The Wind

The Wind

I decided to write a story for my husband for father’s day. I knew I wanted to write a scary story. I tried to write one about a demon cat, and it wasn’t flowing. Then I remembered a misunderstanding that sprang up during a recording of our podcast (Creepy Cabin Podcast) and this story was born. Overall, I’m happy with it. There are flaws and I know I could write better if I had given myself more time with it, but I’m still proud of it. I hope you enjoy it!


It was a bright and sunny day. The children of the neighborhood were out playing in full force. Their shouts of glee and screams of laughter could be heard in most houses. Nearly everyone had their windows open; it was the first truly nice day of the year. The long winter was ending. The snow had melted, leaving puddles of mud in its wake. Parents were seated outside, enjoying the fresh air as their children ran amok. Birds and other critters were chirping and chittering. It was a cacophony of noise, but the kind that makes people smile because finally the gray of the winter is dissipating, being warmed by the rays of a sun that really wants to show off.

It is joyful.

Until suddenly it all stops. The movement of children chasing each other, the cries of their voices, the noise of the animals. The chatter of parents who aren’t scrolling mindlessly through their phones. And even that movement stops. Everything is frozen beneath the sun — a sun that is still shining brightly — and everything is silent save for a scream on the wind.

Then movement begins and the sound resumes. There’s an odd feeling lingering over everyone’s shoulder, but no one recalls hearing the scream. No one recalls being frozen. Something is wrong, but no one knows what. They shake off that feeling because it’s nice out. Winter might well truly be on the way out, and if it isn’t, then none of these people or animals wish to be fools and waste the warmth and joy of it.

They shake the feeling off and move on.

A breeze rustles the trees and no one notices.                                                                           


Jeremiah has the house to himself. It is a rare occurrence. The house is usually filled to the brim with people. Bursting with too many bodies and too much noise. He knows he is being uncharitable. His foster family is nice. This is also the nicest home he has been in. But with the amount of people in the house, it feels almost like a group home. Someone is always nearby, and while everyone seems nice enough, it feels like too much for Jeremiah. The weight of expectation on his shoulders. He doesn’t like feeling the pressure to be on at all times

.

But being in the house alone is nice.

Maybe.

The windows are open, and he is sitting at the desk in the bedroom. He shares it with another boy by the name of Nev. Nev is almost always in the room and at the desk. His shoulders hunched over his battered notebook. It usually forces Jeremiah to do his homework on his bed, or downstairs on the kitchen table, surrounded by the other kids. Most are younger than him, and they always need his help, and it’s hard to focus. Jeremiah isn’t sure how he feels about being at the desk. He’s long coveted it, but now that he has it, it feels wrong. Like he is invading Nev’s space.

Jeremiah sighs, staring at his homework. It’s math, and he enjoys math. Numbers can’t lie and once a person understands the rules behind whatever math they are doing, it’s easy. He doesn’t think he has fun in doing math, but he does like it all the same. He enjoys the predictability. But he is finding it difficult to concentrate today. He shifts his gaze to look out the window.

There’s a large tree near it. Sometimes, the wind will blow the branches and they will scrap against the window. Jeremiah remembers fearing that noise the first few times he heard it. But he’s grown accustomed to it now. The branches don’t even look long enough to reach the window now that he’s staring at them. Jeremiah frowns and then forces himself to look away from the tree.

He hears a baby screaming in the distance.

He shivers at the noise and tries to fight the onslaught of memories. He wonders what neighbor has a new baby and if their windows are open too.

Then he hears a dog barking.

And notices the branches of the tree rustling near his window, but not against it. He thinks he hears them scraping against the glass, which confuses him, but he doesn’t have time to dwell. Nev comes in, and even though he doesn’t ask for the desk back, Jeremiah gets up and lets him take it.


“There was a murder in this house,” Claire is saying. Jeremiah is only half listening. Claire likes to tell stories all the time.  

“They say it’s haunted by the murdered kids.”

Nev grunts in response. Jeremiah always thought of himself as quiet, but Nev is the champion of quiet. He communicates mostly with grunts and shrugs.

“Ghosts aren’t real,” Jeremiah says, but his mind goes to the branches of the tree. That’s not a ghost thing, he is certain of it, but it is weird.

“There was still a murder here. Some guy went crazy and killed everyone in the house. Then he killed himself. There was a lot of blood. The family was dismembered. He shot his own brains out.”

Claire likes to go into detail about anything she shares. Jeremiah pales as the image she describes springs into his mind. He feels sick to his stomach. He doesn’t want to believe what he is hearing, but Claire has a way of making you believe her words.

“How do you know all of this?” He asks.

Claire shrugs, “Steve told me. It’s how he and Erin got the house for cheap. No one else wanted it.”

“How long ago did it happen?” Nev asks, and Claire stares at him. Jeremiah is staring too, but he drops his gaze quicker than Claire.

“Not sure. Ten or twenty years ago? Other people have owned it since, but no one sticks around. We’ve been here the longest.”

“Have you witnessed anything strange?” Jeremiah asks, knowing that Claire has lived with Steve and Erin for a couple years now. He doesn’t know if they’ve been in this house the whole time or not.

Claire shakes her head.

“Nothing weird at all.” And all Jeremiah notices is the disappointment in her voice.


A baby is screaming in the wind again. Jeremiah’s eyes open wide in the dark. The branches of the tree are scrapping against the window again. He hears a yowling sound he thinks might be a dog, but it sounds too close and none of his immediate neighbors have dogs.

He sees Nev sit up in bed and stare out the window.

The baby stops screaming, and the yowling stops too.

The wind picks up in ferocity. The scrapping on the window grows louder and louder.

Jeremiah and Nev just stare at each other. Eyes wide in fear.

Just as suddenly as it started, it ends.

Nev shakes his head and says nothing as he settles back into bed.

Jeremiah’s heart is thudding in his chest and he keeps hearing Claire’s voice in his head. The entire family had been dismembered.

He doesn’t sleep again that night.


Jeremiah has the house to himself once more. It doesn’t feel as freeing as it did the first time. He’s got a baseball bat in hand, but he isn’t sure what he is going to do with it. He hears the baby cry on the wind. In the wind? He’s certain the baby isn’t real.

He squares up his shoulders and grips the bat tightly in hands that are sweaty; he goes outside. The back door lets out a loud SQUEAK that causes him to wince. It isn’t dark out. Isn’t even near dark yet. He walks towards the tree, knuckles white as he clenches the bat.

“I know you are out there,” he whispers. His face a burning hot and red now. He tries to stave off the embarrassment he feels by kicking the tree with his foot. It hurts and intensifies the embarrassed feeling.

“What are you?” He asks, and then he hears a yowling of a dog. Right behind him. Terrified, Jeremiah spins on the spot and sees nothing.

He hears laughter in the wind.

He squints at the tree. The branches seem to wave at him, and not in a friendly way. They are taunting him.

“It’s the wind,” he says. Breathless. “Not the tre—…”

The wind picks up. The baby screaming is in his ears now. So loud that he drops his bat to slap his hands over his ears. He drops to his knees. Heart racing in terror and eyes stinging with tears.

The wind whips around him and he hears more sounds; a car backfiring, the scrape of a window, the laughter of children, the bark of a dog, the shout of a woman, and crying. He doesn’t know how long it lasts. The wind is a frenzy around him, and then suddenly it all stops.

Jeremiah stays on the ground. Cheeks slick with tears. Heart trying to burst out of his chest.


“What do you want?” Claire asks and Jeremiah startles.

“What?”

“You have been staring at me for the last ten minutes. Out with it,” Claire says, shrugging her shoulders. Jeremiah scowls at that, but he can’t deny it. He’s been trying to build up the courage to talk to her. To bring up what is on his mind. He figures he has about a fifty-fifty chance of Claire believing him or ridiculing him for it. He takes a deep breath. It doesn’t steady him.

Claire continues to stare at him. He wonders — and not for the first time — if she can read his thoughts, or see into his soul. It doesn’t help with his anxiety around her.

“Do you know anything about wind creatures?” He spits out, finally.

Claire says nothing. He can’t read her expression.

“No, why?” She says, but she doesn’t seem to be making fun of him.

“Remember that story you told Nev and me? About the guy who killed his family?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Well. What if the guy was innocent? What if it was some… like… monster?” Jeremiah feels himself losing what little confidence he had as he talks longer. His shoulders sag.

“You don’t believe in ghosts but you believe in monsters?” Claire asks, her brow jutting up.

“I—…”

“Nev might know. He’s into that stuff,” Claire says, and she heads up the stairs.

Jeremiah watches her, confused, before he runs after her.

“Nev, do you know anything about wind creatures? Jeremiah wants to know.” Claire asks, leaving the bedroom door wide open as she flounces into the room. She plops down on Nev’s bed. Nev, once more, is at the desk. He frowns, looking up from his notebook.

“You hear it too?” He asks, not looking at Claire. He’s staring at Jeremiah.

Jeremiah feels his cheeks burning. He doesn’t like to be looked at, “I guess?”

“I’ve been researching it,” Nev says, and he looks down at his notebook. “Haven’t been able to find much. There’s…” Nev pauses here, frowning. “Accounts that sound like what I’ve heard, but no one has a name to it.”

Claire is looking between Nev and Jeremiah.

“What?” she asks.

“There’s something that lives in the wind.” Nev says.

“It attacked me,” Jeremiah says.

“What?” Nev and Claire ask at the same time.

Jeremiah sighs and tries to calm himself so that he can speak.

“It was a couple of days ago. I went outside with a bat. I thought it was the tree.”

“You were going to fight a tree with a bat?” Claire asks, and Jeremiah can hear how stupid she thinks he is.

“I wasn’t thinking clearly,” Jeremiah mutters, before continuing on. “But it isn’t the tree. The wind.. It like… was taunting me. Yelling at me. It can sound like anything…” Jeremiah explains, but he doesn’t sound as sure of himself as he should.

“It mimics what it’s heard before,” Nev adds, before looking down at his notebook. He pushes his ill-fitting glasses up the bridge of his nose. Jeremiah has noticed that Nev’s glasses are always slipping down. “At least, that is my hypothesis from what I’ve read and my own… experiments.”

“Your what?” Claire asks, sounding both impressed and maybe horrified.

“I…” Nev looks nervous.

Claire is studying him intently. Jeremiah really believes she can read minds. If wind monsters are real, why can’t a foster kid have the ability to read minds?

“Holy shit,” Claire says, and then she is laughing.

“What is funny?” Jeremiah asks.

Nev won’t look at him. His face is red. He’s clearly embarrassed, and Claire is still laughing.

Claire stops laughing and Jeremiah is unsurprised to see tears in her eyes. She calms down enough to talk.

