Weekly Short Stories Contest and Company! discussion

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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 258 (April 24-May 1). Stories. Topic: Mother

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message 1: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 5334 comments You have until May the 1st to post a story, and May 2-4 we’ll vote for which one we thought was best.

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

With Mothers' Day fast approaching, I thought this topic might help us pause and reflect on the role each of our mothers have played in our lives to date. Who knows, your poem may even form part of your gift. This week’s topic is: Mother


The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject but it must relate to the topic somehow.

This will be my last post as a mod. Thank you all for having me :)

Have fun!


message 2: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Excellent choice, Ryan. And thank you for everything you've done for the group. :)


message 3: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments My story this week will be called "Mama's Baby" and goes like this:

CHARACTERS:

Myles McCurdy, Geeky Millennial
Sydney McCurdy, Myles’ Mother
Amy Miller, Barista

PROMPT CONFORMITY: Sydney is Myles’s mother.

SYNOPSIS: While having lunch at a café with her son, Sydney senses that Myles is lonely in his life and tries to get him to flirt with Amy, the pretty barista behind the counter. Myles’ shyness takes over and he blocks out the conversation by putting on headphones and listening to “This Love” by Pantera. In a bold move, Sydney goes over to Amy to talk to her on Myles’ behalf. The geeky son is embarrassed with his mother’s actions and tries to walk away from the lunch.


message 4: by Marie (last edited Apr 23, 2015 11:52PM) (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welcome.

Title: A Lady's Hands
Author: Marie Krepps
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1455

Tying her black locks back with a faded ribbon, Iris peered into the magnifying lens, adjusting the piece of glass on the work table. Then she searched through the crisp, new-looking accessories bag, her nimble fingers finding the blade in seconds. Did Master never use the shed anymore? Had he ever used these tools in the first place? She slid the blade into the finger-bot until it clicked into place. The cheery computer voice was quick to inform her which accessory she now used and went through the list of precautions when operating the tool but Iris ignored the harsh voice.

Working with her hands to create her glass art brought memories of her mother to the surface. Iris remembered her soothing but rough hands. A Lord’s wife should never have rough hands, should never do any sort of labor, not when there were plenty of servants to be had. But Iris’s mother had enjoyed cooking. She was always her happiest when in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and patting out meat with her own hands. She held a tiny smile when she pulled a savory meal from the oven.

Their kitchen had all the latest appliances. Iris’s father bought every new device there was. He was all about appearances and Lords and Ladies could only ever have the best. But since he never set foot in the kitchen, a servant’s place, he never knew. He didn’t know the Culinary Wonder sat in a back corner, covered in dust. The electronic meat grinder was draped in an old towel, a container of sugar atop it. Her father never knew that the various expensive kitchen tools were unused because he wouldn’t come near them. Just as he never knew his wife’s hands were rough because he never touched them.

“A woman should always have one thing that she does well. One thing that she can be proud of without being vain. I will teach you to cook and we will see if that is your pride as well.”

She’d been unusually tall, with blonde hair and piercing green eyes. As a small child, Iris had felt intimidated by her. Her mother was always so quiet and aloof when they were together as a family. Family outings, meals and reading by the gas fire in the evening were solemn events. Iris had to be quiet and still. If she became fidgety, her father would become very cross.

But sometimes, when her mother wasn’t out doing whatever it was Ladies did, or in the kitchen, she would find Iris and take her outdoors. If her father wasn’t home, Iris could run and play as loudly and freely as she wished, her mother looking on with her tiny smile. She so rarely smiled and Iris would feel such a bubble of joy in her chest when she did.

When Iris was seven she realized that her mother was unhappy. When she was nearly nine she realized that her father was afraid of her mother. And when she was ten, she understood why.

“Principal Mullen once said that it was a real thing long ago, but my teacher says that majik is a fairy tale. How can it be real?”
“It’s always been real, my little pumpkin.” Little pumpkin had been her mother’s special nickname for her, something Iris missed hearing.
“I’m afraid, mother! Father won’t like this. It isn’t ladylike!”
At that, her mother had tried her smile but even as a girl, Iris saw that it was forced. She saw the worry in her mother’s eyes. “You can never tell him. It’s something that he cannot understand. It scares him.”
And she showed Iris her own majik and suddenly she understood. It all made sense to her now.


Children are observant creatures. Why adults think them simple is beyond me. Children see what adults cannot, or perhaps what they refuse to see, Iris thought now as she held the miniscule piece of orange glass up to the lamp. She didn’t like the way one side was shaped, so she carefully placed it back on the worktable and leaned over the finger bot again, her rough hands turning the dial in the tiniest of increments, the blade cutting ever so slowly and carefully.

She could hear someone approaching from the yard. Quickly turning the finger-bot off, Iris snatched up the blade and deposited it back in the accessories bag. Her eyes scanned the worktable, searching desperately for the soldering accessory that she knew she’d taken out. The footsteps were closer.
Oh, please don’t let it be Master!
She found the last accessory, put it up, and with one careful sweep of her hand, pushed all the pieces of broken glass into a burlap bag. She knew just how to do it so she wouldn’t cut herself. Master wouldn’t tolerate any blemish on her body, even a small cut.
She turned just as the door was pushed open. Only to see Milla, the head servant, enter. Iris breathed a sigh of relief and immediately pulled her write-pad and stylus from her apron.

“Do you realize what time it is, girl? I’ve told you over and over again to check the clock on that thing when you’re out here!” The robust woman gestured impatiently to Iris’s write-pad.

She glanced down at it now, the tiny digits in the upper right-hand corner stating that it was after 5 pm. Giving Milla a stricken look, Iris quickly wrote on the screen, I’m so sorry, not even waiting for the words to translate to the clean, bold type before showing it to the middle aged woman.

“Yes, yes. You’re just lucky that I like you or I’d have you punished again.”
Iris had to suppress a smile. Being locked in her room all night was hardly punishment. Other slaves would kill for such a punishment. But as it was, no one could lay a finger on her.

Milla escorted her back into the mansion through the servant’s entrance, ushering her into the kitchen to wash up. As she scrubbed her fingers over the sink, Milla typed the menu on the message board, the kitchen servants rolling their eyes and shaking their heads as she did so. Then the head servant read the list out loud, unnecessarily and at a volume that every servant in the house could surely hear. And suddenly she was at Iris’s elbow again.

“Are you nearly through with that little project of yours that is now taking up all your free time?”

Iris reached for her write-pad, realized her hands were still soaked, and just shook her head. She was nowhere near done with her “project”. She had permission from Master to use his tools and free time to create her art, but only Milla knew what she was making and who it was for. And Iris had sworn her to secrecy. The older woman had a sharp tongue but Iris knew that deep down, Milla did actually like her.

Burying her hands in flour at the table, Iris thought of her mother again. She glanced at her hands as she kneaded dough. The skin of her palms were rough. The backs of her hands were dry from being washed so often. Hadn’t they always been the hands of a worker, even when she had been called a Lady? Not that her father had ever called her a Lady. Since her mother’s death and the loss of her voice, he’d rarely spoken to her at all.

What would her mother think of her current situation? Iris grinned. She wouldn’t be sorry for me. She raised me to make the best out of every situation. And I am. I’m lucky to be here, in this house, with these kind people and a generous Master. It could have been so much worse. No, mother wouldn’t be sorry for me one bit.

And Iris realized, a bit sadly, why. As a rich and well respected Lady, her mother had been miserable. But Iris, as a lowly slave, was actually happy with her life.

I’ll make you proud, mother. Not with riches or a title, but by trying my best to make everyone around me happy. If I could find a way to lift Master’s spirits and show him the simple joys of this world, perhaps I can better his life somehow. That would make it all worth it to me.

Iris cupped her dough into biscuits and laid them out on a pan while the hated message board called out orders in its annoying, robotic voice. The smile she held wasn’t tiny, but lit up her entire face, making her eyes sparkle and creating a dimple in her cheek. Master just loved her biscuits.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Here is my short story submission for the topic: Mother. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

(This is basically a short, simple, children's story. Hope you enjoy!)

Tea for Three by Melissa Andres
Word count: 303

She poured the dark, sweet liquid, careful not to spill a drop.

"You must always stick your pinky out like so, Madeleine," Katherine Anne demonstrated. "Makes the tea taste better," she added, followed by a giggle.

Madeleine, dressed in a beautiful lavender lace dress, was proper in her response. Silence during tea-time lesson with a polite smile was encouraged.

