Posts Tagged ‘ghosts’

I was eight on the rainy April day that Grandma died. She woke, served up Grandpa’s usual breakfast, fed the cat and went to the porch for the morning paper. She didn’t return. Grandpa found her reaching for the door, sharing her love for him with her eyes as she took her final breath. I knew something was wrong the minute my mother answered the phone and fell into a chair with my little brother clinging to her leg. I remember dad taking the phone from her hand but the rest of the day was a blur of hospitals, family and men in suits shoving endless forms at Grandpa. Mom put on a brave face, but cried when she thought she was alone. She wasn’t ready to lose her mom. A funeral was arranged and family gathered. All I remember after that is how sad and alone Grandpa looked.
After the funeral things went back to normal, my brother and I went to school and dad went to work. The only thing different was my mom spending her days with her father, going through legal papers and personal items. She looked tired and sad at the end of the day and I didn’t know how to make things better. Three days after the funeral I came home from school, dropped my backpack on the floor and headed to the fridge. I grabbed a soda and pudding snack before settling at the table. The house was still quiet, dad was at work, my little brother was with a sitter and mom was with her dad. I listened to the old mantle clock tick off the minutes as I mindlessly shoveled in the pudding, wondering if life would ever be normal again. Mom hadn’t even opened the mail, there was a pile at least two inches thick sitting on the table. Sliding the pile closer I picked up envelope after envelope. Credit card offer, electric bill, cable bill, val-pak coupons, sale flyers, insurance bill, nothing special. Then I saw it, the bright red envelope with my name scrolled across the front.
She remembered her heart skipping a beat as she pulled it from the pile, looking it over before she got the nerve to slide her thumb under the flap. She had never received real mail before and wanted to do it right. Proud that she had barely frayed the glued flap she slowly pulled out the contents. It  was a card. On the front was a cartoon woman with gray hair,  her freakishly long arms wrapped around a large family of children and adults, pulling them close to her. With trembling fingers she opened the card, it read “Happy Birthday! You are loved today and always.” It was simply signed “your family,” but she recognized the handwriting, it was Grandma’s. Picking up the envelope she noticed that the return address was that of her grandma’s house. Pulling the card to her chest she let herself cry for the first time since she died. It was a long, hard cry that left her drained, but the card had felt like Grandma reached out with one last hug. The rest of her family came  home, they ate dinner and she went to bed, but not before securing the card, in the envelope in her diary.
Summer came and went that year and life was a new normal. It wasn’t until fall that my mom looked sad again. When I asked her why, she said that her mom’s birthday was coming up and she didn’t know how to handle things with her dad. I thought about that a lot at school and at home. Grandpa had looked so lost lately I wanted to do something to make him feel better. Then I remembered the card. it made me feel better, maybe it would make him feel better. I raced home after school, dug out the card and put it envelope and all in a new envelope, carefully wrote out his address and took a stamp from mom’s desk. My little brother followed me to the porch.
“Where ya going?” He asked.
“To the mailbox.”
“Why?”
“To mail a letter?” I snapped.
“To who? What kind of letter?” He persisted.
“None of your business squirt!” I shouted, running the last few feet.
I remember feeling a bit bad over snapping at my brother and taking his hand on the walk home. He seemed to accept that as an apology. Days passed as I wondered if my gesture would make grandpa feel worse instead of better. Then one Saturday morning the doorbell rang, I heard Grandpa ask to see me. I entered the hall and he pulled me into his strong arms and whispered “thank you” in my ear. He said it felt like grandma had come for a visit.
That was ten long years ago, I’m nineteen years old and a lot of life had passed under the bridge since then. Family gatherings stopped, no more Christmas Eve dinners at Grandma’s, no more forced Sunday dinners, no more summer camping trips arranged by Grandma. Grandpa died two years back, I missed the funeral. My parents live their life and have all but given up on me. My little brother, set to graduate high school this year, is a computer nerd devoted to technology, there is little room for humans in his world. And me? I have a life, not the life my parents planned. I work various bar jobs, pole dance when Moe needs a fill in dancer and am not above a good night of drinking. I may or may not, use my own money to pay bills, but if a customer is dumb enough to leave  his wallet on the bar while he attends a lap dance, is that my fault?
I served another round to table four, slapped away Dwayne’s hands at table two and made my way to the kitchen. My shift was over, all I wanted to do was gather my tips, get a few drinks and head home. A few drinks turned into ten and getting home was a bit tougher that I thought. I tossed my heels into my locker, fell into my sneakers, tied what I thought was a passable bow and slapped the back door open, stumbling into the alley. I crawled to my feet as the scenery spun around. I focused on the neon drug store sign as I knew that was the direction I need to take. I stumbled down the walk, feeling good, sure I was looking normal. Sure, I bounced off the wall a few times, and into a gentleman who called me a drunk as he put me back on my feet, but I was doing ok. I went another block and found myself on my knees, my forehead on a fire hydrant. Phew, if I had fallen a second later, that could have hurt! Back on my feet I gripped the smooth window of the diner until I felt the rough brick, then turned right. Only twenty feet more and I would be home. The cement block felt rough under my fingers as I used it to guide my way. Soon I felt the splintered wood frame around my door. Diving into my pocket I fumbled my way through lip gloss, bent lottery tickets and old receipts until I found my keys. It took a few tries, but I got that sucker in the slot and the lock clicked open. I clung to the wall as I made my way up the stairs. I remember trying to put the key in the upstairs lock, but I must have failed.
A ray of morning sun, creeping through a badly cracked window cruelly pried my eyes open. I wiped the spit drying at the corner of my mouth and rolled to my side, realizing that I was on the filthy tile outside my apartment door. Rolling on my back I started to rise, stopping when I saw the flash of red. Sitting up I moved back to rest on the door as I inspected the envelope. I tore it open just as carefully as i had the first time. It was a card, with an elderly woman with long arms embracing her family. Inside it said, “Happy Birthday! You are loved today and always.” It was simply signed “your family,”
Pulling out my phone, I checked the calendar, it was indeed my birthday. Grandma had reached out again. Putting the card in  her pocket she entered the apartment, packed her meager belongings and bought a bus ticket home.
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Crawling into bed, she pulled the covers tight and gazed out at the full moon that hung in the sky like a piece of frozen blue ice. The trees lining the walk were bare, but their icy branches sparkled and danced in the light as if they had been draped in diamonds. Tucking the blankets under her feet she poured a glass of wine, opened her book and sighed in comfort as the wind gently rattled the windows. She was in the middle of chapter four when the noise came. Soft at first, than loud and insistent. From a gentle knock on the door to a ruckus that threatened to tear door from frame! Then a moment of silence before it began again.

