Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer P2: The Liberty of Choice #amwriting #flashfiction #music 


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW. If you didn’t already know this is a Part 2 to Part 1 (found here).

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Credit: Mike Vore

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Part 2:



When Evangeline left home, she didn’t take a cent of the money she had earned playing piano at concerts. 

To make a living she learned to play guitar and sing vocals with various bands at ‘hole in the wall’ clubs in L.A. What little money she had she used for voice lessons, rent, and food.  She increasingly wrote and sang her own songs. 

At twenty-four, Evangeline auditioned for the popular reality TV show, “The Voice.” From the beginning, her talent blew the judges away and she eventually won first place. She called home and invited her mom to come see her final performance for the show.

 When Evangeline sat down in front of the grand piano her hands shook above the piano keys. She hadn’t played a piano in three years beyond practising in private for the finale show. She surprised everyone with her skillful piano playing and successful rendition of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.” 

At the end of that night Evangeline hugged her mom. Every ounce of resentment and hate she felt for Ruth in the past had faded. She was also amused when she remembered the priceless expression on her mother’s face, hearing the lyrics to “Sexy Back.” 

She was also grateful Ruth had pushed her and provided Evangeline a background as a performer. It gave her an edge as she was now able to pursue her musical talents true to her own choices. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday Photo Fiction: An Adventure Alone #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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Credit: Sascha Darlington

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Six-year-old James was excited. He was at a giant amusement park with a fascinating complex modular domes. He tried to rush past his parents but his Dad grasped James’ hand firmly. 

They entered the first dome and there was a huge race track inside. James squeeled while driving with his Dad in a go-kart. The next dome had a mini-golf course. Half-way through the course James decided he was bored and that it was time for his adventure alone; he crept off when his Dad was putting. 

He spent his day playing in a giant indoor playground and then went outside to where there were rides for kids to go on. He made friends with another boy named Paul whose parents thought James had permission to ride rides with them. 

After a while James felt sick because he hadn’t eaten. He returned to the mini-golf course to wait for his Dad. He sat there for hours but he never saw his parents. He thought they had decided they didn’t want him.

 Then he heard his Mom’s angry voice: “James William, where have you been?” He hugged his Mom and cried into his Dad’s shoulder when he picked James up. It appeared his adventure alone was more than James had bargained for. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Flash Fiction for The Purposeful Practitioner: Fiction – Her One #fiction #amwriting 


Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP. 

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Credit: http://www.pixebay.com

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(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.) 

Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!” 

Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.” 

June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?” 

Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one. 

He had been since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after. 

Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her. 

—–

Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend. 

She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out. 

“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests. 

“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation. 

Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move. 

“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.” 

Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?” 

Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.” 

Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?” 

Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.” 

Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him. 

To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt. 

“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.” 

Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily

Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister. 

Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?” 

Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring. 

June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Photo Challenge: Poem – Alouette – “A Scare” #amwriting #poetry 


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last week’s photo prompt:

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Credit: Natalie Deprina

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She’s only twelve, bright —

The only girl separate from,

Her brothers four.

Parents her adore,

Their last child, girl comes, 

For Mom she’s a sight.

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A surprise one spring;

Thought there’d be no more kids born.

They so much wanted,

Girl so undaunted;

By elder brothers‘ scorn.

Bird fluttering wings.

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She laughs so cheery,

Going about her day, she’s teased

By family with love. 

Animals adore, 

She’s the darling who pleases,

Makes life less dreary.

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Out feeding horses, 

Then, rides with such glee calling,

Her dogs following. 

Danger in shallows, 

Ocean so near, tumbles, falls;

Swims smart, resourceful!

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Into warm arms pulled,

Mom near lost her dear, her pearl.

Dad is so wrathful, 

She wasn’t thoughtful

And where were her brothers? She —

Was grounded some. 

—–

Didn’t think enough;

She’s safe, all is well, she’s hugged,

Held close by her Mom,

Told, “Be careful hon!”

You’d be missed, you’re much loved.

Mom again gives hug.

—–

She’s happy again. 

Learned she’s human, as others. 

Preteens can die too.

Better to ride through —

Ocean waves, with friends, brothers. 

So life it remains

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: A Sparse Pantry and Fridge #amwriting #flashfiction


Thank you to the lovely Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.

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Maria – Doodles and Scribbles.

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“Kat, are you sure you went grocery shopping? The fridge is nearly bare and there’s no meat; even the pantry is half-empty?”
Kat looked away from Jan, flipping through movies to watch on Netflix but Jan wouldn’t be ignored. 

