Over Vegas

wpid-8kmhoik7do5rurgorauxeaibfgh1-rnjcnhbfcmxuvx8gdkx57fh2hdomkyosaxdomhpml077etcep324xqrf2mzeujy2jgrzvszvajxa-wfewh2gfcoqlom9amtcmmcpfpwtFairytales start with “in a land far away”. Fantasy novels are set in worlds manufactured by their authors.
So what is your idea of a fictional world?

In a land far away, Karma has swept me up on her wings,
made me strong and vibrant as sequenced
pasties on pale, pink nipples –
instead of the dying bulb in a neon sign,
flickering over Vegas.

© Laura A. Lord 2015


This was written for the Miniature Writing Challenge #7. You can visit the prompt, here.

The Stranger That Took Me

stranger“You dreamed about it again?” He asked.

I nodded. “I dream about it all the time now. I remember that woman from the beach. I can see myself sitting there…watching it all happen…”

The beach was hot and hazy, the sand liquid fire on my feet. I spread my towel out and jumped onto it, thankful for the barrier between my skin and the burning sand. I hadn’t been there but a moment, when little feet ran by my towel kicking sand up onto my legs as two kids drug their mother out toward the water. I brushed the sand off me and watched them, caution making them slow down at the wet sand’s edge. They held tight to their mother’s hands as she guided them towards the water.

The waves were big and frothing white. They fell and swept in like the rows of white teeth in a shark’s jaw. Salty water sprayed up over the children cold enough to make them gasp and squeal. They bent and slapped at the water as it receded and then braced themselves against their mother as the wave came back. Slowly their feet sunk into the sand like the beach itself was eating them.  

It could have been hours of this, or five minutes. I don’t know. Everything happened so quickly. I heard a scream. The mother’s hand was empty. Beside her stood the small girl, but on the other side the boy was missing.

I watched her look, from her daughter to the ocean.

I watched the choice. A split second decision.

She let go of her daughter’s hand, and dove into the water.

People began to gather. The crowd grew so thick, that I was forced to stand to see. I watched others getting into the water. I watched them point and dive towards something I couldn’t see.

I watched a man in blue swim trunks and a grey shirt walk up to the little girl. I watched him bend down and talk to her.

He took her hand and walked away with her across the beach, towards the boardwalk.

I never saw the mother come out of the ocean. I never saw if they found the boy, if they pulled him in safe. I don’t know if they laid his body on the beach and pumped the water from his lungs.

I don’t know what happened after that man walked me off the beach, and put me in his car, and drove away.

“I think it’s time we call the police to investigate this,” he said.

I looked over at my doctor – the man who had been working with me the last two years while pieces of this dream surfaced. My father was in the waiting room.

The father who had raised me for 13 years.

The father who had once walked with me across the beach in blue swim trunks and a grey shirt.

The stranger who took me.

*****
prompted-buttonWord Count: 491

The prompt this week for Tipsy Lit was an impossible choice. One of the things I experience most during pregnancy is an unusual amount of nightmares. The terrible part is that most of these revolve around my children. Sandy, my brilliant friend from Mother of Imperfection, told me this morning that it probably had something to do with all the hormones raging and my protective instincts soaring. Last year around this time we took our children to the beach for the first time ever. I wrote about it briefly here. This Sunday we are taking them again, which probably is what spurred the horrible dream that brought this bit of fiction out. I suppose this not sleeping well thing does do wonders for my creativity. Silver linings…

Copyright Laura A. Lord ©2014

Envelope on Table VII: Tipsy Lit Prompted

I hope you enjoy my entry for Tipsy Lit’s Prompted. I’m not telling you the theme, but you can click here to find out!

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Envelope on Table VII

There was a smell in his office, like that of a perfume bottle left uncorked in the small space for weeks on end.

I slid my seat out, the leather stiff under my fingers. I had barely gotten myself settled, legs crossed at the ankles, skirt pressed down over my knees. I tugged my shirt down in place, covering the gap that appears like a smile of flesh between the waist and hemlines, when he slid the bare white envelope across the tabletop. It stopped before me, hung there frozen in time as a picture postcard, a piece of untouchable artwork: Envelope on Table VII.

“I have an address for you as well, but this was held by the adoption agency for the day you came to look for her.”

I nodded and scooped up the envelope. I reached for the paper he held out, just barely within my reach, and noted the address scrawled across it in his heavy handed script.

I evacuated the room. I was all heels and knees, tearing down the hallway to the safety of the elevator, the yellowed foyer, the glass doors, and the blessed freedom of the outside hullabaloo. I stood there, amongst the throng of people passing on their way to the shops, or lunch, or work, and ripped the envelope open.

My daughter,

There is nothing I can say that will make this easier. I can tell you how much I wished it were different, how much I wanted to keep you. I can tell you I was poor, that your father left, that I was so young. I was alone here. But none of that matters. I hope you will forgive me. I hope you will come find me. I have so much to tell you.

I love you, always.

