Word Weaver Writing Contest

Dan Alatorre started a writing contest, the deadline is April 30th, so yeah…I’m under the wire again.  You can find the details about the contest here.  This is the story I submitted.

 

 

A Trip of a Lifetime

“1.2 million dollars?  Did you actually say one. Point. Two. Million. Dollars?” Michael questions as he scoots to the edge of his chair as if getting closer will allow him to hear better, one hand clutching his chest and the other resting on the desk in front of him.  With an eyebrow raised he looks at the lawyer waiting for his reply.

“Yes, Mr. Alexander that is correct.  Your Aunt Hazel instructed me to tell you the amount of your inheritance, and to give you this.”  The lawyer hands him a sealed envelope.

“What is this?” Michael inquires.

“Read it.”

Michael struggles to open the envelope, as he alternates from fanning himself, to dabbing his brow with one hand, as the other shaky hand holds onto the envelope.  He finally manages to get it open, he takes a deep breath as he unfolds the paper, recognizing his Aunt’s handwriting, he is overcome with emotion his hand involuntarily covers his mouth as he reads to himself.

My Dearest Michael –

Surprised? I can just picture you now, you frantically fanning yourself like you are about to pass out. Breathe dear, calm down, no need getting all verklempt.

Let me explain.  I’ve spent my whole life trying to make everyone happy by doing what was expected of me, and what was right. I have decided that in my passing, I will finally do what I want. You and your mother are the only family I have left. Well…the only family by blood.  There is actually someone else.  There always has been someone else, but I think you already knew that.  She is the other beneficiary.

Being neighbors for so many years, and then young widowers for many more, Rose and I formed a bond that went beyond friendship. Our husband’s life insurance policies paid off our houses, and left us enough money to raise our kids and live a comfortable life. Together we invested wisely, and multiplied what we had. We had a good life together, and we were very happy.

Michael, she adores you, she remembers the conversations we all had talking about traveling and seeing the world. That is what I want for you Michael. I have watched you live your life to the fullest, not caring what anyone thinks of you or the choices you make. I want you to use this inheritance to travel and see the world. I want you to be happy. Please resist the urge to put this money into the hair salon. You’re smart as a whip and a damn good hair stylist, the salon will be just fine.  Go.  See the world!!

One final request. Please look after Rose for me, and be sure to send her a postcard from all the faraway lands you visit.

Love-
Aunt Hazel

With a smile on his face, Michael carefully folds the letter, and places it back in the envelope, and whispers more to himself, “Wow.”

With pen in hand, the lawyer says, “I just need you to sign these papers.  I’ve known your aunt for many years, she was an exceptional woman, she will be missed by a lot of people.”

Michael handles the paperwork, albeit in a bit of shock.  Thanks the lawyer by shaking his hand and leaves the office.

The top was still down on his bright red BMW Z4 Roadster, the sun was still shining, as he started the car.  As he pulled out of the parking lot, he didn’t turn the music on, instead he let the wind wash over him as the memories flooded his mind, as he made the short trip to Rose’s house.

He has so many fond memories of long summer evenings spent with his Aunt Hazel and Rose.  No topic was off limits with the three of them.  They would sit on the back porch talking and laughing until the lightning bugs came out.  Even on the hottest of days, they sat and drank coffee, and snacked on Sara Lee Coffee Cake. Aunt Hazel would bring out the flavored coffee creamers whenever she had company, calling herself fancy.

He smiles at the memories, and continues his drive.  It’s amazing how drastically life can change in the blink of an eye.

As he pulls into the cul-de-sac, he sees the two familiar houses standing side by side.  Even the house itself displays a loss all of its own.  A house once so warm and inviting, seems to have lost its fervor without a life residing within it.  Even the neighborhood has seemed to have lost its sparkle.  He sees Rose, sitting on her porch swing, the slow motion not unlike a pendulum of a clock that is just abiding its time.  As he walks up to the front porch, she sees him and smiles, it barely reaches her eyes.  They greet each other with a hug, as Michael says, “Hello there Doll Face.” This time with a little less enthusiasm, and a lot more melancholy.

Rose can only muster a single word response, “Michael.” As she holds back tears and leans into his much-needed embrace, knowing this once joyous reunion has quickly turned bittersweet.

She reluctantly steps back, and quickly wipes her eyes.  “Let’s go inside.  Hazel would have a fit if she knew we were standing out here blubbering all over the sidewalk.”

