Here are a few of my flash fiction and short stories to give you an idea of my writing.
Miracle of Flatt Rock Falls
We don’t celebrate Christmas. Haven’t since Mom died Christmas Eve three years ago. Max doesn’t seem to mind. He’s only five so he doesn’t remember what it was like before. Terry’s still too young to even know what Christmas is. She was only two month’s old when Mom died.
Me though, I miss it like crazy. Not the presents, but all the little things we used to do together as a family. Things like going with Dad to cut down a tree, then everyone helping to decorate it with homemade ornaments and popcorn strings. Singing Christmas carols while Mom played the piano. Baking sugar cookies and gingerbread men.
But, when Mom left us, Dad shut down and disappeared into the bottle. Christmas became a reminder of her death and he forbade even mentioning it. Forget the tree, the singing and the baking. Forget Christmas. Forget Mom dying. Just forget.
I don’t want to forget. I can’t. I had thirteen years of memories and they were good ones. So, tonight, I’m going to defy my Father. He’s passed out drunk upstairs. I tiptoe through the house and slip out the front door.
The frigid air burns my nose and my teeth instantly start to chatter. I hike through the snow, sinking to my knees in some places, to the shed out back. With numb fingers I unlatch the door and blindly make my way to the back wall where I know the clipping shears hang. I find it by touch alone and leave. Going farther from the house the snow drifts get deeper. Some swallow me up to my waist and despite the layers of clothes I have on, my lower half becomes as numb as my hands and nose.
It doesn’t matter though. I have a mission.
I reach the edge of the woods and start searching for my target in the moonlight. There. Surrounded by huge oaks stretching their bare branches to the night sky, a lone little fir stood. It was a Charlie Brown tree, but I didn’t care. It was the best I could do on my own and I knew it. In one quick squeeze the shears fell the tiny tree.
I carry it back to the house over my shoulder and take it inside. Being as quiet as I could be, even though I knew Dad wouldn’t wake if a bomb went off, I slip into my room and pull a box out from under my bed. I’d been planning this minor rebellion for months now and had everything prepared.
Back in the living room, I empty the box. Then, using florist Styrofoam, I plant the tree inside it surrounding it with a red and green plaid cloth. I pull out a long strand of strung popcorn and drape it over the sparse branches. Next, I tied thin red ribbons into bows on the ends. And the pièce de résistance – three packages wrapped in scraps of fabric.
I sit back a moment and admire my handiwork. Not as good as Christmases past, but not bad for what I had to work with. Satisfied, I went to bed. My last thought was a hopeful prayer that Dad wouldn’t be too angry in the morning.
I woke up to the smell of French toast and the sound of laughter. Not sure what to expect and thinking I must still be asleep and dreaming, I went to the living room. The sight that greeted me made my throat ache and tears gather in my eyes.
There, beneath my Charlie Brown tree sitting on the mantle, my little brother and baby sister played with their toys. Not just the ones I had made, but others I knew nothing about. And there were two presents still unwrapped leaning against the hearth that I hadn’t left there.
Max and Terry look up from their toys with grins brighter than the sun. Terry laughs and runs up to me, holding the rag doll I’d made her.
“Look what Mommy sent to us from Heaven,” Max shouted.
In a daze, I let Terry drag me to the fireplace. That’s when I saw the woodcarving I’d made for Dad sitting next to the tree. It was a portrait of all of us I’d copied from the last family photo we’d taken.
“Daddy,” squealed Terry.
I turned to see him standing in the kitchen’s archway. His eyes were still bloodshot, but he was sober. He looked like the father I remembered. I ran to him and he wrapped me in his arms.
“Merry Christmas, Stacey.”
Miracle of Flatt Rock Falls
A stranger rode into town today. Only, he weren’t no stranger really. Everyone done heard tales of Black Jack – the fastest gun in the West. Some say he were even faster than Wild Bill his-self. He was for certain the meanest. Black Jack didn’t shoot to live or defend nuthin’. He just shoots to kill. Once said he wanted the highest death count known to man.
No man wanted to see him on the horizon, ‘cepting the coffin maker and the grave digger.
Black Jack challenged the Sherriff right off and killed him dead. The deputy was next to fall. A few grizzled old-timers stepped up and died. Then a couple of young bucks thinkin’ to make a name for themselves. All told, seven lay dead and it tweren’t even noon.
