A short glimpse


Hey everybody, I’ve been working on this short story for the past few days. (Still a WIP,) but I thought that I might actually try submitting. There’s no title to this piece but I thought I’d give you a peek. I hope you find it interesting.

 

The Autumn air, (still feeling like a warm summer day) whooshed past her face as she pumped her legs moving upward on the swing. There’s was something so peaceful about being on the swings, they could calm her thoughts even on her worst day. Today had been terrible, for the horrid teacher that she had suffered through last year, had followed her to eighth grade English. Ms. Nielson had picked up right where she had left off from the previous year, with the exception of changing curriculum. Instead of studying authors like Louis Sacher, and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. They were now digging into memoirs, and History, like the Holocaust and reading The Diary of Anne Frank. How she longed for next year when they would be introduced to Shakespeare, or more accurately, Romeo & Juliet. Nielson had picked up right where she had left off, her voice ringing with clear fury, and her frustration showing even more easily in her old age. Why they don’t just let the old bat go; but then the word she despised popped into her head, tenure. For the next few years Nielson would have a permanent residence in the English department of Prescott Junior High, continuing to torture both students and staff with her nasty attitude. Just this year, just get through this year and you’ll never have to tolerate the old bitch again. Nielson might have been granted to torture the lower classmen but the upperclassmen got teachers like Parker, Long, and Kelly, all who were as even tempered as possible and young.

She glimpsed up at the blue mountain backdrop, (a gorgeously, magnificent sight that only The Rockies could provide.) She drifted willingly and happily. She could smell the rich mountain air, and see the Rockies as they were meant to be seen; up close and surrounding her in every direction. She could see the trail, unchanged, the Columbines blooming along it’s edges, as if they were guiding her up the trail. A light breeze brushed against her and pine trees provided shade from the sun overhead. If only she could stay in this memory, but at the very least the memory had served its purpose. To wash away what had clung to her conscious mind, since the guidance counselor had presented her with her class schedule. Now she could go home, now she could stand to be around her parents and deal with whatever might transpire.

“Roxy, Hey girl.”

Roxy broke her stare from the distant blue mountains and looked down the park’s fence alleyway, where Crystal emerged from, smiling broadly.

“Hey Crystal,” Roxy greeted, but showed no signs of slowing down, as her legs took in another pump of the air.

“You know something, every time I come to the park you’re always on the swings.”

“I like to lose myself on them,” she said flatly.

“Me too,” said Crystal, as she mounted the other available swing, next to Roxy.

Roxy felt a wave of annoyance and displeasure wash over her.

“So how’d your first day back go?” Crystal asked then added, “Mine was long and boring.”

“It was all right,” she said, not caring enough to mention her dislike to find out that she had Nielson for another year.

“I’ve got homework already, Nielson,” Crystal continued.

Oh thanks for reminding me, homework on the first day, what kind of teacher gives a homework assignment on the first day back. At least it’s easy. Roxy thought as Crystal’s continued yammering began to sound like static from a radio.

A few minutes later Crystal dismounted from the swing set only to head over to the jungle gym to climb on the monkey bars, still yammering about subjects such as school friends, and her folks. At least that’s what Roxy assumed. Every once in a while when she would tune Crystal back in. At which point Roxy would say “Yeah, that’s ridiculous, or parents are weird.”

It had been shortly after Crystal had dismounted from the swings that Roxy first noticed her. She recognized her instantly. It was that curly haired new girl, she’d seen her around the neighborhood a few weeks before school began, and she seemed different, compared the other girls in the neighborhood; she kept to herself, and seemed shy. But there was something else about this girl that had nothing to do with the vibes she put off, no it was something unrecognizable to Roxy. It almost felt like a question with the answer visible, but still far too blurred to properly see it. So she knew the thing was there and yet, blank.

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The Night Show with Jerry Nicks


(The stage lights brighten and the Jazz band, to the far left of the stage begin to play a bit of smooth jazz, as Jerry Nicks enters the stage, and steps onto his mark, with the spotlight shining on him.)

I watch from the monitor backstage, sweating nervously, awaiting to go on.

He grins widely, showing off his bucktoothed smile, waving to the audience.

Jerry: Hello and thank you very much for that very warm welcome. I’d like to send it all right back to you so.

(A crewman wheels a rack of winter coats over to Jerry. Jerry pulls a coat from the rack; grinning his bucktoothed smile once more.)

