Fright of the Frostbitten-Upcoming Fiction

Below is a sneak peak from my upcoming, thrilling anthology Fright of the Frostbitten!

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Cover may not be final

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 **

Marnie

 

I wonder about you.

I think you should keep speaking with Dr. Bowe, honey.

 

My husband’s eyes are pleading with me. His suitcase is still in hand as he stand before me. Our front door is open, letting in Jack Frost. I shiver and he finally closes it softly and sit his suitcase by the brown couch. I shake my head. This can’t be!

I was right here, speaking with a customer online. Five minutes later my husband walks in. I try to convince him that a whole nine hours slipped by and I didn’t even notice. How is it I missed such a large chunk of time?

I told the woman goodbye, have a nice day…

I sipped some coffee..

Felt a little sleepy but I blinked.

Sipped some more.

Then the key turns in the lock.

“I promise you, I did not fall asleep! I was right here on the laptop, talking with a customer. I blink and there you are.”

My husband sighs and takes me in his arms. “We are going to solve this. You hear me, Marnie Babe? We are going to solve this.” He pulls back and kisses my cheek. He inspects me more, piercing his eyes into mine before picking up his suitcase and going to the bedroom.

I hear the neighbor’s dog barking outside and an owl hooting somewhere in the distance. I pull my hair back with my hands and exhale slowly. “Come on, think Marnie! Did you fall asleep?” I question myself. Hoping an answer will fly down from the heavens and Bing! Answer delivered.

I am tempted to ask Google where the hell I may have went.

Did I go to sleep? Did I fall somewhere? Sleepwalk?

I don’t normally sleepwalk. I hear of cases where people do, but me? No. I barely have nightmares. Maybe once a year there is a strange dream I’d have, but sleepwalking?

For the last six months I would have periods of time missing. Chunks stolen right from me and for the life of me, I do not know why.

My husband, thank God for him, is patient and kind. He goes to work, pays the bills, make sure we are alright.

Checks on me from time to time.

Sometimes he gets busy and can’t call.

Sometimes, he comes home early, sometimes he don’t.

I wish he would come home on time often.

Now we live in a nice three bedroom home in the middle of Count Town, Maine. It is freezing up here and that is bad because I am a Floridian.

I am used to sunshine and maybe wet days and of course hot Christmases. I have a bikini body still even though I am pushing forty and I keep up my health.

Here, everything is frigid. We are miles away from the nearest grocer and mall and the fields stretch as far as the eye can see.

One night, I spotted a green glowing eyed wolf.

My husband said I have a wild imagination and Stephen King would be proud of me, perhaps I should write a book?

No. I am not interested in a book.

My neighbors…who are they? I don’t think I’ve seen another living soul since we moved here six months ago.

I keep up with my family by calling them, or using Skype.

My best friends are on Facebook so at least I see what they are doing.

I scrimped up enough change for a flight back to Florida soon. I’ve spoken with Bob about it, he’s okay with it but I can tell he is trying to keep Florida at bay.

I understand.

His new job involves being an accountant for a prominent business and he uses our one and only car to get to and from work.

With his next check, he will get me a car.

I can’t wait. The only times I am out is when he is off.

He is not off tomorrow.

Not the next day either.

I meet him in the bedroom just as he is pulling off his socks. The room now has a rancid odor.

“Wash your feet, Bob!”

“Join me in the shower!” He waggles his thick, brown eyebrows.

“I don’t know. Don’t want you to kill me with them things.” I peel off my thick, cotton sweater and peel off my clothes too.

We crowd in our luxurious tub together and have a good time, like old times. Once we are done, I pull on the warm, red silk pajama set my friend Christen Deen gave me as a wedding gift. I slip into and ask if my hubby wants some homemade pizza.

He is pulling on a white shirt, his muscles visible in his arms, evident of his workout regime in the mornings. “Sure, yeah. It’s Friday.”

