The Knock at the Door

IMG_0696

“Dad, can we go to the Children’s Park today?” Jeremy asked.

Greg had been promising his son, Jeremy, that they could go to the Children’s Park in  the Town Square during the weekend for a while now.

“Get your stuff together. Let’s go, son,” Greg said.

When Greg and Jeremy got to the Children’s Park, Jeremy cried, “Look, Dad, something new!” He ran toward a number of large, wooden statues that had been placed in a central location in the park. There were even statues of green Martian men. Jeremy played while Greg purchased a replica of a statue for him.

A tired Jeremy and Greg arrived home in the late afternoon. Jeremy put his statue in his room. Right before he went to bed, there was a loud knock at the door. Greg answered. It was the large green Martian statue.

In a loud voice, the statue said, “Where is my child?”

Jeremy ran to his room, grabbed the small statue, and threw it at him!

Advertisements

Tender Betsy

IMG_1371

Three nights ago, I woke up, rather groggily, to a loud banging in my bedroom. I thought of my little dog, Betsy, and immediately turned to find her. She was in her steel crate, with the door open, having a seizure. The banging was her little, tender   body, stiff and jerking, banging against her crate.

I leaped up and went to her. By then, the seizure was almost over and she was in the latter stages. The paralysis that happens after. Her legs were stiff and her head and neck were stuck backward. She stayed like that for ten or fifteen minutes before she could move again. This was her second seizure that I know about.

She slowly got up and left her crate, wide-eyed and shaky. She kept coming to me, looking at me as if to ask me what happened. I had no answers. I just cuddled her. The next stage was the pacing. She paced through the house, wide-eyed and frightened for an hour or two. After that, she collapsed on the couch. She didn’t move for maybe eight hours.

Betsy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A breed of dog that is docile, sweet, and tender. To watch her go through something like a grand mal seizure was a horrible thing. It took two and a half days for Betsy to be Betsy again.

There is an innocence and trust in all dogs. We can’t explain to them what happens to them when it happens and we don’t know how much they understand. As their companions, all we can do is get them good medical care and love them unconditionally. We have to show that love to them, cuddle them, make them feel safe. If a person is a good person, dogs bring out the best in us.

Dogs love us no matter what we do. Deserve their love.

The Lucky One

IMG_1407

She sensed something was wrong that last night in the Midwestern city. He was drinking too much. They almost argued and everything felt filled with anxiety. He was distant.The intensity of their passion was more than it had ever been. She was almost afraid he was going to hurt her. He came close but bailed out at the last moment.

The next morning, she knew something was wrong. He handed her his prize baseball cap, commenting it had his DNA in it. He looked at her like he was trying to remember and forget, all at the same time. When they got to the airport, she turned around and he had vanished.

In the few days that were left, he sent messages to her that talked about trust. Over and over, he spoke of trust and long-term commitment. She believed him still. She had known him so long, but they had never connected on such a deep level before. She could relax about their relationship. He said it was for the long haul.

Then she got the note. The note using their special love words, supposedly from her, the other one. Telling her that he had come home, that it was over. He sent her one note, telling her the same thing. She believed that for weeks. He tried to be cruel. He sent her a message, ostensibly from the other one, telling her he forgave her. For what? Then she received several emails. They were supposed to be from the other one, but they weren’t. He gave himself away by using the first personal pronoun and two initials he always used to refer to himself.

It all fell into place. He had broken off the relationship himself and blamed the other one. He had been as cruel as possible while preaching words of love and commitment and trust.

She looked in the water. He wasn’t worth anything. Not her tears, not her heartache. She was the lucky one. Now if she could only make herself believe it.

Imaginary

If you are a writer of fiction, you have to have a good imagination. You have to be able to create imaginary characters, stories, settings. Fiction is a work of good imagination.

Children have the most wonderful imaginations. They let their imaginations run wild and free and create whole worlds in which to play. As adults, we have become accustomed to reining in our imaginations. We have to be an adult, act like an adult, and use our imaginations only in controlled circumstances, like writing fiction. We can’t live in fantasy worlds lest we hurt other people.

When a writer embarks on a work of fiction, it is a difficult transition to make. They are suddenly allowed to let their imagination, at least as it relates to the story they are writing, run wild and free like a child’s imagination. It has to be a bit more controlled in order to tell their story.

The Children of Birch Branch

IMG_0668

“Come look,” Maxine called to her cousins. “Look what I’ve found.”

Maxine and five of her cousins were at their homeplace on Birch Branch. They had been given a day by the attorney to come get whatever belonged to their family. Maxine was cleaning out the shed and found these ancient toys.

Kevin said, “I feel like we’re looking at our parents’ lives. I guess in some ways we are looking at their childhood here.”

The cousins finished up with a last look at the house and the property on Birch Branch. They knew they would never be back again.

The Corn Maze

IMG_0654

It was the fall of the year. Adele and her husband, Daniel, decided to take a drive in the countryside. They were a retired couple, but they lived in the city. They didn’t get out in the country very much. Even though they were retired, they led busy lives. The countryside was beautiful. They lived where there were lots of hardwood trees and the leaves were changing. Adele and Daniel were driving down a tree-lined lane through trees with leaves that were golden, red, and every color in between. It was beautiful.