Michael follows her into a well-kept house.  “Make yourself comfortable hon, the coffee is already on, I’ll be back in a minute.”

“I can help you.” Michael insists.

“It’s no trouble, you sit, relax, you’ve been driving all day.”

Michael stops and looks at all the beautiful pictures of Rose’s family displayed proudly on the mantel.  Children, grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren.  Many include his Aunt Hazel, with that fabulous smile of hers.  She did live a happy life.

Rose enters the dining room and sets a tray on the table.  Michael takes a seat as she pours coffee.  The Sara Lee coffee cake is already sliced, he smiles as he takes a piece.  “You know I had to do it, kind of feels like she’s here with us.” She says with a half-smile.

“Ok Missy, spill it.  Did you know about my inheritance?” He eyeballs her as he prepares his coffee with cream and sugar.

“Yes.  Yes I did.” She says nodding her head knowingly.  “Hazel was so practical that way.  You know, my Frank passed away first.  She saw how difficult it was for me to make all the arrangements and decisions at such a vulnerable time, but she helped me through it then.  Shortly afterwards, she sat your uncle down, and they got all their affairs in order, not knowing she would be burying him just a year later.” She pauses and solemnly shakes her head in disbelief.  “Then once her and I started investing together and sharing more of our lives together, she sat me down too.  I hated having to think about all that stuff, but that was Hazel, she was the planner, and she wanted the final say for her life.”

Michael quietly takes it all in as he sips his coffee.  “So Lovie, we have all this money to see the world, where to first?”

“Oh, Michael dear, those were just silly pipe dreams from a couple of old bittys.  We were trying to live vicariously through you.  Besides, I don’t think I’d want to travel alone at this point in my life.”

“First of all, you are not an old bitty Sugar.  But I do understand your apprehension.” He reassures as he reaches over to lay his hand over hers.  “But I tell you what, if ever you get a bug in your bonnet and you just need to get away, you call me, and I’ll be your travel companion.  Belize…France…Switzerland…Wisconsin, skies the limit Chica, you let me know.”

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly ask you to do that Michael.”

“Rose.  Look at me.” Michael says with a dramatic point towards himself, and an eyebrow raised.  “I’m serious.”

“If you’re serious…there is some place…”

With an excited gasp, Michael says, “Really? Where?”

“My granddaughter is having one of those destination weddings in Hawaii in December, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there alone, everyone is so busy preparing for the wedding I didn’t want to bother anyone to travel with me.”

“It’s done Darlin’, I’ll be your plus one.  After the nuptials, we’ll get ourselves a place on the beach, hire us a cabana boy, and we’ll be sipping margaritas as we watch the sunset.  Give me all the info, and leave the details to me.  You just worry about looking like the fabulous grandma that you are.” He takes her hand and kisses it with a loud “muah” sealing the deal.

“Oh Michael, thank you so much, I’m excited now.” She reaches over and gives him a hug.

Mumbling more to himself in silent outrage, “Hm…missing your grandbaby’s wedding…no siree…not on my watch!!”

Michael stays overnight and heads home in the morning.  He genuinely enjoyed his visit, he makes a mental note to do this more often.

Before he gets on the road, he calls Nita.  She’s not only his business partner, but his best friend.  He knows she’ll want to hear all about his trip, and he’d rather talk with her without the interruptions of a busy day.

“Hey, I’m on my way back, let’s meet somewhere for lunch. I have so much to tell you!!”

“Ok great, I just found this wonderful new sub shop, called Firehouse Subs, it’s decorated like a firehouse, and was actually founded by fireman.”

“Ohhhh sounds delicious.”

“Michael, they’re just subs. It’s in the strip mall on 119th Street. What time should I meet you there?”

“I can be there in about an hour and a half. Oh, and Nita, I wasn’t talking about the subs. Bye!!” he disconnects the call with a mischievous grin.

As they walk up to the sub shop, Michael reads the sign on the door aloud, “Founded by Fireman, Ohhh now that’s fun, I hope we run into some. I mean literally…run into them.” He turns his head and nods as he looks at Nita and opens the door.

Giving him a playful push through the entrance, “Oh my god Michael, behave.” Nita says shaking her head.

After taking far too long to decide what he wanted to order, they finally get their food and find a table and sit down.

“So, tell me all about your trip.”

