The Last Prank

I stood there quite bored with that October afternoon. It was thundering and raining something fierce and a cold wind swept through the drafts of our old fixer-upper home, bringing a chill that was quite undesirable. My husband had to rotate to afternoons to cover another’s vacation—so I knew not to expect him until at least midnight. Lucky him, he had something to do while I found myself bored in our new old home because it was too wet to go out and too dreary to motivate me to do any renovating.

It was nearing Halloween, and ever since I was about 10 and my younger brother Timmy was about 3, he enjoyed pranking me around Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, he couldn’t have dreamed it up himself, he had a little help from my Dad who just delighted in scaring the bejeezus out of me. And as Timmy got older—he became creative in the same way—finding more and more clever ways to try to scare me. I have to admit, he was pretty good at it! While I didn’t really expect him to come this particular evening—given the awful weather—I just knew to be on my toes as far as Timmy was concerned. Never mind that I lived with my husband now—I would never put it past him to get my husband involved.

I flipped on the television. I caught the end of my soaps, a few talk shows and then the news. And as usual, it was nothing but grim reports of what usually hits the news. Of course the weather was the main story tonight. Imagine—having a loved one mentioned on the news because they were killed in a shooting, a fire, or an accident and then in the next breath being told “Our top story tonight is the weather.” I always wondered how these anchormen and women could live with themselves for saying that. Didn’t they know every life mattered or counted?

What caught my eye, especially during the weather report was the flash flooding. Every major underpass in downtown had been subjected to flash flooding, cars abandoned and a few people barely making out perhaps one or two dead. I just can’t imagine it—I guess unless I was there. I had enough of the depressing newscasters, so I hit the remote and turned off the television.

I decided I should cook some food—so I put on a pot of water to boil. Spaghetti was quick and easy to make and quite my style. I popped some wonderful fresh garlic bread in the oven—and in less than 30 minutes dinner was made. Only, I cooked for two, absent-mindedly thinking my husband would be home, of course. I put his plate to the side—and sat at the table and began to eat.

I just about choked on my food when I heard two voices outside my dining room window. All I heard is “She’s MINE! LET’s Get Her!”followed by prank laughter. 

The curtains were long and I had to wipe my hands, before I pushed them back, to discover that there was no one outside the window. Just then lightning stuck and I jumped back a good foot and a half, acutely listening for these voices. And laughter once again filled the room, at my startled reaction.

Then I heard more muffled voices. It seemed to be coming from everywhere. And I had immediately concluded that Timmy had found a way to prank me. I didn’t understand how he managed to get his voice surrounding me as so—until I caught sight of my dusty vent from the central heating and cooling system. Two more bites of food and I raced down to the basement to catch Timmy in the act of shouting through the main duct.

I raced across the basement, pulling the strings to each light bulb, illuminating my way across the damp, cold floor. Only to discover the basement was completely empty, well with the exception of some used moving boxes. With all the lights on, there was no doubt I was very alone in the basement. I turned out the lights and made my way upstairs. I sat down to finish my food and my garlic bread was completely gone. That is just like him, I thought, to take my garlic bread and eat it.

Frustrated, I decided to shout through the house, “Okay Timmy, give up the ghost, I know you are here, come out –come out wherever you are.” I sing-songed it several times through several rooms and not once did Timmy come out. I knew he was there—I knew he was watching me. So I decided to give him a show. That’s right, I slurped up my spaghetti and literally licked my plate with my tongue. At one point, I could hear him laughing at my silliness and I laughed too. He was waiting to really scare me—but this year—I had figured him out.

Proud of myself, I started the dishes. Singing silly songs he would remember from childhood. At one time—he joined in with me—and I pled, “Why don’t you just come out and have some spaghetti? You are not going to scare me! And I know you have to be hungry.” But he wanted to remain hidden..so fine..after so long the game gets old.

I finished up the dishes and retired to the living room and turned on the television once again. Found a good sitcom and plopped myself on the couch. I grabbed and Afghan to keep warm—the drafts were something in this old tinder box.

I had almost forgotten Timmy was there—until it sounded like a rock had pelted my living room window. I rushed over and threw open the curtains and looked outside. Through the buckets of rain and sheer darkness, I was unable to see more than a few feet in front of me. Frustrated, I closed the curtains and turned around quickly, as I had a feeling someone was right behind me.

I think the shock of someone NOT being there scared me more than the thought of someone standing behind me. And to make matters worse, the electricity went out at that precise moment.

I stood in utter darkness. I could hear Timmy’s laughter even louder this time. “NOT EVEN FUNNY, TIMOTHY MICHAEL!” I shouted. “I want the lights back on, now, game’s up!” I fumbled my way across the living room to the kitchen and grabbed a flashlight, then headed to the garage and went for the circuit breakers, flipped them back and forth and there was no electricity. How odd, I thought, how else could he have turned off all the lights?

When I came back in, I peered out the front window—and sure enough all of the neighbors had no electricity either. Well—that must be coincidental. I decided I would fake Tim out and sit on the sofa real quietly so that I could hear him move about the house. So I sat there in all quietness and darkness and I listened. And I’ll be darned, if he didn’t make a peep. But he was somewhere in my house, because I could hear him breathing and I could sense his eyes upon me.

Then, what sounded like a stick hit my living room window again. He must be hiding right here in the living room I thought so I took the flashlight and pointed it very slowly at every part of the walls, to see if I could find his silhouette. I almost turned a 360 when I literally jumped out of my skin when my flashlight caught his blue, bloodshot eyes.

I screamed at the top of my lungs as fear ran the course of my veins then I felt his hands grab my arms. I tried to fight him off—but he was stronger than I was. I stared panicked for a few more moments—until I recognized the eyes that belonged to my husband. “Shhh! Babe—it is just me!” he hushed, trying to reassure me. I shivered. I had never been so scared in all my life—not even Timmy had gotten me that bad---or had he?

Oh my gosh!! I didn’t realize it was you!” I said.

I know, I know, it is dark.” He gestured toward the couch, “Come on and sit down.

We sat down and I confessed in rapid pace as my nerves had gotten the better of me, “I’m sorry, I didn’t expect you until later. And Timmy’s around here somewhere playing tricks on me. Throwing things at the window—trying to scare me through the vent system, saying spooky things, laughing at me, and even singing along with my silly games because I knew he was here, but he won’t come out of hiding.” I smiled at him through the ambience of the flashlight lit room. “You know he tries to get me each year, this year he didn’t quite succeed.” Just then I realized the redness in my husband’s eyes—and yes perhaps tears.

