By Edele Winnie
Ellen cursed and tried to start the school bus again. The morning was cold and it was starting to rain. The motor coughed and choked but did not catch. The last of the other school buses had just left the muddy lot. She pounded the steering wheel angrily while the rain began to drum on the roof.
All the grade school kids would be waiting in the storm. She had no way of contacting anyone at this point. Ellen considered giving up, but shook it off. She just wasn’t made that way. She was a fighter. She found herself staring at number 13, the bus at the back of the lot that was never used.
It had begun to pour. The dull grey sky dumped a slurry of rain onto the bus lot. With her coat over her head, Ellen hurried to the little building- they called it the key shack- where things were stored. The keys, all gone now, had labelled hooks. The hook labelled thirteen was empty. It had always been empty.
There was no phone in the shack and Ellen had forgotten her cell phone. She could drive somewhere, she thought, and phone her boss. By then all the kids would be wet and late for school. Thunder cracked overhead and startled her. The rain was pounding down and she did not want to rush out. There were cupboards in the shack and she began to look through them. She found the keys in the old table with the battered drawer. The key fob read thirteen. There were two keys, one was obviously for the ignition and the other appeared to be for a padlock. There was a raincoat by the door and Ellen pulled it on quickly. If she was going to get those kids to school on time she had to leave now. She opened the door and ventured out into the storm to number thirteen.
She did not look long because she was hurrying in the rain but the bus looked fine. The tires looked good and there was less rust than on her usual number 42 bus. The door was padlocked. Ellen fiddled with the keys and popped the lock off and climbed the steps. The bus did not smell like feet, or lunches, or little girl nail polish. It smelled a little musty. Outside the storm hammered on the bus roof, lighting punched the sky and thunder howled. Ellen was safe inside. Continue reading
“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?” Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
I am the most pathetic person in the history of the world. Sad, pathetic, heartbroken, foolish and really really stupid. I have given my heart away- fallen madly in love- with a three legged giraffe. His name is Alphonse and he lives at the Little Acorn Petting Zoo.
My name is Sheila. I am not a moron or a crazy animal rights person. I am a perfectly normal twenty eight year old woman. Kind of short, sort of skinny, with middle length brown hair that has been called mousey- which is really unfair. Mice come in different shades you know, and my hair is nicer than all of them. Yes, I don’t like mice. Who does?
I went to university for one course too many and my combined masters degree in archaeology and exercise science found me a job at the snack bar at the Little Acorn Petty Zoo. It was seasonal work because the place was closed in the winter and I told myself that it was just temporary but after the fourth year I was unsure about my future. Was this really what I wanted to do with my life?
I was already hooked you see, and didn’t even know it. Like I said, I’m no crazy animal person. I had a cat when I was a kid and it ran away and I don’t really blame it. My mom shouted a lot and my dad was really fat and I spent a lot of time alone in my room. I guess that’s where it all started. Me alone in my room feeling trapped like a freak in a zoo. Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
“These are good quality snippers.” Mark commented. He was a tool guy, so he knew what he was talking about.
They were pruners, the long handled kind, well used, probably fifty years old.
“They don’t make things with this kind of quality anymore.” Mark continued, handing them back to Sheila, his pretty, petite brunette wife.
She accepted them carefully. The pruner blades were shiny and extremely sharp. Someone had taken very good care of them over the years. Even though her hands were small the pruners seemed to fit her perfectly.
Mark and Sheila had liked the house the first time they saw it. It was small, but they were not planning children. The house was in good repair and the surrounding garden was impressive. It was not fancy but rather well maintained and lovingly cared for. Sheila imagined that the pruner had been used to trim the lilacs and dogwoods. Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
The thunder woke him. House shaking, teeth jarring thunder- sounding like an angry god right over top of their little house. He rolled over to see if Deanna had been woken as well but she wasn’t there.
He waited but she didn’t return. She’d always been a bit spacey- it was one of the things he liked about her. She wasn’t intellectual- she was emotional. She’d been called ‘slow” but she wasn’t- she just felt things first, before she thought about them.
She wasn’t in the bathroom, or the living room, or the kitchen. Had she gone outside? She liked storms and would often sit on the porch – tasting them, she called it- feeling the thunder, seeing the bright lightening flashes, inhaling the wind. Continue reading
By Edele Winnie
Are you paranoid? I’m paranoid. I was freaking born that way- so it’s not my fault. “For example– I noticed the pickup truck right away. It was one of those ones with a cab on the back. Brown, with crappy fake wood panelling. No one on my street has a pickup truck like that. There was some dude sitting in it too. Great, I thought, a new stalker after my sweet little ass. I peeked between the blinds several times. Men have this problem with me- mostly they want to have pets I think, and I’m not a tameable. To the eyes I’m a cute skinny brunette. Also, I’m kind of like a hyena. I‘ll chew your leg off and laugh about it- nothing personal, it’s just the way I am. Don’t cross hyenas, man. Continue reading
When Leslie Eaton died her husband Derrick did not know what to do. They were young, both thirty-four and she had somehow been his connection to the world. After her death he went through the motions of daily existence without really being present. He was adrift.
Until he met the woman in the tree. Continue reading