Day of the Dandelion
A little girl, running through a field, unchaperoned and free, felt the soft sun on her face, and the fresh air catch her up in a swirl. Her loose smock dress with cabbage roses and lilies, and wild unkempt hair flew around her, joining with the nature around her. Wildflowers and weeds around her, she tiptoed and pirouetted through the open field. For a short cage of time, she was allowed to play outside, barefoot, feeling the dirt and the weeds under her toes. She spun around and then fell, tired and dizzy from her personal merry-go-round. It was such a change from school and being in the house doing homework the rest of the time.
Faces of Future
The screens flashed at midnight as they sat in the dimmed room. “Happy New Year!” The girls of Iota Delta Iota Omicron Tau raised their glasses of sparkling cider as they celebrated the arrival of 2069. Banti77, 4Donna4, and Kar3n stayed in a room at their sacred sorority house on the campus of The University of Mid Southwest Coastal Florida. As part of this sisterhood, they shared holidays and many conversations about the past and the future.
Rebuilding the Earth
“I’ve done so much and so little at the same time,” Paul said to his son Gordon. “I’ve been respected and vilified, praised and maligned.” He swirled the lemon in his tea. “I’m stuck in this gray area. I’ve made billions, but my charity work isn’t enough.”
Macaws and Marmosets
This was the first day on her new job as an intern for a conservation crew. Carrie first noticed something unusual when the poachers were arrested in their high-rise mansion in San Diego. Among the torture tools of the trade, left behind were horns, rugs, bad examples of taxidermy, and trophy heads mounted on the walls. Once the poachers were arrested, the contents of their trade went into evidence. Carrie wondered: what happens if something is still alive?
The Lake of the Innocents
Headmaster Percy Blackburn took his spectacles off and polished them with a cotton handkerchief. He repeated this habit often, which signaled to the girls of the Chiller’s School for Young Women he was agitated, upset over a perceived transgression from one of his charges. Euphemia Wood, his assistant, would immediately fetch him a glass of absinthe in response. It was a habit that repeated itself often.
It's Spooky Time Once Again
A spooky playlist for Halloween? Do you mean the one I listen to every other week just because I want to see the reaction of those willing to let me drive them places? The one I listen to in the car when I’m by myself, windows down, July? This challenge is right up my alley. Of the 60 or so stories and poems I’ve written and submitted to Vocal so far, I’ve touched on a cemetery setting twice, end-of-life scenarios four times, the underworld three times, a requiem, a conversation with a ghost, a review of a haunted amusement park, and my own eulogy. A prevailing theme permeates much of what I like to write. A playlist to go with the normal dark side of me as well as the Spooky Time decorations I put up weeks ago already? Yes. Very yes.
The Change that Happens Late in Life
Her hand in mine. Her hand was warm but she held on tight. The six of us continued looking at the machine with the numbers, watching, waiting. Top number was the heart rate; below that were other numbers: blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and respiration. The glowing digits in the darkened room changed every moment as the tendrils of tubes measured the last bits of my mother’s life. An hour earlier, I had jokingly bet which number would reach zero first – respiration. I would be right.
October 29, 1983: [Michele] “Hey. Whatcha doing for Halloween?” [Barb] “I dunno. Why don’t we drive up to that old cemetery by Sandy’s house?”