“Well. The ride down is always nice, the weather was gorgeous, I was cruising in my Beemer with the top down, and the tunes cranked up, the wind in my hair and not a care in the world.” He dramatically says as he looks off into the distance.

“Michael!!” Nita startles him out of his reverie. “How about you get to the part about meeting the lawyer.” She nods her head with a smile as she takes a bite of her sandwich.

He clutches his chest and laments, “You wound me with your harshness.”

With a dramatic eye roll, Nita takes another bite of her sandwich.

“Fine. I was getting to that part anyway. It seems that dear Aunt Hazel had a secret. Pfsh, like I didn’t already know.” He gave a dismissive wave of his hand.

“Really?” With eyes wide and eyebrows raised.

Michael knowingly nods his head and hands her an envelope, “The lawyer said he was instructed by my aunt to inform me of my inheritance, and then give me this letter to read. Here, read it for yourself.”

Nita wipes her hands on a napkin and reaches over to take the envelope. She pulls a folded letter from it and reads it to herself.

“Wow Michael, that is wonderful!! When is your first trip? Where is your first trip?” truly excited for him.

“I’ll get to all that.  Don’t you want to know how much?”

“Sure, if you want to tell me.” She replies as she reaches for her Coke.

Michael looks to his left then to his right.  He leans forward and whispers, “One point two million.”

She almost spits out her drink, but instead starts coughing, but manages to say,  “Are you kidding me?”

“Nope.”

“Oh. My. God…Michael!!”

“I know right?” He says with his hand splayed across his chest. “But anyhow…before I left, I went to visit Rose. We had a nice visit. Turns out, her granddaughter is having one of those destination weddings in Hawaii. Rose didn’t want to travel alone, so she thought she would miss it.” He lifted his shoulder in a half shrug, “I suggested that I be her plus one. The wedding is in December.” Thinking nothing of it, he takes a bite of his sandwich, then looks up at Nita.

She is just staring at him with a huge smile on her face.

“What?” He questions.

“Michael!! You are simply the best.” She says with admiration.

“Yeah, I know…it is a gift.” He replies with a smirk.

Nita wads up a napkin and throws it at him. Shaking her head, smiling, she rolls her eyes.

© 2017 Carrie Ann

#BlogBattle 7: Shine – Your Time to Shine

🙂 Tuesday = #Blogbattle

#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration.  Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. She has changed things up a little bit.  Now the word and the genre is provided.  This will definitely stretch my creative muscles as I attempt to write other types of stories.

Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.

 

This Week’s Word: Shine

Genre:  Folklore  – the songs, stories, myths, and proverbs of a people or “folk” as handed down by word of mouth

This is my Hail Mary pass 😉

 

Your Time to Shine

My mom and grandma are coming by to see my new house.  They were so happy that we decided to move closer to them, it will be nice to visit with them, it’s been awhile.

My grandma comes in carrying her famous coffee cake, and a Ziplock bag full of assorted teas.  I take them and put them in the kitchen.  After I give them the grand tour of the house, we sit down in the living room.  Mom and grandma fill me in on who’s doing what in the family.

As if she could sense what time it was, Grandma looks at her watch and says, “Oh, Natalie, it’s almost time for tea, can you put the kettle on?”

“Sure Grandma.”  I say, as I continue talking to my mom.  But she interrupts me, and says, “I’ll help you in the kitchen, we can talk in there.”

Nearly dragging me in here, “Mom? What’s the rush with the tea?  I was going to do it.”

“I know hon, Grandma likes to have her tea at the same time.  It’s what she has always done, and her mother before her, just indulge her.”  My mom leaves the kitchen to let Grandma know it’s ready.

Once they sit down, Grandma starts preparing her tea and says, “Natalie, would you like to know why we have tea promptly at 1:30?”

“Sure Grandma. Do you really do this every day?”

“Of course dear, it’s a habit now.  But I can remember how my mother would do it every day, even if she was in the middle of something, she would stop and have her tea.  It wasn’t until I had a home of my own, that she told me why she did it, so this is why I am telling you.”

I look over to my mom with eyes questioning, with a smile on her face she nods her head slightly letting me know I need to listen.

