Archive for September, 2010

Senses: Bitterness

30 Sep

Brigit could almost taste the resentment in the cookie. It looked like a standard peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss planted in the center, but something was off. Was it made with store-brand peanut butter approaching its “best before” date? Was the chocolate from a previous season’s holiday?

She pressed on. Nothing was exactly right, even things that had been purchased at the store. Looking around, it seemed nobody was comfortable, especially the bride. Brigit turned to the hostess and smiled gently. It must be hard giving a shower for your sister when she’s marrying the man of your dreams.


Senses: Shower

29 Sep

Steam billows out as she opens the glass door. She recoils slightly from the too-hot water and moves to the back of the shower where the spray is the least potent. The door scrapes along its track as she seals herself inside. She steps slowly into the water, running her hands along the cool tile. Once she is completely immersed, she closes her eyes and tilts her head back. She inhales.

There is nothing but the water washing over her body. There is nothing but the sound of it hissing all around her. With each breath she slips further into peace.


Senses: Shades

28 Sep

Brian could tell how bad his hangover was when he stepped outside. Inside, he could get by with keeping quiet and a bit of coffee. A hot shower and painkillers would go a long way to making him feel normal again.

Outside was a different story. That first step into the sunlight was brutal. His eyes would throb behind the red curtain of closed lids as he scrambled for his sunglasses. The longer he walked staring at the ground with his eyes barely open, the more potent the hangover was.

But really, who cares about Sunday’s sun while enjoying Saturday’s stars?


Senses: Spices

28 Sep

The smell of a bakery in the fall always took Stephanie back to her grandmother’s kitchen. She spent years trying to recreate the apple pies her grandmother made. She poured over other recipes, looking for ideas and inspiration. She went to the trouble of getting apples from the same orchard, but her creations were always lacking something.

Her accidental breakthrough came one afternoon when she misread a label and couldn’t start over. The pie she baked that afternoon was finally close enough to satisfy her memories, and she discovered her grandmother’s secret: cinnamon in the apples, but nutmeg in the crust.


Fall: On Your Sword

27 Sep

The copper smell of death was all around him as he picked his way through the defeated army. He should have been captured or beheaded, but he’d been knocked unconscious and escaped the victors’ notice.

“I’ve failed us,” he said upon reaching a particular corpse. “You tried to warn me but my vanity prohibited me from heeding you. I am as sorry for that as anything else.”

He pulled the bloodied sword from his friend’s lifeless grip and wiped the blade clean. The blade slipped easily between the chinks in his armor and he crumpled to the ground.

“Goddess, redeem me.”


Fall: In Line

24 Sep

“You want some?” the boy said as he thrust the plate of chocolates at the girl.

“Bertram!” a stern voice snapped. “That is not how we talk to our guests.”

Bert was so startled the chocolates scattered on the plate and a few almost fell off. Stacey, his “offended guest”, snickered as he scrambled to keep them from falling. He wanted to stick his tongue out at her, but that would have gotten in more trouble.

“Try again,” his mother demanded.

Bert pasted a smile on his face, bowed, and extended the plate.

“Would you care for a chocolate, Miss Arbuckle?”


Fall: On Deaf Ears

23 Sep

“Not this month.” She chucked the one-lined test into the trash can.

He wrapped his arms around her as she silently started to cry.

Her body used to shake with heaving cries that would last for days, but something had changed since the last miscarriage. He was just as exhausted. The emotional roller-coaster that they rode month after month was draining both of them. He didn’t think it would ever end.

“Maybe,” he said as she stopped crying and her breathing leveled. “Maybe it’s time we looked into adoption.”

She looked up at him and he knew she still wasn’t ready.


Fall: In Love

22 Sep

It only takes a moment.

She didn’t have the time for this. She had just reached a point in her life where she was comfortable being on her own. She wasn’t looking for a relationship right now. With her new job, she didn’t have time for one, either.

But there he was, when she least expected it. When she wasn’t looking. She was just tagging along with a friend. They’d locked eyes across the room. She’d never seen eyes that brown. He cocked an eyebrow at her and she knew he was trouble.

When he wagged his tail she was hooked.


Fall: To Pieces

21 Sep

His hands shaking, he rummages until he finds the vodka. One swig follows another. He wipes his sleeve across his mouth and stares at the bottle. He wants to drain the whole thing, but he can’t. He won’t.

It’s part of his job, he reminds himself. Was the woman with a belly just beginning to swell with life? She could have been his wife’s little sister. Was it the way her husband laughed nervously at the diagnosis, exactly as his brother had done three years earlier?

He tells his secretary to reschedule his afternoon and raises the bottle to his lips.


Fall: From Grace

20 Sep

Miss Peters? I can’t figure out number 17. The book says the answer is 32, but I keep getting 34 no matter what I do.

Let’s look… You are correct. The answer is 34. Great job, Micah.

The book is wrong?


The book? Wrong.

Yes, Micah.

But it’s the answer key in a math book. How can it be wrong?

Well, sometimes publishers make mistakes.

But it’s the answers. Why doesn’t someone check those?

Sometimes those people make mistakes, too.

Doesn’t that bother you?

Not when I’ve got clever students like you to find them.

But…how can I ever trust a book again?