The things that go quiet in the night

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The time on the clock read 1:29 am.  The waning moon shared its luminescence with the corner of my bedroom and my eyes blinked repeatedly with the harsh difference between the blackness behind my eyelids and the moonlight permeating my bedroom.

The sound that woke me was shrill and I was trying to convince myself it had followed me from a nightmare.  My dog’s uneasiness confirmed the polar opposite of that thought and together we looked out the bedroom window to discern where the awful noise was coming from.

My initial thought was that a baby raccoon was lost and crying out for its mother but as the cry continued it became much more visceral and intense.  My tension escalated with the suffering sounds of nature.  There was nowhere I could free myself from the wretched sounds of terror that animal was shrieking.  I now know how poor Clarice Starling felt in The Silence of Lambs.  Somewhere deep inside you want the shrill cries to stop but you also realize the outcome of the slaughter when the night regains its stillness.

The cry did lose its intensity and that sound of terror became more and more staggered until it was replaced by the silence of the night.  It took me a long time to get back to sleep.  Between my over-active imagination and my staunch passion for Criminal Mind’s crime scene photos, I’m sure I had created over 200 plausible crime scenes by the time I finally nodded off.

?????????????????????

I can only hope whatever predator was outside has moved on to a new hunting ground and we will not have to listen to the unfortunate nocturnal melody entitled “Survival of the Fittest”.

(image credit: onthewingphotography.com)

 

 

 

 

Juggling the balls of justice – Trifecta Challenge

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The prosecutor stifled his laughter.

“Did you, or did you not state, Mrs. Bobbitt, that you would go free because the evidence would not, um, stand up in court?”

She was not amused.

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

~~

Written for this week’s Trifecta Challenge – I’m really not sure why I chose Lorena Bobbitt and the misfortune of her husband’s manhood, but I did!  I apologize to all of the guys crossing their legs right now.

On now to our quick and dirty Trifextra prompt.  Plenty of times over the past two and a half years, we’ve given you the beginning of a story and asked for you to complete it.  This time, we are giving you the end, and we are asking you to start it for us.  We want 33 words in addition to and preceding the following:

That wasn’t what I meant.

So, to clarify, you write 33 words and then you tag on the five that we’ve given you.  Our five come after your 33 for a grand total of 38.

Of snowflakes and serial killers

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snowpocalypse

The beauty of a white world all around,

but I cannot see it beyond my window.

I am entombed by reality,

gestating in the womb of Mother Nature’s swollen belly.

Her raging emotions unsettle me,

her fury becomes my anger.

My sense of peace is replaced by the need to kill.

Thousands of individual victims lay in wait

and my I raise my weapon.

I lose track of how many bodies have been discarded on my property

as my shovel throws more snowflakes to their grave.

Say “holy s&*t” to the dress

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One of my guilty pleasures is to watch the TLC show “Say yes to the dress”.   I find it a perplexing notion that I can spend hours watching women from all walks of life find their perfect wedding dress when my real-life experience was so monumentally terrible.

I was never the little girl who dreamed about her wedding.  I didn’t have a clue what style of dress I wanted when I said ‘yes’ to the proposal of marriage.  I DID know I had no desire to stand in a bridal shop looking at countless styles of dresses while five pairs of trained eyes bore into my soul, annoyed that I couldn’t make a decision.  So I began and ended my wedding dress shopping online and I was thrilled with my choice.  It really spoke to the casual style wedding I desired and to the fact that I would be wearing sandals instead of constricting, mutilating high heels.

wedding dress

(image credit: alfredangelo.com)

This was my vision.  This dress, in all its simplicity, spoke to me and truly conveyed the feeling I wanted to have on my wedding day.  It was fun, it was carefree, it was casual, in essence, it was me.  I knew there would be alterations required and I did my due diligence in researching a seamstress to make the necessary adjustments.  What I failed to factor into my wedding planning was that, although numerous people gave this woman a glowing recommendation, there was a chance that this clothier would do everything in her power to derail the possibility of this dress being on my body on my wedding day.

