Come Whatever

They’d said goodbye a hundred times already, but Greg knew he’d say it as many times as Jack wanted.

Greg walked the path along the side of the football field, behind the bleachers and down the row of trees that separated the school grounds from the lake. There was only one tree with a trunk thick enough to lean against, and that was where he was heading.

It seemed as if no one else was around, the rest of their graduating class out on the front lawn, where the rows of fold-out chairs and the stage were set up for graduation. But he knew he wouldn’t be alone back here. Not today, when the clock was ticking and they were both due on planes in opposite direction in a day’s time. And this was the last time they’d be on their high school campus together.

Continue reading “Come Whatever”

Kiss the Sky

“I want to kiss the sky!”

“Honey,” Amber paused mid-step, catching her breath. “You’re not supposed to take that song literally.”

Charles ran back from where he led the hike, humming Purple Haze as he circled his parents. Amber envied his energy.

“What does it mean then, mom?

She met her husband’s gaze. The corner of his mouth twitched into a smile. “Go on, Am, explain to our son the deep meaning behind Jimmy Hendrix’s most infamous song.”

She snorted a laugh. “Nope. You’re right Charles, It’s about kissing the sky.”

“No it’s not! You’re lying!”

Amber sighed, grabbing her husband’s hand. They broke into a run, so close to the peak of the mountain. Their sunrise hike almost complete. She used to have the same energy levels as her son and willed her legs to remember that fact.

Her husband laughed next to her, pulling away. He lifted Charles up and tucked the boy under his arm. Charles squealed in delight.

“Almost there!” Amber led the hike now, cheeks flushed. The early morning had provided enough light to let them climb up the mountainside but only now had the sun begun its rise along the horizon.

“I want to kiss the sky!” Charles repeated from his father’s hold. “I want to kiss the sky!”

The boy kicked and kicked until his father let him go. Then he rushed to the edge of the mountain, blowing kisses towards the clouds. The golden rays framed her husband and son, washing her little family in a glow.

Her husband approached, arms wrapping around her torso as he started to kiss along her neck. He whispered in her ear, “You know what I’m thinking?”

Amber shook her head.

He released her, quietly sneaking back behind Charles. He perched behind the boy and waited a moment before attacking with wet, sloppy, noises.

Charles screeched, “Dad! What are you doing?”

“Forgot the sky. Excuse me while I kiss the son!”

They both dissolved into a heap of laughter and kisses as the sun rose over a new day.

- NEKNEERAJ

– NEKNEERAJ

Daddy Starring as Hero

“Please, please, please!” My daughter begged through her sobs. “We need to save him!”

A bubble of snot formed under her tiny nose. It wasn’t long ago that the bubble would have distracted her from her sobs and thwarted the panic that filled her brown eyes.  But now, at seven, she is not as easily distracted. And why should she be? Her best friend is missing. Froggie is gone forever, according to my baby girl.

I picked her up into my arms, even though her mother and I had already weaned her off being carried. Her red face twisted with the sorrow of a child whose whole world revolved around a single toy and then lost that toy. Her face still fit into the crook of my neck, it was warm and wet and I rubbed my hand along her back. It didn’t stop the sobs.

“Calm down for a moment sweetie so you can tell me where you left Froggie.”

“I don’t know!” She sobbed. Her fists moved to her eyes and I had to readjust her weight as she flailed. “One moment it was in my bicycle basket and the next – “

Another sob ripped from her throat.

“It will be okay, honey. We’ll retrace your steps.”

She inhaled a breath and the air wedged in her throat, forcing her to cough out more sobs.

The area my daughter is allowed to ride her bike is limited, only around the block. So while carrying her, I walked down the driveway and onto the street.

“Froggie must be scared.” My sweet girl whispered into my neck. “It’s so dark and what if a fox comes?”

The sun was only starting to set. There were no predators in the area but still I reassured her. “We’ll find him before anything happens.”

It took another ten minutes to turn the corner of our block and see, sitting in the middle of the street, as if waiting for my baby girl to come and claim him: Froggie, still smiling.

“Daddy! You’ve saved him.”

She hugged me hard then, as hard as a seven year old could hug and for a moment I didn’t want to let her go. “You helped, Sweetie.”

“Let me down, let me down!” She wiggled her way out of my arms and ran towards her plastic smiling friend. For a moment I wondered if that would be the last time I would carry my not-so-little-girl. Inexplicably, tears sprung to my eyes as I watched her run.

“Froggie! Froggie” She hugged the toy close to her chest. “We saved you!”


Written for Tale Weaver #13 – Heroes

michael

Photo Credit: Mandy Smith

Carl’s Mathematics Dilemma

Carl tried to keep his eyes away from the clock. He had been trying, and failing, for the last three hours. Instead, he swung his feet under the table, doodled onto the margins of his worksheet and, with each thirty minute chime, he would walk to the window and wait.

Carl waited for his mother.

