Dusk Till Dawn

WARNING; This is a graphic story.  May be sensitive to some readers.

I got the idea for this story off of juliafox038711‘s Tik Tok, who made a POV (point of view) video using audio from the song, “Dusk Till Dawn” by Zayn Malik.  I’ll italicize the lyrics used in this story and the Tik Tok by juliafox038711.

 

I can’t believe her.

Does she remember that sleepover we had a few months ago?  She told me she was depressed and having some really bad days.  I made her promise that she wouldn’t do anything to herself.  I promised myself I wouldn’t let anything happen to her.  She’s my best friend and has stayed with me for almost ten years.  I went through some really hard times, and she saved my life, twice.  I owe her everything.

And now she’s going to kill herself.

I looked into her window, and I saw her in her bedroom, crying.  I wondered what was wrong. I didn’t think too much of it, as Morada was prone to have crushes on boys who didn’t love her back.  She would cry endlessly over them, sobbing her heart out on my shoulder. Then ten minutes later, she would jump up with fire in her eyes and say,

“We don’t need anyone, Ida.  We have each other,” she would then look at me with a fierce pride. “That’s all we need.”

I believed her, every time.  So, this time, I waited for about ten minutes.  Of course she couldn’t jump and say to me that we had each other, but she would stop after a while, right?

But no.  After a half hour, she was still crying, full steam.  There was no sign of her stopping. I was starting to get kind of worried, so I walked up to her room.  I went through the door and found Morada on the floor, still sobbing.

I dropped down beside her instantly and put my arms around her shoulders.  They went unnoticed by her, of course. She was so distressed, I didn’t know what to do.  She stopped crying suddenly and sat bolt upright. Her eyes were so bloodshot, her mascara running in rivers.  Her short, black hair was stuck up all over the place, but she didn’t care.

She looked around her room intently, then got up shakily.  I stood up as well, thinking that this is where she would return to her normal self.  But she didn’t. She walked slowly to her drawer and pulled out a knife.

I almost exploded right then and there.  I screamed so loudly the lights flickered.  I ran to her and knocked the knife out of her hand.  Part of me, who wasn’t panicking, realized that I had just broken the most important rule, but I didn’t care.  I could feel myself flickering between reality and wherever I actually was. Why did Morada have a knife in her room?

I turned back around to Morada, and I found her staring with her mouth wide open in a scream, not making any sound.  She was staring at the place she last saw me fade in and out of the real world. In my rage, I had been able to become real again, much to my astonishment.  I had been able to move the knife, which I shouldn’t have been able to do.

For you see, I’ve been dead for five months.

I hadn’t taken my teenage years well, and the pressure was too much to deal with.  I had jumped out of a seven-story building and killed myself. I saw the news reports after, and regretted my decision.  My family and Morada were forced on to news channels and had to talk about my life and my death. They had to reveal the suicide letters I had written for each and every one of them.  If I could go back, I wouldn’t have killed myself. It was so hard on my family and Morada. It was absolutely heartbreaking for me to watch from my ghostly perspective.

I don’t know what you call this afterlife that I’m living in.  It doesn’t feel like hell, and it definitely isn’t heaven. I just float.  I stay close to my family and Morada and watch over them, not able to touch them or move things.  Until tonight.

I moved things and reappeared to Morada tonight and I don’t know why or how.

I am jolted from my memories into the present when Morada stands up.  She walks purposefully to her closet and I follow, determined to watch her carefully.  She takes out another knife. I cry out, and try to knock the knife out of her hand again, positive I can manage it.  But it doesn’t budge. Morada looks at the knife like she’s waiting for it to say something. Maybe it does, because she cuts her arm before I can try to take the knife from her again.

I start sobbing, staring at all the blood pooling down from Morada’s arm.  She doesn’t flinch at all, just cuts herself again. The carpet is crimson with her blood.

Morada doesn’t react, but watches the knife out the window.  She looks at it while she says, “Ida, I want this.”

I freeze.  Is she talking to me?

“Ida, I can’t stay here,” she whispers.  “My parents are alcoholics, my brother is in jail, I’ve been doing so badly on all my schoolwork because I’m so distracted all the time.  Before, I thought I could handle all of that, because you were right here with me.”

A single tear runs down Morada’s face, unnoticed by her.

I’m in shock.  I’ve never heard about any of this.  I didn’t even know that Morada had a brother.  We never hung out at Morada’s house, but I never thought anything of it.  I’ve never been inside her room. Was this why?

“But then you died.  I cried for a week. Did you know that?  Did you know what you did to me?” her voice raises almost to a shout, then she chokes.

“I know you’re there.  I don’t know how. I can’t tell what you are or where you are but I know you’re there.  I saw a flash of you. I know you can hear me. So, if you think that I shouldn’t do this, make a sound.”

“Morada, no!” I scream.

She looks towards me and her eyes narrow.

“Say something,” she says, and folds her arms like she used to when we got into arguments.  How stupid those things we fought about seem now.

“Morada, I watch over you.  I know I killed myself and I hurt you and I’m sorry,” I plead, tears running down my ghostly face.  “I haven’t forgiven myself for what I did to you. Please, don’t do this. I’ll hold you when things go wrong.  I’ll be with you from dusk till dawn.

Morada watches me, or watches the wall behind me with such intensity that I start to beg her.

“Please, Morada!” I shout and cry at her. “Don’t do this, I’ll be with you.  From dusk till dawn. I promise!”

“I knew it,” she says in the most disappointed tone I’ve ever heard before.  She unfolds her arms and walks to her window.

I follow, trying to hold her back, screaming and crying and begging her to stop.  But I can’t touch her. My hands go right through her body and nothing stops her from walking towards that window.

Baby, I’m right here!” I wail, my lungs almost bursting.

She crouches at the ledge, and says a few words that I can’t hear because I am crying and yelling so loudly.

She jumps.  I jump out of the window after her, and float down to the ground.  I try to catch her, but just like before, I can’t touch her. She falls right through my arms onto the ground with a sickening crash.  I turn to the ground, in shock. I tried so hard, and I couldn’t save her. She died.

A glowing white substance is leaking from her.

It forms into a pristine replica of the broken girl on the ground before me.  She stares at her own fractured body, then turns her eyes to me.

“Ida?” she says, disbelieving.

I glare at her.  “I was there the whole time.”

Morada’s white hands come up and cover her mouth, her expression one of complete surprise and regret.

“How could you do this to me?” I whisper, looking down at Morada’s body.

“Ida, I’m-”

“YOU PROMISED ME!” I bellow, looking up at her, burning her with my glare. “YOU SAID YOU’D NEVER HURT YOURSELF.  YOU PROMISED!  WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT WAS IN YOUR ROOM JUST NOW? I TRIED TO SAVE YOU, ME!  WHO DID YOU THINK IT WAS?”

I stop shouting, breathing hard and look back down at her body.

Opaque tears start to leak out of Morada’s eyes. “I’m sorry, I just-”

She sighs and looks down at her body, too.  “I couldn’t stay here, Ida. This world is such a messed up place without you.”

I’m not done being angry yet, but I know that I can’t stay mad at Morada. “Listen, I’m mad at you.  I’m hurt, I’m disappointed, and I’m a hypocrite.”

Morada looks up hopefully.

“I made the same mistake.  I regret my choice each and every second.  But we have to live with our sins now.” I say softly.

She smiles a heartbroken smile.

She hugs me and I hug her back, tears leaking out of my own eyes.

