Archive for July, 2011

26th July
2011
written by amber

Nothing but Crocs

I took a long time getting ready in the van, but finally the moment had come. I slid open the door and stepped down onto the pavement.

Yow! The pavement was really hot. I snatched my bare foot back into the van and slammed the door shut. I’d been prepared for so many things – embarrassment, harassment, even legal difficulties, but pain had not been on my agenda. My life had enough pain already, thank you very much.

I decided that wearing my crocs would not take away from the impression I intended to make, so I put them on and stepped out again.

No one noticed as I ran across the parking lot, but a nice fellow held a door open for me at the front entrance to the mall. He held it until he noticed what I was (or wasn’t) wearing, then he let go and turned away, but I was already through.

First I ran toward Safeway and did a loop around the gourmet cheese island before heading back toward Walmart. As I went past, old ladies blushed and averted their eyes, people came out of the shops to stare. One woman with a little girl pressed the child against her sweat pants to keep her from seeing me.

At Walmart, as I ran around a display of plastic storage bins in pastel colours, I saw the first official response – a man in a suit walking purposefully toward me. A manager? A loss-prevention officer? But I was already on my way back down the mall.

Many more clerks and customers from the various stores were lined up for a better view by then, but the dentist’s office had no one at the doorway when I ran inside. The receptionist glanced up from staring at her computer, looked back down again, then did a classic double-take.

She saw that I was naked. She saw that she knew me. But I was past her and down the hall before she could warn Barbara with her shout, “Barbie, your ex-husband’s here again.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was triggered by a real event that reportedly happened at the mall in Hinton a few days ago.

25th July
2011
written by amber

Blind Faith

I was blinded at birth by a medical accident. The settlement has allowed me to live a comfortable life, but until I met Gloria, it was a conservative life. I didn’t admit it to myself, but I was fearful of many things.

She told me, “I don’t blame your parents for being over-protective, but they didn’t do you any favours. Aside from being blind, you’re in perfect health. You could be a lot fitter, and if you let me help you, you will be. And you’re good-looking.”

No one had told me that before, and I’d always wondered. My mother said I looked ‘just fine,’ in a way which discouraged further questions. My high-school friends had been equally non-committal.

Gloria agreed to marry me after I agreed to meet her challenge. For the first year of our marriage, I would participate in a variety of sports with her. If, at the end of that time, I wasn’t enjoying myself, she agreed to live life my way.

And I did come to enjoy myself. Skiing was frightening at first, especially until my muscles developed, but it got easier and more fun. Scuba diving was surprisingly pleasurable, considering that I couldn’t see the fish that most people dive to see.

But my favourite new sport has been sky-diving, and I can’t imagine ever giving it up. Flying through the air, I feel as able as anyone else, soaring like an airplane, like an eagle. Free fall is especially wonderful. We deploy our parachutes just 2500 feet from the ground.

I can sense so many things. I can actually hear the ground approaching. We started today’s dive from a great height, but we’ve been flying for a long time, and it sounds to me as if the ground is-

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

23rd July
2011
written by amber

Ship Cat IV

Cutie loves her kittens. They’re pink and they float around. Most of the time they’re invisible, but she can see them sometimes, when they want her to. She expected to have to feed them, but after they were born, the tingling and swelling in her teats went away. All they seem to need is to snuggle with her and push up against the light bars for a while every day.

Brad and Colleen have no idea that the kittens are there. The kittens never reveal their pink translucent selves when the humans are in the room. Cutie knows that Colleen will soon have kittens of her own, but she doesn’t know if they also will be pink and insubstantial.

Brad is very angry with Colleen these days. He accuses her of eating all the bacon.

“There were two whole boxes the last time I looked!”

“Even if there were, it wasn’t enough to last all the way to Kepler-11.”

“So what? When I finished eating it, it’d be gone and I’d know it, but now you’ve eaten it all without even warning me. You said you didn’t like bacon!”

“Maybe I didn’t eat it. Maybe I hid it.”

And now Brad’s been looking all over for the bacon. He even found the nest Cutie made out of shredded bits of paper and ripped pieces of cloth. That made him even more angry, because some of the fabric had come from the stuffed toy he uses to comfort himself when he feels lonely and too far from home.

Cutie’s sure he would have hurt her if he’d been able to find her, but the kittens helped her float up to the light, invisibly.

“When I find that damn cat, I’m going to punt her out the airlock,” Brad had threatened. Cutie didn’t feel safe enough to come down until Colleen found him some bits of bacon she’d saved in the back of the freezer.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story is a continuation of Stories 38, 48 and 67.

23rd July
2011
written by amber

Calling all readers! I’m having a contest. Vote for your favourite story in the Story 365 project. If you are one of the people who vote for the story picked as the favourite, you will receive a copy of ‘The Healer’ – the first novel in my Children of the Panther trilogy,which is about psychic healers from Brazil. The contest closes on Aug. 15, so you have plenty of time to catch up on reading the daily stories.

You can vote by making a comment on this post, or on the story that you pick.

“The Healer” was followed by “Darkness of the God.” The final novel in the trilogy, “Stolen Children,” will be out this September. Watch this site for info on the launch and locations for readings.

22nd July
2011
written by amber

Jonah in Limbo

When I woke, I had no idea where I was or what had happened to me. My head hurt and when I realized I couldn’t move my legs, I began to thrash around in a panic until the memory seeped back – whatever was wrong with me now, the legs hadn’t worked before.

I forced myself to breathe slowly and assess the situation. Nothing was broken.  I was someplace dark and damp, someplace echoey. Like a cave. I wriggled around and patted the walls of the cave and found they described a nearly perfect circle, maybe six feet across. Not a cave then. I was in a well.

How did I end up in a well?

I tried to recreate my day, remembered eating the last of the Timbits for breakfast, washed down with microwaved coffee. I’d been to Physio, and so it had to be Thursday.

Thursday.

Thursday was the day I was going out with Jessie. Our first real date. I’d made reservations at Back to the Bayou.

Now I was in a well and it had to be night, otherwise I’d be seeing some light from above.

I remembered showering, getting dressed for the date. I remembered coming out the door and having trouble opening it for some reason. Then the door seemed to attack me, slamming against me when I was half-way through.

That was ridiculous – doors don’t attack people. My head hurt, but I concentrated and a flash of clarity returned. The thought, “What’s he doing here?”

I couldn’t put a face to the memory, but there was one he I’d suspect before anyone else. That creep who was trying to force himself on Jessie the night I came to her aid.

I’d been worried he’d continue to harass her, but it seemed he’d turned his attention my way.

He thought I was helpless, doomed at the bottom of a well. He doesn’t know that I can rock climb. I just hope to hell that I can climb out of this well.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

 

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