“Well, I know you don’t remember your great grandfather,” she starts then says, “God rest his soul” as she makes the sign of the cross.  “You see, he was a very wealthy man.  Shortly after he married my mother, they moved into a beautiful home that backed up to a forest.  She didn’t have to work, so she took care of the house, then us kids.  She had 5 kids within 6 years, so she was very busy.  She didn’t believe in asking for any help, this was her job, and she was going to do it.  Well, one day after she put us all down for a nap, she decided to make a cup of tea and relax for a moment before she cleaned the house.  But the tea relaxed her so much so that she fell asleep.  But when she awoke, the whole house was clean.”

“Wait…what?  How?” I question, looking at my mom and then at my Grandma as they both casually drink their tea.

“It took a while for her to figure out what was going on, but after that first time, she decided to have tea the same time every day, and every day she would fall asleep and the house was clean when she awoke.  She felt that there could possibly be something in the tea that made her sleep.  So, one day she pretended to drink the tea so that she could stay awake, and see who or what was responsible for this.  As she pretended to be asleep, she could hear movement in the kitchen, so she quietly got up and peeked into the kitchen to see who was in there.  What she saw, she couldn’t believe her eyes.”

Another pause as Grandma cuts herself another slice of cake.  Are you kidding me? “What? What did she see?”

“More tea honey?” My mom asks.

“Mom,” I whine not unlike an impatient child.

Grandma laughs quietly before she continues, “What she saw in her kitchen were a half dozen elves, cleaning with an efficiency and quickness that was unearthly.”

I almost spit out my tea, “Elves.”

“Oh, not like Christmas Elves with pointed shoes and funny costumes.  She described them as beautiful creatures, with fair skin and long flowing hair, the females and males, both with piercing green eyes, though they did have the pointed ears, and were small, yet looked very human.  Boy, could these elves clean, the floor had such a lustrous shine you could see your reflection in it.  That day when they were done, she followed them into the forest to see where they lived.  As she approached the tree they called home, an aroma of sweet goodness filled the air.  Not only could these small beings clean, they could bake too.  That explained the freshly baked cookies she found a couple of times sitting on the kitchen counter.  After her discovery, she contemplated telling my father about what she discovered, but then she feared he would not believe her, and send her away.  So instead she decided to make that her daily routine.  The elves eventually stopped coming once she didn’t need the help anymore.”

We were all quiet for a moment as I absorbed this tale, until finally I say, “So you both believe that actually happened?”

Grandma spoke first, “You see Natalie, the way my mother told the story, you couldn’t help but to believe.  Now, whether it was true or not, only she knows, God rest her soul.  But I know because of it, I found the importance of taking time for myself each and every day.  It helped me be a better mother, a better wife, and just a better person.”

“But mom I don’t remember you doing this, did you?”

Before she answers she nods her head back and forth, “Yes, and no.”

“What does that mean?” My Grandma inquires.

“I’m more flexible in not making it a set time, and my beverage of choice is coffee.  You never saw me do it Natalie, because I always did it while you were in school.  Grandma is right though, when she told the story you couldn’t help but believe it.  So, as I took my break each day and sipped my coffee, I thought of the story, and the possibility of things that we can’t explain.  That time has served me well over the years too.”

“So, you see dear, we share this story with you so that you can apply it to your life, however you see fit.  Because it’s in those fleeting silent moments where you’ll find what makes your soul shine.”

 

© 2017 Carrie Ann

#BlogBattle 5: Adore – For Suffrage’s Sake

🙂 Tuesday is upon us again!!  Time for #Blogbattle

#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration.  Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. She has changed things up a little bit.  Now the word and the genre is provided.  This will definitely stretch my creative muscles as I attempt to write other types of stories.

Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.

Never say never.  When I first started doing Blogbattle, I was introduced to different genres from the other writers in the Blogbattle community.  I had made comments that I could NEVER write historical fiction, or a western.  Well, that prompted a challenge from our host Rachael, she challenged me to write a western.  I didn’t do it right away, but I eventually did it, and actually enjoyed it.  Though, I still held on to the belief that I couldn’t do a historical or period piece.  So, yeah…this week is a historical fiction.

