Tag Archives: short-story

Wild Fire and Star Shine (flash fiction) (short story)

WILD FIRE & STAR SHINE

“Where’s Jack,” the little girl asked, finishing off her bowl of oatmeal and looking up at her mother hopefully.

Mother smiled. “He’s outside chopping wood.”

“He hasn’t left?”

Mom tried to muster a smile. “Not yet.”

Her daughter looked up from her breakfast. “But he will?”

“Eventually, I suppose.” She turned from her child to the sink. “They always do.”

The little girl put her spoon down and slid her chair from the table. “I wish one of them would stay. I always miss them when they leave.”

Then she was bounding out the door for the wood pile and the man who waited there.

“I do too, Sophie,” her mother said in her absence. “I do too.”

Sophie ran on ten year old legs around the back of the house where a man stood over a pile of logs he was in the process of splitting. Though it was fall and a little chilly at the base of the mountain, he worked shirtless, his muscles rippling with each swing of the axe.

The child watched him for a moment as he worked on the wood and then said, “I hope I have muscles like yours when I grow up.”

The man smiled as if noticing her for the first time. He looked at her, his sky blue eyes bright in the morning sun. “From what I have seen that would probably make people uncomfortable. Little girls aren’t supposed to dream of being men.”

“Mama says women can do things better than men. And that girls aren’t afraid of com..commi…”

“Commitment?” Jack suggested.

“Yes, commitment.”

Jack lifted his axe and brought it down on a log. “Well, your mom is probably right.”

“Are you afraid of commit..commitment?”

He snorted. “That’s a deep question for a little girl.”

Sophie sat down on one of the logs. “I don’t want you to go.”

“I’m not going anywhere, little one.”

“Mama says you will. She says men don’t like baggage.”

Again, he smiled. “Your mama says a lot.”

Sophie brushed her chestnut colored hair off her face. “She likes you, you know.”

“I like her, too.”

She smiled mischievously. “Are you going to kiss her?”

“Sophie!”

The shout startled the girl, and she turned to see her mom standing there with two coffee mugs in her hand.

“That’s not the way girls talk to grown men,” her mom scolded. “Now go inside and get ready for school.”

“He’s not a grown man.”

“Sophie! Mind your manners and do what I tell you.”

The girl hung her head. “Yes mam.” She looked up at Jack who had a look of amusement on his face. “I’m sorry Mr. Jack. I shouldn’t have said that about grown up.”

The man sat down the axe and walked over to her. He jostled her hair with his hand. “It’s okay, wildfire. Maybe I do have a lot of growing up to do still. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks. Still not used to this air.” He winked and looked to the blue expanse of sky overhead. “I’m so used to cramped spaces and a faster pace of things.” He smiled at her reassuringly. “I’ll get used to it. But right now, you better do what your ma says.”

“Yes, sir,” she replied and headed off to the house.

Jack put his hands on his hips and looked at the girl’s mother. “Is that for me,” he asked, pointing at one of the cups in her hand.

“Um yes, of course,” she replied, trying not to look at his bare chest. She attempted to ignore how the sweat ran in rivulets down to his abs, disappearing into the top of his faded black jeans.

He took the cup she offered and drank from it in spare sips. Some of it missed his lips and ran down his chin, but he seemed not to notice.

“Thanks,” he said. “How do you say it? It hits the spot?”

“Yes, that’s what we say, “ she agreed, hoping he had forgotten the interchange between himself and her precocious daughter. He handed the cup back and picked up the axe again, hefting it over his shoulder to return to the task of woodcutting. “So, what is this thing about kissing?”

She dropped both cups. “Um..I..you have to understand something…about children. Sometimes…they, um, say the craziest things.”

He nodded as if digesting some new kind of information. “Hmmm. And is this something they grow out of?”

“Hopefully so.”

“This kissing thing then?”

“Don’t worry, “ she replied, her voice catching in her throat. “It will pass. Nothing to concern yourself with.”

He could tell she was nervous, that this was an uncomfortable kind of topic for her. He knew enough to change the conversation before it made her even more uneasy..

“How about them Cowboys?”

“Excuse me?” She asked.

“I saw that on the…what do you call it?…television. When you want to avoid a subject?”

“Um..yes, of course. How about them cowboys.”

She tried to muster a confident smile and turned to go back inside. She needed to check on Sophie and drive her to school or they would be late. She took one last look at Jack and almost felt sorry for him. Where he came from, on his planet, kissing must have truly been an alien concept.

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Ghost Boy Blues 3

The weird thing is I don’t know how I died. These things are not always shown to the dead. Instead we must rely on others to lead us to answers through their memories of us. But what if no one remembers you? Am I just smoke dissipating from a dream?