That’s when my Pa stepped forward.
“Take your guns and leave. You’ve killed enough men today.”
Black Jack spat a wad of tobacco at Pa’s feet. “Draw a gun, Preacher Man.”
“Killing is a sin. I won’t do it.”
The gunslinger laughed at that. “Suit yerself. I ain’t never killed a man in cold-blood, but there’s a first time for everything.”
My heart leapt to my throat and my blood done run cold. Everyone knew my Pa was dead.
Faster than before, Black Jack drew his twin pistols and fired.
When the smoke cleared, Black Jack lay dead. His blood soaking the dusty ground. Both his guns had back-fired an’ blew his hands clean off.
She sits cross-legged on the large speaker box sipping her Jim Bean on the rocks and watching the crowd in the packed bar. The vibrations from the bass pound up through her body creating a pleasant massage-like feeling. Glancing to her right, she watches as her friend’s husband keys in the next karaoke song request. Although hearing a bunch of red-necks singing rap could be amusing, she was pleased to see that the next one was a country song. The door off to her left swings open, letting in the chill autumn air. It was refreshing in the stuffy atmosphere. Giving a little squeal of delight, she puts her arm out so that the man could step into her embrace.
“Hey, baby. How’ve you been?” Her voice was like smoke and honey even though she had to shout over the music.
The man leans down to speak to her, pushing her short auburn hair aside. “Pretty good; how ‘bout yourself?”
“Can’t complain. It’s Hump-day after all,” she laughs as his breath tickles her ear, sending shivers through her.
“True, true. I’m gonna get a beer.”
“Kay, catch you later,” she says, letting him slip from her side.
She watches as he makes his way through the crowd until he disappears. With a sigh, she turns her attention back to the night’s current singer. A muscular boy with Dumbo ears was butchering “Don’t Take The Girl”. With a roll of her eyes, she leans down and plucks a pack of cigarettes from her purse. Motioning to her friend who was at the bar, she goes outside.
Her friend joins her just as she lights one. She holds the lighter out and the other woman lights her cigarette too. Their exhaled smoke joins the half a dozen other cigarettes’ foggy trails, creating a haze around the bar’s entrance.
She spends the night laughing and joking with her friends, flirting with the guys and seemingly having a perfectly good time.
Closing time comes and she says her goodnights. As she slides behind the wheel of her Sunfire, the smile she’s had painted on her face all night slips away. The laughter dies and reality sets in. She drives away and as she leaves, the tears begin to fall.
She’s alone once more.
We only had thirty minutes left to live. At least that’s what the ship’s self-destruct countdown clock indicated. Strangely enough, my life did not pass before my eyes. I had too many other things to worry about.
“Will someone please shut off the damn alarm?” I shouted.
The buzzing and beeping and ringing were making it hard to concentrate.
“Aye, Captain.” One of the ensigns rushed to do my bidding and soon blessed silence filled the cabin.
“Gorbeck, have all the passengers boarded the escape pods yet?”
I watched from the corner of my eye as my second-in-command swiveled his large furry ears to the rear of the ship.
“Yes, Captain. The last passenger pod has just been sealed.”
“Good. Time for you and the rest of the crew to leave.”
“Captain, I respectfully request permission to stay aboard.”
“Request denied. Get going you furry lout!”
Gorbeck gave a long-suffering sigh, but obeyed. “It was an honor to serve with you, Captain.”
I gave a grunt, which he knew was as close to a compliment as I was ever to give. Gorbeck and the rest of the bridge’s crew filed out.
I waited for him to call on the intercom to let me know the crew was safely aboard the last escape pod. My ears don’t work as well as they once did. In the meantime I was busy trying to keep the ship level. Not an easy task with one engine dead and two of the four thrusters blown.
A blast of static interrupted my concentration. “Captain, the crew is boarded.”
“Very well. Stand by for launch.”
I lifted the plastic cover protecting the escape pods launch buttons. Pressing them in order, the ship jolted each time one was released. I glanced out the side window to see all six floating off to my right. I waited until they fired their engines and began the descent to the planet below. If I were a praying kuniklo, I’d pray that whoever inhabited that blue-green sphere was friendly.
