The Snow Globe — New Short Story

Santa-Claus-Snow-Globe-Merry-Christmas-Ho-Ho-Ho-Bring-On-The-Snow-40-Christmas-Snow-Globes-article

 

New flash fiction. 🙂

The Snow Globe

“Oh, no!” I said.

“What’s wrong, Hope?” My sister’s voice floated up to me.

“It’s our old snow globe,” I said. “It doesn’t light up.”

I heard Kristen’s footsteps stomping up the stairs to the attic.

“What are you doing up here anyway?” she said.

I brushed some dust off a box and set the snow globe on top of it.

It was old—probably an antique by now, and it held a little snow-covered house with Santa and his reindeer flying over it. The water inside it had started to evaporate, and Santa, who hung from the top of the globe, was no longer submerged.

“I’m getting out Mom and Dad’s old decorations,” I said.

“I can see that,” Kristen said, surveying the dusty artificial wreath and Christmas ornaments I had unearthed. “What I mean is what are you doing up here right now? You’re supposed to be getting ready for a date.”

“I know,” I said. “I just really wanted to put this snow globe out before I left. I always believed it was magic—it brings Christmas cheer.”

“Why do you need Christmas cheer right this moment?” Kristen said.

“I just need it,” I replied.

“You’re stalling.”

“I’m not.”

“You are.”

I didn’t reply. I turned my attention back to the snow globe. I turned it over and checked the little box on the bottom. It still had a battery—it just didn’t light up.

“Hope,” Kristen said, “Mark Frye is the most eligible bachelor in the city. You’re super lucky that he likes you. You need to get ready.”

I still didn’t move.

Kristen took the snow globe out of my hands.

“What do you want with this old thing anyway? It was Mom’s, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was Mom’s,” I said. “And it was her mom’s before that. It’s an heirloom—and it reminds me of our childhood.”

Kristen set the snow globe down on a dusty shelf.

“Well, Mom and Dad moved to Florida,” she said. “They moved on. You should, too. If you really want a snow globe, I’ll get you a new one.”

She steered me toward the attic stairs. “Now you need to go.”

Kristen sighed as I skirted around her and grabbed the snow globe. Then I let myself get dragged out of the attic.

An hour and a half later, I was as ready as I was ever going to be, and I was just leaving the bathroom when the doorbell rang.

I hurried downstairs.

Kristen was already waiting by the door.

“It’s him,” she said. “You look great by the way.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Did you seriously come down here to watch me as I answered the door?”

“Of course not,” Kristen said. “I just happened to be here.”

I shooed her away as I opened the door.

Tall, dark, and sleek, Mark was waiting for me on the doorstep.

“You look lovely, Hope,” he said as we headed out into the night.

We went to a new, trendy restaurant, and everybody there seemed to know Mark.

We were ushered to a great table, and the food was excellent. We fell into conversation easily, and as the evening progressed, I realized that Mark was fun to talk to.

Eventually the conversation turned to Mark’s political aspirations—he was going to run for city council and maybe even mayor someday.

“Forgive me,” he said as dessert arrived, “but you don’t seem very excited about my upcoming campaign. Most people really light up when I mention that.”

“I’m excited for you,” I said. “I really am. It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about something silly—something small that’s bothering me.”

“What is it?” Mark asked.

“It’s this old snow globe of my Mom’s. It used to light up and now it doesn’t. I feel like the light has gone out on my childhood Christmas memories. That’s not true, of course, but it’s how I feel at the moment.”

Mark nodded. “I understand. You remember how things used to be, and you feel nostalgia. What I’ve learned in my career is that it’s better to let go of the past and keep moving forward. Get yourself a new snow globe. Or better yet, forget about it and move on.”

“My sister said something like that, too,” I murmured.

“She’s right,” Mark said. “Look to the future. That’s what I do.”

The rest of the evening was pleasant, and I returned home in a good frame of mind.

As I walked into my house, my sister pounced.

“How was the date?” Kristen said.

“It was good,” I said. “Nice.”

“Nice?” Kristen said.

“Yes.”

“But?”

“But something’s missing,” I said.

“I knew it!” Kristen said. “You find something wrong with every guy who takes an interest in you.”

“There’s nothing wrong with Mark,” I said. “He’s wonderful. But somehow I don’t feel a spark.”

Kristen shook her head. “Any girl in town would kill for a date with Mark. I would kill for a date with him. At least tell me you’re going to see him again.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It didn’t come up.”

Kristen opened her mouth to answer, and the doorbell rang.

She looked around. “I bet that’s him. He’s come to ask you on a second date. Answer it!”

