Category Archives: stories

The Spot Writers – “Transitions” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt: “Winter to spring—a time of transitions. Write a story that takes place in a train station.”

This week’s fiction is from Cathy MacKenzie. Check out her novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, available on Amazon and other retailers. www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/

***

Transitions by Cathy MacKenzie

The whistle shrieks from around the bend. Sally sits on the bench, debating whether to stand or wait until the train pulls into the station and everyone alights. People are in such a rush today that they can’t be polite and let people exit before charging in, whether in an elevator or a train. Her mother taught her better manners than that, but she can be impatient, too, depending upon her mood.

The brakes squeal, metal against metal, and the waiting throng descends upon the train as if vultures at a firing squad. The doors open, and bodies squirm to the platform while others squeeze inside.

She stands and adjusts her heavy wool coat over her arm. The station is warm though the last dregs of winter linger outside.

The train rumbles in preparation for departure. Stragglers jump aboard, latching to the stanchions and grab rails.

She has seconds to cover the remaining distance and slip inside before the doors close.

She moves slowly, deliberately. Wedged like a rubber mannequin in a metal packing crate doesn’t appeal to her, nor does the stench of people heading home after work.

The vibration beneath her feet calms her nerves. She dislikes this period—these undefinable days; not winter but not spring despite what the calendar states. That elusive space in between. The storm before the calm.

But winter transitions into spring, and spring shifts quickly into summer, her favourite season.

Abruptly, she turns the opposite way, takes a few steps, and dons her coat.  She’ll walk the forty-two minutes to her apartment on Mason Avenue.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

+++

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under free, stories, Uncategorized

The Spot Writers – “A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream,” by Chiara De Giorgi

Welcome to The Spot Writers.

This month’s prompt is to write a story including the words, “Will winter never end.”

This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

 ***

A Midwinter Night’s Dream by Chiara De Giorgi

 

Through the forest I did go

Tallest trees covered in snow

All was silent, all was white

Soft and crunchy, left and right.

Up above the sky was blue

And the sparkly stars in view

 

Promised love, and magic, too.

 

Love and magic? Don’t believe

All your heart wants to perceive!

Winter stars are left alone,

All the fairies are long gone

And the woods will just pretend

That white ice is good a friend.

 

Oh, will winter never end?

 

Don’t despair, this frosted season

Has a secret, cheerful reason:

Life beneath this blanket pearly

Hides and shies from all that’s earthly

Until spring returns anew.

This can I reveal to you:

 

Fairies dance on snowflakes, too.

 

My dear friend, you give me hope!

I’ll see flowers on this slope

Thousand colors, buzzing bees

The green magic of the trees

Sweetest nights, warm air, and moon

Dancing fairies, charming tune

 

Spring will be back very soon!

 

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

+++
C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

Leave a comment

Filed under books, free, stories, Uncategorized

Two Candles

I’m eating a Boston cream donut today.

Boston cream donuts: your favourite kind.

Matt nine years old 001 (2)

Since your death I’ve eaten too many,

Always an excuse to eat one—or two.

 

Too many excuses to drink and eat.

 

Today’s your birthday in Heaven at 38

Where you’ll continue to age,

But here on earth, forever 36.

Matt19crop

Always 36.

 

In my solitude I insert candles in the donut,

Between my tears I light two wicks:

One for each birthday you’ve missed on earth.

 

boston cream

 

I make a wish—a wish that’ll never come true—

And blow out flickering flames.

 

Happy birthday in Heaven, sweet son.

Happy birthday, Matthew, my cherubic babe.

Matt baby

3 Comments

Filed under stories, Uncategorized

The Continuing Saga – One Last Segment (I hope!)

If my calculations are correct, it’s been a good two weeks since we’ve caught a mouse, but I’m aging and memories fade. Sometimes there’s too much wine, too, because I must have a way to get these critters off my mind. Every morning, I scan the bedroom before I get out of bed, and walking down the hall to the kitchen, I peek into each room. I avoid the TV area where hubby has placed the traps. I don’t need to see one squirming in the glue. I don’t need to remember how he took the broom and bopped them on the head before tossing them into the compost bin. However, he finally gave up on the broom and tossed them in the green bin alive—which is the gist of this story. (And YES! I know they shouldn’t be tossed into the green bin. He won’t be doing that again, either.)