“It was before you got here,” Claire explains, the ghost of her laughter still in her voice. “And Nev tortured Damon by playing Taylor Swift on repeat. I thought you just did that because the guy was an ass.”

Nev shrugs. “It was mostly for scientific reasons. And, maybe because he was an ass too.”

Jeremiah shakes his head. He never met Damon, but the other kids talk about him in whispers sometimes.

“But the wind started mimicking her songs. The singing, the instruments… all of it. Never together. Just… snippets of it.”

“Okay, so there’s a wind monster. What do we do about it?” Claire asks, she’s flopped back onto the bed and is staring up at the ceiling.

Jeremiah doesn’t know. He looks to Nev, who also looks as if he has no solid ideas.


It is a few days later. Nev, Claire, and Jeremiah are skipping school. Jeremiah has never skipped a day in his life. He doesn’t enjoy drawing attention to himself and he thinks that skipping will make people notice him. At least the teachers and other adults at the high school. Claire told him not to worry about it, and Nev didn’t seem anxious either.

The neighborhood seems unusually quiet as they walk through it. Everyone is at work or at school. It makes Jeremiah even more convinced that he is doing something wrong. He wonders if there are any retired people staring at them through their curtains. Calling the authorities on them. Jeremiah doesn’t want to get into any trouble. He hates the way his heart is racing.

“It’s going to be fine,” Claire says.

“Maybe,” Nev adds. Nev has been talking a lot more now. “But probably not because we could be about to meet a deadly creature.”

“It’s wind,” Claire points out. “How can wind be deadly?”

“Have you heard of hurricanes before? Tornadoes?” Nev asks.

Jeremiah focuses on the conversation happening next to him. Somehow the prospect of facing a deadly wind creature is less anxiety inducing than being chased down by authority figures who are against truancy.


They make it to the house without getting caught. Claire has a key, and she unlocks the front door. They quietly go up to their rooms. Claire down the hall, last door on the right. Nev and Jeremiah on the left. They drop off their backpacks. There is tension in the air.

“This plan is stupid, isn’t it?” Jeremiah asks in order to break it.

“Probably, but we couldn’t come up with anything better.”

It isn’t comforting, but Jeremiah isn’t too sure what he expected.

“Boys, let’s go!” Claire shouts down the hall.

Jeremiah tries to will himself to be brave. Mostly, though, he is trying his damnedest to not shit his pants. He wonders, a little hysterically, if the wind monster will mimic his pant shitting. He doesn’t quite know how that will work.

Nev leads the way out of the bedroom with Jeremiah trailing behind him. He makes the mistake of looking out the window and he notices the tree branches waving at him. He shudders.

Without speaking, the three teenagers make their way down the stairs and out to the backyard, the SQUEAK of the door following behind. There’s a gentle breeze blowing. Jeremiah can feel it in his hair. Claire is standing there with what looks like a dagger in her hands.

“Where’d you get that?” He asks.

“Found it at a garage sale. That guy with the broken boat in his yard? He sold it to me.”

“Nice,” Nev says. Nev has what looks like a radio tethered to him and a microphone. Jeremiah doesn’t even know what to ask him about that.

And Jeremiah has his trusty — maybe — bat in his hand. He isn’t sure they are prepared for this at all. But they don’t know what they are facing. He supposes having any kind of weapon and whatever Nev has is better than nothing. Maybe.

The three of them look at each other for a few minutes. Silence stretches. Jeremiah is just waiting for someone to say something. To break the silence — preferably with an actual plan — but neither Claire nor Nev seem like they want to. Holding onto the tension and silence is not something Jeremiah wishes to do.

“So, what do we do?” Jeremiah asks, his voice sounding too loud in the afternoon’s silence.

“How did you call the beast to you before?” Claire asks, tilting her head. She has sheathed the dagger and is staring up at the tree. Watching the wind blow through the leaves. She’s squinting. Jeremiah wonders if she needs glasses.

“I just. I told the tree—because I thought it was the tree—that I know what it is.” Jeremiah sounds embarrassed. His face turning all splotchy red.

“Wind! We know you aren’t wind!” Claire says loudly. It isn’t quite a shout, but it is near enough to make Jeremiah tense and worry about the neighbors. Nev looks concerned too, but he says nothing. Simply adjusts his grip on his weird tool.

The wind does nothing.

“What is that thing, anyway?” Jeremiah asks Nev, frustrated. Claire is glaring at him, and it makes him feel uncomfortable. He isn’t sure what he did wrong, but she is making him feel like he did something.

“It’s supposed to help me get a read on the wind. I think,” Nev says, frowning. “I had to make it with what I could find. It… it might not work.” He adds, looking embarrassed. Jeremiah groans at that and Claire shifts her glaring to Nev.


The wind is vicious. It feels like claws against Jeremiah’s skin. But he doesn’t see any claws. Sees nothing that resembles a body. The wind just whips around him. Hurting him. Making him hear things that aren’t there — or might not be true — he can’t tell anymore. He lost sight of Claire and Nev hours ago. Or it feels like hours ago, but he isn’t sure how much time has passed.

Going further into the woods to chase the wind might have been their worst idea yet.

The wind laughs in his ears and leaves him.

Jeremiah falls to his knees, his entire body hurting.

“CLAIRE! NEV!” He yells, and his voice is hoarse. He wonders if he has been screaming into the wind this entire time. His voice echoes through the woods. The silence that answers back is deafening.

Jeremiah pushes himself up to his feet. It is getting darker, and he needs to get back to the house before night falls. He doesn’t quite know where he is. Jeremiah has never lived in a place before with woods to explore. He doesn’t understand how to read them. How to get unlost.

He picks a direction.

“Nev!” No answer.

“Claire!” No answer.

And the wind is being too quiet. He trusts the quiet even less than the loud.

“NEV!” He tries again, and his voice is shaky now.

“CLAIRE!”

Jeremiah is certain he has killed them. Maybe not with his own hands, but with his actions. Or his inactions. He wants to sink to the ground and cry, but he doesn’t. Stubbornness that he didn’t even know he had, pushes him to move forward. Pushes him through the woods.


He reaches the back gate, and there is Claire. Her body slumped against the tree. She doesn’t have her dagger anymore. Nev is nowhere to be seen, but Jeremiah sees his odd radio thing. Jeremiah pushes open the gate and runs into the yard, skidding to a stop before Claire.

“Claire!”

He’s the one being too loud, but his voice doesn’t seem to carry. He barely hears it as it leaves his mouth.

“CLAIRE!” He tries to shout louder, but again his voice isn’t carried. He wonders if the wind is stopping it. Panicked, he looks over Claire’s body. He can see her chest move like she is breathing, and her eyes snap open.

She opens her mouth to speak, and no sound comes out. Jeremiah can tell she is saying something, but he doesn’t know what. He can’t hear her!

“Claire, I can’t—….” And his own voice seems lost now too.

They stare at each other.

Claire stands, and Jeremiah helps her up. She looks injured but he can’t tell from where. He feels like they should get into the house, but he isn’t sure how safe the house is.

The gate slams shut and they both look towards it.

Nev stands there — outfit torn and scratches all over his face — he looks terrified from where Jeremiah is standing. Jeremiah wonders if they are wearing identical expressions.

Nev moves towards them and then everything stops.

Nev looks frozen in the spot. One foot half-raised to continue his forward movement. Jeremiah and Claire are frozen as they lean into one another. Silence fills the air. Complete silence. No animal noises. Nothing from the wind that had been screaming not too long ago.

And behind Nev is a creature. Dark like a shadow and standing on two legs. Hands that seem to be all claws. Jeremiah sees it and doesn’t. It’s like his brain doesn’t want him to see it. He can’t do anything. The creature seems to be the only thing that can move. It is going to get Nev and Jeremiah can’t will his body to move.

Why has the wind stopped?

“NEV!” Jeremiah isn’t sure how it happens. How he can move his mouth, but once the name is out of his lips, everything comes into motion again. The dark shadow vanishes just before reaching Nev, and Nev is running towards him and Claire at full speed.

The three teenagers collapse into each other as the wind howls. The air all around them feels angry. Together, in a stumbling mess, the three of them rush to the house. The door squeaks, but the squeak is swallowed by the shriek of the wind. They collapse into the kitchen.

Their foster mom is in the kitchen. She looks like she is unloading groceries.

She opens her mouth to say something, but then everything freezes once more.

Save for a gentle breeze that blows through the open door.

Prompt: A Ghost Story

First off I’d like to apologize for taking so long between prompts and just overall posting in this blog. I hope to not go that long again, but no promises. Anyway, here’s a new prompt! It was tilted A Ghost Story and these are the words that I had to use for it:

  • Tango
  • Diversify
  • Blog
  • Invisible
  • Missile
  • Glitter
  • Scuff
  • Balloon
  • Birdcage
  • Grizzly Bear

I alternate between first and third person in this prompt and you will figure out why fairly soon. Anyway, this is a fun (for me and hopefully you too!) twist on a ghost story. Please enjoy!


A Ghost Story

There is a ghost in my house. They seem like a friendly ghost; I think. It isn’t like they are actively spooking me or anything. They just… or well, the idea of them spooks me. At first I thought it was just that I live in an old house. I started to hear noises. I have heard people talk about houses settling. Houses creaking. Their old bones doing something. But the noises sounded a little different. Stranger. More moan-like.


Y’all. Remember when I first bought this house? How excited I was? How I showed as many pictures of it as I could? And most of you commented with something akin to: “lol, looks haunted.” “Damn, that house is old.” “ARE THERE GHOSTS?” And I in my naivety scoffed off such concerns and only spoke about the merits of the house being old and unique and not a damn cookie cutter like everything else. Someone commented with “You will regret this. All that work!” So far all you commenters are right. None of y’all were fucking trolling me.


Izzy pushed away from her desk, her chair flying back. She stared at the blog post she had finished. Chewing on her lower lip as she reread the words. Her heart racing as it always did before she hit publish. It didn’t matter how often she published posts; it didn’t matter that she apparently had people who regularly read her words and the adventures she painted with those words. Versions of her truth. There was something terrifying about exposing yourself to the masses. Even if the masses were relatively small.


She stood up. Stretching her body. She glanced at the small clock in the corner of her monitor, squinting her eyes. Likely, she needed new glasses. She sighed, noting the time. Then, without sitting back down, she bent over her desk and published the post. Her shoulders sagging with relief before the dread kicked in.


It was decidedly off brand of her to talk about ghosts. But there really was a ghost living with her. She needed to work up the courage to talk with them.


Y’all. I want to thank both the skeptics and my true believers. Seriously. I tried to take a picture of the ghost. I wasn’t expecting a great shot. We all know that ghosts often come up as blurry things in photos. If they show up at all! It makes proving the existence of them difficult. Neigh on impossible, if you will. I got a picture. It was not blurry! Wee—ell… not blurry in the traditional sense.


