Posts from the ‘Fiction’ Category

Return Adulthood

Sometimes I don’t feel like I am making a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I bet all Americans would be lost without Target and the trusty return line, where you can return crap you shouldn’t have bought in the first place or a gift your daughter-in-law did not appreciate during that recent family gathering. But when I help people take care of their retail therapy regrets, I do not feel as if I’m making much of a difference.

I tell myself that maybe today will be different, as I stand behind the counter and notice three people moving toward my line. Yuck.

The first one is an old lady returning the shower curtain because it didn’t match the beige of her bathroom walls. She complains for about 30 seconds on our lack of color selection before seemingly taking the cue of my lack of response and heading out the door.

The next is a man, returning an embarrassing pair of boxers with women kiss lips on them. Apparently the wife didn’t know him well.. Or the mistress. Who really knows at this point?

The next customer is just a…nothingness. Then there is a whip of hair appearing over the side of the counter. She hands me a sheet of paper. It was a bit crusty looking, maybe a cereal spill. She had to reach to the end of her arm’s length to get it on the counter. She looked to be under ten. Maybe. I could never tell about ages.

“What can I help you with?” I asked, wondering what this was as I looked it over. It was a piece of notebook paper with a list called “Things that have caused me pain” in the upper right hand side of the paper it said the date and “RETURN” in huge block letters.

“Mom is returning stuff later. But I wanted to help sissy. Mom gave me slushy money but I found this in sissy’s room and wanted to return it.” The girl told me.

“Well, what were you hoping to return it for?” I asked, knowing this was not going to be something I could give her money back for. Well, maybe…. I looked over the list. It started with “My parents’ divorce = cost me a normal dating relationship because I always worry I’m becoming too much like my Mom and that then I will not be able to move forward with the relationship.” Also listed was “My brother’s drug problem = cost me trust in family.” Then, a few lines later, “My brother’s funeral = cost me emotional balance.” At the end, it said, “RETURN so that I can be a healthy child again. I do not want to be an adult anymore.”

I frowned at this list and then looked at the girl. She had her wallet open and looked ready to transfer money back to her sister.

“I can help you with this. Hold on.” I told my co-worker I was taking a break and walked over to the girl, “Let’s go get that slushy.” I ordered slushies for us and didn’t let her use her mom’s money. She might need it to buy a ticket to anywhere that wasn’t her crazy family. We mixed the blue and red in our slushies because she had never done that before.

“It was in your sister’s journal?” I asked the girl, wondering absently what kind of mom sends their kid off to get a slushy by themselves. We sat down at one of the mostly clean tables in the Target sit down area.

“Yeah, I heard her crying and I snuck in her room when she went to hang out with Lily.” The little girl leaned closer and said sincerely, “I don’t think she knows how to return things. I don’t know what those are but I know the word return from my Mom. She likes to shop for wrong things.”

I looked at the little girl. I grabbed a book from my purse, called “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown. It was the self-help book I was reading and I figured the sister needed it more. I started to write a note and the girl babbled on about her slushy. “Your sister really loves you and wanted to return the list that was making you cry. I gave her this book because I can’t return life experiences. I know it sucks. My little sister is gone, too. – Target return girl.”

I handed the book to the little girl and said, “When you return a journal page (which I had stashed back in the book), you get a book from me.”

I started to stand but the girl asked, “Most people don’t return pages, do they?”

I sat back down and looked at her eyes, which were so much deeper already than they “should” be. But who decided on what “should” be, when every day something happened that “shouldn’t.”

“No, most people do not. But I am glad you did.” I stood up and walked back to the line.

Sure enough, the mom showed up in my line with a few things to return, including the new Nicholas Sparks bestseller, a clearance cup with little balloons printed all over it and three newborn outfits. I wondered if it was from a family dispute or if another child had been lost.

Right as the mom was about to leave with the girl, I said. “You have a very well-behaved girl. If you ever need a babysitter,” I jotted my number on the receipt, “Let me know.”

She thanked me and absently looked at her daughter. Maybe she will call. Maybe she won’t. But today I hope I made a difference.

The Stacey McKellar Rule Book (first three chapters)

by: Rebecca Taylor

Chapter 1

Stacey McKellar’s nail bitten hands shook as she said. “You didn’t.” Outside the dressing room, she could hear the production crew preparing for another busy day of filming. She could smell the pungency of the strong coffee and knew that Graham had used it to get over his hangover. She swallowed to keep the tears that threatened to erupt at bay.

