Making Plans

This story picks up where this one leaves off.

Alec had finished his shift and gone straight home, even though his buddies had tried hard to get him to go with them for a few drinks. Since his daughter had been born, he always rushed home from the station, sometimes not even bothering to change out of his uniform first. “Only a few weeks old and already she has you doing her bidding, huh?” his partner had teased him. Smiling to himself, Alec got out of the car and ran up to the door.

Entering the house he called “Honey, I’m home!” There was no reply as he sauntered over to the bedroom where he could hear the baby crying. “Hi, Honey! Oh hey, my love,” he cooed. “Where’s mommy?”

He gently picked up the whimpering bundle and cradled her in his arms while he walked around the house looking for his wife.

“Honey? Where are you?”

The house was small so it wasn’t long before he found her outside on the back porch.

“Oh, there you are.” He noticed she was wiping tears away. “Everything ok?”

Suhaila looked up and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine … now. I … I’ve just been remembering my mom. I miss her.”

Alec stepped closer and held her hand as Suhaila began to cry again.

“Somehow, ever since Leslie was born, mom has been in my thoughts non-stop…. I can’t push the memories of her away any more…. I have to find her! I need to hug her and tell her how sorry I am! … Will you help me find her, Alec?”

Since they had been together, Suhaila had always made it clear that she had no intention of contacting her parents. She wanted nothing to do with them and had resisted Alec’s offer to track them down before their wedding. Now she was begging for his help. Motherhood had affected her emotions for sure, but he hadn’t expected this.

“Of course I will! I’ll have someone in my department look into it first thing tomorrow.”

Suhaila got up out of the rocker and hugged him as tears continued to make their way down her cheeks. Alec rubbed her back and held her close. She meant everything to him! He would search for her parents if it took the rest of his life, though he was sure it wouldn’t take that long.

The sun was setting now but the moon could already be seen over the horizon. Alec and Suhaila sat on the wooden porch steps while Leslie snuggled in her daddy’s left arm. They leaned against each other, her head on his strong shoulder, his right hand holding her left one. As they watched the moon rise, Alec began to sing,

“‘I would fly to the moon in a rubber balloon, anything for my baby.'”

Suhaila laughed as she always did when he sang that song, then gave him an extra-tight squeeze and kissed his cheek.

“I love you too,” she said.

This fiction piece was written using the following prompt from Write on Edge: …you have 500 words to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, which includes the phrase “to the moon.”

Thoughts in a Cell

You can read more about Robert here.
The echo of the heavy door slamming shut reverberated in the small cell. Robert shook as he trudged to the bench and sat, fear of what awaited him in jail rising in his heart. He should have known that sooner or later he might get caught! He leaned against the brick wall and tried to recall how he had gotten into this mess in the first place.
“Man, listen. All you have to do is drop this package at this address. That’s it. No strings attached. Once it’s dropped I’ll pay you. Simple.” Jake tried hard to convince Robert.
“I dunno, man.”
“Look, I’ll pay you up front, just because you’re my friend, ok?” Robert watched as Jake took out a wad of hundreds and began counting them off. He did need the money. Student loans were weighing heavily on him and he was currently between jobs. Yet something was making him hesitate.
Jake handed him the money and the package. “Don’t tell anyone that I paid you up front.” He lowered his voice. “I’m not supposed to do that.”
Hesitantly Robert took them. It was too late to back out now. “Ok, Jake. I’ll do it this once.”
“Thanks, man. I owe you one.”
Though he hadn’t planned on continuing, Robert found himself doing more jobs for Jake. Each involved delivering the same size package to different places and he was always paid well – too well, he thought.  He always told himself it would be the last, but whenever Jake asked, Robert relented.
“Look where it got me,” he thought. “I should have listened when my inner voice told me not to take this one.” The last drop had been at a shady-looking building that was covered in graffiti and falling apart. Even as he drove up to it, the urge to turn the car around had never been stronger. It took several deep breaths and all his courage to go in – and he had been caught! The undercover agent who had been waiting for the drop arrested him immediately.
Suddenly the cell door opened. “You’re free to go,” his arresting officer said.
“What? Why?”
“Your bail has been paid.”
Still shaking but grateful to be out, Robert determined he would never again do anything that would make him see the inside of a prison cell. Ever!
 
This fiction piece was written for Write on Edge‘s meme Red Writing Hood.

A Mother Remembered

You can meet Suhaila and her parents in this post.

