Fiction Friday: [In the Shadow of the End]

Rachel watched her daughter run around the yard in awkward, drunken circles. The five-year-old’s arms and legs, already too long for her body, flailed out of control and added to her fun. Emma tossed her head back and the giggles flowed.

Rachel’s heart caught a tumultuous wave.

There was nothing more soothing, more perfect than the sound of her child in the throes of joy. But knowing what her life was to become cast a dark shadow. A shadow that dug deep into her as a mother, cracking her ribs apart and attacking the last vestiges of what had been their normal life.

It was the sudden silence that pulled her from her thoughts. The air grew cold in it. Jolting to attention, Rachel’s eyes fell into Emma’s, whose gangly arms were still raised a bit having stopped mid twirl. By the time she reached her mother, her face had morphed from curious to crumbled. Glassy eyes and quivering lip. It was a look that Rachel had dreaded.

Emma reached up and gently caressed her face and it was then that Rachel realized she was crying. Tears released without permission. Tears she had sworn never to shed in front of her daughter.  

Emma’s eyes held the question she didn’t know to ask. Rachel’s broken heart hung heavy with the answer she didn’t know how to give.

By the time she heard her husband drive up, Rachel had soothed her daughter. By the time her soon-to-be ex’s keys were in the door, Emma was already back to twirling with reckless abandon. 

Fiction Friday:[A Beacon in the Snow]

Lila’s knees hit her chest with every step, yet she insisted on walking. Her mittened hand clung tightly to my own as she trudged her way through. Each firmly planted foot earned her a satisfying crunch and the smile that spread across her ruddy face was all I needed to know that to her, the effort was worth it.

A gaggle of squeals and giggles drifted toward us and I could feel the excited anticipation vibrating from Lila’s body the closer we got. When she caught shocks of primary colors flashing between tree trunks, she let go of my hand, and with the intention of running, she fell face first. For a moment she just lay there, unmoving. I grabbed her shoulders and pulled her up, saddened at the thought of her initial excitement dwindling away.

Lila’s face was covered in freshly fallen snow and as I wiped it away, her eyes popped open. A squeal escaped through her smile that rivaled those we had been heading toward. She clapped her hands and the snow dislodged and rained down toward the ground.

Frosty and numb, my cheeks rose as her joy bolstered my own smile. By the time we had reached the other children, they had tamped the snow down enough to give Lila the freedom she had desired. She pulled free from my hand and ran into the fray. One of dozens of kids, Lila’s laughter served as a beacon.

I thought about how I’d cursed the snow as I looked out the window this morning. How I had resented it for ruining my day before it had even begun. But now I couldn’t imagine ever looking out to discover it had snowed and not being reminded of the sweetest sound I had ever heard. 

Fiction Friday: [Up From The Shallows]


[This week's Fiction Friday was my submission for Scene Stealers #24. Scene Stealers is a fun writing prompt from Write to Done. For this prompt, we had to use the sentence they provided to open the story (as written) and it couldn't be longer than 350 words. Click the link above if you want to give it a try. In the meantime...enjoy!]


She settled herself in the shallow water and looked at him, waiting to be amazed.

It was a gorgeous day. A day rife with possibilities. But, he’d never been one to seek out the possible. No, he’d always been content to sit safely by as the rest of the world took chances around him. Staring at the sand sparkling around his firmly planted feet, she wondered if he would ever aspire to anything greater than just existing.

She turned her attention to the water and marveled at how the sun danced along the ocean’s peaks. She inhaled the salty air and lavished under the sun’s kisses. She wished for him to truly see how beautiful it all was. 

From the corner of her eye, he came into view as he took one tentative step followed by another.  She held her breath when he paused, his toes touching the craggy edge of the darkened sand where the ocean had met the earth. His toes seemed to dance in rhythm with her heartbeat before disappearing under the frothy edges of the crystal blue water crashing into the beach.  

The sound of the surf faded under his giggles and the sun seemed to dim in comparison to the sparkle in his eyes.

“I did it, mommy! I did it!”

The calls of the seagulls circling above were no match for his squeals of delight. The rays of the sun no match for the heat of pride swelling in her bosom. 

Today was a gorgeous day. It was a day rife with possibilities.

Fiction Friday: [I'm Still Here]

I hate the beeping.
I know I shouldn’t
since it’s a
constant reminder
that I’m alive.

But I do.
I do because
it also reminds me
that no one believes
I’m still here.

My mother visits.
She holds my hand,
but I know.
I know she thinks
I’m just a shell.

The lifeless body
of the daughter
she doesn’t know,
doesn’t realize,
is still here.

If she knew,
she wouldn’t
talk about
how close she is
to giving up hope.

She wouldn’t lament
over all the things
she never
had a chance
to tell me.

She would know
I heard her.
Every word. Every time.
Even over
the relentless beeping.

Fiction Friday: [Chasing Frogs]

He ran around the creek with reckless abandon.

She watched his bare little feet kick up the water darkening the denim that she had rolled up to his knees. Frogs hopped all around him making tiny splashes of their own. She worried he would fall down as his head darted back and forth trying to take them all in. He had no worries at all.

She had shown him how he could use the net to catch them. Despite the lesson, he was holding it with both hands waving it in the air like a flag and squealing along the way.

She knew he didn’t want to catch them anyway. He was just enjoying the moment.

Jealousy gripped her chest with each splashy footfall.

It was his laughter that she envied the most. Real, from the gut, tears in your eyes laughter. It was so powerful that he would throw his head back and the sun would wash over his tiny features bathing him in an angelic glow.     

She felt the corners of her mouth turn down before she felt the tears mark their path down her cheeks. More powerful than the jealousy was the overwhelming feeling of sadness that had slowly crept over her.

Years from now life would wash away this moment from his memory. He would forget what it meant to truly laugh with abandon. He would forget that running around the creek was more fun than actually catching the frogs.

That was when she sat back and allowed herself to take it all in. The way the sun caused the water to sparkle at its peaks, the sound of the running creek interrupted by the rhythmic splashing and laughter, the look of absolute joy on his face.

She finally allowed herself to live in the moment because she now understood that it was her job to never let him forget.