I pull out the gluten free pizza bread, cheeses and homemade sauce. While taking out the bread, I realize I have a little red sauce under the bed of nails already. Odd.

I run the warm tap water and dig and pluck the red out.

Several of my nails on each hand has the red gunk under it and I wonder why I hadn’t noticed it before.

My husband’s back is to me, he is watching a game.

I go over and lift the back of his shirt.

“Marnie?” He turns.

“Just seeing if, ah, if I scratched you. I got skin, or blood under my nails, I think.”

“You did, but not deep,” he winks.

I don’t wink back.

Maybe one of the pizza packages or sauce packs had sauce under it or something. I shrug and finish the pizza.

An hour later we are cozying up, watching Rings.

I abhor scary movies.

My husband knows this and yet insisted on this? Just because to him, “it ain’t scary enough anyway.”

I pull out my cell phone halfway through the movie to text my mom. I am not in the mood for blood and gore.

Once it is done, my husband turns down the volume and takes my hand in his. “Is everything okay, Marnie Babe?”

I curl up then stretched my toes out on him. “Not really.”

His attention went to my toes and he played with them, gently wiggling each one. “Sorry. Maybe this place is gloomier than I thought.”

“Lonely too,” I poke out my bottom lip for effect.

“I know. My family is from here, but the job offer was too good to pass up. Now we have our own place and not living with roommates to save cash. Isn’t that good?”

“Perhaps.”

“Well, how about once we get your car, we can maybe move in a more city area.”

“I want to go back to Florida,” I say softly. Firm. “I don’t like it here, Bob.”

“I see.” He stops wiggling my toes and watches the black screen, deep in thought.

I finally feel the effects of the food. I get really sleepy and I recall Bob lifting me up and placing me in bed. The covers feel so good and soft on my skin and I drift into the huge pillows and turn my cheek as he kisses it.

You are the perfect wife…

The perfect wife…

 

I snap awake. Eyes open and I see stars, white sparkling stars and hear the wolf.

I wake up because I felt something sharp.

Cold.

I sit up and realize the coldness has seeped into my skin, my hair my face, my back and butt are icy and I think I am in the middle of…

“Where am I?”

I can’t see anything. I am freezing. Cold.

But there is something else.

I feel around me and I feel other soft bodies, cold bodies.

Unmoving bodies.

What the…?

I can’t see anything but the stars above.

They seem farther away than normal.

I am in a hole.

“HELLLLLLP!” I yell.

I feel a naked, cold body press against me when I move to stand. “HELLLLP!”

Oh God.

I try to pray, but I don’t know any prayers.

I close my eyes and-

 

“Marnie. Marnie!” My body is jerking to and fro, my husband’s gray eyes are big. “Where did you go?”

“I went nowhere but to sleep!”

Sleep?” His brow crinkles. For two days? Not here?” He whips out his cell phone.

I am in my same PJs and I touch my hair. It is wet. My brown strands dark and slick with cold water.

“Honey, jump in the bath. I ran a hot one for you and I have the heated blanket-”

“When did I get here?” I ask.

*If you’d like more of this short story, stay tuned for its conclusion and more in Fright of the Frostbitten. Tentative publishing date is February 2018!

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Let’s Chat About Falling…

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

This time of year I bring out the cinnamon sticks, baked apple aerosol sprays and buy Apple pies and Sweet potato pies.

For real though. Those Seasonal Yummy Febreeze sprays are nothing but the truth! I own the Baked Apple scent.

Cinnamon sweetness permeates the air and the days are shorter than the sleep I get on longer nights.

I found an article online that was quite interesting. Ever wonder why there are two names for this season? Fall and Autumn?

You’d be surprised.

According to Dan Nosowitz for Atlas Obscura,

“Autumn coexisted with “harvest” as a loose description of the season.”

Fall is fairly new to us. Autumn and Harvest existed way before Fall’s 16th century appearance.