But he doesn’t want you to think this is some sad single mom tale! His mom isn’t struggling as a waitress or bartender or naughty dancer. His mom is an engineer, a great engineer, for the US Navy. She knows so much stuff! All the numbers make sense to her and she knows how to check the equation so the math turns into a backwards riddle.

Mom was awesome. She was just late again.

The timer buzzes from the oven and with one last look outside the rain-fogged window Carl moves to shut it off.

Mom had left him his favorite because she is awesome.

Only, he didn’t want to eat alone. He thought of Mr. Quaid across the hall with his smelly cat and tiny furniture but didn’t want to hear him complain about the tenants upstairs. He just wants to eat his favorite casserole with someone nice but all his friends were far away until school tomorrow. He wants to eat with his mom.

His eyes flicked to the clock again. He should complete his math worksheet; have it done before the morning so his mom doesn’t get mad. He clicks on the television instead and continues to wait amongst the blue glow of the screen. Mom is better at math and math will be better when Mom is here.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”

Mechbot Nanny

This drabble received an Honorable Mention over at Micro Bookends, a weekly micro fiction contest where they provide the first and last words and we provide the rest.


First off, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m a Mechbot 3827, not equipped for this important mission.

Yet here I am with a baby crying in the corner.

No one is around, no one else can hear. I’m a Mechanic by design not a NurseDroid but there is something wrong, something making this human cry, and my programming wants to react.

I stand, crack my knuckles and gather strength.

The human is even tinier in my arms, the wailing is louder. Through strange instinct, I rock the fragile body against my chest. I can fix this.

The baby quiets as I continue humming. “There, there, sleep little lady.”

Driving Test III

Benjamin Martin III needed to pass his Driver’s Test. At fifteen, he was not behind his peers per se but he had attempted the test twice…and failed. No one knew this and no one ever would.

He could already hear Sam’s obnoxious jeers. His friend, who had a penchant for stealing cars, would give him a speech about manhood and responsibility. Ben would try his hardest not to punch Sam in the face, and probably fail.

Worse still, Sam would probably taunt him in front of Violet.

Ben gripped the wheel of the familiar sedan. He hadn’t told his parents either. They were on a trip saving the world, or something. Sarah had completed her test the first time around (because Sarah was perfect) and sometimes you avoid comparisons with your sibling when you knew you’d be the one lacking.

The steering wheel was made of leather or some other material that crinkled his palms as he curled his fists. The lady, the same lady as the last two attempts, pulled open the door with a click and slid into the leather. Her meaty arms rubbed against his as she leaned across to put the keys in the ignition.

He could do this.

“You know the route.” The woman stated blandly. Ben read ridicule into her words.

He nodded and switched the car from Park to Reverse. He checked his mirrors, took a deep breath and released the break.

Miami streets were usually busy but at 10am the road was blissfully empty. On his first attempt, he had to react to a car cutting him off and apparently reacted badly. His teeth clenched at the memory and he tried to banish it from his mind.

The ride continued smoothly. So smooth that Ben holds his breath as they turn back into the DMV.

“Three times in three weeks. You must really want this license.” The woman commented to her clipboard.

Ben pulled the car into the lot and moved the gear stick from Drive to Park before answering. He didn’t want to tell this woman that he needed his license for a stupid activism movement. He didn’t want to explain how he and Sam and Violet took on officer roles at Transparent and now he needed to be at Bayfront Park after school every day. He didn’t want to go into the fact that his parents couldn’t take him to Bayfront and Sam’s stolen vehicles were not an option for Violet and, thus, not an option for him.

Instead he shrugged. “If the United Migration already decided to kick us out of this City, I figured I should leave on wheels.”

The woman snorted, shuffling out of the car. “And soon Florida licenses will be a collector’s item.” She smiled like the statement held some incentive but it just made Ben want to drive the car off the nearest dock and into the ocean.

Instead, he returned her smile and waited as the woman checked off her boxes. Finally, she looked up and stated just as blandly as before: “You passed.”


*The character in this prompt is from my WIP novel. This scene is not part of the novel but merely a writing exercise to get my Monday morning flowing.

Monday Writing Prompts-Driving Test

This writing prompt is another one from my upcoming Writing Genre Fiction book and it’s from the chapter titled change the plot. All you need to do is rewrite it so the outcome is different-

Your character is taking their driver’s test for the third time but this time passes it with flying colors.

Field Trip to Space

“5…4…3…2…1…blast off!” The children sung along with the bus as it hissed and pulled away from the stop. They all cheered too. Adrian was not amused.

Adrian liked Field Trip Day like any other kindergartener but he hated the bus. It was loud and they had to sit with three students crammed in a seat, so close that Lianna could pick her nose and place the boogers on his chin. He knew this, because it had just happened.

“We’ve still have twenty minutes to go, kids.” Mrs. Jenkins hollered from the very front of the DC public bus. Adrian groaned, Lianna squealed and then poked a wet finger in his ear.

