Tag Archives: fiction

The List

It seemed like it had only been a few seconds earlier when the semitrailer truck jack-knifed across the icy highway, careening headlong into the Honda that Deborah had been driving. She didn’t even have time to scream.

Tunnel Light ImageOne of the highway patrolmen said: “Poor woman, she never had a chance.”

“It’s a shame,” agreed his partner.

Deborah watched as her body was transferred into an ambulance. She observed while hovering high above the ground. Then she realized that she was dead. At first she thought it was just a horrible nightmare that she’d awaken screaming from at any moment, but that moment never came.

Suddenly she was picked up, whisked away, and the next thing she knew she was flying through what appeared to be a long, dark, pitch black tunnel. She felt like she was being hurled forward at a very high speed which was so fast that she felt short of breath. This in itself seemed odd considering the fact that she was dead. Dead people shouldn’t be experiencing shortness of breath.

Gradually she slowed down. Then she noticed shadowy figures lined up on both sides of the tunnel. They were shrouded in the mists rising up from the bottom of the tunnel, but she was still able to recognize some of their faces. She saw her cousin Margaret who’d died of ovarian cancer five years ago; her Uncle Ned who’d been killed in the Vietnam War; her best friend Jennifer who’d been killed in an automobile accident; and her Grandma Jennings who’d died of a heart attack. They were all there, her dead relatives and friends, smiling at her, waving at her, and reaching out to her. But she couldn’t touch them.

Then a dim light appeared in front of her. As she came closer to the light, it became brighter and radiated an amazing warmth. It poured out a feeling of welcome. And there was something stronger. What was it? Yes – love. Unconditional love. She desperately wanted to go further toward the light. She knew that was where she was supposed to go. But it seemed she was only going slower.

“I want to go faster!” she pleaded.

“Not yet,” answered a voice.

She turned around to see who had spoken, but no one was there. There was only silence.

“What do you mean?”

The voice spoke.

“You must wait.”

“Why?”

“First we must check to see if you are on the list.”

“What list?”

Silence.

A very long time passed before the voice spoke again, and now it spoke like a patient teacher would speak when giving a student an answer that the teacher feels the student should already know.

“The list to get in.”

Deborah was shocked. The list to get in? She’d never thought that this was a possibility. She’d always assumed that when she died, she’d pass with ease into that realm where her loved ones were waiting for her.

Her mind began to reel with the reality of the situation. What if she wasn’t on the list? What if she couldn’t be with the people who loved her? How was she going to face such an awful fate by herself?

“How does a person get on the list?”

More time passed before the voice answered, as if trying to decide whether or not to tell her.

Finally the answer came.

“Good deeds.”

Good deeds? Was that all? That seemed so simple. Deborah was certain she had performed good deeds at some point in her life. She began to frantically search her memory, but couldn’t remember a single good deed.

Involuntarily, she began to move slowly backwards through the tunnel.

“No! Please, don’t take me away!” she pleaded.

“We’re sorry, but we don’t see your name on the list,” the voice boomed.

Deborah felt total despair.

Then she heard a bark and the panting of a dog beside her.

“Molly! Hi girl!” Deborah called, relieved at the friendly sound.

Molly was Deborah’s golden retriever who had died nine years before. Deborah had found Molly half-dead by the side of the road when she was puppy. She’d brought her home, nursed her back to health, and became her beloved mistress. Deborah had saved Molly’s life. And now Molly was going to save Deborah.

“Wait! My good deed! Molly’s my good deed!” Deborah cried out.

The voice boomed once more, and this time it sounded as though there were a smile within the voice.

“You are correct. You are on the list. Welcome home!”

Poolside Proposition

pool in evening 1

 

After an evening of poolside flirting, the man propositioned the naïve woman: “Want to skinny dip in the shallow end?”

She replied:  “I’m a good swimmer.  And I don’t know how skinny I have to be, but I’m willing to find out!”

 

 

 

Pandora’s Box

yeah write top three #217

 

pandoras-box1-300x240

 

Pandora was the young girl’s name,

For mankind’s ills she’s been to blame.

Unleashing evil is the claim.

It’s such a shame, it’s such a shame.

 

The box she had to see inside,

And when unlocked, it opened wide.

Then all the evil flew outside.

And then she cried, and then she cried.

 

Her fellow man she had betrayed,

With all the evils now displayed.

She knew an error grave she’d made.

She was afraid, she was afraid.

 

Pandora was in such despair.

Her grief was quite a lot to bear.

She looked once more and breathed a prayer,

For Hope was there, for Hope was there.

 

 

 

 

 

The Chimera Whine

 

“Daddy, I want that one!” whined Bobby as he pointed at the monster in the cage 100 yards away.

