Family

In a Perfect World

By Edele Winnie

“Are you Mrs. Dununzio?” The doctor asked. At lease she assumed he was a doctor. He was wearing scrubs, had a pulled down mouth mask around his throat and a smear of blood that was just disappearing from his white coated chest.

Carol Dununzio nodded. “How is she?”

The doctor shook his head sadly.

“She’s not dead then?” Carol had to be certain.

“No.” The doctor said, frowning. “She lived. She’s going to be fine. I’m sorry.”

Carol Dununzio tried to swallow the lump in her throat. Her daughter still lived. Jessica, aged eleven, had survived. What was she going to do now?

A moment later another doctor wheeled Jessica out in a wheelchair. The young girl looked dazed, and the brown hair on the side of her head was matted with dried blood. The doctor tipped the chair and Jessica slid out and landed at her mother’s feet.

The doctors walked away, commenting on how awful the sunny weather currently was.

Carol grabbed Jessica by the arms and hauled her to her feet. The girl wobbled, but her legs held and so Mrs. Dununzio tugged her towards the emergency room doors.

The family car was easy to spot, for it was the least damaged in the lot. It was a fiery red and only the passenger side had been crashed in. The car in the spot next to it had been in so many accidents that it was now a patchwork of different colours as replacement parts had been added. One door was light blue, the next black, the roof was orange and there were other colours and some rust too. The car on the other side had been in a head on and all that remained of the windshield was jagged glass.

Mrs. Dununzio pushed Jessica into the back seat where the dead cocker spaniel was.   They’d found it by the side of the road about a week ago. It was long dead though and there were barely any insects in it anymore. Jessica was still bleeding lightly from her head wound. She lay down on the ripped seats in the back and wrapped her arms around the dead dog. (more…)

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Man in the House

Edele Winnie

“Are you going to peek in the window again?” the little girl asked.

“Isn’t that cute?” Derek poked his wife awake. It was the middle of the night and they were in bed. “Josey’s talking in her sleep.” They could hear their three year old daughter babbling away in the next room.

“Mommy and Daddy are sleeping.” Josey said.

“That doesn’t sound like sleep talk.” Sabrina slid her nightgown on. Josey’s room was right beside and they kept the doors open.

“Mommy’s here!” Josey said when Sabrina appeared.

Sabrina kept a smile fixed to her face. Josey was not sleeping. She was wide awake. “Hi Sweetie. Who are you talking to?”

Josey laughed, and all of Sabrina’s tension evaporated. Josey was a sweet playful child and had probably been playing make believe.

“Talking to the man.” Josey said. “Funny man gives me candy.”

Sabrina tickled Josey under her chin and made her laugh. “Well I think your funny man is probably sleeping now, and so should you. See, its dark outside. That means sleep time.” She tucked her daughter under the covers. “Sleep now. Play when the sun comes out.”

Josey was such a good girl. She gave a big sigh and closed her eyes. Sabrina watched her for a moment and then began to tiptoe out of the room.

The baby monitor on the side of the crib crackled and a male voice said “Josey, is she gone?” (more…)

The Farmer’s Daughter

By Eddie D. Moore

Arno heard the scraping of a blade against a whetstone while he toiled replacing wooden shingles. The old farmer, Mr. Kensett, had been sitting on the front porch sharpening his knife ever since his daughter had come outside and introduced herself. She had given Arno an appraising look with a smile that made Arno blush and the old farmer narrow his eyes. He resisted the urge to remove his shirt for fear that Lomi, the farmer’s daughter, might make another appearance. He did not want the farmer to grow suspicious or think that something uncouth might pass between him and the girl. It would not be the first time that he had been run off of a farm without being paid.

With the last broken shingle replaced, he climbed down the ladder. Lomi rushed out the front door just as he placed a foot on the ground. She carried a single cup and walked past her father without a glance. When she offered the cup, Arno glanced at her father and noted his irritation. He took the cup with a nod and quickly moved to stand directly in front of Mr. Kensett.

“I believe that completes the list you gave me this morning.”

Mr. Kensett put down his whetstone, wiped the dust from the blade on his pants and walked with Arno to inspect the day’s work. “You have an eye for detail. I would say it was worth every coin.”