What showed up is a mess of glitter. I know. It makes no sense, but it’s true! I’ve uploaded a picture and you will see it at the bottom of this post. There will be the original photo and one I did edit ONLY so that y’all can see the outline of the ghost more clearly. I don’t understand it.


Yes. I did some research. So far no one else has ever had a situation where their ghostly roommates come up as glitter blobs in photos. Just mine!


Izzy needed to gain some confidence. She needed to stroll into the third bedroom, where the ghost liked to hang out. There was a perfectly good, and spooky, attic for the ghost to live in, but of course, they wanted the bedroom that Izzy would have preferred for an office space. It had a wonderful view of her small property, all the trees looking big and beautiful from it. She was glad she hadn’t moved all her stuff into the room. Glad she had planned to paint and fix things first. She figured it would be awkward blogging about her ghost roommate if they shared a space.


But she paid the mortgage! She ought to have dibs on any room in the house! She sighed and tried to clean off a scuff mark on the wall. Her feet stopping of their own accord outside of the room the ghost liked.


Izzy could not believe that she was too shy to talk to a GHOST. She groaned in her head and just barely resisted the urge to bash her head against the wall.


Why had she thought it would be possible to own a house on her own? At least if she had a partner or friend living with her, she could send them into the room to befriend the ghost. Izzy added another tally to her mental list of ways she failed at life.


The ghost’s name is Fredrick. He sounds kind of nasally, which surprised me. I didn’t realize a ghost could be nasally. It isn’t like they have functioning nasal passages, is it? Anyway, Fredrick is nice. My original assessment of him being a friendly ghost seems to still stand. He is obsessed with this birdcage that occupies one corner of the room. I took a picture of it when I first moved in, it’s actually on the blog! Remember how I wanted to do something crafty with it? Now I’m not so sure that it is a good idea.


Fredrick seems too attached to it. I asked if him if he had a pet bird when he was alive. He stared me dead in the eyes (I wonder if that is offensive to say in this situation?) and stated that HE was the living one and I was the ghost. I’ll admit my face must have done something. It turns out he was joking. Apparently, conveying jokes is difficult with a somewhat transparent face. Translucent? I don’t know what word to use. Anyway, he saw the fear in my eyes and hastily tried to reassure me he was kidding.


The bird cage never had a bird in it. The owner just before me brought the cage in (the ghost does not know why the cage was purchased). Fredrick never spoke with that family, he said. They didn’t want to believe in him. I asked him what that meant, and apparently, if you disbelief hard enough then you won’t see a ghost. Ghosts derive their power—power is not exactly the right word—from belief.


My believing makes it so I can see Fredrick. Makes it so I can talk to him. It’s… interesting. It also made me wonder if I’m a little crazy. No, I won’t make a poll on whether y’all think I am crazy. I’ll need to do some more research on ghosts, it appears


Izzy brought the sweaty bottle of beer to her lips. She was seated on the floor with her legs stretched out in front of her. Her back pressed against the wall of the bedroom, she still wanted to turn into her office. Fredrick the Ghost was floating a little way away from her, watching her with an intense expression. She wondered what color eyes he had when he had been living.


“It…” Izzy paused. She took another sip of the beer, her nose wrinkling. She set the beer down. “It tastes better than the other stuff you had me try. But it still tastes like garbage.”


Fredrick’s ghostly shoulders slumped down.


“You really need to diversify your taste buds.”


Izzy rolled her eyes. Of course he would be dramatic about it. And of course her ghostly roommate would be a craft beer enthusiast. She wished he could drink the stuff himself. She had no problems buying him the beer. It was just a pain that he then wanted her to taste it for him and to explain the experience to him.


“They didn’t have all these choices when I was alive,” Fredrick said, and he always said that. She sighed.


“I’m sorry that the way I describe this beer is a disappointment to you. But mostly, I’m sorry for my taste buds.”


I know it has been awhile since I’ve talked about my not-quite-invisible-ghostly-roommate. But this blog is foremost all about my adventures in life! Not necessarily in death, right? Plus, there were some questions y’all had. A lot of you are apparently on the path to homeownership and I would be remiss in my duties as your favorite blogger (and most modest one too!) if I didn’t answer those pressing questions.


Besides, it seems rude to gossip about Fredrick. Even if he isn’t living and breathing, he is still a roommate. I think it is time that I explain to him about this blog and maybe tell him how much I want that third bedroom back. It really would make for a pleasant office. Most of you liked the pictures of it. Remember that massive tree by it? It has flowers on it right now! I’ll need to take a picture. Perhaps one of you readers is a botanist. Or… do I need an arborist? What really is the difference? Don’t slay me for asking that question! Remember, it isn’t a crime to ask questions on this blog.


Izzy was staring out the window of the third bedroom. Her eyes squinting at the large tree. She had her phone in her hand, and she was trying to angle the camera on it to take a decent photo of the flower. She had a sweaty mug of cold brew on the windowsill beside her. Fredrick was nowhere to be seen. It made her wonder where the ghost went when he wasn’t in the room. She was wondering if she should grab one of her other cameras when she heard Fredrick clear his non-existent throat. How did ghosts do that?


“Excuse me, but don’t you have other cameras you could use? I’ve seen them.”


Izzy turned away from the window and shrugged her shoulder. She shoved her phone into her back pocket and picked up her mug of caffeinated necessity. She sipped it. Fredrick was watching her intently.


“I have better cameras, sure.” She squinted at him. “Do you know what a cellphone is?”
“Yes,” Fredrick said in that huffy way he had.


“Were you…?” Here Izzy did a complicated shrugging motion, coupled with a wave. She was trying to convey living. Alive. Without saying the words. A sudden fear that voicing that would be offensive to the dead.


“Was I?” Fredrick asked, wholly confused from what Izzy could read of his ghostly facial expression. She sighed. She seemed to always be sighing these days. Maybe her entire life was just built around sighing.


“Were you living when cellphones were invented?” Izzy spat out. Her face burning with shame. She couldn’t explain it. Why she felt so much shame.


“No,” Fredrick said, simply. He, too, shrugged his shoulders. “You know, talking about being dead or my living past. It doesn’t offend me. You can use those words. But, I’ve seen those phones.” He grew quiet before adding, “technology has advanced a lot in recent years.”


“You are telling me.” Izzy said, mirroring him with her quietness.


She was still embarrassed. Stupidly so.


I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve never been very good at the DIY stuff. And it feels even more difficult to try now that I have an audience of one actually watching me. It is one thing to talk about and show my failed attempts on this blog, but it is an entirely different thing to have someone watching me. Fredrick claims he does not judge me, but still. I don’t like people seeing me fail. You can see the result of the failure, but not the process!


Balloons are the bane of my fucking existence. How do people tie them up with ease? My fingers must not be nimble enough because all they do, all I do, is get them tangled up and stuck as I try to knot the ends. Which is a bummer because I think these lamps will look cool whenever I finish them. They will be the finishing touches to the office space. Anyway, here are some photos of the attempt. Fredrick says I look like an idiot in a lot of them. He is such an uplifting roommate, eh?


“Do you miss eating?”
“All the time.”
“What was your favorite food?”
“Grizzly bear.”


“Gri… Grizzly bear?” Izzy can’t help the disbelief in her voice. She won’t believe what Fredrick just said. Refuses to!


“I was a mountain man when I was a living one.”


“There aren’t any mountains around here,” Izzy pointed out.


“Who said I always lived here?”


“Fredrick!” She glowered at him.


He laughed and held up his hands. “Down, girl, I am teasing. No, my palette when I was alive was rather plain. Much like yours.”


Izzy glared at the dead man. But there was no heat to it.


Fredrick laughed at her. His laugh, though not quite the same as a living person, was still a sound that Izzy enjoyed. She didn’t want to say that she went out of her way to make him laugh, but maybe, maybe she did.


Y’all. My best friend has betrayed me. She wants me to learn the damn tango for her wedding. She has never been the type to do what everyone else does. I remember the two of us making fun of weddings that had choreographed dancing from the wedding party. But she had to fall in love with a dancer. Then fall in love WITH dancing. We were two nonrhythmic souls who met in middle school, awkward bodies and minds, melding into one.


I am happy for her, and I adore her partner. Fredrick thinks I’m being ridiculous. I tell him I’m not. Besides, it isn’t like I’ll boycott the wedding or the dance. She’s signed me up for lessons with her. I have no choice.


It might be fun. I guess. She is my best friend and I love her more than anyone else in the world. She has always dragged me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. Into new experiences that broadened my horizons. Without her, I do not think I would be doing what I am do now.


I didn’t mean to become sentimental trash. Any advice on how to force my body to learn some rhythm? Help a girl out!


It was late when Izzy stumbled into her house. Her feet tired and sore from dancing the night away at her friend’s wedding. She had taken a cab to the venue at six in the morning for hair, makeup, and other pre-wedding shenanigans. It was now well past midnight. Probably nearing three in the morning. She was still drunk and knew that come the morning (the later morning at any rate) she would regret the decision to keep drinking.


But she had fun.


She couldn’t remember the last time she had laughed this much with people who were alive, of flesh and blood. No offense to Freddy or anything, she blithely thought. And there had been a guy she had met. She hated the cliche, meeting someone at a goddamn wedding, but there had been sparks. Especially the more she drank. It loosened her up to the idea that maybe flirting was something she could do.


“Wild night?” Fredrick’s voice startled her in the dark.


Her eyes widened, her heart racing. She blushed. Not quiet able to make eye contact with the dead man. She felt almost as if she were a teenager being caught doing something naughty by their parents. It was foolish. She was an adult! And Fredrick, a dead person who lived rent free in her house.


“Perhaps,” she said, her mouth thick with alcohol and sullen sounding.


“Good, you deserve it.” Fredrick said, a hint of laughter in his voice.


Izzy relaxed at those words. She sank down onto the couch and Fredrick floated close to to it. She leaned her head back and sighed.


“I’m going to regret being up this late. And this drunk.”


“You aren’t that old,” Fredrick pointed out, reasonably, but Izzy shook her head.


“Did you meet anyone?” Fredrick asked, his voice light.


She looked at him. Squinted through her drunkenness. And it hit her like a missile. If she brought someone into her life, how was she supposed to introduce her newest best friend? The dead one who lived with her, who supported her with his words, who drove her crazy? It wasn’t love in the traditional sense that she felt for Fredrick, but there was something there.


He was important to her. Anyone who came into her life would need to accept Fredrick. He was more than just part of the house.


“I think so,” she said, quietly. Her throat tightening. Constricting on feelings, she wasn’t quite ready to name.
“You think so?” he asked.