“I made a mistake,” admitted Graham Thomson, “I’ll never do it again.”

“That’s crap,” replied Stacey, “this isn’t elementary school, you can’t just say, oops.” She stomped the heel of her leather shoe, the sound radiating through the small dressing room. “Do you realize you could have killed someone?”

“You’ve got to believe me, Stace, I never meant to drive drunk.”

“How many times do you think someone says that in a day?” She sighed sadly, and wished she had stayed in bed that morning and that the conversation she was now having with her soon to be ex-boyfriend was just a nightmare.

“Too many,” replied Graham his grey eyes not meeting Stacey’s blue ones.

“You’re a star but that doesn’t mean you get to break the law. Just because you didn’t hurt yourself or someone else, doesn’t mean I’m going to forgive you. Does Instantly mean nothing to you?” said Stacey her hands moving rapidly as she spoke. “Just because you -.”

“Stacey, please,” said Graham cutting off her rant. “Just listen to me for a minute. Let me make this up to you.”

“How dare you interrupt me and expect me to listen to you after what you did. You can’t make this better. Even though Andrew and Kara Mathis are characters in my novel doesn’t mean that their story isn’t real. People lose their loved ones all the time to drunk drivers. You’re playing Andrew in the movie, are you feeling nothing?”

“I know I was stupid, but please, don’t give up on me. Things were going so well between us.” He reached out his hand to touch her shoulder but she took a step backwards. Anger mixed with sadness flashed behind her eyes.

“Were is the operative word here. We’ve got work to do and whatever we could have been is over. Do you have any idea how many times I wanted to bring Mr. & Mrs. Mathis back to life when I was working on the book?” Stacey turned towards the wall and Graham saw her lift her hand to her cheek. He heard her clear her throat before she turned back to face him, “But I couldn’t because there is no backspace key on life, once someone’s dead, you can’t fix it, no matter how hard you try.”  Tears welling up in her eyes Stacey fled Graham’s dressing room. He looked after her stammering apologies.

“Five minutes to filming, Graham,” said a production assistant stopping by the dressing room.

Graham nodded and the production assistant left the room. Extreme emotion overwhelmed him as he took his hand and struck the table with it, spilling hot coffee all over it and himself. He cursed and grabbed a towel to clean up the mess before getting changed into clothing befitting of the character he played – a man devastated by the effects of another man’s drunk driving.

 


Chapter 2

“Stacey, filming’s about to start,” said her sister coming into the bathroom.

“Okay, I just need a minute,” she said splashing water on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have time to talk about it right now.”

“Well you’re not leaving this room until you do.”

“Just because you’re my big sister doesn’t mean that you know what’s best for me.”

“I can tell when something’s wrong and it definitely is right now,” said Lori standing by the bathroom door blocking anyone else from entering.

“Please, Lori, just leave it.”

“No, I won’t leave it, because this morning at the hotel you were one of the happiest people in the world and now you’re not.”

“I told Graham it was over. Now, I’m going to put on some makeup and go out there and watch him be in the movie that I wrote.”

“You don’t have to do that, Stace, we could go back to the hotel and empty all the candy out of the vending machines and watch an incredibly sad movie.” Lori reached out her arms to give Stacey a hug but she pulled away from her sister’s embrace.

“Please don’t, I can’t talk about this right now.”

“You don’t have to be strong all the time.”

“Yes, I do because no one else is going to be strong for me and, I wrote a book that someone wanted to make into a movie. I’m not going to hide. Graham isn’t going to take away the fact that someone thought I’d written something that mattered…”

“No, just every time you watch your masterpiece, he’s going to be in.”

“Yes, he is, but he’s good at acting.”

“Is that you being sincere or a jab at something that happened between the two of you.”

“His onset talent is genuine. His choices in life are crap.”

“And there’s the Stacey McKellar rule book right?”

“Yes, there is. There are some things you just don’t do.”

“And which one of those things did he do?”

“He drove drunk last night. He doesn’t look it now thanks to a ton of coffee, but he did it.”

“And he told you about it?”

“No, I heard him talking to Dan about it. How he woke up with a mega hangover and realized what he had done.”

“Then he didn’t mean to?”

“Does anyone mean to drive drunk, seriously?” asked Stacey pressing down hard on the paper towel holder sending them cascading out of the machine. She furiously tore off a piece and dried her face.