Mother

The words ran through my mind, engraving them like braille throughout every cell and affixing to the sensitive end of each nerve. The paper with the address was in my hand and I stumbled down the block, my eyes glued to it.

18 B. Sylvia Manor

My mother.

The light flashed a big red hand and my feet skidded to a stop as the screech of tires spun around the corner. The crumpling sound of flesh on metal rang like a sonata through the streets. The hood was crushed in and blood bedazzled across the headlight. A wrinkled trench coat. A pale, lifeless hand. A mass of brown hair.

Shaken, I went home. This reunion could wait a day. In the morning, I washed my face and the last image of yesterday from my mind. I clicked on the TV and like summoning a ghost, the news anchor with the short bob of cornsilk hair spoke with indifference.

“In a tragic accident yesterday, 58 year old Susanne Green was struck and killed by a car at the corner of Madison and…”

I stared at the paper in my hand. The address. The name.

18 B. Sylvia Manor

Susanne Green

*****

Word Count: 500 (Yep, used every last one. Whew!)

A Mouse of Epic Proportions: Tipsy Lit Prompted

I hope you enjoy my short story for TipsyLit’s newest prompt, Holding Back

If you enjoyed my story, head on over and give me a vote! Click here to vote!

*****

A Mouse of Epic Proportions

“Do you hear that scratching sound?” I asked.

He grunted softly, refusing to even open his eyes. “Yeah. It’s nothing.”

“It’s that mouse, again. I saw it this morning.” She rolled onto her side, leaning to peer over the edge of the bed.

When he didn’t say anything, she rolled back over. “Hey…Can you just get it?

“I’ll get it tomorrow,” he said.

“I can’t sleep with that sound. I don’t want a mouse in here,” she complained.

His body shifted, pulling the cover along with him as he rolled away from her. The broad expanse of his back bare for her to see, as he spoke half into his pillow, “It’s like midnight thirty. Just go to sleep.”

“Why can’t you just get the damn mouse?” She bit out, pushing up onto her elbows.

“Christ, woman. I’m sleeping.”

She was fully up then, sitting high in the bed. Her fingers clasped around his shoulder, pulling him over onto his back. “Get the fucking mouse.”

“I’ll get traps tomorrow. Now shut up and sleep,” he said.

“Oh sure. When I was pregnant you got up to get me Poptarts from the store at 3 am, but I can’t get you up now to get a damn mouse,” she mumbled, pulling her fingers through the long tangles of her hair.

“It’s probably not even a mouse,” he said.

“You’d just get up and go. Anytime I asked for something. You wanted to do things for me,” she continued.

“It’s probably just the damn cat, under the bed in one of those boxes it likes to sleep in.”

“But now, now I can’t even get you to catch a mouse. Now you don’t even pay attention to me,” she fired off. Frustrated, she yanked her hair back into a messy ponytail, while he rolled back over to show her his back.

“I’ll get the fucking mouse tomorrow.”

“You don’t even kiss me right anymore. You know? Like we used to? You don’t even kiss me right when we fuck. You barely do it,” she was rambling now, her voice an explosion of small missiles.  She kicked the covers off her legs. She needed to get up, to move.

“I’ll get the traps in the morning!”

She crawled out of the bed, snapping the light on and kicking the box. The sound of skittering feet across the hardwood floor set her teeth on edge.

“You can’t even get up to help me get a mouse!” She screamed at him.

He sat up then, eyes open and bloodshot, his hair a long tangled mess.

“You aren’t pregnant anymore.”

With that she turned and opened the door. It squeaked on its hinges. Hot tears filled her eyes, bubbled over, swam down her cheeks.

He flopped back against the pillow, yanking the blanket up over his chest. “Where the hell are you going?” He asked.

“I’ve got traps under the kitchen sink…I’m going to catch a mouse.”

*****

Herstory Lesson: Don’t let the big things build up inside you. They explode out at the most inopportune of times. 

Word Count: 491

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Tipsy Lit Prompted Guidelines

Weekly Writing Challenge

I had to do this one.

Because Rarasaur did the prompt and she is awesome.

Because the prompt itself was awesome.

And because I wanted to take a moment and step outside of myself.

So I tossed myself into some fictional woman. Then I threw that woman into a very real place going through very real things that have never really happened in that place.

Did I lose you yet?

Good.

This entire piece is about being lost. It’s dark and dangerous and it came from that part of my mind that even Norman is afraid of.

Enjoy, while I go coax that hairy barbarian out from behind Ellie’s dressing table.

Operation: To the Teeth

The sun is setting on the century and we are armed to the teeth. The lyrics of Ani DiFranco’s gritty music filled my head, setting the theme song for the backdrop that I was coming to know so well. There’s an order to things. A specific set of gradual occurrences that succeed tragedy, grief, destruction, invasion. Yes, it had been an invasion, as difficult as that may be to believe. That was the first occurrence: the doubt.

