Tiny Little Stories I’ve Written

“Appeared” ~ “Mommy?’ Kayla took three steps to every one of her mother’s. She reached for & missed her hand. “Mommy, wait.” ~ Her mother kept walking. ~ She’d almost caught up when a man appeared. “She can’t see you.” ~ Kayla’s lip wobbled. “Howcome?” ~ The man spread his wings. “It’s time to go.”

“Escape” ~ She knows of no escape ~ From cruel hands & hurtful words ~ That bury her in pain ~ No escape from this world ~ Except in her mind ~ So, she goes… ~ Where children play hopscotch ~ Carefree laughter fills the air ~ And dandelion wishes come true ~ She goes ~ She stays ~ And she heals

“Villain or Hero?” ~ Every villain is the hero of their own story, or so he’d heard. But as Sage wiped the bloody blade on his pant leg & pushed the body into a shallow grave, he didn’t feel like a hero. A life for a life though, that was justice. Too bad it wouldn’t bring his son back.

“Wasteland” ~ The gate locked behind Judd as cries of “thief” rang out from atop the wall. Everyone was hungry these days, didn’t matter that he could count the ribs on his 3 year old son. If he could survive the zombie wasteland for 30 days, they’d let him back in. He prayed for his boy.

“Danger” ~ Jack raced through the woods, so busy laughing at his prank on old Widow Baker, he didn’t see the weed-covered danger sign. A few steps & he vanished into the bottom of a well. How he wished he could’ve seen her face when she found the red lace panties on her clothesline.

“Smitten” ~ She wasn’t the most attractive girl he’d ever seen. Her hair was a wreck & her clothes didn’t match. But when she smiled, oh man…he was helpless to do anything but present her with a fistful of stolen tulips, plucked from in front of the dr’s office. He was smitten.

“Roadmap” ~ Every line ~ Tells a story ~ Crinkles around her eyes ~ Means she smiled a lot ~ The scar under her arm ~ A lump, removed & survived ~ Stretch marks on her belly ~ From 3 children she carried ~ The mark on her knee ~ A childhood accident ~ The lines, a roadmap ~ To a perfectly imperfect life

“Unreadable” ~ Such a lonely little stone ~ So covered in lichens ~ The name is unreadable ~ Who were you? ~ How did you live? ~ How did you die? ~ The mother in me ~ Hopes it wasn’t a child ~ Prays there was no suffering ~ The writer in me ~ Conjures grand adventures ~ And a life long lived

“First Love” ~ Take me to the unknown ~ To a place I’ve never been ~ Where the delicate flutter of butterflies ~ Dance in my stomach & catch my breath ~ Where kisses are scattered with abandon ~ Like rainbow sprinkles on ice cream ~ Where love lives ~ Pure & sweet ~ Hold my hand ~ And take me there

“Nights” ~ Some nights ~ The rustling wind in the trees ~ Echo my turbulent thoughts ~ Other nights ~ When the air is thick & heavy ~ My mind swirls with lazy ideas ~ The best nights ~ Thunder rips across the sky ~ Tearing me open ~ As raindrops patter on the roof ~ A soothing balm for my soul

“Train Tracks” ~ Hand in hand they trampled through the weeds, a pack slung over his shoulder, a baby in a carrier against her breast. They followed the train tracks away from town. Away from the slaughter. Away from the dead. There had to be more survivors. They just had to find them.

“Tradition” ~ Every year in May, they met for a bawdy weekend. A twenty year tradition that never lost its mystique, born of a wild night in Vegas & celebrated in an isolated Idaho cabin. She ripped the April page from the calendar & he made the reservation. Ten days to go… Nine… Eight…

“Stories” ~ So many stories in her head ~ Which ones get told? ~ Selkies or kelpies? ~ Witches or Lords? ~ Dark tales ~ Or romance? ~ Adventure ~ Or chance? ~ Tragedy ~ Or spells? ~ Mystery ~ Or hell? ~ The words she weaves ~ The legacy she leaves ~ The path she’s using ~ Will be of her choosing

“Trade” ~ She caught herself a selkie, she’d heard they were sensual lovers so she lured him to her bed & hid his skin in the bottom of a loch while he was sleeping. He searched & when he found it being guarded by a kelpie, he made a trade. He’d heard waterhorses loved lonely women.