“Well, I did go grocery shopping. I know it was my turn, but do we need all that food?” Kat said. 

“What do you mean do we need it?” Jan asked. “Our bodies need fruits, vegetables, and healthy protein. We need whole grains and items to bring for lunch and snacks. You didn’t even buy dark chocolate,” Jan remarked. “Did something happen? Did you run out of money?” 

Kat sighed, her face ashamed, “Yeah, I overspent shopping for clothes for work clothes for my internship. I didn’t mean to but it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to shop for any new clothes.” 

Jan considered her friend’s admission.They were both students in the last year of their business degrees and money was tight, but she decided to forgive Kat. 

“Okay Kat. I wish you’d had more self-control, but I know you require professional clothes for work. I also realize we both need both to replace some of our worn-out clothes soon. I’ll forgive you this month and pay for the rest of the groceries.” 

“Oh thank you Jan.”

“But I have conditions: You need to buy most of the groceries for the next two months so I can do some shopping for my self for next semester. You’ll have to help me, I’ve no sense of style when it comes to professional attire.” 

Kat laughed, “Agreed I’ll pay for our groceries for two-months, after this month; the fashion advice is free.” 

Jan hugged Kat and they watched a new movie together, content with their solution. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 30. How Was Last Night For You: Explanations and More Trouble.


Please read Chapter 29 here:

Chapter 30: Explanations and More Trouble

Nina and Rianne stood in the kitchen preparing a mid-afternoon supper for John’s family.

“What are you cooking?” Rianne asked

” Marinated vegetables and baby potatoes. I’ve got a couple salads I’m working on, a Kale salad and a Chinese Noodle Salad.What kind of chicken did you decide to make?”

“Oh, uh spinach and goat cheese. The goat cheese hides the spinach. It’s tasty, and Sam and Eric don’t notice the spinach in it.”

Nina and Rianne heard Edith gasp in the living room and they turned to observe John from the kitchen island, explaining to Edith, Robert, and his brothers, where he had been the  last four-months.

Nina had decided John needed to be alone with his family when he told them what occurred. She wasn’t entirely sure what parts of his experiences, John wanted to share  and which parts he was keeping to himself. She would ask him tomorrow when they were alone.

Nina filled Rianne in on John’s experiences, speaking quietly, her voice not much above a whisper as they chopped fruit for dessert. She knew Rianne would hear about what John said from Jasper on the ride home.

Jasper had brought his two small sons with him and Rianne. Sam and Eric excitedly, hugged their Uncle John when they arrived, nearly catching Uncle John and Aunt Nina half-naked. Nina and John had been quick to adjust their clothes and appear decent. It had been difficult given the time they had been apart.


 

“We thought you was never coming back.” Sam told John. “Grandma said you went to heaven but Rianne said Grandma didn’t know. She said you were coming back soon. Right Rianne?”

“Yes, Sam. And I was right wasn’t I? Uncle John is home.” Sam nodded enthusiastically unwilling to let go of his Uncle. His little arms clung to John’s neck and played with the silver chain John wore.

“How come you were gone?” Eric asked. He was the younger brother.

“I was sleeping Eric. I was so so tired. When I woke up I was on a beach and I met a man who helped me come home. Then, this morning I saw your Auntie Nina and she was so pretty and happy to see me. I’ve never seen her so pleased.” John said trying to keep his story simple.

“Did you get the witch?” Sam asked John. John looked at Jasper wondering what he should say.

Jasper chimed in: “She wasn’t a witch, only a bad woman. But she’s gone right?” Jasper asked staring at John who nodded encouragingly.

“Let’s go play in the living room with your trucks. While you play, I can tell the grown-ups what happened in detail.” John said cheerfully, he glanced back at Nina tiredly. She knew from his expression he wanted to relax and be alone with her.

Nina, however,knew John’s family needed an explanation. They needed to know why it seemed he had come back to life after dying. They needed to see John was alive and touch him for themselves.

Jasper coaxed Sam to let go of his Uncle John and play with a new construction truck with Eric on the living room floor. Edith hugged John hard and kissed both his cheeks. Hear head barely reached the middle of John’s chest.

“Nina and Jordan kept saying you’d be back. I didn’t believe them. I thought they’d only a wing and a prayer. But you’re here and you look amazing. You’ve a healthy tan and you appear more rested than I have seen you in years. Does this mean your curse is broken and you can be together with Nina now? Will your curse ever effect our family again?” Edith asked, hope in her voice.