The catch is that Fall caught on hard for us Americans…

In fact, the article quotes a passage from H.W. Fowler’s 1908 essay which argues that “fall is much superior to autumn.”

It is simply easier to say and actually sounds like what occurs: the falling of leaves, the fall of the sun earlier than before, etc.

So Fall is the norm in the U.S and the U.K, however in the U.K. autumn is common.

What does this have to do with anything?

If you have not already done so, you can download the first 15% of The Fall of Autumn short story collection on Smashwords now for free.

I guarantee afterwards you’ll want more.

Enjoy the fall inspired stories of falling in love, falling for a stranger, for a ghost, for a cyborg.

Fall is about more than crisp air and anticipation of the festive holidays.

Fall into Hope.

Fall into Change.

Fall in Love.

If you enjoyed this post, show it some love! Share, like, comment and subscribe if you like what you see.

~Ericajean

Fiction Friday Challenge: Yassss, I Stomp Spiders, Girl

spiderweb
Image of spiderweb by Tuur Tisseghem

 

Synopsis: Yona confides in a new bestie about her philandering boyfriend and learns no one is ever who they seem to be.

“So tell me again what happened?” Melody crossed her legs over her bed and flipped back her now short cut bobbed blonde hair.

I started from the beginning, feeling piping hot anger all over at what Otis did to me.

” I came home early—”

My phone vibrated against my  thigh, cutting me off.

Melody shook her head at the phone in my hand. This will make ten calls Otis has made now.

Don’t pick up the phone. You know that he’s only calling because he’s drunk and alone.”

I shut off my phone before continuing with the sad details from 48 hours ago.

I don’t know why I’m torturing myself. Reliving those moments of arriving at Otis’s apartment after my Zumba class off campus. I was excited about our Taco Tuesday since I burned off enough calories to replace it a little.

Instead of knocking, I finally used the house key he had copied for me, and as soon as my gym bag hit the plush carpet, I heard squeaky bed noises upstairs. There was music playing too, but not too loud.

I close the door firmly.

That was when the noise kicked up in crescendo and I hear the unmistakable keening of a satisfied woman.

I stomp up the steps wishing to God I had my switchblade. I will just have to use my knuckles instead.

Otis bursts from the room. I catch a glimpse of a long, creamy thigh hanging off his bed, rear-end high up but face down.

He slams the door and comes fully out, he tries to reason with me.

I smack his face so hard the print of my hand lingers crimson on that fine face of his.

I try my hardest to get to the door and see the chick who has replaced me so I can hit her as well but Otis, along with a string of apologies from his fat lips, picks me up like I weigh no more than a pamphlet, and carries me downstairs kicking and screaming.

Once he sets me down, I stare at his ripped body and black military cut hair. He was so beautiful.

And so not mine anymore.

“Yona…” He pleads.

I hold up a hand. “Save it. Just. Save it. I’m tired.” I run from his apartment. He calls my name.

The only thing I could see in my mind, was a female’s a red overworked butt with a black spider tattoo on the lower back.

I drove off to nowhere and somewhere for a whole damn two days. They went by in a panoramic blur: I drank in bars(I’m 21, okay?), I remembered partying, talking to dudes, passing out then waking up in someone’s car.

A stranger brought me to campus in my own car. Some dude who I remember crying on his shoulders and who kept telling me “It will be alright. It will be okay.” The scent of Doublemint gum and Irish Spring still lingers in my foggy mind.

As soon as he dropped me off last night, I puked out my guts and sorrow, showered and passed out.

I was asleep until Melody walked in from her English Lit course.

The only person I can put all this junk story on was the prissy, super smart Melody who proclaimed she hated all men.

When I was done telling her my sob, drunken story, she shook her head in sympathy.  “You’ll find a new man soon.”

Her phone pinged and whatever she saw on the screen, caused her eyes to bug out and the phone ended up slipping to the floor with a hard thud.

