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Latest Stories

May 19, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jo Carroll

The Curl and Vampire

She was a pretty thing to be sure, the little girl with the curl. Her cheeks were as red as blood and her skin as smooth as porcelain. And yet there was something odd about her clear blue eyes—something empty and soulless. She sat atop her throne of building…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Nicole Robb

New Frontier

Still groggy from her hibernation chamber, Stacey checked the readings once again on the ship's control panel.She had read them right. "Tom! Something's wrong." "What is it?" Tom emerged from the back where he had been checking on the twelve hundred sleeping…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Laura Ellison

Remedy

The smell of death hung heavy and pungent in the air. Sickness touched the skin and covered it in a dewy glow that in any other situation could have been attractive. Castellan held a scented handkerchief over her nose as she walked through the village to the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Dylan Thomas Nichol

Forged in Shadows

Screaming was all that could be heard through the bone chilling halls of the dungeon. This was what the supposedly great nation of Hace really was. An ugly abomination lay underneath the stunning Admor Keep, and Caelin made the long journey through it, his…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Isabel Schwaak

Something Stronger

A thick grey stone wall separated the village of Telly Fenn from the wilderness. A narrow path led the way out of the village and melted into a crossroad, from which a crooked path strayed far into the dark forest. The inhabitants of Telly Fenn were content…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jade De-Terville

A Light Bulb Called Tink

“This is more than just a bloody mid life crisis,” Karen said clutching a tattered red book, until her knuckles started going white. She savagely threw the book onto the chequered dining cloth, and ran her hands through her untamed hair. “Oi, mind the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories April Winters

Area Twenty Four and a Half

I, Jim Roberts, got fired today. I didn’t realize Mr. Kerr, my boss, was standing behind me when I referred to him as Kerr-mitt. He failed to see the humor, and now I have no source of income. Looks like my journalistic aspirations are out the window. I…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jeremy Szal

Crimson Snow

16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories B.J.Neblett

Forever

“Segue the next couple of records with a jingle then go into a stop set. I’m gonna get some air.” Hy Lit flashed his agreeable smile, adjusted his trade mark tinted glasses and winked. “You’re a natural, kid.” Then he disappeared out the studio door. The…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories BJ Neblett

Pockets Full Of Wishes

“Don’t put your hands in the pockets!” Jimmy looked at his sister. It was just a winter coat, a used one. It was all his parents could afford. But it was his. He picked it out. Now he stood proudly before the store mirror admiring the blue denim coat with the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Laura Ellison

Consumed

Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation. In front of her the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Paul Magnan

Scorned

I grasped the rough edges of the tombstone and pulled it from the strands of thick, yellowed grass upon which it lay. I set it in an upright position. The words “Dear Love” were carved along the top of the stone. I had carved those words. For a few seconds…

 

 

Snuggled under the covers of her bed in the pre-dawn hours of that late October morning, Annie awoke to the sound of her daddy’s cry. The painful yell and loud thud of his feet as they hit the floor echoed through the long, narrow trailer. Her heart hammered. Filled with terror, she heard the unmistakable fear in her father’s words as he bellowed, “I feel like my head’s going to explode!”

Annie’s head jerked toward the shared room next to hers where her two brothers bound out of their bunk beds, stumbling over each other to get out the door. They hustled down the hallway. She followed close on their heels.

The family now gathered in her parents’ bedroom, fear clawed at her as she watched her daddy press both hands to his temples. She felt the blood drain from her face when soft whimpers escaped his throat. Her eyes darted from Daddy to Mommy’s tear-stained face then flitted over the terrified expressions of the boys; fear hung heavy in the room. The furthest thing from anyone’s mind was that this was the morning of Annie’s ninth birthday.

* * *

Her three-year-old daughter’s face lit up at the sound of the key in the lock. Annie watched Amanda run into her daddy’s arms, noticed smiles on both their faces, watched him lift the toddler into the air and press her little face to his. Heart warmed at the special bond between a father and daughter, Annie smiled.

Two years passed. Annie watched Amanda loop her arm through her daddy’s and smile up at him as if he were the love of her life. Annie’s eyes misted.

Three years later, eight-year-old Amanda enfolded her arms around her daddy’s waist, stepped on his shoes, and swayed as he danced her around the room. A distant memory stirred in Annie. Sadness enveloped her, and her eyes brimmed.

Alone that evening she yanked a notepad out of the desk drawer, face contorted with a rage that masked deep, deep hurt. Annie put pen to paper, hand energized as angry questions flowed. It didn’t matter that the questions were to a father who’d passed away five years ago, twenty years after the five the doctor predicted. What mattered was thirty years of bottled emotions spewed forth – emotions so raw that the angry words almost ripped through the page as she asked:

After you got well, why didn’t you dance with me and twirl me around the room to the records on our stereo the way you used to? Was I somehow to blame; did I cause your illness? Did I do something wrong to make you not want to be close to me anymore? Why did you keep a physical and emotional arm’s length from me during and after your illness? Did you know that your indifference made me feel unimportant, inadequate – invisible? Did you care?


Questions asked, Annie’s writing slowed as the anger and frustration ebbed. Her brow furrowed as memories surfaced, memories of how distant her father was after he came home from his long hospital stay. Memories of how anxious he became as each October rolled around. “Why?” Annie asked into the empty room.

As if she’d finally asked the right question, the answer came to her. His illness struck on her birthday, making her a constant reminder to her father of his imminent mortality. And each time her birthday rolled around, it meant he was one year closer to dying.

Her head spun at the revelation. Hot tears stung her eyes. She stared at the blurred paper as the insight gave her compassion for the man she’d grown to resent over the years. For the first time, she saw things from her father’s perspective. Annie thought about what must have gone through his mind when he’d heard the doctor’s words: did he wonder if he’d recuperate; wonder how his family would survive if he didn’t; wonder if he’d somehow let his family down?

She grabbed a tissue and dried her eyes, washed with a sense of understanding. At long last, the heart that was broken so long ago felt at peace. Her childish fear that she was to blame for her father’s illness and the misery her family endured afterward, she knew, would no longer haunt her. Instinctively, she now understood her Daddy never meant his aloofness to hurt any of them; he’d simply been afraid – afraid to leave his family alone, afraid to die. Detachment, both in the form of emotional distance and in alcohol, made it easier for him to face the inevitable.

Annie blew her nose as she pictured his face, smiling, loving – the way it looked before that fateful morning. She remembered the music from that old stereo and how she use to put her arms around his waist, step on his shoes, and sway as he danced her around the room. She remembered whispering, “I love you, Daddy” and his smiled response, “I love you, too, sweetheart.”

She wished things hadn’t changed.

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