Just like the western I had to do some research.  I try not to be political on my blog, but I thought a historical fiction about the Suffrage Movement would be timely.  When I did a search, a woman named Carrie Chapman Catt came up.  She founded the League of Women Voters in 1920.  It was on August 26, 1920 that the 19th Amendment was ratified providing full voting rights for women nationally.  That is the point in history I decided to write about.  Carrie Chapman Catt married a wealthy engineer named George Catt, which allowed her to spend a good part of each year on the road campaigning for woman’s suffrage.  At this point in history, Carrie was much older than I depicted in the story, so…that’s the fictional part 😉

1920’s Lingo:

Bushwa:  bullshit

Bearcat: a lively, spirited woman, possibly with a fiery streak

 

This Week’s Word: Adore

Genre:  Historical Fiction

For Suffrage’s Sake

Henry walks into George’s office early Monday morning like he has done for the past ten years.  Being longtime friends and then business partners, they discuss business first and then catch up as friends do.

“We’ve missed you down at the club.” Henry says.

“I’ll get back there soon, been busy.”

“Been busy throwing good money after bad, helping your wife fight the good fight?” Henry says a little sarcastically.

Glaring, George warns him, “Be careful Henry.”

“Well the talk is, that if that bearcat of a wife of yours had children to take care of she wouldn’t have time to stir up trouble.”

“Frankly it is no one’s business what my wife and I decide to do or not do.  Henry, it is that kind of thinking that will not move this country forward.  Look what the women have done for our business, while our men were out fighting the war.  Where would we be, if it weren’t for them?  I’ll tell you where we wouldn’t be, we wouldn’t be sitting in a lush country club spouting off bushwa.”

With hands raised in surrender, “I’m just letting you know what’s been said.  Can’t say that I agree with it all, can’t say I disagree on some.  I personally feel a woman’s place is in the home, where she can care for the children, and take care of the little things I don’t have to be bothered with.  Leave the important things to the men, like working and voting.  What does a woman know about government, or politics?  My wife has no interest in that sort of thing, how could she possibly make an educated choice when voting?”

“She can’t, Henry.  Because you won’t let her.  I admire what my wife is doing, she is bright, resilient and she speaks up for those women who can’t.  Yes, women are great keepers of the home, and it’s that expertise in maintaining the home and family that would improve politics and our society.  When the good Lord created Eve, he used the rib for a reason.  She was not taken from his feet to be under him, but from his side to stand beside him and support him, as we are to support them.”

Under his breath, Henry mumbles, “Yes, and look how that turned out.”

Just then the whistle blows as a sign of the changing of the shift on the factory floor.  Henry’s cue to get to his own office to start his day.  George puts the conversation out of his mind and doesn’t give it another thought as the demands of his day are upon him.  He doesn’t fault Henry his opinions, he knows some people will never change.

~ ♥~

George arrives home, and is greeted by his wife.  Even though she has had a busy day herself, she looks forward to the time they spend talking about their day.  He walks in the door, and can smell a delicious meal has been prepared.  Even after all these years, when he sees his wife he is awestruck at her beauty.  It’s like he is looking at her for the first time.  “How was your day Mr. Catt?” She playfully inquires.

Before he answers he walks up to her, holds her face in his hands, and kisses her like they have been away from each other for days.

“Hello my love.  Well, it seems that it is a public scandal the way I adore you.”

With a sweet laugh, she replies, “Whatever do you mean Georgie?” Using the pet name she has given him.

He takes her by the hand and leads her to the parlor to sit comfortably on the sofa.  He sits first, and as she is about to take the seat next to him, him pulls her towards him so that she sits on his lap.  With a giggle of delight, she settles in to hear what he has to say.  Oh, how she loves this part of the day.

He recounts the conversation he had with Henry that morning.  She listens to every word he says, nodding occasionally, as he subconsciously laces his fingers with hers, or plays with a ruffle on her dress.

“It’s such a shame there are small minded people such as Henry, still, to this day, even after all we have accomplished thus far.”

“Well my dear, it is hard for some people to change their minds even when the change is happening right before their eyes.”

“Oh Georgie, we are so close to gaining the voting rights for all women in this country.  The sacrifices some of the women have made is truly extraordinary.  It has been an honor to be a part of something so momentous.”

He pushes a loose strand of hair behind her ear, “You, my darling, are extraordinary, and all that you have sacrificed and accomplished makes me adore you even more.  This Women’s Right Movement will propel this country to greatness.”

Carrie listen’s yet in her mind she visualizes what things will be like in 10 or 20 years. Then with that look of zeal that is all her own, she exclaims, “Oh George, can you imagine what this country will be like in 100 years?”

“My dearest Carrie, I am certain it will be a sight to behold.”