“I did, but I don’t know.. You know, whoever I like, has to like you too?” Her mind was a jumbled mess. She wasn’t sure she was in the right state of mind to talk about this. Didn’t even know what to say. What she wanted to say.
Fredrick smiled. A sad thing, but a smile all the same.


“Few living people do, but I think if this person is someone you think can be important to you… I think they might more than tolerate me.”


“Thank you…” Izzy said, quietly. And then she curled up on the couch. Too drunk and lazy to make the journey up to her room. She could deal with these heavy thoughts in the morning.

prompt: a camping trip in which no one has been camping before

a camping trip in which no one has been camping before

howdy! remember when I messed up the very first prompt I posted from my prompt book (the piano bar)? welp, this new prompt I may have muddled up a little bit. technically, all of the characters featured in it have never gone camping before, but that seems to be mostly background information. so, please enjoy! I am not exactly pleased with how this one turned out, but here it is. the words I had to use were:

  • constellation
  • ketchup
  • royal
  • gear
  • atmosphere
  • expand
  • livid
  • example
  • luminous
  • moonlit

Cadence looked at all the gear that lined her small living room. She was trying to keep her cool. The last thing she wanted to do was see Trevor’s hurt face. He had this way of looking like he was going to cry, but he never quite did. His eyes got watery, and there would be something akin to a pout in his expression. She didn’t want to dash his hopes or dreams. Didn’t want to be accused of holding him back, or belittling him. Trevor never said those words to her. He never expressed it like that, but his friends did. Cadence was running out of fingers to count the number of times they accused her of something like that.


She wanted to yell back at his friends that she wasn’t doing any of that. But she also wouldn’t lie to his face and tell him that everything he wanted and everything he dreamed up would happen. She built him up, she really did. But she didn’t do so on false hope. False hope was a weak foundation.


“What is all of this?” She asked, attempting to keep her voice pleasant.


“Griffin wants to go camping so that he can propose to Sarah,” Trevor said, as if that explained why their living room was filled to the bursting point with camping equipment.


“So we are holding onto Griffin’s camping stuff until then?” She asked, with more hope than dread. She still thought it was obnoxious that their living space held the stuff. She also hoped that Griffin wasn’t surprising Sarah with a camping trip. Sarah was probably the nicest person Cadence had ever met. The kind of nice that made her seem fake at first until you realized it was all real. That was Sarah. She would be too nice to say anything, she wouldn’t hide her surprise, but she would look over at Griffin and say how excited she was. And maybe she would be. But maybe she didn’t know how to tell someone off when they needed it. Maybe Cadence needed to give her some lessons on that.


Trevor looked confused. That confusion made Cade nervous.


“No…” He said, and she could hear that almost quiver in his voice. She didn’t understand how it worked. He never actually cried. He just sounded like he was on the verge. “No,” he said, and this time his voice was a little sturdier. “This is for us.”


“For us?”


“Griffin invited us along.”


“He invited us to his proposal?” Cadence stopped trying to keep her voice neutral. She was sure she was also wearing her confusion mixed with something else on her face.


“No, not to the proposal itself. He’s planning a romantic hike the second day. But, he doesn’t want Sarah being suspicious. He wants her surprised.”


Cadence stared at Trevor, and she saw that hope had once more wriggled its way into his expression. She didn’t want to go camping. Didn’t think the atmosphere of it would suit her. She saw how hopeful Trevor looked. She could also imagine the expression on Griffin’s face if Trevor told him she decided not to go camping. She didn’t want to think about that, or what Griffin would say.


“Sounds fun,” she said, willing her voice not to sound sarcastic.

“When are we going?” She added, regret already wriggling its way in.


The four adults and all their camping gear were shoved into Griffin’s compact car. It surprised Cadence the trunk could close. She kept waiting for the thing to pop open, and for all their camping equipment to fly out. There was a cooler wedged between her and Trevor. Trevor, who was practically been bouncing with every step he took. Trevor, whose excitement was palpable.


Sarah turned to face them from the front seat. She had a royal blue knit cap pulled low on her head, partially obscuring the perfect waves of her equally perfect blond hair.


“Are you excited?” She asked with a smile. Her teeth white and straight, another example of her perfection.


“We sure are!” Trevor said, and Cadence wanted to reach over the cooler that served as a barrier between her and her boyfriend, and she wanted to grip his hand. Try to signal with that grip that he should cool it with his excitement. She worried Sarah would sniff out that there was a big surprise waiting for her in a day.


She didn’t seem to notice. Instead, Sarah looked away from Trevor and stared directly into Cadence’s eyes. She had a way of making eye contact, even with people who didn’t like it.


“I’m happy you could make it, Cade.” Sarah said.


“Yeah, me too.” Cadence replied, and she wasn’t entirely sure if she meant it or not.
Sarah wriggled underneath people’s skins and make things seem better than they actually were.


The campsite was pretty. They secured a location big enough for two tents, with some space between to give the illusion of privacy. There was a small path between the trees that led to a tiny river behind where the tents would be. And then another path led to the outhouses. The campgrounds had showers and toilets too, about a ten-minute walk from their site. Cadence watched as Trevor and Griffin grabbed the tents from the trunk and set to work on erecting them. Sarah startled her by bumping into her, gently.


“Let’s not watch this. Griff has been watching YouTube tutorials on how to put up a tent. He thinks he’s a pro. I think it might be a little painful to watch,” Cadence marveled at how Sarah said that. The words near the end sounded mean, but her tone of voice was pleasant. Friendly, even. Just a joke, but Cade knew if she had made the same joke, she would have delivered it wrong. Trevor would have pulled her off to the side to tell her to be nicer.


Cade followed Sarah to the picnic table that was at their site. Sarah began setting up what looked like the fixings for sandwiches. There were different deli meat and cheeses, a couple different loaves of bread, and condiments like ketchup and mustard.


The two men could not get the tents up without the help of Cadence and Sarah. Sarah, who seemed immeasurably more patient with everything that Griffin did. Cadence tried to channel some of that patience for herself. Trevor kept looking at her with a sheepish expression on his face. She and Trevor got their tent up, and kept it standing before Sarah and Griffin got theirs up.


Cadence knew it had not been a competition, and yet, she was proud of herself for it. Proud of Trevor, too.


It was dark, and Cadence did not know what time it was. Her phone had died a few hours ago, and she hadn’t wanted to ask Griffin to use that portable battery of his that he had brought. Sarah had told her that Griffin spent days googling which kind of battery was the best for charging phones while camping. The battery itself apparently charged when the car was running. But Cadence was well aware of the looks at Griffin gave her. They weren’t friendly. Maybe she would just spend the weekend with no phone.


Trevor grabbed her hand and asked if she wanted to go for a walk. She agreed and felt anxious. She didn’t like how dark it was at the campgrounds. Her heart thudding hard in her chest. Her palms a little sweaty, but Trevor said nothing about it. She didn’t know why she was so anxious. She wasn’t necessarily afraid of being hurt or anything. But there was fear within her all the same.


They reached a small moonlit beach. Trevor led the way to a picnic table and Cadence climbed it to sit on the table portion, her feet on the bench. Trevor let go of her hand, and she saw him wiping both his hands on his pants. Her cheeks warmed up and she was grateful now for the dark.


“Thanks for agreeing to come,” Trevor said, and she knew he was looking at her. She trained her gaze up to the sky.


The amount of stars she saw surprised her. She wasn’t used to seeing the sky so full. She pointed to a cluster of stars.


“Any idea what constellation that is?” She asked, remembering that Trevor had once taken an Astronomy class in college.


“No idea,” he said, and when she looked in his direction, she noticed he too was staring up at the sky. She looked away from him, and once more focused on the sky above them.
“We should make up our own constellations then,” she said.

Trevor slipped an arm over Cadence’s shoulder, and he pointed to a cluster of bright stars. Brighter than all the rest.


“What should we name that one?”


“Clownface,” Cadence suggested, and she did not know why she did. She felt a little goofy for it. Trevor was squinting at the luminous stars, and then he laughed. It was infectious enough that Cade laughed too.


“Clownface it is, you goof.”


Hearing him call her a goof made Cadence feel warm on the inside.


Cadence and Trevor finally settled down into their tent to sleep. It took Cadence awhile to get used to the noises of the surrounding woods. She was one of those people who slept with the fan on. She needed that kind of white noise. The noises made by nature were different, though. Somehow, it was both too loud and too quiet.


Eventually she fell asleep.


And then the tent collapsed on them.


Cadence yelped, and Trevor shouted. She found the flashlight she had put beside her sleeping bag, and flipped it on, accidentally shining it into Trevor’s eyes. He winced, and then the two of them laughed.


Griffin yelled at them to be quiet.


That only caused them to laugh louder.


Eventually, they settled down and were able to erect the tent once more. Was it possible to gain muscle memory for a task that they had only done once before? Cade didn’t know. But it impressed her they could do this in the dark, with only a flashlight as their guide.


Cadence woke up to a shout. Trevor ran out of the tent before she could stop him. She struggled out of her sleeping bag, her heart racing. She heard Griffin and Trevor talking, but she couldn’t make out the words until she left the tent.


An animal had scattered trash and food all over the camp. Cade ignored the men and made her way to the cooler. Thankfully, whatever had gotten into the trash and foodstuff that was carelessly left out on the table overnight, hadn’t been able to pry open the cooler. She spied Sarah crouched on the ground with a bag. She was picking up the trash.

Cadence looked back at Trevor and Griffin. Griffin was animatedly throwing his hands up into the air. Griffin was livid while Trevor was calm and placating. Cadence shook her head and found another bag. She helped Sarah clean up the mess.


Sarah flashed her a smile.


“Thanks,” she said.


“No problem, it’s the least I could do.” Cadence said, and she hoped the boys would notice the two of them cleaning up. She hoped Griffin would stop his railing against nature and calm down. Sarah didn’t look like she noticed how Griffin was behaving, but it unsettled Cadence. She wondered about Sarah and Griffin; and how their relationship worked.

That then made her wonder if others looked at her and Trevor with the same confusion.


Trevor eventually calmed Griffin down and soon everyone was cleaning up the mess.
Sarah made a comment, and Cadence forgot what it was almost as soon as she heard it, but she knew it was funny so she joined in with the laughter.


Sarah and Griffin went off for their hike. Cadence watched as Trevor gave his best friend an encouraging thumbs up. She thought Griffin looked like he was going to be sick. The campsite felt too quiet without the other couple. Cadence felt awkward around Trevor, in a way she hadn’t in a long time.