The small table was beautifully adorned. An ivory linen cloth was laden with pale blue antique china dishes and matching tea cups. A tin of vanilla cookies served as the centerpiece.

"I'm so glad you could join me today, Madeleine, dear," Katherine Anne said. "Who needs anyone else to come to our party?"

Madeleine continued her sweet smile.

A knock on the door caused Katherine Anne to jump; startled. She spilled her tea, staining the ivory cloth.

Tears emerged in her wide, soft brown eyes.

Madeleine fell from her chair to the floor.

"Hello, Miss Katherine Anne. I'm a bit late but am here to accept your kind invitation to tea."

"Mommy, it's ruined," Katherine Anne pouted.

"Nonsense, sweetie," Mommy smiled as she returned the displaced paper cup to its matching plate and wiped up the 'imaginary' tea. "Tea for two is never ruined when you are enjoying the other person's company."

Katherine Anne smiled weakly. "I guess so." Suddenly she remembered Madeleine. "But, it's tea for three though," she said, pointing to the plush beige carpet.

Mommy gently picked up the rag doll and placed her in Katherine Anne's lap. "Now I have even more company to enjoy," she said as she picked up a Saltine cracker from the center of the table with a smile.

What a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon -- at a grand tea party with a four-year-old hostess and her rag doll friend!


message 6: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Melissa wrote: "Here is my short story submission for the topic: Mother. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

(This is basically a short, simple, children's story. Hope you enjoy!)

Tea for Three by Melissa Andres
Wo..."


What a sweet story. I can just imagine the little girl's pouting face when her "tea" spills.


message 7: by Edward (last edited Apr 25, 2015 01:43AM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments I've got my sister visiting from the UK for a fortnight so my story might show up later in the week. Still, I'll try to read everyone's story and review as usual.

Ryan, will you still be posting poems?


message 8: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Ryan wrote: "You have until May the 1st to post a story, and May 2-4 we’ll vote for which one we thought was best.

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used i..."


Ryan, I'm so sorry to hear you won't be the mod any more. I hope you'll still continue to contribute -- I love reading anything you write! (even if I don't always comment on it). Thanks for being a great mod!


message 9: by Anne (last edited Apr 25, 2015 10:04AM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Title: Mom's Cactus
Genre: Memoir, humor

I've had this story under My Writing for several months, so it may be familiar to some, but it hasn't been entered in any of our weekly contests. It seemed appropriate for this week's topic. It's a true story of life with mom & her cactus.

Some people have pets. Mom had her cactus.

Mom loved her cactus.

I hated it.

It was a bulbous monstrosity, ready to attack the unaware with it’s long spiky needles.

I was often the unaware.

She had been living in the house for 15 years before I moved in to help her in her declining years. The cactus never intruded on my existence until I had to help care for it. It was becoming too hard for her elderly hands.

“Mom, why don’t we move it away from here?” The plant lived directly outside the side door to the garage and was literally, a thorn in my side. I looked around to consider other options.

She glared at me.

This was typical. She had two looks that she used the most: The Glare or The Blank Stare. The Glare was delivered with lips slightly turned down and denoted disapproval, as in “Absolutely Not.”

The Blank Stare worked for almost everything else. Totally devoid of expression, it could mean “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or “I can’t believe you just said that.” Sometimes I thought I detected underlying sarcasm that could be inferred as “What do you THINK…?” implying a higher than usual level of stupidity on my part.

The Looks were her preferred mode of communication. They saved her a lot of time talking and answering questions, which she avoided whenever possible. Sometimes she would grace me with a gesture, saving me from a Look. The Gesture might be a slight movement of the head to the side, a twitch of the shoulders, or a hand motion. Interpretation depended on context.

I never understood why the cactus had to be housed right there. Of course the door swung open in the opposite direction from the cactus. We walked in and out of that door several times a day eight months of the year to do yard work, gardening, and weeding. We grew vegetables and flowers and tended them as carefully as babes in a nursery.

As soon as I stepped out that door, the needles attacked my legs. It was like having a pet porcupine.

The first time I eyed it with the intention of planting a kick, mom grabbed my arm. Oh, yeah, she could read my mind, too.

By the end of the summer, I looked like a cutter -- someone that takes a knife to themselves to express self-hate. I was afraid to wear shorts when I was around other people.

The arm grab was sometimes accompanied by a finger flick that meant “Watch where you’re going.”

The cactus had one redeeming quality. It bloomed. A lot. The first time I saw it extend its stalk, mom pointed to it and said, “It’s going to be a flower tomorrow.”

This was True Cactus Love, since she actually spoke words to me about it. The next day we went out and sure enough, the large delicate pale pink-lavender petals were wide open, embracing the sun and sky. It reminded me of a Venus Fly-trap ready to snare the unwary. What would happen if an insect landed there? I was afraid to touch it.

Mom wore a rarely seen, ear-to-ear smile usually reserved for those proudly giving birth to a firstborn (not me).

I was jealous. The cactus made out better than I did.

From then on it became a game. We bet on how many flowers that cactus could bestow on us at one time. That first summer we counted ten. Mom won, of course. They only lasted a day, but they were beautiful. I took pictures. I could almost like the thing when it bloomed.

I thought of a new strategy.

Mom spent a lot of time looking out the rear picture window at the fruits of our labors when she couldn’t do anything else.

“Mom, you can’t see the cactus when you’re inside. If we MOVE it over THERE, you won’t have to go out to look at it. You can enjoy it from right here.”

Most importantly, it wouldn’t be lurking near the doorway, waiting to pounce on me.

She gave me the Blank Look.

I dragged the plant across the yard anyway – it was almost too heavy for me to lift - and set it down in a bare patch near the geraniums. I thought it looked great. When I went back inside, I got the Glare.

We went out and she supervised to make sure I dragged it back to its summer home just outside the garage door. In the winter, it lived on a small round table inside the side door, where it delighted in assaulting my arms when I went to use the winter supplies kept there. All things, including the cactus, had an assigned place where they belonged.

Each year it got bigger and bloomed more; our highest count was 24 at one time. Each blossom was a picture of perfection, each identical to the next. We ooh’ed and aah’ed together. I took more pictures. The cactus became a bond we shared. As long as it was flowering.

I’d been there for almost ten years when we noticed the cactus was desperately seeking to escape its prison. The sturdy pot had split open near the top on one side. Mom pointed, meaning “It needs a bigger pot.” Her Look clearly implied this was my job. I upped her look with my own that meant “You’ve got to be kidding.”

Wearing heavy duty rubber gloves four sizes too large and wielding the largest knife I’d ever seen, I tried to pry the cactus loose. No luck. It had spread out in all directions and was hanging well over the lip. There was nothing to grab on to except needles. Sitting on the ground with the pot between my feet, I held the knife in both hands above the monster. I leaned forward, aiming to split the thing in half like a watermelon. Mom grabbed my arm to stop me.

“Wha-at? Do you want me to try to break the pot, mom?” I would need a sledgehammer.

No. The cactus would have to suffer in its pot-bound misery. It continued to flower anyway, although not as profusely. It was one tough plant. I had to respect its tenacious hold on life. It was much like mom.

Mom was a realist. As much as she loved it, she expected it to die soon. Her relationship with the cactus seemed to reflect her feelings about her own mortality as she grew weaker each year. The summer before she died, I pushed it across the yard one more time so she could see it through the window. One budding stalk was about to burst open. Her big brown eyes watered. This was her sad look. I knew what she was begging me for. I moved it back. She no longer mentioned it.

I was with mom and her cactus for twelve years. When mom died, my sister and I agreed it was time to send the cactus to its heavenly reward. Afterwards, I noticed four small pots tucked along the side of the house.

I stared at my sister in horror. “Did you do that?”

“Well, I couldn’t just let it die completely.”

She had cut off and planted several small cactus nodules.

“You’re taking them home with you. Don’t you DARE leave them here.”

I gave her my best Glare, but we broke down laughing. No one could do it like mom.

So my sister is growing baby cacti. Mom is no doubt tending the beloved cactus that I sent her way. And I’ve got a great framed picture of 24 cactus flowers on my wall, which in my opinion, is exactly where they belong.


message 10: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments What a lovely story. I enjoyed the parallels you made between the cactus and your mother. Great writing!


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Marie - What an excellent story! Here I was feeling sorry for this poor girl throughout your story with all the sadness that emotion churning inside. I loved your ending! People can be happy in any situation. Seems as, with some, it just comes naturally. Loved this!

