The Shadow

So, a few things – I am finally getting settled in my new apartment, in my new city, in my new state. I have a job, and I am excited. It has taken awhile (which is why I haven’t posted much (or anything) on the blog). I was supremely stressed out. Now that I have time to breathe, I have time to consider adding posts. The piece I’m adding now is just a little bit- I may turn it into something or not: stay tuned.


She couldn’t feel anything- it was emptiness. A shadow had been hovering over her and now it was following her into adulthood. It seemed she would not escape this icy grip that clung to her skin dripping death as it shed tentacles spiraling in all directions. Was this her life? To watch helplessly as those she loved turned into ashes and dust; the Earth swallowing their remnants back to whence they came.

How many times could she purge tears of sadness for the lost souls departed to the nether world? It was done. The ache was stretching her thin. She could live amongst the breathing like this, but it was hardly satisfactory and no where near whole.

There had to be more than just the casual explanation that all things wither, as to why death was stalking her. Why she couldn’t go more than a few weeks or months with out the darkness corrupting her life, leaving her breathless. This was all she could thing about. It crawled across her mind tearing her thoughts, until nothing was hers, but the pain she clung to in the pit of her stomach as she considered how death was eating away at the life she had created.

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The Old Connolly Place

Just entered this one into a contest. We’ll see I guess. You had to start with the line “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.” 750 words or less. Won’t know for two months.


 

The moment it was over, I knew it was a mistake, Ellis thought. The events of the day skittered through her head. She closed her eyes; the cool night air brushed its fingertips along her face bringing her back to the early morning breeze.

“Ellis did you finish last night’s calc for Haddock’s class?” Zac looked at her expectantly. Ellis glowered at him, but a smiled played on her lips. She took a crisp paper from her notebook, pushing it into his chest.

“I better have this back by lunch with payment.”

Zac leaned in, pecked her on the mouth, and ran toward homeroom yelling back to her, “Oh I’ll pay you alright.”

Dani walked up, “Why was Zac yelling?”

“You know, calc. Never does his homework.” Laughing the girls headed to class.

The fall air was soft as Ellis sat outside an apple in hand. Zac, Dani, Rex, and Lucy all crowded at the table for lunch. Zac handed the homework to Ellis, “Thanks hun,” then he whispered in her ear, “I’ll pay you later,” and winked. She snickered.

Dani looked over at them and raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. A few leaves from the oak tree standing over their table fluttered down cascading over the group. “Don’t look now, but he’s staring at you girls again,” Rex pointed. The girls glanced over to where Rex was gesturing. The new kid was watching Lucy and Ellis; his eyes were dark and intense.

“I’ll take care of this.”

“Zac!” But, Zac just waved Ellis away. They watched as he went over and spoke to the guy. The new kid nodded. There was a lot of gesturing, pointing back at their table. Then Zac returned.

“He’s going to meet us tonight at the Old Connolly Place,” he said.

“Did you tell him it was haunted?” Lucy asked.

“Yup.”

The bell rang deciding for them and they shrugged, grabbing their notebooks. The crew headed off to class.

A bright, enchanted moon hung low, covered by cottony clouds masquerading across the blackened sky. An eerie feeling crawled across Ellis’ neck. The group stood outside the Old Connolly Place. The dilapidated house had bricks and wood falling off the outside, there were gaps in the roof where tiles had fallen through or tumbled down the front. The new kid showed up on time, his name was Jon, Ellis heard him say.

“Jon, you go inside, upstairs, hangout for ten minutes. If we see you through the window, you’ll be in our crew,” explained Zac, “Hell, Lucy might even go on a date with you,” he laughed.

“I’ll what!?” Lucy stamped her foot looking at Zac. He just winked at her and she furrowed her brow even more and moved closer to Dani and Ellis.

“You got it?” Zac asked.

Jon nodded.

Ellis watched as Jon walked up the broken steps. Her sinking feeling was increasing by the minute. She didn’t think the house was haunted, but this seemed cruel. The door shut behind him. Creaking of the ancient stairs could be heard inside. There was a loud crash and a scream. Rex and Zac ran up, throwing open the rotting door which flew off the hinge.

Ellis stood back, peeking in from the doorway. A gaping hole was visible in the ceiling. On the floor, Jon lay unmoving. “What were we thinking?” she mumbled aloud.

 

A New Ending

Ella watched as the shoe slid comfortably onto Dru’s foot. Her eyes widened in shock.

“IT FITS!” Dru screamed at the top of her lungs. The coachman toppled over. Ella folded her hand over the other glass slipper, what did it matter now?  She glanced sideways at the coat closet where she and her step-sisters kept their shoes and other effects. Ella and Dru had always shared, of course Ella would get Dru’s old, worn shoes, they had the same size feet; it made sense now.