Jerry: Here’s a warm gift from me to you; Columbus finest winter coat.

(A round of laugher spreads through the audience like wildfire.)

Jerry: We have a great show for you tonight; we’ll begin with an interview from a new writer with a very interesting voice, Chelsea Brown.

(The audience applauds.)

Jerry: No seriously this woman’s voice sounds like that of a teenage girl, and she’s twenty-five. There must be something in the water in Massachusetts that I need to start drinking, get back to that twenty-something voice I use to have.

(The audience laughs, and applauds.)

Jerry: But seriously, she’s young, she looks a lot younger than twenty-five, but she does have a unique voice for a new writer, and I’d like you all to welcome Ms Brown. Chelsea.

I walk out from backstage, hearing a nice round of applause; as I greet Mr Jerry Nicks.

Jerry: It’s great to have you here; doesn’t she look good for twenty-five folks?

I hear screams and whistles as Jerry and I take our seats.

Jerry: So you’re the first writer that we’ve had on the show.

I smile and nod.

Jerry: You seemed to have gotten a pretty good response from the audience.

Me: Yeah I was surprised; you’d expect that more from a movie star, or pop star, than a writer.

Jerry: Well your book is being well received.

I smile.

Me: It is.

Jerry: Did that sock you at all or did you know, sort like having a sixth sense?

I shift around in the chair.

Me: No, not at all. As a writer you have to expect rejection, while at the same time believing in the story that you’re writing. You basically live on hope.

Jerry: So did you hope for this amount of success?

Me: I don’t think that any writer out there would or even does. You hope to make a living at what you do, and if you do one day see your book on store bookshelves, you consider yourself very lucky.

Jerry: Well you’ve certainly been lucky, and have managed to stay very humble. I like to see that in a guest.

Me: Thank you.

Jerry: Are you working on anything now?

Me: I’m working with a few different ideas, but nothing solid as of yet.

(Jerry nods.)

Jerry: I’ve heard that you treat writing like an actual nine to five job, is that true or a rumor?

Me: It’s true, I find that I am more disciplined if I can sit myself down Monday through Friday and write for several hours.

Jerry: That’s interesting, how much writing would you say that you get done, usually?

Me: If I can write at least one thousand to two thousand words a day, I’d call it a good day’s work.

Jerry: What happens when you can’t seem to write?

Me: If I get writer’s block, I get very distracted.

Jerry: How so?

Me: Well I start out by trying to think up some ideas and usually after an hour goes by I can be found sitting in front of my laptop, staring at the screen, watching the cursor blink.

(Jerry, along with the audience, laughs.)

Me: Seriously my girlfriend will come into my office and say how’s the writing going? I say, without taking my eyes from the screen… Shh! Babe, the cursor’s up to two thousand blinks, two thousand one, two thousand two.

(Jerry and the audience laugh.)

Jerry: Who knew watching a cursor could be so entertaining?

(Audience laughs.)

Jerry: What do you do when watching the cursor becomes boring?

I smile and wiggle around in the chair.

Me: Spin around in my chair; I actually broke my favorite desk lamp last week by doing that.

(Jerry and the audience laugh.)

Me: When I’ve gotten good a dizzy then I play pin the tail on the donkey.

More laughter echoes in my ears.

Jerry: Okay, do you have any techniques; in which you’ll use to make yourself focus on writing if you’re too tired to write?

Me: Coffee is my go to, but I have to monitor my intake very carefully.

Jerry: Why is that?

I smile.

Me: Well… IF I HAVE TOO MUCH CAFFEINE I JUST HAVE THIS OVERWHELMING NEED TO RUN AROUND IN CIRCLES!

I get up from the chair and run around in a circle, then sit back down, with the audience ROFL.

Jerry: No wonder the audience likes you, you’re crazy funny.

I smile.

Jerry: Alright I have one last question for before the break.

Me: Shoot.

Jerry: Where did you get your inspiration for the book, Fill in the Blank_?

Me: I draw from life and my own personal experience.

Jerry: Excellent, well we’ll be right be after this, thank you Chelsea for joining us, it’s been a pleasure.

Jerry and I stand up and shake hands, as the jazz band once again begins to play, then I exit stage right, with more applause echoing in my ears.