Maybe he was just saying goodbye?” he said in a hushed tone.

Not completely understanding those words I said off the cuff, “Well, he has to escape the house without me seeing him first.

He seemed to ignore that statement. “There’s a reason I’m home early today, and honey this is going to be difficult to hear.” He said with as much steadiness and strength as one could have at a moment like this. “Your Dad came up to my work place a half hour ago. Timmy died in a flashflood about 5:40pm this evening, driving home from a friend’s house.”

Timmy, dead?” I denied vehemently. “He can’t be. He’s here—he’s been here all night. It has to be a mistake.”

My husband choked up, “No my dear. He’s gone. Your dad came to get me from work…he didn’t want you alone when you heard the news.”

It was just about that time that a cold wind blew past both of us. While our old fixer-upper home was quite drafty—it was never that drafty. I could almost feel him as he passed by us in the dark. And I heard his laughter once again. Only I wasn’t alone, and my husband heard it too. Timmy had come to pull his last prank ever.

My husband took my hand and at precisely that moment the lights came on—and the drafty old house was eerily quiet and still for the first time that evening.

This was written for The Writers’ Post Blog Hop # 18 Atmosphere.  If you’d like to join us for a weekly blog hop—then check us out on Facebook:

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BADGE2 COMPLETE

(A parody of “Leaving on a Jet Plane”)

dirt road♫♪♫ I'm stranded here in the middle of the road

My tire's flat and there's nowhere to go

I wish that I could just grow wings and fly….

Now, the humidity's rising, I'm starting to sweat

The sun is blazing, it's burning my head

And baby I'm so lost, I could cry!


So bring me some fix-a-flat

Bring me water and my sun hat

Make it snappy, only two bars left on my phone.


I'm stranded on a dirt road

Don't know if I can handle it.

Oh babe, I am so alone.


There's nothing here for miles around

So much serenity but I miss the sound

Of traffic, I just want to see a human being

I have no place to go, my wheels won’t turn

I have no idea where I am, in the sun I burn

When you get here, bring some water and the sunscreen!


So bring me some fix-a-flat

Bring me water and my sun hat

Make it snappy, only two bars left on my phone.


I'm stranded on a dirt road

Don't know if I can handle it.

Oh babe, I am so alone.


Only one bar left my phone is beeping

Hurry up! This is me your keeping.

I’m perishing and you’re laughing all the way!

Think about poor miserable me

Hurry now, I think you can see

I need rescued from the old road.


So bring me some fix-a-flat

Bring me water and my sun hat

Make it snappy, only one bar left on my phone.


I'm stranded on a dirt road

Don't know if I can handle it.

Oh babe, I am so alone ♫ ♪ ♫

 


(Admittedly, I am no Weird Al—but I had fun! )


Written for The Writers’ Post blog hop #14 given a picture:

bicycles

 

 

          + the word “serenity

 

 

 

 

Crossing the Bridge

sea_shells_out_the_sea_by_luridrose-d463667The stars gaze down, twinkling in all their splendor.  The nascent tide rolls in—waves gently crashing onto the shore.  The wind breezes softly, carrying the scent of the salty ocean—refreshing my mind and awakening my soul.

I find myself in a precarious spot—as I walk along this starlit beach.  Which direction shall I go? My spirit is adventurous and seeks to explore and learn of new places. I want to experience this world, travel, and live life.  I am young and I know no boundaries.  And yet, there is a love so real and so desirable, right here, if I choose to stay.  A love that is steadfast and unwavering, and wants only to be with me.  A love that makes me feel secure and I feel I belong.  And yet, that love won’t wait for me.

So it is a choice I must make—here tonight.  To stay here with the love of a lifetime—or live the life of my dreams.  Will I have regrets…will I feel held back if I stay or will I miss the feeling of being rooted if I go? What awaits for me either way—is unknown and there are no guarantees.  I know my decision will not be easy…for in each there is a loss and a gain. 

I stroll further down the beach and rest on a large rock.  I pick up a few stones and toss them one by one into the ocean.  Each stone I throw into the sea represents a thought.  One stone in the ocean is a thought about staying here and the next throw is a thought about living my dreams.  As each stone meets the water—I feel the weight of my decision as it ripples out from my center.

The breeze turns into a light wind…I feel the chill across my shoulders and long for his touch.  I envision his arms around me, his sweet words whispering in my ear, tickling my soul while shielding me from the cold.  At the same time—the coolness makes my senses come alive, the scent enchanting, the sounds musical, the sight dazzling, the touch riveting, oh I can taste the desire in my soul.

Desire and Love have never crossed my path in such heartbreaking and enchanting ways.  My decision is no closer to resolution. My mind can only be delighted by the here and now—by the wonder of the ocean as it moves mightily beneath the night sky.  I’m torn and I’m whole all in the same breathe.

A couple passes by and breaks the spell. I watch for a moment as they stagger along the edge of the sea.  Happiness is a choice.  Love can come around more than once.  The desires of the heart never fade.  My choice seems to renew a sense of urgency within me.  I climb down from my spot and I turn to leave, for there is no holding back a dream when you’re this close.

 

xxx

**Written for BFF #113—Sweet Dreams and Wishes**

***Also Written for The Writers’ Post picture prompt sea_shells_out_the_sea_by_luridrose-d463667+ use the word nascent***

 

 

 

The water was beginning to boil and she noticed the condensation on the window.  It was brisk outside for this early September afternoon, as the steam in the kitchen made her wipe down the window several times so she could see out. 

Sharon felt the emptiness of being home alone.

Katie now off to college—she wasn’t prepared for the empty nest syndrome.  Sure she had heard of it—never really contemplated it—until it was suddenly her turn.  She thought perhaps she would have been prepared for this because Craig and Devon had left years earlier, making the house a little less full.  But nothing could prepare her for letting the youngest go.  Sure she was only 50 miles away, but the house was still empty, she was still alone.

Her broth was at a full boil—now what was she planning to make? Oh yes, Hodgepodge soup.  She had a separate smaller pot boiling water for the pasta.  Where was that box anyway?  There it was, on the top shelf.  Surely, she wasn’t losing her mind.  It was just the stress—of silence that surrounded her. It really wasn’t supposed to be like this—and she pushed the thought from her mind.

