The Warmth of Summer

It seems that I once again have a slight obsession about doors, and stepping through them, which is why I couldn’t resist The Writer’s Mess weekly picture prompt below.  Follow a little girl who has to make a decision, does she stay, or does she go…

She could smell the sweet scent of summer flowers blowing in from the garden, and walked towards it.  The smell was intoxicating, with it’s promise of a rich summer day, so tempting when she got the smallest glimpse of green around the edge of the blue door before her.

She looked back towards the nursery where she had children to care for, even though it should have been her mother’s job, and then back towards the door.

It called for her, come, stay, be free, it said, and she wanted nothing more than to go to it, but she couldn’t…or could she.

The wind blew the door a little further open, and the bright blue skey beckoned to her.

Before she knew it, she was at the threshold, and the wail of her little brother, which should have held her pack, pushed her through, and even at ten she knew that she wanted more than she would get in this place.

The warmth of sun-kissed grass melted her toes, frozen from walking on stone in winter, and all at once she realized that this could not be happening, but when she turned to go back, there was no door, only a field that stretched as far as the eye could see.

She had made her choice, and it seemed, that she would have to live with it, here, in this land of eternal sunshine.


A Wish Came True

Following my ongoing theme, this is dark, twisty, and about getting what you want. The idea being, you might get it, but maybe (probably), not the way you expected. It’s inspired by someone I know who was trying to get an old tenant out and get a contractor, and ended up getting what he wanted when the tenant’s new roommate vandalized both units of his duplex. And of course, those tv shows that I will not name, where I have seen more than one average person running it land really badly, and made me wonder if anyone ever got hurt doing it.

The show had sounded harmless enough. It was just an obstacle course, and she really needed the money. The kooky story they made her rehearse was fine. Sure it made her sound like a little bit of an idiot, but she could live with that for a chance at that much money.

It was only one week, and they would pay 5000 just to be on the show. There would be 10000 to get to the semi finals, 15000 if she made the finals, and the grand prize, the part that everyone knew about was 250000 dollars and she needed the money.

It ended up that she needed a lot more than that. She hadn’t thought much of the medical waiver she had to sign, it had been glossed over as standard, boiler plate, indemnity from pre-existing conditions, but as she lay in the hospital with a broken back, and the possibility of never walking again, she wished she had read it more carefully

Or really, had her lawyer read it. The problem was she was young, and she had been healthy, and really nothing her lawyer could have told her would have talked her out of going on the show.

She had a mountain of student debt, medical bills from her late mother, and this was supposed to be the thing to help get her out of it. Instead, she lay here dreading what would come out of this.

It seemed she wouldn’t have to wonder long, a lawyer from the show came once they had a better idea of her prognosis. It seemed that despite not making it past the first obstacle, her injury would win her the grand prize and a lot more, plus up to two years of treatment for medical coverage. All she had to do was sign the confidentiality clause, never telling anyone how this had happened.

She was smarter, she got a lawyer this time, but given what she had signed prior to going on the show, this was the best she would ever get. So she took it, and it wiped out her debt. It set her up with the things she needed for her new life, and it kept her up at night.

She knew there was that old proverb “be careful what you wish for”, and now she knew why people called it a curse. She got everything she wanted, her loans gone, her mother’s bills paid, finally enrolled in law school, and with enough cash to see her through the first two years. In the end, all it cost her was her legs…And her ability to sleep at night.

She lay staring at the ceiling, wondering, if she had known back then, what she knew now, would she have still gone through with it? And could she live with herself, knowing that by signing that agreement, getting everything she wanted, she had forfeited the right to warn people that it could happen to them too. Well, it was too late now, all she could do was use this to help others, she thought, as she signed up for a seminar focusing on becoming a personal injury lawyer.

Good Intentions

The word of the week is guard, and I ended up going with the definition as in a person whose occupation is guard. It went a little off after that, and even I wasn’t sure what required a guard until I got there. Definitely a great creative exercise!

I always thought that people who ended up in this kind of situation knew that they could end up here, and could look back and pick out the choice that led them to their inevitable end.

It was only as I sat in the small room, with a 24/7 guard outside the door, that I began to realize that this wasn’t always the case, and I knew because that wasn’t the way it had gone for me.

If you were being nitpicky, you could point out that I knew when I called in a bomb threat on a public building that this was a possible outcome, but getting to that point, the point where I called in a fake threat wasn’t just a single choice affair.

It would be easy to say it was my parents divorce, joining science club, watching a chunk the size of Rhode Island fall off of a glacier, but it was none of those things, all of those things, and a thousand other little incidents that led me here today.

Maybe it would only have taken a single change for this not to be where I ended up, or maybe all of everything could change and I would still end up here, a product of fate, or just genetics.

The important bit was that I called in what I thought was a fake bomb threat, 37 innocent people died, and I would have to live my entire life knowing that if I had taken my part of the “hoax” a little more seriously, that I might not be sitting accused of domestic terrorism.

Let’s Get the Band Back Together

The word of the week was BAND, and I went “Let’s get the Band Back Together”. In this piece our main character learns the hard way not to agree to something without knowing all the details, and suffer the consequences of their actions.

Let’s get the band back together, she had said, and the noise I had made in response was more one of acknowledgment that she had spoke, than one of agreement.

Let’s get the band back together, had sounded so innocent than when it did register, I thought nothing of it, and assumed that she wouldn’t follow through anyways

Let’s get the band back together, had made me assume that she had called those of us that were still among the living, and arranged a reunion at her place.

Let’s get the band back together, didn’t bring to mind images of pentagrams, dark magics, sacrifices, or three people too afraid of the crazy lady with the knife to say no to her terrible plan.

Let’s get the band back together, made you think the band, just the band, and not the things that followed through the door that we had opened and did not know how to shut.

We got the band back together, but it was short, terrifying, full of screams that would haunt me till the day I died, and in the long years that followed, where I lived in fear every-time I saw movement from the corner of my eye, I would never again make a hmmm of acknowledgment.