She hadn’t realized that a new location could trip her up like this. Or perhaps it was just the newness of the situation. She had never gone camping before, not even as a kid. Her parents had been city dwellers, and the closest they got to nature was the walk to the small park in the neighborhood. She wondered if that was why she was ill at ease. But, as far as she could remember, Trevor had never gone camping before. Neither had Griffin nor Sarah, at least not since adulthood. None of them seemed as ill at ease as her.


She watched as Trevor pulled out some drawing supplies of his. He settled down at the table and sketched the trees. Cadence studied him for a few minutes before she grabbed a book from the tent. She settled down next to him on the bench of the table. She could feel his body heat radiating. It was a comfort.


She relaxed into the moment.


Occasionally they would talk to each other, but mostly they kept quiet. They did their own thing, and it was nice. It was like being back at home, but now she had the sounds of nature playing in the background and not some TV show no one was paying any attention to. She felt her love of nature suddenly expand.


She lost track of time, and so did Trevor.


They were both startled by Sarah and Griffin returning from their hike. The two of them with matching smiles too big and vibrant for their faces. Cadence spied the ring on Sarah’s finger. Trevor gave Griffin a high-five and Sarah came to Cadence with a hug.


“Congratulations,” Cadence said.


And it felt like she meant those words. At least right in that moment.

Prompt: A Piano Bar

Prompt: Piano Bar

I got a book for Christmas from my Mom, filled with all kinds of writing prompts. This is the first prompt in the book. I kind of messed up on writing it as the prompt is actually: A Strange Request at a Piano Bar. I forgot all about the strange request part. Another thing about these prompts is that they include ten words you are supposed to use for them. I used all ten of them (that was my main focus and probably why I forgot about half of the actual prompt itself). Here are the ten words I had to use:

  • Carnival
  • Sprained
  • Mask
  • Oxidation
  • Awkward
  • Apple
  • Juvenile
  • Controversy
  • Twirl
  • Sassasfras

Anyway, look for the words in the prompt, and please let me know what you think of it!


The carnival is in town. Tents and rides are being set up as campers and trailers pull into the lot next to the site. It isn’t set to open until the following night, but there is a kind of hustle and bustle going on. Everyone working in that space knows what to do. They work in a forced harmony. The kind that comes from years of doing the same thing, over and over, in cities across the country. Sure, there are subtle differences in each city, quirks of the lots that they set up in, but overall, the setup and takedown are the same. 

“There’s a piano bar not too far from here,” Caleb explains, a half-eaten apple in his hand. 

Caleb runs one of the games that seems impossible to win. Oh, people get close enough to winning, but they rarely ever do. His prizes are getting old. Some stuffed animals that he has on display are likely older than him. He has been with the carnival his whole life. His parents met in a town just like this, his Dad running the very same game he is. His Mom, a recent and young widow. They fell in love during that week the carnival was in town and his Mom ended up leaving her old life behind, to travel with his Dad. Caleb was born a year later. He’s somewhere in his late twenties to mid-thirties. His age hard to pin down. Sometimes, you think you can guess it based on something he says. But usually, you can’t tell. It has become something of a game to him, one that his parents are in on. 

“A piano bar?” Jilly asks, her head tilting to the side. Her long and braided hair falling in front of her tattooed face. There probably isn’t a space on her body that is unmarked by ink. She has been traveling with this carnival for a couple years now, but before, she worked with another. She doesn’t talk much about her previous experiences. Jilly is another one whose age is difficult to tell. She looks young but the way she talks about her life when she does, it makes her sound older. 

“Fras you should come,” Jilly says, to the newest member of the carnival. 

Fras, or Sassafras, looks up from the task she was working on. She has heard Caleb bring up the piano bar before. He’s been talking about it, on and off, for a month, maybe more. Fras frowns before answering. She knows that Jilly is rolling her eyes at the frown, even if she can’t see her do it.

“We have so much work to do…” She says, trying to appeal to their tendencies towards working hard. 

“And we’ll finish it soon. You are nearly done anyway. Caleb, pick us up in an hour.”

Caleb flashes Jilly a grin, and then he bows low before he speaks up, a twinkle in his eyes.

“As you wish.”

He walks away, tossing that apple core in a trash bin.


“And then I stabbed him in the gut!” Jilly exclaims.

With a twirl that makes her braids whip around her head, she goes to face Fras with a frown.

“She isn’t even listening to us, Leb.” 

“I hate when you call me that, Illy.” Caleb retorts, but the nickname Illy has never bothered Jilly. Everyone knows that, even Caleb.

Fras sighs and looks over at her two companions. She is in a funk, and she knows it. She needs to pull her head out of it. But she feels an immense amount of guilt over what happened with Rigsby in the last town that they were in. She knows that a sprained ankle in the grand scheme of things isn’t  terrible. But Rigsby’s job requires him to be on his feet all the time, and he’s been out of commission. Even Rigsby himself has told Fras that it wasn’t her fault, but she doesn’t believe him. She knows she has been needlessly awkward around him. In Fras’ defense, she is an awkward person even in the best of times. 

“I am just thinking about Ri—….” 

“Stop thinking about that old man,” Jilly says. She slings an arm around Fras and pulls her tight against her. Fras can smell whatever perfume Jilly uses, a scent that she can’t readily recognize. Something that reminds her of flowers, but none that she can name.

“I—…”

“Jilly is right,” Caleb says, with a look back at the two of them. He has a kind of nervous energy, jittery tonight, that Fras isn’t sure she has ever seen from him before. “Besides, Rigsby is over it. I think he’s been enjoying bossing everyone around to help him out.”

Fras knew that Caleb had a point with that. Everyone has been grumbling about it, wondering if his sprain has improved and he is just milking now. Still, the guilt swirls around in Fras, but she tries to tamper it down.

“Okay,” she says.

“Okay what?” Caleb prompts while Jilly gives a one armed squeeze that Fras knows is supposed to be comforting and not suffocating.

“Okay, I will stop worrying about him.”

“Good!” Jilly and Caleb say at the same time.

It causes Fras to laugh, a true one, not one of her forced ones. 


“There are too many juveniles in this bar,” Caleb says aghast, as they enter. 

Fras gives a quick look around the place, and sure enough , there are a lot of kids in the place. Or maybe the more accurate description would be that there are too many families in the place. She doesn’t know what time it is, but it must be after dinner. It wasn’t dark on the walk to the bar, but it will be soon.

“Don’t cause a scene, Leb.” Jilly says, with that patent eye roll of hers. She tugs a mask over her face as she says this. The mask has been around her neck, and Fras originally thought it was a scarf or something she was wearing.

“Don’t cause a scene you say, as you pull a mask over your face?” Caleb asks, the tone of his voice fighting amusement. 

“You can still see my eyes,” Jilly replies, as if that matters any. 

Jilly moves away from them, heading towards the bar where a man in an ill-fitting suit is seated. She leans against the bar, catching the man’s attention. Fras can picture the look that Jilly is giving him. The man’s face is red, and Fras can’t remember if it was red from before he looked at Jilly, or after. Caleb lets out a groan as he watches all of this, and then he is tugging Fras towards an empty table not too far from the piano.

“Won’t it be too loud near the piano?” Fras asks, but Caleb ignores her.


Caleb stays in a dark kind of mood while they enjoy their first round of drinks. Others from the carnival make their way to the piano bar, and soon their small table is feeling a little cramped. Jilly is still talking to the man in the suit, she hasn’t bothered to look their way once. Fras feels a little like she is suffocating and extracts herself from the table with no one shouting drink orders at her.

She makes her to the bar and leans her elbows on it. She is next to Jilly and the mystery-ill-fitted-suit-man. She can just make out what he is saying to her through the din of voices. A lackluster stroke of a piano key sounds.

“And the oxidation of the wine…” 

Fras wonders how long Jilly has sat at this bar, listening to the man drone on and on about a drink he isn’t even drinking. His glass looks like it is full of some dark liquor, and she also wonders how many drinks Jilly has gotten out of him.

“Why are you wearing that mask, anyway?” The man asks, as if he suddenly just now noticed that Jilly was wearing one.

The bartender notices Fras, and she gives her order. Out of the corner of her eye, she notices Jilly shrug of her shoulders. 

“Boredom,” Jilly replies.

“Oh,” the man says, a little uncertainly. 

“I work for the carnival,” Jilly continues.

“That makes some sense,” the man says, and then hurriedly he adds, “because I haven’t seen you around here before.” 

Fras gets her drink. She thinks for a moment about placing a hand on Jilly’s shoulder, making her presence known, interrupting this odd ritual of her friend’s, but she decides not to. She takes her drink, tips the bartender, and then wanders away. She doesn’t go back to the table.


The piano player has finally begun to play. Caleb seems to be in brighter spirits. He is sitting closest to the piano, his chair turned away from the rest of the table but no one seems to mind. No one even seems to notice. Fras wonders the last time she has seen Caleb look like that, and she doesn’t think she ever has. She doesn’t think it just has to do with the music, either. 

She stops studying Caleb, and instead, turns her focus to the man seated at the piano. He is wearing clothes that have seen better days, but he doesn’t look shabby for it. Maybe it is just all in the way he carries himself. He has an effortless sort of confidence, and he plays good. Probably better than is actually needed at a place full of drunks. She sees him stealing glances at Caleb, never once missing a key, never once making the piano sound discordant. He looks damn near as happy as Caleb. 

Fras stops watching the two of them, feeling suddenly like she is intruding on something. Rigsby gets her attention by asking for another drink. She feels guilty again, and offers to put it on her tab.


“He started talking about the controversy of wine, Fras. He doesn’t even work with wine or drink it. Says he can’t stand the taste, but he’s fascinated by it all the same. He said, life has cursed him. He should have been a sommelier, but he can’t be.”

Jilly is drunk. Drunker than Fras has seen her in a while. They are walking back to the lot with a group of other people from the carnival. Caleb isn’t with them.

“He shouldn’t be as attractive as he is, Sassy.” Jilly groans.

“I think you drank too much,” Fras says.

It wasn’t like the man was unattractive but Fras doesn’t know how Jilly spent so many hours talking to him. 

“He gave me his number,” Jilly continues. “Maybe I’ll call him in the morning.”

“See if he is still fascinating in the light of the morning, and with sobriety?” Fras asks, not necessarily unkindly, but the way Jilly reacts, it makes Fras think she should have watched her tone. 

“Yes,” Jilly says, stiffly. Embarrassed, even though embarrassment isn’t something Jilly usually exhibits. 

“Sorry, tell me more about your non-wine-drinking-sommelier,” Fras says, trying to undo whatever it was she just did. 

Jilly hesitates all of a fraction of a second, before going back to talking about the man in the ill-fitting suit. Fras wonders if she ever got his name.