She pushed me toward the door.

“All right, all right,” I said. “I’m going.”

I opened the door, expecting to see Mark’s tall, dark silhouette, but instead there was a scruffier figure dressed in jeans.

“Owen!” I said.

Owen had just moved back to town after several years away—he was working for his dad’s construction company.

“Hey, Hope,” he said. “I was just in the neighborhood, and I noticed that you’ve got a string of Christmas lights out. I’d be happy to take a look.”

“Sure,” I said. “Thanks.”

I grabbed my coat and followed Owen outside.

The night was cold and crisp and very dark. But there was plenty of light thanks to the bright Christmas display in my yard. Owen was right—there was a string of lights out in the middle of an evergreen bush. The lights were still on above and below it, so the dark spot was pretty noticeable.

Owen began fiddling with the darkened string of lights.

“I’m pretty good with these,” he said. “I’ll find the broken one in no time. It only takes one bad bulb to put the others out.”

I watched Owen as he worked. I had known him just a little in high school—and lately I had been seeing him around town. There was something intriguing about him.

After a moment, the string of lights in the middle sprang to life.

“Voilà!” Owen said.

“How did you do that?” I asked.

“You just find the burnt-out bulb,” Owen replied, “and replace that one. Then the others will be good as new.”

“Where did you find a replacement bulb?” I asked.

He ran a hand over his hair. “I might have had one with me. I noticed yesterday that those lights were out, and I thought I’d stop by some time and see if you were in—see if I could offer some assistance.”

“It looks great,” I said. “Thanks.”

Owen nodded. “Well, I guess I’ll be going. It’s cold out here, and I don’t want to keep you.”

He turned to go.

“Owen,” I said.

He turned back.

“I’ve got an old snow globe,” I said. “It has a battery in it, but it no longer lights up. Maybe it’s silly, but it’s important to me, and I’d like to get it working again. Would you mind taking a look at it for me some time?”

“I don’t think that’s silly at all,” Owen said. “I’d be happy to take a look at it. I can stop by tomorrow if you’ll be in.”

“I’ll be here,” I said.

Owen smiled and ducked his head. “Good night, then.”

“Good night,” I said.

I went inside.

“Okay,” Kristen said as I closed the door behind me. “Two gorgeous guys come looking for you on the same night. How lucky can you get?”

“It’s no big deal,” I said. “Owen was just being nice.”

My phone buzzed then, and I went to pick it up.

“It’s a text from Mark,” I said. “He wants to meet again.”

“You’re going to have to choose,” Kristen said. “Which one is it? Mark or Owen?”

“I don’t even know if Owen likes me,” I replied. “And I barely know either of them.”

“Just humor me. If you had to choose based on first impressions, who would it be?”

I smiled at Kristen and turned for the stairs. “Good night. I’m going to bed.”

“You drive me crazy sometimes,” Kristen said.

Up in my room, I got ready for bed, and as I went to turn off the light, I picked up the broken snow globe that sat on my bureau. It was still dusty, but I gave it a little shake and watched the snow swirl around the house as Santa and his sleigh flew overhead. Kristen’s parting words came back to me, and I smiled to myself. Though I had given her a hard time, I knew whom I would choose—if I had the chance.

“I choose Owen,” I whispered to the snow globe.

And just for fun, I flipped the broken switch to “on.”

The snow globe instantly lit up, illuminating Santa and the house.

“Guess I chose right,” I murmured.

******************

Thanks very much for reading!

The Perfect Boyfriend — New Short Story

Christmas-Presents

 

New piece of flash fiction. 😉

The Perfect Boyfriend

“So what are you looking for exactly?” Abbie asked.

Her friend Michelle continued to stare into the shop window and sighed.

“The perfect boyfriend,” she said.

“There’s no such thing as the perfect boyfriend,” Abbie replied.

“I know,” Michelle said. “But could you just imagine how great that would be? You’d get a big shiny box with a bow, and the love of your life would just jump out.”

She continued to stare at the glitzy display in the window in front of her.

“I’m not sure that’s a healthy way to think,” Abbie said. “Seriously though—I thought you said you wanted to go Christmas shopping. Where’s your list? All we’ve done so far is stare into windows.”

“I know,” Michelle said. “It’s just so hard to go through the holidays without your sweetie.”

“You broke up with Lucas six months ago.”

“I know,” Michelle said again. “But it all comes flooding back to you when the decorations go up.”

“Come on,” Abbie said. “Let’s actually go into a shop for a change.”

Michelle let herself get dragged inside.

Abbie and Michelle did end up getting some Christmas shopping done, and afterward, Abbie dropped her friend off at her apartment.

