Promises

Images courtesy of freeimages.co.uk

I had five seconds of absolute exhilaration while flying through the air, before I crashed and slid along the grimy subway underpass. I finally stopped in a puddle of “who knows what” and lay stunned.

The boys followed me down. None of them missed the turn. I sat up, knowing what was coming. Bobby didn’t disappoint as he taunted, “You totally biffed that turn, Jules. Just proves girls will never beat us dudes at BMX.” Bobby tried to be cool, but wasn’t.

I ignored him. Instead, my eyes found Steve. Taller and lankier than the others, he was new to the bike group, but rode the same school bus as me. I had really liked him. Well,  up until now, when he looked away from me.

Eventually, they tired of teasing me and left. Still shaky, I stood and leaned against the wall, closing my eyes. A squeak of brakes made me open them. Steve had returned.

I glared. “Did you come back to gloat?” I tried to sound tough, but my voice wavered.

“No, Jules, I wanted to be sure you were okay. That was some crazy thing you did.” There was admiration in his voice, but I wasn’t ready to forgive him, yet.

He leaned his bike against the wall and slowly walked over to me, studying my face. He got so close; I could see the yellow flecks in his hazel eyes and the soft blond fuzz on his face. I wanted to touch the golden-brown hair escaping his helmet, but clinched my hands instead.

“What do you want, Steve?” I tried to move forward, but he didn’t give me space.

Instead, he gently touched my cheek. It hurt and I flinched, but he didn’t notice. Still staring into my eyes, his voice was low, almost a whisper. “You’ve got the prettiest eyes, Jules. They remind me of flowers growing in my mother’s garden. I don’t know their name, but your eyes are the same color of blue.” His eyes drifted down to my mouth and my stomach flip-flopped.

He leaned closer. His lips almost touched mine. A car horn made us both jump.

Steve shook his head and stepped back. His face turned bright red as he said, “You’re lucky your face is just bruised, given the air you took.”

Reeling from the almost kiss, I was silent. He lifted my bike, checking it. “Well, the front wheel is bent.”

I looked at it and groaned. “Mom is going to kill me.”

“Don’t tell her. My dad can fix this in a few days.” Steve smiled, showing a dimple in his cheek I’d never noticed before. I desperately wanted him to finish the promise of his kiss.

Steve gave me his bike to push. He carried mine. As we walked, he said, “Come to the bike park this Saturday, okay? I promise to teach you some tricks that will make Bobby jealous.”

I smiled. I planned on making him keep that promise and the other one, too.

*     *     *     *     *

 

lightandshade-logo_3x2Written for the Light and Shade Challenge, Monday 7 July 2014

The Lesson of the Bee

Bzzz. Bzzz. Bzzz. Waving both hands over her head, Trudy chased away the bee. She wrinkled her nose and said, “Bees are so annoying!”

“Leave it alone, Trudy! Bees are good in a garden. They pollinate flowers and give us honey. They don’t intentionally hurt you, unlike people.” Trudy flinched at the angry snap of her mother’s voice. She fiddled with her large sunglasses.

Without looking at Trudy, her mother sighed. Her voice sounded sad as she asked, “What happened to your eye this time, child?”

She should’ve known her mother would figure out why she was wearing the big sunglasses again. “It’s nothing, Mom; just an accident. Tommy slipped. His hand hit my eye.”

Snip. Snip. Snip. Three more dead flowers went into the basket.

Her mother’s blue eyes turned and stared at Trudy’s long-sleeved shirt. “I assume the bruise you’re hiding under those sleeves was also an accident?”

“He didn’t mean to do it. He’s scared because he’s out of work.”

“I thought he just got a job.” Her mother moved on through the garden. Trudy rushed to keep up with her.

“It didn’t work out. Tommy needs something more challenging.”

“Like beating his wife?” Trudy’s mom stopped clipping the roses and looked at Trudy with raised eyebrows.

This annoyed Trudy. Her mom had no idea what Tommy was going through. “It only happened once before. That was months ago and he apologized over and over again. It’s my fault anyway. I’ve been irritating him a lot lately.”

Trudy’s mother shook her head. “Child, once is too much!”

“It’s my marriage, not yours!” Another bee buzzed around Trudy. She couldn’t help it. She slapped it to the ground and stomped on it. Her mother leaned down and picked up the bee with her gloved hand. She opened her hand to Trudy. The bee was squashed.

Trudy reached out and touched her mother’s hand. “I’m sorry, Mom. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“But you did and the bee is dead. You’re bigger and stronger than it is. You got scared, knocked it down and stepped on it. What’s the difference between what you just did to this bee and what Tommy’s doing to you, child?”

Trudy couldn’t take her eyes off the squashed bee. She killed it. It happened so fast, like Tommy’s beating last night. When she got home from work, he was slouched in his chair watching a football game.

He told her to get him a beer. She told him to get his own beer. Without warning, he grabbed her arm, threw her down. He was about to kick her, but she managed to turn her head just in time. His boot glanced off her eye.

Her mother was correct. Tommy was doing to her what she did to the bee.  It wasn’t right. The tears came first, silently flowing down her cheeks, but they were quickly followed by gut wrenching sobs. Trudy’s mother grabbed her daughter and held her, letting her cry.

*     *     *     *     *

This time I used two prompt challenges:

WoENewButton-e1363040457539

Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 22 (I used the word “honey” used in the quote.)

lightandshade-logo_3x2

Light and Shade Challenge Monday 26th May 2014 (I used the picture of the boot as inspiration.)