The initial meeting gave me no foreshadowing feeling that there would be any cause for concern.  Measurements were taken and discussions were had about removing the zipper and creating a corset-style back with just a hint of green under the lace to match the golf theme of the wedding.  Everything was going as planned but the seams of this agreement began to rapidly unravel.  Phone calls went unanswered, fitting appointments were rescheduled due to her personal conflicts and time marched ever so quickly towards the wedding day.  Appointments I arrived for were met with a closed sign on the shop and a promise that she would be in touch to reschedule.  It never happened.

After one fitting and no communication for weeks from this seamstress, my dress arrived at my mother’s house five days before my wedding.  My mom called to say the dress had been delivered and I was dumbfounded.  First of all, I had no idea how this woman had access to my mother’s address.  Second, I had never had a follow-up fitting and I had never seen any of the alterations, but my dress now hung in the hallway of my mom’s house awaiting my inspection.

With trepidation, I closed the door to the bedroom and eased myself into my dress.  My mother could hear my sobs on the other side of the door.  She let herself in and did her best to lace the corset at the back of the dress.  The loop holes were so far apart that, upon tightening the lace, I began to look like a ridge-back dinosaur.  The top of the dress had been taken in but had been sewn in loops over the outer part of the dress making it look like a Grade 9 Home Economics project that had failed miserably.  The dress was a write-off.

I quickly scraped up what was left of my hope and began to make panicked phone calls to any other tailor’s in the area.   As bad luck would have it, it was the end of September and the most popular time of year for Muskoka weddings – not one person had the time to fix my dress.  The butchered, lifeless dress hung in my closet and I fully and painfully cried myself to sleep for the first time since I was a child.

The following morning my best friend arrived with a coffee in one hand and a rainbow in the other.  She dragged me out of my house, took me into town to the fabric store and there we chose a pattern and some fabric.  In four remarkable days she and her mother measured, they cut, they pinned, they measured again, they sewed and they created the dress that I wore as I walked down the aisle four days later.  They are angels.

After the wedding dust settled and life got back to normal, I eventually got the money back for the alterations as well as the full cost of the wedding dress from the “alleged” seamstress  (a few threatening phone calls and face to face meetings from my then hubby may have expedited the process).  I can only hope she is enjoying the career path she chose, the career path that led her to inexplicably close her business without notice and decimate the lives of the customers she left hanging in the balance.  After she hastily locked the doors to her alteration shop, she began her career as a Parts Manager in a plumbing store.  There has to be some “fitting” joke about her “flushing” her reputation down the toilet, but that would seem like a “common vent”.    I shall take the high road and wish that the only “snake” in her life is no longer her but the one used to clean out clogged pipes!

A heaping dose of perspective

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Picture 260

(It doesn’t look like this now, but it will soon)

The Heaven’s have aligned and I am back home after twelve days of living in a hotel room with my puppy dog.  I can’t even find the words to describe how it feels to be home – and that is a first for me!

I ran the gamut of emotions while I was under that temporary roof.  I was grateful to have that roof over my head and friends who cared enough to offer me a plethora of living options, but my frustration was undeniable.  I’m sure the bureaucratic red tape at a certain energy company tangled the process and elongated my hotel stay by at least five days.  But, I digress.

I flipped the breaker myself earlier today and was warmed by the glow of light coming from my windows.  In the days preceding I had been stopping by to check the progress of the work and my house sat lifeless on my property.  No light emanated from my windows and it sat as a cold, empty shell where there once was life.

There is still a noticeable chill in the air, inside, but I am home.  All of my electronics work and nothing else was damaged in the ordeal.  The only thing I had to do was call Bell to help download the guide for my satellite to get it working again.  The lovely woman I spoke to was in the Philippines.  I’m sure you have all seen the news of the devastation in the Philippines and, while she was personally unaffected, members of her family have lost everything.  We had a very fortuitous conversation that allowed me to truly put my seemingly overwhelming problem into the perspective it deserves.