Guardian


Phoebe struggled to attach the leash to Shadow; her silly yellow lab, as he wiggled and shook his head. “Relax shadow, hold still for a moment,” Phoebe requested. He shook his head vigorously. “Sit! Hold still!” She commanded. He sat, with his tail wagging back and forth on the floor. “Thank you.” She attached his leash and he ran to the door, letting out two loud barks. “Alright, I know, we’re going.” Shadow put his nose to the ground, sniffing the sidewalk as they walked. They turned onto Chestnut Road; which lay just off of Muddson Street, where they resided. At 9AM Chestnut was already paraded with people and traffic, Phoebe stopped on several occasions to allow Shadow to lift his leg. “Yikes boy, you know we’ve still got a ways to go, no need to stop to pee on every bush, tree, and rock that you see.” As they were walking past The Java House, a regular greeted them. “Well lookie what we have here, how are you two doing on this fine morning?” asked George. “Hey George, we’re doing just fine, aren’t we boy?” Shadow wagged and barked. George looked at his plate; he placed it on the ground, allowing Shadow to lick up the crumbs from his poppy-seed bagel. He laughed as he watched the dog lick at the plate. “Every day, I’ll tell you, he’s no fool. He knows what’s coming.” Phoebe giggled. “Oh yeah, he looks forward to walking by here, well we’ll see you tomorrow George.” He smiled, “Bye you two.”

They walked another half mile down Chestnut Road, until the road forked, leading them straight onto Washington Drive. Shadow’s tail began to wag with more excitement than Phoebe had seen since she woke up. “We’re almost there fella.” She could see the turnoff to the dog park in the distance, but as they got closer to the turnoff, Phoebe could also see what looked to be the silhouette of a man walking in their direction. She stopped to retracted Shadow’s leash, so that he’d stick tightly to her, as they passed by each other; however as they approached the man, he stopped, squatting to the ground, he then stuck out his hand. Phoebe, felt a tad uneasy, but had little time to mull it over in her head; Shadow took off in a sprint, pulling her so hard that she could feel the leash unraveling from her hand, and almost evade her grip. Shadow stopped so suddenly that Phoebe stumbled, she knew that she was about to go over the top of him. Her muscles locked and she prepared for impact, when she felt a hand pull her back. “Whoa there, almost had a nasty spill there didn’t we?” She looked back to find the man who had stopped to pet Shadow standing behind her. “Yes, thank you for assisting me.” She looked at the man feeling extremely confused, wasn’t he just squatting in front of Shadow a second ago? Everything seemed to happen so fast. How could he have possibly moved so quickly? She was at a loss for words; quickly she tried to pull them from her mind. “Umm, I’m sorry; I think I may be a little disoriented.” She paused. “But, weren’t you just squatting in front of me, petting my dog?” He smiled at her, warmly. “Oh yeah, I was about to pet your dog, but then I noticed that you were in trouble so I just reacted.” Phoebe studied the man’s answer for a moment. “Huh? Well you were very quick.” The man smiled at her once again. “I have good reflexes.” Phoebe looked at the man closely; he looked older, possibly to be in his early to mid-seventies. A man his age couldn’t possibly have reflexes that react that quickly, could he? “Well thanks again,” she said, deciding to let it go. “You’re welcome.” He bent down, giving Shadow a pat on the head. “You should go easy on your mother there Shadow,” he said, as he scratched Shadow behind the ears.  His comment to the dog made her stop to think. “How’d you know my dog’s name?” He smiled at her once more. “I saw it on his collar, just before you began to stumble.” “Oh,” she said, feeling taken aback once more. “Well I’d best be off, nice talking with you.” He started walking, with his back to them. “You too,” said Phoebe, with a fog of confusion thick in her mind. Shadow let out a bark, and she was instantly brought back down to earth. “Okay I’m sorry we’re going.” They took off in a sprint toward the dog park, by the time Phoebe had reached the gate, her ribs ached and she was having a difficult time catching her breath. She took a moment once they were safely inside the gate, to inhale and exhale slowly, which seemed to make the aching in her ribs disappear, and also help her catch her breath. Once her breathing was back at a normal pace, she unhooked his leash. “Okay, go crazy and wear yourself out.” She watched Shadow from a picnic table, as he ran around with other dogs, and played tug of war with a piece of rope. A half an hour later she hooked up his leash, and began to walk him home.

