How To Find What You Came Here For

Welcome to the worlds that populate my brain!
The short stories you find here are the product
of a vastly overactive imagination
powered by coffee and M&Ms.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Missed Connections

The meeting had been arranged by the agency.  It was in a city that was between the separate cities they lived in – neutral ground.

Well that was the theory, anyway.  Cora knew that theory had some big holes in it, starting with this ageless one: how do you put the lid back on a can of worms once you’ve opened it?

Arriving at the restaurant, she was led to a secluded table toward the back.  Relief shivered through her when she saw the empty table and realized that she’d arrived first.

Her relief was short-lived; only minutes later she saw the maĆ®tre d leading an older woman toward her. 

Cora slid her hands into her lap, in case they were shaking, and waited for the woman to sit down and go through the ritual of ordering a drink.

Silence hummed between them as they looked at each other for the first time, face to face. 

“Thank you for meeting with me,” the older woman’s voice was low, and whispered with nerves.

“I had to think about it for a while, but…” Cora faltered and the other woman leapt to fill the gap.

“I understand.  Really.”

“Mrs…” Cora sighed a little and met the woman’s eyes directly.  “I’m not sure what to call you.

“Eve is fine.  Or you can call me Mrs. Morton, if you’re more comfortable.  Either is fine!”  She pressed her lips together as the waiter approached with their drinks.

Once the waiter moved on, Cora picked up her wine and sipped at it.  She didn’t really want it, but it gave her a chance to study the woman sitting across from her.  When Eve also picked up her glass, Cora figured she was doing the same. 

Their eyes were different shapes, and so were their lips.  But they shared a nose that turned up just a bit.

They’d exchanged some e-mails through the agency before meeting.  Cora had made sure to tell Eve that her parents loved her, and that she’d never harbored any ill will.  Eve had made sure to tell Cora that she wasn’t intending to replace her parents.  Boundaries established, a lunch date had been set.

“Cora…I’ve wanted to meet you for so long, and now that I have…” Eve frowned and looked down at her hands.

“You don’t feel a connection the way you thought you would,” Cora finished.

Eve’s eyes flicked up to lock on Cora’s, and she nodded.

Cora reached across the table to lay her hand gently on Eve’s knotted fingers.

“Neither do I.”

At Cora’s soft words, the tension banded around them snapped, and the two women settled down to enjoy their lunch before returning home.

This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write about a face to face meeting which, for better or worse, doesn't go as planned.  I wrote about a woman, adopted as a baby, meeting her birth mother for the first time.

One of the very first questions people usually ask me when they find out I'm adopted, is if I've tried to find my birth mother.  It's natural, I suppose, although it's always struck me as sort of weird.  What if I mentioned I had a third cousin, twice removed, that I'd never met?  I'm not sure, but I don't think people would ask if I'd ever tried to find that cousin.  (Then again, maybe they would...I'll have to try it and find out.)

I never felt any particular urge to find my birth mother.  I have a mother, so I guess I never gave any serious thought to finding another one.  I also never harbored any bad feelings toward my birth mother, either.  I think I could best be described as completely neutral.  Meh, as the current trend expresses it.

An interesting question I did get once is what inspired this post.  Someone asked me if I thought I would just know if I ever met my birth mother.  Sort of like a cosmic umbilical cord, maybe?  Since I did live most of my life in the same, lightly populated state I was born in, I guess randomly meeting my birth mother isn't out of the realm of possible.  If I did, I never knew it.  And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, what about the people who do try to find their birth parents and succeed?  What if one, or both, assumed there'd be that cosmic umbilical cord connection?  That's a lot of pressure when you're meeting a stranger for the first time!

What do you think?  What if one person felt the connection, and the other didn't?  What if neither felt the connection but thought they should, so they both faked it?

Thank you for stopping by, and PLEASE  let me know what you think in the comments!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Face The Fire

            Ember ran, breath catching in her throat. A sense of urgency drove her through the woods, but caution kept her flying feet light on leaves and branches.

            “Let the stars lead you, Ember.” Her father’s voice sounded in her ear, as if he were running with her. “The Phoenix guards and guides our family; she will never lead you astray.”