I still have a home.  I still have all of my belongings and I have a large collection of friends who would be there for me if I ever needed them again.  I didn’t lose everything.  I don’t have to wonder how I will recover from such a devastating loss and I don’t have to mourn family and friends who didn’t survive.  These last twelve days were really just a hiccup in my existence.

670,000 people are now homeless and countless have not survived in the Philippines.  It really makes my previous rants seem so selfish and I will keep those people in mind the next time I want to complain about an infinitesimal problem in my life.

Word Cloud Wednesday

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I’m not sure why this particular string of words entered my head.   The story seems a bit dark.  This post is in response to Word Cloud Wednesday on We poets Show it.  The post should be written with only the words in the cloud.

word cloud

Friends knew. Nannie guessed. Mama talked.

Poor kid – dumped, barefoot,

hands holding little, began tired wander.

“Lightning” later sprinkles farmhouse.

Fireflies. Memorable time,

memorable conversations melting.

Black.

Friends open arms, holding magic – new house, new mama, new daddy.

Needles and the damage done – fiction

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I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice. ~excerpt from the Hippocratic Oath

***

Danny Jenkins could not shield his discomfort.  Lying on the gurney in the hospital hallway was exacerbating, even more so considering the paper-thin sheet was barely enough to disguise his torso from the sight line of people passing by.  His Intravenous line had almost been yanked out of his skin several times as crash carts and trauma teams raced to the Emergency room.  He was living in his own personal Hell.

Danny hated hospitals.  The mere fact that he agreed to this procedure was beyond his realm of comprehension but it was time to face reality.  At his last weigh in he had tipped the scales at 468 pounds and it was time to get his life back.  His doctor had pleaded with him to consider Gastric Bypass surgery and he knew it was the only way to forge ahead into the life he dreamed for himself.

After what seemed like an eternity, Danny was wheeled from the hallway into the operating room.  Faceless doctors and nurses shrouded by masks performed their macabre pre-surgery dance around him as monitors came to life and created a sinister orchestra of metallic sounds.  Voices abraded his ears as they went step by step through the procedure that was about to take place but Danny paid no attention.  He didn’t care.  He just wanted to go to sleep and wake up to his new beginning.  A warm sensation began to flood his veins and Danny slowly slipped into a reversible loss of consciousness.

***

He could hear the pinging of the machines as his eyelids fluttered open and the recovery room slowly swam into focus.  He anticipated mild to moderate discomfort in his abdominal cavity but he felt none.  The anesthesia must have been a more potent cocktail than he imagined.  He tried to adjust his position on the bed, fully expecting his stomach to refuse any agitation, and the movement was somewhat fluid and manageable.  Strangely, there was no soreness at all.  

The call button hung lifelessly on the bed rail and he repeatedly pushed the button until a nurse entered the room.  Before even engaging Danny in post-surgery banter she glanced at his hospital wrist-band, diligently checked all of the monitors and made notes in the chart that hung from the foot of his bed.  She lifted the bedding from the bottom of the bed, inexplicably checked his legs and tenderly replaced the covers.

“How are you feeling?”, she finally asked.

Danny spoke through his dry mouth, “I thought this would feel much worse.”

Her response baffled him.  “You will think you can feel your toes for a while.  They call it phantom pain.”

His look of complete bewilderment took her by surprise.  She guessed his silence was just his way of processing his loss.  She regarded the monitors one more time before leaving with the promise of returning with ice chips.

As the anesthesia began to clear his system he began to feel the after effects of the four-hour surgical procedure.  He could feel the dull ache beginning to throb but the pain was coming from his knee.  More than slightly disconcerted he reached for the call button once again.  This time a doctor entered and performed the same ritual with the monitors before beginning his communication.  Immersed in the chart in front of him, he absently began to speak.