Arno accepted the day’s wages with a hand shake and turned to go. Lomi ran from the front porch to Arno’s side and grabbed hold of his arm. (more…)

Better than One – Part 2

By Edele Winnie

Sheila’s dead aunt had made a pile of tin cans in Sheila’s kitchen. The horrible shrunken head had respawned there and then rolled out smiling its sickly yellow gray smile.

“Wassup?” The head said. “I’m thirsty.”

Auntie turned to Sheila. “Do you have any Lime drinks?”

“What?”

‘Something lime. He likes limes.”

“Not lemons.” The head shrieked. “I hate lemons!”

“No.” Sheila stammered. “No limes, sorry.”

Auntie turned and walked to the front door and went out. Apparently to get something lime.

“I think I’m losing my mind.” Sheila grumbled.

“Better than losing your body.” The head said and then cackled delightedly.

“Wait.” The head ordered when Sheila began to walk out of the kitchen. “I can make you live forever.”

“I’d like that.” She answered, and forced herself to look at the thing. It was shrivelled and brown but its eyes were bright and alive and staring back at her. She went over to her big flour bin- a plastic container only a third full of flour at the moment. She snapped off the lid and dumped the flour into the garbage can.

Wassup?” the head said. (more…)

Better than One – Part 1

By Edele Winnie

Sheila found the shrunken head after her aunt passed away. The poor old woman had been a miserable crank pot. Even though Sheila was young, she had done her best to make Auntie comfortable in these last months, but the shrivelled old woman had only been angry and full of complaints. Her habits were extremely odd- she hoarded empty tin cans and set out hundreds and hundreds of unbaited but ready to snap mouse traps. As far as Sheila could tell there were no mice in the house.

When it was announced from the hospital that Auntie had passed, Sheila got to work. She’d bundled her short dark hair under a kerchief and rolled up her sleeves.

There had to be thousands of empty tin cans in the house and Auntie had removed all the labels. Sheila loaded them into boxes and dragged them outside. She didn’t know if the recycle truck would take so many. It would probably require more than one truck.

At first the cans had seemed fairly new- still shiny. But deeper into the piles and stacks the empty cans were rusted and discoloured. At the very centre the cans were blackened with mould or age or something. In the centre of the blackest cans she found the head. (more…)

Trick or Treat

By Edele Winnie

“You’re going to have contact.” Marge swirled her pale hands over the crystal ball one more time. “Tomorrow.” She looked up at Loretta. “Halloween.”

Loretta’s legs began to quiver and she swallowed hard. “Thank you Marge.”

Marge smiled. She was not some artful gypsy but rather the stretch and strength exercise class instructor for the senior’s home where they both lived.

I’m going to have contact. Lortetta could not stop thinking about it at dinner that night, about her beloved husband Leroy, dead twenty-two years now. How she’d missed him. She’d been in a strange state of late- feeling isolated and alone, even though she’d lived in the senior’s home for the past seven years. She was no longer connecting with the others, staying in her room more, listening to sad music and remembering. The nurses had decided it was depression and added a little something to her daily barrel of drugs but it hadn’t changed anything. So Marge and the cane gang had decided to take matters into their own hands and cheer Loretta up. (more…)

Pretty Shoes

By Eddie D. Moore

Gavin’s head pounded and he could see nothing but the floorboards when he cracked open his eyes. He had hoped to catch the thief that had been sporadically working the area for months. Unfortunately, the thief had caught him instead. The underbrush at the edge of the property had offered a perfect place to hide and watch the house. The last thing he remembered was the soft shuffle of leaves behind him, a moment of panic, and a stinging pain as something struck him on the back of the head. He should have guessed that the thief would use the same vantage point.

He dared not give any sign of consciousness as quick paced footsteps passed. The board under his cheek gave a slight creek and a breeze stirred his hair as the thief passed into the adjacent room. Other footsteps and rummaging could be heard above him. The steps had too short a stride and were too light to be produced by adults. He began to wonder if the robberies were the work of a group of children. His ears burned with embarrassment at the thought of admitting that a scrawny miscreant had caught him unaware and knocked him senseless.

Gavin slowly surveyed the room, got to his feet and moved to a corner. Through the doorway, a couple feet away, he could barely make out a whispered voice in the adjacent room. The voice seemed too deep for a child and sounded odd, almost unnatural. (more…)