Turning Point: Flash Fiction Results For Monday’s Muse Nov 30th 2015

Turning Point

Heat spread across my cheeks as Mama turned and gave me that look, the one that said, ‘Don’t make me turn this car around, mister.’ I choked on the angry retort that tickled my tongue and drew my clenched fist beneath my thighs in an attempt not to hit my sister, Harriet, across the back of her head.

Harriet snickered. 

She always seemed to find humor in making every waking day of my life miserable. Sure we had our laughs every now and again, but mostly it was war; war waged on me by the villainous troll that my parents had spent the last six years trying to convince me was actually my sister and not some rotten changeling that had crept in from the forest.

Changlings did that, came in and made people believe they were someone they were not. I read about it once in a comic, so it’s true alright. Harriet didn’t fool me. But Mama and Daddy, they were goners.

They would learn the truth one day. I would show them. But for now, it was obvious that they were too hypnotized by bouncy curls and rosy cheeks to see anything other than the enemy they tucked in at night.

So it was settled. I was going to make my escape and then show them all the truth later. My bags were already packed to go. I am going to become a changling.

Becoming a changling usually required that a kid be kidnapped and swapped out by the changling gang. I read that too somewhere.

Living in the forest wouldn’t be so bad. I loved climbing trees and creek fishing, and I could definitely do without having to stare at Mrs. Beezly another day. Life at nine was hard enough as it was let alone having to look at her all afternoon.

The only problem that I did have was not being rotten enough for them to change me out. I always managed to get the threatening look from Mama but I had never had the guts to cross…that line…never had the moxy…never…

WHACK! Cathunk!

“HENRY!” Mama screamed at me as the car yanked over to the side of the road spitting gravel, my guilty hand still raised in the air. Harriet was wailing like a stuck pig. She was going to have a nice knot where her forehead kissed that side window.

The shocked look in her eyes made my stomach burn as Mama actually whipped the car around and directed it toward home. Home and my future as a changling.

Far as I could see it, I’d earned my place today. I even managed to snicker. It was a real turning point.

THE END

These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt May 23rd, 2018, originally posted on December 3rd, 2015.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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Turn around the Ballroom: #Shortstory #Amwriting #Writing

Turn around the ballroom“Let this be the last time we have this conversation,” Malcolm spoke through clenched teeth. His mother sat gracefully in her wing-back chair, her hair in a perfectly tight coiffure, her mouth and the lines surrounding it even tighter.

She kept her hands loosely folded in her lap. Her face displayed her displeasure, but her hands . . . her hands showed she was not at all truly troubled nor threatened by Malcolm.

Her expression slowly melted into a placid picture of motherly grace. The corners of her red lips rising slowly. Her eyes, however, remained sharp. Her gentleness was not to be misread. She would have the last word and Malcolm would honor it.

“Darling, there is no need for you to behave so distastefully, nor to speak with such harsh tones. Please, do sit. You flutter my nerves when you are so anxious.” She patted the side of her head and her fingers trailed down and traced the line of her pearls as she lied.

She somehow took pleasure in the trouble she caused her son. She couldn’t help it. He looked so much like his father, his real father–Abbot Gray, not the man she had married. He had not let her be happy with him. She hated him.

Reticent, but wanting to show some level of respect for his mother, Malcolm acquiesced, taking the farthest seat in the parlor. Tension settled on his shoulders like a sodden wool blanket. He stretched his neck, his blue eyes staring sharply into his mother’s.

In the beginning, he had not understood all the years of hell she had raised around him. As a small child she had adored him, but when he had turned thirteen, as his voice and body began to give way to the changes brought forth by time, his beloved mother’s soft expressions and gentle touches transformed into cutting gazes, stiff hugs that were few and far between, and harsh words that could raise the dead.

He had begun to look too much like a person she hated. Malcolm thought things would settle and ease if he did whatever she asked of him, and he had. But nothing, nothing had ever pleased her. He had long since ceased the attempt.

Now armed with the knowledge of Abbot Gray, knowledge she had no inkling of him having, he would not dare bend to her whims again. He would not pay for another man’s sins nor his mothers. He would have Elizabeth and no one would keep him from that happiness.

Mother gazed out the window for only a few seconds, but long enough for a glint of satisfaction to spark in her eyes. That shine always came when she aimed to wound him.

“I have already sent word to the girl that there will be no wedding. I told her clearly so as to leave no room for misunderstanding that she was nothing more than a fleeting play, a turn around the ballroom of a man’s desires, and that you had not the heart to tell her the truth.” That is how Abbot Gray had made her feel.

Her jaw muscle ticked. “I received her response just this afternoon.” She let her gaze fall upon Malcolm again, hiding her own inner wound.

Malcolm’s face was stone. “Did you now?” Were the only words he could manage. They seemed to satisfy his mother. Pink crept through her pale color and flooded into her wrinkling cheeks. Her cruel heart had aged her greatly.

“I did. You left me no choice in the matter.”

Malcolm stood again and found his place near the fireplace he stared in to the flames. “Did you take the time to read the response. Mother?”

