Leave It To Beaver

Posted on May 4, 2010 4:17 pm under Short Stories
Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The sun was warm that June day. Surely there was no need to wear a hooded jacket to ward off the cold. It’s purpose was concealment and who could have guessed what was hidden beneath?

He walked silently through the peaceful woods. He seemed oblivious to the twittering birds or the paddling of the beaver’s tail. Emerging at the back of the house, he crept quietly towards it. No need to pick the lock. The door had been conveniently left open.

The house kept his secret. No sound shattered the neighborhood’s tranquility as he quickly finished his work. His crime was perfect. No one would ever know.

The detective thought otherwise, as he quickly followed a trail of blood to the assassin. The criminal was a wally. Only an amateur would neglect to wipe the cleaver before placing it back inside his jacket.

Nessa at the Chrysalis Stage is hosting a new meme called Tales on Tuesday. This week’s theme is Leave It To Beaver. Hope you’ll head on over and check out the other submissions. Or enter your own.

The Invisible Man

Posted on April 13, 2010 8:43 am under Short Stories
Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

The couples looked up when Sylvie walked in.

“Jeff’s not coming?”

Cindy nudged Kay under the table. It had been years since he’d accompanied Sylvie. Kay, still single, always had a date. She could be so thoughtless.

“No, Kay. I’d hoped so, but he’s still out of town.”

Cindy, Jen and Sylvie had met at Calcine, Inc. nearly twenty years before. Soon they went everywhere together. Happy hours, ski weekends, exotic vacations. Cindy married first. Jen followed a few months later. Sylvie, already in middle management, had little time for the dating game. They conspired to find the right guy. In the end, Sylvie picked her own. Jeff , a freelance writer, traveled frequently. When he couldn’t be home, Sylvie flew to meet him on the weekends. With five preschoolers between them, Cindy and Jen viewed her trips with undisguised envy.

The girls still met frequently for lunch. One day Cindy invited Kay. Although several years younger, she’d fit in well and soon became part of their group. There was little time for socializing outside work, but all looked forward to the company Christmas party. It was a gala event and each year they sat together. Then Jeff stopped attending. Sylvie made excuses, but it must be difficult. He’d send flowers for important occasions, but special lunch dates ended. Kay dubbed him “the invisible husband”. Cindy and Jen suspected an affair. No job should keep him away that much.

Dinner was sumptuous. Dancing followed. By unspoken agreement, the men took turns dancing with Sylvie. It was not a hardship. Sylvie was a lovely woman and a graceful dancer. Before the final dance, she wished them a happy holiday and left.

Sylvie drove fifty miles to the Hilltop Long Term Care Facility. Just as she had done every Saturday for almost ten years. She headed to Room 304. Her face was somber, but she smiled courteously at the staff.

“Hello, Darling.”

The only sound from the emaciated man on the bed was the whir from machinery that kept him alive. She knew the staff admired her. Pitied her as well.  Of course, they didn’t understand. Marrying Jeff had been a strategic move. Good corporate image. No more speculation about her unmarried state. A husband who was frequently away. Perfect until he’d confronted her with the affair. She’d begged him to forgive her. They reconciled at a favorite mountain retreat. Hiked to the top of that breathtaking waterfall. Then Jeff slipped on the wet moss. It had only taken a tiny push to send him into the cascading water. How had he survived?

The accident made the local news in the small mountain town. But back in the city, no one knew. A death would have been much harder to hide. It had truly worked out for the best.

She’d sit here for an hour holding his withered hand. A small price to pay for freedom. Then she’d head west for a few more miles. Kay was waiting.

Nessa at the Chrysalis Stage is hosting a new meme called Tales on Tuesday. This week’s theme is The Invisible Man. Hope you’ll head on over and check out the other submissions. Or enter your own.

The Golden Girls

Posted on April 6, 2010 6:22 am under Short Stories
Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Mary Smith hurried past her mother and headed to her bedroom. It was the easiest way to avoid questions about her day. Not to mention the freshly baked cookies. Bad enough that she was plain, she didn’t need to be fat too. Her day had not been good. Like her life, it had been average. Average grades, average looks, average friends.

What would you expect when a clerk named Jane Brown married Bob Smith, auto parts associate? Just what they had. A small rented bungalow in a tired neighborhood. Homemade clothes. Vacation trips to the local beach. And an average child named Mary.

Why not Tiffany or Crystal or Jewel? Girls with those names lived differently. Homes resembling small mansions. Designer clothes. European vacations. Looks, brains, popularity. As if some leprechaun had sprinkled them with enchanted gold dust. Why couldn’t she be a golden girl? .

Suddenly inspired, she grabbed a blank pad of paper and stretched out on her bed.

I, Mary Smith, hereby change my name to Tiffany Worthington.