And, thank you for your kind comment on my story as well.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne, I remember reading this wonderful story a while back in your Creative Writing section. It is just wonderfully excellent! I know your Mom is looking down from Heaven and praising God for how wonderful you are! Bravo!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Ryan - Sorry to see that you will no longer be a moderator but I hope you will stick around and contribute to the group. I always love your encouraging comments -- not just for me but for everyone else as well!!


message 14: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welcome.

Title: A Lady's Hands
Author: Marie K..."


This was kind of sweet - I liked that you referred to Iris's secret project and working on her art, which somehow made things feel sinister until you revealed at the end what she was working on. Good job.


message 15: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Melissa wrote: "Here is my short story submission for the topic: Mother. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

(This is basically a short, simple, children's story. Hope you enjoy!)

Tea for Three by Melissa Andres
Wo..."


Another sweet story. It looks like this week might be pretty saccharine, so I'll make sure my story is creepy to balance it out. I enjoyed the childlike innocence of this story, even the terror of spilling the imaginary tea. Very good.


message 16: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Anne wrote: "Title: Mom's Cactus
Genre: Memoir, humor

I've had this story under My Writing for several months, so it may be familiar to some, but it hasn't been entered in any of our weekly contests. It se..."


Nice comparisons between the mother and the cactus. Even better if this is based on real events. It's always great when a story is based on actual events, especially when it is witty and unusual.


message 17: by Anne (last edited Apr 25, 2015 02:34PM) (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welcome.

Title: A Lady's Hands
Author: Marie K..."


Very interesting - I'm fascinated by the girl who ended up a slave (I wonder at the story behind THAT!) and learned about what's really important in life from her mother.
I was also curious about the reference to magik - did mother & daughter share some special powers? Perhaps that's explained elsewhere in your book? I would enjoy reading more of this...:)
There's something about your story that makes me think this gal might have some ulterior stuff going on, but maybe that's my imagination running amok.


message 18: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Melissa wrote: "Here is my short story submission for the topic: Mother. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome!

(This is basically a short, simple, children's story. Hope you enjoy!)

Tea for Three by Melissa Andres
Wo..."


What a lovely short story -- you do a great job of capturing the moment and the feelings perfectly in so few words!


message 19: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welcome.

Title: A Lady's Hands
A..."



Sinister? How do you mean?


message 20: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Anne wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welcome.

Title: A Lady's Hands
A..."



Thanks for your kind comment!
Yes, there is a lot going on in the novel itself: majik, slavery, futuristic sci-fi gadgets, a mysterious immortal, and a growing love story through it all. I really need to find the time to sit down and write this one cause it's a doozy!


message 21: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Melissa wrote: "Marie - What an excellent story! Here I was feeling sorry for this poor girl throughout your story with all the sadness that emotion churning inside. I loved your ending! People can be happy in ..."


Thanks Melissa, that is exactly what the story was trying to convey. You can find happiness in any situation if you know where to look: inside yourself.
Thanks for the comment!


message 22: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Mama's Baby
GENRE: Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,314
RATING: PG for swearing



The end of Myles McCurdy’s first year of college was on the horizon. He was getting the A’s and B’s he worked so hard for, and even then something didn’t sit right with him. The shaggy-haired millennial and his robust mother Sydney sat across from each other at the Blue Jay Café eating ham sandwiches and sipping unsweetened iced teas.

It was a perfect day to sit in such a quiet and cozy café with the sun shining and the bird decorations hanging everywhere. The baristas who served coffee behind the counter made for great eye candy, but love was the last thing on Myles’s mind.

Myles did his best to hide his frustrations from his mother, but she had been raising him for all 19 years of his life; she could tell whenever something was wrong. Sydney asked him, “Don’t you normally meet your friends up here for lunch?”

“I don’t have any friends, Mom.”

Sydney stopped eating her sandwich and gave her son a “You’re kidding me” look. Her own son had gone through an entire year of college without making one friend. “Doesn’t that get lonely sometimes?”

“Every damn day, Mom. But what am I supposed to do? I can’t just go up to some random guy and go, ‘Hi, do you want to be my friend? Dur-dur-dur!’” the latter part Myles said in a mocking bass voice.

“You don’t have to go up to some random guy, Myles. You could join a social club. You could pair up on an assignment with someone from class. You could even go to the bar and, oh wait, you’re not 21 yet, never mind.”

Myles shook his head “no” and buried his face in his hands while gathering his next words together. “Just once I’d like someone to approach me. I’ll say yes to anybody at this point, I’m just not sure if anybody will say yes to me. I mean, look at me. I’m the most awkward guy on campus. Who would want me as their friend?”

He often was the most awkward guy on campus with his shaggy hair, thick-rimmed glasses, oversized Pantera shirt, and tight black pants. Nobody would figure out this guy was into heavy metal unless he wore a band shirt on that particular day.

Sydney smiled at Myles and held his hand in hers despite his flat-tire noise protests. “Listen to me. You’re selling yourself way too short. You don’t have enough self-esteem and part of that is your father’s fault with the way he treated you. But we’re divorced now, so I was hoping college would be a fresh start in your life. It’s a mark of independence and yet you still depend on other people to keep your friendships alive.”

Myles didn’t know what to say to any of that. He just looked down at his sandwich and continued eating. His eating speed picked up a little bit since he now wanted to get out of this café as soon as possible.

“I have an idea, Myles,” said Sydney. “There’s a pretty barista behind the counter over there. Go talk to her and start some kind of conversation. It’ll be the start of something good. I promise you.”

“You can give me all the promises you want, but it’s not going to mean much if she says no to me. Besides, she’s a barista. She has better things to do with her time than talk to me, such as making coffee for the other customers,” said a whiny Myles.

“There you go, selling yourself short again. Okay, fine, don’t talk to her. But if you don’t make your own friends, I’m going to make them for you. Excuse me for a minute,” said Sydney as she got up from her seat with her knees and hips popping from old age.

“Mom, what are you doing?” asked Myles before it finally dawned on him what was going on. “Oh, no, no, no, no, no!” he said silently to himself as he pulled out his iPod to try to drown out the conversation. With his buds planted firmly in his ears, all he could hear was Phil Anselmo’s voice screaming at him to “Keep this love!”

His mother’s words along with those of the pretty brunette barista with “Amy” on her nametag fell on deaf ears. It was Sydney’s pointing at Myles that prompted the embarrassed millennial to get out of his seat and stomp out of the café.

The only place where Myles could find any peace was sitting by the fountain outside the café. Phil Anselmo’s voice was really screaming at him now. In fact, the college reject could distinctly hear the words, “I’d kill myself for you. I’d kill you for myself.” The latter sentence was true: Myles was on the edge of committing matricide. The only reason why he didn’t do it was because he wasn’t a sociopath.

As “This Love” by Pantera was winding down, Myles’ ear buds were yanked out and the perpetrator came in the form of Amy, the beautiful coffee waitress who had his sandwich wrapped up in tinfoil. She said, “You might want to be careful holding this. It was kind of drippy getting it into the foil.”

“Thanks,” said a sarcastic Myles as he wrapped his earphone cords around his iPod.

Amy Miller took a seat next to him and said, “And just so you know, I also live with my mom even after graduating from college. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a part of who we are. You think I want to serve coffee for the rest of my life?”

“What do you want to do?” asked Myles.

“Well, I’m glad you asked. No really, I am. People like opportunities to talk about themselves. If I wasn’t serving coffee and sandwiches all day, I’d probably be writing poetry and getting published. I’m an English major.”

“Me too,” said a slightly more confident Myles.

“See? Making friends isn’t that hard, Myles. Yeah, I overheard your conversation with your mom. I didn’t mean to be eavesdropping, but after you stormed out of the café, it all started to make sense.”

“Sorry about that,” said Myles.

Amy put a gentle hand on his shoulder and said, “That’s really sweet of you to say, Myles. But I think there’s someone in the café right now who needs to hear that more than I do.” By cocking her head off to the side, Amy gestured through the window of the café at Sydney, who was sitting back at their table wiping her damp eyes with a napkin.

“Holy shit, what have I done?” said Myles with his head hung low.

“Go in there and talk to her. If you can talk to someone like me, you can most certainly talk to your own mother,” said Amy.

Myles stood up and placed a hand on Amy Miller’s arm before saying, “It’s good to meet you. But if you’ll excuse me, I have to go apologize to my mom.” Amy nodded at him and then he walked back inside the café to console his sobbing mother. Myles and Sydney sat across from each other once again holding hands like mother and son. This simple gesture of love put a smile on Sydney’s face. Through the window, Amy could see Myles mouth the words, “I’m sorry, Mom”. That brought a smile to Amy’s face as well.