“No, darling. I waited for you to do so.” Her voice was light as if she were sighing. She was satisfied. “Shall I do so now?”

Malcolm glared hard at the back of her head. He skirted around her chair and stood only a few feet away from her. He wanted to see her expression when she read. His heart drummed against his rig cage as each penned word became married with sound.

He bit down hard into his lip stifling his own smile, no, laughter. Watching the color drain as she read the letter, his letter, penned by his own hand, notarized by the Parson, Abbot Gray, who had wed him and his beloved made him want to dance.

Balling the paper with white-knuckled fist, she sneered at her son with blood red eyes, her words somehow choked from her by the string of pearls around her neck.

Malcolm cleared his throat. “It is a pity, Mother that you could not have been there. Elizabeth was a dream in robin’s egg blue. Parson Abbot or should I say, my father, did a wonderful job with the vows. He did ask me to give you his regards.”

THE END

Not too sure where this came from. Vindictive mother’s, absent fathers, lies and revenge…Malcolm and his mother.

*This story was originally writing January 31, 2014, and has been revised.

It Kept Them Together: A Free Flow Write

“I didn’t hit him, Mom! I swear!”

Eliza felt her dark brown eyes roll sharply up in her head of their own volition just as an exhausted sigh brushed past her lips. Garret and Troy were only six. “They are only six,” She even let the words, now made a mantra come forth, massaging her back into a place of calm…at least mostly.

Troy, whose face was just as twisted in frustration as the crumpled clothing of Garret’s shirt, trapped with in his fist, hollered just as loudly. “Yes you did! Ma, he’s lying! You are such a liar, Garret.”

Eliza would have laughed at the way Troy said his twin brother’s name, unintentionally exchanging the ‘r’ sound for that of a ‘w,’ transforming his brother’s name into something akin to “Gaywit,” but instead she reached forward and pried the two apart, only for them to rush back together again in a tangle on the floor.

It was a daily routine, as soon as she walked in the door, after a hard day of work, pulling the twins apart and off the floor. Soothing bruises with kisses, chastising when the need arose, which was also daily, but receiving and giving hugs wrapped in “I love you.”

It was something that was also needed-it more than anything else.

It kept them together…in a good way.

It had been thirteen months. Thirteen months, sixteen days and nearly eleven and a half hours since their world, Eliza, Troy and Garret’s, had been shattered, when she became a single mom to twins who were not her own, and a widow to a man who had left his sons far too soon. He had left her far too soon.

Thinking about it made the back of her eyes sting and her lip draw inward as she fought off the tears. They came far less often than they once had. Back then she nearly drowned in the liquid that sprang from her eyes.

She hadn’t noticed that the boys had stopped rolling across the floor, pummeling each other, until she felt their warm hands take hold of hers. Garret’s wet lips kissed her palm. “Sorry, Mom.”

“Yeah, sorry, Mom.”

She smiled, hearing yet again the absence of Troy’s r’s.  She knelt down and pulled the boys into her arms and squeezed them until they complained and wiggled out of her grasp, but only after they had exchanged their kisses. They looked so much like their father…and their father’s mother, Dina.

It was amazing how God worked things out, how He could mend a broken thing with something else that was broken.

Dina had never liked Eliza, had made every attempt to voice her opinion about it and her disdain for her son having married her. It had pushed Peter away from his mother and yet it was Peter’s death that pulled Dina to Eliza.

Dina, she was the one who shook Eliza out of her stupor. She was the one who told her she didn’t have a choice but to live, wouldn’t leave Eliza’s house until she had made it clear that she would live again. She was the one who told her she was too young to give up, that love didn’t die and that Peter’s love didn’t die for her.

It was Peter’s loved that pushed them together and Gods love that kept them together.

Dina came out of the kitchen just as the twins ran into the family room and Eliza rose from her knees. She tossed the dish towel in her hands over her shoulder, and just like she had for the last seven months, brushed the hair from Eliza’s eyes, cupped her face and kissed her cheek like only a mother could.

She then smiled at her as she patted her cheeks. “You get those boys a father and they won’t be such a handful.”

And like every time Dina said those words, and every time Eliza tried to refuse the thought, Dina’s hand would press against Eliza’s heart. “That heart is ready for love. It’s love that has kept it together.”

THE END

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Hayfever

“Don’t you ever get tired of playing God?” The tips of Lizbeth’s once white sneakers drug in the dusty gravel as she sat suspended on a swing. She sniffled back the liquid that threatened to drip from her nose. Hayfever, she hated allergies. At least her eyes had not swollen up yet.

file5431294601771Hally shifted on her knees as she shook the box of salt near her ear. She had swiped it from her Daddy’s pantry. Twisting her face as if she had not heard Lizbeth’s query she turned towards her, the black whole in the front of her mouth shown behind the jagged ridges where new teeth were forming. Hally was seven years old and had finally begun to lose her baby teeth.

“Wha?” She asked as she pulled open the pouring lid. The snails in her wake none the wiser. “What you say, Lizbeth?” She turned her gaze back to her prey.