The fact that the Prince would decide who he had met at the ball last night, with a shoe, was such a daft idea. Hundreds of women in the kingdom must have the same size foot, thought Ella. She shook her head. Her stepmother looked at Ella an evil smirk playing at her lips.

The coachman, who had regained his footing, went outside and returned with the Prince. He didn’t look like Ella had remembered in her mind. His nose was pointier, and his eyes were scrunched together, too small for his wide face. Obviously, he wasn’t very intelligent either. The Prince looked at Dru, the shoe sparkling on her unmanicured toes.

“You are not the woman I met last night. I know I would recognize you right away,” He said to Dru. Ella snorted into her lap. The Prince turned and stared momentarily, but then turned back to the woman who was wearing the shoe.

She threw the shoe from her foot it conked Odile right on the head. “OUCH!” yelled her sister who had been watching with frustration. Ella stifled a giggle. The Prince turned and left the women sitting speechless.

But, Dru was not going to give up that easily. She grabbed the shoe which sat between Odile and Ella, running after the prince her curls frazzled and every which way, yelling, “IT FIT! IT FIT! IT FIT!”

Ella looked at her stepmomw who watched in horror. “COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY!” she screamed from her perch on her sitting room chair.

Ella stood up, still clutching the other shoe. “I’m leaving this abominable house. You have never treated me kindly. I don’t need you or a prince,” she looked out the door with slight distaste, “to see me for the good person I am.” She walked past her stepmother and dropped the matching shoe in her lap. Her stepmother gasped, though it was hard to know if it was because of the shoe, or because Dru was now running barefoot after the Prince’s carriage which was rumbling away.

Ella took the few dresses she owned in a bag and left the house that day. Never did she let anyone call her Cinderella again.

Into Writing

I desperately wanted to be one of those writers that could impress with their humorous anecdotes. I wanted to have intricate, witty banter woven into my prose and poetry. But then,

my pencil broke,

my paper ripped,

I turned fourteen and my grandfather died.

The darkness began to creep in at first; just a shadow in my heart. A few years later my aunt had a routine surgery and forgot how to draw her own breath. She left too. The blackening shadows began wrapping their tendrils through my ventricles and choking my words.

A month later, my mother had a migraine, closed her eyes in the hospital and didn’t remember to open them. Little by little as death clenched its arms around me, the shadow in my heart extended into my extremities.

Now my words breathe life into paper through a haunted soul, escaping death’s reaches.

Still, humor evades me.

Coming of Age

Cass’ eyes opened sluggish, faltering in the glare of the morning sunlight casting rays across the bed. She turned her head toward the alarm clock, it read 6:15 a.m. Of course, fifteen minutes before the alarm was set to go off. She was always waking up too early, but this night in particular she could not sleep. She stretched her arms, extending them above her head. Then, moved to sit up and begin the morning ritual of preparing for school. What a depressing day, to spend her eighteenth birthday at school.

As Cass kicked her legs over the side of the bed to stand up, she could hear whispering of her parents. She hoped they weren’t trying to surprise her with some kind of morning party. Cass had wanted to spend her time looking perfect for school.

“We need to tell her.” My mother said her voice hushed and hurried.

“I don’t think Cass is ready for this kind of news. Let her enjoy her birthday first.” The voice of concern, my father.

“She will find out sooner than later, we should be the one to tell her, before she freaks out.”

She walked to the bedroom door and kicked aside her shoes. She opened it expecting to see her parents standing there. They were nowhere in sight.  “How had she heard their whispers,” she wondered.

“Mom!? Dad?!” Cass yelled.

“Morning sweetie, we’re downstairs.” Her mother’s voice echoed from the realm of the kitchen. Their voices had been no more than a whisper. How was she able to hear the details of the conversation?

Cass walked over to the clothes she had picked out the night before and hastily put them on. She looked down at her stomach as she  was dressing, some odd grey speckles dotted the surface. Those had not been there last night when she had showered. Cass ran into the bathroom, examining her face in the mirror. Everything looked normal. “The cold water should clear up whatever was happening in her head,” she thought as she washed her face.

She looked around the bathroom, the wall hangings were in place; her shower curtain with the fish on it that she’d had since third grade looked just as dingy as normal. It must have been a dream, the conversation.  “I just need to brush my hair and eat some breakfast,” she muttered under my breath. As Cass said this, her hair brush zoomed off the bathroom counter and into her hand. Her jaw dropped and she stumbled backward. “This cannot be normal,” she thought.

Cass put the hairbrush back on the counter. Grabbing a ponytail holder, she threw her chestnut hair up in a messy bun. Well, so much for looking cute on her birthday.