© 2017 Carrie Ann

“It is a public scandal the way I adore you” – Oscar Wilde

 

#BlogBattle 4: Iridescent – Where Dreams are Made

🙂 Tuesday = #Blogbattle

#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration.  Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. She has changed things up a little bit.  Now the word and the genre is provided.  This will definitely stretch my creative muscles as I attempt to write other types of stories.

Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.

This Week’s Word: Iridescent

Genre:  Fairy Tale

 Where Dreams Are Made

Stepping into the room, my Grandma looks more tired than usual.  But then again, my sister was just in here, no doubt, rambling on about her latest gymnastics competition and her plans for the Olympics.  I look the same way after one of those conversations.

“Come in Ava, sit.” My grandma says smiling brightly.

I lean over and kiss her cheek, “How are you grandma?”

“Fine, Fine.”

I set my book down on her night table before I sit down.  “What are we reading today?”

The Great Gatsby

“Ohh a classic, always a good choice.  I wish my eyes were younger, I’d love to read some of the newer novels, I hear that Nicholas Sparks is a very good writer.”

With a quiet laugh, I reply, “Yes, he is Grandma, I enjoy his books as well.”

“So, your sister is still working towards the Olympics, I do hope she makes it.  How about you? Anything exciting in your life dear? Maybe a nice fella you enjoy company with?”

“No Grandma, some things never change.  Sydney is the star, I try to stay out of the way.  And no, no fella in my life right now.”

“Oh sweetie, your sister has big dreams and that’s good she is chasing them.  You just keep being you, sometimes it takes some of us longer to realize our dreams.  But It’s never too late to go after them. And a beautiful girl like yourself, any fella would be lucky to have you.”

“Ok Grandma.” There’s no arguing with her.

“Ok then.” She settles it with a single nod. “There’s something I want you to have, and it will be our little secret.  Reach in the drawer there and pull out that book.”

I reach in and find a hard cover copy of Little Women. “Grandma, but it’s your favorite.”

With a crooked finger to her lips to quiet me she opens the book, and it’s not a book at all.  It’s a secret box.  She pulls out a piece of paper, and a golden key.  She hands me the key and unfolds the paper.  The top of the key is a large round iridescent stone encircled with diamonds, with a shiny gold heart at the tip.

“Tell your mother I need you to run an errand for me.  Go to the end of the block, take this map, follow it.   The key will let you inside, it’s a place where dreams are made.” She says with a wink.

~ ♥ ~

I do as my grandma says, I come upon this quaint little cottage in the woods.  As I pull out the key the sun illuminates the stone sending an iridescent rainbow before me.  I open the door and walk in to find a meticulously kept house.  As I begin to look around a fluffy gray rabbit hops up to my feet, I bend down to pet him, “Hey, Bunny, aren’t you cute?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m not here to be cute, I’m the one who maintains this place.”

Startled I step back a little, not only because he is actually talking, but his voice it’s so raspy it sounds like he has a pack-a-day habit.

“Don’t be alarmed, my name is Bugs Bunny.” Before I can comment he raises a paw to stop me. “Not a word, Missy, my mom wasn’t very creative with the names. I mean she was poppin’ us out a dozen at a time, can’t say that I blame her. My friends call me Bugsy.”

He stretches out his paw for her to shake.  Ava reaches for it and says, “So we are friends?”

“Yeah, sure, you’re the one who started petting me.  You got a name? Or I could just stick with Missy.”

“Ava.  My name is Ava.” I say as I try to get my wits about me.

“Nice to meet you Ava.  So…I know why you are here, but do you?”

“My Grandmother sent me here, she gave me this key.” Handing it to him.

He recognizes it, “Oh, yes, Dorothy.  Such a lovely lady.”

Just then there is a ruckus coming from the kitchen.  When she looks up she sees an even bigger white rabbit, he’s huge!! She starts to go pet him when Bugsy warns, “Ava, don’t pet him.  That’s my brother.”

“That’s your brother?  He’s so much bigger than you!!”

“Yeah. Thanks for noticing.  Don’t let the size fool you, he’s a friggin’ marshmallow.  Will you excuse us a minute, check the place out, make yourself at home.”

When both rabbits get outside, Bugsy turns and says, “What is wrong with you? That could have been a disaster!!”

“She’s pretty.”

“Roger. Focus. Yes, she’s pretty.  Where’s your guy?”

