Jen’s No Rules Friday

You see all my light.

She remembers a time before me.
She remembers a time before cell phones and HDTV and internet and me looking down at my phone instead of at her face.

She remembers pound cake recipes and what to do when my grandfather lost his fingers to the bite of a band saw and how to cut my father’s hair when his feet couldn’t even touch the kitchen floor and the shape of my tiny hand wrapped around hers, my lungs like the wing beats of a hummingbird on fire, long before I should have seen the light of day.

She remembers family. She remembers work. She remembers a time when her hands held things together better than the rusty ones she has now.

She remembers putting my father in the ground. His ashes are caught in her tear ducts. I see them every time she looks at me and sees his nose on my face, and the waste of his life in my eyes.

She remembers all of it. Stories fall from her lips like spun gold.

But today I said, “I’m your granddaughter.”

And you love my dark.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Stay tuned for our Special Guest, Tori’s, No Rules Friday next week.

“King and Lionheart” by Of Monsters and Men inspires Audrey

The Howlers

I didn’t think they would follow me out here where the ice thins and I can hear the crash of the ocean. The wind is wilder here and has freed the ice of its protective layer of snow, making it slick. Slipping now would be fatal. The wind whips off my hood, but I can’t stop to fix it. Their chilling calls rise above the roar of the wind and sea, and I know the Howlers have nearly reached me. My lungs ache with each cold breathe I take, but I push myself harder. I have to.

My eyes leak frozen rivers across my cheeks. I lost my goggles when I tripped and rolled down a powdery hill before reaching the flat ice. The cold and wind burn my eyes. That, and I might be crying. A rush of heat runs up my thigh and all I hear now are Howlers. They’re breathing on me! I scream. It doesn’t help me run faster or release the fear clawing at my heart, but it excites the Howlers. I want to cover my ears to their deafening cries; they know a kill is soon.

No one will hear me out here, days from the shining citadel of Hiverfryt, but I can’t go quietly. I release another scream. It’s part fear and part anger. I was so close to finding my sister when the Howlers caught my scent. Now I never will. Suddenly, my fur boots slip. I try to correct myself by flailing my arms, but there is nothing to catch. I’m grabbing at air as I fall backwards. The Howlers are so close, one leaps over me in a giant stride before turning on me.

Squinting at the sun, he is nothing more than white wisps. Despite this, their teeth are sharper than knives. I’m nearly nose to nose with him, staring into his red eyes before I think to turn on my stomach and cover my head with my hands. Teeth try to find me through the layers of my clothes as I press my nose into the ice. I scream again as one tears off my mitten and bites my wrist. There are paws on my back and my hood pulls taut across my neck. It cuts off my scream.

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“Love Song to California” by Jen Hickman Inspires Anne

LoveSongtoCalifornia_JenHickmanLa Terreur

3 November 1793

Paris, France

The bells are ringing in Saint-Germain-des-Prés across the Seine. I pull my shawl tighter with each peal as I try to keep my slippers clean as I walk as quickly down the Rue Honoré. The pale pink shoes are the only nice thing I have on. It wouldn’t do to wear the matching silk gown. Papa would have noticed that slipping out the back gate. I borrowed the dress and shawl from Claire, but her feet were too big and her boots clunked and slipped when I walked. I glance up at the darkening sky.

A shout from a man on a mud-splattered white horse stops me. I nearly ran into its path. I turn and cling to a lamppost and lean my cheek into it, squeezing my eyes shut tight. Maybe this is a bad idea.

I came down to breakfast this morning to find Mama fretting around the house, her handkerchief pressing into her reddened eyes. I followed her to the blue parlor at the back of our townhouse.

“Mama?” I ask, placing a hand on her arm and turning her toward me. Her eyes dancing everywhere but on me. “Mama? What is wrong?”

Papa slams open the front door, thumps hurriedly down the hall, bursts upon us, and heads straight to the cognac on the sideboard. Two glasses later, he turns to us.

“It must be tonight, Mama.” She nods. Her eyes seem to focus as her pupils expand engulfing the blue into black.

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“The Woodpile” by Frightened Rabbit Inspires Audrey

Ridgemoor Manor

Ridgemoor Manor is supposed to be empty. I mean it’s also supposed to be haunted so I don’t think it can be both. Empty and haunted.

Mama went to school with Jonathan Ridgemoor so it hasn’t even been that long. It’s just the weeds and peeling paint that make the house look so decrepit.

“Martha, this is so stupid,” I say crossing my arms over my chest.

“Oh come on, Betty. Don’t be such a Fuddy-Duddy!” Martha replies pulling my arm off and looping it with hers as we walk, our Mary Jane’s tapping in synchrony along the street. “And, Jimmy said he’s bring Roy.” She nudges my side with her elbow, like Roy means something to me.

“It’s just an old house. What’s the big deal?” I whine, my voice high and pitchy.

Martha shakes her head while she laughs, her blonde curls bouncing. “If it’s just an old house, Betty Marshall, then a quick gander won’t hurt nothin’. Oh look! There they are!”

She squeals at the boys and I think she looks like a pig as she prances over in her pink gingham dress, smudgy black lines up the back of her legs. I sigh and follow. Martha and I have been friends since we could walk, but lately she’s been completely khaki-wacky, especially when it comes to Jimmy.

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