Lizbeth unlocked her arms that had been hugging the chains of the swing, leaned back and began to pump her legs, quickly gaining momentum and height. The wind whipped through her hair and tickled her cheeks. She smiled. “Don’t you ever get tired of playing God?” She had heard her Mother ask her Daddy that several times when he was doing something she didn’t care for. She figured she would throw the line at Hally, see if it would stay back her hands they way it made her Daddy be still when he was up to no good.

Hally slowly began to pour a line of only inches away from the snails . She intended to encircle them completely and watch as they wondered round and round into their deaths. “Lizbeth I don’t know what you are saying. When do I play with Jesus? Mom says to mind Him so I do.” She brushed the hairs from her face and looked up at Lizbeth, watching her swing like a pendulum, back and forth through the air. “I don’t play with God.”

Lizbeth shook her head but kept pumping her legs. “No, silly goose, I didn’t say “play with God” I said “play God” like you are pretending to be Him or something.” There was a silence that made Lizbeth open her eyes. Finally she let her shoes drag against the ground, kick up gravelly dust, bringing herself to a slow stop on the swing. “You are always melting them pour snails.”

Hally looked down at them. What difference did it make? She shrugged her shoulders and began to finish the arc of death she had gone to so much trouble of stealing to make. “So what. Its fun. I like they way they look when they touch the salt. You don’t think its cool?”

Lizbeth considered Hally for a moment. She hated watching snails die that way the same as she hated her nose dripping from allergies. A smile tickled the corner of her mouth. “Hally, don’t you love me? Aren’t we best friends?”

Hally nodded her head but she kept watching the snails she had trapped.

“Well I don’t know if you do anymore, cause we are like those snails and every time you melt one,” She stifled a giggle. ” Every time you melt one, or anyone melts one with salt, my nose runs. That is where all this mucus in me comes from. And then I can’t come outside and play as much.” It was a terrible lie but Hally was good for believing silliness. She still believed in the tooth fairy.

Hally’s eyes grew large and she stared at Lizbeth with pure horror. “You mean to tell me, its my fault your nose runs so much?”

Lizbeth shrugged her shoulders this time. “Not just yours. You didn’t know. Its a secret I don’t tell people. But you are my best friend so I am telling you.”

Hally considered her for a moment, watching long enough for just the smallest amount of liquid to drop from Lizbeth’s nose. She shrieked and blew the salt away, plucking the snails up and putting them out of harms way first. “I am so sorry, Lizbeth!” She ran towards her and wrapped her arms around her neck. “Did your nose stop running?”

Lizbeth nodded her head. She felt like her mother must have each time she had helped her dad make a better decision. “Yup, sure do. Thank you, Hally.” She also didn’t seem to hate Hayfever half as much as she had before.

 

THE END

I am not one for lying but lets all be honest here, IT HAPPENS, as does well played manipulation even amongst the youngest of people. I did not see this freewrite going in this direction, of repeating poor parental behaviors, a mother manipulates her husband into doing what she wants, be it for the good or the bad, and as a result her daughter starts down the path with this learned behavior.  On the psychology of it all.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Warm Milk

“Drink your milk, Darling,” Mama said patting Thomas’ back as she peaked out the window. It was so warm that the dark hairs of Thomas’ head had been plastered to his round face. Even Darling’s dark hairs had begun to capture the heat beneath her braids. She didn’t mind the heat or the clamminess that came along with it in the hot southern sun, but she did Milkmind the milk. She especially hated temped milk.

Chin propped against the scratchy white lace table cloth, she eyed the white liquid with a frown, watching it swirl around the glass as she gently moved it in a circular motion, white film clouded its sides. “But I don’t like milk, Mama.” Or icecream or yogurt or cream. She managed to say, all the while continuing to frown. What was it about milk that made her stomach sour?

Mama shifted Thomas in her arms, and began to fan him with what was left of yesterday’s news. Thomas’ mouth hung open, the inside of it just as red as his fat cheeks. “Milks good for you, Darling. It will make you grow up big and strong. Don’t you want to grow up big and strong?” Mama smiled.

Darling finally sat up and shifted in her chair. “Not if I have to drink milk to do it, I hate mil-” The glass tipped on its edge and the white fluid began to pool beneath the patterns of the lace.

“Darling! Look what you have done!” Mama chided. She set Thomas down and rushed for napkins all the while fussing over the milk. Darling could do nothing outside of stare at it, the corners of her mouth dipping even further. She suddenly remembered why she didn’t like milk. Thomas’ voice teetering into a full fledged cry reminded her of that. She cried like that once before. The ice cream truck had turned on end and white liquid had spread all around in a thick, sticky mess. Darling had been covered in it, so had Daddy. Darling walked away but Daddy, he had to leave part of his leg behind.

It had drowned in the sea of dairy milk and ice cream truck.

THE END

I find it funny some of the themes that come out of me when I do free writing. For one, I ADORE milk! It is my 3rd favorite beverage; water first, then tea and then milk. So writing a story about a child who hates milk for whatever reason is kind of funny to me. As far as muggy heat goes, nothing doing! I do not care at ALL for that. Anyhow it is clear that characters, like children, are always different from their parents/creators in some ways.