It was only then that she noticed the sandwich was leaking through the tinfoil. Amy kept saying, “Shit!” silently to herself as she rushed back inside to cover it in more foil. The leaky sandwich and Sydney’s leaky eyes would soon be dried up in no time. It was the newfound friendship between Myles and Amy that would keep rolling along like a river. They found each other on Face Book and proceeded from that point.


message 23: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welcome.

Title: A..."


Until she baked the biscuits, it felt like she might be developing magic to avenge the lady's death (only at some points, and it felt very subtle - obviously I read into a little wrongly).


message 24: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Mama's Baby
GENRE: Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,314
RATING: PG for swearing



The end of Myles McCurdy’s first year of college was on the horizon. He was getting the A’s and B..."


Delightful story, Garrison! Sometimes moms really do know best! :)


message 25: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments They sure do, Anne. Thanks. :)


message 26: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Mama's Baby
GENRE: Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,314
RATING: PG for swearing



The end of Myles McCurdy’s first year of college was on the horizon. He was getting the A’s and B..."



Please refer to my comments on deviantart and FB. Now excuse me while I go find a tissue, there's something in my eye...


message 27: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Comments are welc..."



Yes, you might want to reread it. Her Master and her father are NOT the same guy!


message 28: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly working on. Co..."


I think I'm losing it! :P


message 29: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel that I'm slowly ..."



It's okay Edward. I read a story up here wrong not too long ago and felt like a fool about it for a while. Everyone else got it, I just didn't.
I guess I can always blame my blonde roots.


message 30: by Edward (last edited Apr 25, 2015 11:30PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piece of a novel t..."


My boy's blonde so I'll blame him. Just re-read it - is she planning something devious with those biscuits? Or did I re-read it wrong again? I do like to infer things into stories where they might not be. I have my own theory on the question from Hitchhiker's Guide which I'm convinced is correct.:D


message 31: by Edward (last edited Apr 26, 2015 02:59AM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Garrison wrote: "AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Mama's Baby
GENRE: Drama
WORD COUNT: 1,314
RATING: PG for swearing



The end of Myles McCurdy’s first year of college was on the horizon. He was getting the A’s and B..."


I enjoyed this story. Meet-cutes are always hard to write but almost always fun to read. Good job!


message 32: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actually a small piec..."



No, the girl isn't devious at all. She just wants to please her Master.


message 33: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments You guys are the best. Thank you so much! And it sounds like Marie needs a huggle! ^_^


message 34: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Stewart (andreagstewart) | 6 comments Part 1/2

I know Mother's Day can be painful for some women--for those who have lost children, for those who have lost their mothers, or for those who have not been able to have children at all.

So this is for those women.

Title: Better Than Dreams
Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 2,300

Maya met him when she was twenty-three, stray bits of salt from last night’s tears clinging to her eyelashes, her lips still bruised from the kisses two nights before.

She barely missed stepping on the heels of her boss when the woman stopped. The tower of items in Maya’s arms--binders, reports, two bottles of water--threatened to topple. She took in a deep, slow breath as they settled. The scent of hot asphalt filled the summer air, mingled with the astringent smell of some burned, alien fuel.

Maya kept her gaze low as the Balorans stepped from their spaceship, as they approached, loose gravel crunching beneath their heels. She’d seen vids of them--she didn’t need to stare. But their leader spoke, and she found herself looking up and inadvertently meeting his gaze.

The differences caught her first: the large eyes that flashed like cat eyes in the light, the towering height, the pale, slender fingers that reminded her of anemone tendrils, translucent and glowing beneath the water.

“I am Lavorus,” he said. His gaze slid to her boss’s face, so quickly that Maya wondered if he’d seen her at all. And then the two of them were speaking the language of all diplomats--the small kindnesses, the subtle jostling, the probing.

Maya followed behind, an invisible part of the entourage.

#

He found her at the reception, later. She’d lingered on the edges of Baloran conversations, their speech soft and sonorous, filled with the lilting tones of their mother tongue. She went to refill her wine glass, wishing, again, that her boyfriend hadn’t left her.

“Your people are very direct.” Lavorus appeared at her shoulder, his pale fingers wrapped around a glass.

Maya’s heartbeat thrummed, a hummingbird in a cage. “We are. We don’t live as long as you do.” And then, emboldened by the wine and her aching heart, she added, “You should try it sometime.”

He looked taken aback for a moment, and Maya wondered if she’d caused a diplomatic event, but then he merely nodded. “Perhaps. What is your name?”

“Maya.”

“Maya.” Her name, from his mouth, sent a shiver up her spine. He spoke it in two tones, at once. “What do you know of us?”

So she told him her facts, her vid-learning, her reading--and he countered with tales of his home world, his strange childhood, his journey into the stars. She interjected her own personal stories, and he did not laugh or smile, but she sensed he took in every word.

#

She found him again at the end of the reception, outside on the balcony, gazing at the night sky. She touched his elbow--a Baloran gesture, “I’m here”--and he turned around. For a moment, his eyes flashed, and her breathing quickened, and then he leaned down and kissed her on the lips.

His mouth was cold, and slicker than a man’s mouth--the skin smooth as if worn away, like pebbles in a river. His fingers rested on her cheek. She ventured to lay a palm against his chest, and she felt the beat of his heart, slow and steady as the ticking of a grandfather clock.

“I can be direct,” he said as he pulled away, “when I wish it.”

She wanted to throw a clever reply his way, that she wanted him to always wish it, that she often gave good advice, but the words stuck in her mouth, swallowed by the stars.

#

She was fired when her boss found out, and subsequently rehired a few months later, when it became clear this was not some wanton fling. The press was favorable, painting Maya as an ingénue, and the Baloran diplomat as a kinder, wiser version of a man.

And she did feel ingénue-like, a child next to his eighty-six years, full of spite and longing. She wondered, sometimes, what her ex must be thinking, seeing her face plastered on the news vids, blissful in the arms of her Baloran lover. Was he sorry, at all?

She didn’t waste too much time on these thoughts. Instead, she became Lavorus’ personal ambassador, carting him to all the places she loved, sharing the experiences she cherished. He seemed to take a ponderous joy in all the things she showed him--except toffee.

“Here,” she said, dropping a paper-wrapped candy into his palm. “It’s my favorite. Try it.”

He did as she bade, and his wide eyes went wider, his mouth puckering around the candy, tighter and tighter, until pop! He spit it into his palm. “This cannot be food,” he said.

She laughed and kissed his cold cheek, but he only frowned. “It’s a treat,” she said. “You only eat it to feel good.”

“I don’t understand.”

She tried to explain, but it was a wall he could not see over. When she finally threw her hands up in frustration, he caught them, pulled her in close. “I do love you,” he said. “No matter how strange you are.”

Maya melted--it was the first time he’d told her that he loved her, and she wondered if love meant the same thing in his tongue that it did in hers, or if the translator he used in his ear, against his throat, only found the closest substitute.

She didn’t care.

#

When she was twenty-five, and lying in his arms in the diplomat’s suite, she asked if he would take her back with him, to Balorus.

She pressed her ear to his chest when he spoke, feeling the rumble of it beneath her cheek, the two tones each creating their own vibrations. “Your people have been kind and generous, and I’m afraid our planet is less so. I cannot take you back with me unless we are bound.”

His eyes flashed by the dim light of the lamp when she lifted her head to look at him. “Bound? Like, married?”

Lavorus pressed his lips together as he thought. “It is a similar concept, yes.” His expression brightened, and he pulled her toward his mouth. The kiss stole Maya’s breath. “Would you?”

Her voice came out in a whisper. “Would I what?”

“Marry me?”

She pounced on top of him, eager as a puppy, her hands on his broad shoulders, and his eyes flashing like all the stars in the sky. “Yes,” she said. It was not the proposal she’d dreamed of, with a man on bended knee, but she had things so much better than that.

#

When she was twenty-eight, he took her to Balorus. There, the Balorans didn’t wear heavy robes; they shed them and warmed themselves by light of their sun, like reptiles. Maya found herself the subject of much curiosity--the absurdly young wife of one of their diplomats. They touched her hair, her skin, exclaimed at her tiny eyes, her stubby fingers.

Lavorus took her to their mountains, filled with weeping vegetation that found purchase amongst the boulders. He took her to see their oceans, glittering surfaces broken by the backs of beasts vaster than freighters. She marveled at this planet that was not hers, and everything was new to her.