I wish I remembered my own funeral. Did anybody speak eloquently of my short life? I know my achievements weren’t much. 8th grade spelling bee champion. Talent show runner up for my bland recital of Hamlet’s speech to Ophelia. Get thee to a nunnery never sounded so dull since the bard wrote it, I’m sure. Maybe someone said I was a good kid when I was younger, or that I had had “potential.” Im sure none of my classmates cried, certainly none of the girls. My best friend may have shed a tear in honor of how long we’d known each other, and mother might have wailed over the loss of her eldest boy, but I just couldn’t see my passing affecting anyone much. I could be wrong, but I’ll never know. That moment passed before my return as a shadow no one sees.

I tried doing like that Ghost movie my mom liked and going to a medium to see if they could at least hear me. And though the woman looked a lot like Whoopi Goldberg, she had none of her talent, humor, or ability to hear anything except a coin dropping in her purse. And in her presence I was just as helpless. I couldn’t move anything or cause a disturbance. I even screamed at the top of my lungs and sung what I thought were the correct words to “Despacito” and it still did no good.

It has to be the great cosmic joke that I can move around and go anywhere I want, but I can’t talk to a single person. No wonder in all the horror movies the spirits are angry and throwing shit around.

Episode 4

 

Ghost Boy Blues 2

I used to dream I was invisible, that I could move among others unseen and silent, watching their behavior, observing from a distance but close enough to touch. Now I’m not so sure. It is a lonely existence to be untouched forever.

I’m always looking around me, trying to see if there are others like me, moving amongst the classroom or just drifting in and out of this state of being with no control of themselves at all. But I see no one like that. All the kids here are flesh and blood. All the teachers are as they have always been, alive and wanting us to do well so we can prepared for the world.

But what if there is no world ahead? I thought I would graduate some day , go to college, find myself driving aimlessly in the adult world, trying to find my place amongst the rest. But if I go to college now, it will be just like this. Me observing. Me as a spy in the house of the living. And though I still remember how cool my dreams of invisibility were, now I just wish someone could see me. Somebody. Anybody. I just want to be noticed.

Episode 3

Monday Morning At The Springtime Cafe (short story / flash fiction)

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting at the Springtime Cafe once again, watching all the A.M. people get a kick start to their day. Coffee, danishes, breakfast, conversation, whatever one needs to begin is right here. There’s even a duo set up with their acoustic guitars in the corner playing a cute little Ingrid Michaelson song. Several waitresses move about, taking orders and offering their own voices to the conversations at the various tables and booths. This morning I spot two of them right away.

Mags, or Maggie for long, is a middle aged lady, perhaps 40 or so, but she moves through the place like she’s twenty-five. She has blond hair, from which I can spot a few grays, though I never try to look that close. She gets picked on about that enough by some of the regular guys who come in and perch at one of her tables while awaiting their carpool. Of course she usually just shoots them down with a look from her steely, gray eyes. If that doesn’t work she has a tone to her voice that might remind you of your mom telling you a whipping is coming. For this reason alone, I can’t help but like her.

The other waitress is just as likable, a little more bubbly perhaps, because of her age. If I had to guess she’s about 30, maybe a few years younger. If Mags acts and moves around like a younger woman, then her co-worker flies around the room like a college girl late for class. Her name is May, and perhaps her parents should have been scolded for naming their child Maybelline, but she too made the best of the jokes and cajoling from the guys who frequented the cafe, some of them drawn indoors by the sight of her alone.

I speak from experience here. I myself was just tooling down the street on the way to a cubicle job I hated when I looked over and saw the brunette waitress through the window of the cafe. Her hair was long then, falling over her shoulders and slightly down her back. From the street, I saw her smile at a customer, and from that day I knew I would want her smile to be at the start of my morning for the rest of my life. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but as if on cue she arrives at my table, while I sit here like a dumbfounded idiot watching her approach and jotting it down. If I drew instead of writing about her, she may take more notice, but as it is I’m just another guy, maybe a teacher at the local college, working on a thesis or grading papers while waiting for his coffee.

“Still at it,” she asks, as she steps up to the table, the soles of her white shoes tapping lightly as if a near perfect dance routine had come to a temporary stop.

“Yeah,” I sigh with a smile and fall in love again for the tenth time this morning.

Seven Days Of Sentences: Day 7

Wow, I made it through this self dared challenge. I’m not sure how successful it was, but I am pleased on how it turned out for me in my writing. Creating a daily writing habit, even if it was just one sentence, made me feel better about jumping back into the fray. It also got the creative juices flowing, getting me to think about different stories and voices. I’m still on the fence about NaNoWriMo but I’m sure running out of time to make up my mind, lol. Okay, so here’s Day seven of the challenge and my last entry of the weeklong prompt. Hope you enjoy.

Not many people today talk about the massacre at the Cayville Public library, but sometimes within the eyes of the survivors you can see there’s a secret in there, perhaps lost or purposely forgotten to protect those who were never seen again.

Seven Days Of Sentences: Day 5

Just a couple more days left in the challenge. If you’re just joining me here, the challenge is this: write a story in just one sentence. Sentence can be any length, but once a period is in place, that’s it. So here we go with my attempt on Day 5.

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The Bible told him what to do, and though it wasn’t what we would have done, perhaps our minds weren’t quite as twisted as his.