Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dare

Climbing trees for me was a passion. We had a large Mimosa tree in the back yard. The limbs were spread wide and easy to climb. I worked my way up to one of the higher branches and called out to my brother, “Watch me!” I jumped down the 8 feet to the ground and landed on my feet. I told my brother, “Now you try.” He was reluctant but I cajoled him until he gave in. My brother’s path to the ground was not as graceful. A second too late I realized just how far a fall it was for him. He landed on his arm. When I asked him if he was all right, he screamed at me to go away. I figured if he was capable of being that rude that he was fine. Perhaps an hour later my father came into the house screaming at me. My brother had broken his arm to the point that it nearly protruded through his skin. In the weeks that followed I was haunted by my guilt. I went out of my way to be nice to him, bring him a drink, get a crochet hook to scratch under his cast, bring him something if he needed it. Yet no amount of groveling seemed to gain that trusting bond we once had.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Waking up in a strange room

Groggily, I sit up and look around the dark room. There is only a minuscule amount of light coming in from some distant source of unknown origin. My mouth is dry and pasty, my joints ache, and it's chilly. Suddenly I hear this terrifying sound and a ghostly wisp is coming at me at an alarming speed. The wisp has a glow as if it had an internal light source. The room is tense and I can feel that this entity is very angry. I feel vice-like grips on my arms, shoulders, and legs. I try to scream but nothing comes out, is it fear? Is it the dryness? Although the room is clearly unfamiliar to me I realize that I am still lying on my bed from my room. The wisp is trying to drag me off the bed by my ankles. I feel that I am fighting for my life! I dig in my fingers into the quilts and down to the mattress of my bed but to no avail. Suddenly, just as quickly as it appeared the wisp is now gone and I am lying on the floor. For a few minutes, I stay their with my heart trying to pound it's way out of my chest. The wisp may no longer have me but fear still has a firm grasp. Now the room appears to change in the low light I can see my bedroom again. I am relieved because now I realize it must all be a dream. Somehow I am back on my bed again and trying to pull myself out of the bizarre dream. Again the wisp appears and it is smothering me, I can't breathe!! I struggle to pry myself free from it's grasp but I don't have the strength. Now, I realize all to late that this wisp is a demon or vengeful spirit of some sort and while I may be dreaming the choking, the fear, the peril of my mortality is real. I feel the metal of my necklace it has this burning hot and cold sensation. I have an epiphany, my necklace! It's a cross. I grab a hold of it in hopes that it will protect me but it is not enough the spirit trying to inhabit my body. Urgently, I begin reciting "in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti," over and over again as I hastily draw crosses with my fingers all over my body. Even with the danger I am facing I realize that this all seems a little hokey but the thought is just a flash as while I pushed the spirit away it has come back to try and attack me again. With a bolt I am awake feeling as if I had just fell the distance of the ceiling to my bed. I am hesitantly peering around still expecting it to all be a dream. My chest is still pounding, my necklace still warm against my chest, my arms and legs feel bruised. The air feels heavy as if the entity is still lurking. I have no proof of my ordeal but I am certain, none-the-less, that it was very real! I want desperately to put as much distance between myself and this room as quickly as possible. Even as I reach the living room I am still wary that I may still be dreaming. As I watch the TV and bask in the glow of the bright ceiling light, I slowly accept that I am awake, I am alive.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Footsteps in the Dark

In the slums of Whitechapel, Maureen paced the streets doing the only work she knew. A light moisture covered the street with a low hanging fog as the likely culprit. This early in the morning the sun was not yet up. Few people traveled at this time. In the distance the clacking of hooves could be heard as they struck the cobblestone as a carriage scurried away. Maureen was ready to call it a night and head home. As she rounded the corner a chill crept up her spine. She pulled her shall tighter around her neck and kept walking. Maureen finally realized what was nagging at her, she could hear footsteps behind her. She slowed to a stop and peered around but could see no one. There were many shadowed areas and she was certain within one of those shadows was her stalker. Perhaps this particular John was shy but something told Maureen that this was not the case. Maureen had to deal with all different walks of life but never had she felt such fear! She started to walk again listening closely and again could hear the footsteps behind her. Now she hastened her step, safe harbor was not far away. She began to run her legs propelling her forward as if they were moving of their own volition. Her heel snagged in a crack in the sidewalk, sprawling her headlong onto the concrete. The footsteps were close now and out of the shadows an ominous figure appeared. Frantically, Maureen attempted to pull herself to her feet but to no avail. The scream that had been building died in a sickly gurgling sound as a knife plunged into her throat. Her limp body fell back to the ground her blood pooling around her. Once the grisly deed was done, the footsteps receded back into the darkness.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Character Portrait