“Have fun wrapping your presents up,” Abbie said as Michelle exited her car. “And no more mooning over Lucas.”

Michelle gave a little wave and disappeared into her building.

Two days later, Michelle hadn’t shown up for a planned brunch with Abbie, and Abbie found herself in front of Michelle’s building again.

She went inside.

Abbie took the elevator to Michelle’s floor and then went down the hall and knocked on her door.

There was no answer.

Abbie noticed then that Michelle’s door was open just a hair, and she pushed on it.

It swung open.

“Hello?” Abbie called. “Michelle? Are you home?”

Swift footsteps approached her, and Abbie stepped back in alarm.

A light in the apartment turned on, and the door opened wider.

Suddenly standing before her was a man who looked familiar. He had black-rimmed glasses, and Abbie was sure she’d seen him somewhere recently.

“Are you—”

“I’m Michelle’s brother, Zach,” he said. “You’re one of Michelle’s friends, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m Abbie,” Abbie said. She remembered now—she’d seen Zach at a party Michelle had thrown last month.

“Do you know where she is?” Zach demanded. “No one in the family’s heard from her in two days.”

“No,” Abbie said. “I dropped her off here after we went shopping on Friday. I haven’t heard from her since.”

“Shopping?” Zach said. “Do you know anything about this big box?”

“Big box?” Abbie echoed.

“Maybe you’d better come in,” Zach replied.

He stood back so Abbie could enter, and then he led her to the living room.

In the middle of the room stood an enormous red-wrapped box with a gold bow. It was long and tall, and it was just the right size to hold a person.

“What is that?” Abbie asked.

“I was hoping you could tell me,” Zach said. “Michelle didn’t buy that when the two of you went shopping?”

“No.”

Abbie went closer. There was a tag on the box that read, “From your sweetie.”

“I didn’t know she was dating anyone,” Zach said.

“As far as I know, she isn’t,” Abbie replied.

She reached out for the lid of the box, which was facing them, and she found that it swung open like a door.

Inside was gloom that stretched a long way—it appeared to be a hallway.

Zach stared at it in surprise. “Do you think she went in there?”

“I think we’d better find out,” Abbie said.

She stepped into the box, and Zach followed her.

Soon a figure came toward them out of the gloom. There was a glow around the figure like candlelight, and Abbie soon found herself standing face to face with a tall, handsome man with thick, dark hair and mesmerizing dark eyes. He was wearing tight jeans and an even tighter black T-shirt that emphasized his well-muscled torso.

“Hello,” the man said in a deep, smoky voice. “My name is Ryan. I don’t believe we’ve met, but I’ve been looking for you all my life.”

He lifted her hand to kiss it.

“I’m Abbie,” she said, temporarily spellbound.

After a moment, she shook off her daze.

“What are you doing here?” Abbie said sharply. “And where is Michelle?”

“I go where I am called,” Ryan replied in a sultry undertone. “It’s a special call from the heart. And I have no idea who Michelle is. I only have eyes for you.”

Zach rushed forward. “Listen, creep. You’re going to tell us where Michelle is right now.”

Ryan stared at Zach, startled. “Whoa. A boyfriend. That’s an unexpected twist.”

“Where is she?” Zach demanded.

He reached out to grab Ryan by his tight shirt collar, and Ryan abruptly disappeared.

He reappeared behind Zach.

“I’m beginning to get the picture,” Ryan said. “You two are here looking for that pretty gal I picked up earlier.”

Zach turned on Ryan once more, and once again Ryan disappeared—only to reappear a few feet away.

“Relax,” Ryan said. “I’ll take you to her.”

“And you’ll let us leave with her?” Abbie asked.

Ryan flashed Abbie a rakish grin. “Sure. If you can convince her to leave me. Gotta warn you, though—it won’t be easy.”

He winked and placed a guiding hand on both Zach and Abbie’s backs.

“Follow me to the garden.”

Ryan led them through the gloom.

Soon a pink glow appeared in the dim light, and Abbie could see a wide cluster of rose bushes—it did indeed look like a garden. And in the middle of the rose bushes sat Michelle.

“Michelle!” Abbie and Zach cried together.

They ran toward her.

Michelle was staring straight ahead with a dreamy look on her face, and she didn’t appear to notice Abbie or Zach when they reached the little garden.

Abbie swiftly waded through the roses and sat down on a stone bench next to Michelle.

Zach sat on the other side of her.

“Michelle,” Abbie said urgently. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

“Michelle, can you hear me?” Zach said.

She made no reply.