“Right. Sorry.  He’ll be here soon, so how are we going to do this? The ol’ damsel in distress? Oh, 0h, go grab one of her shoes…”

Bugsy is glaring at him now. “Just stop. I was just about to tell her what’s about to happen when you show up. This ain’t no Disney picture, there’s no scripts, we do our job, bring them together, they fall in love ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, end of story.”

Roger raises a paw, trying one more time. “End of story Roger.” Bugsy stops him.

~ ♥ ~

When Bugsy comes back in the house he doesn’t see Ava, looking for her he finds her in the bedroom. “This place is absolutely beautiful.” She says in awe.

Bugsy is just about to say something to her when her attention is turned to the sound of someone trying to unlock the back door.  “Who could that be?” she says as she leaves the room.

By the time she enters the kitchen, Roger is walking in with the most beautiful human being Ava has ever seen.  Tall, dark hair, tanned skin and the kindest brown eyes the color of milk chocolate.  Ava stops dead in her tracks, gawking.  The gorgeous guy walks in carrying a sketch book, when he sees her, he stops abruptly, dropping the sketch book to the floor.  When he finally catches his breath, he says one word. “Ava.”

A little cautious, she replies, “Who are you? How do you know me?”

“I am the grandson of Althea.  I have seen you in my dreams, I never thought I would find you.”

“Ahhh…that’s quite the line there buddy,” Ava replies not buying it.  “Bugsy, who is this guy?” OMG I’m asking a rabbit.

“Ava, he’s telling the truth, Althea is your grandma’s best friend. He’s the reason why you are here.”

Roger had been thumbing through the sketch book, and stops on one picture, “Levi, did you draw these? They are really good, this one looks very familiar.”

“Yes, it does.” Still staring at Ava. He reaches for the notebook and hands it to her.  When she looks down, it’s a sketch, a sketch of her. Astonished she says, “How…how did you…?”

“It doesn’t matter, I finally found you.” Closing the gap between them, he takes her in his arms, and gives her a kiss, one that dreams are made of.

© 2017 Carrie Ann

#BlogBattle 3: Air – Rhythm is Gonna Get You

🙂 Tuesday = #Blogbattle

#BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge using a single word for inspiration.  Hosted by the talented Rachael Ritchey. She has changed things up a little bit.  Now the word and the genre is provided.  This will definitely stretch my creative muscles as I attempt to write other types of stories.

Feel free to join in, or click here to read the current week’s stories and vote for your favorites.

This Week’s Word: Air

Genre:  Suspense/thriller – fiction about harm about to befall a person or group and the attempts made to evade the harm

Not sure if this qualifies as suspense/thriller,  gave it the old college try 🙂

Rhythm is Gonna Get You

I wake up like I always do. With coffee and newspaper in hand, I step out on my deck to enjoy the early morning quietness before work. My yard is my haven, my sanctuary, the place I retreat to for peace and quiet. My job on the floor at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is anything but peaceful. I stand up, take a deep breath of fresh air, and set my things down on the patio table. Stepping off the deck to check on my hanging planters, I near the grass. Something was odd, different. Yes, it was taller than normal, and at the top of my to do list for the weekend. But as I crouch down, I notice a large insect resting on the tip of a grass blade. As my eyes adjust, there are actually thousands of them, all balancing gracefully on the grass tips.  Unlike flies, they are undaunted by my presence or sudden movement, as I step back. Returning to the patio table to drink my coffee, I open the newspaper, my attention drawn to a headline that reads 17-YEAR ABSENCE BILLIONS OF CICADAS TO DESCEND ON THE MIDWEST. Skimming over the article, I peer out at the scene before me, thinking, they’re here. I go to work, without another thought to this invasion of my sanctuary.

Little did I know that this would be the day from hell.  I lost a boatload of money for one of my biggest clients, I’m lucky I didn’t lose my job.  Damn, I haven’t made a rookie mistake like that in 17 years.  My boss is being generous, he requests I take a mandatory vacation.  One to clear my head so I can get back in the game.  I’ve seen it happen to many of my colleagues, never thought I’d be one of them.  I stayed alert, stayed sharp, but this unexpected turn of the market came out of nowhere, I wasn’t the only one who lost big.

I spend the first 45 minutes of my drive home in silence to decompress.  The last leg of my trip, I crank up the tunes until I pull into my driveway greeted by the sweet sounds of nature that my overpriced mortgage affords me.

