A Short without a Title (Short Story)

“Hello sweetie!” the woman called out as she opened the front door to the house. The hinged door slammed with a loud bang causing the young girl to jump. The mother could hear Hannah running across the floor overhead.

The child scampered down the worn, wooden steps and flung her arms around her mother.

“How as school today?” the woman asked. “We learned lots and played,” Hannah replied burying her nose into her mother’s snow dusted coat. Her mother patted her on the head and pulled off the coat shaking the tiny snowflakes like powder all over the girl. Giggling Hannah took the coat from the woman’s hands and deposited on the rack in the front hallway. She slyly peeked up the steps and then smiled.

Hannah followed the woman as she walked toward the back of the house and into the tiny kitchen. Dropping her purse on the table she turned to Hannah and asked “Anything exciting happen today?” Hannah shook her head and answered, “No. Nothing special. But it was a good day!”

The mother leaned down so she became eye level to the girl. “I am going upstairs to change clothes and will be back before you know it.” In an act of desperation Hannah exclaimed, “I’m hungry! Can we have dinner first?”

Mother patted her on the head, “Honey, it won’t take but a few minutes for me to change and then we can cook up something wonderful.” Hannah pleaded again. “I’m really hungry mummy!”

“Fine,” the woman replied. She stood up and walked over to the pantry pulling out a box of biscuits. “You can have 2 of these and I will be right back.” Hannah snatched the two biscuits and then said, “Here’s the mail! I brought it in for you.” Smiling proudly.

“Why thank you my little helper.” Patting her on the head, the mother took the mail from her daughter’s tiny hand. As she left the kitchen, Hannah dropped down in one of the vinyl covered chairs at the kitchenette staring at the biscuits pouting.

The woman slowly began to ascend the staircase flipping through the pieces of mail in her hand. Panic quickly overrode Hannah’s state of sulking. She swiftly pushed the chair over sending it to the floor with a loud crash.

Her mother stopped in mid-tracks. “Hannah! Are you all right?” The little girl mustered up pretend tears and blurted out “No!!!!” The woman rapidly rushed down the stairs and hurried to the kitchen. She grabbed the child in her arms and investigated her arms, legs and head for bruises. “Oh you are fine,” she comforted. “You are fine.”

She helped her daughter to her feet and forced the chair upright. “Now be careful. I will be right back.” Once again she departed the kitchen and ventured her way back to the narrow staircase.

Hannah slowly began to follow her up the stairs remaining at a distance. She watched her mother turn the right corner at the top of the steps. Hannah breathed a sigh of relief as she heard her mother gently close the bedroom door.

Hannah glanced down the hallway to her left and quietly crept outside the door to her mother’s room. Only a few moments had passed when mother opened up the door and was surprised when she saw the girl standing outside the door. “Oh Hannah you startled me.”

“Let’s go cook dinner now mummy,” the little girl commanded grabbing her mother by the hand. Smiling in an effort to conceal her growing impatience with the child, the mother responded “I need to use the bathroom first. How about you go downstairs and get the big soup pot out. We can make a very nice stew for such a dreary cold evening.”

“But…”

“Off with you now. I will be right down.”

Hannah stepped backward allowing her mum to pass her. She stood watching. Her heart racing.

The woman entered the bathroom oblivious to her surroundings as she read one of the letters delivered in the post earlier that day. She placed the letter on the counter and began to unzip her pants when she heard the sound of a man clearing his throat.

She spun around in fear and saw a man in her bathtub. Her loud scream caused Hannah to run into the bathroom. The girl stood clutching her mother and peeked out from behind the woman. She winked at the man.

“What the hell are you doing in my house?” the woman managed to sputter.

“Pleased to meet you my lady. My name is Andrew Hall, but I do go by Andy if you like,” he replied as he extended his hand.

Searching for her next words, the mother glanced around the bathroom and saw what appeared to be a pile of soiled, worn out clothes.

She blinked her eyes hoping it would all disappear but the man was still there sitting in her tub.

Hannah tugged her mother’s jumper and whispered, “Can we keep him?”

11th September 2001 (My Thoughts)

9/11

9/11

I cannot begin to fathom that 13 years have passed since our world changed before our eyes. Aside from those who were unborn or either very too young at that time, one would be hard pressed to find one person who could not recall where he or she was or what he or she was doing when the terrorism invaded the United States.

I recall vividly where I was when my mother rang me up to see if we were home and safe. You see, Judy (one of my sisters), Jolynn (one of my dearest friends) and myself had just returned home that morning from an 11-day cross country excursion. Perhaps I will document that tale of adventure in another post. But I digress.