When she leaned over the bed to get it. I saw the spider tattoo with its long webbing…dark and mocking.

Inched its dark webbing deep into my murderous heart.

No way there would be two girls with the exact same spider tattoo…

I sigh. Dammit.

I tried to make it one more year without getting locked up.

“Melodyyyy?” I say in a sing-song voice. “Did I mention the description of the girl who slept with my man?”

Melody sat up holding her phone with visibly shaking hands.

I cracked my knuckles, rotated my arms and shoulders.

At least this way, I will get a more effective workout…

Copyright© 2017 Erica Jean Smith

**Thank you for reading folks! As usual, please share and subscribe to this blog if you like what you read! It is all about building a connected group of readers who also enjoy writing. Head over to Marquessa’s amazing blog for more Fiction Friday prompts as well!

Fiction Friday Challenge: The Shape of the Sun

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Image of sun over water found on Pexels.com

 

 

Synopsis: A blind man questions the validity of his life in his darkest moment yet. Until a kind voice reminds him of something so true, it is a fire to his soul…

My story may never get told. It will lump in with the rest like pieces of unleavened bread. Perhaps written down on parchment and washed away at sea.

But I met him.

It was on a very hot, incredibly dry day and I sat on a stone with a heart as heavy as said stone.

An outcast. In every sense of the word. As a man, I knew I must work, provide for a family(I had none) and be a commendable person of society- but who can do that in the dark? Who can do that without love?

On that dry, hot day. I contemplated something heinous. I contemplated asking for a sword to stab into my gut or kindly asking a stranger to permanently place me in darkness. Since I lived there as a blind man anyway. What difference can it make?

I heard the footsteps. The crunch of sand, before a gentle voice spoke. There were more voices. Some ridiculing me and telling the kind voice to leave me be. But he stayed.

“He must have done something wrong. He has sinned!”Screamed the voices. “And look at the whiteness of his eyes! Is he the devil?”

The kind voice, I did not hear for a moment. Then he said something so fair. So sweet and true. So true, it was not of this world.

He told the others. “This man, nor his parents did any wrong. He is blind because he was fashioned for my Father to do this miracle.”

“Who are you?” I ask.

“I am the Light of the World.”

I heard him hack up something from his throat—-Spit. Then he asked someone to pass him a stick. He told me he was mixing his saliva with earth and will pack it onto my eyes.

I remember clamoring up inside. The brutal beatings, the fights I got into, nearly being pushed into a pool of water to drown. My heavy heart…

Now someone wants to place spit on my eyes.

I did not believe in Miracles. Not in some magical person who can heal. Although I heard the stories. Even if he could open my eyes. I was man born into darkness. What will I see? What do people look like? What is earth? The shape of the sun? Will I know and run around frightened?

I feel cool mud cakes being slapped onto my eyes  and Ah! It hurt. It burned like a million fires into my skull and then moments later a cooling sensation sizzled.

“Do you know where the Pool of Siloam is?” The kind voice asked me.

“I do.”

“Go now and wash it off there, Celidonius.”

It’s funny how people say now how faith as a mustard seed moves mountains. It is now in this life that I realize faith plays a huge role in anything, however God can do what he wants. I was a tool. An example of what can happen outside of the natural realm using natural elements. Funny, eh?

I did as instructed that day. Rinsed off my eyes, slapping cold water on my face, and before me was movement. This coolness is called moving  water. The bright disc in the sky, our sun graced the world like a gold finger laying on top of the water, and there was movement in the sky. Animals. Flying ones my mother told me about.

Later after the naysayers accused my healer of being the devil, I stood by the same pool and the kind voice asked me if I believe in the Son of Man.

I turn to him, the heavy lead of my heart my doubting heart becomes softened. His skin was same as mine. Some may say Jasper and his eyes were dark opals which shined brighter than the sun.

“Lord, in your eyes, I’ve found the missing pieces.”