 

THE END

 

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this story!

Yours in writing,

Adrienne Parker

Mengele Twin; Serious Prose

This is a serious prose speech that I copied the words from a YouTube video.

 

“We got down from the cattle car.  People were selected to live or to die.  People crying, pushing, shoving, dogs barking, and I actually turned around in trying to figure out what is the place?  And as I turned around, I realized that my father and my two older sisters were gone. Never saw them again. We were holding onto Mother for dear life.

A Nazi was running in the middle of that selection platform yelling in German, ‘Twins, twins.’  He noticed us and demanded to know if we were twins. And my mother asked, ‘Is that good?’ And the Nazi said, ‘Yes.’  My mother said yes. At that moment, another Nazi came, pulled my mother to the right, we were pulled to the left, we were crying, she was crying.  And all I ever remember is seeing my mother’s arms stretched out in despair as she was pulled away. I never even said goodbye to her, but I did not understand that this would be the last time that we would see her, and all that took 30 minutes from the time we got down from the cattle car and my whole family was gone.  Only Miriam and I were left, holding hands and crying.

We were Mengele twins, which we found out later on what that meant.”

 

Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister Miriam were born in Transylvania, Romania in 1934.  In May 1944, she and her family arrived at Auschwitz. Towards the end of her video, which is available to see on YouTube, Eva says that she discovers the power of forgiveness.  Many Holocaust survivors felt guilty after the war was over, feeling like they didn’t deserve to live while so many others died. Some were consumed by hate, hating survivors that forgave Nazis, hating the Nazis, hating their god for bringing all this hardship upon them.  But as Helen Waterford said, “I had learned only too well that hate is a boomerang that only destroys the sender.” Forgiveness is truly an incredible power.

 

“Mengele would count us every morning.  I was used in two types of experiments. Monday, Wednesday, Friday they would put me naked in a room with my twin sister and many other twins, up to eight hours a day.  They would measure every part of my body, compare it to my twin sister, and then compare it to charts. On alternate days, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, they would take us to a blood lab.  They would tie both my arms to restrict the blood flow, take a lot of blood from my left arm, and give me a minimum of five injections in the right arm. The content of those injections, we didn’t know then, nor do we know today.  After one of those injections, I became very ill with a very high fever. My legs and arms were swollen and very painful. I was trembling as the August sun was burning my skin. And I had huge red spots covering my body. The next visit to the blood lab, they didn’t tie my arms.  Instead of that, measure my fever. And I was immediately taken to the hospital. The hospital was another barrack, but it was filled with people who looked to me more dead than alive. Next morning, Mengele came in with four other doctors. Never, ever examined me, looked at my fever chart, and then he declared, ‘Too bad.  She’s so young. She has only two weeks to live.’

 

For the following two weeks, I have only one clear memory.  Crawling on the barracks floor, because I no longer could walk.  And crawling to reach a faucet with water at the other end of the barrack, and as I was crawling, I would fade out, in and out of consciousness, telling myself I must survive, I must survive.  After two weeks, my fever broke. It took me another three weeks before my fever charts showed normal. Miriam . . . When I got back she was sitting on the bed, staring into space. When I ask her, ‘What happened to you?’ she said ‘I cannot talk about it.  I will not talk about it.’ And we didn’t talk about Auschwitz until 1985.”

 

“When I ask her in 1985, ‘Miriam, what happened to you while I was in the hospital?’  She said, ‘I was under Nazi doctor supervision 24 hours a day.’ It was the same two weeks that Mengele said I would die.

 

So I said to her, ‘What happened to you after the two weeks were up?’  She said she was taken back to the labs, injected with many injections that made her feel very sick.  As we found out years later, when she grew up, got married in Israel, expected her first child, she developed severe kidney infections that did not respond to any antibiotic.  Second pregnancy in ‘63, the infection got so bad that the Israeli doctor studied her, and they found out that Miriam’s kidneys never grew larger than the size of a 10-year-old child’s.  So I begged Miriam not to have any more children, because every pregnancy was a life crisis. But she had a third child, and after the third child was born, her kidneys started to deteriorate, and by 1987, they failed.  At which time I donated my left kidney. I had two kidneys and one sister, so it was an easy choice. But a year later, she developed cancerous polyps in the bladder.

The doctors kept asking me to find our Auschwitz files.  We never found our files. We never found out what was injected into our bodies, and Miriam died June 6, 1993.

Months after Miriam died, I received a telephone call from a professor at Boston, who said he had heard me speak and he would like me to go to Boston and speak.  And when I came there, it would be nice if I could bring a Nazi doctor. I was stunned at such a question, and then I thought about it, I remembered that the last project that Miriam and I worked together before she died was in 1992.  It was a documentary done by a German television about the Mengele twins, and in that documentary, there was a Nazi doctor from Auschwitz. And I figured if he was alive in ‘92, he might be alive in ‘93. So I got his telephone number, I called him and invited him to Boston.  He told me he was not willing to go to Boston, but he was willing to meet with me at his house in Germany.”

 

“ I didn’t plan to ask him any of these questions, but suddenly, I am asking him, ‘You were in Auschwitz.  Did you ever walk by a gas chamber? Did you ever go inside the gas chamber? Do you know how the gas chamber operated?’  He said, ‘Mm-hm, mm-hm.’

He said, ‘This is the nightmare that I live with every single day of my life.’  And went on describing the operation of the gas chamber. He was stationed outside, looking through a peephole while the gas was coming down and people were dying.  When everybody was dead, and nobody moved, he knew that they were dead, and he signed one death certificate. No names, just the number of people that were murdered.  

I asked him to go with me to Auschwitz in 1995, when we would observe 50 years since the liberation of the camp.  Because I wanted him to sign a document, just what he told me, but I wanted it signed at the ruins of the gas chamber in Auschwitz.  He agreed immediately. I will have an original document signed by a Nazi. And if I ever met a revisionist who said the Holocaust didn’t happen, I could take that document and shove it in their face.

I wanted to thank this Nazi doctor for his willingness to document the gas chamber operation.  I didn’t know how to thank a Nazi. I didn’t tell anybody about it, because even to me it sounded strange.  I didn’t want anybody to change my mind. After 10 months, one morning I woke up. And the following simple idea popped into my head.  How about a letter of forgiveness from me to Dr. Munch? I knew immediately that he would like it, and that was a meaningful gift. An Auschwitz survivor gives him a letter of forgiveness, to a Nazi doctor.  But what I discovered for myself was life-changing. I discovered that I had the power to forgive. No one could give me that power, no one could take it away. It was all mine to use in any way I wished. And that became an interesting thing, because as a victim of almost 50 years, I never thought that I had any power over my life.

Now, I began writing a letter, and I didn’t know how to write a letter of forgiveness.  And it took me four months to write it. And then I thought somebody might read it, for my diction in English is good, but my spelling is not.  I wanted my former English professor to correct my spelling, so I called her. We met three times. And the third time, she said to me, ‘Now, Eve, very nice.  You forgive this Dr. Munch. Your problem is not with Dr. Munch. Your problem is with Dr. Mengele.’ I was not quite ready to forgive Mengele. She said to me, ‘Okay.  I have been meeting with you, correcting your letters. Now I want you to do me a favor. When you go home tonight, pretend that Mengele is in the room, and you are telling him that you forgive him.  Cause I want to find out how would it make you feel if you could do that.’ Interesting idea, I thought.