I pull up and turn off the ignition.  I pause, it isn’t quiet.  What I hear is something I’ve never heard before.  It is a loud hum, a buzzing kind of sound, yet it is very melodic, it isn’t made by one, but rather a legion.  The sound reverberates from the trees, the volume ebbs and flows like the swell of waves coming on to shore.  I notice my grass is no longer covered with insects.  Just like the article said, they retreat into the trees and make a lot of noise, this won’t be so bad.

I walk into the house, expecting to be hit with cool air, but I’m not.  I don’t hear the central air running, check the thermostat.  It’s set on 68, but it reads almost 80 as the indoor temp.  Just what I need, I’ll deal with that tomorrow, I’ll just open some windows. 

All evening, and well into the night, the cadence of the cicada’s musicality serenades me.  But finally, by about 11 p.m., as if some great maestro waved his wand, it stops.  The silence is deafening.  Good I can get some sleep.  Oh, there were a few interruptions throughout the night, occasionally one rogue cicada buzzed just to be heard, just like a petulant child.  But for the most part quiet.

The next morning is a different story.  With the rising of the sun, the cicadas awoke, somewhat discombobulated.  There was no melodic tune.  It was more sporadic, creating a cacophony that I thought would make my ears bleed.

With no luck in getting a Heating and Cooling guy out today, not until the first of the week, I move on with my day. I go outside to cut the grass, first checking to be sure none of the insects are still there, all clear.  With the lawnmower humming, I begin my trek across the yard.  The cicadas must be drawn to the sound of the mower, they begin to swarm around me landing on my arms and back.  They don’t bite or sting, they are just annoying, so much so I have to go back inside.  As the sun begins to set, the dissonance turns into a melodic lullaby.

Several days pass, the constant sound makes me irritable and fidgety.  My best friend and colleague calls several times, leaving messages just to check on me.  Each time the phone rings or pings with an incoming message, I feel like I could jump out of my skin.  I don’t return his calls, my text replies are brief. I’m not in the mood to talk to anyone.   It’s as if the cicada’s rhythm controls me.  During the day, I’m agitated and unable to focus, but as the evening comes to a close, the lull calms me, it’s then that I discover in my research, these annoying invaders are actually good to eat. The following afternoon, as I prepare to dig into my bar-b-que feast, my phone chirps with an incoming message.

Dude, haven’t heard from you, what’s up?

            Nothing

You OK?

            Fine.

Thought I might stop by.

            No, don’t

Why not?

            Not a good idea. Stay away.

The next thing I know, he’s pounding on my door.  “Martin, it’s me Greg, open up.”

Walking slowly to open the door, I nonchalantly say, “Hey Greg,” as I flop back down on the couch.

“Dude, what the hell? You look like crap.”

Looking down at my clothes I wonder when I had actually put them on.  I scratch the stubble on the side of my face.  Hmmm I should probably shave.

Trying to snap me out of it, Greg abruptly says, “Martin!! How can you stand this noise?”

I reply, “You get used to it.  It’s not so bad at night.”

He must have noticed my restlessness.  It was then he says, “I’m getting you out of here. I’m going to grab some of your clothes, you can crash at my place for a while. Why is it so hot in here?”

“Air conditioner is broken.”

When he comes back with my gym bag full, he says, “C’mon, let’s go.”

We are only a couple of blocks away from my house, when I notice a change in the air.  The noise, it’s gone.  When I get to his house, the first thing I do is take a shower.  As the hot water streams down my body, I feel like I am waking up from a dream.  The events of the last couple of days run through my mind like a bad quality movie.

When I’m dressed, I walk into the kitchen. “Let’s eat,” says Greg as he comes in from outside, with a couple of steaks on a plate.  The delicious aroma causes my stomach to grumble.  Nah, I couldn’t of.  Did I actually eat barbecued cicadas?

 

© 2017 Carrie Ann

 

This story is based on a real experience.  I have experienced an invasion of cicadas. Needless to say the kids and I freaked out when we saw thousands of them all perched on the blades of grass in our yard. It’s like they all just appeared in full force one morning.  My oldest son filled his super-soaker water gun and open fired on them, and they did. not. move.  The noise is just as I described, and can produce a sound in excess of 100 decibels, a loud rock concert measures in at 120 decibels.  My mom did not believe me when I told her the noise was constant and how loud it was until she experienced it herself.  This went on for weeks.