Red heat of
Matt tapped his lip and danced his foot but I knew it had nothing to do with planning his next move.
“Is your mom home?” he grumbled.
“She’s not going anyplace,” I answered.
“Not like she understands any of this.” Matt was too proud to admit that her presence affected his concentration.
He scowled but must’ve heard the edge in my voice, and dropped it.
No one messed with my little sister. Nonverbal doesn’t mean stupid. Also, Tammy was memorizing all his moves. She’d show me, and next time Matt and I play, I’d win.
He was coming home for the first time since and I wasn’t sure what to do with the mixture of emotions swirling in me.
Trepidation. Hope. Regret. Grief. … And woven between them the pleading thread that it will magically make it as if nothing had happened. For I wanted — oh, so wanted — to undo what could not be undone …
Nothing subdued the anxiety, so I just stood by the window and waited. For days now anything I touched and every room I’d entered was seen through his soon-to-come eyes: the new cover on the sofa, the oval mirror at the entryway that had replaced the one I’d broken in a fist of pain, the small rocking-chair just where it had always been. This window.
And the steps. The wretched spot where Ella’s head had hit so hard when she fell that the stair’s edge chipped.
“You should’ve watched her,” was all he’d said at the morgue. Or since.
Twelve months ago today.
For the FFfAW writing challenge
Take heed where
Out of the blue
Slides a clear
That more change
Is in queue.
Side by side
They won’t really
There is sufficient
Just scoot a bit
And make a place
So this bed
Can rest another
Silver light danced on waves
Under skies of
And she pranced
On the sand
Tail up high
Free and proud.
(Note: No filter or editing was used on this photo. These were the true colors that day)
Photo Credit: Rick Spaulding
“Which one’s yours?”
“C’mon, which one?”
There was a moment’s hesitation before she shrugged again, and I grinned. Perhaps she wanted me to guess.
I took another look at the display. Mary was talented enough to create any of those pumpkins, but she wasn’t one to think outside the box. So maybe not the clown or minion. Did she even know about ninja turtles? I pointed at the shark.
She shook her head, and I was about to guess again when I noticed how tightly she held on to the edge of her blouse. Mary was taciturn but not prone to nervousness.
“Is everything okay?”
Her chin was halfway into a nod when she paused and her upper lip trembled.
A ball formed in the center of my chest. She’s scared, I realized as my body mirrored hers. Suddenly all I wanted was to get her out of there.
“Forget the silly display. Let’s get some air and you can tell me what happened.”
“But it is the display,” Mary murmured, her eyes darting to the table. “I’d made a unicorn. I came early to set up and…” she shuddered, “… I saw the clown eat it.”
For the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge
And the clouds
Waves to sky
For the RDP Daily Prompt: Drench
She used to splice the water like an arrow, undeterred by swells.
She’d always been better than him, though he never admitted it and she was too proud to brag and sometimes too overconfident.
They pretended playful competitions but those inevitably turned into dogged races that left them near exhaustion. Luke even capsized once, far from shore. He was upset by her gaining on him and so tired that all he managed was to slap the water with his oar and spin his boat into the wide belly of a wave. Nearly spent herself, she barely managed to help him into hers.
She’d give everything to race him again.
She gazed into the bay. She could no longer row. Her boat rested, overturned. Perhaps it kept her brother company. He, too, was beached, six feet below.
original fiction, rhyme and photography
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