“Hey, sis, don’t get mad at me. I’m here for you.”

“Drunk driving kills people. It’s splashed in everyone’s faces that if you are going to drink, plan ahead. He didn’t.  He got drunk Lori, he didn’t just have one drink, he got hammered. It’s over and I have work to do,” said Stacey rummaging through her purse frantically until she found a half used package of tissues. “

“But the two of you seemed so right together.”

“I thought maybe we had a chance, but he messed that up. Case closed.”

How come her love life looks so easy? She breaks things off, cries, reapplies makeup and gets back to work. Maybe they should sell some of that with her book or the movie ticket.

 

Stacey watched her movie coming alive from the monitors behind the scenes. Graham knew she was there but he couldn’t see her looking over the script and occasionally giving suggestions to the production assistant. He only played Andrew to the camera, telling the story of a heartbroken young man who was forced to plan a funeral with his sister for their parents because a repeat drunk driver had finally run out of luck. He didn’t see her white knuckles as her pencil hit against her clipboard. She watched him say his lines so perfectly that it hurt her and it was only when her pencil snapped in two and her hand felt the sharpness of the splintered wood that she realized she had been holding it so tight.

“How come they kept letting him back out on the streets?” demanded Andrew as he spoke to a police officer, “where is the justice? You’re supposed to be protecting us.”

Does a line like that mean nothing to you, Graham? Thought Stacey as she watched him deliver it poignantly.

“Cut,” said the director interrupting Stacey’s thoughts a few minutes later, “good work everyone. That’s a wrap for today. See you all tomorrow.”

Chapter 3

Graham returned to his hotel room after the filming. He looked at the mini fridge in his room. He could have used a beer but the thought of it turned his stomach. It was too many of those that had gotten him into this mess with Stacey. She’s a tough woman, and I don’t know if I can win her back. She said it’s over just like the film crew says cut and moves on. I love her, I haven’t told her that yet, but we were becoming something. We had something. I cannot believe that I don’t remember driving last night. He picked up his cell phone and dialed her number. It went straight to voicemail. He listened to her voice and felt anger, not at her but at what he’s done. “I’m sorry,” he said into the phone, “so sorry, I don’t know what else to say.” He hung up but thoughts of what had happened weighed heavy on his heart and mind. She’s right something could have happened but it didn’t so why can’t she just accept that. I was stupid, I was drunk and I made a mistake. I know my lines in the movie and I know what they’re about.

His co-worker Dan walked in while he was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling trying to think of some way to prove to Stacey that he deserved to be loved by her even though he had gone against something that she was passionate about.

“Hey, man, I heard Stacey dumped you. That sucks.”

“My love life is falling apart and all you can say is that sucks. Come on, Dan, help me here. You have a wife, what do you say to her when things are falling apart.”

“Honey, I’m sorry, is usually a good start.”

“Not with Stacey, it isn’t. I said I was sorry. I said I’d never do it again and she called me on it.” I am so stupid. I just wrecked a relationship with a woman I was coming to love.”

“Send her flowers or chocolates with a card, maybe a poem, chicks like that kind of stuff.”

Graham tossed a towel that was lying on the floor at Dan and replied, “Help me, here, you know Stacey. What would your wife think if she knew you called her a chick? Stacey’d have a fit. She’d say it undermined the female gender.”

“My wife would be fine with it. I’ve called her a chick before to her face. She’s cool like that.”

“Stacey’s not one of those girls. She’s strong and stubborn and so darn beautiful, that I don’t know what I’m going to do to keep her in my life.”  She doesn’t believe much in second chances either. She told me early on that if I ever cheated on her, I’d be gone. To her I think this is the same thing.

“Have you thought about a time machine, man, because with that one, I think you’re going to need it.”

“Funny,” answered Graham.

“Well, we could always go out drinking and forget about her.”

“Not for me,” said Graham tossing a pillow at the wall. It knocked a picture off the wall with a thud, “that got me in this mess.”

“Just forget her; if she can’t forgive you, maybe she’s not worth the trouble. You keep throwing things and you’re going to have a bill from the hotel.”

“I don’t think I can forget her, that’s the problem.”