It was a warm spring day. Outside the birds were singing. A gentle breeze wove its way through the trees in the garden. It was her first Mother’s Day. As she lay in bed cuddling her small daughter, thoughts of another mother entered her mind.
The first memory is of sitting on her mother’s lap, reading story after story. She can still see the bedroom they sat in; it had been her room. Though small, it was beautifully decorated. The child-size bed in the corner wore a quilt of down, made in white with tiny pink flowers on it. The dresser had been painted pink, a rough job done by someone who didn’t quite know how to paint; drips were still visible along the edges. On top of the dresser was an antique lamp that had been rescued from yard sale leftovers that were being thrown out. The tiny window was trimmed with handmade curtains, obviously stitched by hand. In one corner was a cozy chair artistically draped with an old handmade quilt in order to hide the torn and faded upholstery. That was the chair they sat in every evening. She remembers the smell of her mother’s hair, how its waves fell around her face, how beautiful her smile always was.
The memory faded and another took its place. She was older, about 5. She remembers the handmade doll her mother had given her for her birthday. She had loved that doll so much! She would carry it around in her arms, feed it, and pat it to sleep.
Tears began to flow from Suhaila’s eyes. She tried hard to push the memories away. For years she had been able to block them out, but now that she was a mother herself, the memories had resurfaced and she couldn’t stop them. She cried quietly so as not to wake the baby lying next to her and allowed the next memory to come.
She couldn’t remember exactly how old she had been in this one – maybe 7 or 8. The incident that caused her to be upset was long forgotten but she was sure it had something to do with kids teasing her at school. All she remembers is going home in tears and her mother holding her, listening to her story, comforting her with soft words and her favorite cookies.
The baby began to stir and Suhaila lightly rubbed her back until she settled down again. Why were the memories of her childhood affecting her so much? Why had they come back so strongly, beginning during her pregnancy and now continuing more than ever since the birth of Leslie Rose? Why couldn’t she ignore them as she had before?
Getting up from the bed, Suhaila left the bedroom and went outside onto the small porch at the back of the house. She sat in a refurbished antique rocking chair and allowed herself to relive yet another memory.
This one, though, wasn’t so nice. Her mother was in it too – the only bad memory she had of her. She was 17 and had fallen in with some friends who were leading her down a dangerous path – one of lying and stealing. Her mother had found out about her shoplifting an expensive necklace and had made her return it and apologize to the owner of the shop. The embarrassment she had felt at being made to do so upset her so much that she and her mother had the biggest fight they had ever had, ending with her mother saying she wished Suhaila wasn’t her daughter.
They were words spoken in anger, words that had burned inside her and cemented her decision – she would run away and make sure she was never found. That evening Suhaila had packed a bag and left before her parents even went to bed.
By now Suhaila was weeping bitterly. She knew in her heart that her mother had spoken the words out of frustration and disappointment, but she hadn’t meant them. She knew her mother had been waiting for her to calm down, and then she would have apologized as she always did. She had wanted to make her mother suffer, but now she was the one suffering.
“Mom, I’m so sorry for the pain I now know you must still be enduring. I wish I could take it all back!” At that moment Suhaila made another life-altering decision – she would do whatever it took to track down her parents. She just had to see her mother again!

This fiction piece was written for the following promt from Story Dam:

Dam Burst Prompt:
Fiction or Non – Fiction, Tell us the best or worst mother story whether your own, someone else’s, or completely made up. …

Moonglow



source

 The elderly couple stood silently on the beach, his arms wrapped around his wife as they both faced the rolling waves, allowing the breeze to refresh them after a hot day. Above them the setting sun gave way to a glorious moonrise, casting a soft glow on the landscape as the full moon reached its zenith.

Each was lost in their own thoughts – memories of times long past that held special meaning to them.

                                                            ***

“What do you think of Suhaila?” Ellen gently stroked her newborn’s hair, never taking her eyes off the baby. She smiled the smile of a mother who was already in love with her firstborn. She cuddled her daughter close and inhaled deeply – ahh, the scent of a newborn. The bond between mother and child was growing stronger by the second.

“I don’t know. Is that really a name?”

“Of course it is,” she chuckled. “It is an Indian girl’s name and it means “moonglow”. My college roommate was named Suhaila.”

“Oh, ok … I guess I kind of like it.” Jim shook his head from side to side, as if trying to make a decision – did he really like the name?

“What made you think of that name?” Jim asked.

“Oh … just the memory of our first night together at that beach, remember? Under the moonlight?”

“That evening is one of my favorite memories. Ok, I like the name much better now. Suhaila you are, my love,” said Jim as he took the baby from his wife’s arms and cuddled her close.