I truly have. Enlightenment is like being pregnant and finally giving birth and letting out the joyous burden. It is a kindling for your soul and your mind and all my worries, my parents, even me being born blind finally made sense. It took no words. No needing to attend the synagogue to debate with the Pharisees and Saducees for Scroll answers.

My Lord looked on me kindly. It was all I needed.

Eyes. Jeweled windows of the world and still so many are left in darkness.

Copyright© 2017 Erica Jean Smith

*Thank you all for reading this. It demonstrates perfectly how someone can love you back from the depths of darkness. Please read and share! Head over to Maquessa’s blog to join in on the Fiction Friday fun!

Betrayal Has a Name-Conclusion

A Woman's Face
Photography of woman’s face by John Rocha

Betrayal Has a Name: Conclusion

My problem is that I always feel something is there, even when I’ve lost it. My leg. My beautiful leg Jonathan always groped and tickled, just right under the knee- is now gone. I am told to be grateful I still have my piano fingers. But I have no leg and I am in awful pain.

Alista pushed herself up in the bed, just as Patsy, Jonathan and Coby walked into her room. In that order. Her mom, Patricia Michaels stood up, erect, dignified. Nodded at each friend briefly. “Please. Make it short. She needs her rest.” Adjusting her heavy pewter coat with white fur lining the hood, Alista’s mom walked out the room. Her heels clicking hard. The sound of importance and success. Alista only hoped to be like her someday. Unaffected by life, taking charge as problems come.

“Hey baby,” Jonathan leaned down. Kissed her lips gently. She couldn’t feel it. Her lips were too dry and cracked. Noticing her discomfort, he poured her some water from the pitcher on the side table and added the short, tiny white straw. “Drink.”

She sipped a little as he stroked her hair, telling her he missed her and asking about her health and did she dream of pianos.

Meanwhile she caught the faint surprise on Patsy’s childlike face. That brown, beautiful face of a cherub. But her eyes held a shine. Tears. “Oh, Alista!” She came over and leaned down on Alista. Patsy’s soft body smelled just like Jonathan’s arm. Baby powder and Dove soap. “Hi! Are you okay? I am so, so sorry!”

“I miss my leg.” Alista said. “I would borrow yours, but you have incredibly short, turtle ones. I’ll manage.”

“Still find time to crack jokes, huh?” Jonathan stepped back from Alista as Coby narrowed his eyes at everyone. Alista waved her hand. She knew Jonathan hated how she picked on Patsy. Ever since high school Patsy was just easy to like and tease at the same time. She couldn’t help it.

“I have to. I’ve been in an accident on my way to perform.” She took Coby’s offered hand. He kissed the back of hers.

“You are a perfectionist, Sweetheart.” Coby’s handsome pierced face and blue eyes shone with affection for her. Alista loved her childhood friend. Suddenly she wish they could start that band he’s been meaning to put together.

But Alista wanted to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. Jonathan’s eyes usually soft for her, were now hard. With concern or…something else?

Patsy appeared skittish as usual. Such a shy kitten. But Alista could see clearly that Jonathan was protective of their little friend.

“When I said break a leg,” Coby began. “I was only joking.”

“You know I always took your advice.”

“How does your body feel? I mean. Are you going to be alright?” Patsy asked her.

“What’s crazy is I think I feel my leg.”

“What?” Patsy asked touching the railing. “What do you mean?”

“Phantom limb effect I believe. Remember in psychology class? When the teacher talked about losing a limb but still having the feeling that it’s there?”

“Oh, yeah.” Patsy and Jonathan said at the same time.

“Anyway,” Alista ran her hand down the severed limb part. Grateful the blanket was covering her. “It may be gone, but I still feel it.” She paused and sat her cup down. “We lose something and still feel it is there. Now it hurts more now that it is gone, than if I had it. Doctors said it had to be done.”

“Wow,” Patsy bit her bottom lip. “It had to be done to rescue you from worse hurt you know.”