We pulled up to the apartment building around 3:30 A.M. on 9/11. Said our goodbyes. See you later this morning. Off to bed to catch up much deserved rest. However, pleasant slumber would soon be shortened by the sound of the telephone ringing.

“Good! You are home!” the voice on the other end exclaimed. “Yes Mum. We pulled up very early this morning,” I replied. But I could sense something was severely wrong.

“Our nation is under attack,” Mum said solemnly. I stuttered for a moment not fully comprehending what she just said to me.

Quickly I turned on the television and watched in horror as smoke and debris from the first fallen tower spewed over the city like confetti at some warped parade. The two of us speechless. And at that instant the second tower began to crumble like a child’s blocks after being pushed over.

“Is this recorded footage?” I inquired. But I could sense from the gasp on the end of the phone line that this was happening real time. Suddenly my thoughts turned to my sister Margaret who frequented downtown Manhattan way too often on business.

“Where’s Margaret?” I asked. Mum assured me she was home in Atlanta safe. But really, was she? Safe? Were any of us truly safe?

I consider 9/11 to be the day our nation lost the last remnants of innocence. Yes we have seen disaster. Manmade and natural. We’ve seen hatred among our own people. But this touched every single one of us. Life, as we knew it, would never be the same. Ever.

Images of that dreadful day flood back like those taken out of a horror film. To this day, the constant documentaries and news clips serve as a reminder to those of us who experienced the heartbreak and those of us who had yet to been brought into this world.

Each year, we post American flags outside of our house to honour the fallen. We recount the series of events that led up to the stealing of so many human lives. Those on the planes, those in the Trade Center buildings and those at the Pentagon. Lives lost within a matter of minutes.

I ask anyone who may be reading my commentary to spend a few moments this Thursday recalling this disastrous day so the lives lost were not wasted. Remember who all of our lives were touched and hope for the future.

Fairies in the Garden (Short Story)

Four days had passed since the small moving truck had sped down the rock laden road. Their boxed belongings rested in the shed located by the side of the small cottage. Celia could not grasp the rationale of why they had to come to live with Grandpapa. During the six years of her existence she had never met the man. But mum said it was necessary.

The house owned a musty smell. Old items strewn about the home. Celia gazed at the medals proudly displayed on the walls. Grandpapa was a busy man, she thought to herself. She quietly walked down the hall to a small room situated at the southern part of the cottage. The door was ajar and creaked as she slowly pushed it open.

Peering into the tiny room, she saw stacks upon stacks of books and papers. Boxes aligned in the corner. The sunlight entering the window enhanced the dust throughout the air.

“What are you doing in here?” she heard. “This is no place for little girls! Run along.” She turned abruptly and spun right into her grandfather. His unlit pipe clenched in his teeth.

Her mum walked up from behind the towering man and took Celia’s hand. “Why don’t you go outside and play dear?” Celia nodded and quickly ran off to the front door.

Tears running down her face she asked aloud “Why did we have to move here?” As if some caring soul in the distance might take pity on her.

At that moment, she caught something out the corner of her eye. “Ooooo a hummingbird!” she exclaimed. Celia chased the flying creature to the back of the house and into the garden.  It was a sad garden. The flowers dried up, rotten vegetables on the ground. Evidence that small animals made meals of the withered tomatoes.

The little girl began to walk through the towering plants that once hosted beautiful blooms. Just then, she saw the hummingbird again and began to chase it further and further into the massive garden. As she made her way to the end of the shrubbery, she came upon a small creek. Celia was saddened imagining the grandeur that this garden once must have hosted.

She sat down at the edge of the creek and removed her sandals. Dipping her toes gently into the cool water she remembered the time she, mama and her papa visited the beach. Those were happy times. But these now are not.

Leaning back on her elbows she looked up toward the sky and before her eyes she saw the hummingbird again. Stalled in its tracks. Quickly she sat up and gazed at the fluttering wings. She rubbed her eyes and stared again. This cannot be, she thought to herself. But it was. This was not a winged bird rather a very small fairy. The beautiful creature hovered over her head and was soon joined by another and then another. Until there were half a dozen circling her head.

Celia jumped up clapping her hands together. “Fairies in the garden!” she squealed. The sprites giggled in unison. “Might I make a wish?” she asked. They nodded in harmony. She closed her eyes ever so tightly and blurted out, “Make this a magical and happy place!”

“We will need your help to make that happen,” one replied in a quiet, squeaky voice. “You must accept your new station and believe that it is possible. Then it shall be.”

Celia nodded in agreement mouthing the words “I will.” And with that, the fairies waved their wands creating a dust storm so intense momentarily blinding the little girl. When she opened her eyes, she could not believe what she saw. The garden once without life was in full bloom.

“Oh this will be a happy place,” Celia smiled.