Rolling to her side she opened her night stand, secured her gun and sprung to her feet. She shivered from the cold, hesitating at the bedroom door as she struggled over the urge to hide or confront, especially after last time.  Her mind returned to the past, the knocks, the screams, the gun going off in her hand. She had felt she was in danger, surely anyone could see that. Anyone finding someone yelling and beating in their door at one o’clock in the morning would feel threatened. She had opened the door, he made a move into the hall, his face shrouded by a hood and her hand reacted, the gun went off. The police came, the coroner removed the body, reporters plastered grainy pictures of her terrified face.

She was acquitted, how was she to know he hadn’t come to harm her? How was she to know he was a seventeen year old boy who’s car would die, leaving him on the streets and late for curfew? How was she to know a gang of thugs had chased him for his new shoes? How was she to know he saw her outside light and ran to her for help?

How was she to know he would return night after night to haunt her? How was she to know she would never find peace or redemption from her prejudice? Opening the door, she descended the stairs to face the hell she was to endure for eternity.

Submit a story or poem, inspired by a weekly photo in this fun, flash fiction group. You can read submissions or add your work HERE.  Comments welcome, as long as they are respectful and helpful, not hateful.

Category: Fiction//Drama

Words: Not sure

Rating: PG

the-boat-and-miss-liberty

She soared the highest heights as sea air kissed her lips. Her weightless limbs rode the currents as she gazed at the world below. She swooped and swirled, amazed and afraid. How could this be? People dove from boats and cast lines as she floated overhead. The last thing she remembered was unfolding a deck chair as her hubby baited his hook. She jumped as a voice filled the air.
“Bonnie, it’s time,” it commanded.
She moved toward the light, feeling the tug of the world on her legs.

Alastair, a talented photographer and writer has started a new fiction group that meets weekly to pen 150 words based on the photo.  Check out this weeks offering and submit one of your own HERE. Once at Alistair’s page, you can add the link to your own story with the link button. (A cute blue monster button)

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The first thing Meg noticed were the smells. Coffee, mustard and bus exhaust, then came the noise. She was in the city, her city,  but not where she should be. Walking to the corner she passed a news stand, the lead paper caught her eye. It was the picture actually, showing a set of stairs she walked everyday on her way to work. The headline read “Woman’s Body Found!”

