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Latest Stories

October 14, 2018
Crime Stories Julie Achilles

The Boy in a Hoodie

I am walking along the road, the road that leads to home and I see him. I do not know him but for some reason I know there is a significance. He is casually dressed and wearing a grey hoodie which is pulled up, yet, I can still see his face. I can see that he…
October 14, 2018
Fantasy Stories M.B.Manteufel

Two Heads are Better than One

He opened the jewelry box with one gloved hand, holding steady a slim flashlight with the other. He cursed under his breath. Empty. Again. Matt Sanders wasn’t used to bad luck. He had become one of the best in his profession because he refused to rely on…
October 14, 2018
General Stories Julie Harris

The Man Who Left His Wife With A Goat

The morning’s warm rain finally drizzled to a wind-blown spray before a strong sun blazed in the cloudless sky. Christine stood motionless at the kitchen sink staring beyond the teardrop stained window to where he stood watching from the summer house.…
October 14, 2018
Mystery Stories Salvatore Difalco

Vertigo

Juan rose to pee in pitch darkness, his eyes fluttering. He found the toilet, but peed all over the unraised seat, splashing his shins and toes. Catching jeweled glints of chrome and glass, his eyes oriented to the darkness. Incomprehensible, his next move—he…
September 09, 2018
Crime Stories Frankie Neptune

It's The End of The World as We Knew It

 Reggie Benangin had always been this way. He couldn’t do anything right. The following is true - Though not even Polish, he couldn’t screw in a light bulb. When growing up in Westfield, New Jersey, his father knew never to ask Reggie to cut the grass. Every…
September 09, 2018
Horror Stories Vidal Martinez

La Llorona

I almost slam my head on the dashboard when the car suddenly stops in the middle of the dirt road. “What are you doing?” He looks behind me. “Right there… those trees,” he says. “Are you serious?” I look out the passenger window, and in the dark distance is…
September 09, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

Curing Brian

The day started pleasantly enough, we’d met for our regular game of tennis, the old reliables, Chris, Marilyn, Malcolm and me. Then the man in the dirty suit appeared and everything changed. It was summer and the weather was warm, so we’d used the outside…
September 09, 2018
Romance Stories John L. Yelavich

Sunny Souls

I have fond recollections of my high school years roaming the hallways with my best pals and their gals. We all thought that we embodied the right stuff or whatever that mindset was. We were all proud, cocky and cool and never wanted to be labeled pretenders…
September 09, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

Snarge

What do you think we hit? Can’t say. We went through the critters pretty fast. I’ve never seen anything quite like that flock: multicolored, almost metallic-looking, circling in a protective formation. Very strange. We’ll have to wait until the techs evaluate…
August 21, 2018
Fantasy Stories Roger Ley

Making Babies

Martin Riley unlocked his front door, stepped over the threshold, and stopped dead. Everything was different: furniture, décor, layout, all changed. It didn’t look like his house anymore. A voice behind him said, “Hello Darling, I have some wonderful news.…
August 21, 2018
Science Fiction Stories R.Scott Venegas

How Far Back?

“The test subjects’ mental acuity, such as it is, and physiology are unaffected, the samples it obtained show little out of the ordinary, however it is quite agitated.” “Is it?” “Yes, seems it was spotted and chased.” “Did it do any damage during the…
August 21, 2018
Romance Stories Susan C. Nigra

A Lie is Born

Dec. 12, 2012 was a dreary uninspired winter day, and also the day I returned to relive the beginning of the lie. It was 43 years ago when I first came here at the tender age of 23 in high spirits... high on life, high on being young; and I have returned a…

 

 

“You have any stories for me Uncle Bill?”

“Well, I just read about this pregnant lady in Poland. She was in labor for 75 days. For two months, the doctors made her lay upside down to keep her from giving birth too early.” I smiled picturing polish hospitals full of upside down patients.

“That can’t be true.” Iris shook her head.

Iris missed the point of the stories. Uncle Bill and I always looked up strange facts on the internet. I liked the stories. Even if I was old enough to know that they weren’t all necessarily true.

