Please Step Aside

This little one shot was for a prompt where location and movement was important. I know during the pandemic many businesses made a rule that you had to stand six feet apart between customers, but even before this the thing where people stand behind you and breathe down your neck drives me absolutely nuts. Personal space, people!


She could feel his breath on the back of her neck, and she started walking faster, cursing as he picked up speed to match pace.  She stepped aside, and he followed, ignoring her glare.  She doubled back, and for a moment she was alone, but too short a time later, he was back, behind her, again. How?

She tried to make eye contact with help further down, a trio, that scattered like cockroaches exposed to light when they saw her coming. She loathed confrontation, but enough was enough.

She stopped, and turned. “Excuse me, sir, but you are standing too close.” She said clearly through her mask, and as he wound up to argue she continued. “Store policy says six feet between customers, and if I have to report you I will.”

The man huffed, and said, something, bitch maybe, and brushed past her, heading straight out of the store, nothing in hand. 

She let out a breath as the door swung closed, and resumed her shopping, blissfully, alone.

Wind Whales

This is a story about two children watching the clouds go by, and witnessing a miraculous feat. This was inspired by Hendrik Boom, who, in a mutual writing class on brainstorming introduce the idea of wind whales. It was months and months ago, but it was one of those ideas that stuck with me, and resulted in this!


Sarah and Connor were laying in the long grass of the park, looking at the clouds when they first saw it.

“Oh, that one, that one looks like a whale.” Sarah gesticulated wildly.

Unlike the other 15 time she did this, Connor actually saw it. “Whoa, ya, it really does look like a whale. Its’s really detailed actually.” And he squinted a bit, it was too detailed.

The both watched for a moment, and the whale cloud opened its mouth and swallowed down a smaller cloud.

Sarah and Connor exchanged a look, was this really happening?

The longer they watched the more fantastical it became, the whale continued on swallowing up smaller clouds and then it did the impossible, it changed direction.

The whale started slowing down, and then turned and looped backwards, and then it just stayed still with its mouth open, with clouds flowing right into it.

They watched in astonishment as the whale ate more and more clouds, and in grew and grew, and then, then while they were so busy watching the first whale they didn’t even notice the second until it was almost on top of the first. They circled each other, appearing to play, and it was a spectacle to behold.

They continued eating the other clouds, becoming larger and larger and Connor and Sarah watch is silent fascination as it seemed they were going to grow until they took up the entire sky.

How was no one else seeing this?

They watched for three whole hours, the whales eating, playing, dominating the sky, and it was the most magical thing they had ever seen.

Just when they thought it had reached its peak, a parts of the first whale seemed to start to break off. Was this it, was it ending here and now.

“Connor.” Sarah asked plaintively, and Connor grabbed her hand.

The piece broke off and Sarah let out a wail but Connor shushed her. It didn’t look like a random cloud, it looked more like a, a,.

“It’s a calf!” Sarah shrieked with excitement, and Connor saw it then too. It was a baby whale. There were three of them now.

They were pretty stationary for a little after that, and then the calf began to move. Not slowly like the adults, but quick and darting in a way that was completely unnatural for a cloud. It too grew, but when it was not twice the size it started at, the elder whales grew restless.

The moved, trapping the calf between them and seemed to move as a triad, they rolled, until it was as if they were facing away and all Sarah and Connor could see were they great tails moving up and down in great strokes.

It was Sarah that noticed it first. “Where are they going?” She asked.

“Hmmm?” He muttered in reply.

“They are getting smaller, don’t you think?” She asked, and Connor realized that she was right. They were getting smaller, every stroke of their epic tales was making them just a little bit smaller.

“Where could they be going?” Connor asked, and wondered for the first time where exactly they had come from. Was there a part of the world where wind whales were the norm, or had they come here from somewhere much further away.

Sarah didn’t answer, and they laid there for another hour watching them get smaller and smaller, until they were just a small dot.

They headed home after that, regular cloud watching had lost its appeal after the magnificence of the wind whales that had graced their lives.

They told the entire story to their mother when they got home, but instead of being intrigued, she was just all Mom about it.

She smiled broadly when they finished their tale, “I am glad you two had such a fun day playing together at the park. I made some cookies while you were gone, would you like some?”