And when I got home, actually, I did something else.  I picked up a dictionary and wrote down 20 nasty words, which I read clear and loud to that make-believe Mengele in the room.  And at the end I said, ‘In spite of all that, I forgive you.’ Made me feel very good. That I, the little guinea pig of 50 years, even had the power over the Angel of Death of Auschwitz.

So that was the way we arrived in Auschwitz.  Dr. Munch came with his son, daughter, and granddaughter.  I took my son and my daughter. I read my declaration of amnesty.  And I signed it. Dr. Munch signed his document. I felt, free, free from Auschwitz, free from Mengele.

So now that I have forgiven him, I knew that most of the survivors denounced me, and they denounce me today also.  But what is my forgiveness? I like it. It is an act of self-healing, self-liberation, self-empowerment. All victims all hurt, feel hopeless, feel helpless, feel powerless.  I want everybody to remember that we cannot change what happened. That is the tragic part. But we can change how we relate to it.

The Story of Evette

The Story of Evette

I learned my lesson, a long time ago, that people come and go.  Even I come and go, I don’t linger around forever.  People can promise that they’ll stay forever, but they must know that they really can’t.  They just lie to others, and themselves, that they will stick around. For the sake of their sanity, they don’t say,  “No, I’m not going to be your friend forever, because I’ll die before then.”

Who wants to listen to that?  Well, no one, as in my experience.  I’ve been telling people that for years, and they all look at me like I’m crazy.  The only person who didn’t look at me like that was Jonathon. My fiancé.

Well, he WAS my fiancé.  Before….

Nope, nope, nopity nope!  Sorry, Reader, you’re going to have to be disappointed on this one.  Cause I’m not telling! Oh, boo hoo. Suck it up. Life is disappointing.

Yeah, I am different.  I know that I’m a story, not the writer.  I am the character that you get to read about, the character you feel emotions with.  That you scrutinize and make fun of on the Internet. I’m not stupid enough that I don’t know what goes on outside the book or computer screen or whatever.

Anyways, while you’re here, I’ll teach you something about life.  Yeah, you better put on your reading glasses for this one; it’s a doozy.

Life is a disappointment.

 

5 Years Earlier…

Wait, why am I back here?  I can’t be back here!! You!  Author! Put me back to where I’m supposed to be!  I can’t relive this, I can’t… I’m going to die. Seriously.

Evette walked to the kitchen, not knowing anything was wrong.

NO!  I am NOT walking over there.  DO NOT MAKE ME GO OVER THERE, OR SO HELP ME-

She almost walked past the oak table, but spotted a single letter directly in the middle.

“That’s odd,” she said out loud.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

She picked up the letter, curious.  There was no return address, but Evette recognized the hastily scrawled handwriting.  She turned the letter over, her fingers shaking slightly. She hesitated, then started to slit the envelope.

Seriously!  I can’t live through this again.  I just can’t. I already lived through it once, I can’t do it again.

Evette took a while to open the envelope.  Once she got it open, she slid the letter out.  It was a very thick material, nothing like Evette had ever seen before.  She took a deep breath and unfolded it.

Nope!  Turn away, turn away, turn away, I’m not looking, turn away, turn away…

“Darling,” Evette read out loud.

NO!

Hey!  How did you do that?

Do what?  Who are you?  WHERE AM I??

I’m the author.  I was writing your story, but then it just went black.  How did you do that?

How should I know?  All I want is to get out of here… WAIT.  You said you’re the Author…?

Yes.

You are a terrible person.  I know what you’re doing. You took me back to- to- THAT TIME!  WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?? I barely survived it the first time! I still don’t know what happened, and I can’t relive it again.  I HATE YOU.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I’m just doing my job.  But how are you doing this?  I’ve never “talked” to my characters before.  I’VE always controlled the story, not the other way around.

Is that right, bucko?  Well, too bad! Because I’M taking over this story now!  I’M THE AUTHOR NOW. HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT, HUH??

Wait, what are you doing?

I’M CONTROLLING THE STORY!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Author suddenly found herself in the middle of a cornfield, blinking around in confusion.

“Where am I?” she shouted at the sky.  “Evette, put me back! It’s not supposed to be this way!”

A million gumballs started to rain down from the completely clear sky, much to the surprise of Author.

“Ow!” Author screamed.  She covered her head in her arms and sank to the ground, trying to escape the torrent of gumballs.

She looked up and saw a small shed in the middle of the otherwise empty field.  She sprinted towards it, slipping and falling over the sea of candy. She finally made it to the shed, and stood in the middle, clenching her fists.

“Evette, so help me, put me back where I belong so I can finish the story!!” she whisper-screamed at some unknown being.

Hey!  I was having fun with that!

Pelting me with gumballs was not fun.  Now, back to the REAL story.

“Darling,” Evette read out loud, “First I want to say that I’m sorry.  I won’t be coming back to you. I know I told you that I would, but I just can’t.  You’re not the one for me. Because I still love you, let me please offer an explanation.  When I went to Radan, I met my childhood best friend. We talked for a while, for nearly five hours.  I realized that I’m in love with her. I’m sorry. I know this is the worst thing I’ve ever done, and I am filled with regret at the pain I know I am causing you.  But I have to do what’s best for me. Please forgive me. I love you, Jonathon.”

Author, I hate y-y-you.  I w-w-would be happy if y-y-you died r-r-right now and n-n-never woke u-u-up again…

Evette… are you crying?

No!  I-I-I’m not…

I’m sorry, Evette.

No, you’re not!  You don’t even care about me at all!  All you care about is your “job”. You don’t care about any of your “characters”!  Do you ever think about how they feel? Sure, you write about their distress, happiness, sadness, but you don’t actually know how they feel.  You are a terrible person. I hope you know that.

I- I never thought of it that way.  My characters have never talked back to me before.  I never knew how they really felt…

Maybe you should take that into consideration before you DESTROY SOMEONE’S LOVE, or KILL SOMEONE.  You know, that’s hard on Reader, too. I’ll bet he-slash-she is crying for me right now. Yeah, THANK you Reader.  At least I know that ONE person cares for me.

Evette, I do care for you!  Hardship is a part of life. You know that.  Everyone gets rejected sometimes, it’s not that big of a deal-

NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL?!  AUTHOR, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE, AND THAT PERSON WAS ALSO IN LOVE WITH YOU, OR SO THEY TOLD YOU?  DID THEY SEND YOU A LETTER TELLING YOU THAT THEY LOVE SOMEONE ELSE? DID THEY NOT EVEN BOTHER TO COME TELL YOU IN PERSON?  DID YOU STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION AFTER, THINKING YOU WERE WORTH NOTHING?

No, Evette, but how do you know that’s how the story went?

BECAUSE I LIVED- wait, what are you talking about?

I can change the story because I haven’t written it yet.  Maybe right after Jonathan wrote the letter and left you, you recovered and went on a few dates and found the perfect guy and got married.

Is that really how the story ends?

It can be.

DO IT.

Okay, okay.  But you have to stop interrupting now.

My lips are sealed.

Evette sat down in the chair with weak knees.  She put her head in her arms and cried for her lost lover.

Wait a second!  I thought there was a HAPPY ending!  You promised, Author.

I’m not done yet!  Just be patient!

Oh, sorry.  Okay.

Evette sat up suddenly and wiped her face.  She vowed never to cry another tear for Jonathon.  After she got up and canceled all their wedding plans, Evette got a feeling, deep in her bones, and decided to head to a bookstore.  Even she thought it was crazy, but who was she to interrupt what was clearly her fate?