“Please Mom, everyone, sit down.” John’s family surrounded him as he sat on a couch. Nina heard John say, “Yes, the curse is broken. It’s why I’m back. As in fairy tales, well almost, Nina and I get to be together now and they’ll be more horrible events occurring in my life or yours.” Edith squealed and John’s Dad, Robert patted him on the back cheerfully.

“Good news son. Very good news. We need to hear the whole story. Everything from the night you left on Jordan’s motor boat to go find the dagger in Talise’s cave. We’ve heard what happened from Nina and Jordan. We need to hear your version now and why you let us think you were dead.”

John appeared shocked: “I didn’t have much choice in the matter, Dad . . .”

Nina returned to chopping fruit in the kitchen. Pulling out an ice cream cake to sit and thaw a bit for dessert. She tuned out John and his family, having heard and talked about that awful night with Talise in the Sirene too often in the last few months.

John’s return from the in-between place of life and death had been Nina’s and John’s conversation topic all day and Nina was sure John’s family wouldn’t be able to stop talking about what happened to John for many months to come.


Rianne put her chicken into cook in a second oven in John and Nina’s kitchen.

“John’s place is beautiful Nina. Right on the beach. I have to say it was no hardship visiting you here when you feared John wouldn’t come back. Even though I had to do the grocery shopping and the cooking to make sure you ate at first, it was worth it to walk down the beach and watch movies on a giant cinema-like room downstairs.”

Nina put her hand on Rianne’s arm and squeezed it gently,”I’m sorry I was such a pain. I know I was miserable to be around for months on end. Something inside me always told me to keep having faith and believing. I’m still shocked to be able to say this, but I was right; John came home.”

“It sounded like he had to learn a few vital lessons first,” Rianne remarked. “From what you told me, it was John who didn’t have faith the curse would be broken. He couldn’t come home to you  unless he believed their was benevolent magic working to break the curse so you too could be a couple and live a normal life.”

“Yeah, it’s exactly what John told me Norman said to him. I can’t believe Norman was the homeless guy who saved you.”

“Me neither,” said Rianne. “But I think we had God looking out for us. Or He had someone keeping watch over us all in Norman. It’s nice to know someone up there cares what goes on in our lives.”

“So, what’s new with you and Jasper?” Nina remarked changing the subject. Rianne sighed gazing at Nina with sad chocolate brown eyes. They reminded Nina of the eyes of a lab dog begging.

“It’s, it’s okay – only, when John was missing, it was hard on us. Especially with Sam and Eric. You know how all three Eric brothers are close and have always been. When Jasper thought John was dead, it was as if a piece of himself died with John.”

“I don’t know how to explain it well, but Jasper’s been cold. Really cold. He didn’t want me to come over often. Partly, why I ended up staying with you so much was because Jasper didn’t want me there. And I would go home and there would be this yawning emptiness in my condo. I couldn’t bear it.” Rianne said softly. She wasn’t a crier but Nina knew her friend was near the point of tears..

“I loved it when you came over Ri. I wish you would’ve said something about was happening between you and Jasper. I love you and care about you and I want you to tell me what’s wrong even when I’m not in the best of places myself.” Nina said quietly.

“I know you didn’t want to burden me, but it would’ve helped me keep my mind off John, listening to you and finding a way to help Jasper open-up to you. And I think you would’ve felt much better too, not keeping this trapped inside.”

“Shhhh” Rianne said suddenly. Jasper was staring at Rianne while her and Nina talked and the chicken baked.

“He can’t hear us,” Nina said.

“I think he knows what I’m talking to you about.”

” How could he know. Besides, John’s back now. Things will become better between Jasper and you too because he won’t be mourning his brother’s death.” Nina remarked confidently.

“Maybe,” Rianne said unconvinced.” Death is a tricky subject with Jasper. His first wife, Sam and Eric’s mom, died of cancer a few years ago. I don’t know if he’s ready for a serious relationship with another woman yet. I thought so but now, I’m not so sure.”

“But it’s been five-years or so hasn’t it?”

“I don’t know he won’t talk about his wife, not at all. I know his boys come first and before that night with Talise, we were practically living together. We were seeing how the boys liked it if I lived with them.” Rianne said, tears starting to fall without her being aware of them.