            We didn’t feel the ground shaking, hear the pat-pat-pat of machine gun fire, or see the rolling tracks of tanks rip the ground to shreds beneath their tread. I was washing dishes at the sink, staring out the small window that overlooked my backyard, a swing-set, the cornfield. My children were playing in the sandbox outside, performing acts of God and moving mountains with little effort or thought to the consequences. My husband was watching TV.

            That’s how we knew it. The electric flashed and the TV shut off. That in itself wasn’t much to be concerned about. Two birds could sit on a wire and knock our electric out. The flash only lasted long enough to knock the dish out briefly and then the TV was back and blaring. A long steady beep screamed from the speakers and I waited for the words, “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.” Instead, I heard a mechanical voice telling us, the people, to hold for the President of the United States.

            The video feed was not from the Oval Office. There was no comfy leather chair, no stars and stripes to fill the background. There was our President, worry and anger battling for the right to carve lines in his face, to spread from his thin pressed lips and to spiral out from his wide-set eyes.

            Doubt always comes first. No one believes it. The ego kicks in and the first thought is always, “Who would dare?” “Who would do this?” “Why would they want to?” All those questions are followed by the immediate reaction of, “We’ll be fine.” “They’ll call in the military.” “No one can beat us in a fight.”

            This is by far the longest part of the entire affair. The season of doubt washes across the country like a second-coming of the black plague. It eats everyone alive, but takes forever to go away. In its wake, we were left with anger, hatred, and fuel for a fight. The men disappeared. One by one they went off, recruited by their country or simply egging for a fight. Who knew? Who cared? We needed them and they went.

            And now we’re here, and those gradual occurrences are coming at a faster rate. See, once the doubt is gone, once the men have run off to defend their egos, their families, their possessions, their homes, their freedom…everything else falls into place very quickly.

            We’re tossed back into a medieval society, with no electric, no running water, no heat. Our money becomes far more useful as kindling for a fire, or toilet paper. It’s a barter and trade society again and it’s like we’ve been thrown back, back, back. I’ve got the best commodity around. Everyone can take it, but it can’t be stolen. It’s like my own personal Sphinx riddle and it is a tragedy that my daughter carries the same currency.

            Every right women ever fought for is gone. There is no one there to protect them, and so they are victims and protectors all at once. They become prey even as they provide. So we learn our purpose again:

            The men come in broken and we heal them.

            The men come in broken and we feed them.

            The men come in broken and we lie down, spread our legs, and let them break us.

Yes, women have found their place again, but at least we found a system of money that works. So we lose a piece of our soul, but our children are fed. They need to be strong for this world we’re making, breaking.

            I should have done as the others. I should have skirted the cities on my way North. The North has become a beacon of safety, a haven for the lost. I wonder if they’ll have closed the gates by the time we get there. I’ve never seen Niagara. I’ve never seen much of anything. My tiny life in my tiny, rural town was all I had ever known. Finally, after years of staring at the pages of travel magazines, I had the opportunity to see the world around me.

Regardless, I was foolish, but I wanted to see it. I had a postcard shoved in my pocket. I’d grown up surrounded by fields of corn and soybean, by deep rooted forests and gravel drives. I wanted to see buildings that touched the sky, that reached their sturdy fingers up to stroke the underside of the clouds.

            I remember pulling the postcard out and staring at it as we approached. I must have been around the same distance as the person who shot the original photograph. None of it was there. Rockefeller, Chrysler, Trump, Empire. They were all gone. I looked at the crease that was a white bolt of lightning through the middle of my postcard. It touched the top of the World Trade Center and drove right through the middle of the towers. Those had been gone long before today, another tragedy from another time. It seemed a million years ago.

            The purple mountains majesty was blocked by billowing columns of smoke and ash. There were no amber waves of grain, only the charred remains left behind by a foreign army. We never saw it coming and from sea to shining sea lay the remains of capitalism, democracy, America the beautiful.

            I feel a weight shift and briefly, for a moment, I can breathe again. Then there is another weight, and the hair is prickly and sharp as it rubs against my chest. He’s wider and my thighs are crushed down against the cold concrete of a dilapidated Macy’s store. Sweat is beading on his chin and dripping down onto my forehead like some sort of Chinese water torture and I’m floating away again. I’m lying here while men I don’t know are pumping away inside me, pouring their anger, disgust, and hate into me, using me for a moment to feel like maybe they’re in control again. They’re not, and perhaps because I know it, and they know I know it, they push harder and harder every time.

            I have no idea where my husband is. The only men I see are my own countrymen, running and fleeing to the North as quickly as we are. I don’t even know where my President is, or if he even is anymore. I know that I have three more to go before I get a loaf of bread. I know yesterday I earned a scoop of peanut butter that someone had shoved into little baggies. It’s the new drug deal of our century and I keep it shoved inside my bra for safety. I know that tonight my children will eat well and I only have three more to go, or two now. I think this one is done.

            Ani’s words drift through my head and I hear another girl crying nearby. Her tears form the melody to the tune and when a hand smashes my face to the side, holding me to the floor, I sing, “We’re all working together now…to make our lives mercifully brief…”