That was when Charley hobbled into the kitchen.  Charley was an adorable, overweight basset hound.  She and Charley had bonded when her husband  suddenly left in June.  They both had taken to eating through this emotionally turbulent time—way too much—and both were in a race for the finish line.  Which one could gain the most pounds by the next phone call from that no good two-timing, I’m off in the Bahama’s with my sexy 20-something of a girlfriend, male whore, would be the clear winner—or loser.  Perspective says a lot.  She was supposed to be on that trip.  That was her ticket he used to take that bimbo.  PUSH-PUSH-PUSH.  No she was not the only one that felt Bill’s loss—poor Charley did too.  You could tell just by looking at his bloodshot eyes.

She poured the noodles into the boiling water…gave it a quick stir and set her timer for 8 minutes.  She chopped up some chicken breast and took her frozen vegetables and added them in the larger pot of boiling broth.  Yes—hodgepodge soup was just what was called for on a day like today.  Something to warm the soul.  She turned the radio on, that hung under the cabinet next to the kitchen window and found a station.  Within moments, she had to shut it off.  It had to be a cruel joke that they would play Strawberry Fields Forever.  Yes a song that was memorable to her and that man-whore of a husband, way back when.

But really, what could she have done?  She kept the house neat and tidy for years.  She worked part-time, bringing in a nominal income. She played soccer mom and PTA president.  She attended social functions with her husband, worked out regularly, gave him the best of her.  It was maddening what he had done.  It hurt.  And yet—all she wanted was for Bill to come home and give her a second chance.

Stirring the pot again she had to chuckle.  But really, would she give him a second chance??  And that is where her heart was conflicted.  Part of her really wanted to…but part of her could never completely forgive him for what he’d done.  Part of her wanted to strangle him and castrate him and make him feel her pain.  Part of her just wanted to walk away.  Another part—just wanted to put things back together the way they were.  But then—how could he not have been happy with the way things were?  How long had this infidelity gone on?  STOP!! Push-Push-PUSH!

She had to push it from her mind and not deal with it. Not tonight.  The timer rang.  She took her ladle and tasted the soup.  Pepper! It needs pepper!! She declared silently.  And she reached to the spice rack to dash in some black pepper.  Stirring again, she tasted it.  Perfect.  Now she would let it simmer for an hour.  Charley gave her that look.  It was time.

She grabbed her jacket and took Charley for a nice walk.  Came back in from the outdoors and fed him a treat.  Something good had come from all of these changes.  She and Charley had made friends.  Both betrayed by Bill—they finally formed a friendship…whereas before…they were both vying for his attention. PUSH PUSH PUSH!  She walked over to check on her soup.  Almost done.

The phone rang and had nearly startled her into a heart attack.  Whose idea was it to turn the volume up that high?  She recognized the number and answered, “Hello…I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever hear from you again?”  His soft tenor voice sent chills up and down her spine. “No, not much, just making Hodgepodge soup.” 

The pushing got easier.

Maybe she wouldn’t be home alone tonight.

She could feel him even though he was on the other end of the line.

She hung up the phone with a slight grin on her face.

You’ll understand, won’t you Charley?”

 

**This post was written for both the BFF and the McBlogerry groups on Facebook under the themes: Positive out of Negative, Home Alone, Strawberry Fields for Ever and Second Chance.  Interested in blogging challenges—consider joining one of these groups!!

The Empty Chair

Jerry was only five years old when Poppa moved in with his parents and his sisters in their little house in the burbs.  And although Poppa was old, Jerry took an instant liking to the idea of having him around each day.  Both of his parents worked, and so when Jerry raced off the school bus after a morning in Kindergarten, Poppa had managed to prepare somewhat of a lunch for them both and always had a conversation ready.

Jerry was like any typical five year old.  He had questions and lots of them.  Poppa was his perfect conversationalist, because not only did he have the patience to listen to all of Jerry’s questions, he had years of wisdom under his belt to impart on such a young formative mind. Jerry had the mind to pay attention and learn from his Poppa.

Jerry was particularly bothered by another boy in Kindergarten that rode his bus, named Bradley.  Jerry didn’t quite have that quirky kid figured out and because he was just a little bit different, Jerry didn’t really know what to make of the boy.  He wanted to be his friend and his attempts to friend the boy proved to go nowhere.  It was because of this, Jerry told his Poppa over lunch that he hated Bradley.

Poppa was having none of that.  He took the time to explain to Jerry that you couldn’t just hate a boy because he was different. You had to get to know him and he suggested that Jerry invite him after school for some lunch.  Jerry was reluctant at first, but a few days and a few conversations later, Poppa had finally convinced Jerry to invite over Bradley.

The first time, Jerry attempted to talk to Bradley about asking his mother if it was alright to come over, Bradley looked at Jerry in bewilderment and ran away without saying a word.  Hurt, Jerry raced home to tell Poppa that Bradley hated him.  Poppa assured him this was not the case.  They sat down to lunch to eat, and Jerry noticed that Poppa had prepared three lunches that day.  Jerry sat across from the empty chair and ate lunch silently, as it seemingly mocked him.

Poppa knew Jerry was bothered and encouraged him to keep trying with Bradley.  “Don’t give up on him,” Poppa would say, “Tell we have an empty chair waiting for him.”  Jerry wasn’t so bold the second time around, but he eventually asked Bradley if he wanted to come over for lunch.  This time Bradley answered him with, “not today,” and walked away.

This upset Jerry even more!  Rejection isn’t something that Jerry was good at dealing with. Poppa once again had three lunches prepared and the empty chair sat there mocking him once again.  Jerry ate in silence as he was reminded why it sat empty once again.

This whole cycle of inviting Bradley, getting rejected, Poppa encouraging him to try again and Jerry getting rejected once again, happened over and over and over. Jerry found the idea of ever being Bradley’s friend hopeless. And it seemed like for weeks, the empty chair sat there teasing him every single day at lunch time.  He questioned whether there was something wrong with him and not Bradley until one day, after Bradley told Jerry “no” , there was a knock at the door.  Poppa answered it and Bradley’s mother had paid a visit.  Jerry, figuring he was in trouble hid behind, the door while he listened to his Poppa speak.

“I want to personally thank Jerry for inviting Bradley to lunch each day.” her voice was soft and sincere.  Jerry peered his forehead around the corner.

“You see Bradley has trouble communicating with the other kids and he’s terribly shy,” she continued, “and I just wanted Jerry to know he comes home every day smiling talking about his new best friend Jerry.” Jerry seemed shocked at this revelation because they hadn’t even had more than a two –three sentence conversation. “It gives me hope that one day Bradley will break out of his shell and get the courage to have lunch with his new best friend.”