“Now, I wouldn’t even consider sleeping over at Jasper’s house. It feels as if there’s this big angry river between Jasper and I and I don’t know how to jump over it or swim through it. I miss playing with Sam and Eric so much.”

“It will work out Rianne. It will get better, I know it will.” Nina said encouragingly. Rianne sighed, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand and checking the chicken in the oven cooking.

Nina sighed. John and her might have at last found happiness together. But it seemed those closest to them, weren’t happy at all. Nina felt awful Rianne hadn’t thought she could share her problems with Jasper with her, the past few months. She had been too consumed with thoughts of  John and too selfish to be a reliable friend to Rianne.

Nina hugged Rianne after she had taken the chicken out of the oven to let it cool a few moments.

“I’ll help you get through this Rianne. You’re my best friend and I’d do anything for you. You’ve helped me so much since I’ve met John and suffered too much for it. You can stay with John and I as long as you want.” Rianne smiled.

“Won’t John mind?”

Nina laughed, “he doesn’t have a choice, but he doesn’t know that yet.”

Rianne smiled but Nina could tell her smile was forced. She studied Rianne for a moment as she transferred the chicken into a serving dish. Rianne wasn’t saying a great deal of what was going on between her and Jasper, and Nina knew it.

Please Read Chapter 31 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Echos of My Neighbourhood: Support Through the Good and The Bad — Family.


University Graduation May 2007
 
It’s difficult for me to believe I graduated from university nine-years ago. That it will be a decade in 2017 blows my mind. These are my Dad and my Mom with me in the photograph, and I have to say I would have never made it to graduation, or in the years post graduation without my parents. 

It was a funny thing, when I first became ill and had to go in hospital in 2009, I wasn’t thinking straight, but the only thing which got me through the long days in the hospital was that my parents were going to come visit me at 5:30 pm. The entire three-weeks I was in the hospital, they came every night and stayed until visiting hours were over at 8:00 pm.

 My Dad would come first and he would read to me and play cribbage with me. I have always loved how my Dad’s voice sounded when he read a book outloud. I remember him reading devotions to my brothers and I when we were small kids. The boo my Dad read to me was called A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was an excellent book but at the sametime it terrified me because in my mind, my own situation related to one of the woman characters. All through the first week at the hospital I was still delusional, but my parents never let me down. 

Christmas Family Photography with Grandma, my brothers, and Dad.

I think I would have cried had my parents not come to the hospital one day, even when my thinking became clear and organized in the second week after I started taking a medication which almost immediately stopped my delusions. I learned later, how tiring it was for my parents to work all day and visit me in hospital each night. On weekends I had a pass to come home, and it must have been a relief to them to relax a bit. When I was able to be in my own bed I felt safe again. In the hospital before I was on the correct medication to stop my delusions, I believed I was in a sort of Hell and that you couldn’t have parents in Hell, so eventually I was going to lose my parents. 

Then the medications started working. My delusions went away. I wasn’t scared to be at the hospital anymore. But I still counted down the hours until my parents came. While I healed initially at home, I became much closer with my family. My Godparents, my Great-Grandma Reeder, My Grandma Eifert, and even my brothers, I realized I’d been neglecting. I hugged my brothers when I first came home and saw them. I don’t recall hugging them before that except when I was a child. I think they were both embarrassed but they both patted my back.

Before my episode, I was wrapped up in work and my social life. I had responsibilities at work which would have continued to grow and turn into not only a full work day but networking events at night during the week and weekends. I would have had ” a career,” but I doubt now I would have loved it.

It would have been fun I think but I’m glad life didn’t go that way. I learned to value my family so much more. My parents have let me stay at home while I have been healing for eight-years and they charge me little rent so I can save money and pay off my debts. My Mom drives me to places often. We do things together and Mom takes me to get a blood test every week and to pick-up some necessities at the local drugstore or the mall. I have gone on vacations with both my parents to Las Vegas and Phoenix. I have gone on a couple of trips with only my Mom and one with by brother N. 

 

Christmas Family. Photograph with Grandma, my Brothers, and Mom.
 
I have learned from my experiences in the past, you can depend on your family and that they will love and support you through good and bad times. At some point when I’m a bit more able to be independent, I will move out. I wonder what I will do without my Mom at night and weekends to talk to and make plans with. I wonder who I will talk to about sports with when my Dad and I don’t live in the same house. I wonder, but I know even when I am on my own, I will have the support of my family.

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Thanks to Jacqueline from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales for hosting Echos of My Neighbourhood each Thursday.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.