Empathy Over Espresso

“So what was my birth like?” Leela asked over the rim of her mug.
Amber sat back into her Starbucks chair, picking up her own coffee to steady her hands. “That’s your first question?”
Leela shrugged, her teenage apathy falling away as she bit her lip. “It seemed like a good place to start.”
“Well, it was pretty traumatic actually –”
“You had already decided you didn’t want me then, right?” The teen interrupted.
The words gutted Amber. They weren’t correct, or, if they were, they didn’t convey the magnitude of her decision.
“I wanted you to have the best life you could have.”
“And that didn’t include you? My birth mother?”
“You’re 18?”
Leela nodded.
“I was 16.”
Leela thought about it for a moment, her own self only two years younger. Those two years had changed so much, she had matured into someone….but she still had so much more growing to do.
“I think I understand.” Leela whispered into her espresso.
And a weight lifted off both of their shoulders.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Delayed Contact.”

Ancient Ruins of Centuries Past

Where did they go?” Margaret asked, one hand pointing towards the ancient ruins and the other clutching her brother’s hand.

“They didn’t go anywhere,” Linus shrugged. “They died.”


“Yea, years ago.”

“Like, before Grand-pappy died?”

“Centuries before.”

“What’s a century?”

Linus chewed on his lip. “One hundred years, I think.”

Margaret reached out to touch the crumbling stone. The corner flaked off and fell to the ground.

“I think I broke it,” she whispered.

Linus tugged her hand, pulling her from the wall. “We’re not supposed to touch.”

“Why not?” Margaret asked. “They don’t care, they’ve been dead for a centuries.”

“A century.” Linus corrected. “And they don’t care, but that man does.”

Margaret followed her brother’s pointed finger towards the guard posted near the entrance. His eyes were on the two children.

“It’s okay, Guard!” Margaret yelled. “They’re not coming back home, they’ve been dead for a century!”

For more Adventures of Linus and Margaret

Monday’s Finish the Story:

Ruins - © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “Where did they go?”

Carry On

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend via CC.

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend via CC.

“Carry everything you own,” the Announcement had said, posted on every door in the city.

Later, we learned that we had to take it all on our backs. When possessions are reduced to that, it’s easy to pick and choose what’s important. I was shocked how quickly the gadgets fell away to leave room for journals and photo albums.

Now the rain falls on our ten-by-ten shelter, the neighbors encroach on our borders but under the orange tint of the tent, we’ve found home.

My mother strokes my hair as I let the rain soothe me. I drift in and out of sleep as life continues on.

Written for Micro Bookends

Wicked Witch!

For more Adventures of Linus and Margaret

“Margaret!” Her brother’s voice bellowed up the stairs, “Auntie Nell is here.”

Deep in the corner of her closet, hidden behind hanging clothes, Margaret was safe. Only Linus knew this spot and her brother wouldn’t come here unless – the doorknob to her room turned – mom asked him too.

Linus slid open the closet door. Margaret could make out his silhouette, hands on his hips. “Come on, she’s not that bad.”

Margaret curled into her knees. “She pinches my cheeks. Hard. And she smells bad.”

Linus snorted. “She’s Grandpa’s sister, you have to come and say hi.”

“She’s like the Wicked Witch! She yelled at me last time for tearing wrapping paper!”

Linus’ hand appeared between the clothes. “So, she likes to recycle. You like to recycle.”

Margaret bit her lip, eyes blurring. “What’s recycle?”

“Never mind, just grab my hand.”

Margaret did because the one thing she hated more than anything else in the world was angering her brother.

As they padded down the stairs Margaret could hear her Great-Aunt’s voice mixing in with her mother’s. Her Aunt laughed, an evil laugh that stopped Margaret’s steps.

“She’s only here for the afternoon.” Linus reminded.

“My cheeks hurt just from thinking about it.”

Linus hugged his sister, right there on the steps, her forehead pressing against his shoulder. He was a big boy now, nearly seven, and it was his job to protect his sister.

“I have a plan.”

Margaret looked up, tears in her eyes. “The Wicked Witch melts if we pour water on her.”

“We’re not going to pour water on her – mom would have to punish us, then.”

“Then what?” Margaret asked.

“Just follow me.”

Linus pulled his sister down the steps and towards the front door. They dashed past the living room but their mother spotted them.

“What are you two up too?” She asked from the sofa. “Come here and say hi to your Aunt.”