Yesterday, I was out most of the day. When I got home, I left the car in the driveway instead of pulling into the garage and passed by the compost bin on the way into the house.

And stopped—a full stop.

What the heck was that on the pavement? I knew what it looked like, but it couldn’t be.

mouse trap

But it was.

I raced into the house, glad to be safe indoors. Or was I? I’ve been looking over my shoulders for weeks. Who knows where they lurk: behind a drape, behind a closed door, behind an open door? Under my desk, where I spend most of my day?

I went about the rest of my afternoon until Hubby returned home.

“Did you see that thing?”

“No, what thing?”

“The mouse trap.”

“What mouse trap?”

“You walked right by it. The plastic thingie.”

“No, I didn’t see it. And what plastic thing do you mean? One of the traps?”

“Not the heavy plastic trap, the stickie trap. The disposable ones. There’s one on the pavement. How could you miss it?”

“I didn’t see anything.”

Hubby never sees anything!

I run to the back door. “There.”

“What?”

I open the door and point again. It’s about four feet away. “Oh, maybe it’s upside down. Maybe the mouse is underneath it. But how did it get there? I thought you were throwing them in the bin?”

Hubby goes outside to check.

“Ew!” I close the door and go back to dinner prep.

He says nothing when he comes in, secretive as always.

“So, what?”

“What?”

“What was it?”

“Oh, the trap.”

“Yes, the trap.” I’m exasperated.

“I think something got into the compost bin and ate it. There was nothing left.”

“Gross,” I say. “So now we have critters in the compost bin.”

The thing is, the bin was intact. The lid was down, and the bin isn’t shoved against the house. We’ve had raccoons in the bin several times, but evidence always remained: lid up, a mess on the driveway, the bin on its side.

No, it was the mice: the intelligent, huge mice that fed on our nuts and chocolates for over three months. They’re smarter than the regular, average small mouse. Even stuck to glue, they’re strong and smart, able to vault to the underside of the lid, whack it open, and leap to the pavement. Yep, I’m sure of it.

***

I made stew a couple of days ago and left the crock pot on the counter instead of putting it back in the lower cupboard. Tonight, I open the cupboard to put it away.

What!!!! Little black specks! Mouse droppings? I have to know for sure, so I touch one. Hubby won’t be home for another hour.

(I accidently touched a mouse turd eons ago, when I was younger, when I lived in the country, so I knew what they looked and felt like.)

These are flakes. Don’t appear to be turds. Still, I’m not one hundred percent positive, so I leave the cupboard door open until Hubby arrives home.

“Doesn’t look like mice,” he says, when he gets home.

“Touch one and see.”

He touches one. “Nope, don’t think it’s from mice.”

“Then what is it? It wasn’t there two days ago.”

“You would know,” he says.

I think he’s being sarcastic, but it turns out he’s serious and he’s complimenting me (a bit). He knows I see everything.

I rip off a wad of paper towel, wet it, and scoop up the “turds.”

“There’s no way mice could get in that cupboard,” he says.

The coffee pot is in that cupboard. Had I left grinds in the pot? Not like me to do that. Plus, I’m positive the bits weren’t there earlier.

To recap: we’ve caught seven thus far. As I said, it’s been over two weeks, so I think that’s it.

That’s it—until the next time!

EEK!

 

2 Comments

Filed under freebies, fun, stories, Uncategorized

The Spot Writers – “The Herald” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is: Write about a character whose one ability is to amplify the best traits in others. Who would they hang around? Who would they choose to avoid?

Today’s post comes to your from Val Muller, author of the young adult novel The Girl Who Flew Away. https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Who-Flew-Away/dp/1941295355/

***

The Herald by Val Muller

I came for a Wisher, a little boy sitting on a rusty swing in a lonely park after dark. His was a Genuine Wish, not a superficial one like most. Some ask for ponies or money, games or toys. True Wishers ask for things that matter.

He asked for his parents to love again.

A Wish intangible for him as stardust in the vacuum of space.

He first saw my twinkle floating above the park, shimmering in the darkened sky. I descended with his Wish and landed at the edge of a fence. I had to move quickly because the boy stood right away to investigate. His life at home was so strained, he’d lost all fear and sense of self preservation.