He took her to their cities, and to one of their nurseries. The Baloran children swarmed over Maya and Lavorus as soon as they entered, asking for lessons, for songs, wanting to be held, to be comforted, to show off some project or another. Lavorus walked among them, doling out his favors as best he could, and Maya watched him and remembered their long-ago conversation, when she’d been twenty-three.

“Balorans do not have offspring until just before they die,” he’d told her. “So the children are all our responsibility. I grew up in a nursery, with many mothers and fathers.”

She’d thought it grand, at the time--an entire society pitching in to raise their young. But now, as a Baloran child held his arms up, begging to be lifted, she wondered what it really meant. She swept the child into her arms and rocked him, and something in her heart swelled, as surely as the tide in the sea.

#

At thirty-two, after they’d settled into a house on Earth, Maya started her research.

There had been other interspecies relationships in the past. Some poor man had even married a Tiferath, and how they managed in the bedroom with the Tiferath’s spines, Maya didn’t know. But what she wanted to know was whether or not they’d had children.

Some had.

There was technology, now, that could combine one set of genes with another, no matter how incompatible the mother and father first appeared. There were workarounds, ways to gestate a child in a controlled environment instead of in the womb--a place of biology and uncertainty.

She found a program that let her input Lavorus’ information, and her own, and it spit out holos of what their children might look like. They were tall, like he was, but with her darker skin and curling hair. Their fingers varied between long and slender and her short ones. But their eyes always flashed. Maya sat at her desk with her chin in her palm, her diplomat’s paperwork forgotten. She stared at these starry-eyed children, and wondered what they would sound like--if they would speak in her husband’s two-toned voice, if they would learn his language or hers, if they would call her “mom” and if they would fit into her arms the way the Baloran children had.

#

She brought him the holos when she was thirty-three.

“They can combine our genes,” she told him. “We can have children together.” She traced the image of a cherub-like cheek. “You don’t have to wait.”

His mouth puckered, and Maya felt the wall between them. “These aren’t Baloran children, or human children. Why would you want them?”

“Because they would be ours.”

“But I’m too young for offspring.”

She clutched the play-disc closer to her chest. The holo flickered as it met her nose. “I’m not.”

“I have given up my home,” he said to her, and it was the closest she’d ever heard him to angry. “I have married you, against the will of my people. And now you wish me to break another of their precepts? I have given you everything, Maya.”

He had. He had given her the stars. “I know,” she said, because it was all she could say.

#

Lavorus could not see over the wall, and perhaps it was this that bothered Maya the most. Sometimes, he tried. Sometimes, she felt as though he were about to give in. Sometimes, the anger stirred hot in her belly.

If he loved her, he would give her this.

And then, when the anger cooled: if she loved him, she would not ask it of him.

She wept out her frustrations in their bed, she rescued too many stray animals, she tried desperately to find some way around the wall--researching procedures and medications that might lengthen her life to a time when Lavorus might agree. Nothing seemed certain.

“I can’t see you like this,” he said one night as he held her. “Maybe I’m not right for you, Maya.”

She cried into his shoulder, harder than she’d wept before. And then she bruised her lips against his as she kissed him--again and again, wishing she could stay in this moment, that nothing had to change.

After he’d fallen asleep, she went to her desk, and found the play-disc she’d kept of their holo children. She took it to their closet, found a box of old things from her university days, and buried it at the bottom, resolving never to view it again.

She had everything. It had to be enough.

#

He took her to other stars, other planets beyond the realm of human discovery. She tempered her sadness with joy, with learning, with throwing herself into the diplomat’s calling--becoming the first human several alien races met, impressing them with her charm, her knowledge of their cultures.

In the evenings, when her back began to ache from long days spent on her feet, Lavorus kneaded his thin fingers around her spine. “I will always be there for you,” he whispered into her ear.

Except for the one thing. Maya closed her eyes, and sighed, and thanked her husband for his kindness--a diplomat’s words.


message 35: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Stewart (andreagstewart) | 6 comments Part 2/2

#

When she was sixty-four, they returned to their home on Earth for Maya to receive the Titus Award--the highest honor a diplomat could earn. The world feted her with a banquet, with speeches, with applause. She cradled the plaque in her arms when they gave it to her, and the edges dug into her ribs.

“I love you,” Lavorus said when she found him during the reception. “No matter how strange you are.”

The words awakened a familiar ache, but she smiled past it, and handed the plaque to him. “This is how we honor people on Earth,” she told him, “with wood and metal and words.”

He swept her into his arms and kissed her. She saw the flash of cameras through her closed lids, red and bright. Theirs was a fairytale--an interspecies relationship that had stood the test of time, that seemed effortless.

#

When they returned to their house, Lavorus went immediately to the refrigerator, searching for food he found more palatable. “They never get it quite right,” he muttered, “no matter how hard they try.”

“I’ll be right back,” she said as she crept up the stairs.

She found the play-disc right where she’d left it, and to her surprise, it still flickered on when she pressed the button. The holo cycled through their possible children, one-by-one. Their eyes flashed, their curling hair almost real enough to touch.

Maya smiled as she slipped into the dream, the one where she’d gotten more than everything. The one where starry-eyed children raced through the house, bare feet slapping against the wood floors.

She wondered if any of them would have liked toffee.


message 36: by Edward (last edited Apr 26, 2015 12:45PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Edward wrote: "Marie wrote: "Yay, I'm the first to post a story! And it's not a vampire story!
This is actual..."


Oh dear, I'm really not on the ball at the moment. But you could read (if you were a little twisted) that she might have poisoned the biscuits to make her mother proud... Silly me, I read it completely wrong. :D See Melissa's comment on your poem and times it by two for this story.


message 37: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Marie, making the most of any situation is a lesson everyone can appreciate, but few people practice. The fact that Iris can still smile and be energetic after losing her voice and her freedom is very powerful to the reader. We like strong heroes and they can only be strong if they believe in themselves. On a side note, I bet Iris’s buttermilk biscuits taste delicious! I’d like to smother them in sausage gravy and wolf them down. Mmm-mmm-mmm! Anyways, thank you so much for your story this week! You never fail to amaze me every time!

Melissa, in only 300 words, you’ve captured the sweetness and cuteness of little girls having a tea party. Mom was there to save the day when the “tea” had been spilled, which warms my heart even more. And of course, where would this cute story be without a stuffed doll joining the party? Cute and cuddly is the way to go when writing a story in the “mother” prompt. Thank you, Melissa, for making me squeal with delight at your short story. ^_^

Anne, it’s amazing how such a thorny plant like a cactus could have so much of an impact on a person’s life. At first it was a pain in the ass to take care of, but then it bloomed into something much more beautiful. I can tell this story is personal to you and I believe you’ve done your mother justice in this short memoir. Even with all of her “Looks”, she sounded like a sweet and caring individual. She raised a sweetie pie like you, so that says a lot about what kind of mother she was. Thank you for sharing this with us and may your mother rest in peace.

Andrea, while I have no intention of having children of my own, I can appreciate the sadness Maya was going through when she was denied her path to motherhood by her alien husband. Cultural differences can oftentimes get in the way of what’s more important and you’ve shown that midway through the story. I’m happy for Maya that she got her diplomat’s award, but somehow her life doesn’t feel complete without anything more than holograms of children. Thank you for sharing this tale of both heart warmth and heartache. Combining two opposites and making them into something beautiful is a valuable skill for a writer to have.


message 38: by Anne (new)

Anne (annefrn) | 916 comments Andrea wrote: "Part 2/2

#

When she was sixty-four, they returned to their home on Earth for Maya to receive the Titus Award--the highest honor a diplomat could earn. The world feted her with a banquet, with sp..."


Heartwarmingly bittersweet -- beautifully written. Maya's story echoes that of so many women.


message 39: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Andrea wrote: "Part 2/2

#

When she was sixty-four, they returned to their home on Earth for Maya to receive the Titus Award--the highest honor a diplomat could earn. The world feted her with a banquet, with sp..."


This was a very touching tale. It reminded me of something I read recently but can't for the life of me remember what it was. Maybe I imagined it, and as with all good writing I just feel like I've read it before because it's so familiar.


message 40: by Marie (last edited Apr 26, 2015 05:24PM) (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Andrea wrote: "Part 2/2

#

When she was sixty-four, they returned to their home on Earth for Maya to receive the Titus Award--the highest honor a diplomat could earn. The world feted her with a banquet, with sp..."