                                                         ***

Jim chased the volleyball as it went out of bounds. Jogging to the spot where it sat, he almost tripped over the ball as he locked eyes with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. His buddies were shouting for him to “just bring the ball already”, but as he picked it up and returned to the game, he couldn’t help but glance back. She was still there, making it plainly obvious that she was interested in him.

Back in the game, Jim tried to play, but she had walked over to the court, never taking her eyes off him, and stood right in his line of sight. The ball came his way but instead of hitting it, it smacked him in the head, causing groans and curses from his teammates. He couldn’t ignore her any longer. Jim left the game and walked to where she stood.

“Hi, I’m, uh, Jim,” he said, mentaly kicking himself for not being bolder.

“Hi Jim, I’m Ellen.” She smiled coyly and his knees went soft. “Are you coming to the beach party tonight?”

“I, um … yeah, I guess so,” he stammered.

“See you there then,” she winked. He knew in that moment he had found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Hopefully he wouldn’t be nervous and not know what to say to her.

                                                        ***

Jim hugged his wife tighter and sighed.

“What are you thinking about?” Ellen inquired.

“Oh, I was remembering the day we met – the best day of my life!” he replied as he kissed her cheek.

Ellen smiled. How could she forget the day she met the blundering fool who became her life partner and best friend? That very evening he had worked up the courage to ask her to marry him and she had said yes, though they only actually went through with it three years later.

“What about you?” asked Jim.

“I was just remembering the day Suhaila was born and how happy we were. Seeing the moon always reminds me of her.”

Silence ensued. The crashing waves only increased the sadness both felt rising, as tears welled in Ellen’s eyes.

“Will we ever see her again?”

This fiction piece was written for the following promt from Story Dam:

Dam Burst Prompt:
Fiction or Non-Fiction, show us what is waiting for the full moon. Extra points for mixing mystery with romance.

Mommy Magic

Four year old Mandy stood quietly, watching the automatic doors slide open and closed. Open and close, open and close – so rhythmic, so magical. “I wonder how they do that?” she thought.

She watched as a lady with an empty cart walked through them. “Where did she go?” Mandy wondered after the doors closed. Suddenly they didn’t seem so magical; they were downright scary!

Her mother walked up with the cart. “Come, Mandy.” She gripped her mother’s hand tightly as they strolled towards the doors. As they got closer, she pulled back and stopped.

“What’s wrong, sweetie? Come, we don’t have a lot of time.”

“We can’t go in there, Mommy.”

“Why not?”

“It’s scary. I don’t like it.”

“Mandy, we come here every week. You have been through those doors since before you could walk. Why are they scary now?”

“That lady went in and when the doors closed, she disappeared. They ate her up!” Mandy looked at her mother. “I don’t want to be eaten too.”

“I understand,” said Mother, “they do look a bit scary.” She knew her daughter had a wild and very active imagination. “How about if we play a game while we shop? Would that help?”

“Which game, Mommy?”

“Well, let’s pretend that the shop is really a magic garden and you can be the princess.”

Mandy loved princesses so it wasn’t hard to convince her to play the game. She held her mother’s hand tightly and closed her eyes while they walked through the doors. Once inside, Mandy looked around. This wasn’t the grocery store – where was she?

The walls were stone, as were the floors. The ceiling was so high she could hardly see it. On one side of the dark room, some lights twinkled. Mandy walked closer and watched as the lights grew until, to her delight, a beautiful girl appeared in front of her.

“Who are you?” Mandy inquired.

“I’m Sparkle, a fairy.”

“You’re a fairy? I though fairies were tiny.”

“We can change size when we want to. I chose to be your size so we can play together easier. Come, let’s go play outside.”

Sparkle held Mandy’s hand and together they ran to the doors, which opened on their own. Outside was a huge garden with the greenest grass and the prettiest flowers Mandy had ever seen. They passed the time picking flowers, rolling in the grass, chasing butterflies and dancing. Mandy also discovered that anything she touched would sparkle and light up.

After a while, Sparkle said it was time for Mandy to go home.

“Will I see you again?”

“Of course you will,” smiled Sparkle. “Every time you visit the grocery store.” They walked towards the huge doors, then Sparkle waved and disappeared. Mandy closed her eyes as she walked through the doors that opened on their own. When she opened them, she was outside the shop again, walking with her mommy.

“Did you have fun?” asked Mother.

“Lots! I can’t wait to come shopping again so I can visit with Sparkle.”