“Stop it!” Adrian whined but it was lost in the sound of another hiss. So, he pulled Lianna’s beaded braid instead.

She screamed, interrupting the next “blast off” as they pulled away from another bus stop. Her eyes watered as she cradled her thin braid in her hands.

“If you tell Mrs. Jenkins or Mr. P, I’ll tell them about the boogers.” Adrian declared.

A stare-off began between the two five year olds. Lianna lost.

“You’re such a meanie!” She screeched, arms crossing. “We’re on a spaceship and you’re being a meanie. You’re stupid.”

“We are not on a spaceship, we’re on a bus.”

“A bus to the Space Museum is like a spaceship.”

“That’s stupid. You’re wrong. This is the same bus that takes my mom to work and me to my Gramma’s apartment. Is it a spaceship then?” It was also the same bus where his older sister flirted with boys and his parents yelled at each other, but he didn’t want to think about that – especially in front of Lianna.

“No,” she said slowly, thinking, “it’s only a spaceship when it’s going to the Space Museum.”

As much as he hated Lianna and her booger fingers, her logic made sense to Adrian.

Yes, he had seen his sister kiss one of her boyfriends right where Mrs. Jenkins stood, but now he tried to imagine his teacher in a spacesuit instead, like the one from the book they read before the Field Trip. Instead of imagining his parents sitting in the row in front of him fighting, he imagined the people in that seat floating. Then, he almost felt himself floating.

The bus pulled to another stop. People shuffled off and on. The door closed, the driver pulled a lever and hisssss. The bus lurched forward and the countdown began all around him “5…4…3…2…1!”Adrian shouted “blast off” with the rest of his class and laughed as their spaceship sped through the city.

Jack and Jill

For twenty-nine days of the month, I am Jill. I know Jill; I can predict how Jill will react. Jill backs away from confrontation and dives into gossip, Jill smokes a pack a day and drinks more coffee than necessary because I like to feel the jittering down my veins. My long blonde hair is my pride and joy; I flirt my way into clubs and out of trouble. I am Jill.

Until, I’m not. Every full moon I transform. I become Jack.

Jack is unpredictable. Jack butchers my hair and talks with his fists. Jack forces Jill to wake up in the bed of some random man or woman. Jack tattoos our shared skin and poisons us with hard drugs. Jack remembers the confrontations Jill backed away from, seeks them out, and administers his own form of justice. He remembers the gossip and exploits it.

I sometimes envy Jack, I almost always hate him.

In one night he burns it all down. Everything Jill can predict and plan, Jack brings to the ground.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Full Moon.”

Snuggle-Buddy

My knees ached something fierce. The walk home from the park used to be easy when Paws was a puppy but that was almost a decade ago. The years show on one of us and it isn’t the energetic American Bulldog by my side.

He, on the other hand, is in perfect health, no joint aches or muscle sores, just excitement and adventure. He’s smart, though, and senses my struggle. My kindhearted Bully slows down and allows our pace to turn to something more leisurely.

Later, once we get back home, he’ll spend a solid fifteen minutes licking the park off my legs and hands. Then he’ll jump up next to me on the couch, turn in a circle a few times, before collapsing next to me for a nap. I may nod off too, with my legs up on the coffee table, petting his fur.

He is my companion, my friend, the reason I go to the park every weekend and the snuggle-buddy in my bed. Even if my husband wants to get in on the snuggles, Paws will reluctantly make room, but only if he’s in the middle of us both.

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

Hair Curler and Key Rings

She was already late, despite setting her alarm two hours early and planning her outfit the night before. She was already late because sometimes Anne got a little too caught up in the mirror, fixing the way her hair fell down her neck in perfect curls – caring more about the way she looks than punctuality. She knows it about herself (and hates it) but does little to fix it despite the consequences.

But today, Anne had been ready. Even with the extra five minutes on her hairdo, she would have been out the door and on her way. Except, she had not factored in the now ninety-seven seconds she’d spent trying to find her keys.

An app on her phone that shows the train schedule blinks red, if she doesn’t leave in the next three minutes she’ll miss her way into the city. She’ll miss her interview, all because of a hair curler and a ring of keys.

Anne presses her hands along her suit pants straightening the fabric and looks over her apartment in havoc – overturned couch cushions, desk drawers open and nearly falling to the floor. Her hair had stayed perfectly in place during the expedition; she knew this because she had spared the half second to look in the mirror that hangs in her foyer… twice.

Right now though, she wanted to pull at the curled strands. She would not find the keys in time. Her feet made the decision for her as she headed out of the apartment, to her interview. She left her front door unlocked with a quick prayer that all her stuff would be there when she returned. Except the curling iron, the burglars could take that.


Inspired by:

Monday Writing Prompt-Lost Keys

Here’s another prompt taken from upcoming and third book in my Writing Genre Fiction series and this one is from the chapter on scenarios-

Your character loses their car keys.

Have fun and happy writing.

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