Shadow plopped himself down on the sofa, after stopping at the water bowl to have a drink. Phoebe came in from the kitchen with a fresh bottle of water in hand, and noticed, as she took a slug, Shadow, lying on the couch, already fast asleep. She grabbed the blanket that always lay on the arm of the couch, neatly folded, and placed it over him. “You played hard this morning, didn’t you,” Shadow began to softly snore. “Sleep well,” she whispered. She let out a soft giggle; as her phone began to vibrate in her jean’s pocket, tickling her thigh. She looked briefly at the screen, then pressed accept. Her coworker Randy bellowed on the other end of the line. “Phoebe, where are you?” Her eyes darted from side to side, nervously. “What do you mean?” She could hear Randy moving through the restaurant on the other end, till finally the noise in the background had completely faded. “Aaron has you on the schedule today from 10:45 to closing.” Phoebe jumped into the air, she ran to throw on her uniform. “I thought I had today off,” she said, as she buttoned and zipped her khaki’s. “Mike and Liz called out sick, he left you messages.” She buttoned her shirt, and rummaged through her pockets, searching for her name tag. “Well tell him I’ll be there soon.” She clicked disconnect, slipped on her shoes, then grabbed her keys from the counter and stowed them away in her pocket.

Phoebe crossed Muddson and sprinted down Chestnut, praying to catch the number 52 before it left. She could just see it pulling over in the distance to allow passengers aboard. She ran fast, faster than she thought she could. She reached the bus, just as the driver was preparing to pull out. She banged on the side of the bus noisily; the driver opened the door to let her on. “Sorry didn’t see ya,” he announced. “That’s alright.”

Phoebe arrived at The Downtown Bistro, wanting to sincerely apologize to her boss, though she felt that it would do little good. She knocked on Aaron’s office door, which was ajar. “Enter.” As Phoebe walked through the door, she saw a nasty look spread on Aaron’s face. His forehead vein was throbbing, as it usually did when he was angry at an employee. However she noticed that his face looked worse than she’d ever seen it before. His entire face was a fierce shade of red; which made it seem as though the flesh might very well melt from his face. She swallowed a big lump in her throat that took her remaining saliva from her mouth, which made her sound dehydrated as she spoke. “I’m sorry that I’m late sir, in the future I’ll be sure to keep my phone on next time so that I will hear it when it rings,” she said, trying to accumulate saliva. She began to sweat, expecting him to put her in her place, or possibly fire her. “I need someone to cover Liz’s hostess duties in the afternoon,” he began. “Then I also need someone to help cover Mike’s tables and wait on the customers, during the evening shift,” he looked at her spitefully. “The only reason I’m not going to fire you,” he paused, and then smiled at her, with a nasty grin. “Is because, I would like you to cover their shifts.” She exhaled, after holding her breath for a minute. “Not a problem sir, I would be happy to cover their shifts.” She smiled at him, wishing that she could instead flip him off. “Good,” he put his hand in his pocket, and dug out keys. “Since you’re working till closing, I’d like for you to lock up,” he said, as he tossed the ring of keys to her. “Okay,” she placed the keys inside her pocket. He nodded, “I have some business to attend to tomorrow morning. I hope that I can trust you to open up.” Phoebe fixed her face into, what she hoped to be a very serious look. “Sir, you can absolutely trust me.” He nodded, “Excellent, now get to work, we’ve got a long day ahead.” We, don’t you mean me? When Phoebe began her hosting duties there was already a line of people outside, waiting for the bistro to open. Oh lord, it’s going to be a long day. By the time the dinner shift came around Phoebe could feel blisters forming on her feet, she looked around at the tables before going over to wait on her first customers of the night, and knew that somebody would need to carry her home by the end of her second shift. At the end of the night her ankles had swollen and her feet were covered in bloody blisters. She went to her locker to change her shoes. Her blood covered socks stuck to her feet; she let out a yelp as she put on her sneakers. It took her a while to walk to the front of the restaurant, so that she could turn off the lights, and lock the doors to the Bistro. She once again, stowed keys into her pocket, then turned her attention to the parking lot; which was completely deserted. “Dammit; Chris you little shit! Oh yeah Phoebe, sure I’ll give you a lift home,” she said, mockingly, as she looked at her phone. It was just going on 12:30AM; she knew there were no buses running at this time of night. Reluctantly, she rummaged through her backpack, until she pulled out her pepper spray. She began to walk home with it balled up into her fist.