If you would like to learn more about what happens with Stacey and Graham, the complete novella is available for purchase at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/409220 

Touched by Memories

by: Rebecca Taylor

Occasionally you come across an item that changes your life, and to Katie McGraw we were just that. We are myself – a preserved wedding gown and my friend a groom’s tuxedo. It was almost dark outside when she climbed the stairs to the attic where we reside inside an oak trunk. She crossed the creaky old floorboards, the sound of her feet echoing as she walked. She stopped and looked around, coughing because of the dust which covered every inch of the rarely visited attic. After a few moments she headed over to the trunk, knelt beside it, and after dusting it off a bit with her hand opened it.

Katie picked up a scratched silver key and said, “From my first car, I sure wore it out, and it wasn’t new when I got it. I haven’t had one since that made me feel the way that 1989 pink Chevy did.”

She set the key down and pulled out a small gift box, she carefully untied the ribbon and letters came spilling out of the box. “I’d forgotten about these, Joe wrote them to me when he was trucking before he was transferred here to Aulson to take the job as dispatcher. She started to open one of the envelopes when she spotted us. She put the box on the floor at her side, and then moved a photo of her wedding and the wedding announcement.

She gently brought me out of the trunk and standing unfolded me displaying my radiant personality. It felt so good to be admired again; it reminded me of the day she wore me to marry Joe. It will be eight years on the 15th of this month. I remember the day like it was yesterday, it was a beautiful autumn day, Katie was twenty‑three and she was completely exuberant as she stood in me, an ivory floor length gown with a beaded neckline and veil. Her eyes gleamed as she walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to meet her soon to be husband. Joe was wearing my companion, a simple tailored black suit. The suit and I had never met before that day as it is considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her gown before the big day. We too were joined in holy matrimony that day and have not been separated since. We are reminders of the love that Katie and Joe have. The look in Katie’s eyes took me away from my reminiscing and once again, I turned my thoughts to the present. Katie looked sad and as you might imagine looking at me should not be a gloomy event. She was fingering the plastic that I was wrapped in but I could feel how cold her hands were through it. At that moment I became afraid, I knew from Katie’s actions that something was wrong because otherwise she would not have come up to the attic, which was rarely visited or cleaned. The trunk that Joe’s suit, the other mementos, and I reside in hasn’t been opened for three years, since Katie showed me to a friend who was planning her own wedding. It is a rare occasion to be brought out and admired, and here we were upset. Katie whispered something; I strained my ears to hear; she wants Joe to come back so they can work things out. They had a major argument, one that she is not sure their marriage can heal from. If it doesn’t then one of them will leave this house where we have all lived in for so long. If that happens, then the suit which has become my best friend and I will be separated too.   Katie put me back in the trunk, and sat down on the floor to pick up the box of letters that she had abandoned upon spotting me. She pulled out a random letter and started reading. Emotions of love and longing filling her heart as mine pounded away in anticipation. Everything was happening so fast that I felt like I might cry, but my friend, Suit, touched me gently on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, Beauty, those letters will help her, look at her face now, it’s softening.”

I smiled slightly trying to cheer myself up; we could see the stars through the tiny attic window, a sight that we haven’t seen for years. Katie got up and headed downstairs with some of the letters. Then we were able to talk honestly about what each of us thought.

“Katie’s calm most of the time, but sometimes things build up and she becomes over emotional,” said the key.

“All couples fight, I spent a lot of time with Joe when he was writing me and my friends to her, they’re complete opposites but they make it work but sometimes it clashes,” said one of the letters that was still in the gift box.

“Relationships, sometimes you hate them and other times you love them,” answered the announcement.

“Do you think they can work it out,” I asked wondering if this would be one of the last chats that we memories of a happy time would have together.

“I think so,” answered the photograph, “the letters are helping Katie get composed, so hopefully when Joe comes back they’ll be able to talk about what’s bothering them.”

I nodded; none of us said too much about the situation after that, there wasn’t anything to say until we saw what would happen with Katie and Joe. I looked around the room now lit up by the light in the corner that Katie had left on. Everything was covered and dusty, all a part of something hidden away but not forgotten.