Once I was sure they were safely on their way, I engaged the remaining thrusters and headed in the opposite direction.
I now have one minute left to live. The ship’s computer was helpfully counting down the seconds. Knowing there was nothing more I could do, I pulled out my secret stash of viskio. Using my teeth to remove the cork, I spit it across the room and took a long pull of the fiery liquid. Leaning back in my chair, I propped my feet up on the console and pulled out a dherbo. I lit it and sucked in a lungful of spicy smoke, blowing it back out in lazy circles.
Five, four, three, two…one.
"Look at that fat heifer. Don't you think she's disgusting, Elaine?"
"Will you shut up Melanie? You're no prize yourself you know?"
"Speak for yourself. Besides, what do you care? It's not as if anyone could hear me."
"Well that's just too bad, isn't it? I should...Ohhh, look at him. Isn't he just scrumptious. I'd love to tie him up and..."
"Melanie! That's enough."
"Puh-leeze. Don't be such a prude. You know you want to jump his bones."
"Must you be so crude? I swear if you weren't..."
"If I wasn't what?"
"Never mind; just be quiet for a little while so I can concentrate."
Elaine closed her eyes to shut out the world around her and breathed a sigh of relief at the silence. Opening her eyes once more, Elaine looked down at the term paper she had been working on before she was so rudely interrupted. Pulling one of the research books closer she continued reading, highlighting pertinent sections and making notes."
"You really think you are ever going to become a psychiatrist?"
"What? I was just asking a question. And it was a joke anyway. You know, ha ha. You really need to loosen up some. You're way too serious."
"Maybe that's because you're so frivolous. Someone has to balance you out and I seem to be that person. Now be quiet!" Elaine yanked the large book up to hide behind and tried to read.
"I wish you two wouldn't fight all the time."
Melanie grimaced at the childish whine. "Oh great. Another country heard from. 'I wish you wouldn't fight,'" she mimicked. "Well, I wish you weren't such a baby. Guess we both lose."
"Leave her alone Melanie. She's just a kid."
"Yeah, well no one asked her to tag along."
"Meanie. Melanie's a meeeeanie."
"Julia, stop; that's not nice."
"Yeah, shut up baby."
"Oh, grow up Melanie."
"She started it."
"Enough! Both of you. Just be quiet so I can finish this paper. Then we can leave."
"Fine. Finish you stupid paper. See if I care."
"Sorry Elaine. I'll be good. Promise."
"I know you will Julia. Thank you."
Turning her gaze once more to the words written in the research book, Elaine began taking notes again. Her brow creased and she pursed her lips in annoyance when she noticed the dark drawings of skulls and gravestones on the left side of her notebook paper and childlike stick figures and flowers on the right.
"Geez, no need to bite my head off."
Blinking like someone just waking up, Elaine forced her eyes to focus. She saw a dark blue cotton t-shirt first. Tucked in at a narrow waist where it disappeared into a pair of faded blue jeans then upwards it stretched tightly across a broad chest. Raising her eyes up she took in a cleft chin, firm lips, Roman nose and evenly spaced brown eyes with flecks of gold.
Brown eyes that were somewhat surprised with just a hint of ire marring them. She closed her own in the hopes that the vision before her would vanish but when she opened them again Elaine saw that the man was still there. She felt the heat flood across her face and bit her lip hard to keep back a groan.
Noticing her distress, the man smiled and asked, "Are you alright?"
Hearing him now, speaking in a deep Southern drawl, Elaine couldn't believe she had mistaken his voice for Melanie's low sultry tone or Julia's childish one. She gritted her teeth when she heard them both snickering. Clearing her throat she said, "I am so sorry. I didn't mean to snap at you. It's just that I have to finish this term paper and I keep getting interrupted."
One thick eyebrow rose up to disappear under shaggy sun-streaked hair. He glanced around the nearly empty library and then took in the large table that could easily accommodate ten people but served only her.
"Right," he said drawing out the single syllable to form two.
Elaine could have kicked herself, hearing the unasked question and seeing the bewilderment in those brown eyes. She could feel her face flushing even more and would have sworn she was redder that the ripest cherry tomato.
"So, what are you writing your paper on?"
"MPD; Multiple Personality Disorder," she mumbled, inwardly cringing at the malicious laughter and childish sing-song voices echoing in her head.