The Tulip Tree

Everything happened under the tulip tree. Scraped knees and “ollie ollie oxen free” till the street lights announced curfew. Held hands and nervous giggles. Silent carved promises. First kisses and first slaps. First apologies and future plans. Season after season everything happened under the tulip tree. Afternoon picnics and baby’s cries. Child’s laughter as the family dog claims the tree as its own. Hushed fantasies and adventures galore. Aged sighs and well-worn stories faded into silence under the tulip tree.

Finish the Story 2019 #6

Image by TheDigitalArtist on Pixabay

The Day the Lights Came

It had been a warm early May day and the kids celebrated the first day of summer vacation down by the pond. The screen door slammed and sounds of muddy boots echoed through the kitchen. Helen and George chuckled. They remembered all the summer afternoons Levi spent frogging down at the pond before he moved away to the city. They loved having their grandsons, Junior and Max, in the house, but wished it had been under different circumstances.

Four feet sloshed up the wooden steps signaling it was all clear. Helen smiled and went into the kitchen. She picked up four socks, two wet t-shirts, and set them in the sink. George wandered in as she stuck her hand into the pocket of one set of jeans. Her face wrinkled and she giggled as she pulled out a small frog.

“Just like their dad.” George picked up the other pair and pulled out a lizard and two small rocks from one pocket and a frog from the other. “Exactly like their dad.”

Helen handed George her frog and wiped a tear from her eye. Levi had been gone three months and it was still hard to think about her little boy lying in his grave up on the hill.

George opened the back door, set the lizard down and watched him run off toward the woods. He looked at the frogs, trying to decide where to best leave them. As he looked toward the pond his mouth dropped. “What in good heavens!”

“George? George, what is it?”

George dropped the two frogs and looked into the sky.

“George!” Helen rushed to his side and was irked he made her worry by not responding. “What is –” She followed stare skyward and crossed herself. “In all my years … it’s not supposed to do that … the boys!”

George and Helen hurried upstairs and burst into the boys’ room without knocking. Before they could protest, George whipped out their backpacks and emptied them while Helen grabbed handfuls of clothes. It all happened so fast, neither boy could stop to think before they were dragged downstairs and out toward the storm shelter.

The air was warm and breezy, just as it had been all day.

“Grandpa,” Junior said. “Stop! What’s wrong!”

George handed Junior off to Helen and pointed to the sky as he opened the shelter door. “Look!”

Junior and Max looked up and smiled. “Whoa,” they said together.

“What is that,” Max asked.

George helped Helen down the steps, then looked into the sky again. “They look like the Northern Lights, but they can’t be. Now get in.”

Junior and Max saw the panic in his eyes and did as they were told without question.

Inside the family shelter, Junior and Max sat on one cot and watched as George cranked up the radio and tried to find the right station.

“Attention, listeners,” the voice said. “If you are hearing this, get to safety now. Reports are coming in from all over the world.”

Helen gasped and covered her mouth.

“Shh,” George said, hugging her.

“The lights in the sky,” the voice continued, “are not the Northern Lights. They are …”

To be continued


This time, I am tagging the fantastically fabulous Fandango to lead us off.

Rules:

  1. Copy the story as you receive it.
  2. Add to the story in some fashion.
  3. Tag another person to contribute to or finish the story.
  4. Please use FTS as a tag so I can find it or link back to part 1.
  5. Have Fun!