Poppa said goodbye and shut the door.  He made only two lunches again that day and yet he still pulled up the empty chair.  This puzzled Jerry and he quietly ate his lunch without so much as a word. 

542227174_a45c545e7f_zAs if Poppa could read his thoughts, he chimed in, “This Empty Chair is not a sore reminder of a friend that did not come to lunch.   It is a good sign that your friend, whether they were invited or not, is always welcomed into your heart and home.”

Two weeks later, Bradley handed Jerry an envelope.  He rushed home to Poppa and opened it up.  It was an invitation to have lunch with Bradley, at Bradley’s house.  When the day arrived, Bradley answered the door and invited him in.  Jerry was the guest that day and he was invited to have a seat, in The Empty Chair, realizing that his friend had really opened his heart and home to him.

*Written for the Thursday Blog Hop at the Writer’s Post.  Come join in on the fun!*

**Picture above is used with permission under the guidelines set forth in the Creative Common’s License agreement. It can be used if modified from its original format. **



Is He Okay?

I want to fly,” said the little boy.

Fly?” His father seemed puzzled.

Yes!” exclaimed the boy, “Like Superman!”

Tell you what,” smiled the boy’s dad, “As soon as I clean off the gutters, I will swing you around and you can fly like Superman.”

That satisfied the little boy for awhile. His dad cleaned, climbed down the ladder, got himself a glass of ice tea, found the lazy boy and took a nap.

The boy didn’t wait. He climbed the ladder with his cape and jumped.

Dad woke up to a loud scream and a thud.

A Taste of Freedom

Charlie never liked his circumstances…he didn’t feel loved.  He didn’t feel appreciated.  He gave a lot of himself and it seemed he didn’t get a lot in return.  Today he was going to change that.  Today he was going to break through all the barriers and he was going to taste freedom.  He woke up and breakfast---well—who in their right mind would try any of what they left him this morning anyway?   It didn’t even look good.  He looked around, because he was thirsty and apparently there was nothing left to drink either. 

He decided he needed a fresh start, there was nothing left for him here anyway.  He started to walk, took one look back, and decided he better bolt out of there for good.  Would they miss him?  Probably not.  How he ever ended up there---he’ll never know.

His first mission was to get some real food and something good to drink.  He walked over to the park, where he seen kids playing in the fountains.  He wasn’t sure it would look right if he jumped in with them…after all they were kids…but he went over to the side and got his face wet and took a sip of the refreshing water.  The kids all smiled at him and he smiled back, but he knew the moms would probably freak out a bit so he continued on his walk.

Red PathHe came upon a path in the woods.  Charlie was feeling adventurous and the path provided some wonderful shade from the hot sun.  He had no idea where it would lead him, but he could feel a taste of freedom he hadn’t ever felt before.  It was freeing to be jogging along that path and enjoying God’s beauty.  He came upon a stream and dipped in his face and sipped in some very cool refreshing water.  Charlie rested for awhile but decided he his hungry tummy wouldn’t let him rest peacefully for long.  So he got up and continued down the wooded path.

He was on that path for quite sometime, and then suddenly it ended.  He made his own path, finding some rail road tracks he crossed them and found himself deposited into a very busy street. This made Charlie really nervous.  He had a feeling he was lost, and trying to get to the other side of the street was quite nerve-racking.  In his daze, he was almost hit twice! 

Then he seen her!! The prettiest lady he ever seen in his whole life.  She whistled at him and he smiled.  This was his kind of lady.  She had pulled over and called for him to come and meet her.  It took everything he had not to run…as if to seem desperate.  Her eyes shone love and her smile told Charlie she could be trusted.  She offered him a ride—and finally he knew he found someone that could appreciate him.   As soon as he got in his seat, she drove them off that crazy busy highway and away from everything he ever knew or saw. 

She took him home and fed him a great meal.   She showed him the way outside and where he could rest his head.  She also introduced him to several friends.  He knew he had found a new place to stay. He knew he was forever in her debt.

Jennifer & Max 3 1995

A taste of freedom for Charlie was all he needed to live out a very satisfying life. He experienced enough freedom to change his circumstances and thankfully it worked out for the better.  He realized that he might not have been so lucky…especially if his lady hadn’t of come along!!

**Inspired by my friend Karen and her recent discovery** 

Photographs by Duffee © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Running—Story #8

The Estelle Series

Story # 8

It took another month for Estelle to recover from being so sick.  By the time she was healthy again, it was time to return to school. This year, Iris the third born, was old enough to start, so each day, Margie, Estelle and Iris would walk to school together.  Estelle returned to doing light chores, and was up each morning at the crack of dawn to get some of them done.  When she finished, she would get her things and walk with her sisters to school.

On some mornings, she simply had too much to do, and Margie and Iris were told to leave and Estelle would catch up.  Estelle didn’t like these mornings, because part of that walk to school, involved a small stretch through the woods.  It wasn’t that Estelle would lose her way, rather there was something mysterious about those woods that spooked the heck out of her. 

She had asked Betsy several times during her recovery why she had these extra senses---why she was able to see and feel that which others could not.  And the answer was always the same, because she was strong enough to handle it.  That didn’t set too well with a ten year old girl, at all; it was a rather alienating burden she felt she carried.

It was the beginning of October, and the rain hadn’t let up since the September’s Harvest Moon appeared in the sky.  Estelle hadn’t finished her morning chores by the time Margie and Iris were ready to leave, so she would have to run along by herself after they left.  By the time her mother told her she had done enough, Estelle grabbed her book and tablet and raced off the path toward the school.

It was a rather dreary morning, the rain pelted her face as she ran toward the school.  Upon entering the woods, the trees gave her some cover from the rain, but a feeling crawled along her back as she raced to get through the wood covered path. As she ran, she was acutely aware of her surroundings.  Every noise, every movement, every scent came over her.  The sound of her feet hitting the ground and the wind whistling as she passed through, pounded in her ears.  She saw everything around her as she ran, and it was caught somewhat in slow motion as it passed her peripheral vision, her eyes caught everything down to minute details.  The smells of pine, cedar, leaves decaying and animals that had left their marks, filled her nostrils, reminding her where she was.

She had another sense too, that someone or something was watching her.  It was as if someone had a birds eye view of her, yet was all around her at the same time.  She tried to pick up speed, but it just seemed to follow her closer.  If she slowed down, she felt as if she would fall prey to what ever it was.  Dread over came her and panic set in..until she reached the clearing at the back of the school property.