“Summer” ~ Gran called it “front porch sittin'” but that was for the grown-ups. For the kids, the front porch was where we leapt over the rose bushes & landed in the grass, drank homemade rootbeer until we puked & cousins became best friends, collapsing on the steps in the hot July sun.

“Her Terms” ~ Life on her terms meant she danced under the stars & explored the world. Made friends & enemies. Told the truth & lied. Loved & lost. She stands before her maker & the question is asked, “Are you saint or sinner?” To which she replies, “I am both. And I am neither.”

“Spiel” ~ After the ceremony, the judge shook my hand. “What a terrific way to start my day! I’ve got a murder case up next. ‘Course, I’m imposing one life sentence after another.” We all laughed, but I did wonder, was there really a murder case? Or was this just his spiel?

“War” ~ Late at night ~ On the verge of sleep ~ My mind fills ~ With memories of you ~ Your quiet smile ~ The tenderness of your touch ~ At war with ~ The urgency of your kiss ~ I’m restless now ~ And the rain on the roof ~ Reminds me of ~ How much I miss you

“Twisted” ~ She was an outsider at home, never fit in, never saw the problem w/dance, drama, or painting her room pink. Until the cops ransacked the house&arrested her parents for the bodies in the basement. Then she got it. She was the only normal in a house full of twisted.

“Saints & Sinners” ~ “Don’t marry no saint, you’ll spend your life trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. But don’t marry no sinner neither cuz you’ll waste your days bein’ disappointed when he don’t live up to yours.” ~ My gran was usually right, though I didn’t usually listen.

“Debt” ~ In the movies, the villains always spill the details before getting on with it, but not me. All you need to know about me is, I want to survive. So whether you face me in a dark alley or the shadows of your dreams, I’ll take your soul because he’s counting & I owe a debt.

“Sandy Memories” ~ Footprints in the sand ~ Breadcrumbs for the seagulls ~ Tidepools and sand dollars ~ Sea shells and driftwood ~ Fire on the beach at sunset ~ Roasted marshmallows ~ And steamy kisses ~ I want to keep ~ The sand in my pockets ~ And the salt in my hair ~ So I won’t forget that day

“Revenge” ~ She was too young to understand phrases like “going to the mattresses” & “sleep with the fishes”. But as she stood over the body of her gunned down father, she understood perfectly “revenge is a dish best served cold”. Now to make them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

“One More” ~ One more kiss. That’s all he needed. One kiss before he left. He’d driven the moving truck ’round the block three times before stopping in front of her house. Hesitated on the sidewalk. Paused on the porch, fist poised to knock. Just one more… He pounded on her door.

“Kelpie” ~ They told her to stop looking, that Kelpies were only a myth. But she knew what’d happened as a child when she’d nearly drowned in the loch. The water horse had saved her life when he pulled her from the depths & deposited her on the bank. She’d never stop looking.

“Nice to Naughty” ~ Sweet baby face, fresh & new ~ Cooing noises as he stirs ~ Angelic smile when he sees mama ~ A clever child who rolls & crawls ~ Then this good little boy ~ Took his first steps ~ Got into everything ~ Discovered his voice ~ In the loudest possible way ~ Behold, the terrible 2 year old

“Punishment” ~ As a child, her father punished her by burning the tips of her fingers until the skin bubbled & blistered. As a teen, she punished herself, for the awful man he was. As an adult, she wore her scars with pride, never explaining them away & never uttering his name again.

“Vanished” ~ Little Eva was gone. Vanished into the night without a trace. While her mother wept, the thing that snatched Eva & dragged her to the other side, whispered awful promises in her ear. “You’ll grow to love the darkness, to embrace it, to seek its cover.” He was right.

