Tag Archives: fiction

Sudden Monday!

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The Sage of the Living Room Fire – 358 words

They wondered what The Baby was thinking as she sat in front of the fire, hour after hour. It was something of an insult to still be known as The Baby, she was well into her second year of life, but she could not tell them so. It would wait. She held her peace and stared into the fire.

She had very few words. It was fine. She had a sneaking suspicion that language left out the heart of things, anyway. Her family wondered why she laughed to see birds flying over the house – they did not know how the birds were her father, just home from work, lifting her up high, so high, to receive her kiss on his scratchy cheek. And the hawk in the sky who made her laugh was not the hawk who sat on the porch roof to watch for mice between the wood chips. She did not laugh at him, he was the barking dog who lived next to the park and the boy who packed the bags at the store and looked on her with beakish eyes.

Her mother gathered her in her warm lap to point at books, her speech long and low. The Baby just laughed and turned the pages, fast, to watch the colors whirl. She knew the way of the leaves, falling in a rainbow on the grass. She had watched them dry and crackle, slowly turning into a dust that spread over the brown lawn. When the snow came, she knew the leaves were still there, under the crust of ice. Now after a long time the trees began to tease her with little specks of green and she could see the ghost of the old leaves peeking through. Just so. The words in her house swirled around her on the wind. She let them fall. Her time to sprout would come.

The Baby sat in front of the fire and it told her things she would remember all her life, but they stayed in that place between the tree and the earth. She watched it and smiled. Everyone wondered what The Baby was thinking.

Don’t forget to check out Labora Editions to read the other stories!

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Sudden Monday the First

Ryan over at Labora Editions has handily solved my blogging angst with his new link up, Sudden Mondays.

This is the deal:  write a short story, no more than 500 words, link up and share!  I am a little nervous that this may not be in the spirit Ryan is hoping to foster, so here is advance warning – profanity ahead!  Now with no further fanfare, here is my offering:

NATIVITY

I am haunted by the memories of other people.

She could feel the mounting pressure before it took away her breath. She didn’t know where he was, and now she was afraid it would be too late.

From the floor below she heard keys clang as the front door swung open.

“Ed?” she called.

Footsteps trudged heavily up the steps. On the landing appeared Daniel, drunk.

She snarled, “Where the piss have you been?”

Daniel gave a teenager shrug and she would have given him hell had not a contraction seized her right then, bending her sideways as her waterbed mattress sloshed beneath her.

“Are you okay?” Daniel asked.

“No,” she gasped when the worst was over. “I’m having the baby.”

“I can’t find Ed,” she said, and then burst into tears.

Daniel looked down, pained. A bedroom door creaked beside him in the hall and his younger sister peered out.

“This is the plan,” he said to Melissa, “You help Anita get ready. I’ll find Ed.”

Melissa nodded and stepped into the hall.

From her waterbed Anita yelled, “You can’t leave! I need the fucking car.”

“I’ll be back in half an hour,” he said quietly to Melissa.

“Jenny’s already asleep,” Melissa whispered back, “Should I wake her up?”

He thought a moment.  “No, when I get back you can take Anita to the hospital and I’ll stay here with her.”

He ran down the steps. From above Anita was still yelling, “Don’t you dare drive my car drunk! Get back here you little son of a bitch!”

He slammed out the front door.

Ed was exactly where Dan knew he’d be. Dan knocked on the unmarked door and was met by a balding, watery-eyed man who looked him over but did not check his ID before letting him in.

Ed was at the bar, of course. Beside him, a scantily clad woman hung on his arm. She was noticeably pregnant.

“Ed,” Daniel called out.

Ed turned, his bronze badge catching the light from the bar and twinkling as he moved. His mouth hardened.

“Anita is having the baby,”

Ed stood then, shedding the clinging woman with a shrug of his shoulders and brushing past Daniel as he walked out.

In the parking lot Dan watched Ed fumble with his car door. Dan waited, intending to follow him back home. Ed was much more drunk than he was.

“Ed,” he called out, finally, through his car window. Ed looked up. “You are an asshole.”

Ed put his keys into his pocket and stumbled to Dan’s window. He looked in for a moment, swaying, and then punched Dan in the face. Then he went around to the passenger side door and got in.

 

This is my memory: I woke to see my Uncle Dan kneeling beside me, smiling. “You have a baby sister!” he said. I was so happy.