Hey, now, I am not crazy.

Would you please shut up?  I’m nearly finished.  Don’t you want to know the end of your own story?

My bad.

She got in her car and drove to the nearest bookstore.  It was a cozy place. She browsed for a while, the feeling inside her getting stronger with every footstep.  But, after a while, the feeling started to fade and she started to feel frustrated.  She wasn’t one to question fate, but this was taking too long. She rounded around a bookshelf faster and more sharply than she normally would have and ran into someone.

She cried out, surprised, and fell to the ground.  The other person also fell.

She looked up, about to say something angrily, but she stopped in her tracks.  The feeling inside Evette was coursing once again, stronger than ever.

“Whoa!” the stranger laughed. “You’ve got a really strong projection!”

The stranger was a man a little older than Evette.  He had dark brown hair and black eyes with golden skin.  He was holding a few books, though they had spilled onto the floor when he fell.

The stranger, still on the ground, held out his hand to Evette, who had the look of a deer in the headlights.

“I’m Sam.”

Evette stared at his hand suspended in the air for a moment, then jolted out of her trance.

She put her hand in his.

“Evette.”

 

Three Years Later

The wedding march played on a guitar, slowly and softly.  Evette walked down the aisle towards her love, her father holding her arm.

Cameras flashed, her family and friends smiled, her best friend in the maid of honor’s place cried shamelessly, grinning at her.  The priest had a small smile on his face. But Evette wasn’t looking at them. She was looking at her love.

Sam.

Thank you, Author.

 

Thank you for reading this short story.  I hope you liked it!

Yours in writing,

Adrienne Parker

Royal Poinciana

Image result for royal poinciana

Image credit; wikepedia.com

Image result for frangipani

Image credit; wikepedia.com

I’ve included a picture of a royal poinciana tree and frangipani flowers so you can see them.  I know most people won’t know what they look like.  I’ve sent this to a short story contest and I am waiting to hear back from them.  Anyways, thank you for reading!

 

  1. Write a story about someone who’s haunted by their past.

Royal Poinciana

The sweat pours down my face as I struggle with the weeds in my garden.  I’m not physically draining myself, but the sweat comes from fear. Every time I touch a weed, I see something from my past, my scarred past.  Flashes of memories flood my vision even when I barely brush a weed. I can’t see past the flashes, they are blinding me. I try to pull out several weeds at once, which is a mistake.  I see several memories in rapid succession, thoroughly confusing me. A hand coming out of nowhere, my mother screaming, a gunshot… I can feel my garden pulling away from me, trying to put me back into reality.

I wake with a gasp.  I sit up and run a trembling hand through my hair.  To calm myself, I look around my bedroom and try to name every color I see.  As I do, I start to feel a bit more level-headed.

“Miora!” my foster mother calls up to me.  I jump at her harsh voice. “Get up! You’re going to be late!”

I check the time on my alarm clock.  It’s already 7:30? I must have been in my garden longer than I thought.

I hop off the bed and hurry to get dressed.  I try to comb a brush through my hair, then give up entirely, throwing all of my hair into a bun on top of my head.  I run downstairs, grab a piece of toast, and scramble out to my car, pausing only once to trip over the doorstep.

I fumble for my keys, and when the car finally turns on, I race out of the driveway and onto the street towards the high school.  It is painful to keep under the speed limit. Has it always been so low?

I make it into art class just as the final bell rings and hurry to my seat next to Amara while everyone stares at me, the late kid.  Amara has short, honey-blond hair, bright green eyes, and a curvy figure. She is very beautiful, and I am often shunted to the side when it comes to meeting new people.  She is extroverted and funny, and everyone wants to be around her. Why she chose me to be her friend, I do not know why.

I am almost the complete opposite of Amara.  I have long black hair, dark brown eyes, and dark skin.  I am extremely introverted and would rather stay in to read instead of partying on a Friday night.  Amara has always tried to include me, though, which I am grateful for. She is my best friend.

“Miora!” Amara whispers, brushing her hair out of her face. “Where were you?”

“Stayed too long in the garden,” I say in a hushed voice.  “Mrs. Violet almost had a heart attack.”

Mrs. Violet is my foster mother.  Her name may sound kind and sweet, but that lady is the strictest person I’ve ever met.  She makes me clean the kitchen every weekend until it is spotless, mop the floors everyday, and dust the living room until it shines.  She has strict rules about eating at the dinner table, and makes all of us go to the Catholic church on Sunday and Wednesday. Mrs. Violet has extremely short red hair, cat-eye glasses, and a large nose.  Her eyes are the prettiest color of blue I’ve ever seen, though.

Amara is the only one who knows about my garden.  She’s the only one I could trust with my secret without telling me I’m crazy.  I don’t think she completely believes me, but she doesn’t judge me for it, either.

“What were you doing?” she asks, getting out of her seat to get her art supplies.  I follow her.

“I was trying to pull out some weeds,” I admit, knowing what her reaction will be.

“Miora, you know that you can’t do that!” she exclaims, turning towards me. “Miora, you know better than to even try!  Why would you attempt to do that?”

I sigh. “Amara, they were thoughts from my past.  I hate thinking about them, I just want them gone.”

I sigh again.

Amara waits for a moment before trying to change the subject. “How’s your tree doing?”

Despite myself, I grin happily.  At the very center of my garden, there is a huge royal poinciana tree.

“Oh, Amara,” I say, “I wish you could see it!  Yesterday it was the brightest red and orange I’ve ever seen!  The flowers are doing so beautifully!”

I smile contentedly, remembering.  My tree is the most beautiful tree of all.  The royal poinciana tree is native to Madagascar, just like me.  My foster parents took me in when I was put into an orphanage at age ten.  I can’t remember much before then, but every once in a while some weeds pop up, usually from that time period.  I can’t remember why they chose someone all the way from Madagascar, but they did, and I’m forever grateful.

The rest of my garden is covered in different flowers.  Some are absolutely gorgeous, some are just pretty, some are plain.  I’ve learned that each flower is from a different time period. The weeds are from my past before I turned ten.  Daisies, roses, waterlilies (in a small pond in my garden), jasmine, and, most recently, frangipani flowers. Frangipani are native to Hawaii, and they are very beautiful.  I think they are the most recent because my most recent memories are beautiful. This has certainly been some of the best times of my life.

Amara’s strategy has worked, and I find myself thinking about my tree and my flowers the rest of the day.  I promised to Amara vaguely that I would try to ignore the weeds for a while, but I wasn’t really listening to her.

The rest of the day passes quickly, and I can’t wait to get home.

As soon as I’m in the driveway, I turn off my car and run inside.

“Hi, Mrs. Violet!  I’ll be in my room!  Homework!” I call to her as I hurry past her.

She says nothing, just stares past me suspiciously, most likely wondering why I’m so eager to do my homework.

As soon as I reach my room, I lay down on the bed and try to fall asleep.  Over the years, I’ve developed the talent to fall asleep at will. I quickly fall asleep.

I open my eyes to see my tree before me.  It’s even more breath-taking tonight than it was yesterday.  The leaves are lime green, the flowers red and orange. I sigh, thinking that royal poincianas truly are the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen.

I breathe deeply, inhaling the fresh scent of my garden.  Hmm, what time in my life should I visit today? Perhaps my childhood, where the simplest flowers grow.  The daisies. Yes, I’m in the mood for some simple, happy memories.