December 2020 Prompt: Pots

Prompt: Pots

A prompt! Huzzah! I have missed writing these so much. Writing this one was a bit of a struggle at first. I knew I wanted to write from the point of view of the pots (and I went with cooking pots and not like plant pots) and I wrote about 500 words with a bunch of different pots before this idea came to me. It’s from one pot’s point of view, so please enjoy!

There was an odor wafting through the kitchen. Most people who could smell it would likely call it a bad odor. Not terrible, by any means, but not good. There was a young man standing in front of a stove, cooking… something. All kinds of things were being tossed into the concoction — a concoction that resembled food if you squinted — and nothing seemed to help the smell. It was a faintly burnt kind of smell, hadn’t quite crossed over into the stench category yet. The young man, arguably the chef of the evening, seem undeterred. He had a look of concentration on his face, and a hum leaving his lips. 

He seemed satisfied with what he was doing. 

The pot he was using, on the other hand, was an old one. It had been gifted to the young man as a graduation present, and it had sat in boxes throughout the young man’s college career. Mostly forgotten about until he found an apartment with a decent kitchen, and a woman to impress. The pot, it had missed being used for food. It had missed being in the thick of things, hanging from a rack in the kitchen, and always being around. Always knowing what the family was up to. Being used to make things that tasted good, according to the family. That smelled good, according to whoever was eating. Pots… they don’t have noses.  They don’t have mouths, either. It isn’t like they can taste what is being put in the them. Not… not in the traditional sense, at least. But, this pot, it had been around for awhile before its temporary retirement into an old box. It could remember when decent meals were cooked with it. It might not be able to taste a thing (or thankfully smell) but it knew that what it was being used for was… a monstrosity. 

The pot didn’t know whether to feel happy with finally being put to some use or not. Was it truly better to used for something like this than to waste away in a box?  The pot wasn’t sure. It liked to think that any culinary experience it provided was… was better than wasting away. 

“Are you almost done, Gavin?” A voice the pot didn’t recognize asked, entering the small kitchen space. Not like pots have ears to hear with — but they do hear all the same. 

“Almost, Cyn!” Gavin said, exuberantly.

“It… it smells interesting,” and then a head peeked over Gavin’s shoulders to peer into the mess in the pot. “Looks interesting too.”

Gavin seemed undeterred by the tone of voice. Nothing, apparently, could bring him down. The pot had always liked that about Gavin, it supposed. And it wished it could make the food taste better than it knew it would. 


Time doesn’t really mean much to a pot. All this pot knew was that it was being used, more and more often. Not always by Gavin, sometimes by Cyn and a few memorable experiences of being used by Gavin’s mother once more. The pot had really missed her cooking. The pot was happy, overall, to being used again and Gavin seemed to be turning into a better cook, each time he attempted a meal. 

“This is Cyn’s favorite,” Gavin said, and the pot knew that Gavin was speaking with the brand new puppy the couple had bought to match their brand new house and new kitchen. If anyone cared for the pot’s opinion, it really liked the new kitchen.

The puppy was sleeping on his bed that had been dragged into the kitchen. It didn’t respond to Gavin, and while the pot wished it could, it didn’t either. It also had some pointers it wanted to give to Gavin. Life would be much easier for cooking utensils if they could help their people out. Because the pot knew all about what recipe Gavin was attempting.

It was ambitious for him. The pot also knew Cyn by this point, and it knew that even if the food tasted like tar in her mouth, she would smile and say it was delicious. Gavin seemed nervous and the pot wondered if it had to do with the meal he was butchering, or something else. The pot could read and understand Gavin the best in the house. Probably since it had known Gavin from his childhood. 

“I hope she says yes,” Gavin said, and the pot felt like Gavin was telling it that instead of the puppy. 


It was a house, a couple of kids, and another dog later. The pot had long ago been joined by newer pots and pans, but Gavin always had a tendency to gravitate towards it. The pot was happy with that because none of the newer ones seemed to enjoy the creative license that he took when cooking.

No need to remind the pot that it too hadn’t really appreciated those odd little experiments and cooking shortcuts that Gavin took in the beginning. But, these days, it did. 

“We are going to make something special for Mom, okay?” Gavin was saying to the young children standing around the stove with him. The pot had no idea how old the kids were. All it knew was there was no longer a lot of crying, and spit up. The kids were mobile and sometimes the pot was used as a drum, being banged on by spoons and other silverware. It didn’t think it made good music but the kids seemed to enjoy it. 

“Okay!” said one of the small children. 

Gavin smiled at the excitement in the child’s voice, and he bent down to tweak their nose. Then, he began to explain what he was doing. The pot wanted to correct Gavin on occasion, but it wasn’t like it had a mouth to do so and besides, it seemed like the kids and Gavin were having fun with it… with whatever it was they were making. 


The pot had been placed back in a box. It had no idea how long it had been closed up in the box, jostled around occasionally as it moved. It wondered if now it was finally retired, a sad life of nothing but darkness and no interesting smells, no interesting food being made with it. The pot, it wasn’t ready to retire. It felt as sad as an inanimate object could feel. 

Suddenly, there was light, and a head peeking out at it.

“Hang on, Mar!” The head said, and then hands were picking the pot up, and placing it on a small stove top with only two burners. The pot was in a kitchen again, one that was small and cramped. The kitchen reminded it a lot of where Gavin had lived so long ago, but somehow, more cheerful.

“What are you going to be making, Darcy?” Asked a voice that the pot did not recognize. Darcy was a name the pot knew. Gavin’s oldest daughter and it looked as if she had grown up too. The pot, it felt happy, and a little anxious too as memories of Gavin’s first solo meal in it flashed through its mind. 

“My Dad’s favorite,” Darcy said, “only better.”

The pot wanted to laugh at that, and maybe even cry. Mostly, though, it was happy at being in a kitchen again. 

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

October Prompt: Rat Doctor

This prompt took me a bit to write, and I hope y’all enjoy it! It was a lot of fun to write once I got to writing it. So, enjoy!

His nose twitched as he took in the scent of illness all around him. His scrambled up the back of the human, perching on the human’s shoulder. The human tensed, but did not run. The rat nestled his nose against the human’s ear, breathing in for a moment. Trying to get a smell that was not illness. He was tired of that stink. Then he spoke—human language was difficult for him because his body wasn’t quite built for it—his words quiet, and his voice rough from lack of use.

“You are caring for these humans wrong. The sickness, it isn’t what you think it is. I can help you.” 

The human was tense. He could feel the tension in the their shoulders. Muscles that needed relaxing, but the rest of the human, smelled healthy. 

“You’re a talking rat,” the human said, voice high pitched with fear. The rat couldn’t really hear the fear in the voice, because the rat didn’t really understand the different cadences that human voices could have. But he could smell the fear, he could sense it, he could tell in a rat way, that fear was evident in the human’s voice and body.

“Sure, and I can help you. You need my help,” the rat said, trying to remember what it was that last human he had worked with had told him. A saying, or something. “You have nothing to lose,” the rat said, memories washing over him. Too many of them, and it made him sad, sad in a way he felt was more human than ratlike. 

The human sighed, and then nodded their head. 

“Okay, help me. What am I doing wrong. What is this sickness?”

The rat felt surprise. He had anticipated it taking more time to convince this human to accept his help. But, he supposed, as he looked around at the sick all around him that this human was desperate. He scrambled down from their back, his body not as spry as it had once been, and he jumped. He landed clumsily on a table, some tools clattering to the ground, and he heard the human gasp.

“Those were sterile! I’ll need to—…”

“You won’t be needing those,” the rat said, without looking back at the human.

“Come,” he said, and he led away from those useless human tools. Humans always used more things than they truly needed. They made things more complicated than they needed to be. The rat’s own life, his body even, had been overcomplicated by humans in that lab oh so long ago. He had rat friends, he supposed. But none that wanted or could make a family with him. He was lonely, and had been, for such a long time. He wondered if that loneliness was what had prompted him to finally come out of hiding.

He didn’t know. Didn’t really care to know the true answer. He hated that he thought abstractly like this. He had had so much time to think, and he was tired of it. He was grateful for this puzzle of human sickness. Grateful he had a reason to think outside of himself and of something else. 

“I’ve seen this illness before,” the rat explained. Still surprised, really, that he had this human’s attention. “You need old medicine.”

“We’ve tried all the medicine we can think of. Nothing we have works, and the new st—…”

“You aren’t thinking old enough,” the rat said.

“How old?” The human said after a beat and the rat gave a shrug of his shoulders. As much as a rat is capable of shrugging.

“Human time doesn’t make much sense to me. But, here is what you need.”

The rat sat down on his haunches, and began to explain. He pointed to items that looked familiar. That smelled familiar. He asked questions too because he knew that humans liked to change things. But he thought they had enough to help all these sick people around him. It took hours, and he was tired, but in a good way. In a way he hadn’t been tired like in so long. 

“Thank you,” the human said as the rat walked away, going back to his hideyhole.

“Do not thank me yet,” he said, before he disappeared. 


He didn’t know how much time had passed as he kept hidden in his little house in the walls of the hospital. This hospital wasn’t where he had been born or anything. No, he had been born of two rats in a lab some miles away. His own parents had had brains more advanced than other rats, but they were not quite like him. His brain had been more human-like, and some minor tweaks to the rest of his body. It had made it impossible for him to mate with other rats, and the humans hadn’t thought to make another like him. Or maybe they couldn’t. He didn’t know, and he stopped asking questions a long time ago. His parents had died, and once the humans realized just how special he was, he had been moved away from the rest of the rats in the lab. 

He thought of his past a lot. Especially in the quiet hours — not that hospitals really had too many quiet hours — and he both loved and hated that he thought of his past like this. His life… had been special. He had a lot of fond memories with the humans who had helped make him the way he was. He missed the lab sometimes, but he hadn’t missed the continual experiments. He was grateful that Emmy and Ellie had gotten him out of the lab. 

They were the ones who had brought him to this hospital. All because he had a theory on how to stop the illness that was spreading through humans like wildfire. That was a strange expression to come to him, and he knew he had gotten it from Emmy or Ellie. He had never seen a wildfire before. Hell, he hadn’t ever seen any kind of fire before. 

He thought more and more about Emmy and Ellie in the quiet moments. He knew humans cried when they felt like this. Sad, but he didn’t. Or maybe he just couldn’t. 

He didn’t know how long he sat in his hole, in what he called his little house, before he snuck out again.


“You are back,” a voice startled him. He knew it belonged to the human he had helped the last time he had shown himself.

“Yes,” he said, sitting on his haunches and watching them. 

“I wanted to thank you,” the human said, and they reached behind to pull out a block of cheese. The rat hadn’t had cheese in so long. He tried not to look too excited by the prospect. “I didn’t know what you would like, but…”

“You don’t need to thank me,” the rat said, finding that the more he spoke out loud, the easier it was to remember how to do it. The easier it was to get his voice working. 