“But you can’t have the Chimera, dear. How about a nice tiger cub instead?” coaxed Mrs. Montague.

“No! That one!”

“I told you we should have gone to a pet shop,” said Mr. Montague.

 

 

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This prompt is brought to you by: Shapeshifting 13 #4 Kickoff

Chimera

noun, plural chimeras.

1. (often initial capital letter) a mythological, fire-breathing monster, commonly represented with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and serpent’s tail.

2. any similarly grotesque monster having disparate parts, especially as depicted indecorative art.

3. a horrible or unreal creature of the imagination; a vain or idle fancy: 

He is far different from the chimera your fears have made of him.

 

4. Genetics. an organism composed of two or more genetically distinct tissues, as an organism that is partly male and partly female, or an artificially produced individual having tissues of several species.

 

 

 

Heartbreak

This week’s word:  STEAM

Daphne kissed her parents goodbye before leaving them on the train platform and then reminded herself as she climbed the steps to the passenger car: Don’t turn around and look back; it will only be more difficult if you do. She had barely SONY DSCsettled into a seat which she’d deliberately chosen that did not face the platform before the train began to pull slowly out of the station.

In her mind, she replayed all the events of the past few months: the chance meeting with William, falling in love with him, his marriage proposal, her heart being broken when she discovered his infidelity, the terrible argument that followed between them which led to their breakup, her search for a position as a schoolteacher in a place farther from home in an attempt to get away, and the acquisition of just such a position in California – all the way across the country.

For the first time in her young life of nineteen years, Daphne was going to be alone and she wondered for the first time in months: Am I doing the right thing?

And just as the steam from the engine was rolling the train down the track, so too were the tears from Daphne’s eyes silently rolling down her cheeks.

 

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Be Careful What You Wish For

It seemed like any other ordinary day as Amy picked up her mail. She found a small pink envelope tucked in between the bills. She noticed that it was handwritten and addressed to Ms. Amy O’Hara with no return address. Inside the envelope Be careful what you wish for 1000was a pink note card which read: Today you have three wishes. Be careful what you wish for.

How odd, she thought. It must be a practical joke.

Since she was a student at the local community college, her thoughts turned to the upcoming biology exam. I wish I didn’t have to take this exam today. Just then her cell phone rang.

“Hi, Sue. What’s up?”

“Amy, don’t bother going to class today.”

“But we have the biology exam.”

“No, we don’t. It’s been canceled. Professor Emmers called in sick and there’s no sub available. How about going to the mall instead?”

“Sounds great. Let’s meet at the food court in twenty minutes.”

“Perfect. See you then.”

Amy went to grab her keys off the kitchen table. Then she saw the pink note card. That’s right – three wishes. Maybe the first one was the canceled biology class . . . how silly! There’s no such thing as wishes coming true. It’s just a coincidence, that’s all.

“Hi, Amy,” Sue greeted her. “Can you believe the biology exam was canceled?”

“Yeah, it’s great. Let’s go shopping; I need to find some new jeans.”

“Okay, let’s try Janet’s Closet.”

“Are you kidding? Their jeans cost a fortune, although I did see the perfect pair last week.”

“Why didn’t you buy them?”

“I couldn’t afford it. I wish they were cheaper so I could.”

“Well, let’s go in and see if we can find something – you never know.”

As they entered the store, a sales person came over to greet them.

“Hello. May I help you?”

“I’m looking for a pair of jeans. Do you have any on sale?” Amy asked hopefully.

“As a matter of fact, we do. I’ll show you what we have.”

They followed her to the back of the store. She pointed to a rack that was off in the corner.

“These are all the jeans on sale today. Please let me know if you find something.”

Amy and Sue walked over to the rack. As they were looking through the jeans, Sue pulled out a pair.

“Amy, look. They’re perfect for you.”

Amy looked up from what she was doing and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Sue was holding the expensive pair of jeans she’d wanted. She looked at the price, which was cut down to 75% off!

“These are the pair I wanted!”

“Wow! You’re really lucky today, Amy.”

As Amy was driving home through the noon hour traffic, she couldn’t help but think about the mysterious pink card and the events that had occurred – the exam being canceled, the jeans being on sale – were those two of the three wishes? It certainly seemed that way.

But I can’t believe there’s such a thing as being granted three wishes. I’m a logical person, and it just doesn’t seem logical! But still . . .

Her thoughts were interrupted by a traffic jam. Sure enough, the cars were now bumper to bumper. The noon rush hour traffic had begun. Soon the cars were at a standstill, and Amy’s car was at the very back of the line, with no cars behind her. It seemed to her as though the line of cars in front of her were stretched as far as she could see and beyond.

If there was one thing Amy hated, it was rush hour traffic. She wasn’t a patient person, and soon she felt irritated beyond measure.

