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Latest Stories

December 09, 2018
Mystery Stories Wally Smith

Body of Evidence

Crime Scene Tours Ltd. had built their business, some would say, on the basis of appealing to people’s morbid curiosity for grisly acts of murder, and Liz and Colin Stevenson therefore had no qualms at all about conducting tours around the scenes of the most…
December 02, 2018
General Stories John L. Yelavich

Aesthetic Shock

Allie is delicate and gentle, waif-like in her presence. Her luminescent smile frames an image that seems so lighthearted. A sense of reality cannot disguise my enamored, whimsical feelings. I rhapsodize her essence in my affectionate mind excursions. She…
December 02, 2018
Fantasy Stories Vidal Martinez

The Purpose of Life

The front door slowly creaks open just as I reach to touch it with my cold, stiff hand. I stand still, hesitant, wanting to walk away, but finally I peek into the house, and through the darkness of the old Victorian home is a shadow of a flickering light from…
December 02, 2018
Fantasy Stories Pat Tyrer

It's All Relative

Before I get started talking about what I did, and why I did, what I did, I need to explain that Harold was no prize. He retired from John Deere because he couldn’t get along with the guy who worked next to him on the line. Not the supervisor, mind you, but…
December 02, 2018
Crime Stories J.D.Plummer

What Goes Around Comes Around

It was 12:45AM on a Tuesday. The old TV in the corner was playing some idiotic sitcom rerun. The ball game had gone into extra innings, but had basically ended a half hour before. There was a couple sitting at the table in the corner, having wandered in…
December 01, 2018
Crime Stories Nicholas Tomsko

Special Delivery

“BE THERE IN 5 MINUTES”...Tammy hit the SEND button and tossed the cell phone. It made a thud as it bounced off of the passenger seat. She hated the feeling of things in her pockets and never used a purse. Cruising the highway during a mild September…
December 01, 2018
Fantasy Stories Marie Anderson

Epiphany

After the meeting, Leo hurried back to his office and filled his briefcase and pockets with everything that mattered. His company mug brimmed with cold coffee. He poured the coffee over his PC’s keyboard, then threw the mug at a framed portrait mounted on the…
December 01, 2018
Romance Stories James Ross

Bones

‘Park here,’ Leo said, ‘We’re early and I’d like to sit in the sunshine for a while.’ Michael parked the car in one of the empty bays and went to purchase a ticket. When he got back to the car Leo was standing by the door grinning broadly. 'See!' he said.…
December 01, 2018
Mystery Stories Virginia Revel

The Shape I'm In

“Good morning, Mr. McCord.” “Good morning Dr. Porter,” I say, inclining my head slightly in his direction. His answering nod pays tribute to my quiet self-possession. I show him no hostility, but I do not pretend he is my friend. There will be no heartiness…
December 01, 2018
General Stories Jesse McKinnell

Hi, My Name is Mark

The drug store stretched out in front of Mark like a fun house, dizzying in its array of colors and textures and smells. Racks filled with Halloween candy, masks and plastic pumpkins sat in front, requiring shoppers to battle through their compulsions before…
December 01, 2018
General Stories Roger Ley

Harley

“It’s in here,” said Martin as he unlocked the door of the old, dilapidated wooden shed. “My dad lets me use this as a garage.” The shed was sited on the edge of the golf course that his father’s family owned. They went inside. It didn’t smell too bad, and it…
December 01, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Matt King

In Formation

Honking, the geese fly overhead in a giant V as the sky reddens in the late September dawn. Tralley watches them for a moment before continuing to unload the pickup truck outside the transmission tower high on the hill. Rucker fixating on his smartphone in…

 

 

“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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