It was the next afternoon before Katie returned to the attic, this time with Joe. They put all of us back in our trunk and using warm soapy water set out to rid the attic of its grime. The cobwebs that had built up in the keyhole of the trunk were cleaned out so now we could feel the cool air and hear their voices even when the lid was closed. They worked in tandem to reorganize the attic, reliving moments past trying to mend their current issues. The smell of dust was replaced by the scent of lemon cleaning products, and fresh outdoor air. Together with us, Katie and Joe were able to work through their problems and also make the attic into a more pleasant space. The dim light bulb was replaced with one that gave an exuberant glow. The trunk where we live became a table and cosy chairs and cushions were brought upstairs to make a quiet getaway for the couple. They could now use the space for private or together time, to talk, read, or just enjoy the stars which glisten in the night sky. Katie had entered the dusty attic upset, to be met by memories of love that shone in their hearts and had temporarily been misplaced. These memories touched her heart and transformed all of our lives.

L O V E/E V O L

By Christian Sopkowiak

“I love you. That’s all I said. Three words. I am telling you this because, well, you seem to listen. It was a bright day, and we had just walked out of the restaurant. It was our third date; even though she insists it was our second. Sitting together, just us two, doing nothing, counts as a date right? I mean, I like to think dating is that easy. It should be. But it isn’t. It has to be the most painful process of relationships. Stupid gestures, stupid clichés, and even worse: stupid people. I can’t say I have seen it all. Hell, at that moment, I was still pretty inexperienced. But hearing the stories told from others, it always makes me think the best part of love is that it’s just a little different with that person.

See, I could go on a date with a girl, enjoy myself, and call her up again. We could go out for a while, eventually begin to distance, and then go our separate ways. That’s most of the stories I’ve heard and stories I’ve lived. But I have also heard stories of true love. Of the way you meet and something clicks. You immediately enjoy each other. You smile when they are around. You wish you could see them everyday, and sometimes you do. But most of all, you want them to be happy. And that something that clicks, why I cant explain it. The spark in love cannot be defined, only felt. And I have felt that only once in my life, and I told her I loved her a week after I met her. Anyways, back to that story. So she stared at me, pursing her lips, and trying to get the hell out of there. But I stood up for my feelings; I didn’t let her think too much. I told her that I have never seen someone so beautiful, someone so smart, someone so thoughtful, and someone so driven in my life. I told her why I loved her, how she laughs when I make bad jokes. Or how she smiles at me while I talk to my friends. Or how she couldn’t stop from twisting her hair when we sat across from each other that night. Or how she always giggles when she smiles. I loved her. She smiled at me after I was done. She kissed me on the cheek and left.

It was the worst night of my life. I guess, that might be a lie, but you don’t know that. You haven’t had too many bad nights, have you? But, she contacted me the next morning, saying how much fun she had. She wanted to do it again. Love is not easy, nor is it hard. It’s somewhere in the middle. When that spark, that something is felt, nothing can stop you from getting together. Love can be really dumb. But, I like to think no matter how bad love can make you feel, it can always brighten your entire day in a moment’s notice. That’s what happened that morning. And I married that beautiful woman. And I guess, after all of this cliché stupid romantic stuff, I just want you to understand love is natural. Just go for it. And I’m telling you this, I guess, because it worked for me. And because, I want you to be the best person you can be, son.” My three-week-old son then smiled at me and giggled, just like his mom.

One Of Those Crazy Days

Based on the five word prompt: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values

We ran up to the balcony, where we knew she would never come looking for us. At least, we hoped she’d never come here. You hid behind the flower-pot, barely tall enough to hide your large shoulders and I slipped behind the curtains. We waited, trying desperately to quiet our breathing.

It didn’t work.

I kicked the pot, and you jumped, shooting me a glare with your fingers over our lips, shushing me. We heard her footsteps and I fell to my knees, right outside the sliding glass. A shadow passed, and when it was gone, I peeked between the curtains to see if she was still there.

She wasn’t.

You urged me to go out and make sure. I was scared, but I did so anyway.

The mess we made on our way here was gone now, everything put in its place. The sheets fitted perfectly to the bed, the end table right-side-up and the lamp on top where it should be. Even the plates of pizza we had left out in our haste, gone. All that was left was a bottle of soda. Sprite, your favorite.

I motioned for you to come closer, telling you it was safe enough to leave and that she was gone.

You took one step into the room, and she appeared.

My sister slid into the room, raging on and on about how we ate the last of her strawberry jam, the thing she values most above all, and that if we wanted it, we should’ve asked first.

We tried.

She didn’t listen.

And we were hungry.