Ryan followed more slowly, and as Abbie was shaking Michelle’s shoulder, Ryan’s candlelit glow caught up with them.

For the first time, Michelle stirred.

“Is that you, my love?” she said.

Ryan smiled—a truly glorious sight. “I’m here, babe. I’m always right here for you.”

“My sweetie,” Michelle sighed.

“What have you done to her?” Zach demanded.

“Nothing,” Ryan replied. “She’s in love.”

“With you?” Zach said scornfully. “I don’t believe it.”

Ryan shrugged his magnificent shoulders, and the glow moved along with him. “You can call it infatuation if you like. Whatever it is it works.”

“We’re leaving here right now,” Abbie said. “And we’re taking Michelle with us.”

Ryan laughed. “Go ahead and try.”

He turned and began to walk away. As he disappeared, his glow grew smaller and smaller.

“Three for the price of one.” His voice floated back to them. “My lucky day.”

Soon his glow was gone, and Abbie and Zach were left with Michelle in the soft pink light of the rose garden.

“Come on, Michelle, we’ve got to move,” Zach said urgently.

Michelle didn’t answer.

Abbie snapped her fingers and then waved her hand in front of her friend’s face.

“Michelle!”

No answer.

Abbie turned to Zach.

“She only seems to respond to that Ryan guy.”

Zach looked around.

“She doesn’t appear to be restrained in any way. Do you want to try to move her out of here?”

Abbie nodded. “Good idea.”

They each grabbed one of Michelle’s arms and pulled.

Michelle didn’t move.

And neither did they.

“I can’t stand up,” Abbie said, startled.

“I can’t either,” Zach replied, equally startled.

“We’re stuck to this bench,” Abbie said. “All three of us.”

“Three for the price of one,” Zach murmured. “He’s got all of us trapped now.”

Abbie looked around. “How do you think this is happening?”

“Maybe it’s some kind of spell,” Zach said grimly. “Nothing about this is normal.”

“But we could move until just a few minutes ago,” Abbie said. “Something changed.”

She drew in her breath sharply. “The flowers!”

She began to grab at the roses, breaking them off by their stems.

But the flowers grew back as quickly as they were picked.

“That’s not a good sign,” Zach said.

“We have to do something!” Abbie cried in frustration.

She continued to pull more flowers—which quickly grew back.

“Wait, Abbie,” Zach said. “There’s something on your back.”

Abbie twisted around, trying to see.

“I’ll get it,” Zach said.

He reached around Michelle and just managed to pull off a label that was stuck to Abbie’s coat.

He held it out, and Abbie could see a white label with red letters that read, “Property of Ryan.”

“The nerve of that guy,” Abbie said. “Turn a bit—let me see if there’s one on your back too.”

Zach turned as much as he could, and Abbie spied a white square on his back.

“Yep, you’ve got one,” she said. “I bet he stuck these on us when he led us over here. Just a moment—I’ll get it.”

Abbie reached around Michelle, as Zach had done, but she couldn’t quite touch the label on Zach’s back. She stood without thinking about it.

“Zach, I’m free!”

“It must be the labels,” he replied. “Help me, and we’ll free Michelle too.”

Abbie quickly pulled the label off Zach, and he stood.

The two of them looked Michelle over—they couldn’t find a label.

“Now that we can stand,” Zach said, “maybe we can just carry her.”

Once again, they pulled on Michelle’s arms. She remained stuck fast to the stone bench.

“There must be something,” Abbie said. “What are we missing?”

“Ryan wasn’t expecting us,” Zach said. “So he had to improvise. Maybe he did something a little more substantial for Michelle.”

“Makes sense,” Abbie said.

She looked her friend over again. Nothing really stood out. Michelle was still wearing the outfit she’d had on when Abbie had last seen her—in fact, she was even still wearing her coat. Ryan must have kidnapped her shortly after she’d walked into her apartment.

Abbie sighed to herself. Something must be different—but what?

And then she spotted a little bit of sparkle on her friend’s wrist—just a little piece of gold peeking out from under the cuff of her coat sleeve.

“Michelle wasn’t wearing a bracelet,” she said.

Abbie quickly pushed Michelle’s sleeve up and examined the bracelet. Sure enough, there was a little gold charm on it engraved with the words, “To my sweetie, love Ryan.”

Abbie fumbled with the clasp and soon had it undone. She pulled the bracelet off Michelle and threw it into the flowers.

Michelle began to stir. She looked up at Zach and Abbie blearily.

“Hey, guys,” she said. “What’s going on?”

“Come on,” Zach said. “We’ve got to get you out of here.”

