Posted in Stories, Writing

The Four Queens (Part 2 of 2)

Read part 1.

Much time had filtered by. Although quite weakened, the Queen of Hearts stayed alive (“For my people,” she sighed, “always for my people”), and with her presence still within the walls of the Land of Gold, not even the Queen of Clubs dared yet invade. She must wait with patience still, and she did so fairly well, for one so wicked as her (she sent Shadowlings out to wreak havoc elsewhere to tide her over), and patient she could be for she knew that a broken heart could only last so long. The Queen of Diamonds though, did not weather this time quite so well. She showed herself to be in such a panic; she claimed to all who would listen – and all did listen to her, for she was their trusted queen – that since the other Light Queen did not fall, it would be her the Dark Queens would come after next, and what could she, so meek and mild, do to defend herself against them? Continue reading “The Four Queens (Part 2 of 2)”

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Authors note: This is my grandmother’s story. Her family lived in Russia when the Russian Revolution broke out. Because they were Jewish, they were forced to leave if they wanted to survive. My grandmother was five years old. She wrote down her story, and I have rewritten it. There is some liberty taken with it; I had to fill in the minor details, the gaps she left out, but the events are laid out as they happened to her. The horror here is real; I didn’t need to exaggerate that. This is the story of what happened when my grandmother’s freedom was taken away from her. Continue reading “Freedom”

Posted in Stories, Writing

Baby Shoes

For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn. – Ernest Hemingway.

I close the box and retie its pretty red ribbon. The box sits quietly on the table, the triumph being slowly sucked out of it, like it had never been there at all. I lean back and place my hands upon my belly. I still feel as if there is something there, moving around inside of me. I still cannot believe that there is not. Everything had felt so real – the agitation had been real, the way I had felt; surely some of it must have been a little real, even in an obscure kind of way. The doctor explained to me what had happened, how my belly had bloated up then collapsed back down, like air being let out of a balloon. Air. Nothing more. Simply air. What am I supposed to do with air? I picture the look on his face when I told him. He was so shocked he started laughing, and he has yet to stop. I pretend not to notice. We can always try again. This time I’m sure it will work, it has to. I tell this to him too but he hears only himself. Continue reading “Baby Shoes”

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Author’s note: In a writing class I took in university, every week we were to do a creative response to what we had read for that week. This is what I came up with when we read through some Alice Munro short stories. What intrigued me the most about her writing was how much a writer can manipulate readers’ thoughts about characters, especially through the use of the narrative voice.  The narrator may say something about a character that isn’t the truth, but we as the readers believe it because the narrator said it.  I decided to run with the idea of the narrator manipulating one character in a certain way to construct the reader’s idea of the other characters in the story. Continue reading “Lullaby”

Posted in Stories, Writing

Leaving What We Knew

Papa burst into the kitchen, out of breath and jacket askew. He immediately grabbed an empty potato sack and started snatching items off the counter.

“What are you doing?” said Mama, rising to her feet from her place at the kitchen table, the fabric she’d been basting together left forgotten. Papa didn’t answer. Mama placed her hands on her hips and stared at him, her eyes commanding him to stop and look at her. Finally, he did.

“We have to leave now,” he said, tying the bag and giving it to Mama. “They’re coming.” Continue reading “Leaving What We Knew”

Posted in Stories, Writing

My Own Yellow Walls

Author’s note: My homage to The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Her writing is what I aspire to.

Dear Tom,

I got to go for a walk this morning. It was beautifully serene. The gardens here are lovely. I saw others, weaving through the carved paths, like me. It was nice not to feel alone. I wish I could come out here every morning, but they say that’s too much excitement. Continue reading “My Own Yellow Walls”

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When Shadows Cry (Part 2 of 3)

Read Part 1.

I left Mme. Moreau’s School for Unwanted and Undervalued Children on the eve of my eighteenth birthday. I was done; they had nothing left to teach me, not that I feel I ever really learned anything in the first place. Obviously, our correspondence could no longer continue, and I lost touch with Brigitte for several years. I can only assume that she too left when she turned eighteen and went on to far grander and greater things than I could ever imagine for myself. I would have liked to have gone looking for her, but it was impossible; we were of two different worlds: she was Gifted, and I was still unwanted and undervalued. Continue reading “When Shadows Cry (Part 2 of 3)”

Posted in Stories, Writing

When Shadows Cry (Part 1 of 3)

They say she was a monster, an unkindness left by God. People say a lot of things when they don’t get their way. I knew her to be more. She was ill-used, ill-treated, and I should have done more to stop them. But I didn’t. Because unlike her, I was selfish. I am what killed her. I am writing this today, before I run out of my God-given time, as a sort of penance – not that I think the act of writing this will earn me forgiveness but I feel I must explain myself regardless. I must explain to others what it is to entangle oneself with the Gifted, and the dangers that inevitably flow from doing so. Continue reading “When Shadows Cry (Part 1 of 3)”

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Breaking Waters (Part 3 of 3)

Read parts 1 and 2

• •

Gwen heard the footsteps every night. They made her queasy. They paced in an unsettled pattern across the floorboards. Sometimes the faucet was turned on. There had come to be an unhealthy obsession with the flow of water. It made her shiver. She would pull the blankets high above her head, in hopes of blocking it all out, but she had never been good at make-believe, not even as a child. When other little girls were off gallivanting with knights in shining armour, she stayed behind painting pictures of what she saw before her. Even on canvas, nothing was created that wasn’t already there. Continue reading “Breaking Waters (Part 3 of 3)”