Friday, January 29, 2010

The Woods

Billy Parker is famous tonight. And not just because his shots at the state police helicopter ruptured the fuel tank and forced an emergency landing, though that feat makes him mighty proud. His daddy tried to teach him to hunt deer, but it was always Billy's four brothers who brought down the bucks at the end of the day.  

Lookie now, daddy, he thought as he stopped to rest against a tree in the Virginia woods, hands gripping the high powered rifle, listening intently. I finally bagged me something big.

What brings Billy notoriety this cold winter evening are the five bodies back at the house.

It was Wade from the gas station who found them earlier when he came by for their weekly cards and booze. He ran out to the yard, crying and spewing his dinner, before he drove to the neighboring farm for help. When Sheriff Walker arrived, Wade grabbed his arm and told him the Parkers are dead except Billy because “his body ain't lying in there.” The Sheriff nodded.

The other teenagers down at the Piggly Wiggly once told him, “Billy's not been right in the head since his mama passed.” Since then he always thought something awful would happen. There were too many nights he was called in to stop the drunken beatings. Yes, he worried about the boy.

The manhunt tracked Billy to his present location, a rural area thick with trees that gave way to large clearings. He knew he had a final decision to make since he could hear the hounds and see flashes of light. It was harder before, when the jumbled voices in his head cajoled too fast and too loud, and were of no help. But a few minutes ago, they ceased their shouts and whispered their goodbyes.

They'll come back, dammit, he said out loud. They always do.

His pursuers arrived. Billy stood up and walked away from the tree in calm and unavoidable surrender.

Friday, January 22, 2010

An Uncle

A car horn jolted Nick out of his reverie. He sat in a favorite leather bound chair by the window in Uncle's study and looked at his wife with bleary eyes. Her peevish expression faded when she finally had his attention. “Yes?” he said with a slight inclination of his head, and put down his drink.

“You're being rude, you know. Go handle those people out there.”

“Forgive me but I'm going to need some more time alone.” He refilled the glass.

“Oh really? Well, sure. Of course.” She left without another word and slammed the door shut.

Nick looked out the window and saw three people striding up the short drive to the house. He gulped more of his drink, needing the alcohol to burn away the bile clogging his throat.

Many years ago Nick became Uncle's ward.  His mother, a much beloved housemaid to the family, left the infant boy with Uncle and his late wife, and returned to her husband and children in their Central American village. Nick's biological father was never found. While never usually overtly affectionate, Uncle raised him in a dutiful and kind manner.

Just yesterday, the elderly man died in his bed.

Uncle once made an offer he thought would set his ward on a path of redemption. “I'll pay all the fees and living expenses if you go to law school.” But Nick refused. By then, he operated a successful business he enjoyed. Many times over the years, the money he made was more than he could have hoped, even as a lawyer.

Unfortunately, those lucrative times were gone.

Of course, I counted on Uncle's damn millions taking care of the rest of it,  he thought as he swallowed the last of the scotch.

Earlier, after he greeted and comforted all who came over with their black clothes, their potlucks, and their memories, Nick stepped into the study for private time with Uncle's lawyer. 

“I don't know why you thought you and your wife were in Mr. Stanford's will,” were the lawyer's last words before he left Nick shaken and nursing his drink.

He wished he knew that particular truth sooner.

The sharp knock at the door of the study jolted Nick out of his reverie. “Yes, yes, come the hell in.” He stood up and flung the glass at the fireplace, and waited for the detective to walk over to him and recite him his rights, while two policemen clicked handcuffs around his wrists, then guided him to the door.

As they walked past the people gathered and silent in the hallway, Nick looked up and saw his wife's ashen face and stopped. She reached out and grabbed the front of his shirt. “You know how to fix this don't you, Nicky?”

The police pulled her away and pushed him out the door. When they reached the car, and before a strong hand held his head down and helped him slide into the back seat, Nick turned for a last look at Uncle's house.

There were many things he knew how to do, how to fix. He was certain he had been careful one more time.

Yes, Nick was a killer. But I'm no lawyer, he thought as he was driven from the only home he never had.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I awakened on this grey gloom of a Sunday with no idea that this second lovely award awaited me!

Corra McFeydon at from the desk of a writer has offered me a Creative Writer Award. I am so grateful and honored.

She created this new award and intended it  "... as a gesture to further the premise 'writer' within 'blogger.' I'd love to see more writers acknowledged for the craft! Because we all are writers."

Yes, Corra, we all are writers and I am so happy to read, learn, and be inspired by all of you.

Thank you for the award and the sentiment.