In the morning he is stirred from slumber by his older sister. Stretching, he slowly sits up to wipe the sleep from his large clear blue eyes. He swings his feet around in front of him, too short to reach the floor yet. Mother brings his clothes; he slips the shirt over his shoulders and his pants on around his waist. Whining, he complains that the pants don't fit. He is at an awkward stage. Size five pants are too small, size six too big. Grasping his loose waistband, he stands up and slips on his zippered shoes. He hasn't learned to tie laces yet. Sitting at the bus stop, his short dirty-blonde hair waving in the wind, he enviously watches his older siblings get on the big yellow bus. Mother says he can go next year, but he doesn't quite understand what that means. ..So you mean the day after tomorrow I can go too?.. His dimpled grin is irresistible and hard to disappoint. Mother strokes his freckled cheek and soothingly replies, ..No, honey, but soon... Preparing for the ride to daycare, Mother pulls out the nap-time essentials, at which he grins and grabs the stuffed animal. ..Know why I want the Stegosaurus? Because I loooove Dinosaurs!.. Mother just smiles knowingly. When he arrives at daycare, he never misses a chance to show off his intelligence. He presses the five digit security code to unlock the door. Once inside he beams, ..I did it all by myself! I'm a smart cookie... Then he presses a separate seven digit code to sign himself in. Always one to attract attention, he creeps alongside the toy bins hoping to remain unseen for his big, fashionably late entrance. He slides in on both knees. The tiny girls swoon, the boys holler with joy, and the teacher struggles to maintain control of her class, ..Austin's here!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Never Again

Elise sat in her rocking chair brooding. The curtains pulled tight so that even the bright summer sun could not penetrate the gloom. That is how she wanted it. Six months ago her husband had set out to sea to negotiate a peace agreement. She knew it to be a foolhardy mission, everyone did. He would not have brought all of his best armor, the heavy sword that had been passed down for many generations. Never again. The blood line of the proud Hassett name would end with her dear husband Brandon. He had died a hero’s death but what did that mean, he was dead just the same. A hero’s death meant that she was paraded about the town as various memorials took place. First the King held his ceremony giving her a heavy plaque with her husbands name and a hefty stack of coins. She would be set for life the state would pay her enough to live comfortably for the rest of her life. Comfortably, the word disgusted her. There could be no comfort in living a life of solitude all because he decided to be a hero! Then there was the ceremony at the Magus Colosseum, he had died protecting one of their most powerful mages and as such was a hero to them as well. The mage had won the war for the other side had not been prepared to fight a battle with sorcery. The scoundrels had thought to catch them off guard, they were cowards and their bodies lay bloated and forgotten at the bottom of the sea, so much the better. The king had commissioned that all captains that died in that battle were to be remembered their bodies carved in stone and displayed in the cathedral. Elise had been summoned on several occasions to remark on the details, never again. The statue near it’s completion seemed to stare at her and she would not go near it again and if they didn’t have their details right they could get it from someone else! A new warship had been built to set sail on the morrow for the isles of those same people who her husband had sought to make peace with. They were prepared to launch the entire fleet but they wanted Elise, widow of the captain of that fleet, to Christen the ship. She had attended such ceremonies many times before. She had been there for her husband’s maiden voyage. Never again. The townspeople did not know it yet but she would not be there, someone else would have to take her place. She walked outside and down the hill behind her house to the cliff overlooking the rocks with waves crashing below. She would not die a heroes death, but she could not bear the pain, the apologies, the ceremonies.... Never Again.