A Leap of Faith

Susan was dying. Lila stayed too long trying to save her, but Susan’s heart stopped anyway. Now, the monitor beside the bed beeped incessantly and a nurse yelled, “Get the crash cart stat!”

Sadness filled Lila as she whispered “I’m sorry, Susan.” With only seconds left, Lila opened herself. The blue light filled her and she leaped. Everything went black.

She found herself squished against the ceiling. Relief flooded through her. She had leaped in time, but was now vulnerable to any Gorigmy around. While Lila couldn’t see them, they could hear and smell her.

Gorigmies were dark spirits who ate Radiants. However, they couldn’t sense a Radiant inside a human. So, humans were good hosts for young Radiants, like Lila.

Usually, it was a friendly relationship. Humans believed Radiants were their intuitive voices. If lucky, a Radiant stayed in the same human until reaching maturity. Once mature, Radiants were more powerful than Gorigmies.

Unfortunately, Lila’s host, Susan, was in a horrible car accident. Her body was severely damaged. Lila’s powers weren’t developed enough to save her. When a host dies, the Radiant leaves or dies with the host. Lila had no choice, but to leap.

Hovering at the ceiling, she scanned the humans below. Typical of caring people, they were all occupied with Radiants. She needed to move on. Pushing away from the ceiling, she floated towards the door. The humans were unaware of Lila. Radiants and Gorigmies were invisible to them.

Luckily, the air conditioner clicked on and blew Lila into the hallway. She turned topsy-turvy, like a dust bunny, until she managed to steady herself. More humans rushed into Susan’s room, passing right through Lila. The sensation made her sneeze loud enough for any Gorigmy to hear. She needed a human and fast, but her scans didn’t show anyone free.

Seeing an open door, she floated towards it. It was worth a try. Just as she reached it, the door shut. Lila groaned. Closed doors were dangerous, but she had no choice. She shifted through the door molecules, avoiding the sharp edges threatening to snag her. After the last molecule, she pushed out and hit the floor.

Bouncing up, she landed on the hairy chest of a sleeping human male. She floated up to scan him but wished she hadn’t. While unoccupied, his face was bruised. One eye was swollen, like he’d been in a fight. Human males were risky for Radiants. They often didn’t believe in intuition and therefore, were less likely to listen to Lila.

She heard the screech of the Gorigmies. She was out of time. The human male would have to do. She opened herself and the blue light filled her. But as the leap was about to overtake her, she saw the human was handcuffed to the bed frame.

Too late to stop, Lila merged into him. She flowed through his blood, into his heart and finally into his brain. She was safe from the Gorigmy, but was she safe from this human?

 *     *     *     *     *

WoENewButton-e1363040457539This fiction story is for Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 21

Write on Edge: The Undertow

Riding his new yellow skimboard through the shallow water, Jacob called, “Hey Dad, watch this!” He bent over and dragged his hand in the sand and made the board do a perfect 360 degree turn.

His dad didn’t say anything. Jacob looked up to where his dad sat in the shade under a huge umbrella. It was clear he hadn’t bothered to watch Jacob’s trick. He was busy with his iPad tablet. In a flash of anger, Jacob wished a wave would wash the stupid thing away.

Spring Break was supposed to be fun, but his dad was always working. Jacob’s mom planned to bring him until his granny got sick. She had to stay home to take care of her. Since the beach house was already booked, Jacob got stuck with his dad.

He dragged his board up to dry and sat in the wet sand. The surf roared, but the waves were perfect, making Jacob miss his mom all the more. She loved the water as much as he did. When she came to the beach, they always jumped in the waves. His dad, however, was a scaredy-cat and wouldn’t let him.

The joyful screams of kids in the water irritated Jacob. It was unfair they got to play, while he had to stay in the shallow water. After all, he was ten-years-old and not a baby anymore. He glanced up, but his dad was still using the iPad.

The sun was hot on Jacob’s skin, but the water felt cool. He stood and moved slowly into it. He told himself he wouldn’t go far, just up to his knees. But the water felt so good, he walked out until it was up to his waist. The waves shoved at him. He stood his ground, laughing as they splashed in his face. His eyes stung from the salt.

Blinking away the water, Jacob didn’t see the larger wave, rushing behind the smaller one. It crashed into him, knocking him off his feet. He got caught in the undertow as another wave crashed over him. Tumbling in the wash, he couldn’t get his head above the water to breathe. Jacob panicked. In his mind, he screamed “Daddy, help me!”

Like a giant hand, the water held Jacob down. It scraped him across the sand, making his cheeks sting. He held his breath until his lungs burned. Just when he couldn’t hold it any longer, he was tugged free of the water. Gulping in air, Jacob opened his eyes. His dad was holding him tight as he said, “Thank God, I heard you call me, son.”

Years later, they’d tell the story to Jacob’s kids. Jacob would tell how he called for his dad’s help even though he couldn’t speak. His dad would tell how he clearly heard Jacob call for him, even though it was impossible. The children’s eyes always grew big as saucers listening to how Grandpa pulled their daddy away from the waves just in time.

WoENewButton-e1363040457539 This fiction story is written for WOE, Writing Prompt: 2014, Week 19

Just for clarification, an undertow is not a rip current. Instead, an undertow is a current of water that pulls you down to the ocean bottom. Source: How Stuff Works