I was 13, old enough to be left alone with Aster. Still, while we waited for Daddy to come back home, Uncle Bill came to sit with us anyway.

Daddy was at the hospital awaiting our new baby sister, about to become the proud papa yet again. He never said it aloud, but I could tell that he was worried about how he was going to afford a new baby. Every time Mama excitedly brought home a new item for the baby, he would smile, but he would get a worried look in his eyes and his forehead would wrinkle.

Uncle Bill ordered a pizza from my favorite restaurant. We all laughed at how Iris dabbed at the slices with a napkin before eating them. I personally always thought the greasiness was the best part of the pizza. And, I loved how the slices were cut huge, each one the size of your face.

We sat up late, eating in the living room, watching The Wizard of Oz. I was picking out a piece of pepperoni buried under layers of cheese, when he got the call from the hospital. He was still on the phone when he got up and left the room. It was twenty minutes before he came back.

“Dolly, why don’t you turn the TV off? I need to talk to you girls about something important.” Nobody argued with him, not me, not Aster, not Iris. There was something in his voice. Something told us this was not the time for that. This was serious. After he sat us down, he gave us the news. Mama had started bleeding. They tried to stop it but they just couldn’t.

Growing up in Lewiston Idaho, you come to expect a certain degree of safety. You never expect to hear a loved one has died. And, no matter where you live, your mother is never supposed to die. Uncle Bill started crying and Aster hugged him. Iris had an almost expressionless look on her face. It was as if she was only still sitting there because we expected her to, as if maybe she was waiting for something. I was sure that Uncle Bill was overreacting, sure that Mama was only sick not dead and the doctors would find some way to bring her back.

When Daddy came home, he didn’t say much. Aster cooed over the baby and marveled at how tiny she was. Iris wouldn’t even look at Lily when she first came home. Me? I didn’t have any choice in my relationship to Lily. Daddy slacked a lot when it came to things like diaper changings and feedings. Uncle Bill stayed home and “watched” us, after Daddy went back to work. That meant that he was there, but I did most of what needed doing. Of course, Aster helped as best a seven year old could. Iris, however, was no help at all. She was always doing her own thing. When Daddy came home, he would take care of some things, but like a robot. As if, if he did anything more than necessary or displayed any kind of emotion it would show he didn’t miss Mama.

I guess sometimes when someone you love dies, if you aren’t careful, a piece of you just might die with her.

It could be a coincidence, but not long after Mama passed away, I decided to clean out my room and give all my toys to Aster. I had things to do that were more important. I guess after the day we lost Mama I took it on myself to make sure everyone was all right. I spent most of my time thinking about the living, worrying about my family. But, my spare time I spent thinking about Mama. I spent a lot of time on the computer, reading. In 1996, a coroner declared a woman declared dead, only to find her snoring in the morgue, a day and a half later. They called it Lazarus Syndrome. Part of me could not help wondering if Mama was still alive. Somehow, reading about these stories gave me hope, even though we had buried Mama long ago. There was a church in walking distance of house. Aster and I started going to church on Sundays. I knew that miracles could happen. It was a fact. I read about them all the time on the internet. If a miracle could happen, then there was no reason why Mama couldn’t be waiting for us when we got home? Nevertheless, even with my newfound sense of religion and no matter how hopeful I felt, a part of me inside, where no one else could see, felt angry about Mama’s death. It seemed twisted Irony that I became my baby sister’s main caregiver. I would never say this to Lily, but when she was born, I could not help feeling that a new baby was a poor replacement for a mother. I do not know if it hurt my chances of getting my prayers answered, but every time I spoke to him asking that he bring Mama back, God knew that I was willing to make a trade for her. A huge part of me wished it had been different… wished that Lily had died instead of Mama. Lily was two years old before I realized the sad and beautiful truth.Like all tragic events, my mother’s death would not have and could not have, happened any other way. It was all, as people say, meant to be.

Barbara Eastwood’s the author of the recently released book, "The Dozen

Lives of Erica Whitefield," available at all major bookstores. She’s a

resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Holding a degree in Psychology,

she spends much of her time helping at risk children and families. You

can follow Barbara on twitter @eatingtheburg.

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