I walk on the mosaic, stone path towards the daisy patch.  I decide to go visit my golden flower in that time period. In each time period, there is one golden flower, each a gold version of the original flower.  That flower holds my most important memory from that time.

I can see the yellow daisy from several feet away, because it is the only one in a sea of white daisies, and I walk towards it eagerly.  I know what memory this holds, it’s one of my favorites.

I brush up against a few flowers on my way past, and I’m flooded with memories.  Unlike the weeds, several memories at once are not overwhelming to me. These memories are soft and wonderful, they wait for one another, gently tugging me into the past.  I see flashes of a puppy, a carnival, my tiny hand reaching out to pick up a shell on a beach. I smile. These memories bring me such happiness. 

I finally reach my golden daisy.  I don’t brush up against it, but I hold onto the stem lightly.  Golden memories are the easiest to recall, they are remarkably clear.  I feel the gentle tug of the golden flower, and I don’t resist in the slightest as I am, yet again, returning to the past.

80’s music plays through the air while ten-year-old me is sitting on one of the high chairs in the kitchen.  Mrs. Violet is dancing around, singing, and cleaning the kitchen. Mrs. Violet has a surprisingly good voice.  Nowadays, she only uses it in church. This is my favorite memory of Mrs. Violet. I actually felt like I had a real mother.

I stay there for a moment longer, listening to the music.  But then the memory changes.

“You aren’t worthy of this love,” a voice whispers in my ear. “You will never have a real family.  You aren’t good enough for it.”

My memory turns from golden to a dark hue.  It fades, pushing me out of the past. I struggle to hold on to the flower stem, but an irresistible force pushes me away.

I open my eyes, gasping, and look around wildly.  I dark green vine is curled around my ankle. The whispered thoughts keep invading my mind as I struggle to throw off the vine.  The more I touch it, the louder the whispers get until their ringing voices is all I can hear.

The vine finally lets go of me, and I scramble away from it.  I don’t even know where I’m running to until I get to my tree, which I can barely see through my blurry tears.  I sit at the base and put my head in my hands.

“You are a wretched person,” a voice whispers, growing louder by the second. “You have fooled everyone into thinking you are a person you are not.”

I whip my head up and look around me.  Vines are coming at me from every direction, moving faster than is natural.  I try to scramble away, but they hold me to my spot. I hear bits and pieces of accusations.

“You should die….”

“Your mother and father would be so disappointed….”

“You don’t deserve to live….”

I look around at my tree, and agony comes upon me.  My beautiful tree has been almost completely surrounded by vines.  The flowers have all fallen on the ground and wilted, the leaves have turned an ugly brown.  The trunk of my beloved tree is completely encircled with vines.

The whispers have become shouts.

“You aren’t doing any good here….”

“You are insane….”

“Your death would help more people than your life….”

Every depressing thought I’ve ever had comes crashing down upon me.  I take one last look up at my precious tree. Goodbye, I think.

I always knew the weeds would kill me someday.

 

One month later….

I haven’t been the same since Miora died.  I’ve always been so happy that her foster parents decided to take her in, considering she was all the way from Madagascar.  People asked me why I hung out with her, because most of the thought she was weird. But Miora was one of my favorite people.

Though I wondered what Miora was really talking about when she talked about her “garden”, I was fascinated.  She told me that her bad thoughts and memories were the weeds, good thoughts and memories were the flowers. She told me that her tree was the main thing in her garden, the thing that kept her tied together.  She didn’t talk much about the weeds, but I guess I wouldn’t want to, either. She told me briefly about her mother and father, but I could tell she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

About a week after she died, I remembered what she had told me once.

“Amara, I’ve seen some vines in my garden.  I think it’s depression. When I touch them, I hear the whispers, thoughts that I’ve been thinking forever.  They keep telling me I’m not good enough….”

I was sympathetic, but I told her not to worry.  I didn’t really believe her at that point, so I just said that it would all be okay in the end.  I noticed that she had been looking kind of hopeless for a while, she’d been a little too quick to assure me that she was okay.  But what did I do?

Nothing.

The police said that she died in her sleep, but they couldn’t find the cause.  There was no physical trauma, no sign of a heart attack, no digestion of pills, no injections in her bloodstream, nothing.  I haven’t told the police what she told me about her garden. I know that they wouldn’t believe me.

Like I said, I haven’t been the same since then.  I haven’t been eating very well, I just can’t choke down anymore casserole.  People everywhere have been giving me sympathetic glances, and it’s driving me mad.

As I lay down to sleep, I’m still thinking about Miora, about how sorry I am.

My eyes shut, but then they open again.

I am breathing in the scent of a hundred kinds of flowers.  I look all around me. There are roses, daisies, and many others that I don’t recognize.  Something in the corner of my eye catches my attention, and I whirl to face it.

A gorgeous tree with red flowers and bright green leaves is looming in front of me.  It’s trunk twists and turns, somehow making the whole garden look even more beautiful.  I recognize it instantly because of all the times Miora told me about it. It is her royal poinciana, and I am in her garden.

The Only Ace in a Deck of Cards

This is another romance story, but I like the twist at the end.  This one is so mysterious, and I have a feeling people will be upset with the ending…. 🙂

 

  1. Write a story about a character who is a wildcard — their behavior is unpredictable, even to their friends.

 

The Only Ace in a Deck of Cards

I am writing this at eleven o’clock at night, dear reader, and I hope that you can forgive me for pressing my sad tale onto you.  I hope that you somewhat enjoy this, but I can’t be sure. Then again, I may keep this journal entry to myself. It is a rather hard-to-tell and personal story.  Anyways, let me start from the beginning.

People tell me that I’m wild.  People tell me that I’m unpredictable, reckless, and that I act before I think.  And these are only the nicest things they tell me. I could tell you a bunch of different adjectives and phrases to describe me, but I’ll just go with my name – Sloane.

My life hasn’t been a fairy tale, and I expect that’s my fault.  My perfect parents both work perfect jobs, we lived in a perfect house on a perfect street, I went to a perfect high school with not-so-perfect classmates.  Don’t get me wrong, some of them could be perfectly (sorry I’m using that word so much) sweet, but a lot of them were just mean spirited right down to their not-so-funny bones.

I guess high school wasn’t the worst time of my life, at least compared to other people’s high school “nightmare”.  I was popular, but only because of my rich parents. Many of my “friends” were only my friends because they were jealous, curious about my life, or trying to make me give them money.

Despite my parents and other people’s obvious attraction to me, I could never be bothered by the exhaustion that popularity is.  I never dressed in the latest brands of clothing like Adidas, or Nike. I think that brands on clothing are tacky. People made fun of how I dressed, I think because they couldn’t understand it.  I can’t really explain it, except I dressed how I felt. Sometimes I dressed up punk, with spikes, ripped black leggings, and leather jackets, other times I went with a feminine dress. I dyed my hair a couple times; the first time brown and rose gold ombre, the second with fiery streaks.

When I finished high school, I went to college to become a first grade teacher.  My SAT score was fairly high, and I had always dreamed of working with younger children.  In high school, I volunteered at the local library, because I loved helping with the younger kids that the after-school program.  I have always said that first grade is the most critical age of every child. There is a huge difference between kindergartners and second graders.  First graders are old enough to understand and impress upon a child. I wanted to inspire a child, especially if they didn’t have a great upbringing. I knew, even then, that I wasn’t the best role model, but I wanted to try and help myself as well as those young children.