She trampled down the stairs and stared at her parents who had furrowed brows and broke apart from their conversation as she entered the kitchen.

“Cass! H..Happy Birthday.”

“Fine. What is going on?” She stared at her parents expectantly.

“What do you mean?” Her father tried to sound taken aback a forced look of surprise on his face.

“Watch,” said Cass. She thought really hard about the box of cereal in front of her, and it flew off the counter into her out stretched hand. “Now tell me, does this happen to all girls on their eighteenth birthday? Is it a new part of puberty I am not aware of?”

Her mother let out a sigh, “No. We need to explain something to you Cass. You should have a seat.”

“I am going to stand thank you. Just tell me.”

“Well,” her father came and put an arm around her, “You aren’t from Arizona. In fact you aren’t from Earth. You’re an alien.”

The Last Tiger

We had been dying a long time.

Then when all was to be lost it became everybody’s plight–it no longer singularly belonged to my species. Yet, there was nothing left of us to be scared for, to tremble in fear at the loss of, save myself and a few others who still roamed the jungles of India. What was left of them anyway.

I often wondered, “Was I already dying when I arrived as a cub on this earth, or did I begin dying when I became fully grown and was now just living until I ceased?”

There was mass panic among the humans when the ball of fire began destroying their habitats. I who had been encroached upon my entire existence by these selfish creatures couldn’t understand. They had never helped another creature, not even their own kind. Destruction was their nature, would they not be used to this?

I cleaned my fur, polishing the orange, black and white–my stripes were looking fine as ever. I wanted to look my best for the end. Slowly the water came further inland and although it was usually warm in the jungle, rain stopped. The lush greens dried. Until, they were overwhelmed by the ocean waters. In which case they drowned.

I had always love to climb, so for the moment I took refuge in a tree. It was easy hunting as many others had seen fit to hide up here as well. Then, I became increasingly thirsty. The ocean water was too salty and the heat became intolerable. My fur was matted and sopping with sweat. No matter how much I panted, I couldn’t keep myself cool.

The fire from the sky had been long since extinguished but the continuing effect were devastating. Many of the trees and plants began drooping and sagging. They could no longer hold themselves proud. From my perch, I saw animal casualties littering the jungle floor or float by in the flooded river. Many belonged to the once selfish human race.

I knew my time was at hand, but I had been dying for a long time. Now it was time to let go. Body draped across the branch, head resting on my paws, eyes fluttered closed–sleep finally came.

Jack & Lucy

“Jack, the Witch is coming. Be very quiet.”

His face was stone cold, not even a twitch of a muscle. She pushed Jack over a little, “Hide under the bush.” She leaned over protecting Jack from sight. “The Witch will come for you, and then she’ll put a spell on you, so you’ll never wake again, ” the girl whispered in his ear.

She held his hand down, “Stop moving. You don’t want that to happen do you?” His eyes, dark as coal, stared straight ahead not giving anything away. She shoved a chestnut curl from her face, and looked up just in time.

“Jack! Look out! The tree is collapsing!” The girl pushed Jack rolling with him from harms way. “The Witch will surely have heard us, Jack. We’re no longer safe.” The girl’s pudgy hand brushed aside dirt and leaves, “We need a new hide out.”

A voice came from the distance, “Lucy, lunch is ready!”

“Jack it’s the Witch! She is going to eat us!” There was scuffling and then a great shaggy mane could be seen from the entrance of the girl’s hide out. “The beast has come to drag us down to be cooked. Look at his dirty paws and great big teeth. Our end has come Jack. We must escape.”

Lucy scrambled from under the hideout pulling Jack at her heals. They left in their wake a mess of collapsed sheets, blankets and chairs littering the ground. Skidding by a large sheep dog who seemed unconcerned by the events. Lucy ran smack in a tall woman walking up the stairs with same chestnut curls.

“Ahh! The Witch, The Witch, she got me!!! I’m going to sleep forever.” She promptly pretended to faint in her arms.

The woman peered closely into the little girl’s face, “I will put you into a deep sleep and eat all of your lunch.”

“No! It’s my lunch!” Lucy said as she snapped awake. She tugged on Jack, let’s go get some food.

Jack didn’t budge. He was staring at Lucy from the top of the stairs with his coal black eyes, a somber look on his face. Lucy turned to look at why Jack wasn’t following her and she screamed. In her hand a small brown paw dangled lifeless.

“Mother! Mother! Jack! His arm!” She pelted full speed to the fluffy bear sitting at the top of the stairs and cradled him in her arms.  “Don’t you worry Jack, mother can fix you right up. I won’t leave your side.” Lucy hugged him firmly. Gingerly, she led him down the stairs to where lunch and a hospital bed awaited Jack, her faithful companion.