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.

*****
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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!

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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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