Right now, I am in my last year of college.  College is nothing like high school. In high school, you are required to look and act like everyone else or you’re dead meat.  In college, there isn’t as many rules, especially when it comes to clothing, and everyone is much more individual.

In my freshman year, I met so many amazing people.  In this group are Photine, Briony, and Rain. They are wild, like me, although they joke that I’m the biggest troublemaker out of them all.  A couple of them are more the quiet types, ones who listen more than speak. I’ve learned that they don’t say much unless they have something to say, and if they do say something, you better listen because you can bet your bottom and top dollar that it’ll be smart and valuable.  These two are Juniper and Eira.

But then I met the most amazing person, and I can thank them from the bottom of my heart for getting me through everything.  His name is Amias. Like I said, we met in our freshman year in college, and I can’t imagine life without him. I noticed him in several of our classes, and I couldn’t help but stare.  Even in high school, I knew that I had a type. I loved the cute nerds.

When I first saw him, I was going with a Bohemian vibe that day, feeling a little more humble for whatever reason.  I was wearing a white and embroidered peasant blouse with my favorite pair of jeans, and some flats with white feathers.  I saw him in his plain white t-shirt and jeans, which he rocked, by the way. I saw his messy hair, his beautiful green eyes, his dark-rimmed glasses, and I knew that I had to talk to him.  I was feeling very forward and confident that day, for which I’m grateful. Sometimes I feel very shy and antisocial, but thank goodness he hadn’t caught me on one of those days.

I walked right up to him the moment class ended.

“Hi,” I said.  “I’m Sloane. You’re in several of my classes.  What’s your name?”

At first, he just studied me for a moment, but he eventually said, “Amias Wilson.”

I nodded and was just about to ask if he’d walk with me to class, as I’d noticed that he was in my next class, but he interrupted me.

“Tomorrow, after school, would you like to stop by the coffee shop with me?” he asked.

I was surprised, as he had seemed like more of a shy type to me.  But I agreed, pleased he had asked me out before I had spoken more than twelve words to him.

The night before, I squealed over Amias with my roommate (Photine) and obsessed over what to wear.  Please don’t think I’m one of those girls who brings three changes of wardrobe every single day. I normally wear whatever I want.  But this was different. I decided on an army green (in honor of my father) cropped hoodie, my favorite pair of high-waisted distressed jeans, some blue circular sunglasses, and some trusty Chuck Taylor Converse shoes.  I put my long brown hair into some beach waves and called it good.

The next day, I could barely concentrate on my classes, as Amias was in most of them.  He didn’t seem to notice me, until the last class of the day, when he turned around and winked at me discreetly.  I blushed so hard I think my face literally caught on fire.

After class, I found him and he said that we were going to walk to the coffee shop.  I was somewhat surprised, but thankful that I chose Converse instead of some wedges.

The coffee shop itself was charming, and the coffee was amazing.  From the outside, you could almost not notice it was there, but I loved it.  On the inside, it had a sense of comfort. There was wooden and rustic, but at the same time modern, decor, vintage booths, flowers, and I loved it. I vowed that I would come back.

On the whole way there, Amias was quiet.  It wasn’t until we claimed a booth to ourselves that he opened up more to me.  He told me about his life, which was both exciting and terribly sad. His father raised him alone, as Amias’ mother had died of leukemia when he was five.  His father was a kind and quiet man, and raised Amias to love books and knowledge. He was bullied in elementary for being a “nerd” and for not having a mother.  He said that it messed with his head, making him socially anxious for the rest of his life. At this point in the conversation, my hands started shaking from anger, as I could only imagine how hard it must have been for him.  So he wouldn’t notice, I clutched my coffee cup, but something must have given me away. Probably the tears welling up in my eyes.

He put his hands (they were surprisingly soft, by the way) on mine.  I looked up into his blurry green eyes shamefully, upset that I was crying.  I was normally a strong and tough-skinned person but, for some reason, other people’s suffering hits a soft spot in my heart, possibly because of my mother.

Anyways, he looked into my eyes, and I didn’t see any judgement there, from what I could see, as everything was blurry.  But he told me that he’d never seen so much empathy from a stranger.  After I composed myself and ranted for a while about bullying, I looked at him and was sure I’d never seen another person like him.

After that episode, I told him a bit about my life, mostly about my family life and my dreams.  I didn’t, however, tell him about the incident that made my life so miserable. I vividly remember our conversation as we walked back to the dorm rooms under a now-dark sky.

“I’ve never met anyone like you, Sloane,” Amias said out of the blue.

I didn’t say anything for a moment. “I haven’t even dreamed of meeting someone as perfect as you, Amias.”

I still, to this day, have no idea how or why those words came from my mouth, but I know that they changed my life.

Amias stopped in his tracks, but I walked for a few more steps until I stopped and turned around.  Amias was staring at me with such an intense expression, I was mildly concerned. I was especially concerned when he crossed the distance between us in about three seconds.  He put his hands in my hair and kissed me.

My head was turning.  This was not my first kiss, although it was the first time I’d been kissed on a first date.  But strangely, I found myself not wanting to pull away; I found myself kissing him back!

Fast forwarding, Amias and I became a couple.  The more we dated, the more I wondered how did I get so lucky?  I’ve had enough friends to know that you don’t just find the right guy right away.  Every story they’ve told me at night, while eating chocolate, watching horror movies, and sobbing their eyes out hasn’t been good.  Sometimes they’ll be in this sad post-breakup stage for months on end. It’s horrible to watch from this point of view.

Amias was different.  I felt like I could tell him anything.  But, I did not tell him about the incident, because I was worried about what he might think about me.  Most of the girls I told you about earlier said pre-breakup and post-breakup that they couldn’t live without him.  Every time they said that, I would scoff in my head, believing that to be insane. But I finally realized that it was true.  And I hated that realization, as much as I loved Amias. I didn’t want to be crippled like those girls if he left me. So I tried not to get too attached, even though I loved him with all of my heart.

It seemed to me that I had a low chance of being left, because Amias seemed to be in love with me.  He would take forever to say goodbye after we had gone on a date, he gave me flowers on random days, and he would come over all of the time to curl up on the couch watching movies with me.  He told me he loved me all the time, and he really opened up about his childhood and his feelings.

I still don’t know what happened to us, but all of a sudden, it felt like he wasn’t even there anymore.  He didn’t take me out very much, he never came over, he was always so quiet when we finally went out together.  Because I am very forward sometimes, I confronted him about it, asking if he didn’t love me anymore. He denied it, saying that I was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Then it happened.

It was a normal day, I thought.  As I dressed up that day, I was worrying about Amias, and hoping that today was the day he’d come around.  I dressed up in a chic outfit; dark green jeans, a white with blue-green leaves, white cork wedges, and my hair in a half-up fishtail braid.  I had gone to class, excited to see Amias, but he wasn’t there. I thought maybe he had just been tardy, but I didn’t see him in any other classes.  During lunch, I called him, but his phone went straight to voicemail. When I went back to my dorm room, Photine told me that Amias had left to be an exchange student in Europe.

Dear reader, I cannot explain how awfully terrible this made my life.  I really thought that Amias and I were special. But, like all of my friends, it was too good to be true.  I almost could not force myself to remain at college. But, by sheer willpower (and unimaginable measures of help from my dear friends), I forced myself to try hard, and get my degree so I can teach.  Even now, in my last year of college, I just can’t force myself to tell the ending to my story. I didn’t even get to tell Amias my darkest secret from my dim past. I’ll carry that to my grave. Which, speaking of, is a long way off.  How disturbing.