Once in the clear, Estelle didn’t have to think about haunted woods, but being late for school meant that she would have to stay after.  And thus, she would have to face traversing the woods alone again. She closed her eyes and wished that she wouldn’t have to go through the woods again alone. 

After school, she told herself that it was just the woods and this was just another one of her senses kicking in fear.  When she reached the back of the school yard and entered the woods, she decided she would walk, just like she did when she was with her sisters.  She kept reminding herself that it was all just silly nonsense.  The heightened awareness returned and she fought the urge to bust out into a full sprint.

About half way through the woods, a clear and distinct voice boomed around her, “Run Estelle!! RUN!!”  And at that point, Estelle took off running like her entire existence depended on it.  She ran so fast that when she reached the clearing on the other side, she ran smack dab into Mrs. Shrock, knocking her over on her backside.  Estelle landed across Mrs. Schrock and each had a look of surprise and utter horror on their faces. 

Mrs. Shrock was carrying a basket full of fresh baked bread and jam, which she had made for another neighbor, and when Estelle flew into her at such a quick pace, the loaves and jars flew everywhere.  Estelle quickly apologized and Mrs. Shrock took a moment to catch her breath.  Estelle scurried over to pick up the loaves of bread and place them back in the basket and then offered her hand to help up Mrs. Schrock to her feet.

“You horrid child!!” she spewed. “I certainly do not want your hand or your help. You hustle along to your home, and stay away from me!”

Estelle was quite shaken, “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Schrock” her voice still in shock.  “I certainly didn’t mean to hurt you or upset you.  Please, let me help you up.” Once again, Estelle offered her hand.

Mrs. Schrock refused the hand and got to her feet.  Estelle picked up the basket and its belongings and handed it back to Mrs. Schrock and she snatched it right out of Estelle’s hand.

“You listen to me,” Mrs. Schrock demanded. “Stay away from me and my family. I don’t like witches and I don’t like evil children.  I won’t be subjected to them either.  So get…shooo…go!!  Move along quickly, and stay away you wretch!!”

Mrs. Schrock’s words stung.  She had never done anything to her to deserve those harsh words.  Estelle grappled with why she saw, heard and felt what others could not and why she was seemingly different.  She didn’t like being called a witch and she didn’t like someone thinking of her as evil.  Tears streamed down her face and she ran on home.

She told her mother about running into Mrs. Schrock and what she had said.  Her mother fumed at the thought and decided she would address Mrs. Schrock on her own.  Her children, especially Estelle, had not deserved that, and like a mother hen protecting what is hers, she took off her apron, put on her coat and headed out to meet up with Mrs. Schrock.

Estelle decided to get busy with chores, what ever she could find.  Betsy appeared from around the corner and Estelle made no quams about how hurt she was. “Tell me it is going to be alright?”

Betsy just smiled saying nothing.  Estelle was agitated with that response.  “Well?  Tell me it is going to work out alright?!

“I don’t know how things will work out, but usually time has a way of straightening out the kinks.” And Betsy wandered off.

Her mother came in the back door hollering “Estelle!  Estelle!  Come here this instant.”

Estelle, fearful her mother was upset with her, ran and was greeted by her mother and Mrs. Schrock at the back door.

“Estelle,” her mother was firm in her line of questioning, “are you a witch?”

“No.  How could you think that?  How can anyone think that? I’m a good Christian girl.” she answered with a tone of disbelief and hurt.

“Do you do evil things?” Her mother kept pressing.

“No, I don’t do evil things.”

Then her mother turned to Mrs. Schrock and scolded, “Shame on you Mrs. Schrock for calling my daughter these awful things.  You’ve certainly fell short of the Golden Rule.  I’m ashamed to call you a sister in the faith.”  And her mother just stared coldly at Mrs. Schrock for the longest time.

Mrs. Schrock, taken back by Estelle’s mother calling her out.  Estelle’s mother held her gaze almost the entire time as if hypnotizing her into some weird form of submission.  Mrs. Schrock looked over at Estelle briefly, then looked away. Finally, she apologized to them both and sank her head and headed home.

Margie and Estelle had prepped most of the dinner, her mother had finished cooking it. They ate as soon as her father returned home from the Mill.  As they were eating, Estelle noticed Betsy pacing back and forth from one room to the next.  She found this awfully curious.

A knock came from the front door.  Her father had answered it and spoke for a few minutes.  Then he returned and announced, “That was Mr. Wojeski.” He paused long enough to sit himself back down at the table. “He just informed me that Mrs. Schrock died suddenly this evening.  Mrs. Wojeski was there when it happened, she’s pretty shook up.  Mr. Schrock is out of town and another neighbor is keeping there kids.”  That was all he said on the matter, but that was all he needed to say.

Estelle locked eyes with her mother.  This was part of their doing.  There was something said between them that was unspoken and unmistakable. Estelle had made an undeniable connection.

Friendship and Celebration—Story 7

~Estelle Series~

Chapter 7

Estelle Picture

Estelle had no sense of time passing during her times of deep sleep.  She always woke up feeling as if she had just closed her eyes.  What seemed like moments, were hours if not days.  Usually she would come to briefly, when someone was trying to nourish her with hot tea or broth.  Today when she fluttered open her eyes, her sister Margie was trying to get her to take in her nourishment.  Feeling thirsty, she latched on to the cup that was put to her mouth and opened her eyes and tried to focus.  Margie had noticed she was really waking up this time and went to go grab their mother. 

Her mother ushered into the room with a swiftness that told Estelle she had a lot her plate that day.  Behind her, a lady about ten years older than her mother also walked in.  Estelle's mother had her sit up and then she and the lady helped Estelle get into the chair so they could help her change her clothes and the bedding.

"I do hope you are finally coming out of your sleep, Estelle," her mother said while examining her eyes closely.  "But until you do, we have to keep an extra eye on you so you don't slip away from us."

Then the lady who was standing next to her mother offered, "And that is why I am here.  I'll be the one to keep an eye on you while your mom and your sisters are busy."  Leaning in, she smiled at Estelle and touched her arm softly, "My name is Elizabeth, but everyone calls me Betsy."  Estelle smiled, she had no idea how her parents were affording this nurse lady, but she was glad someone would be around when the others couldn't be.

Estelle took some more of the broth from the cup Margie had brought her, but as sometimes happens when one is weak, her hand started trembling.  Betsy, put her hand to the bottom of the cup to help her steady it and her mother turned around and said, "See now, that's better, you drink your broth and we'll get you cleaned up and back in a clean bed.”  Estelle was grateful for her mother and for this new lady that came to sit her. 