Mother smiled to herself and took a deep breath. This had been the easiest shopping trip ever, thanks to Sparkle.

This fiction piece was written in response to the prompt below from Story Dam.

Dam Burst Prompt:
Write fiction or non-fiction, tell us what lies on the other side of the door. Will you take door number two or door number one? What magical wonders are just waiting for you to step through?

P.S. While writing this I was thinking of recently when my 4 year old son freaked out when I tried to get him on an elevator. He was terrified and sadly, nothing could convince him that is was safe to go on, so we had to walk down four flights of stairs at the mall. Did I mention that I had my two girls with me? Not fun.

P.P.S. The doors I had in mind were not elevator doors but those large automatic doors most grocery stores have.

Anger Defused

His crossed arms answered her question before he spoke.

“No, I won’t do it. What if I get caught?”

“You won’t! Stop being such a wuss!” She gave her little brother a disdainful stare and crossed her own arms. “Now are you in or out?”

He couldn’t believe it! Here was the sister he had always looked up to asking him to commit a felony, just so she could get back at her cheating boyfriend. His body shook at the thought of being caught … again.

“I’m sorry, Lil. I hate Rex for what he did to you but I refuse to do something that could get me arrested!”

“Why won’t you do this one little thing for me? I’ve always done whatever you asked me to do for you.” Lil flung her arms in the air then put her hands on her hips.

She paced crazily, all the while glaring at Robert, as if it would make him change his mind.

Robert turned his back to Lil and looked out the window. He hesitated, not wanting to tell her the truth yet.

“I just can’t do it. I can’t tell you why now; you will just have to trust me when I say that doing what you are asking would get me into a bigger heap of trouble than the time when you closed the garage door on dad’s brand new Corvette.”

Lil stopped her pacing and plopped on the couch, shaking her head. “I have yet to hear the end of that one. Dad still swears I did it on purpose because he refused to let me drive it.” she laughed. “Ok, fine, you win.” She threw her hands in the air to indicate that she was giving up the idea of stealing Rex’s car and burying it at the town dump. There had to be a better way to get back at him and she would come up with it and carry it out on her own.

Robert sat next to his sister and hugged her. His secret was safe for another day.

This fiction piece was written for Write on Edge‘s prompt More Than Words.

Growing Up

She stood in front of the mirror, looking older than her 13 years. She was still my baby, yet here she was, all dolled up and ready for her first dance.

Up until now, she has been the tomboyish type, always ready for a game of football with her father and brothers. She was good at it too, the best player on her team.

Then she had surprised me. She asked me to buy her something to wear to the dance.

In the store we searched the racks for the perfect dress. She tried on dress after dress, each more stunning than the first. It was like seeing her play dress-up for the first time and she was enjoying it.

Finally she selected a silk lavender gown. It was simple compared to the others – no fancy frills, layers of lace, or beads and sequins. No, this dress fell from a high waist under the bust straight to the floor and tied behind with a thin ribbon. The sleeves were open, flowing and airy.

“How does it feel?” I asked.

“Like an angel’s dress,” she said, twirling to see how it would flow. “Can I get some shoes too?”

“Of course,” I replied.

We made our way to the shoe store across the mall where she spotted the perfect shoes to match the dress. Having never worn heels, she wobbled a bit at first, but was soon walking in them like a pro. I told her how to break them in over the next few days so that she wouldn’t end up with painful blisters on what was supposed to be a fun night.

Friday afternoon she asked me to help her with her hair and makeup. As I worked, I relived her childhood. “How has it gone by so fast? How much longer will it be before she no longer wants me to be involved?” I wondered.

I brushed her long hair and skillfully plaited the french braids that wound their way around her head. “Remember when all she wanted me to do was pull her hair into a ponytail?” I laughed to myself. I had never been able to convince her to wear any other style, not even for special occasions.

My hands shook as I pulled out the makeup. “Steady now. I don’t want to have to do this twice,” I thought. First I applied the foundation, then soft pink eyeshadow, lined with lavender pencil. Light brown mascara, pink lipstick, and some glitter finished the job. My baby looked like a princess.

“Have a look,” I told her.

“Just a minute. I want to get dressed first.”

Returning to my room, she slowly made her way to the mirror and gasped, “I look beautiful!”

“You have always been beautiful to me,” I said, “but tonight, you look extra special. I know you will have a great night.”

“Thanks, Mom,” she said. And she hugged me longer than she had in a long time.

This fiction piece was written for Write on Edge‘s writing meme, Red Writing Hood.
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