“Okay Ms. Jenkins.  The procedure went extremely well and the lower part of your right leg was successfully amputated.  You will feel some discomfort but you have the ability to give yourself a dose of morphine……”.  His voice trailed off as he lifted his head and his vision of the patient in front of him finally swam into focus.  He looked directly at Danny and immediately re-examined the chart in front of him.  The doctor said nothing more.

Danny finally spoke,  “Did you just call me ‘Miss’ Jenkins?”

“Would you excuse me for just a moment?”, the doctor’s words were rushed as he left the room.  Danny incessantly pushed the call button with no response.

The doctor’s footsteps echoed through the hallway as he raced to the operating room.  As he pushed the doors open and entered the sterile room all eyes turned and fell heavily upon him.  Ms. Dani Jenkins lay sedated and poised for Gastric Bypass surgery.  Not one medical practitioner had commented on the unnecessary procedure but merely followed the direction on the chart – the wrong chart.

His words reverberated in the surgical chamber, “Look very closely at that medical chart.  You were about to make the second biggest mistake in the history of this hospital.”

Ashes to ashes – Trifecta Challenge

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After surviving ten years of an emasculating marriage, Jake had reached his breaking point.  His friends made many jokes at his expense and he was tired of being bullied by everyone.

She would be expecting an extravagant anniversary present so, after extensive research, he booked a trip to the Babuyan Islands so she could bask in the raw beauty of nature.  As anticipated, she complained about the coach seats on the plane.  She complained about the oppressive humidity.  She profusely disapproved.

Her obituary was poignant and sad.  Who knew she would have met her fate in that volcanic chasm?

babuyan

(image credit: lastwildplace.ph)

Written for the Trifecta Challenge – This week we are giving you a page from the Oxford English Dictionary.  The ninety-ninth page, to be exact.  (Click to enlarge.)  From this page, you can choose any word, any definition, to use in your post.  (Please type your chosen word in bold, so we know.)  And instead of our typical 33-333 word limit, we are asking for 99 words exactly. – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.8OvMgQVR.dpuf

5/26/2003 – Things left unsaid

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“Leave your message after the beep.”

*Beep*

“We never get to say goodbye.  You still come to see me every now and then.  It warms my heart that our friendship will never end.”

***

Written for the Trifextra Weekend Challenge.  My friend passed away suddenly, but I know she is still with me.

This weekend’s Trifextra comes to us courtesy of MOV, who often emails us with suggestions for site improvement or potential prompts.  Most recently, she told us about Travel and Leisure magazine’s “Super Short Travel Stories” competition, thinking that we could recreate the same challenge on our site.  We love the idea, but borrowing it outright feels a bit shady, so we’re going to add our own twist to it.  This weekend, we want you to give us a 33-word time travel story.  We don’t usually tell you what to title your piece, but we’d love it if you could title it with the year/date that you choose.

9/11

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There are not many mornings that happened so many years ago that I can remember with such crystal clarity, but September 11, 2001 is certainly one of those days.  If I close my eyes I can see what I was wearing to work that day as I lay on the office floor watching the horrific events of that day unfold.  Even from our homes and offices north of the U.S. border, we all felt stripped of the safety in which we had become so accustomed. The world most definitely changed that day.

Horrors I can only imagine happened to so many people and took so many lives.  In those days and nights that followed, during times of grieving or times of uncertainty, not knowing the fate of so many trapped in a nightmare, there was a sliver of light.  A bright beam of humanity kept glowing light through the darkness of terrorism.  Strangers became saviors, neighbors became friends and the hearts of the world ached for those afflicted with so much pain.  Thousands of hands reached out to help and to salvage some faith in the goodness of people.

Although darkness lurks in the shadows of reality, I like to look for the light.  When tragedy happens, I try to see the goodness in the people who rush to help.  On that fateful day in September 2011, amidst the darkness and chaos, that light never failed to shine.

My prayers go out to all of the families and friends who lost loved ones.  I can only hope you can still see their lights shining.