            I’m trying, Father, she thought.  I only wish I knew where she was leading me.

            The sound of a less-cautious foot snapping a branch nearby froze her steps. Ember held her breath to see if it would be repeated. 

            More sounds penetrated the dense forest around her, and she knew she was surrounded.  There was no telling if the men closing in knew where she was, or if they’d simply managed to blunder into position.  It didn’t matter—she was trapped either way.

            “Oy!” Ember whipped her head around to stare at the man who’d called out, alerting the rest of the hunters. He stood a careful distance away; in seconds he was joined by a loose ring of men bearing the torches of their purpose.

            Her calm gaze met each of theirs, but their resolve did not waiver.  The drought had been severe, and most of the crops were lost.  Action had to be taken—that’s what the pompous elder had told them, and that’s what they believed.

            The red speck in her left eye, the Devil’s eye, had marked her.  Her sacrifice would be their salvation.

            “What right have you, to chase me like an animal? Dare not believe that evil done here will not be witnessed.” Her voice rang with an authority they didn’t expect from a girl so young.  They glanced to each other, and for the briefest moment, hope fired in her soul.

            “Burn the witch!”

            The rallying cry extinguished that fragile flame, and she pressed her slender shoulders against the reassuring strength of the oak.  She felt the wavering heat of the advancing torches; as her long auburn hair began to curl and smoke, she raised her eyes to the brightest star in the Phoenix constellation.

            When she closed her eyes and bowed her head, the men pressed closer, enflamed by her passive acceptance.

            The first torch pressed to her arm.

            Ember’s head snapped up, the heat lifting her singed hair to fly wildly around her.  Too late, the men saw the fire rise in her eyes and flames dance along her skin as she stepped away from the tree.


Even generations later, the tale of the Phoenix ensured that no naked flame ever entered the dark of the forest. The Phoenix Ring, they called it. 

Stones formed like men, circling a broad oak. They looked to have been shaped by a monstrous heat, their faces twisted as if in unimaginable pain, and yet the tree they surrounded was unmarked by fire. 

This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge to write about either the Phoenix (legendary firebird), or the Phoenix (the constellation).  I decided to combine them.  I hope you enjoyed Ember's story - please take a minute to leave a comment to tell me what you think!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


            “C’mon, let’s play!”

            Bliss grinned as Margo’s daughter grabbed Emily’s hand and ran toward the play structure centered on a wide circle of shredded rubber mulch.  Emily was three, a year younger than her cousin, and the two girls could have passed for twins.
            “Bliss, this playground is for big kids.  The girls need to go over to the smaller one.”

            Bliss sighed and shifted nine-month old Jenna in her baby sling.  “Margo, they’ll be fine.  We’re standing right here, and Emily’s played on this playground plenty of times.”

            Her younger sister’s grip on little Taylor’s hand didn’t lessen, and Bliss knew she hadn’t convinced her to just let the kids play.  She and her sister were so different, especially when it came to how they handled their children.

            Margo worried about nearly everything.  Bliss was starting to wonder if her nieces were going to need therapy, at the rate her sister was going.  Every time they arranged a play date, it took Emily’s cousin an hour to relax enough to actually play.  Taylor was worse—she wouldn’t let go of her mother’s hand at all, not even for a cookie.

            Of course, Margo didn’t allow them to have cookies.  Sugar was evil, apparently.  Which was why Bliss smuggled them to the girls at every opportunity.
            “Look, the sign clearly says it’s for children…”

            The censure in Margo’s voice stiffened Bliss’s spine.  She turned toward her sister, but before she could say anything—exactly what she was going to say, she wasn’t sure—a wail sounded from the play structure.

            Meeting her sister’s eyes, Bliss saw smug satisfaction.

            Sometimes, she thought, being family is just not enough reason to let my kids play with their cousins.

This post is my response to a prompt from Write On Edge.  My friend, Amybeth, and I decided to try the synchronized option:  we wrote the same story, but from different viewpoints.  Please read Margo's point of view on Amybeth's blog HERE .  Please take a moment to comment on both, and thank you for reading!