So sweet and so sad all at once. Every relationship requires a little sacrifice on both parts for it to truly work. Her sacrifice was a great one, one I personally couldn't make. Beautifully written!


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Garrison - Nice story! Sometimes us introverts just need that extra little push to get the ball rolling. Glad the Mom in your story, although her feelings got hurt in the process, pushed her son. Hoping good things happen in Myles' and Amy's future!


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrea - This was excellent! Normally I am not into science fiction but this sweet/heartbreaking tale isn't really all about science fiction. Maya was a brave woman to stick with the love of her life even though she wanted more. I am so thankful to have my son. I had him when I wasn't married and then when he was two, I married, not for love, but so my son would have a father -- extremely wrong reason to get married. My now ex-husband informed me, after we married that he never wanted children. I was devastated. I wanted at least one more. I stayed with him for 8 1/2 years, against my better judgement. We divorced for various reasons. I never did have other children. I have been married to my current and forever husband for 15 years. In that time, I gained a step-son along with my son and we now have five beautiful grandchildren together. Everything happens for a reason! You did a great job with this story and I felt that, in many ways, I identified with Maya! Keep up the good work!


message 43: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Melissa wrote: "Garrison - Nice story! Sometimes us introverts just need that extra little push to get the ball rolling. Glad the Mom in your story, although her feelings got hurt in the process, pushed her son...."

I believe Myles and Amy will have a life-long friendship from this. Thank you, Melissa, for your awesome feedback. :)


message 44: by Laura (new)

Laura R | 59 comments So I know that this is supposed to show the role my mother played in my life, but I guess I can share here that this wasn't exactly the case. I love my mom, so don't take this the wrong way either. My father raised me after my mother walked out when I was five. We're close now, after a large part of me died, and it feels like she patched me up. But I will be the first person to admit that I'm angry and hurt by my growing up. So this story, although it's still dark, is about a girl who has a mother not quite ready to let go of her, no matter the consequences. This is for all of the beauties who carry the scars of their life with them, and for all of those couples who's parents interfered and split them apart even if they did belong together. I may not show it through this story but I do love you mom, and I forgive you. This is a story about a girl who couldn't forgive hers.

Sorry it's been a while but I hope you enjoy. Feedback is always welcomed and appreciated!

Title: 'Til Death Do Us Part
Author: Laura Lavelle
Word Count: 2,391

Mother,
you've kept me safe through the years. Loved me and held me close.
Mother,
why do you cry? I've finally found myself, no longer hiding in the darkness.
Mother,
when you scream you make me sad. I don't know how to get you to stop, but I'm trying.
Mother,
You called me your angel before, why do you look at me like I'm a wraith sent to kill you?
Mother,
don't you know I'm just trying to protect you? Please drop the knife and come hug me.
Mother,
why aren't you breathing? All I did was hug you, but then you cracked.
Mother,
please answer me. I never meant to hurt you. You know your baby still loves you.


The lifeless eyes stare back at me, haunting my waking moments with glimpses of their glittering perfection. She's perfect in every way, from her golden hair to the tip of her button nose all the way down to the curve of her hips and the pale polish on her toes. She gracefully moved from room to room, flitting about like a hummingbird out on a spring morning.

I brush the loose strands of gold from her eyes, my fingertips grazing the cold flesh of her cheek. My lips curve up in a smile, my mouth moving over the words but no sound comes out. I can feel the stillness in the body that I crouch over, and I wonder as to how long it will be until someone notices. I scoop her into my arms, her head lolling to the side as I take her up, up, up into the attic where the extra bed lays.

I gently lay the corpse on the stained mattress, arranging the covers until she looks like an ethereal angel in a bed of white and filth, the chains hanging abandoned from their posts. Her gold hair spills out around her like liquid gold, casting a glow on her graying skin.

I smile, telling her I love her as I turn and head down the stairs back to the living room. Back to where it had happened. I shudder, closing my eyes and inhaling in the scent of her sweet perfume that clings to the furniture. I grin, throwing open her bedroom door and striding purposefully towards the closet. I open up the heavy doors or the armoire, barely glancing at the full mirror that hangs within the ancient wood.

I frown as I turn my attention towards the cool, silver surface. Gray eyes stare blankly from within too pale skin. Milky arms covered in black, stitches and scars race up and disappear into the sleeves, hang limply by her side. She cocks her head and her stringy white hair spills around her like a mop standing up in a closet. I blink. She blinks. Oh.

I lift a hand up towards the mirror as memories begin to trickle into my mind and she follows, raising her hand until I place the pads of my fingertips against the surface; I can feel the frozen glass, and I realize as I see my fingers pressed against hers that this really is me. I look like a monster.

I growl, long canines poke out from between pale lips; venom drips down towards my chin, staining the pale gray dress where it splashes. My chest rises and falls quickly and I tighten my hands into fists, howling as I bash in the mirror. Shards of glass rain down like glitter as I scream, tearing apart the image before me. I stop as a loud tear rips through the air, breaking the constant stream of crunching glass.

I look down at my arm and notice the stitching coming undone; my elbow hangs on by only a few last stitches. I frown, mother, what have you done? I gather up the sewing kit from her nightstand and get to work threading the needle and burying it within velvet flesh.

**

The doorbell buzzes. I pause, startled by the sound as I pause the movie that plays across the screen. Mother’s dress lays over my body awkwardly; I lack the chest that she had and it sits empty, hollowed, hanging loosely around my tiny frame. I stand, pulling the blanket with me off of the couch and throwing it over my shoulders, hiding my flesh. The doorbell buzzes again and I make my way over towards the door.

“Hello?” I call out, my voice dry from lack of use.

“Yes, hello? I’m Detective Grayson, I was hoping I could speak with a Ms Jennifer Reese. May I come in?”

I freeze, my hand pressing down on my silent chest as I stand with my forehead leaning against the door. “I’m sorry, she’s not here.”

There’s a long pause, “Maybe you can help me out, then. She hasn’t shown up for work in days and we’ve been trying to track her down.”

My eyes flick up towards the attic; I can hear her laughing from here. “I’m sorry, she hasn’t been home in a little while. I’ll make sure to call as soon as I hear from her.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help but notice how familiar you sound…”

Panic tears through me and I launch myself away from the door, “You must have me mistaken. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.”

He scoffs and I can practically hear him shake his head, “I’m sorry, you just reminded me of an old friend, although that’s impossible.”

I flee from the door, not resting until I slam the bathroom door and grip onto the sink for support. My anger flares and I know that’s a bad sign as I look straight at my gray eyes and watch the black creep in, draining the color as it fills the entire white with its ink. I watch the rows of scars that crisscross over my cheeks grow pink as my jaw unhinges and the canines turn into fangs that would make any beast fearful. My pale fingers elongate and taper off into claws tipped black as my white hair swirls about my face as a pair of black horns rip through my skull. I scream, feeling my toes fuse into hooves; pale white fur dots my legs until the black scars are nothing more than dark veins beneath it.

Steam drifts up as I exhale through my small nose and I wait until the final pop clicks into place before I stand. I stare with tears in my eyes at the creature before me, hating every moment of my cruel afterlife.

I race through the house, my hooves clicking on the tiled floors until I reach my mother’s bedroom once again. Wrenching open the drawer of her desk I spot her notebook and I take it out gingerly, praying my claws won’t rip the pages to shreds before I can learn.

**

My toes wiggle in the cool morning air, my hands shaking as the last bits of bone snap back into their rightful place. The leather notebook rests on the ground before me and I flip the page, reading for the hundredth time how everything worked. But this was all theoretical.

She made me the monster that I am today.

She created a beast.


There’s nothing that can save me.

The doorbell rings again. I jump, shrugging on a plush robe before heading back downstairs. “Hello?” I call through the door.

“Hi Miss, this is Detective Grayson again. I was wondering if I could speak to you for just a moment.”

Panic surges through me as I stare at the white wood in front of me. He knows. “I’m sorry, but right now isn’t really a good time…”

“Sarah.”

I drop onto the tile, pain clenching at my still heart as a single memory floods into my mind. A smile, stubble on a chin, perfectly white teeth, hands cupping my face… I throw the memory into the back of my mind and swallow, shaking my head.

“Please Sarah, please open the door…”

I can’t talk. I can’t breathe. I can’t… I can’t stop the anger welling within my chest as I remember the way the scalpel severed my gray flesh from lifeless tissue, my mind still processing what was happening even though I couldn’t stop it. Mother’s hands flexing as she leans over to rip out the beating heart from my chest. A black snake that moved like smoke coiled within the circle of candles.