Except for seeing the occasional headlights from vehicles, as they passed by her on the road, there wasn’t a soul to be found. It’s not so bad, what was I expecting? Though she told herself, ‘it’s not so bad,’ her stomach was tangling itself into knots, and her nerves had become even more unsteady than, her job at The Downtown Bistro. I should just run the rest of the way home. It’s not that far, it would certainly be better than walking around town by myself, at this hour. Phoebe started to jog down the sidewalk, but felt a searing pain in her ankles, followed by an explosion of a blister. “AHH! Okay, bad idea, I have to take it easy.” I just need to stay calm; although heart began to beat a bit faster than usual. Later, as she crossed the road into an area that she knew, she loosened her grip on her can of pepper spray. The dog parked looked downright spooky at 1AM. I can’t believe that I was walking Shadow down this road earlier, it feels as if it were days ago. She felt another blister on the bottom of her left foot pop as she continued down the sidewalk, breathing in deeply, and holding her breath for the next few steps, then exhaling. She repeated the process until she’d finally become numb to the pain. Up ahead, a ways past the dog park she noticed a figure coming towards her, but was unsuccessful at making out its form. Her heart began to race, she debated whether or not she should continue toward the figure until she could make out who it is, or walk on the other side of the street. Her logical part of her brain took over, she crossed the road, but just as she’d begun to walk down the other sidewalk, from the corner of her eye she spotted the figure crossing the road over to her side. Finally she saw enough of a silhouette, in the overhead light of a street lamp, to realize that the mysterious figure was a man. Panic-stricken she pulled at the cap of her pepper Spray, but had pulled too quickly. Briefly she could see the can of pepper spray flying passed the light of the street lamp and then hear it land in the darkened gutter; she could hear the can rolling, followed by the sound of it dropping into the sewer. “No,” with that a tear rolled down Phoebe’s cheek, as the man approached her.

The man was large, and looked scarily grotesque in the minimal amount of light, provided by the street lamp. His face had a scar on it which was slit diagonally, from the left corner of his forehead down to his right cheek. She could smell a mixture of terrible body Oder and alcohol which were wafting from his pores. “Well, what’s a pretty little thing like you doing out and about at this hour?” he asked, in a slurred voice. Phoebe was petrified; she swallowed a large gulp in her throat. “You seem shy,” he lifted a finger, stroking her cheek. “Well don’t worry; I can be social enough for the both of us.” A charge of electricity surged through her body causing her leg fly backwards and then swiftly extended, hitting the target that she was seeking. The man grabbed his testicles, and fell to his knees, moaning, and hacking from the pain. Phoebe took off in a sprint shouting, “Help me!” She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, she had just crossed the road from Washington to Chestnut, when she felt a large, heavy mass, latch onto her shoulders, knocking her to the ground. Her hands hit the sidewalk, scraping against the cement, as her body was being pushed into the ground. The large, grotesque, man on top of her shouted into her ear, “Don’t you try that again bitch!” Tears streamed down Phoebe’s face, as she attempted to fight him off, but it did her little good, for he was too big. She mentally tried to prepare herself for what was to come; she could feel his hands on her waist. Her eyes were closed, and she began to tremble when she felt his hot breath on her neck. To her amazement she felt the weight of the man being lifted off of her. She scrambled to her feet to find another man holding the grotesque man up by his throat. He threw the man to the ground, but instead of the grotesque man a getting back on his feet, and fighting the other man, as Phoebe assumed he would, the man scrambled to his feet and ran away in the other direction. Phoebe was still in hysterics, her voice sounding terribly shaky, as she got out a, ‘thank you.’ The man finally turned to her; after feeling satisfied that the grotesque man had disappeared into the night.

Phoebe stood, staring shockingly at who she saw standing before her. “Aren’t you the man who,” “Who greeted you and your dog Shadow this morning nearby the dog park, yes I am.” Though her body was still in a state of shock and still trembling, her mind was going at a mile a minute. “How did, how did?” was all that she could manage to get out. The man simply smiled warmly at her, in the same way that he had this morning. “You needed help; I’m always around to help those who need it.” Phoebe gestured to him with a nod, unable to speak. “How about I walk you the rest of the way home? So that you can be with your dog and rest your feet.” Now she understood. The man who rescued her tonight and who had assisted her this morning was not only a warm, kind, and helpful soul, but he was also a guardian.