A voice drifted over to them from somewhere far away.

“Is that you, babe?” It was Ryan. “Having trouble sleeping, sweetie?”

“We have to go now,” Zach said.

Zach and Abbie helped Michelle to stand. The three of them soon made their way out of the rose garden, but beyond it, all they could see was gloom.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” Ryan’s voice came to them again. “Why aren’t you feeding my flowers?”

“Just keep moving,” Abbie said.

The three of them stumbled through the dim light, leaving the rosy glow of the garden far behind them.

“There!” Zach shouted after a moment. “That looks like normal lamp light over there.”

Abbie looked where Zach was pointing. Far in the distance she could see a yellow rectangle—it looked like light pouring out through a door.

“Come on, Michelle,” Abbie urged.

The three of them ran on, and Ryan soon called out again.

“Where are you going, babe?”

Abbie turned to look back. A candlelit glow had appeared behind them, and it was gaining on them.

“He’s following us,” Abbie cried. “Hurry!”

Zach and Abbie ran as fast as they could, carrying Michelle between them.

“Were almost there!” Zach shouted. “Come on, Michelle!”

They hurried up to the yellow rectangle of light, and the two of them quickly pushed Michelle through the open door into her apartment. As they did so, Ryan caught up with them.

He caught both Abbie and Zach by the collar and lifted them into the air.

“I may have lost my lady love,” Ryan said, “but you two are mine.”

He stared at them with his big brown eyes. “Are you sure that you don’t want to stay with me?”

Abbie found that she couldn’t look away from the mesmerizing dark eyes. She was aware dimly that Zach had also ceased to struggle.

“That’s it,” Ryan said softly. “Come with me. I need you. And no one else will love you like I do.”

Abbie felt herself being carried away.

“No one else will love you like I do,” Ryan said again.

Ryan loved her, Abbie thought. He needed her.

She was happy to be going with him.

But something tugged at the back of her mind. She had come here for a different reason.

Someone else needed her.

Abbie turned her head and looked at Ryan’s handsome profile.

“Ryan,” she said softly.

He looked at her and smiled.

“Yes, babe?”

“I think we need to see other people,” Abbie said.

Ryan looked startled, and Abbie quickly aimed a kick at his middle.

He disappeared.

Both Abbie and Zach dropped to the ground.

“Run, Zach!” Abbie shouted.

The two of them ran for the yellow rectangle of light as Ryan reappeared behind them and chased after them.

Just as Ryan was reaching out a hand for Abbie’s collar again, she and Zach reached the door and jumped through it.

The two of them sprawled on the floor of Michelle’s apartment and looked back to see the tall wrapped present with the lid hanging open. The lid abruptly snapped shut, and the wrapped box with the gold bow promptly disappeared.

Michelle was sitting on the floor not too far from Abbie and Zach.

“Seriously, guys,” she said. “What’s going on?”

An hour later, Michelle, Abbie, and Zach were all seated in Michelle’s living room drinking coffee.

“So that’s what happened,” Abbie said. “And in conclusion, allow me to say that there’s no such thing as the perfect boyfriend.”

Michelle was staring at her steadily. She seemed skeptical.

“Well, thanks very much for saving me,” Michelle said. “But you’re wrong.”

“I know it’s hard to believe,” Abbie said.

“That’s not what I meant,” Michelle replied. “I totally believe the story.”

“Then—”

“You’re wrong that there’s no such thing as the perfect boyfriend,” Michelle said.

“Michelle,” Abbie said, “that kind of talk is how you got into this in the first place.”

“Not for me,” Michelle said. “For you.”

She raised her eyebrows and nodded pointedly in her brother’s direction.

“You and Zach,” she whispered.

Abbie glanced at Zach, and he looked back at her.

Zach’s eyes were also big and brown behind his black-rimmed glasses, but other than that, he was a world away from Ryan.

Zach looked a little sheepish. “I think I’m worth a shot,” he said.

Abbie smiled. “Why not?”

******************

Thanks very much for reading! 🙂

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Harvest Moon — New Short Short Story

harvest-moon

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a new piece of flash fiction. 🦃

Harvest Moon

When the leaves turned gold, I decided it was time.

“If you look in the mirror, Megan,” my brother, Tom, said, “all you’re going to see is a werewolf!”

“Get out of here,” I said, pushing him out of my room and shutting the door.

Then I turned to my window and opened it.

A beautiful, amber-colored full moon shone in the sky overhead. Local legend said that if you looked into a mirror in the light of the harvest moon that you would see the face of your true love.

I’d had enough of waiting, and I decided tonight was the night—I’d find out who it was, even if I had to use an unorthodox method.