“We will,” Linus assured. “We just have to go out and get –” He let the sentence trail off, pulling his sister out the front door and into the snowy driveway.

“Come back here!”

“We’re going to make a snowman for Auntie Nell!” Linus yelled back towards their house, thinking quickly. He whispered towards Margret, “She won’t come out here it’s too cold.”

“She’d freeze.” Margaret smiled.

Linus nodded. “Then melt.”

Margret laughed. “And they all lived happily ever after.”

Inspirartion drawn from: Tale Weaver # 25 – When the Wicked Witch Visits.

Miley Cyrus Made It

(c) Carol Von Canon
(c) Carol Von Canon

He came in like a wrecking ball,” Olivia sang, loudly, over the wreckage.

“Is now really the time?” Her mother looked at the piece of debris in her hand, then placed it back on the ground.

Olivia jumped from one drywall-mountain to another. “What else can I do? Lift up our destroyed house piece by piece? Not going to change anything. Plus, he came in like a wreeecking ball!

“Well, you are certainly not mentally traumatized. Upside of having a teenager.”

“Why would I be traumatized? You made it, I made it, Miley Cyrus made it. That’s all that matters.”

Written for Warmup Wednesday

All Aboard

The train is coming; its wheels against the track as it barrels closer. The metal is cool against my neck, ready to end it all.

“Alexandra!” The wooden door opens and my mother slips in. I don’t turn around but soon her hands are on my shoulders, rubbing her warmth through the lace. Our eyes catch in the mirror. “Enough lingering. It is time.”

The church bells ring in confirmation. They blur in my mind with the train’s horn, fogging my thoughts with imaginary steam. My head is on the tracks, my life is ending.

“You look beautiful.”

The words bring little relief.


Character: Unhappy Socialite
Theme: Value of Marriage

Superhero Theater

Adventures of Linus and Margaret

“The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive,” Linus read, solemnly, to the empty living room. Nothing else followed.

“Nightshade,” Linus whispered towards the hallway. “That’s your cue.”

Margaret, who had been waiting in her homemade sunflower costume, jumped as far as her legs could take her. “I am Nightshade. Defender of Truth, Master of Inter-, what was it again?”

Linus sighed. “Interrogation.”

“Master of Interrogation.” Margaret froze, hand clawed, waiting to attack.

Linus picked the book back up. “Nightshade had the power to pull the truth out of anyone.”

“Roar,” said Margaret.

“You’re not an animal, you’re a superhero! This isn’t going to work.”

“No!” Margaret beseeched her brother. “I can do it.”

With fists drawn, she approached her brother. “See?” She administered a one-two-punch onto Linus’ eye.

“Ouch Margaret! You’re supposed to attack people with your investigation skills, not fists. Forget it!”

“No! Wait!”

But Linus was already pulling at her costume. “No, I’ll be Nightshade.”

Mondays Finish the Story:

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “The team employed the use of Nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive.”

Living Forest

I cannot see. I feel the cold, wet, air on my skin. The heavy taste of it chokes in my throat. I hear the rustling of the things nearby – predators, prey, maybe the wind; but I cannot see.

The ground gives under my feet, the mud encloses me with each step. It wants to pull me into its grips, it wants to take me and suck out every bit of nutrient within my body for its nearby roots. This forest is alive, every forest is alive, and anyone who thinks otherwise is vulnerable.

I am walking to the Tree. It is a journey we all take. If we fail we die; if we succeed, we are welcomed back as Grown. I want to be Grown, then I’ll receive a similarly Grown partner and we will be assigned a family unit and –

My ankle curls and I reach out into the darkness to stop from falling but there is nothing to brace myself against. I hit the mud. It curls around my hands and knees. I blink away the tears and struggle against the sinking. Fear sparks and it races my thoughts, this creeping fear can take over my focus and cloud my judgment. Then, I’ll be lost.

“The Tree is located in a straight line from here,” the Grown had told me. My direction must stay the same even as I flail against the mud.

I lunge left, then right. Then, finally, my hand finds the root of a tree. Not the Tree but something in the darkness that I can pull against. I pull too hard, though. I flip over the root and land on my back. I am facing a different direction now. I know this, just as I know I cannot distinguish which way I was before. The mud is creeping again, crawling over my neck and into my ears, up my nose. I am sinking.

I close my eyes. I see the family plot and my very own partner and she is reaching for me. I close my eyes to see better, to see and feel and –

Use this three-word phrase in any part of your story:

“this creeping fear”

Anthropomorphic Roots