On either side of the road, there were farms. Farms that had grown wheat and corn during the preceding summer. Farms that also had beef and dairy cattle and other farm animals. The couple was enjoying seeing the sights. There were farms along the way with pumpkin patches for children. Farms that had grown apples. There were lots of people milling around.

Suddenly, Adele and Daniel passed by a large farm that had grown corn that year and they realized there was something odd about the dried-up cornfield. Adele slowed the car and Daniel asked her to turn into the farm’s driveway. As the turned in, they saw a sign that said Corn Maze. Daniel was excited. He had gone through mazes before and he wanted to go through this one. But he found it odd that no one else was there to go through the maze.

Adele and Daniel got out of the car and followed the signs toward the maze. Suddenly, an old man appeared with a shovel in his hand. He asked what they wanted. Daniel explained that they had seen the sign about the maze and he’d like to go through it. The old man shrugged his shoulders and told him to go ahead. Adele sat down on a nearby bale of hay.

Daniel started through the maze. The maze didn’t look that large and after a half hour, Adele started to get concerned. Daniel had not returned. The old man was over at the side of the maze digging something. She told him of her concern and he just shrugged his shoulders. Another hour passed. Adele was really upset and she confronted the old man and asked him where Daniel was. The old man told her that sometimes, people went in to the maze and didn’t come out. Adele got out her phone and dialed 911.

The police arrived and a search party went into the maze looking for Daniel. More and more police arrived. They had trouble finding each other in the maze. They erected large lights and searched all night. They found no sign of Daniel.

Finally, the Sheriff of the county confronted the old man. The old man said the same thing he had told Adele – that sometimes people went into the maze and didn’t come out. He didn’t know why. Adele could attest to the fact that she could see the old man the entire time Daniel had been gone.

Finally, Adele had to leave. The Sheriff took her home because there was no sign of Daniel. No one could explain his disappearance. The Sheriff asked Adele a lot of questions about their marriage. Were they happy? Would Daniel just walk off? Adele had no reason to think any of that was true. The Sheriff advised her to wait. That Daniel would probably show up.

Back at the farm, the old man was still digging. The police had not noticed that he was digging a grave.

Murder and the Bats

IMG_0651

“Inspector, we know he is on a bicycle because we think we saw him on the village road, ” said the mayor of the Southern Parish of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in England.

“He may be trying to get into one of the deep dales between the Three Peaks.”

“That sounds like a good place to hide,” said the Inspector.

“What is his crime, sir?” asked the mayor.

“Murder, Mr. Mayor. He was in a pub fight with a man who disparaged his wife,” remarked the Inspector. “Since Yorkshire Dales was close, we were able to track him here fairly easily. Even though I’m new on the job, I’ve heard it was a good place to hide.”

“There are many caves in those dales. Lots of places for a murderer to hide,” the major reflected.

The suspect’s wife walked in to assist with the search.

“He won’t hide in those caves,” she said. “He is afraid of the bats!”

 

The Guardian

IMG_0649

Damn. He should have known better than to take this car. It was his brother’s car. He didn’t steal it, but The Guardian didn’t seem to be able to differentiate between stealing and borrowing. It didn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between what we considered good and bad. It had its own ideas.

Ever since this thing had descended upon them, the world had gone crazy. It was like a big taser. If you did something it considered bad, it appeared and tased you. When scientists tried to research where it came from, it appeared and constantly tased them. Law enforcement could do nothing with it. It appeared at crime scenes and took over, rendering law enforcement impotent. If someone had committed a crime it considered heinous, it killed them on the spot.

The military had tried to shoot it out of the sky. That didn’t work. It had shot back and killed them all. It seemed the only thing to do was obey it. Now it was pointed right at him. He had borrowed his brother’s car to get groceries. He would take it back.

He opened the door to get in and the car exploded.

 

The World Went Black

IMG_0647

“You boys can take any of those stumps back there behind the corn crib,” Jake said to his friends. “They will make good firewood this winter.”

Jake’s friends walked behind the corn crib and saw all the tree stumps. One turned and asked Jake where he got them. Jake said he cut trees on his property and sold them to a company that makes hardwood floors.

“Jake, you live in the Daniel Boone National Forest. How are you cutting trees, man?”

Jake told them that the trees were at the back of his property. He said no one would know. One of the men in the group stepped forward and told Jake he should not be cutting young trees in the woods to sell. That it was not environmentally conscious. The man went on to say that someone should turn Jake in to the authorities. He turned to walk off.

Boom!! The world went black. That was the last thing the man knew for several hours.

The Sanatorium

IMG_0640

Mabel and Anne sat at Table 19, waiting for their families, in their long, white, day gowns. It was visiting day and the two twenty-something girls were anxious to see their parents and others who would perhaps come with them. They were residents of the East Lake Tuberculosis Sanatorium in a town in Virginia. It was 1906.

Both girls had been diagnosed with a medium level tuberculosis. They expected to die in the sanatorium.

Visits from family were allowed only one day per month. The first Wednesday of every month and were limited to 15 minutes. Family members had to wear some sort of gauze over their mouths as tuberculosis was thought to be quite contagious.

There they were! They couldn’t hug and it was so hard, but at least they could talk for a few minutes.

Being a tuberculosis patient in the early 1900s  was like being an inmate in a prison. Mabel and Anne were lucky. They got better and got out. Most patients did not.