“Stranded” ~ When the tempestuous winter storms swept over the ocean, the selkie woman came ashore & shed her skin to see her children. She had to know if they survived w/out her & if they were loved by their father. But when she went back for her skin, it was gone. She was stranded.

“Enemy” ~ In the deep of the night ~ Overwhelmed by loneliness ~ The space between heartbeats ~ Was an eternity ~ In those long spaces ~ Consumed with doubt ~ Plagued by uncertainty ~ She was her own worst enemy ~ With each new dawn ~ She lived an illusion ~ Waiting for something ~ That never came

“Ready For The Rain” ~ Her gran was quite a sight, getting ready for a rainy day. She wore breadbags inside her boots, a black hefty bag with holes cut for her arms and head, and a shower cap over her hair. Providing giggles for the grandkids & proof that depression era folks didn’t waste a thing.

“Tonight” ~ All over the world ~ Things are happening ~ Important things ~ A birth ~ A death ~ A proposal ~ A wedding ~ A heart gets broken ~ A dream comes true ~ She sits on the sidelines ~ Pen in hand ~ Writing down everything she sees ~ Weaving her tales ~ Waiting her turn ~ Wondering ~ If it’ll be tonight

“Pastel Dragons” ~ The memories from his childhood were of his father towering over him, making him feel small. Now, he stood over his own young son, angry at the crayon on the walls. But… He grabbed the chalk, took his boy’s hand & sat on the sidewalk making memories of pastel dragons instead.

“Madness” ~ She heard a woman crying in the night. Behind a locked door at the end of the hall. She stood, hand pressed to wood, listening to the wails until she let herself in. Her mind shattered as she lay there, vacant stare, sobs racking her body, lost in her own madness.

“Inseparable” ~ Trapped by twisted metal & covered in blood, Jack couldn’t move, except to reach for his wife’s hand. His final, desperate attempt to hold on was met with failure as she gasped her last breath. He let his head fall back & surrendered. Not even death could separate them.

“Tattoo” ~ Their eyes met from across the room & her heart beat a rapid tattoo against her ribs. He was here for her & she, for him. She nodded at the exit. He raised his glass. Moments later, they were a tangle of sweaty limbs pressed against her car door in the parking lot.

“Never Again” ~ She curled up on her bed & held a bag of frozen peas to her throbbing cheek. Her ribs ached with every breath & her face would be swollen by morning. Still, heedless of the bloodied sheets & the body on the floor, she drifted off to sleep. He’d never hurt her again.

“Young Love” ~ One summer changed everything between them. His voice got deeper & stubble sprouted on his cheeks . Her curves had softened & she blushed when he smiled at her. One night he took her stargazing & with a touch & a kiss, friends became lovers in the back of his truck.

“If Only” ~ If only she’d gone left, she’d’ve never ended up in that alley. Never found that door. Never gone inside & never looked into the mirror of the damned. Now that she’d seen her dark side, craved the stench of fear & coveted the chase, she was never going back to the PTA.

“Hidden” ~ She turned on the hot water & dumped in a bottle of bubble bath. She didn’t want to see the water tinged w/blood as she bathed. Once the bubbles reached the edge of the tub, she got in, leaned back & closed her eyes. She’d figure out what to do with the body later.

“Just Write” ~ For every character she killed ~ Every bad thing that she willed ~ She knew there’d be a price ~ She learned how to be nice ~ Traded daggers for kisses ~ Death for happy wishes ~ So the horror writer died ~ Or the romance writer lied ~ Either is fine ~ Pour me some wine ~ And just write

“Betrayal” ~ The wan face of her child looked up at her with trust. “Hungry, mama.” ~ “I know, baby.” She ladeled soup into the bowl. ~ Outside, the pied pipers song filled the air. ~ She nodded at the poisoned dish. “Quickly now, eat every bite.” ~ No one was luring her child to hell.