She pulled my arm, and you shouted at her, telling her to let me go.  I slipped from her grasp, and we giggled, running back down the steps and into the living room as quickly as we could.We didn’t hear her coming after us, so I figured she gave up. She did yell, though. She said that when my parents came home, she’d have to have a conversation with them, but we all knew that conversation wasn’t really the right word. Nag, maybe. But not converse.

You waited for me at the couch, with the T.V. on to our favorite cartoons, and we huddled together so we could whisper funny jokes in each others ears.

And when you finally left later that night, I hoped we’d get to do it all over again tomorrow.

And we did.

The Pastures and the Fields

By Christian Sopkowiak

Using the prompt for this week: “Our writing prompt for this week is to write a story using the following five words: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values.”

Inspired by the biblical story of Cain and Abel

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

His mind drifted away from the fields, the stalks, and the sun. He thought of his brother standing in the pasture, the pepper-grey sheep surrounding him. His brother would always herd those sheep. They would always listen to his brother but the one time Carl tried it, the sheep scattered. He thought of the balcony on which he stood, a wooden thing high above the ground. He had his arms on the rails and his eyes on his fields. He thought of his brother once again, this time Abe was standing with him on this balcony, with a bottle in his left hand. It was always his left; he said it helped the alcohol flow down his throat when he drank with his left.

Carl and Abe were brothers by blood but not in truth. For when the two brothers ventured to visit their grandfather’s, Grandpa Gabe never once asked Carl about his fields. Only Abe’s sheep piqued his interest. The conversation droned on with the talk of the sharp, soft wool and tender meat. Carl left that day, knowing he seemed lost to his only other family besides his brother. The balcony began to creak a bit as Carl again tried to spot a flaw in his fields. He had corn, beanstalks, potatoes, apples, and so much more. Yet, Gabe chose Abe’s sheep. Carl saw his brother before him, a smaller man with dark hair and a clean face. There was never any hardness there. He had tried his best to forget that.

The day after their visit with Gabe, Carl approached his brother. He blamed Abe for Gabe’s neglect. Gabe had told Carl that if he kept trying, he may be able to change. But Carl knew Gabe was trying to soften the hurt. The brothers screamed at each other, neither stopping to hear the other. Carl and Abe fought about food, family, culture, values, and finally, life. Carl had brought a knife, no longer than his index finger. It was curved and smeared in oil and dirt. He had used it in his fields. That day, he used it to kill his brother. During their talk, Abe turned to look at his pasture and heavily sighed. Carl drove the blade through him. It went through his heart in one swift motion and Abe began bleeding. The blood reminded Carl of a strawberry: foolishly crimson but eloquently beautiful. So much, like the sun.

Image

Superior

By Christian Sopkowiak

Mosquitos, each one of them wanting a taste of blood, surrounded me. I swatted them away as they came but their numbers always seem endless when a body of water is nearby. I eventually killed one on my forearm; the mosquito was now only a red bloody spot on my body. The icy air sent shivers through me as I wondered why the mosquitos were out at this time of day. It was a beautiful but unfriendly Minnesota morning. I was standing on the shore of the enormous Lake Superior in the confines of a cold but welcoming Minnesota. The sand crunched beneath my feet and the cool air breathed continuously across the shore. My eyes were adjusting to the rising sun; its crimson rays were inviting as well as striking.

I exhaled heavily to see my breath take form in front of me. The air was an oddly calming tinge of frigid. It was spring and the lake was just getting used to being free from the rigid ice. I had begun to feel the shivering tingle of lake water drift in between my toes. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. I was too close to the shore but the water is exactly what I needed to wake me. I decided to sit down in the sand with my knees high and my arms wrapped around my legs.

I stared out into the lake, the water shone bright as an occasional wave lapped up the air. Some moments there would be a fish flopping in and out of the water, others there would be a loon cooing, and others there would be a bird of prey swooping in for its breakfast. The lake’s greenish blue tinge entranced me for a few moments; the lack of movement on the surface calmed my nerves for a bit.

That is when I stretched my mouth to smile at the lake. The water again brushed against my toes and the restful wind hit my cheek. As the sun rose that morning, I decided to stand up from the brittle sand. I looked at my hands after I stood; sand and blood caked my palms and fingers. The blood spread to my white shoes and jeans, the stains would take forever to get out.

“It would be so much simpler if we were free,” I said aloud. That is when I heard the police sirens behind me. My eyes drifted to the lake again. An eagle clenched a trout in its talons and flew off into the distance, into the clouds.Image

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