Silent Warrior

Protests erupted nationwide as women took to the streets. They protested for parental pay, self-ownership, and some just to protest. Newscasts were filled lawsuits over whether a man looked at a woman or complimented her outfit. Some men were too afraid to be in a room with a woman.

Lillian adjusted her gloves and checked her hat in the mirror one last time before going shopping. The streets were filled with protests again. Words hurling everywhere and no one listening.

“Thank you,” Lillian said, to the man opening the store’s door for her, smiling. Today’s silent warrior, she thought.


This 99-words story was written for the Carrot Ranch‘s Flash Fiction Challenge prompt of: warrior women.

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Her Last Gift

Standing on the sidewalk looking up at the third-floor dormers and tower beside them, Angela knew this was where she was meant to be.

“Ready?” the estate agent asked, smiling. “This house has 5 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, separate dining room, and 3 full baths—one on each floor. The attic can be used for storage or as another bedroom if you want.”

Walking up the stairs leading to the front wrap-around porch, the hair on Angela’s arms raised causing her to shiver slightly. She knew this feeling. Hope it’s not like last time, she thought, not wanting to live through those six months of hell again.

“Everything is original to the house,” the estate agent began as they started their walk-thru. “Follow me and I’ll show you the best parts of the house. Mrs. Fairbanks kept an immaculate house while she was alive.”

Thirty minutes later, after they had seen everything except for the attic and basement, the estate agent began making her pitch.

“No need for that,” Angela interrupted. “I’ll take it.”

“You will?”

“Of course,” she replied ecstatically. “Why wouldn’t I at this price?”

“I just—” the estate agent began. “Let’s go back to my office and we’ll get the papers drawn up.”

When Angela returned to her small apartment on the backside of a 9-story walk-up after signing the papers for her new home, Angela couldn’t shake the feeling that her life was about to change.

“For better or worse, we will set a new course,” she told herself in the hallway mirror pushing the hair out of her eyes.

Each night after work she would walk past her new house and look up from the sidewalk, dreaming of the day she can finally move in. For the next week she collected boxes from the bodega down on the corner and packed one box at a time inspecting each item and determining if she really needed it or wanted it in her new home.

“Oh, Mom,” she began while looking through an old photo album from their trip to Yellowstone. “You should see my new place. It’s huge! It’s beautiful! And most of all, I don’t think he’ll be there.”

I remember this one, she thought, we waited over two hours for Castle to erupt. We passed the time by telling stories and making fun of all the people who walked past and gave up because ‘the park forgot to turn it in’.

“You’ll be there with me too, won’t you?” she asked the picture in the obituary that went into the box last, so that it would be the first thing she saw when she unpacked her good memories.

At long last, move in day arrived. Angela’s friends were roped into helping her lug boxes from her old place for the price of a six-pack of beer, and into her new place for the low, low price of a pizza from Francisco’s. It’s amazing how fast two guys will move when beer and pizza are waiting, she thought as the last box arrived in her new living room. When the beer and pizza had disappeared, the three friends began inspecting the new place.

“What’s in the basement?” John asked.

“Don’t know, we didn’t look during the walk-thru.”

“It’s where they hid the bodies,” Andrew joked.

“Shut up. Let’s go look. It’s my house now.”

The door to the basement sat just off the kitchen by the pantry. The old door looked like it might have been original to the house. Screeching as John opened it, the three looked at each other with the same ‘isn’t this how horror movies start’ look.

“Well, go on, John. Men first.”

“Typical feminist,” John muttered under his breath, searching for a light switch.

Creeping down the stairs, huddling for protection from whatever ax murderer may be waiting for them, the gang stood frozen at the bottom of the stairs in disbelief.

“What the hell?” Andrew asked, already knowing the answer.

Flower wallpaper framed the floral carpeted room; while a floral-patterned couch and recliner greeted them. No one except Angela noticed the elderly couple sitting on the couch smiling and gently giggling at the spectacle in front of them.

“It looks like my grandmother’s old house threw up in here!” John exclaimed. “This is going to take some work to get rid of.”

“Nah, it’s fine the way it is.”

“Your choice,” Andrew murmured, shrugging his shoulders. “This would give me nightmares.”

Hours after the boys left, Angela built up the courage to return to the basement.

“Hello, dear,” Mrs. Fairbanks said with a pleasant smile. “I take it you are the new owner?”

“Yeah. Um, is that okay?”

“Why on Earth wouldn’t it be okay?” Mr. Fairbanks asked, motioning her to join them on the couch.

“Well, I…I just can’t go through it again…and he took my mom—”

“Don’t worry dear, we know all about what happened.”

“How?”

“Your mom told us, when she found our house for you.”

“What?”

“Think back, dear, when did you first see our house?”

Ashley thought for a moment. When did I first see the house, she asked herself, searching through a cloudy memory that she would rather forget. The funeral. I saw it the day of the funeral. Mom.

Mrs. Fairbanks laughed gently, patting Ashley on the shoulder. “Your mom wanted to always take care of you.”

“Yeah, I guess she did.”

I Will Always Love You began playing from Ashley’s pocket. That was her mom’s old ringtone, but now it belonged to John.

“Hello?”

“Hey, tired of being alone in that big house yet?”

“Nah, I’m just relaxing with my new roommates. I’ll see you tomorrow at work.”

Looking in the Window

Warning: this post written for the last Daily Post prompt of Retrospective, has very dark tones.