It seemed that for the next week, she was pulling longer stretches of being awake but she still needed to take frequent naps.  Betsy was a source of comfort to Estelle.  She kept Estelle aware of everything going on with her parents and her sisters, and even filled her in on the neighbor gossip.  It seemed that Betsy never tired of talking to Estelle and Estelle was just grateful somebody was there to keep her company.

Betsy had told Estelle it was Saturday and that her father would be home early this evening.  Estelle had lost a lot of weight and was very unsteady on her feet, and therefore still took her meals in her room. At first, it was very necessary but now Estelle just wanted to be at the table with the family when she ate.  Betsy was a wonderful person, but Estelle was missing her family.

That evening her father knocked on the door, "Estelle?" he called as he walked in.  Betsy got up to give Estelle's father a place to sit down, and she left the room to take a break while her father was in with her.

Estelle beamed at the sight of her father.  She rarely saw him these days, as Estelle had been sick and her father was working as many extra shifts at the Mill.

"How are you?" He asked.

Estelle just nodded her head as if to say "yes, I'm better."

"Today is your birthday, Estelle.  You are 10 years old.  And your mother, well, she's made a wonderful carrot cake for you.  Do you think you feel up to coming out and having a slice?"

Estelle loved her mother's carrot cake and was thrilled when her father carried her out to the table.  Her parents sat next to each other across from Estelle and her sisters sat on either side of her.  Betsy seemed to be standing back, watching letting Estelle just enjoy this time with her family.

They sang her a happy birthday and her mother sliced the cake, giving Estelle the first piece.  Estelle was so delighted until she seen the boy standing between the two chairs where her parents sat.  Estelle was immediately alarmed and she looked to Betsy who just gave her this great big smile as if to say everything was okay. Still, Estelle wanted to know, who was this boy and what did he want?

She realized that he was a figure like the man in the mirror, only this boy wasn't scary and dark.  And he was younger than the boy with the apple, but not near as creepy.  He appeared peaceful and held a beautiful smile.  He was happy, and he seemed to fit right in.

For the first time, Estelle noticed glances shared between her parents and she figured out why the boy was standing there.  She was totally excited and she blurted out, “It’s a boy!”  Everyone, including Estelle was shocked by her words because they hadn't heard her voice in weeks.

Her parents looked at her rather confused, so she repeated it again, “It’s a boy!” with just as enthusiasm as the first time.  They were still completely puzzled and this amused Estelle.

She began to laugh, almost uncontrollably, repeating once again, "It's a boy!"  Her younger sisters also laughed with her, although they had no idea why they were laughing.  Margie looked terrified, which made Estelle laugh even harder.  Her parents were simply not amused.  They sent a look of disapproval toward Estelle, and she calmed down a bit.   Then she attempted to explain, “Mother, you and Daddy are having a boy!"  

Her revelation seemed to shock them even further, and Estelle wanted them to understand, "He’s here with us right now.  He’s right there between you two. You’re finally going to have a boy!”

Estelle was quickly carried back to her room.  Perhaps they thought she was losing it mentally.  Perhaps they were upset because feeding mouths during the depression was hard enough without the added burden of another child to worry about, or perhaps they had heard enough.  Estelle knew given some time, they'd be okay with this whole idea.  She was so happy that her parents were finally getting the boy they always wanted.

A few moments later, Betsy came into the room and sat in the chair. “I do believe you divulged the information to them too soon,” she offered in a matter of fact tone.

There was a long silence.

“Betsy, you aren’t real either are you?” Estelle inquired.

Betsy looked at her rather puzzled, “Why do you think I am not real?”

“Because mother didn't offer the boy any cake and that told me right away that he wasn't real.  Then I realized she never offered you any cake.  This means you aren't real either. You're just like the others.”

“That is where you are wrong, Estelle.” She cleared her throat and said, “While it is true that very few people can see our energies that does not make us any less real.  We are definitely real; you just have to learn to trust your senses.”

Estelle felt dizzy at the affirmation, if one could call her vision speaking back to her an affirmation.  She had questions, like why were most of what she saw dark beings or creatures?  And did this make her a dark being as well?  Was Betsy dark too or was she actually something good?  And what about the boy? Why could she see him?  Would he turn out to be good or dark like the others?

Estelle looked to Betsy wanting answers, but not sure she was ready to hear them.  She looked toward the window and remembered that man in the window had found her here, just before she had taken ill.  She questioned Betsy as if she already knew the answer, “You chased that bad man away, didn’t you?” as she nodded her head toward the window.

“No I did not; you did that on your own.” Betsy slowly admitted. “But he’s not far off, so I’m here to see that you get well enough to deal with him.”

Estelle was worried now, “Can’t you just make him go away?”

“Ah child, I really don’t want for you to worry, for he is at a distance for now,” she replied. “But, I’m not strong enough to keep him away, should he come back.  No, that will be something you will have to handle once you are feeling better,” then she hesitated for a moment and murmured, “If you are still able .”

Estelle heard that last part a little too clearly, and she didn’t like it one bit.

**Image by Vintage Duffee 2011, All Rights Reserved**

***This story was originally posted to my RedGage Account, which is located here.***

The Deep Sleep—Story 6

~Estelle Series~

Story 6

Estelle Photo


Estelle had never heard his voice before, not back when she lived in her home in the city. He had been there in her bedroom window for as long as she could remember and never once had he ever said anything or even moved for that matter. She was never so glad to leave that house and move to the country. 

Except now, he had had found her once again.


Dread consumed Estelle.  Her heart pounded and her eyes failed to blink.  Paralyzed by fear she lay there as still as a mouse.  Her breathing was heavy and she knew that he could sense her fear.  He stood in the window, watching her, killing her with his silence.  Screaming wouldn’t help her, although it would wake everyone in the house, it was useless, as only she could see him.

A few moments had passed and she remembered the crow.  Maybe she could will the man in the window away, “Leave! Just LEAVE!”  She tried with all her brain power to speak to him, but her thoughts seemed to hit an invisible brick wall and they fell short of reaching him.  She looked around the room, her sisters were sleeping, and she didn’t want to wake them.  She found the nerve to stand up and walk toward the window, stopping short of it by at least two feet.  Her knees trembled at the site of him.

“I said to LEAVE!” she demanded in a seriously quiet tone.  “Don’t you understand you have NO place here?  LEAVE!”

