching glance across the whitened fields. She couldn’t see the line where the sky should have met the snow. She could discern no variation in the color, shape or shadow.

Empty.

At last she was alone with her thoughts – no distractions, no interruptions. No one to tell her that her trials weren’t fierce. That her burdens weren’t heavy. No one to tell her that her dreams were not important.

And so she poured them out, a stream of words that rushed into the night. They spread upon the snow and melted in, scared and trembling.

She breathed in deep the frozen air, and held it in her lungs. It stung and burned, but still she held it close.

At last she let it go, a misty, frozen cloud. She smiled at its beauty. For a touch of a moment, it lingered in the air… then crept away on silence.

She turned and left her pain, her breath, to shiver in the cold.

Photo by Damian McCoig on Unsplash