Grabbing a paper she started to read as she made her way to 2nd street, hoping she wasn’t too late for work. The story related the tale of a woman in a dark blue pants suit, with open toed pumps. She appeared to be about thirty years old with auburn hair. A gold bracelet with a kitten charm was on her left wrist. Her blood ran cold, the article described her outfit, and her to a tee. The killer was still at large.

Then she saw the time stamp on the photo, 03/06/2014, it was March of 2013 when she dressed and left for work. Why hadn’t the vendor yelled when she took the paper without paying?

“Hello? She yelled, but nobody turned. “Somebody hear me, see me please!”

She was met with silence. She touched a man and he passed, her touch unnoticed. Then she saw a man in a yellow hoodie duck into a liquor store, and she recognized that hoodie. The reason for her return was obvious. Ducking into the store she planned her attack and how to expose her killer.

Submit a poem or short story of 100 words or less, inspired by a weekly photo in this fun, flash fiction group. You can read submissions or add your work HERE, or click on the little blue guy at the bottom. Writing tips, typo alerts and comments welcome, as long as they are respectful and helpful, not hateful.

Category: Macbre

Words: 99

Rating: PG-13

Janet Webb

Janet Webb

Hang dress outside, check. Light sage and light candles, check. Now the incantation that would create his perfect woman. With trembling hands, Stu opened the brittle paper from the ancient, mysterious woman and began to read.

He read faster and faster as a blue light filled his balcony. The dress moved, slowly at first then it filled like a balloon as a tuft of auburn hair sprung from the neck. Then came the scream.

“Damn, I should have hung the dress closer to the ground!” He growled, peering at the broken body below.

 

 


The Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, is a group of writers that come together to share weekly stories based on a photo prompt. Go HERE to read or submit or your own story; or click on the little blue guy under my story.

copyright-claire-fuller Kira didn’t have an artistic bone in her body, yet each night she  found herself in a strange world where her hands skillfully coaxed marble into art.  Each morning she tried to convince herself it was a dream,  but she couldn’t deny the blisters or the marble dust under her nails and the unknown faces that clung to her day. Disturbed at first, she used caffeine to avoid sleep and the dreams, but now she welcomed them, knowing something wonderful was waiting for her when she finished, Nestling into the pillow, she smiled, eager to finish.

Join us on Monday’s to spin a yarn based on a picture prompt. Submissions welcome all week.  Submit a short story or poem, of five-hundred words or less. Poetry and all genres welcome, but we do ask that you preface your post with a disclaimer if it contains graphic sex or vulgar language to avoid offending anyone.

A new photo will be presented each Monday so you can spin a new yarn.

All rights to the photo remain with the photographer. Photo submissions are welcome.

To enter your story leave your URL  in the comments section. A link management tool will be added at a later time.

Now, on to the fun!

Feet

He was blackness, leather clad, pierced and loved by hordes of angst ridden teens. She was soft jeans, frilly tops, sundresses and bare feet. His mind concocted disturbing song lyrics and she grew vegetables, enticed him with alluring dishes and led him through forests and over grown fields, pointing out the beauty. When he was with her he felt a glimmer of hope, excitement and even love. She gave him so much, but he hadn’t a clue what she saw in him, he just knew he was lucky to have her in his life.

Making his way over the marble floor he descended to the back yard, where he found her lounging under a tree with a book. Moving carefully he hoped to surprise her. She squealed as he planted a kiss on the top of her head, jumping to her feet.

“You scared me!”

“Hey love, it’s what I do!”

“Well, save it for the kiddies from now on,” she scowled.

“I have good news. All the tracks are down and the studio cut me a check for five mil today! They think “Dismember Dad” will be the first single.”

“I’m so happy for you, but you know I don’t want to hear it, ok? All that talk of death is disturbing.”

“Hey, it’s our bread and butter Babe,” he said, grabbing a beer from the cooler. “Oh, Arnie put the money in your name so the new tax laws don’t take all our profits. You won’t have to do anything, promise, he said he would take care of it so you could sit back and enjoy the spoils.”

“Great baby,” she said, lowering her eyes, “there is one thing that bothers me.”

“What’s that?”

“I had to call 911 again, that crazy woman with a knife broke  on to the grounds  again, the same one I have called about for the past few weeks. Only this time, I was too late. I found you in the back yard with a knife in your chest. ” She crooned as the blade slid between his ribs. His confused face didn’t look like it was embracing death at all!