I sat on my windowsill and gazed into the handheld mirror from my dresser. I looked expectantly at first, but I didn’t see any face in the glass other than my own.

The cold autumn air swirled around me, but I continued to look.

I was resolved not to give up.

I must have dozed off, and for a moment I thought I saw a face—green eyes flecked with brown, a determined chin, eyebrows that were black and just a little too thick.

I started awake abruptly.

“No,” I said to myself. “Just no. There’s no way my true love is Edgar Beck.”

I looked into my mirror and saw with relief that it was still blank.

“Just a dream,” I murmured.

I quickly shut the window and put the mirror back.

The next morning I was in school wading through the crowded halls to my locker. I said hi to my friends and told no one of my experiment the previous evening—it was just too embarrassing.

As I headed to my first class, I spied a familiar face. It was Edgar, and he was headed straight for me.

Soon Edgar was standing right in front of me, blocking my way. Edgar—class clown, prankster, and someone I didn’t know very well at all.

He was looking at me expectantly.

“Hey, Megan,” he said.

I made no reply. There was no way Edgar could know I’d had a dream about him—I’d told no one. He continued to stare at me, and I felt my face flaming.

It was all just too awkward.

“So,” he said. “It’s me.”

“It is you,” I said.

As he continued to look at me, his gaze faltered. I saw uncertainty, nervousness in his eyes. A faint blush began to creep up his face.

“I’m sorry,” Edgar said. “But I just have to tell you this. It’s not a joke—I promise.”

Something in his tone caught my attention, and I waited.

“It’s just that I heard this old tale,” he said. “About looking into a mirror under the harvest moon. I heard you could see your true—”

He lowered his voice. “Your true love.”

I was startled to hear him say that, and he looked at me earnestly.

“It’s just that I did it last night,” he said. “And I saw you.”

I looked up into his eyes—saw the green flecked with brown—and I realized that there were greater depths in them than I had ever imagined.

“It’s no joke,” Edgar said. “I saw you, and I wanted you to know that.”

I took in his eyes, his determined chin, his black eyebrows that were just a little too thick, and I felt as if I were seeing him for the very first time.

“I saw you, too,” I said.

**********************

Thanks very much for reading!

Starlight, Part 2 — New Short Story

girlwithstars

Here is part two of Starlight. If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here.

Starlight, Part 2

“Find the letter ‘J’?” Angie said.

“Yes,” Maia replied. “Now let’s go.”

She held out her hand, and Angie took it.

In the next moment, Angie found herself floating in the air. She and Maia floated right through the wall and out into the night air.

Suddenly, they flew off into the night.

Angie could see the ground streaking by below her and the stars streaking by above her. She should have been terrified by the height and the speed, but somehow, all she felt was a great calm.

Maia and Angie flew on, and before long, they were flying up to a house and then through another wall.

They floated gently to the ground in a dark room. Even in the dim light, Angie could tell the room looked familiar.

“This is my old room in my parents’ house,” she said.

“Yes,” Maia replied. “What you need is in here.”

“The letter ‘J’?” Angie said.

“Yes.”

“But I don’t have any idea—” Angie turned to see Maia walking casually through a wall.

Angie went to follow her. Instead, she bumped face-first into the wall. She went to the door and found that it was locked.

Angie pounded on the door. “Maia! Let me out. This door must be stuck or something.”

“The door will open when you have found what are looking for,” Maia said from the other side of the door. “And not a moment before.”

Angie pounded on the door again. “Maia?”

There was no reply.

Angie turned to her old room and switched on the light.

Her bed and desk and trophies were still there, so the room still looked familiar, but now a lot of the floor space was taken up with boxes—her parents were using the room for storage.

Angie tried the door one last time but found that it still wouldn’t open.

She turned back to the boxes—she supposed she’d better start looking.

She began opening the boxes. Many of them belonged to her parents. But some of them were hers.

Angie decided to focus on those. They seemed the likeliest place where she would find the letter “J.”

She opened up more boxes.

Some of them held childhood items—toys and books and clothes. And some of them were from later years—college and her first job.

Angie began to sift through all her old things.

She found things that made her smile, a few things that made her cry, and even a thing or two that made her laugh out loud.

And then she found a box with her old camera and several long envelopes full of photographs.

She had not forgotten that she used to take photographs, but somehow she had pushed that fact to the back of her mind.

The first envelope contained Angie’s earliest photographs—the very first she ever developed herself. There were photos of her parents, her house, her friends, and one beautiful photo of jasmine.