A friendship remains


The heated summer sun felt like a dry desert; which was sucking all of the moisture from her face. God, I forgot how dry it is out here. She sprays her face with sunblock and continues on the trail. “I’ll bet it’s been awhile since you’ve gone on a hike like this,” said Katy, as a bead of sweat ran down her nose.

“Yes, it reminds me of just how much I’ve missed Colorado.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet Massachusetts has its own beautiful nature trails to offer.”

“They do, but, I am reminded of an old saying.”

“Oh, what’s that Kels?”

“There’s no place like home.”

The trail was now at its steepest, which made their feet slide from under them a few times, they locked their eyes onto the end of the trail, and pushed themselves toward their goal. They were close to the top. Kelsey however, lost her balance and stumbled. She rolled about halfway down the steep hill, but was able to keep from rolling any further by digging her heels into the dirt. A cloud of dust surrounded her, her allergies now beginning to act up, “Ahchoo!” Three more monstrous sneezes followed. “You forgot to take your allergy medicine didn’t you,” Katy announced, as she waited for Kelsey to climb back up the hill. Kelsey climbed the hill cautiously; however as she climbed she noticed some discomfort in her right ankle. “I think that I screwed up my ankle again.” She stopped next to Katy and they examined it together. “It doesn’t look too bad; you probably sprained a little, or something.” She paused for a moment, to take a closer look, but found nothing that would be cause for alarm. “Do you want to turn around and head back to the car?” “No way, I want to see the view.” Kelsey fixed her boot back on her foot, and put an arm around Katy’s shoulder, they climbed the last bit of the trail together, being careful not to have another incident. As they reached the top of the trail, they were welcomed to a beautiful sight. Horsetooth stretched out in front of them, resembling a beautiful valley. The reservoir sparked off of the sunlight, and the trees along slopes, as well as the mountains in the distance, looked as though they went on forever. “Yep, you could never find nature like this on the east coast.” They stood at that spot, at the end of the trail, for several long minutes. “It’s views like this that make me miss living out here.” Kelsey looked at Katy, who still had her eyes fixed on the view in front of them. “You had your reasons for leaving though,” Katy said, with her eyes still directed at the view.

As they went back down the trail with Kelsey still leaning on Katy’s shoulder, Kelsey felt tension forming between them; tension that she had not felt so strongly since she had moved. She couldn’t still be? Could she still be? Should I say something; maybe I’m just misinterpreting? They continued down the trail with Katy completely mute; which made Kelsey’s suspicions grow. “So your really enjoying your new apartment?” Katy stopped suddenly on the trail; which made Kelsey stumble, nearly causing her to take another roll down the trail. However she caught herself, and balanced herself out. “What was that all about? Why did you stop like that, and could you at least warn me before you decide to do that?” Katy didn’t respond, instead she stared at Kelsey scowling; her cheeks were a deep red, and her vein in her forehead announced its presence, and also looked as though it might pop. “You already asked me that,” Katy shouted. Kelsey was unsure of how to respond. Why is she so angry? Slowly the words found her lips. “You seemed, very, tense, all of the sudden. So I was only trying to break it up, a bit.”

The vein in Katy’s forehead began to relax, and her cheeks weren’t as red as they were a moment ago. “If you thought that I seemed tense, then why didn’t you speak up?”

Kelsey tried to think of how she wanted to say what had been rolling around in her mind, since they had been standing at the end of the trail. “I haven’t felt that kind of tension between you and me since I told you, that I wanted to move to Mass. Things got so tense between us, that it became one of the issues; which led to our breakup. You never did get over my leaving did you?” The vein in Katy’s forehead reappeared. “The reason that things became tense between us before our breakup, is because one day you woke up and decided to just leave; you announced your plans like they were no big deal, as if you could cared less about you and I. That’s why I broke up with you.”

Kelsey felt her cheeks heating up, she knew it wasn’t a result of the heated summer air, nor was it the sun hitting her face. Tears formed around her eyes, but would not descend onto her cheeks. “You knew my situation at home, and for your information I didn’t just wake up one morning and think, gee, I’m board of my relationship with Katy, and I’m also tried of Colorado. I think I’ll leave em both.” She paused for a moment trying to force back her tears; she would not cry in front of her. “I loved you, you meant everything to me, and having to come to the conclusion, that moving would be best was horrible. I couldn’t live with my father anymore, the drinking was all of the time, and the violence was unbearable.”