“Yeah. You wouldn’t be with us, otherwise.” Jonathan shifted, placed his hands in his pockets. “It must be done.”

“I keep thinking,” Alista sat up even more. Slightly grimacing as everyone leaned in closer to hear what she had to say. “I keep thinking, maybe if they could have left it on. I can walk on crutches you know?”

“You would still suffer,” Jonathan offered. “Why have something that is crippling you. Why would anyone want that? Plus, you are here. You needed to be cut out from that car.”

“You sound insensitive. Why would anyone want their leg cut?” Coby interjected.

“No one wants it,” Patsy glanced at Jonathan’s face. “But if something is not working or if it can rescue you from a world of debilitation and pain. Why keep it?”

Alista shook her head. Coby suddenly took her hand again while Jonathan’s remained in his front pockets, but his eyes still loved her. In whatever form it was conveying. It had to be love.

Yes, it was still there.

*************

Copyright 2017 Erica Jean Smith

*If you have not already, please read the interesting first part of this story. Then check out more amazing quick tales via this blog! Your likes, comments and shares are all appreciated!

Betrayal Has a Name(a really short story)

A Woman's Face
Photography of woman’s face by John Rocha

 

Patsy swung the door open hard. Not caring that it banged against the chalky, white cheap wall of her studio apartment. Not caring that some friends and family were eyeing her with strict concern. She took herself out of there and fast needing to be the first to reach her friend Alista.

“Wait,” a firm touch and clasp of his warm hand, grasped her elbow as she tried to take that last step. Jonathan’s eyes roved over her body. A tingle broke through her, beginning from her arm where he touched her and pooled in her belly. Where warm, illicit feelings stirred.

She removed his hand quickly with a pop of her hand. “What do you mean wait?” She spat. “Let me go to her. She’s my friend.” Every word was enunciated, hard. Like each nail driven into wood. Meant to close the deal and seal the truth.

But they were both liars and Patsy knew this bone deep.

Now it was Jonathan’s turn to frown. He looked at the short, cute girl wearing the gray pullover hoodie and whose sweatpants never looked better on another girl. Her body was perfect and her small face even more perfect. Her lips always begged for his kisses. How is it that I ignored this girl in high school? Not only is she incredibly hot, but so sincere. “I think we passed that line two days ago- don’t you think?”

Patsy bit her bottom lip. Even had the decency to look nervous and guilty. She looked up at Jonathan. His eyes, were trained on her lips. Now she remembered. Never did he look into her eyes when they would all hang out together. He always looked at her lips. And when she spoke, he always backed her opinions. Her, Alista, Jonathan, and Coby were the best of friends since high school.

Jonathan dated Alista, the pretty pianist with the big, chocolate eyes. He dated Alista all four years of high school.

High school was over now.

Now, they were deciding on college, jobs, and ultimately if there really was a pot of gold at the end of relationships. They both knew they shouldn’t hurt Alista anymore. Alista has been hurt enough. By her family, this sudden accident and now this…

“We have to see her. She is at the hospital. I’m done with…with this.” Patsy crossed her arms over her small breasts, watching as Jonathan licked his lips.

What have they done?

What have they done?

Jonathan wrapped his arms around her. Not caring who may see them. “I told you before,” he whispered. “And I’ll say it once more. You have always been the one for me. Maybe if we tell Alista the truth, it won’t be as hard for her to take later.”

Patsy shoved him hard and made it all the way to her car door and was about to pull it open when once again Jonathan’s arms wrapped about her. She forgot how fast he was, being a former track runner and running back for their high school football team.

Her phone buzzed.

His rang- had a stupid ringtone.

Both rang at the same time.

She pulled hers out of her pocket. Alista’s cousin’s face bloomed all over it, causing a knife to stake its way into her chest.

Jonathan showed her his screen. Alista’s mother was calling him.