Was it legal? Would it make a difference? She closed her eyes for just a minute.

A tap at the door awoke her. A maid set a tray by her bed.

“Here’s your breakfast, Miss Tiffany.”

The luxurious bedroom was bigger than her house. The mirror reflected long golden hair and a perfect face. Dreaming, of course, but she planned on enjoying it. Eat every bite of that calorie-laden breakfast. Raid the huge closet and try the designer outfits. Perhaps she’d experience an entire day as a golden girl before she awoke.

“Tiffany!” Crystal looked shocked and repulsed.
“You wore that outfit last month. What are people going to think?”
A quick retreat. “Gotta run.”

Honor classes weren’t easy. A “D” on this composition? It’s better than anything I’ve ever written. Jewel and Amber are pointing at me. Probably the outfit. Do I have other friends? I’m going to find Jenny. She may be average, but she’s kind. Wait, she’s having lunch with …   Me? Only it’s not me, it’s Mary. This is a weird dream. I’ve been watching too many of those body-swap movies. Except they are funny.

Glad that school is out and I’m heading home to the mansion. Wish I could wake up now.

“What’s that, Clarice? Dinner in my room? No, I’m tired of eating alone. Where are my parents?”

“Oh yes, Dad’s still doing business in China. No, I didn’t remember that it’s one of Mom’s nights out. How many does she have?”

“Five or six. Right.”

Someone wake me up now. Please. I want to wake up now. Please… Please.

“Great dinner, Mom. I loved the meatloaf.”

Tiffany loved the attention too. A mother who asked about her day and baked cookies from scratch. A father who came home to their little bungalow each evening. A true friend. And a new name. “Mary” was so pretty and unpretentious. Who needed empty mansions? Had a leprechaun sprinkled her with enchanted gold dust?

It had to be a dream. But this one had lasted for over a month. Please, don’t let me wake up.

Nessa at the Chrysalis Stage is hosting a new meme called Tales on Tuesday. This week’s theme is The Golden Girls. Hope you’ll head on over and check out the other submissions. Or enter your own.

Dark Shadows

Posted on March 30, 2010 5:32 am under Short Stories
Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

“Grandma, your house is so old and creepy. Do evil spirits live here?”

Jenny tried to sound nonchalant, but her voice trembled. Her younger brother, Will, was quick to join in.

“I don’t want to sleep overnight, Grandma. I’m scared.”

“This is an old house and sometimes it makes a lot of strange sounds. But nothing evil has ever happened here, children. Grampa and I had a lot of fun here over the years though. Did you ever eat popcorn made in a fireplace?”

“Can we Grandma?”

Grandma breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Their parents were out of town, so going home was not an option. Turn on some cartoons, feed them some popcorn and distract those vivid imaginations. Soon they’d be relaxed and ready for bed.

“Grandma! Something is crawling up the wall.”

“That’s just a shadow, Will. See the plant that’s hanging over there? It’s casting it’s shadow on the wall. Watch, we can make shadows too.”

“Your fingers are making a rabbit, Grandma. Look at it’s wiggly ears.”

“Come on, Grandma. Show us how to make them.”

“My dog is better than your giraffe, Jenny.”

“I don’t thing so, Will. Ooh Grandma. That person’s awesome. How do you make it swing the ax?

“I didn’t make . . .”

Nessa at the Chrysalis Stage is hosting a new meme called
Tales on Tuesday

This week’s theme is Dark Shadows. Hope you’ll head on over and check out the other submissions. Or enter your own.

Lost In Space

Posted on March 23, 2010 6:54 pm under Short Stories
Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Where could it be? Not behind the daybed nor in the storage area beneath. Not anywhere on the high bookshelves. Two small kitchen cabinets yield nothing but dishes. The tiny studio’s single closet is the only remaining possibility. Trembling with apprehension, she approaches the narrow door. Tentatively, she touches the door handle, then quickly pulls back. She has heard stories. And she believes them. Struggling to control her terror, she approaches again and flings it open.

How silly! There’s nothing to fear here. Just floor to ceiling shelves, filled with the accumulation of ten years. The search might take a bit, but nothing to fear at all. Be methodical. Start at the bottom and work up. Begin with that large box. Stuck. Try again. Ah, here it comes.

Avalanche. Tottering shelves hurl their contents. A large brass trophy jettisons from the pinnacle towards her head.

Blackness. Endless blackness. It’s what they’d predicted, but it’s not frightening. Years of constricting city crowds. Years of claustrophobic living quarters. Gone. She relaxes and drifts away, blissfully lost in the endless space.

Nessa at the Chrysalis Stage is hosting a new meme called Tales on Tuesday. This week’s theme is Lost in Space. Hope you’ll head on over and check out the other submissions. Or enter your own.