“Yes, I do. What you suggested… no one would have thought… how did you know?” The human asked as they handed him the piece of cheese. He took the cheese and bit into it. He wanted to cry even though he couldn’t. He remembered Emmy and Ellie talking about how beautiful things sometimes made humans want to cry — and he felt like he finally understood that sentiment. 

“Who are you?” The human asked.

The rat shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m just a rat.” 


“You are old, Just A Rat.” 

“I am.” 

“I can’t find any records on you. That lab that you say you came from closed down about thirty years ago.” 

“Your human time means nothing to me, you know that.”

“I also know rats don’t live thirty years, and you are older than that.” 

“We should check on those patients of yours.”


“Why are you sad?”

“I hate that you won’t let me tell anyone about you, Rat. Or that you won’t give me a name. I know you must have had a name before.” 

“That name means nothing now, and you know how humans are, if you tell people about me…” 

“But I don’t deserve all this praise that I am getting.”

“Yes, you do. You helped all those people.”

“Only because you told me what to do.”

“You used the tools presented to you. You deserve credit for it.”

“So do you.”

“I don’t want human credit.”


The rat sighed. His human was getting old. He had refused to ask for a name from this new human. Refused to to allow himself to get to know this human outside of the hospital. But he knew that the human would be retiring soon, and that he would have years again, of being alone. He had tried to steel himself and protect himself. He had tried not to grow attached, but… of course he had. 

“This is your last day, isn’t it?” The rat said, nodding his head towards the balloon the human had attached to their wrist for some reason. The balloon said ‘Happy Retirement’ on it, but the rat hoped if he didn’t read those words too often, they wouldn’t turn out to be true. 

“It is,” the human said, and the rat could feel some nervous energy exuding off of them.

“What is it?” He asked.

The human sighed, “I want you to come with me, but I have a feeling you won’t.” 

“Leave the hospital?” The rat asked. 

The human nodded and in that moment they reminded him of that younger and uncertain human he had met so long ago. He had only known this hospital and before that the lab. He had never been to a human’s house before. Not even Emmy or Ellie had ever extended that invitation to him.

“You don’t have to. I’ll be around visiting still, the hospital can’t get rid of me that easily.”

He let the human ramble on for a little while as he thought. As he allowed himself to imagine a life outside of these walls. His heart ached in a way it had never ached before. 

“Okay,” he said.

“What?” The human asked, shocked.

“I’ll leave here with you.” 

He had lived a long life and would probably continue to live a longer life. Perhaps it was time he experienced it elsewhere. And, he liked this human. He could care for them as they grew older and older still. 

The human smiled.

“Hop into my bag then. Let’s get out of here.” 

September 2020 Prompt: The Bitch is Dead

September 2020 Prompt: The Bitch is Dead

Here’s a little prompt that seems more fitting for October. I had fun with it. To be honest, I have fun with all the prompts. I hope y’all enjoy my take on it!

‘The bitch is dead,” Claudia said, gazing out at the small gathering of people. The youngest of whom was eight and the oldest around sixty. The energy changed at that moment—after those words were pronounced. A low wailing began and it was slowly picked up by the rest of those who were gathered. Even the eight year old began to wail, her pitch not quite matching the cadence of the others. Claudia gazed out at the small crowd, her expression unreadable. She didn’t join in with the wailing but she watched for a few minutes, before she turned around and entered the house.

The crowd stayed outside and wailed for ten minutes, before they dispersed. Claudia watched them through the window of the door. Her shoulders tense. She waited by the window until everyone was gone, and then she allowed herself a moment to cry.


The day of the funeral was bright; the weather perfect. The sun bright, and nary a cloud to be seen. It was the kind of day that their pack leader would have loved. The kind of day where she would have gathered all the young pups up, and forced them to go on a hike through the property of the camp. Most of the time older folks would tag along too, and an impromptu picnic would happen. Everyone would enjoy one another’s company and the good food. 

Claudia wanted to match the energy of one of those better and happier days. She figured Pippa would have approved, but she was having such a hard time of it. She couldn’t even muster a smile. She hadn’t cried since that moment by the window. It was as if her body was frozen with grief. Her shoulders tensing with the responsibility that she knew the pack would want to place on her shoulders. The burden of leading she had always known would fall on her shoulders if something ever happened to Pippa. And with that illness, without anyone being able to heal her sister, she should have known that day was coming sooner rather than later.

She gripped the sides of the podium, knowing she needed to make a speech. Knowing it was customary of someone in her position. She had struggled and failed to write something down. Bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. She hadn’t been sleeping much those last few weeks of Pippa’s life, and Claudia could not remember if she had gotten any sleep at all in her grief of the last few days. She felt weak on her feet. It didn’t help matters that tonight was a full moon, her body already preparing for the transformation to come. 

“Pippa would not want us to mourn her for long,” Claudia said, her voice weak even to her own ears. She smiled sadly, surprised that her lips could even quirk in that direction but supposedly it took more muscles to frown and maybe she just didn’t have the strength to do it.

“She would want us to be outside, basking in the sun. She always said that a lot of sunlight was good for us on the night of the full moon. No one — especially not me — will be able to replace our Pippa. But, we all know, she would not want us crying over her for too long. She would want us to celebrate her life, celebrate what she and all of us, did for ourselves and the pack.” Here Claudia’s voice shook.

Pippa had changed things for the better with the pack. She had fought hard for the rights of werewolves, and for other people like them. Other folks who changed into creatures during the full moon. Pippa had helped the world realize just how human werecreatures were. How, most of the time, they were human. And when they weren’t, it wasn’t like their creature side was any less monstrous than some people who stayed human all the time. Pippa had encouraged the rest of the pack to stand up for themselves, to crawl out of the shadows, and to stop living in fear. 

And Claudia she had been there with her sister for every step of the way. But it had been easier, then for her to fight, because she had had Pippa’s passion and belief to fall back on. She knew though that she wouldn’t or couldn’t give up on the future her sister had envisioned. She would have to learn how to fight just as hard and passionately as Pippa had. Even while drowning in grief. 

“Tonight we will mourn and celebrate as only wolves know how to do. And tomorrow, we will begin again, the vision that Pippa dreamt for us all.”

There was a smattering of claps, and a sob or two from the audience, as Claudia stepped away from the podium. She couldn’t bring herself to look at the casket. She did cry again, tears wet and warm, sliding down her face.


Night was falling and everyone was spread out. Claudia could feel her bones and her body protesting the change that was about to begin. The moon didn’t need to be out fully before a transformation occurred. It started just as the sun was going down, before the moon was fully up, and it was painful. The human body preferred to stay in one shape. It didn’t like bones and limbs rearranging. Sprouting coarse fur out of fragile human skin hurt too. People yowl, cry, and scream during the transformation. It wasn’t any wonder the terrible rumors and stories of werecreatures persisted for so long. 

Eventually, the pack were all transformed, and gazing at Claudia with expectancy. She knew she was supposed to lead the pack in their romp through the forest, in their hunt for food for the night. She wasn’t ready to lead. But she also didn’t have an excuse.

Pippa always said that Claudia had it in her, and the bitch was dead. It was time for Claudia to take up that mantel. 

She tilted her head  back, and howled at the moon. Grateful that her fur hid the tendency of her skin to blush at such a stereotypical move. The rest of the pack picked up on the howling. It was mournful and beautiful even if it was a little cheesy.

And then she ran. And everyone followed her.

September Prompt: The Coffin

September 2020 Prompt: The Coffin

This prompt is about a … coffin! Again, mostly written around 5am and 6am. As always, not much editing done, just a few rereads. I enjoy not really editing these things. Speaking of enjoy, I hope you enjoy the story!


The first time she saw the coffin she had been five years old and playing hide and seek with her cousins. It had been in the basement, not exactly hidden or anything. She had had no idea what it was, just that it looked like the perfect place to hide in. The top of the thing was up, exposing an opening plenty large enough for her to climb into. So, she had, and she scooted down into the thing, full of giggles. Then she heard her cousin come tromping down the stairs, and he looked everywhere but the coffin, before he ran back, and she giggled even more.

She couldn’t remember how long she laid, curled up in the foot of the wooden thing. She hadn’t been afraid of it, honestly. She hadn’t realized at five that a coffin was where dead people were put. She had actually felt safe in it, secure, and maybe a little warm after a while. 

Eventually, her cousin found her, with the help of her brothers, and the rest of her cousins who had been playing. Everyone had screeched when they had seen where she was at. Someone called her a weirdo, and another person a freak. She hadn’t really known the meaning of those words, just that the tone had implied they were making fun of her. That was when she began to cry.


She was ten when she finally asked her grandma about the coffin. The adults were in the process of moving Grandma out of her big house, the house with three levels and a basement. Except no one went up to the third level. All the kids knew the third level was haunted by ghosts. The adults just said there was no reason to climb all those stairs, but Maisie knew that that was just a cover. Grandma was seated in her favorite chair, a pair of sunglasses perched on her nose even though she was indoors. She had one of her adult drinks, a cocktail was what she always called them. It looked like juice but tasted something awful (Maisie may have tried a sip of it once when she was younger, on a dare from a brother, and all she could remember was the burn of the drink and how it had made her cough). 

“Sit and supervise with me, Maisie-bee,” Grandma had said, and Maisie had taken that invitation to climb into the chair with her grandmother. She snuggled close, and they sat together. Grandma occasionally sipped her cocktail, and barked out orders to Maisie’s aunts and uncles. 

“Grandma, what is going to happen with that coffin?” Maisie asked.

She found herself thinking about that coffin a lot. She was now grossed out with herself for having hidden in the thing when she was younger. Dead people lived in coffins! Had a dead person been in that coffin before? Maisie had never known a person who had died before, but she had had a pet cat by the name of Griffin. He had been gray and old most of her life and had died when she was six. Her best friend at school, Charlotte, had had an uncle who had died and she had gone to the funeral. She had told Maisie all about it. Charlotte was where Maisie got most of her information from these days. 

“It is coming with me,” Grandma explained. 

“Why?” 

Grandma didn’t answer the question right away. She just took a sip of her drink, most of the ice had melted by then, and the glass was slick with condensation. Maisie was beginning to wonder if perhaps Grandma hadn’t heard her. She was on the verge of repeating the question a little louder— Charlotte said that sometimes old people just couldn’t hear— when Grandma spoke up.

“It’s mine. I bought it a long time ago.” 

Maisie stared at her grandmother, a frown on her face.

“But you aren’t dead,” she said, puzzled. 