It is moments like these where it is inappropriate to think of the late day showers with Jonathan’s muscular, powerfully built body pressing hers into the cool tiled wall, grunting, groaning, praying her name aloud.

Or in the morning, with her body spooned with his. Excited and tortured by his teasing lips.The cries of near pain and ecstasy as Patsy realize he was indeed a very, very experienced lover which caused her to nearly lose her voice. Probably one delicious reason Alista stayed with him.

The reason Patsy should have left him alone.

“I want you, Patsy. Let’s tell them the truth.”

Cold prickles marched down her neck like ants. “I don’t want to take this call.” She swallowed. “I don’t want to tell any truths.”

“It could be bad.” Jonathan agreed.

This time it was just his phone buzzing.

Alista’s mom again.

*************

Stay tuned for the conclusion on Friday/Saturday! For more short stories visit My Flash Walk Fiction Page!

Copyright 2017 Erica Jean Smith

 

‘Seaweed Eyes’, A Brief Autumn Romance(Flash Walk Fiction)

 

**Below, you’ll find a very brief Autumn romance fit for readers of young adult fiction, love, and general literature. I hope you like this treat and feel free to comment and share. I will update the last part sometime this week**

seaweed

Seaweed Eyes

Part 1

Hoping against hope, I sit on grandma’s swing, under the shady tree, the large one I used to be afraid of as a child until one day I saw a beautiful, emerald caterpillar undulating on its branch. The tree couldn’t be all bad if beautiful creatures took up residence there.

I swing my feet out, my church shoes looking like horse hooves and kicked back and forth, my long legs were spindly and my shoes kept kicking up the dirt patch, but the sun was warm, friendly and not unbearably hot.

Hoping against hope, I pray he doesn’t show up. Every Sunday dinner since I was ten, he came by with his son. The one with the bowl hair cut, sneaky smile and dingy clothes.

I stop my swinging and finally make up my mind to tell Grandma Olsa.

“Grandma!” I yell into the house. I pull open the front door and hear it scream in protest as I dash upstairs to where grandma was knitting by the window. They look like small hats, for a baby.

“I don’t want Casey and his dad here. I hate them!”

Grandma slowly lowers her knitting needles and turns away from the window. After she sighs she then says, “Dearie. Never say you hate someone.”

“I don’t like them, Grandma,” I whine. Now I feel six instead of sixteen. “That boy is always looking at me, like he wants to eat me. He is kind of chunky.”

“You hadn’t seen him all summer, why worry now Elesa? We go to the same church and his family is in need sometimes. Giving him a free meal once in a while and some friendship is the least we can offer.” Grandma Olsa stands up in a beautiful, print dress of sunflowers and I admire her long, silver hair which is incredibly healthy and thick.

“Well. Do I have to talk to him?”

“I would like for you to be polite,” Grandma Olsa says just as a firm knock on the door downstairs confirms the worst.

They’re here.

With the house smelling of sweet yams, buttered biscuits and grandma’s briskets memories of the last Fall sweeps through me and I feel a kind of nostalgia come over me. Last year’s cinnamon raisin cookies, the large green Christmas tree with lots of presents under them.

The unopened presents mom and dad will never see.

I take the steps one at a time slowly, not excited about seeing the dark haired Casey and his thick shouldered giant of a father.

Grandma opens the door wide and opens her arms wider for Casey’s dad. “Come in fellas! You’re just in time!”

I turn on the dining hall’s lights as Casey’s dad enters.

I keep looking around the man for Casey. Grandma holds the slender yet toned fella next to Casey’s dad.

The boy has his hair in a small bun at the nape of his neck and his eyes are the color of seaweed, framed by curly lashes.

He is mighty fine.

“Elesa. Aren’t you going to hug Casey?”

I swallow hard.

This. Can’t. Be. Casey.

***Story inspired by a great prompt on Pinterest!***

Copyright 2016 by Erica Jean Smith