Friday, January 15, 2010


 To acknowledge those that have a blog and spend endless hours ensuring that other bloggers get feedback on their blogs by leaving comments, adding themselves as a follower or dropping by just to let you know there are people out there.

My very first award! It has been bestowed to me by the lovely Michelle Dennis Evans, my fellow writer from the friday flash community.

I thank her very much for the honor! You can find her at Twitter as @MichelleDEvans and please visit her blog

Blue Ribbon

Before he left for good that morning, Norman made a large pot of soup for the family while they slept. Grannie Sperr's award winning Country Baked Potato Chowder was a crowd pleaser, and he always added it to the dinner menu as comfort food during many bleak winter nights.

He rushed through final preparations. He normally took the local train to work, but today he wanted to meet the 6:10 Express, and he needed time to walk to the station. Usually he drove whenever he went out, but he was sure his wife would need the car today. He arrived with 15 minutes to spare and, despite the cold, sat alone on the bench outside to wait.

Moving to a gated community in a picturesque town a mere 45 minutes from the city was the best decision he made all those early years ago. He read the paper and drank coffee on the train to his job and his six-figured salary; his wife stayed home with the children. They were comfortable and did not worry about the price of anything. House needs a new roof? Done. Car needs work? Write a check.

Investing most of their money with a respected Wall Street guru was the worst decision he made all those years later. He called it financial planning. The legal authorities called it a greedy scam of such magnitude, no one could hope to recuperate losses.

The train's approaching whistle startled him away from his thoughts. He stood and walked to the edge of the platform. The train would not stop, of course, but he did not need that. He inhaled deeply.


The shout from the stranger made him turn.

“Be careful! What are you doing? This train doesn't stop here, it's express all the way!”

Norman blinked and moved back a few steps. The stranger grabbed his arm and pulled him further away.

“Jeesh, Don't understand you people. You like to stand so close to the end. Could get hurt or worse.”

* * *

“You're home early, hon. Slow day at the office?” Ada said as her husband came in through the back kitchen door.

Norman placed the grocery bag on the table, took out a package, and leaned over to kiss her smile.

“Yep...I figured I could get a head start on crisping the bacon. Forgot to do it before.”

Ada stood and walked over to the pots and pans hanging on the wall next to the stove. “Oh, is it soup night, then?” She handed him the cast iron skillet.

“I thought it was. For you.”

She laughed. “You mean for us, or aren't you having some?”

Norman nodded and turned to the stove. “Who could turn down Grannie's Sperr's chowder on such a night.”

As he crumbled the bacon, he thought about tomorrow.  He hoped he would find another good reason to come home then too.

Friday, January 08, 2010


Later, when Harold thought about his reaction when first he learned of his mother's death, he remembered being annoyed by the sounds of the television in the background.

"Doug, turn down that noise!"

His brother looked at him but did not move from the couch.

"Lost the remote. Don't feel like getting up." he said.

Harold sighed. "There's better ways to do things, you know."

It was his Aunt Gigi who called with the news. The last time that Harold and Doug saw her, they were eleven and eight years old, respectively. She sat with them at the train station to wait for the people who would take them away from their mother, and to their new safe life. When two women arrived, both dressed in black and faces arranged in similar business-like expressions, the boys went with them without a fuss. They were obedient children and if their Aunt Gigi told them they had to do something, they did. They trusted her. Their mother, not surprisingly, never argued with her sister over this turn of events. She wanted many things but none included her children.

Over the years, Aunt Gigi kept in touch with them but thought it best not to speak too much about their mother's life. Harold now listened to the details of her death.

"She died in a storm?"

* * * * *

After Doug was asleep for several hours, Harold stood at the doorway of the bedroom and stared at him. The light from the full moon was bright enough to cast softened illumination on Doug's green complexion. It was not unlike his own, Harold thought as he touched his face.

They resembled their mother.

Even though they lived an early life unnourished by an affection that never filled their mother's heart or their souls, he was saddened by her loss. But he vowed he would never tell Doug about the absurdity of her death. A house! A house had fallen on her and killed her.

Then, the locals cheered and danced and sang.

"Ding dong the witch is dead!"

He knew his brother would laugh himself sick at the story, and rightly so. But a dead mother deserved respect, he thought.

Harold left Doug's room and sat by the fire in the study. He allowed himself final thoughts on the matter. They were happy and settled in this place where magic was also known and accepted, though Doug refused to learn how to harness his gift. No matter. As always, Harold would take good care of things.

He stood, ready for bed,  and pointed a finger at the fireplace. Its flames hissed away instantly.

There was nothing wicked about him.