Angie paused as she took that one out—it had always been one of her favorites. The photo was of the jasmine bush that grew at the back of the house. The white flowers and their dark leaves looked lovely in the black-and-white photo. Even though it was one of the earliest photos she had ever taken, Angie had always felt there was something special about this one. There was power and mystery in it.

She paused. Could this be the “J” she was looking for?

She wasn’t sure.

Angie continued to look through the other photographs. She found many more pictures of friends and family, trips and vacations, and quite a few more studies of flowers. But nothing really stood out to her.

And then she found the picture of Jason.

It felt like ages since she had seen him—had it really been that long? In reality it had only been two years. But a lot had happened in that time.

She set everything else aside and took a long look at the photograph.

Jason was smiling, looking away from the camera, and even though the photo was black and white, Angie could see with her mind’s eye just how blue his eyes were.

She’d loved his sense of humor. She’d loved his ready wit. She’d loved him.

Could he be the “J” she was looking for?

Angie continued to look at the photo of Jason. She really had loved everything about him—but he certainly couldn’t have said the same about her.

Jason had always said that he loved her, but he hadn’t liked her friends—they had been the first to go. Then he didn’t like her hair or her perfume—he had gotten her to change those too. And even though he’d consented to the photo Angie held in her hand, he hadn’t liked her interest in photography either. He’d told her that she was no good—she had no eye for a picture—and that photography was frivolous anyway. He’d told her she should be focusing on a serious career instead.

So Angie had given up on photography—let it disappear from her life. And eventually Jason had disappeared too.

As she looked down at his smile, Angie realized there was no way he could be the letter “J.” She didn’t know what the letter “J” was or what it was supposed to represent in her life, but she knew it wasn’t him.

Angie sifted through her photographs until she found the picture of the jasmine again. She held it up, and she was amazed once again by the power in this simple photograph—somehow she had captured something special in this moment.

Angie felt something stirring in her that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

If anything was the letter “J,” it was this jasmine photo. It was the best work she had ever done.

At that moment, the door opened, and her mother entered the room. The hall behind her was dark, and she blinked blearily in the light of the bedroom.

“Angie?” her mother said. “Honey, what are you doing here?”

“I—was just looking through some old things,” Angie said.

Her mother frowned. “How did you get in the house?”

“I—uh—” Angie thought back to Maia—she could hardly tell her mother that a starlit woman had flown her through the sky.

“You must still have that old key,” her mother said. “It’s good to see you even if this is a little unusual. Sun’s coming up. Come with me, and I’ll get you some breakfast.”

(Part 3 is in the next blog post. Click here to read it.)

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Passion Flower, Part 2 — New Short Story

Passion_flower_pura_vida_red_631412498.SHUT_1400x

Here is part two of Passion Flower. Once again, I’m running a little short on time, so I’ll have to post part three next week. 🙂 If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here.

Passion Flower, Part 2

Samantha dropped her vase on the sofa and rounded the coffee table quickly.

She grabbed onto the potted plant.

“You have some nerve,” she said, trying to wrest the flowerpot from the man’s hands.

The man held onto the pot firmly. “I need this flower. I’m perfectly happy to buy you another one. But I need this one.”

“You’re crazy,” Samantha said. “As soon as I get my flower back, I’m calling the police.”

“The police can’t help.”

“Threats will get you nowhere,” Samantha said.

She continued to wrestle with the man, but she couldn’t loosen his grip on the flowerpot.

“Look,” the man said, “this is getting tiresome. You think just because you’re beautiful—”

“I’m what?” Samantha said.

“You think just because you’re beautiful, you can have anything you want,” the man continued. “I’m not giving you this flower.”

“Giving it to me?” Samantha said. “I bought it. It’s mine. What do you want it for anyway?”

“I need to stop an evil sorcerer.”

“You what?”

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” the man said. “That’s why I didn’t tell you before.”

“You’re going to stop an evil sorcerer with a flower?” Samantha said.

“It’s more like I need to stop him from getting the flower.”

“Ridiculous,” Samantha said.

There was a soft sound, then, from the other side of the room and a tiny burst of light.

Samantha could suddenly see another man standing on the far side of the room.

“Who’s he?” Samantha said.

The man who’d been struggling with her pulled the flowerpot out of her grasp and then took her hand.

“Come on,” he said.

The world suddenly disappeared for Samantha for a moment, and when it reappeared, she was standing on the pavement in front of her apartment building.

The man with the flowerpot was still holding her hand.

“How did we—” Samantha began.

“Not now,” the man said.

He pulled her to a car that was parked by the curb and opened the door.

“Get in,” he said.