“He hit you! Why didn’t you tell me?”

Kelsey, now finding it impossible to withhold her tears, they streamed down her face, as if flood gates had just opened. Katy grabbed her, holding her tightly in her arms. Kelsey’s head now buried in her chest, “it’s not something that you want to announce to someone. You feel such embarrassment and shame, it makes you feel worthless.” Heaping tears streamed onto Katy’s chest. “I should’ve told you, I hate that I didn’t.” Katy pat her head softly, and then lifted her head up so that they would be face to face. “It’s okay that you didn’t, you can’t beat yourself up over past events, especially ones that caused you great pain. All that you can do is learn from it. For instance right now I’m learning that I should get all of the facts and information before deciding to end a relationship. Kelsey smiled at her, and for a moment she felt the same way she had for Katy when they were dating. “You’re right.” She hugged Katy, and they held each other for a moment, and then began to walk down the trail again, walking hand in hand till they reached Katy’s car.

As they drove back to Fort Collins Kelsey’s thoughts wandered back and forth. Maybe we could give us another go? The more she thought about the possibility of her and Katy dating, the more her thoughts lead her to conclude… It couldn’t work, I’m in Mass and she’s in Colorado. She knew Katy well enough to know that, she could never leave Colorado. She entered Fort Collins knowing that the relationship between them had gone, but the friendship will forever remain.

A feeling more powerful than emotion


The rain shower had only lasted a few minutes, which was often the case in Rucester, and as Jenny brought her sport’s bag down from over her head; she was reminded of a saying that her parents always told her. “If you don’t like the weather in Rucester, wait about fifteen minutes.” She was glad that the rain had stopped because it was very chilly out and the rain made the chill in the air seem worse.

Her thoughts moved on from the weather conditions as she drew closer to home. I can’t wait for a hot soak in the tub, that would make my arm and the rest of my muscles feel better. Though the aching muscles were a small price to pay; Jenny was still watching the game on replay in her mind; with the umpire’s voice still ringing the word, “SAFE!” in her ears.

With a single block left to walk Jenny began to skip merrily down the sidewalk, as she skipped she started to chant, “The Tenton Tigers kicked your ass!” A few moments later she rounded the corner, with home still a distance away when she stopped suddenly, and all feelings of merriment and enjoyment were lost. A sickly feeling and darkness now surrounded her; in her mind she saw visions of a fiery car crash, followed by a woman’s painful screams of terror; which blasted into her eardrums, echoing in her skull. Pain surged through her head as if a bolt of lightning was charging through her brain, she dropped to her knees, covering her ears. She screamed from the intense pain, with woman’s screams still vibrated her eardrums; she shut her eyes begging for this insanity to cease.

In a flash the fiery vision along with the terrifying screams faded and all Jenny could hear was the beating of her heart; which was beating at twice its normal rate. She drew quick breaths and began to tremble, with tears gliding down her cheeks. A moment later she tried to soothe herself, her breaths became slower and her heart beat more softly; the tears still glided down her cheeks. The pain inside her head was now becoming less intense; within the next few minutes she was able to climb to her feet and wipe away the remaining tears around her eyes. What the hell has just happened to me? And what was that strange vision that popped into my head? A shiver went down her spine, as her thoughts ran a mile a minute. Her thoughts were so random and clouded that she was unable to think straight, finally after struggling for what seem to Jenny to be eternity; she slowed her racing thoughts and calmed herself once more. It was a brief moment of temporary insanity; which was caused by all of the excitement from the game. It’s nothing to freak yourself out over, even more than you already have. You just need to get home and relax.

Finally she moved on from the spot that she’d been frozen at for the last fifteen minutes and she didn’t stop till she reached home.

The slide into home


Jenny was having vivid flashbacks about the softball game as she walked home; lugging her sport’s bag filled with her dirty Tenton Tigers uniform, smelly cleats, her lucky mitt, and her sliding shorts.

She could still hear the crowd screaming as she rounded third, her coach had given her the stop sign as she’d approached third, but her need to tack on the possible game winning point, overthrew her ability to think logically. Nothing mattered to her, except conducting the correct slide into home, which might just give the Tigers their win. Halfway between third and home her right leg fell forward and the rest of her body fell into line, she remembered the feeling of her butt hitting the gravel and how much it sliced through her shorts as she slid to home.