  Window Shadow

His presence stayed right in front of her.  She thought better of raising her voice and at the same time she would not be defeated.  She tried again to will this figure gone, and once again her efforts fell short.  “I am NOT yours.  Never will I be yours!” She tried again to persuade him to leave.  “Go!!  Be Gone.  Away from my Window!”  Frustrated by his unwavering stance, she almost yelled, “By God, Just Leave!”

And with that he vanished.

The dread was lifted.  She crawled back into her bed and fell asleep for what seemed like the last few hours of the morning.  She woke up and the sunlight was filtering the room.  Her sisters were already up and she was late to start her chores.  She sat up and realized she was soaking wet.  Summers could get especially hot, but she had no idea it would start this early in the morning. She was surprised by how hot she had to have been to be sweating this badly.

She pulled the covers back across to the other side of the bed and went to put her feet on the floor.  In the doorway stood an older man, but she instantly recognized this man to be real.  Quickly, she pulled the covers back across her body.

“Hello there Estelle,” said the man in a friendly, patient voice.  “Good to see you are awake.”  He brought in a bag and set it down next to her bed.  He gave her a smile and a wink and then left the room.  He returned a few moments later and her mother walked in, with tears in her eyes.

Doctor's Bag Side

Her mother sat down on the bed next to her and took her hand.  This was significant because her mother didn’t show displays of affection very often.  It was fine at holidays and birthdays, but it just didn’t happen every day.  She gave her mother a puzzled look.  The older man, apparently a doctor, sat down in a chair next to the bed, picked up his bag and started with his stethoscope.   Estelle had no words.  Why was this necessary?  She looked back and forth from her Mom to this doctor.  She wondered where her sisters were and her father.

Had she been sick?  She could only assume so.  For how long?  It was all very puzzling.

The doctor finished, excused himself from the room without saying a word.  After he left, her mother, still on the verge of tears, took Estelle’s face in her hands, “Child, how do you feel?”   Estelle’s eyes must have grown to a frightening large size because her mother just pulled her into her chest and held her and cried. 

She hugged her mother back.  She had no idea why her mother was upset.  She began to fear that perhaps something happened to the others.  Then her mother pulled away and whispered, “We almost lost you, Estelle.  They said that you weren’t going to make it.  You got the high fevers and you were in such a deep sleep.  We never thought you’d wake again.”

Her mother helped her get up and sit in the chair.  Estelle was surprised at how weak she was on her feet.   Her mother brought in a bucket with water and a wash rag.  She helped her out of her clothes and Estelle washed herself from the top down.  Then, he mother brought her in clean clothing and helped her put those on.  Her mother scurried around and brought in new bedding for her to lie on and a tray with some hot tea.  She helped Estelle back in bed and propped her up into a sitting position with pillows.  Then she went into the vanity and brought out a brush and started working on Estelle’s hair, while Estelle sipped her tea.

Her mother didn’t say much during all of this, she just hummed a sweet tune.   She loved that no matter what; her mother always hummed this familiar tune.   Then her mother took the tray away, lowered her pillows and told her to get some rest. 

Estelle was sad to see her mother go, but she felt especially tired from doing very little.  She didn’t recall too much of what had happened prior to getting sick, and she thought long and hard about what her last memories were before she fell asleep. Vaguely, she remembered it was raining and she found a book in the barn.  The rest seemed a bit fuzzy to her. 

It felt rather awkward falling asleep on such a beautiful day, but at the same time she didn’t have much strength to move, let alone keep her eyes open.  She gave in to the heaviness of her eye lids and fell into another deep sleep.

 

**Estelle Picture by Vintage Duffee 2011, All Rights Reserved**

***The other images were found by using Google search terms.  Each picture is linked back to the original author in the original format presented.***

****This story was originally published to my RedGage Account, which can be found here.****

Moon Dust and Shadows—Story 5

Estelle Series

Story 5

Estelle

Mrs. Shrock was mortified when she witnessed Estelle staring down the crow through the dining room window, and it suddenly dropped to the ground.  She had a bigger issue on her hands which was Estelle’s father, but she had not forgotten it.   She helped Estelle’s father up off the ground and into the living room chair and she summoned Margie to run back to her place so that Mr. Shrock could fetch a doctor.

The doctor came, but not without a price, and Estelle’s father was confined to bed for several weeks.  Her mother, just having a baby could do light things around the house if necessary, but it left the shoulder of the burden on Estelle and Margie’s shoulders to run the household. Margie would have to cook and clean and watch the two younger sisters, her mother would take care of the baby, and this left Estelle to do all the outside work.  For a nine year old girl, this would prove to be quite a responsibility.

Estelle woke up at the crack of dawn to milk the cow and to feed it and the horses.  She was responsible for harvesting all in the garden, as well as maintaining it.  Margie washed the clothes, and Estelle hung them and took them down and folded them.  Her life had become one of necessity for the sake of the family.

The whole ordeal with the crow confused and scared Estelle.  Although she lived through what had happened, comprehending exactly what transpired wasn't as easy for her nine years of understanding.  Had she really killed that crow with her thoughts?  Could she kill anything with her thoughts? Is her punishment having to do all this work?  If all life is sacred as she’d been taught in church, was she evil?

There was absolutely no one to turn to in this situation.  Her parents would whisper once in a great while about her “condition” but it wasn’t spoken of aloud.    To bring it up would upset them and get her in trouble.  Mrs. Shrock had already been rumoring to more than one neighbor about her evil powers according to her sister Margie, who believed it all was a coincidence. Estelle was left to her hard work and all her thoughts as she pondered what all of it meant.

Why couldn’t she just be a normal nine year old?

That night, she prayed fervently that God listen to her and take away the evil inside her.  She wasn’t convinced that trading the crow’s life for her father’s life was evil, but she would gladly do it again, whether it be evil or not.  Exhausted from the manual labor, she fell asleep mid-prayer and woke up late the next morning.

Thankfully, it was raining and most of the chores would be put on hold as she just had to concentrate on getting the animals fed and the cow milked.  As she finished that up in the barn, she found an old dusty box.  She lifted the lid to look inside and there were lots of books.  She noticed some bugs had eaten away some of their pages overtime, but they were still in a readable condition. 

The box seemed to beckon her to pick one and open it and start reading. 

The the first paragraph of the first book almost jumped off the page at her, figuratively as much as literally.  Reading was something she was still struggling with learning, but the way the letters seemed to dance mid-air, understanding slowly and steadily came together for her.

Norse Mythology Chart

The book was a collection of stories on mythical creatures, which was seemingly written for someone about her age.   She needed to get back inside the house, so she slid the book up under her dress and took the milk bottles with her.  Fighting the rain across the yard, she made it inside, putting the milk in the icebox and heading straight to her room to put the book under her mattress.