I turned first into a glowing flower, tempting him to pluck me, but I knew that form would never last. The flowers here are ephemeral, not like the sentient ones in the outer planets of Myler. But in the instant her reached to pluck me, I felt his skin and knew his mind. And so in the darkness I disintegrated into the earth and followed the rooty passages into the brush, where I emerged as a puppy.

It was one he’d seen on a television show—a cartoon, which is a type of art form on this world. I worked quickly to make myself look a bit more realistic than the two-dimensional ink of his mind. It was enough. In the darkness, the boy cradled me, and with his touch I saw it all:

His mother, taxed and tired at the end of each day, his father grumpy and exhausted from an unfulfilling job. And each nearly looking forward to the dinner table, where they nightly poured their wrath as quickly as they poured their drinks. Dinners were a verbal battle that left the boy nauseous.

His father drank to squash his courage, so that he could not stand up to his boss or his desires or the temptation to lash out with his fists. His mother drank to sharpen her courage, so that she could stand stone still while her husband put another foot through the drywall, or punched through a window, or turned plates into shrapnel. She drank to find the courage to stand stone still as her son ran out to the park every night and to tell him, when he returned, the lie that she never feared his father would turn his wrath on them.

As he held me tight, I saw through his mind the way life used to be, the way it lingered in his memories. His father building and playing each night, constructing roads and bridges for toy vehicles, making anything the boy asked for out of wood and straws and cardboard and love. I saw his mother, happy and young without the stress of an angry spouse, supporting him and reading homework and stories together. A mother who didn’t drink.

In the midnight darkness, he cradled me in his arms. He ran home as his life played in my mind until I knew my task.

A yellow light shone above the stovetop in the kitchen as we entered. His mom sat at the table, a glass of water in front of her. I knew from the boy’s memories that she always sat up this way, waiting for him, making sure he was safe. This time, a new bit of plaster littered the kitchen floor.

She took us both into her arms, her embrace warm and trembling. She didn’t question my presence, but her eyes leaked and she spoke of her childhood and the dog she grew up with. She spoke of how it’d brought comfort to her, a perpetual friend. As her fingers ran through my simulated fur, the stress of her life floated out. I made sure the harmful rays dissipated into the air and into the night.

I knew my task, so I barked once, twice, just the way I heard it in the boy’s memory, a cartoonish bark, until I heard the rustling upstairs. I felt the boy’s father wipe the haze of drink from his eyes and stumble down the stairs. When he saw the tableau before him, the boy getting kisses from his new best friend and the woman embracing them both, his heart melted into tears, and it all came pouring out—in words this time, not in anger—the frustration, fatigue, disappointment. He had only just begun to realize that such is the reality of life on his world. A constant flux, a managing of expectations, a search for the small things that bring joy. He had lost balance.

The three of them sat together, circled around me, the parents’ faces wet with tears and the boy’s sore with the unfamiliar smile of joy.

In their touch, I saw everything. Recovery would be a hard road for the boy’s father, but he would succeed with only two transgressions. He would heal soon enough to be joyed by the news the boy’s mother would save for just the right moment: that the boy would soon be an older brother.

I could not stay for a lifetime, not even for the life of a dog on this planet where life flies by as fast as comets. There was no need of me anymore. I had fulfilled the Wish. I saw how it would happen. The next day, father and son would build me a doghouse out of the wood scraps in the garage, the ones he used to use all the time when he built toys for the boy. While they were sawing, I would disappear. But it would be only a matter of days before the family stumbled upon a box of puppies for sale on the way home from the boy’s school.

They would pick the runt, the one that needed extra love, because of course they’d have to have something to live in the dog house they’d built. Something to build toys for, to center their love around. Something to bring them together. They’d name him Herald.

They would wonder about me for a time, but I cast an order for their memories of me to be brief. In a decade, they would not remember that they had built their doghouse before the arrival of Herald. They did not need memories of the strange light that descended from above and took the clumsy form of a dog in the darkness. They did not need those memories of me. They needed only to remember who they had once been.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

Leave a comment

Filed under free, freebies, fun, stories, Uncategorized

Join the Party! SUNSHINE BOOK SHOW

Lots of freebies and items on sale.

http://www.sunshinebookshow.com/SBS-Celebration.html

Leave a comment

Filed under books, free, freebies, fun, on sale, party, stories, sunshine book show