Thank you so much for reading!!  I hope you liked this twisted love story.  I also hope you learned something from it.  In my experience, you can learn something from every book/story you read.

Yours in writing,

Adrienne Parker

My Hero

This one has the most cliche title in the history of the world, but I liked this one.  This short story is actually the first one I ever wrote.  I really like it, it was fun to write the twist.  I also did not win the short story contest on this one either.  Interesting prompt, though.

 

  1. Write a story with an expanded ending — readers are given a glimpse of what happens after the story ends, maybe a couple years or decades into the future.

My Hero

As my tears fall on the photograph one by one at half-past midnight, I reflect on my life.  It has been a good one, I guess. Full of experiences, wonderful people, too. But there is a lot of dark stains on my past and will be in my future, I’m guessing.  I was foolish and naive when I was younger. Indeed, as I look back now, I wonder how I could have been so stupid to expect more.

When I was nineteen years old, done with my first year of college, I met him.

Andy.

My hero.  I had been walking down a street in our small suburb with a cup of steaming coffee in hand, not looking where I was going.  I looked up from my phone when I ran into a stranger. I started to apologize when I saw the look in his eyes. He was a hulking figure, but his eyes frightened me the most.  He looked at me as though he was angry. But I imagined something much more sinister in his mind. My mind was reeling, and I didn’t think I could get away easily. I was trying to remember what to do when another man came up behind me and grabbed my elbow.

I remember vividly that he had said, “Delaney!  I told you to meet me at the next street, did you forget?  Looking at your phone again? No wonder you ran into this gentleman.  I’m so sorry, sir.”

He smiled at the dark stranger, then looked at me.

I looked up (he was very tall) into his handsome face and he took my breath away, even then, when I was terrified out of my wits.  His dark brown eyes were staring at me urgently, and I suddenly remembered where I was.

“I’m sorry, Roland,” I had said, inventing the name on the spot.

He smiled and nodded at the colossal figure and put his arm behind me.  He steered me down the sidewalk, to the next street over, and into a small bookstore.  There, in the shadow of the Fiction shelves, he held me while I quietly cried out my shock and relief.

After I had calmed down a bit, I started to feel embarrassed.  I thanked him over and over again, until he finally put up his hands.

“Miss,” he said, “it’s all right.  You don’t need to thank me. I saw you needed help and I helped.”

I started to say something, maybe that I did need to thank him, when he shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at me with a hesitant smile.

“But,” he said cautiously, “while we’re here, would you like to go out to lunch?”

From that moment on, we kept in touch.  He lived in the city, like me. We eventually kissed a week from that fateful night we met and became a couple.  My college girlfriends were in awe that I could find a good and “cute” guy just like that. But I wasn’t surprised.  I knew that no matter what, we would’ve met at some point. It was fate.

We were matched perfectly for each other.  Where I had a temper, he was calm and collected.  While I was terrible at cooking, he was a master. While I was a bookworm, he was happy to discuss the scenes with me.  While I was not a sports-fanatic, he enjoyed the games once in a while, but did not obsess over them. We were both content with silence, though we enjoyed each other’s presence too much to remain quiet for very long.  I loved Andy with all my heart.

But he had a dream.

Andy had a dream to join the military.  And as much as I loved him, I was filled with horror when he confessed his lifelong dream to me.  His father had been in the Marines, and Andy wanted to make him proud and do the same thing.

I thought that he would not truly think about joining the military, and I eventually forgot about it.  We fell deeply in love. I could not think without thinking about him. There was times when I wondered how I could have found him, how I could have such a thoughtful person.  I found most people at my age then, twenty, to be immature and careless. But Andy was a refreshing break from them all.

We were married in November of 2009.  We were both 21. We knew it was a quick engagement, as we had only known each other for about a year, but my parents took it surprisingly well.  As I walked down the aisle on my father’s arm, I looked at no one but Andy. His face shown with happiness, and I remember thinking that there was no one luckier.

Everything about my story sounds cliche and typical.  Nothing special. But one thing I noticed a few years into our blessed marriage was how many divorces were happening.  No less than five of my college friends divorced within two years of their marriages. Because of arguments, money problems, one could not have children, lack of communication, or just because they were not ready for the commitment of marriage.  Being a Christian, I took this news with horror. It seemed terrible to me, and I worried a couple nights that it might happen to Andy and I.

But I needn’t have worried.  Andy and I were married for five years without anything wrong happening.  It seemed like we were on a permanent honeymoon. Every time he called to me through the house, I got butterflies.  To this day, I get them when I think of Andy.

Around 2014, Andy told me that he had decided to pursue his dream.  When he told me those words, my body froze. I couldn’t move a muscle.  I recalled with horror what I had recently heard on the news, that some soldiers had been involved in fighting in Ukraine and many had died.

I shook my head to clear it and was brought back to earth.  Andy had wrapped his hands around my shoulders. How strange, I thought, I hadn’t felt them.

He asked me over and over if I was okay.  I finally responded a minute later.

“No.”

Once I got over the shock, Andy told me more details.  I struggled to maintain a poker face so as not to upset him.  He told me that he was still planning to be in the Marines, and that he’d only employ for a couple years.  He didn’t plan on being the “army dad” when we had children, he had said with a faint, teasing smile. That sentence made hope blossom in my chest more than anything had ever before.

That sentence made it possible for me to go through the weeks he spent researching and contacting people.  When he finally got his airplane ticket, I sobbed uncontrollably for an hour. I packed his suitcase using his direction, my vision still slightly blurry.  I drove him to the airport as he left for the army base.

“Don’t worry.” he had told me with a confident grin and a sparkle in his dark eyes.  “I’ll be home before you know it. I get leave during the summer, remember?”

I kissed him before his plane left, and I had to stay in the city for a while to cry myself out so I wouldn’t be a danger to others on the road.  I stayed there, crying in a bathroom stall, for about two hours until I pronounced myself safe.

I drove home and barely made it before midnight.  I stayed in the house the next day, trying not to think of anything but Andy’s promise.

The year that Andy had gone passed by so slowly, I wondered if someone had bewitched time to slow down.  When September of 2015 finally came, I drove to the airport to wait. When I finally saw him, I ran to him and almost knocked him over.  I kissed him for a long time, afraid that if I let go he would disappear again.

We got home and I spent a month with the love of my life.  He talked little about his time in the military, knowing that it would only terrify me.  What he did say, I knew he was only saying what he knew wouldn’t make me have another panic attack.  I sensed the meaning behind his flippant words, and I knew it was harder than he thought. He had seen things that I couldn’t imagine, and I understood that.

When Andy left again, I cried even harder than the first time.  I missed him so much that every cell in my body ached. I couldn’t imagine that he was going to be gone for a whole year.  I waited anxiously for September of 2016.

But, when I waited with building anxiety at the airport, my beloved Andy did not step off that plane.  The weather seemed to mimic my mood, pouring rain on the windshield the whole time I drove home, fighting torrents of tears.  When I arrived home, I found a person sitting on my porch bench, waiting for me, I assumed.

“Mrs. Davis?” he said, standing up.

“Yes?” It came out like a question.  I stood at full attention, waiting for any news of my Andy.