 

“Where am I?” Andy asked the blackness that engulfed him. “How did I get here?”

Andy jerked as a sudden gust of wind blew up his face. “Hello?”

Arms stretched out to their fullest extent in front of him, he slowly tested the ground with the tip of his shoe, step by step as he started walking. Walking nowhere and everywhere. Standing still was terrifying. Keep moving, he told himself, trying to keep from screaming. “HELLO?”

His throat became scratchy, aching…dull, but there. Clearing it helped a little but did nothing to calm his fears.

Good Lord!” Andy shouted as a blinding light enveloped him. Being in bright lite was almost as bad as being in the dark. Shielding his eyes with his arm, he tried looking around, but it was no use. Neither was closing his eyes…the light burst through his eye lids as if they were not there at all.

“NOOOOOOO!” Andy screamed as the ground beneath him faded away and he fell from the bright light into a world of colors, scents, and sound. *thud* He landed hard on the soft ground, but unhurt. Slowly opening his eyes revealed a pristine green lawn—soft, comfortable, and familiar.

“Hi ya, Andy,” a young voice called. “Whatcha doin’ down there? Watchin’ the grass grow again?”

I know that voice, Andy thought, still looking at the grass. “Max?” he asked, rolling over to see a wiggling set of mud stained bare feet.

“Well, who else would it be, silly?”

“But,” Andy murmured, sitting up, looking at a young boy in blue overalls with only one snap latched and no shirt. “It can’t be.”

Andy sat shaking his head.

“Whatcha mean, it can’t be?”

“You’re dead, Max.”

“Oh, that,” Max laughed. “Yep, long time now from the looks of it, but I really thought you’d be a lot older. What happened?”

“Nothing happened,” Andy said, shaking his head more out of confusion rather than disagreement.

“Andy?” an older woman called from a nearby porch. “Andy Howard…is that you?”

Andy’s eyes grew as he instantly recognized Grandma Beth’s voice. A voice he desperately wanted to hear…no desperately needed to hear. “Yes, Grandma,” he called out, so she could hear him.

“Well, get over here and let me look at ya.”

Looking past Max, he knew exactly where he was. He was home. His childhood home with Grandma Beth and Grandpa Joe. Back where he was happiest…he was free. Free from all the burdens of Social Security disability denials, identity theft, empty bank accounts, and free from eviction notices. “Coming Grandma.”

“There’s my boy,” Beth said, embracing Alex in her county-famous hug. “What’s wrong?”

A lifetime of pain poured from Alex’s eyes onto Beth’s floral dress. “Oh, Grandma, I’ve missed you.”

“Well, we’ve missed you to, but what’s wrong, boy?”

The sound of Beth’s eternal concern brought clarity to Alex’s surroundings and the sounds of rapid movement coming from inside the old farmhouse. “What’s going on inside, Grandma? Everything alright?”

“That’s what I’m asking you?” Beth said as tears began dripping down her wrinkled cheeks. “Look in the window.”

Alex stepped in front of the large front window and gasped, covering his mouth. The inside of Grandma’s farmhouse wasn’t the farmhouse but was Alex’s tiny apartment in the rundown six-story walk-up in the Bronx. From the porch, Alex watched as his body lurched and his fingers made a feeble attempt to loosen the makeshift noose.

“Oh, God, I remember know! I’m so sorry Grandma!” Alex dropped to his knees trying to grab Beth around the waist.

“Boy, we love you and want ya here, but you got ta fight.”

“I don’t want to die, Grandma!” Alex started banging on the farmhouse window. “I didn’t mean to!”

“Fight! Fight! Fight!” Max called from the yard.

“I’M SORRY!” Alex shouted as loud as he could.

Darkness engulfed him as quickly as it left.

The dry scratchy throat now burned and was full of razor blades. Sound of Max’s support and Beth’s cries faded into the darkness and were replaced by screams and shouts for help.

Alex awoke in the hospital, his throat wrapped in gauze.

“Alex?” a man in a white lab coat began asking. “I’m Dr. Sidney, do you remember what happened?”

Alex tried to talk but couldn’t. He shook his head and began crying.


“Dr. Sidney, why do you think I went to my Grandma’s farmhouse where I grew up?”

“Well,” Dr. Sidney began, inhaling deeply, “some people, myself included, think the dying mind becomes very retrospective. It shows up things we when we were happiest so that the physical process may be easier. I like to think of it as natures compassion response.”

“But, I didn’t die.”

“No, between your Grandmother’s memories and Miss. Pinkston’s quick response to you banging on the adjoining wall with your fist, you didn’t die six months ago.”

“Thanks doc. Makes sense, I guess.”

 

Spirit Quest

It occurred to me that I have not written a 100-words story in a while, so I tried that with today’s Three Things Challenge. I’m rusty now…lol. This was quite difficult to weed down to just 100 words. Hope you enjoy!


Turning thirteen in the Earth 27 tribe was a momentous occasion. Returning from their lone spirit quest was their way of remembering their ancestors on Earth 1 so long ago. Fighting Bear was sitting by the fire, tracing his son’s old crow feather’s veins with finger. The camp erupted as his son returned.

“Well, son, what is your spirit guide now?” Fighting Bear asked, looking his son over for injuries.

“A lavender aster.”

“What?” Fighting Bear was about ready to have a heart attack.

“Dad, it’s a joke!” Running Bear laughed. “It’s a bear, like the rest of the family.”