“Ginger” ~ Beside me from your very first day ~ Cuddled in my arms ~ Under my desk while I worked ~ Playing with the kids ~ Making friends with the neighbors ~ Then, on hard days ~ Comforting me in times of loss ~ Quelling my pain ~ It was the least I could do ~ To stay beside you ~ On your very last day

“Time” ~ Time marches on they say ~ He looks down at the shell of his wife & can’t help but agree ~ Still, she’s beautiful ~ Her face, drawn tight in pain before, is now relaxed ~ At peace ~ Eyes closed, rosy cheeks, she could almost be sleeping ~ He leans down & kisses her ~ Just to be sure

“Unexpected” ~ She leaned over the man in the barber chair, her breasts nearly spilling out of her corset, straight edge razor in hand. “Hold still.” ~ “What an unexpected treat.” He grinned as the blade scraped his cheeks. ~ “Yes it is,” she murmured & slit his throat in one swipe.

“Hero” ~ She didn’t know heroes. No one came to save her when the dark man came into her room at night. No one stopped him stealing her innocence, and with it, her soul. After a while, she got sick of waiting. She left. Saved herself. Became the hero she’d been waiting for.

“Moments” ~ First breath, first tooth, first step ~ First day of school, first A, first F ~ First crush, first car, first broken heart ~ First job, first paycheck, first apartment ~ These are the things she remembers ~ In her daughter’s final moments ~ 19 years, gone in the blink of an eye

“Selkie” ~ The part he liked best about being a Selkie? Romancing the fisherman’s wives by night, warm and lusty while their men were cold and lonely on the sea. ~ But the worst part? Wishing his children would stop finding & returning his skin to him. ~ He wanted to stay.

“Baby” ~ Baby’s spirit lingers, aching to be cradled by his mother. His tiny hand longs to reach up & grasp the silky strands of hair as he suckles, lulled by a familiar heartbeat. If only his mother knew, all her shattered pieces showered him with love, comforting & warm.

“Steps” ~ Tiny baby toes ~ Wobbly legs ~ Arms out for balance ~ A tentative step, then another ~ Cheers & giggles ~ 3 more steps & a gummy smile later, the baby is swept into his mother’s arms ~ A tear rolls down her cheek as she looks at her husband’s face on video chat ~ “Our boy is walking.”

“Critters” ~ Bo caught a fishbowl full’a snakes & took ’em home, so proud to show his mama. ~ She made him get rid’a the poor critters. ~ But his big brother could always fix stuff. ~ He snuck ’em back after dark & hid ’em in the dresser. ~ They woke to an empty fishbowl & mama screamin’.

“Justice” ~ She never knew alcoholism until she met him ~ He told her it wasn’t his fault ~ With every drunken lie ~ Every liquor fueled punch ~ He told her it was a sickness & she believed him ~ Until he killed her ~ When judgement was passed ~ Her spirit found its rest in the arms of justice

“Altered” ~ She was part of a new program to give the sick a chance at life & purpose to death row inmates ~ But no one told her the truth ~ The doctor simply leaned in & asked a single question ~ “How bad do you want to live?” ~ Now she had the face of an angel & the heart of a killer

“Home” ~ It felt like going home ~ The old dirt road ~ Overgrown raspberry bushes ~ Deer in the orchard ~ Sheep in the hayfield ~ And a cabin tucked among the trees ~ But it wasn’t home anymore ~ Not to me ~ It hadn’t been for a long time ~ Now, it’s just a memory ~ A place I used to know

“Fate” ~ He believed fate put him on the road that night ~ Gave her a flat tire & a chill ~ He thanked fate in the diner ~ As she smiled over coffee & he plotted her demise ~He cursed fate when he hit the moose ~ And his truck landed in a ravine ~ His last words ~ “Fate, you fickle bitch.”

“Contradictions” ~ In the light of day, she was all the things generations past told her a good girl should be. ~ Demure. Humble. Sweet. ~ But in the deepest, darkest hours of night she was a wild thing. ~ Sassy. Sexy. Free. ~ Was it any wonder she preferred the night?