“I’m sorry to tell you, but your husband, Mr. Davis, went missing in the Pacific four hours ago.” I realized this was a death notifier, telling me that my Andy would never come home, that we would never have children.  He couldn’t keep his promise.

I nodded.

“Mrs. Davis?” the notifier said.  I turned, already fighting tears. “I’m very sorry.  I knew Andy and he was one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

I nodded once more.  I went inside my house and closed the door.

I then released the creature clawing its way out of my throat and into the room now filled with melancholy.

 

Three Years Later….

 

It’s been a while since Andy died, and I still think of him.  I haven’t even started dating, though I doubt I ever will. It’s a hard thing to contemplate, that I won’t ever see him smile, see him laugh, see him look at me with that sparkle in his eyes.  But, I realized that night when the notifier came to my front door, that the memories are the same. I still love Andy more than anyone or anything. It’s just that he’s gone away for a while. And I’ll see him when I die.

Even though I look healed on the outside and to my friends, I still cry when I take out the box of his pictures.  There are so many, some from our college days, some from our wedding, some from hanging out with friends at a dinner.  All of them cause some pain and some happiness somewhere in my heart.

But I don’t know how to take it anymore, I think, as my tears fall on the photograph one by one at half past midnight.  I just want it to be over, this pain that never seems to fade. But I must bring this upon myself, I think. I keep staying in the small, old house that Andy and I bought together.

I’m startled by a loud knock on the front door.  I jump up, wiping my tears, and head slowly to the door.

I open it, wondering who would come in this weather at this hour.

I look out, and I see him.

Andy.

His brown hair is wet and dripping, his eyes sparkling just for me, his smile melting the inside of my heart.  My mind reels, both jumping in with two feet to accept that this is real, but the logical part of me is saying that this can’t be true.

As I run forward and wrap my arms around him, he disappears.

I look all around me in a panic.  It slowly dawns on me that he may not have been there at all.

 

Sorry!  I had to twist it!  My friends were insanely mad at me when they read this short story….  I have to say, I like being the evil author.  The one that everyone hates but loves.  >:)

Yours in writing,

Adrienne Parker

The Land of Blood and Shadows

This one is hardcore fantasy, but I like it.  It’s creepy and cool, I enjoyed writing it!

 

Land of Blood and Shadows

I was not always the hunted; I used to be the hunter.  I was a wondrous creature. I could stalk someone so silently, then wind stood still.  The night disguised me, shadows helped me stay anonymous. They bent to my will, making me the most feared criminal in all of Bloodcaster.  I had no regrets. If the rulers of this wretched city weren’t going to do anything, then I could. I did.

But, I contradict myself, I do have a regret.  For my whole life I have been without a companion.  I have been a lone wolf for most of my life, and I admit, it has been getting to me.  I imagine it must be nice to come to a warm home, call out to your mate, have them answer cheerfully, happy that you’re home.

No one is happy to see me.  I have no one to call out my name with joy, with love, with the tenderness that only two mates can have.

I shrug to myself.  I don’t need anyone, I tell myself.

But the memories come without a call, though I try to suppress them.  They will break through my wall eventually, I think, so I might as well as get them over with.

 

Two Years Earlier….

 

I was the daughter of one of the rulers of Bloodcaster.  Perhaps the thing that had sparked my rebellion against my father was his nonchalance.  When people came into his office to report the dead, he shrugged them off, saying it was less mouths to feed.  I remember seeing red as I yelled at him that he had no sense of pride, of compassion, the coward. I still feel a growl growing in my throat when I think of the vile man.

After my rebellion, when I was about eighteen, I made it my mission to be the lone “police” of Bloodcaster.  I researched and read newspapers, trying to separate the wicked from the innocent. I learned much about myself in those two years I worked alone.

I was the stealthiest and best tracker in all of Bloodcaster.  I could move so silently animals could not hear me, even with their improved hearing.  I practiced for hours, so I could sneak up on my prey and kill them quickly. I trained with knives, scythes, bow and arrows, clubs, and everything else I could access.

As I said, my “job” lasted for two years.  To my intense pleasure, crime in Bloodcaster decreased greatly.  People were afraid to kill or steal, for fear of the “Silent Shadow,” as they called me.

I still remember the first time I saw him, and he saw me.

I had just finished another job, and I walked down the alley, pulling back the hood I always wore to protect my identity.  But he saw me. I remember the thoughts rushing through my head. Will he tell? Does he know who I am? Is this the end.

But he didn’t look afraid, something that I had never seen before.  I always inspired terror, sometimes pleading. I never spoke, because I knew that technology had increased.  People with high-tech gadgets could recognize my voice.

But he smiled at me.  He walked close to me, and he began to talk.

“I saw you.” he said, still smiling. “Our house was being robbed, and you stopped it.  I don’t believe you’re what the newspapers say. You don’t kill the innocent.”

I stood stunned.  I remembered what he was talking about.  I had been walking down the street when I saw someone shooting the lock on a door.  I pulled up my hood, and crouched down behind some bushes. I shot the man in the back of the head.  He dropped like a stone, and did not move again. I waited until morning when someone came out of the door to scream and move the body.  I remember now the young boy looking at my eyes accidentally, and I was certain that he had seen me. But he looked away and helped his mother back into the house and into a chair, I hope.

I came back to reality with a start.  He was holding out his hand to me, a gesture of friendship.  I hesitated for a long moment, but he still did not put his hand down.  I shook, certain that he would keep my secret.

We talked then, and I fell in love.  I would never admit this to him, because he regarded me as nothing more than someone to admire.  I could also never settle down with him, for I moved around frequently with my “job.” I was destined to die alone, most likely in a prison cell.  I didn’t see him much, but when I did, he was always so wonderful. He worried about me every time I left. I told him that no one would ever catch me.  I was too good for them.

By that time, my father had heard of the Silent Shadow.  He sent out his personal guard to catch me. I found the guards comical.  They were so loud, I wondered how they stood it. But I had come to realize a long time ago that I had powers outside of the normal human being.  When I hunted, I let myself go and I shone like a star. Every move was executed perfectly. Until that fateful night.

I squeeze my eyes shut every time I think of it.  I had gone to see him. We were walking and I was thinking very hard about how to tell him that we could never work out as a couple, as he had been too-casually hinting about it tonight.  I was too dangerous, my lifestyle was too dangerous.

But one of my father’s soldiers caught me off-guard.  I tried to escape, as I had many times, but he got in the way, trying to protect me.  My blade meant for the soldier went through him like he was made of paper. I remember his shocked expression, his scorching words that burned me from the inside out.

“You did this.” he said to me.

I dropped beside him, the knife falling out of my hand.  All thoughts of self-preservation were gone. I kneeled next to him, whispering that I loved him, that I was sorry.

When the soldier hauled me to my feet, I didn’t even try to think of a way to escape.  I was burned with grief and sorrow, hating myself for what I had done.

I was brought to this prison cell after my trial, which was just for show at that point.  I am currently waiting here to die.

Someone opens the door.  I get up with they drag my arm and they walk me into a drab room, one that speaks ominously of death to me.

I expect there to be some sort of ceremony, but Bloodcaster is past the point of caring.  I feel a needle in my arm, and I inhale sharply out of instinct. I don’t even try to fight the blackness that falls over me.  But it is a good thing, this permanent unconsciousness. The blackness is comforting and cool, letting me wander away from my thoughts forever.

 

This creepy tale is one of my favorites, hope you enjoy!

Yours in writing,

Adrienne Parker