After supper, she went to her room to lie down early.  There were no questions asked, as her parents knew she had worked hard all week.  She fell asleep early, only to wake when her sisters crawled in bed.  It was then that she woke up, slid the book out from under the mattress and began to delve into the world of mythical beings.

The words on the pages were like dust spilt from the moon, lighting up the images and the stories of another world. Gods and goddesses, men and women, animals and monsters, dwarfs and giants, they all entertained Estelle as she read more and more about them. There were fascinating tales and frightening tales, and tales she didn’t quite understand.  She had found a new love of the written word and the art of telling the story.  And through most of the night, with the moon as her lamp, she filled her mind with a world that seemed so unfamiliar yet so enchanting. 

BFF 99

She fell asleep with her head upon the book.   She jerked awake at the crack of dawn as the sound of something boomed in her ears,

You are MINE!  YOU are finally MINE! ” 

Estelle's stomach sank as she realized that the man in the window had found her once again.

 

*Estelle Photo (c) 2011 Vintage Duffee, All Rights Reserved*

**Norse Mythology Chart found through Google Search.  You may click on the image to be taken to the original author and see it in his original content**

***This was part of the BFF (Blogging For Fun) group challenge write based on the picture shown above.  You may click on the picture to be taken to the facebook group where the picture was initially posted.***

****This originally was published to my RedGage Account, which can be found here.****

Willing Life & Death—Story 4

~Estelle Series~

Story 4

Estelle

Estelle had raced Misty over to Mrs. Shrock’s farm in the early morning hours.  Fear did not grip Estelle as much as the worry she had for her mother and the new baby and the bewilderment over the whole incident with the noises, the voice, and that crow.  She didn’t trust it.  A sinking feeling gripped her when she thought about that crow.

Mr. Shrock answered the door and got Mrs. Shrock up in a hurry and he hitched his horses to their wagon and followed Estelle back to the house.  Estelle’s father had managed to get her mother inside to their bedroom and Mrs. Shrock, the farming community’s unofficial midwife, started asking for towels, boiling water, scissors, you name it. 

Estelle couldn’t sleep and therefore assisted Mrs. Shrock in any way she could.  As her mother labored some awful pains, Estelle cringed at the thought of what her mother was going through.  She vowed then she would never have children.

Then Mrs. Shrock asked Estelle to leave the room and close the door.  She went out into the family room and sat on the couch and listened as her mother agonized in pain.  Her father sat in a chair across from her and she could tell by the look on his face that he was especially worried.  At one point, he got up and started pacing.  Then he would sit back down.  He’d glance at Estelle and cast a smile her way, saying nothing, but conveying his worst fears.

Eventually the other three girls woke up.  Estelle’s oldest sister, Margie was responsible for cooking the breakfast and Estelle had to dress the younger two girls and watch them.  Shortly after breakfast, Estelle and her sisters went to play outside. Her dad would wander between the house and the yard, unsure of his place in all of this.  The girls played, but they were unusually quiet.  Every now and then screams would come from the house, which frightened Estelle and her sisters.  And that crow…was now sitting up in the tree ever watchful of their every move.

An hour before lunch, Mrs. Shrock summoned Estelle’s father inside and it was the longest twenty or thirty minutes Estelle could remember.  He came back outside and told Margie to get in the kitchen and make everyone lunch.  Her dad walked out toward the barn and just sat up against one side.  Estelle went toward him, with her younger sisters in tow.

“Dad, Is Momma okay?”  She asked in a rather frightened voice.

“Yes, dear, your mom is going to be just fine.” He reassured but something told Estelle there was more.

“How about the baby?” she asked.

“Well, you have another baby sister.” He answered.

Estelle seemed rather puzzled.  Her father’s behavior wasn’t normal, “Are you sad it wasn’t a boy this time?”

“No Estelle, I’m thankful it’s a girl.” He gave her a wink and looked away.  

“What’s wrong then?” she asked.

“I’m just a little taken by all the excitement,” then he added, “Life is a miraculous thing, you know.  It can be overwhelming I guess.  Run along now, I’m fine, I just need a few moments.”

At that Estelle took her two sisters by the hand and headed back toward the house.  She thought there would be a sigh of relief but even her father’s reassurances could not appease her.  Then there was that crow, that evil crow, watching her every move.  Oh, how she wanted it gone.

 

Clip Art of Crow

Margie finally called them all in to lunch and Mrs. Shrock joined them.  Estelle was allowed to take her mother in a tray with some food.  As she brought it in, her mother asked her to set it aside so she could see her baby sister.  “This is Audrey, your baby sister,” her mother introduced.  Estelle was utterly taken at her beautiful little face.  Her sister seemed very alert, turning her head to sounds and trying to take in the world around her.  Her mother added, “She looks just like you did.”

This made Estelle smile.  She handed her mother the tray and helped put the baby down in the bassinette so her mother could eat and she shut the door as she left the room.

At the lunch table, Mrs. Shrock was going on and on about all the deliveries she had assisted with in the area and the tales that went along with them.  The children rarely spoke at the table unless spoken to…and her father just took a bite and instead of engaging in the conversation he would put his fork down in between mouthfuls and rub his shoulder.   Estelle wondered if he had hurt his shoulder carrying his mother in from the yard earlier.

And then she spotted the crow through the window on a tree branch looking inside.  She knew this meant something. Her thoughts raced toward her mother and the baby, but they were fine.  Then she looked at her father.  His coloring was off.  He was clutching his shoulder.  Everyone at once seemed to notice, including Mrs. Shrock.  Her father slumped ungracefully to the floor.

Estelle immediately got up and left the table.

She was angry; angrier than she had ever been in her entire life.  She walked right outside and around the house to where the crow was perched.   She stared it down.  Her eyes connected with its eyes.  My father WILL live and if anything shall die it will be you , she willed the message to the bird without speaking.  My father WILL live!  It is you that will die!   Her eyes never averted its eyes.  She sent her message over and over and when she reached the branch where the bird was perched, it fell to the ground lifeless.

Dead Crow

Estelle immediately felt relief.  She knew deep down her father would be fine.

 

**Estelle Picture (c) 2011 by Vintage Duffee, All Rights Reserved.**

***Crow pictures above were found using Google Images Search.  Each photo can be clicked so you can see the image by the original author in its original format.***

****Story originally posted on my RedGage Account, which can be viewed here.****