Sarah and Connor exchanged glances, it had really happened, hadn’t it?

They both reluctantly took a few cookies and a glass of milk and Connor, being the older of them, at 10, decided it was his duty to write it all down. After all, who know when it might happen again, and he wanted to be sure he remembered every detail.

Divergence

This is a story based on the idea of the road not taken, and the six-sentence story prompt of PATH by girl on the edge.  It is the story of a woman looking to adopt a second child deciding whether or not to take in a six-year-old girl that will change her life forever.


The Road Taken

Life is full of decisions, choices that define your path, and looking back I can see in perfect clarity the moment where I zigged when I should have zagged, ultimately leading the garbage fire that I am living today.

It was a cold day in June when I got the call that’s he was available for adoption, that her foster family wasn’t interested in keeping the beautiful six-year-old girl with blond corkscrew curls, and I fell in love with the photo of a gap-toothed cherub with a good psych report before I even saw her in person.

When she stepped into the house she was every inch the angel from the photo, and it took months before I realized that if the little girl in my care was an angel, then she was one who had fallen because the she was a demon.

I am not talking about your usual tantrums and boundary testing which I was prepared for after adopting my son,  but true destruction in the form of breaking little Benji’s arm when he wouldn’t share his toys, then blaming me for it, and what I finally drew the line at, setting the house on fire after locking us inside.

The child psychologist agreed with me, that she was a danger to herself and others, and after a six-month fight to get her proper care, I was told I either had to take her home, or abandon her in the dead of night, like a criminal.

My mother stopped talking to me after, so did most of my friends, my job suffered as well, leading me to cut ties, movie to a new state where no one knew me or my past, and  I can trace it all back to that single moment when I signed the paper to adopt a child in need.

Another Choice

I had my pen on the line, prepared to sign and take the adorable little girl in when Benji started to cry.

As I changed him, I remembered how, how his foster family wanted to adopt, but were unable to when the other little girl in their care became ill, and I started to wonder why the foster family wouldn’t want Becky, after having her almost eight months.

I went back into the living room a few minutes later, but I didn’t pick up the pen, and with every question I asked more were raised, the social worker seeming shiftier by the second.

Finally, she demanded to know if I actually wanted a child, and I said I couldn’t take the little girl if she couldn’t tell me the reason the foster family wasn’t interested in adopting.

I could see all the fight go out of her ii an instant, as she reluctantly admitted that the family had three children already, and Becky wasn’t taking well to siblings

She couldn’t meet my eyes as she spoke, and I soon showed her to the door, knowing Benji would have to be enough for now.


I am 100% pro adoption, but I have known some really great people who have lived some really big horror stories, and I think people need to put a lot of thought into what they are doing and make sure they are really ready for that particular child, and if it’s a good fit for both the child and the rest of the family.

For Want of a Nail

This was a multi-challenge response to both girlontheedge’s six-sentence word of the week BOOKMARK, and the invisible ink challenge based on the picture below. I am happy with what I came up with, a rather strange little piece about a person with too many bookmarks and none when it counts, which many of us bookish types may see themselves in.


My most innate talent was the ability to lose things in large numbers, which is why when I went to the library to work on my paper I could not find a bookmark to save my life, even though I knew I had to have at least 50.


It wasn’t a joke, an exaggeration, if anything it was an understatement with the truly ridiculous number of bookmarks I had been gifted over the years, on top of those I purchased myself when the mood took me.


I never threw a single one out from the Shhhhh! bookmark from the scholastic book fair I got in the first grade, to the rather obscenely shaped one I got from my best friend as a thank you gift for the wild bachelorette I threw her.


That said, when the need arose, I could search my entire house a find nary a sign that they existed which is why I used everything from my lunch money, to the napkin that came with it, to the receipt to mark my place.


Today I sat at the library, similarly bereft, taking using a pen, a paper-clip I found in my pencil case, and the cloth strip attached to the hard cover to allow for me flip between my three sections with ease while I scribbled down my notes.


All good things come to an end though, the pen pressed into service after an ill-timed ink shortage, the paper-clip needed to clip the papers, and so I surrendered my left hand, two fingers holding the places where anything else would have sufficed, and I mourned the absence of a good bookmark.