The doorknob jiggles as my flesh begins to rearrange itself. The door opens and he steps in, his black boots simmering in the morning light. His dark hair is longer than it was in my memory and his beard a little more pronounced. His blue eyes flicker towards me and I twist away from their gaze, jumping up and slamming the door shut. I can’t believe I didn’t lock the door.

I bolt the door, turning slightly to find him sprawled on the cool tiles. Tentatively I reach out, praying I hadn’t killed him. His chest rises and falls and I smile, lifting him gingerly and carrying him up to the spare room besides Mother’s.

**

“Hello?” His voice is a faint whisper from downstairs and I can hear his boots stepping on the carpet upstairs.


message 45: by Laura (new)

Laura R | 59 comments 'Til Death Do Us Part Part 2

I want to call out, but I know better. I watch as he appears on the stairs within moments, making his way through the house. Towards me. I flinch as I realize he’s already spotted me curled on the sofa in the dark.

“Sarah?”

“Please don’t come any closer.”

He stops, his hand is outstretched towards me as he stands in the doorway covered in shadow. “Sarah, is that you?”

I swallow, closing my eyes briefly before answering. “Yes.”

Tears sparkle within the dim light as they trail down his cheeks. “It can’t be… I watched you die.”

“I know. I remember dying, Phil.”

It’s his turn to flinch as he quickly pulls his hand back towards him. “I don’t understand…”

I stand finally, allowing the blanket to drop. He falls backwards onto the floor, his wide eyes staring up at me are filled with terror as I take a step towards him. “Mother was a clever scientist, wasn’t she. So consumed by her need to keep me alive that she did the unthinkable.” I glance down at the tiny stitching that runs like a railroad track up my forearm, feeling the hatred seep into my soul.

He gasps as I take another step, my body finally illuminated by the pale light that drifts in from the kitchen. “Oh, Sarah,” he says and a sob rips through his chest.

“I’m sorry, Phil, I can’t let you go. Not after you know what’s happened.”

I lunge forward, throwing my weight on top of him as I hold him down. The click of handcuffs rings through the air and he cries out as I wrestle him, dragging him towards the wall where I loop the other handcuff with a metal bar that I had screwed into the floor that morning. Tears stream down his cheeks and I can feel the wet spots on my own dress as I back away from him.

“Sarah, please, don’t do this…”

I turn away from him and head up the stairs to retrieve the journal. I can hear him straining against the bar as I make my way back into the living room. “Please, I’m going to turn on the light. Please don’t scream,” I breathe as I hit the switch on the wall.

He doesn’t make a sound and I think that he’s passed out but as I turn to face him his skin is as pale as mine; his eyes wide and frightened. “Who did this to you?”

I swallow the sob in my throat as I begin the long story of my ‘death’ beginning with the accident. The one that he walked away from. “She couldn’t let go, so with the use of black magic, black enough to taint the soul of a patron saint, she gave me my life back. But I’m not always like this. There’s something… else. I can feel it coiled up where my heart used to be. I don’t know what will happen if it ever wakes up, but I know that it’s not… human.”

He’s silent for so long that I think he’s refused to accept my story until he finally says, “Where is she?”

I shake my head as tears well within my eyes. “She’s upstairs.”

“So I’m assuming you killed her.”

I turn towards him, snarling, baring my fangs, “She deserved it!” I growl as I begin to pace, “She chained me up, kept me locked away. I was her pet. A toy she could play with when she was bored. I gave her what should be mine: eternal rest.” I shake as my skin begins to shift and I jump away from him, cradling my arms until my claws are hidden from his view. “Don’t look at me,” I hiss as I shrink myself towards the darkness.

“Sarah, let me help you.”

I shake my head, “There is no helping me,” I make out between the shift of my jaws.

“Let me go and I can help you.”

I turn to see his face, fresh tears stain his cheeks and I fumble with the key as I toss it towards him, “Please, help me.”

I hear the handcuff open, listen as he walks towards me through the living room. I can hear the click of his gun and the clatter it causes as he drops it onto the tiled floor beside me. I look up as he crumples onto the ground beside me and pulls me into his arms; his palms gently stroking the fur on my legs. He kisses my forehead, the scars on my cheeks, my eyelids that hold black eyes darker than oil, the twisted horns, the stitching running along my collarbone. My jaw shrinks until the bones are reconnected.

“You gave yourself to me, ‘in sickness and in health’ if I recall correctly, and this is no exception. I’m going to figure out a way to make you better. I promise.”

The darkness coiled within my chest begins to stir as his burning lips touch my icy ones. I guess Mother will get her final wish.


message 46: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments I just thought of something. If Amy Miller and Myles McCurdy from my story became a celebrity super couple, they would be known as Amyles (because they both have "my" in their first names). I swear, this is all an accident. Hehe!

And Laura, I have plans to read and critique your story in the near future. I know you always put out good stories, so I'm particularly excited to read it. :)


message 47: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Stewart (andreagstewart) | 6 comments Thanks Garrison, Anne, Edward, Marie, and thank you so much for sharing your story, Melissa. I know several women who were, for one reason or another, unable to have children. Some of them did go on to have a child or children, but it did make me very aware that Mother's Day is not a joyous occasion for everyone, and that we should always try to tread lightly and with compassion, lest we step on someone's dreams.

Marie, I enjoyed the interesting setting you created--both futuristic and backwards. I thought it was lovely the things Iris learned from her mother; some things her mother intended, and others that her mother didn’t intend at all.

Melissa, what a fun short-short story! I can really feel the love from her Katherine’s mother.

Anne, your memoir excerpt was touching. I felt like I came to know your mother through this short piece, even though she said very little. You conveyed her body language so well. I have an aloe plant much like your mother’s cactus; I’ve given away multiple “babies” at this point and have had to (ow ow ow) move it to a bigger pot!

Laura, will get around to reading and commenting on your story :)


message 48: by Marie (new)

Marie (naturechild02) | 660 comments Laura wrote: "'Til Death Do Us Part Part 2

I want to call out, but I know better. I watch as he appears on the stairs within moments, making his way through the house. Towards me. I flinch as I realize he’..."



Wow, what a great story! Twisted and horrifying and yet full of such longing and sorrow. Awesome job!


message 49: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Laura wrote: "'Til Death Do Us Part Part 2

I want to call out, but I know better. I watch as he appears on the stairs within moments, making his way through the house. Towards me. I flinch as I realize he’..."


Welcome back, Laura, and what an awesome story. I'm glad you did a creepy one, because the one I'm about to submit is creepy too!


message 50: by Edward (last edited Apr 27, 2015 11:45PM) (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Taking Her Home To Meet Mother
Author : Edward Davies
Genre : Thriller / Horror
Word Count : 2024
Rating : PG13 For Scary Moments

Isabella’s new job wasn’t exactly what she’d always dreamed she’d be doing with her life, but it would do for now. She hadn’t decided to do her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature so she could work in a book shop, but it paid the bills while she was still studying.

On her first day she’d been trained by Mia, who was a year older than Isabella and in her second year of studies. She’d been taking classes in Physical Education, and you could tell from her tight body that she obviously very good at the subject.

“This job is pretty easy,” Mia told Isabella, “it’s very rare that you’ll be asked any truly stumping questions. Basically if you can tell someone where they can find the latest book about sparkly vampires, or this week’s novel by James Patterson, then you’ll probably do okay.”

“Thanks,” Isabella smiled weakly, “I think I can muddle through most of it.”

“Good luck,” Mia beamed, sauntering off to her own area of the shop, “now that I’ve shown you how to use the tills, you can handle this section on your own. If you need help, just ring the bell on the counter – not the one under the counter, that one calls the police.”

Isabella smiled at Mia, then frowned. She didn’t relish the idea of having to deal with people who might not be as literate as she was, but chances were that people who didn’t know much about books would be unlikely to find themselves in a book shop.

During her shift almost a week later, she met one of the other employees, Geoffrey. He was tall, dark haired, and incredibly handsome. Isabella couldn’t help smiling as she watched him approach, and she rested her elbows on her counter and her chin on her hands.

“Hi,” Geoffrey said, leaning on the other side of the counter, “I’m Geoffrey. And what might your name be?”

“Isabella,” Isabella breathed, “Hi.”

“Hi yourself,” Geoffrey replied, “So, I take it you’re the new girl in the crime section then.”