The ball connected with the catcher’s mitt and the catcher stood her ground firmly with one foot on home plate. A moment before their collision all of Jenny’s muscles tensed and locked. Jenny felt her foot sliding over home plate, followed by the full weight of the catcher collapsing on top of her. She remembered the stunning silence, and hearing the sound of a thud and something rolling. Once being pulled from the cloud of confusion, she was able to comprehend what had happened. “The catcher dropped the ball.” She’d heard Jill Peterson shout; which was immediately followed by, “SAFE.”

When the catcher climbed off of her, Jenny saw the ball; which had rolled off to the side. Victory, I accomplished my goal. Her team pulled her from the ground and had hoisted her onto their shoulders.

“I can’t believe I won the game for us.” She jumped into the air and felt a rain drop hit her head. And we weren’t rained on during the game. As the rain began to pour she walked home holding her softball bag over her head.

The first Batter


It is an overcast afternoon with a chill in the autumn air as a crowd of fans take their seats in the bleachers, and the opposing team begins their warm ups. In the locker-room the Tenton Tigers are putting on their uniforms. The captain finishes tying her cleats, and pulls her socks up to her knees. As she stands up to grab her mitt from inside her locker a teammate slaps her shoulder, she turns around to find Jill Peterson smiling widely. “They’re going down today, aren’t they Jen?” She smiles back at Jill, “Absolutely.” “Yes, that’s what I like to hear,” Jill announced as she shook Jenny’s shoulders in excitement. “Yeah alright Jill chill out don’t get overly excited, save your energy for the game.”

Jenny climbed on top of a bench, put her index finger and thumb under her tongue and blew. Her whistle sent an echo through the room; which made her teammates cover their ears in protest. “Alright listen up, it’s cold and overcast out there and it looks as though it might rain during the game,” she pause and looked around to make sure that everyone was paying attention. “Now if it rains I still expect everyone to try their best out there, don’t quit bringing you’re A-game just because of a little moisture. I hope you all dressed warmly and that you’re prepare should the weather conditions worsen, if not I’d throw on something.” Jenny looked around to find a couple of the girls throwing on their softball hoodies that the coach had given everybody. Jenny felt adrenaline course through her body and as the words reached her lips she shook with excitement. “ALRIGHT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”

“WIN!”

“WHO WILL WE DESTROY?”

“THE HOLDEN SHARKS.”

Jenny looked around at her teammates, they wore battle faces. She lept to the ground, “LET’S KICK SOME ASS!” She declared as they ran out of the locker-room.

As they ran into the field the crowd cheered; Jenny felt like she was walking onto the field for the big leagues, she lived for their cheers. She led the team off in some stretches, and then they moved onto their pregame warm ups.

At 3:35 the umpire called “Play ball,” and the Tenton Tigers took their positions on the field. Jenny threw a few warm up pitches to loosen up her arm, with every practice throw she could feel a tingling in her hand that reached all the way up to her shoulder. This game was going to be one of their best of the season, she could feel it. As the batter stepped up to the plate Jenny stared down the plate, and then threw out her first offering, which ended in a strike as the batter had swung and missed. The crowd cheered and whistled, and as Jenny again stared down the plate, her ears slowly tuned the noise out, until all she could hear was the beating of her heart. The blood pumped into her chest quickly as she wound up and threw her second offering. Another strike except this time the batter didn’t even bother to budge. The catcher tossed the ball back to her; alright you can do this one more throw and you’re first strikeout will be over. Her lips curled and she felt a bead of sweat run down her nose, she glanced at the plate, and then stared down the catcher’s mitt. She threw out her third offering and shut her eyes for a half a second. When she opened, it was just in time to see the batter take a swing. She heard a clink and watched at the ball as it flew straight up into the air, it hit the ground in front of her and bounced back into the air. Jenny quickly glanced over, the batter was half way to first base, and Jenny’s instincts told her that the batter would slide. She leaned forward and felt the ball hit her palm; she twisted around and threw to first base. Keli Clark had her foot glued to the base as the ball made contact with her mitt. The batter’s foot hit the base a second later. “OUT!” the umpire called, and the crowd cheered as Keli threw the ball back to Jenny. At least the first at bat wasn’t completely boring. She stared down the plate once more and awaited her second victim.