“But—”

“You’re not safe here, trust me.”

Despite her better judgment, Samantha got into the car.

The man got into the driver’s seat and put the flowerpot in the space between the two of them. He began to drive.

“So I assume you’re going to say we’re being followed by your friend back there,” Samantha said.

“Yes,” the young man said.

“And he’s after this flower?”

“Yes.”

“Why did you bring me with you?” Samantha asked.

“Because it’s safer for you. If I left you there, he would interrogate you. And he wouldn’t believe you when you told him you didn’t know anything about me or where I was going with the flower.”

The young man paused.

“You’re much safer with me.”

“How did we get down to the ground so fast?” Samantha asked.

The young man held out his hand. “With this.”

Samantha glanced at his palm. A little silver button was resting on it.

“It’s a transportation device,” the man said. “It really does work—as you just saw for yourself.”

“Hmmm,” Samantha said, staring at the button.

The man put the button away.

“Do you believe me?” he said.

“I’ve got one last question for you,” Samantha said.

“Yes?”

“What’s your name?”

“Jackson.”

“Well, Jackson, I’m Samantha. And I think I believe you.”

(Part 3 is in the next blog post. Click here to read.)

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Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on AmazonBarnes&Noble, and Kobo.

And stop by some time and hi on Facebook🙂

 

Passion Flower, Part 1 — New Short Story

Passion_flower_pura_vida_red_631412498.SHUT_1400x

Here is part one of my latest short story, Passion Flower. Time has been a little tight this week, so I’ll post part two next week. 🙂

Passion Flower

By Catherine Mesick

Samantha loved the fact that she had a flower shop just down the street. She would often stop in on the way to work in the morning, and on the weekends she would drop in for a longer browse.

Samantha loved flowers, and she was always looking out for something new and exotic.

One Saturday, Samantha stepped into the shop and began to look around. She was admiring some lilies in pink, white, and orange when something bright caught her eye. It was a single flower in a pot with deep pink—almost red—petals and striped tendrils of white and purple growing from its center. And in the center, too, were feathery white tendrils that surrounded several green structures—pistils or stamens? Samantha wasn’t sure of the terms. But she did know that she wanted that flower.

She scooped it up and then read the card that rested in its soil: Passion Flower, Pura Vida Red.

Samantha walked up to the sales counter with her flower, and soon after, she exited the shop with her new purchase.

She began to walk toward her apartment—the flower would look lovely on her coffee table.

She had not gone far when she found someone walking beside her.

Samantha looked up to see a man—young, dark-haired, handsome—matching her step for step.

“I beg your pardon,” the young man said.

“Yes?” Samantha replied.

“It’s just that the shop sold you that flower by mistake,” the young man said. “It was meant for me.”

“Oh!” Samantha stopped. “Did you special order it?”

“No,” the man said.

“Did you reserve it some other way?”

“No.”

Samantha began to feel suspicious. “Then how is the flower meant for you?”

The young man looked uncomfortable. “It just is.”

Samantha began to walk again.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “But I don’t believe you. You’ll just have to wait until the shop orders another passion flower.”

The man followed her. “I need that one.”

Samantha did not dignify that with a response. She continued to walk to her apartment, and the man continued to follow her.

When she reached her building, she turned and fixed him with a stare.

“I am going into my apartment now,” Samantha said. “If you follow me in, I will walk straight to the security desk and call the police.”

The man took a step back and then began to walk away down the street.

Samantha went into her building and shut the door firmly behind her.

Later that evening, Samantha sat on her couch, sipping a cup of tea and admiring her flower. She was glad she’d purchased it—it truly was special. As she gazed at it, the air around it seemed to shimmer just a bit, and she thought she saw the deep pink petals glow.

Samantha blinked and looked again—the flower suddenly looked normal again.

She rubbed her eyes and decided to go to bed early—she must have been working too hard this past week.

She finished her tea and turned out the lights.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, Samantha heard a sound, and she started awake. She sat up in bed, and she listened.

Someone was walking around in her apartment.

Samantha picked up an empty vase that was sitting next to her bed and tiptoed out of her bedroom.

She walked down the short hall to her living room and peered around the corner.

Silhouetted against the open window was the tall figure of a man, and he was lifting up her potted flower.

Samantha had a pretty good idea who it was.

“Oh no you don’t,” she said to herself.

She reached along the wall and switched on the light.

The overhead light sprang to life, and the intruder was illuminated.

It was the man who followed her home.

(Part 2 is in the next blog post. Click here to read.)

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Thanks very much for reading!

You can check out my books on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Kobo.

And stop by some time and hi on Facebook. 🙂