Are we ever going to move again? I’d really like to get home and get in some studying time. I know the exam we missed today will be given tomorrow. If I can get an hour’s worth of studying done, then I can sit on the deck and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Come on, come on . . . let’s get going! I wish someone would drive faster.

No sooner had the thought crossed her mind when Amy heard the sound of an engine racing. She looked in her rear view mirror and watched in horror as a black Explorer came speeding up towards her. Sitting behind the wheel was a man talking on his cell phone, and she knew he wouldn’t be able to stop in time.

Her final thought was: Be careful what you wish for . . .

 

 

 

 

The Last Goodbye

Megan’s heart ached as she watched the movers carry the last of the living room furniture through the front door of her great-grandmother’s house. The only people left in the room besides her were her older sister Beth, her mother, her grandmother Nana, and her great-grandmother, known as Granny Jo. A feeling of sadness hung heavily in the air, with the silence being broken only by the muffled sobs of Beth. Megan glanced at her mother and could see that she also felt it; her eyes brimming with tears.

Today was the day that Granny Jo was moving out of her house and into the nursing home.

Granny Jo was eighty-three years young – at least that’s what she said to anyone who inquired. She’d been living in the old house on the hill for the last fifty-eight years, and for fifty-two of those years she’d lived there with Grandpa Luke. Megan remembered Grandpa Luke vividly because he’d been such a character that he was difficult to forget. He had been tall and slim, with a full head of wavy white hair that never seemed to behave quite the way it was supposed to. Megan recalled the many times that Granny Jo would admonish him, “Luke, go comb your hair. It’s stickin’ out all over the place,” to which her great-grandfather would just grumble something unintelligible under his breath as he reluctantly shuffled off to do as his wife bid him. But he loved his wife and would do anything for her. He’d built her this house when they were newlyweds. He even put in a flower garden especially for her because he knew how much she loved flowers – lilies, chrysanthemums, morning glories, daisies, pansies – but especially the rose bushes.

Megan’s special memories of Grandpa Luke included sunshine-filled summers in the back yard when he pushed her on the swing which hung from one of the big apple trees, and of lazy afternoons lying on their backs together on the front lawn, trying to decide what kinds of things they imagined were being created by the white, fluffy clouds floating by in the blue skies overhead.

When Grandpa Luke died, her great-grandmother was taken by surprise. Never had she expected to wake up one day and find him lying cold and motionless beside her. She mourned her beloved husband for a very long time. Megan didn’t think she’d ever really gotten over Grandpa Luke’s death. Even now, Granny Jo still poured a cup of coffee for him every morning before she remembered that he was no longer there to drink it. And shortly after he died, everything began to change.

Granny Jo became more forgetful as time passed. There were instances when Megan and her mother would visit her, and Granny Jo couldn’t remember her name or her own daughter’s name. Sometimes she couldn’t even remember that they were relatives. One time she thought they were strangers who had invaded her home and threatened to call the police if they didn’t leave.

She also wasn’t taking the correct dosages of her medication. Either she’d forget to take it completely, or even worse, she’d take a double dose. One time Nana found her unresponsive and had to call the paramedics, all because she had double-dosed on her pills.

Then there was the time that she almost burned down her house. She’d been cooking on the stove. When she forgot about it, the pan caught on fire. It was a good thing that Nana had stopped by on her way home from church, or the whole house might have gone up in flames, and Granny Jo with it. Nana even had to call the fire department to extinguish the fire.

Megan knew that what her mother and Nana were saying was true. It was simply becoming too dangerous for Granny Jo to live alone. She probably would be better off in the nursing home where they could take better care of her and keep her safe.

But knowing what was right somehow didn’t make Megan feel any better. She only knew that the Granny Jo she had known and loved all her life was probably gone forever.

Megan also knew that she would never come back to swing from the apple tree in the back yard ever again. It was time to say goodbye to the old house on the big hill.

And in her heart, Megan also knew that she was saying goodbye to her childhood.

 

 

 

Making New Memories

 

This week’s word:  MEMORIES

 

Christina smiled tenderly as she gazed at the black and white image of the five barefooted children who were linked together by holding hands while looking out over the ocean.

Memories of her childhood came rushing back to her as she remembered those almost long-forgotten carefree days, washing over her just like the tide of that ocean washed over the shore on the day that photograph was taken. She remembered how life was so free and easy then, so much simpler and less complicated, and how stress wasn’t even a factor.

But tomorrow was going to be the beginning of a new life for her, a chance to start fresh, to finally break free of the bad memories that had been holding her hostage these past three years so that she could begin making good memories for herself and for her children.

And the first thing on their list was a trip to the ocean.

 

 

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This post is presented as part of Five Sentence Fiction.  

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