“The Cost” ~ A father cradled his sickly newborn as his wife’s hand stroked the downy fuzz-covered head. “Please, save her.” “What’ll you give for her life?” the cloaked being whispered. “Anything,” the man choked. “I’ll take your heart.” The dark being snatched the wife & vanished.

“The Grove” ~ Towering trees ~ White bark with black scars ~ Pale green leaves rustle in the wind ~ Dirt road hugs the grove ~ This was our spot ~ Peaceful & light ~ Now I see our carved initials ~ Letters that meant everything ~ Suddenly mean nothing ~ We are no more ~ Grief steals my breath

“Chaos” ~ I call chaos a crowded street lined with cars and people ~ non-stop noise ~ and the hum of energy, vibrating in the air ~ Others call chaos lost on a backroad ~ nowhere to stop for gas ~ a bottle of water & a half-eaten bag of chips ~ and the sound of silence, thick and heavy

“Socks” ~ It began with a pair of socks ~ Placed on tiny feet ~ Dresses & tights ~ Ballet tutu’s ~ Halloween costumes ~ Overall’s & snowboots ~ Boyfriend’s jacket & prom dress ~ Hospital scrubs ~ Wedding gown ~ Maternity clothes ~ Baby blankets ~ And another pair of socks ~ Placed on tiny feet

“Freedom” ~ She ran. From her past, from her family. From her mistakes & her successes. She ran. From her emotional attachments. From her responsibilities & obligations. She ran. But some things, she found, she could never be free from. Herself & her pain. Still…she ran…

“Gran’s Wisdom” ~ Her gran was an odd woman. She ate onion sandwiches, kept shoeboxes full of zippers & saved all the soap ends in a bag under the sink. Even so, she was relatable as she imparted words of wisdom like “If you swallow them seeds, you’re gonna grow a melon in your belly”.

“Fireworks” ~ 3 AM on a frozen, snowy morning in February & the neighbors are at it again. Setting off fireworks. For reasons known only to them. Twenty so far & counting. At least the doors in the vacant downstairs apartment have stopped slamming. Maybe now I can sleep.

“Real Love” ~ Her first crush was sweaty hand holding & a bruised heart. Second love was stolen kisses in the backseat of a car. But her forever love, that was an amorous joining of souls, chicken soup on sick days & flowers on Valentine’s. The good stuff. The forever stuff.

“The Pond” ~ On their first date he slipped his gloves off & held her hand. Cupped her frozen fingers & rubbed warmth into them. He bought her coffee after & they agreed to go ice skating again.
58 years later, he took her back to the pond & held her hand for the last time as she grew cold & slipped away.

“Tomorrow” ~ She didn’t know what to do anymore. She really didn’t.
To stay was good for him, but bad for her.
And to go…well, to go would take courage. Something she didn’t yet possess.
She’d try to find some courage tomorrow.
She really would.

“Doors” Part One~ She’d closed the door to her past a long time ago. Said goodbye. No more lies. No more broken promises. No more drunken stupors & hiding in the closet til dawn. No more women calling, no more whispered conversations. No more. Until a cop came knocking.

“Doors” Part Two ~ When she opened the door, she was given the news & his effects. She identified the body. Went to a funeral. A month later, she opened the door to her future. The same cop standing there with flowers & a smile, asking for a date.

“Marriage Advice” ~ Advice for a long & happy marriage on her big day from her beloved gran: “Always undress with the light on.” When her marriage fell apart, her gran asked: “You turned the light off, didn’t you?”

“No Regrets” ~ If I could travel back in time, where would I go? Back to unfind a note that whispered a betrayal? Back to dance with my son at his graduation? Back to return my mother’s call before she died? No… But I’d go back for all the “I love you’s.” Every. Single. One.

“Him” ~ As a toddler, she cried, afraid of him. As a girl, she hid from him, & the world, covering her mouth to keep her secret. As a young woman, she found her courage & uncovered her mouth to speak the truth. As his surviving heir, she left in peace, his ashes unclaimed.