Sudden worry bubbled up within her though. What if her grandmother was dead. Or a vampire! She had seen a vampire movie before, and she knew that the movie was supposed to be fake, but what if it wasn’t?  Not all movies were about fake things. Her Dad liked to watch documentaries on wars, and he said, those battles actually happened. Except, vampires usually looked a lot younger than her Grandma did. But… Maisie realized that her Grandma was wearing sunglasses inside.

“Are you a vampire?” She whispered in awe. 

Her grandma laughed at that question and Maisie never found out the answer because her Mom called her away after that to help with moving some boxes. 


Maisie was fifteen years old when Grandma was buried in the coffin. The day of the funeral was cloudy and muddy. Maisie’s Mom cried a lot, and so did most of her older cousins and relatives. She couldn’t muster any tears at the funeral, or even after finding out that Grandma had died. She was sad about it, and she knew she would miss her grandma, she just couldn’t cry. 

She remembered the way the coffin was lowered into the ground and the speeches that people made. Maybe not the exact words, but the context. It was a lot of talk about how vibrant of a personality Grandma had had, right up until the moment she had none because death had taken it. 

No one talked about the coffin that Grandma had had with her. The one that had moved from house to house with her. Maisie had thought that was a little strange, how no one wanted to really bring up death even though they were at a funeral. She thought that her grandma might have liked it if someone had talked some about the coffin. If Maisie could speak in front of crowds like Charlotte, then maybe she would have given an ode to the coffin, but crowds even if it was a crowd of family, made her anxious. 

She did say a silent goodbye to both grandma and the coffin once they were buried beneath the earth. 


At twenty Maisie bought her own coffin. 

She had stared at rows and rows of the things. Half listening as the man (was he an undertaker?) explained about the different woods and things like that. He asked about her loved one, and Maisie had been confused for a half a second before she had smiled.

“This isn’t for a loved one. It’s for me.”

His eyes had gone wide for a moment and Maisie realized that he probably thought she was sick and dying. Technically, everyone was dying from the moment they were born. But she had every intention of living a long life like her Grandma had.

“I’m not sick or anything. It’s just… It’s a family tradition,” she explained.

It wasn’t, but Maisie was hoping to make it one. The rest of her family had used whatever money they received from Grandma after her passing to buy things like computers or help pay for cars. Things that they technically needed to make life a little easier. She had been fifteen then, and her parents had told her she had to wait until she was eighteen to spend the money.

At eighteen, she hadn’t wanted to. 

Now at twenty, she knew in her gut, just how to spend the money. She was pretty sure that her Grandma would approve.

august prompt 2020: spinach heist

august prompt: spinach heist

Danica adjusted her mask as she glanced down at her wrist. Exposed, for the moment, was a wristwatch. Ticking, ticking, ticking away the time. She pulled the sleeves of her nondescript black shirt over it. Adjusting her gloves in the process. Each member of her team, and there five of them total, was dressed identically. Black cargo pants, with a ridiculous amount of pockets. Black boots tied tight. A black long-sleeved shirt, black gloves. A black cap to cover hair, and finally, a mask. Just eyes were exposed because they needed to see where they were going, and what was happening.

Her team had thought it was overkill but, they wanted the job and quickly stopped complaining about it. They could leave no hint of their identities behind. There would be a manhunt for them after this heist. Product of this quality would fetch a high price on the black market—on any market— and it meant that they would be set for a while. Bills could be paid, and savings begun. This would fix all of their lives if they succeeded. If not, then rotting away in jail would be all of their futures.

“Let’s move out,” Danica whispered, and her crew began to move.

First was Bailey, the youngest member. She had been trained as a gymnast in her youth. She had spent hours on the mat; flipping, jumping, stretching her body. And then, like the rest of the motley crew, she and her family had fallen onto hard times. Prepping her for the Olympics fell by the wayside. She still retained much of her skills, training on her own without the help of professionals. Keeping her body in shape as much as she could. She had even tried to teach the crew some. Learning how to fall, to land properly, was important. Danica’s body, though, could not bend and stretch quite the same way that Bailey’s could, but at least she could land now from certain heights without hurting herself.

Teaming up with Bailey was Ivy, the oldest member. No one quite knew how old Ivy was. Her skin was covered in tattoos. Her hair a bright white, too white to be as natural as she claimed it was. She was the joker of the crew, a boisterous and loud laugh, wherever she went. She made the young members blush sometimes, her humor borderline too crude. Ivy was the one who had found Danica when Danica first… well, Ivy was a lifesaver.

The twins came next. They were not identical, but near enough. Maci was the taller one, but only by half an inch. She kept her hair cropped short, pulled back in tight braids. She hardly ever spoke and if she did it was usually through her sister, Mari. Mari had her own hair in braids, but they were longer. Today, they were tucked up into her cap. Mari was quick-witted and acerbic with her tongue. Sweetness reserved just for the quiet Maci. No one could get out of either twin the true story of how they ended up where they were. Danica always snapped at Bailey for trying to ask. Stories of the past had every right to stay there.

She followed the shapes and shadows of her crew. Eyes having adjusted to the dim light provided by the lamps overhead. She could smell the river on the breeze as they ran towards the docks. They had a window of about ten minutes to do this successfully. They had run through this, over and over. They had practiced this run at docks similar to this, in all kinds of weather. They had planned and plotted for hours. Each member knew exactly what they were supposed to do to secure their bounty. Adrenaline ran through her body, and given the little jump that Bailey had just done, Danica could only assume adrenaline was coursing through her teammates’ bodies too.

Hiding spots were taken and within a few minutes, the truck pulled up. The barest of shadows moved, silently leaping onto the top of the truck, and moving towards the cab. Other shadows began to move and Danica only noticed because she knew where to look. She took a deep breath, and then cocking her gun at the ready, she moved out of the shadows.

Dull thuds of bodies dropping to the ground could be heard. She saw Maci scurry under the truck, looking for any tracking beacons on it. Mari was working on the sides of it. Ivy and Bailey continued to dispatch the crew members, leaving them unconscious. A set of keys were tossed to Danica. Passed down the line from Bailey to Ivy to Maci to Mari and finally, Danica herself. She used them to unlock the back door, her hands surprisingly steady.

Stacks and stacks of the best spinach grown in over a decade sat in the truck. It was better even than she had heard it would be. She was about to shut the door and lock everything up when a figure jumped out at her. Deftly, Danica sidestepped it.

The figure stood up and Danica’s heart lept to her throat as she recognized the man before her. Memories that were too vivid played before her eyes. Hands held in secret. Promises made that could never be kept and in the end, a betrayal that could never be forgiven. His eyes widened and she knew he recognized her. How many times had they stared into one another’s eyes?

“Da—…”

Danica shot him.

The noise rang out loud. Too loud. Her ears rang as he fell to the ground, and then the shouting from her team. She had shot him in the leg, in the same spot he had shot her all those years ago.

“Move out!” She hollered, over the shouts of everyone else around her. She jumped into the back of the truck, bracing herself. Mari climbed in after her and she did not look at the prone man bleeding on the ground. The truck roared to life and drove away.

Danica stared, watching as the bleeding man, grew smaller and smaller. Mari had to physically pull her away from the door so that it could be closed as the truck picked up speed. She could read the questions in Mari’s eyes, but they were dull to the press of memories that now haunted, and taunted, Danica.

august 2020 prompt: mug

august prompt: mug

The mug was her favorite and it was found at a secondhand shop. Ordinarily, she would be a little grossed out about buying cups, bowls, mugs, or silverware secondhand. Even if she knew they were cleaned before she bought them, even if she knew she could just wash it once more when she got home. Scour it clean by hand and then in her brand new dishwasher. If it had been a normal day or a normal mug, she would have look at it and moved on. Perhaps a little longingly, but she would not have pulled out her wallet to buy it. But there was something about this mug, it called to her.

It had a handle that was a bit too large for the body of the mug. Like whoever had been manufacturing the mug, had messed up. There was a painted image of a city she had never been to, on it. It was a city she had had no real desire to ever visit, either. At least, before she bought the thing. Now, as the years with the mug drifted by, she felt the itch to see that city. To see if the painting did it any justice or not. Perhaps it had changed since that city-scape had been painted. She wanted to bring her mug with her, and show the mug the city in real life. Inanimate though the thing was, she thought that it might enjoy it all the same.

The body of the mug, the parts not covered by the painted city, was an off white color. She had no idea if it was originally that color, or if it had aged so. Coffee stains were difficult to get out of the thing, but she managed it with a lot of scrubbing and hacks found on the internet. Perhaps, time had stained the thing, making it offwhite. She wondered, in the quiet of the night as she drank sleepy-time tea from it or maybe in the morning as she drank the strongest coffee she could brew if perhaps she bothered the mug by scrubbing it clean. Maybe it liked stains and who was she to remove them from it?

She drank from it a least once a day, but usually twice or sometimes three times. Her other mugs and cups, she knew, were getting jealous. She was grateful they were not capable of moving on their own. Images of all-out war among her drinkware would flash before her eyes. Not the war itself but the aftermath, of shattered ceramic and glass. Remains that she would have to sweep up, and maybe she would miss a piece. One with the painted city on it, and step on a shard of ceramic one day. Would her foot bleed, and if it did, would it bleed a lot? She had never stepped on a bit of ceramic before, and supplying that mental image, never quite stuck. But she could always almost feel the sharp, shocking pain, of it.

Her day never quite felt right on the rare occasion that she tried to spread a little love to her other mugs. If she decided to use that adorable cat-shaped one for her morning brew. Those mornings would stretch long, and she would feel a little restless. Something in the back of her mind, a nagging feeling like she had betrayed someone. Or like she had forgotten something. It always set a certain edge to the day, the kind of edge that was hard to name and even more difficult to shake off. Agitated was what she would be, and it was all the cat mug’s fault. And that broke her heart a little because she did love her other mugs still. Honest. They just. They were not the special one.

Sometimes she bought a new one, and she would show it to the city-scape one. Some voice in the back of her mind telling her that she was absolutely crazy, but it was a voice that was easy to ignore. It felt proper to introduce new ones to her favorite. Her mug could probably use some friends, friends who were not tainted with jealousy over the lack of use. Okay, so maybe she was a little crazy, but at least her brand of crazy only involved mugs and putting too many feelings into inanimate objects. A harmless crazy.

She loved City-Scape, as she named the mug. It stayed with her, the steadiest companion in her life. It survived moves even when every other glassware or ceramic ware in a box ended up shattered. It was there for the aftermath of children being born. So much coffee, tea, and miscellaneous drinks poured into it. And then one day, the woman’s daughter asked to take the mug with her to college, because her school was in that city. It seemed fitting, even if it was a little painful to say goodbye. But the mug was destined for new adventures, and so too, was the woman. A new life awaited them both, and at the very least, they would still be able to see each other.