“Yeah,” Isabella smiled inanely, “I started this morning. The people here seem nice.”

“It’s a shame about the last girl that worked here,” Geoffrey sighed, “having to… leave the way she did.”

“Leave?” Isabella asked, suddenly nervous, “Why did she leave?”

Geoffrey shrugged, “Nobody knows. She just didn’t turn up for work one morning. The boss was furious – she was supposed to open up the store, and she just didn’t show.”

Isabella furrowed her brow. Perhaps she’d been reading too many of the crime novels she’d been supposed to be selling, but the disappearance of the girl sounded suspicious to her. No one else had mentioned that Isabella would be replacing someone who had disappeared, and Isabella didn’t like the idea very much.

As she and Geoffrey continued to chat, Mia turned up. Isabella couldn’t help noticing that she looked more than a little bit angry as she saw Geoffrey and Isabella talking to each other.

“So, you’ve finally met then?” Mia smiled, though Isabella could tell that the smile wasn’t one of her usual genuine ones, “That’s good to see.”

“Hey Mia,” Geoffrey smiled at her, “are we still on for tonight?”

“Of course,” Mia’s smile changed from fake to genuine as she dreamily closed her eyes, “I can’t wait.”

Geoffrey left the two girls and headed back to his work area. Once he’d left, Mia glared at Isabella, “Hands off,” she warned, “he’s mine!”

“Sorry,” Isabella swallowed nervously, “I didn’t realise you two were seeing each other.”

“And it’s getting serious,” Mia swooned, “he’s bringing me home tonight to meet his mother.”

“Really?” Isabella said, “That’s a pretty big step.”

“Well, I think he could be the one,” said Mia, “we’ve only been dating for a few weeks, since he broke up with that girl you replaced.”

Isabella furrowed her brow, “He was dating her?” she asked, “He was just telling me that the girl I replaced disappeared, but he never said that he’d been dating her.”

Mia shrugged, “It doesn’t matter, she totally let everyone here down with her thoughtless vanishing act. She left Geoffrey and her job, all on the same day!”

“Does anyone know what happened to her?” Isabella asked.

“Who cares?” Mia shrugged, “You snooze, you lose, and she fell fast asleep. And I plan on staying up all night long.”

Isabella really didn’t need that image being thrust upon her, and she tried to shake off the thought as she turned back to her counter.

*

The next morning, Isabella stood outside the store in the freezing cold with four of her colleagues. Mia had been supposed to open the store, but she hadn’t turned up yet, and she was already fifteen minutes late.

“Does anyone have her number?” Mia asked.

“I’ve already tried her phone,” the woman from the science and nature department told her, “it went straight to answer phone.”

As they waited, Geoffrey suddenly came round the corner, looking very upset. He walked towards the store, swiping at tears that were running down his cheeks.

“What’s wrong?” Isabella asked as Geoffrey stopped outside the doors, “You’re not supposed to be on shift until this afternoon, I thought.”

He held up a set of keys, “I said I’d open up,” he sniffed, “Mia’s dumped me. And she’s quit her job.”

Isabella looked confused, “Why?” she asked, “Why did she dump you… and leave her job?”

Geoffrey shrugged, “She said some things about Mother,” he explained, “she didn’t agree with her… on some issues.”

“So why did she quit her job?” Isabella asked, taking Geoffrey’s hands comfortingly.

Geoffrey sniffed again, “She didn’t want to be near me, what with her… disagreement with mother. So she gave me her work keys and told me to let you all know she won’t be coming back. She said she couldn’t work with me anymore.”

“Well, I can’t say I’m surprised,” the woman from science and nature said, “she was always a bit on the flighty side. What more can you expect from a girl who is basically studying how to keep fit.”

As Geoffrey opened the doors and let the staff into the building, Isabella couldn’t help wondering why Mia, who only yesterday seemed so happy with her lot in life and her budding relationship with Geoffrey, would break up with him and leave her job.

Still, if Geoffrey was single now, then Isabella could take the opportunity to make her move…

*

It was two weeks later, and Isabella had now been dating Geoffrey for almost a week. He’d been reluctant at first, explaining that he’d already had two girls break up with him from work once they’d met his mother, but she’d managed to talk him round.

“So, tonight’s the night,” Isabella grinned from ear to ear as she put her coat on, “I can’t wait to meet your mother. I hope she likes me.”

Geoffrey furrowed his brow, “I hope Mother likes you too,” he said sadly, “she is just so… fussy sometimes.”

Isabella smiled, “Don’t worry, parents usually love me.”

Geoffrey smiled back, “Here’s hoping Mother… enjoys you as much as you think as you think she will.”

The two of them left work, Geoffrey locking the doors behind him, and they headed to the tube station.

*

Isabella stared up at Geoffrey’s home as they made their way up the garden path. The house was impressively large, especially considering where it was located in London, and it looked like it easily could have cost somewhere in the high seven figures. Isabella made a concerted effort to lift her jaw and close her mouth, turning to Geoffrey as they reached the front doors.

“This is where you live?” Isabella asked, “How do you afford this, working in a bookshop?”

“My parents were rich,” Geoffrey told her as they walked through the doors into the main reception area, “after they died they left me with the… means to continue to support myself, so I could keep up the payments on this place.”

Isabella nodded with understanding as she looked around the hallway, taking in the pictures that covered the walls. The building was immense, and impressively decorated. It wasn’t as if it was an expensive house with cheap furniture either; every item of furniture was high end, the electronics were state of the art, and even the lighting was the kind that was adjustable, with more options than the simple on or off that she was used to. Unconsciously, Isabella whistled.

“This place is amazing,” she said as they settled down in the living room, “I can’t believe you have time to keep this place looking so good, living on your own. Do you have someone who comes in to help you with the cleaning and stuff?”

“No,” Geoffrey said a little sadly, “currently it’s just me and Mother. Speaking of which, I’ll go and fetch her for you. I know she’s going to love having you.”

Geoffrey stood up from where he’d so recently sat down and walked away from Isabella, “Make yourself comfortable,” he called over his shoulder, “we will be back in a moment.”

Isabella crossed her legs as she felt her bottom sinking into the luxuriously comfortable sofa, and she placed one hand happily on the arm rest. This was going better than she could have imagined, and at least she now knew that Geoffrey wasn’t a sponger and had his own money. With the home and the wealth he’d inherited after his parents had died, if they were to get married then Isabella would be well on her….

Isabella paused as these thoughts ran through her head.

“Hang on,” Isabella looked confused as she thought to herself, “he said his parents died. If both his parents had died and left him this house and all this money, then how could he be introducing her to his mother?”

Isabella stood up from the sofa, starting to feel panic. What if Geoffrey was some kind of a Norman Bates style killer? If he wheeled in a taxidermied corpse and claimed it was his mother, Isabella was going to crap herself.

Fearing the worst, Isabella headed towards the large living room door and jogged into the darkened hallway, hoping to make it to the front door before she passed a shower or Geoffrey wearing a dress.

“Where are you going?” Geoffrey suddenly asked, appearing in a doorway.

Isabella almost jumped out of her skin, backing against the wall in clear terror.

“Nowhere,” she lied, “I was just… looking for the bathroom.”

“Can it wait?” Geoffrey asked, “Mother is already here, and she doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”

Isabella looked passed Geoffrey, but there was no wheelchair bound skeleton sitting behind him.

But there was a sound.

“What’s that noise?” Isabella asked, her eyes widening in not only fear but also in an attempt to see what might be lurking in the darkness.

Geoffrey smiled, and said simply, “That’s Mother.”

Isabella stared into the darkness as the sound rose into a grunt, then a snort, and something appeared from the gloom.

She couldn’t have accurately described what she saw if she tried, even if she’d been given the chance. A massive malformed creature on all fours, completely hairless and dripping with gore clomped towards her, it’s head retracted into its shoulders, it’s teeth crooked yet razor sharp. As Isabella tried to scream, the creature’s head shot out towards her on a muscular neck like some sort of nightmarish swan, its terrifying teeth sinking into her throat and tearing half of her face from her skull.

Geoffrey looked on as the creature continued to chew Isabella’s face, swinging its head into the air to swallow down what it had selected for its meal.

“Well, that’s Mother appeased for a few more weeks,” Geoffrey smiled to himself, “so long as I continue to bring her women to feed on, she’ll keep my finances coming in.”

Mother then lowered its head to the ground, vomiting chunks of flesh onto the laminate flooring.

“Well,” Geoffrey sighed, “I guess no woman will ever be agreeable to Mother.”


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