A magical moose

I lean my back against the wall and close my eyes. The door to my right is just a few inches open. Not enough for me to see into the room, but enough to listen. I do this every time it’s his turn to put her to bed. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world- to hear my husband spin a bedtime story for our daughter.

“So the princess was in a castle? What’s her name? What does she look like?” Our five year old asks, curious about everything.

“Yeah, the princess was in her castle all alone. And her name – she has the most beautiful name of all. Can you guess what it is?”

“Mary, just like mommy”

I picture her grin as she says the words, and my heart swells.

“That is a beautiful name, but thats not the princesse’s name. The princesses name is Sandra, and she looks very much like you, actually”

“She does? No way!”

Her husband chuckles a little then “Yeah way”

“But why is she alone, dad? Where is the prince?”

“He’s on his way to save her from the dragon of course. But the castle is far, far away, through a dark and dangerous forest. He meets many animals that he has to fight with to get passed. He’s -”

“Really? What kind?” Our daughter cuts him off, curious as always.

“He meets a really, really big bear. It’s at least seven feet tall!”

“No way” my daughter whispers in amazement, and I stifle a laugh threatening to escape my lips.

“It’s true. He also meets a white, beautiful unicorn with a pink horn that can talk. Oh and he meets a talking squirrel and a grumpy frog. Aaaand- oh! A moose. He meets a magical moose that can fly”

“Daaaad” Sandra chuckles. “A moose?”

I bite my tongue an push myself away from the wall, leaving my hiding spot as fast as I can so they don’t hear my laughter. Trust my daughter to be disbelieving of a moose crossing the prince’s path,  rather than the white, talking unicorn with a pink horn.

My husband must have the same line of thought, because I can hear his laughter all the way down to our bedroom.

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So I have this thing where friends and family send me a sentence that I let myself be inspired by and form into a story. This one was inspired by the sentence “He was walking in the forest when a moose suddenly appeared”.

If you have a sentence, feel free to share it and I’ll write a story around it 🙂

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A small moment

My feet pad softly against the wooden porch as I make my way over to the white banister. A small breeze comes from the ocean, blowing small strands of my hair into all directions. I take a deep breath through my nose, reveling in the salty smell that hits my nose. I lean down and press my elbows on the banister, supporting my head with my hands as I stare transfixed at the sight before me.

The sun hangs low on the sky,  is just barely kissing the ocean line, an orange and pink color mixing itself in with the otherwise clear blue sky. I feel ashamed almost as I watch it, because I can’t remember the last time I actually took the time to watch the sunset like this. No television on in the back ground, no phone chirping with messages. No everyday distractions.

Just the sound of the waves as they lap against the shore, the sunset and me.

I don’t know what exactly does it. The breeze? The smell of the ocean? The sight of the sunset? Or maybe its the sound of the waves?  Something in that moment fills me with a peace I haven’t felt for a long, long time.

It’s not just any peace either – it’s the kind that makes your heart beat a little calmer.

It’s the kind that makes your mind go completely silent.

The kind that quiets your soul.

“Honey?! Have you seen my- never mind” reality calls from somewhere inside the house.

And the moment is gone.

The meadow

I slide my hand across the grass, reaching for hers, interlacing our fingers. The tears I’ve been holding back trails down my cheeks as I turn my head to look at her. She looks peaceful where she lies in the meadow beside me, her eyes closed and her chest rising and falling calmly.

“Stop looking at me like that. It’s creepy as hell”

She turns to her head to face me, her eyes gliding open slowly.  I reach for her when another coughing fit wracks her body, but she slaps my hand away before I can so much as touch her. “Just give me a second” She grinds out through clenched teeth before another cough presses itself up her throat.

“Can we please go back now? Your mother will kill me if she found out”

“No. I want to see the stars” She whisper with a hoarse voice, turning her gaze up towards the starry sky again. “It’s just a cough, I get them all the time. No biggie”

I give her hand a small squeeze, more for my own comfort than hers, before I turn back to look at the sky with her. It takes a while, but eventually her breathing settles again, coming out in slow puffs of air, making my body relax into the tall grass.

“I always liked it here. So peaceful and quiet, so many memories. Do you remember how we found this place, Lily?”

“Of course I do” I chuckle. “My mother grounded me for a week for wandering off with you. Said you were a bad influence for dragging me off to god knows where” I laugh, picturing my moms face when my excuse for leaving without telling her was because we were on an adventure to discover a new land.

“I know. I was so sure she was going to forbid you to play with me” Louise starts laughing too, but the laughter soon turns into another coughing fit.

“We really should go back, Lou. That cough doesn’t sound good” I worry my lip with my teeth, turning my head to look at her again.

“Just one more minute, okay? I just want to look at the stars for a little while” She gives me her own special look, the one I’ve never been able to say no too. “Please?” She adds, sounding like a small child begging for ice-cream.

“Fine” I relent with a sigh, tearing my eyes away from her pleading face. “One more minute and I’m wheeling your scrawny ass home”

I don’t even need to look at her to know she’s grinning like a fool when she whispers thank you to me.

A week later I spread her ashes there in the meadow beneath the billion stars she loved so much. 

Hey, ho – left we go

She slows the car down when the road splits in two different directions, looking expectantly at me for which way we should drive. I look down at the map lying in my lap, trying to pinpoint exactly where we are, cursing my best friend’s stupid idea to leave our phones at home.  Going old style, she said.

“We’re at a crossroad” I state the obvious, turning the map in a different direction, praying to a higher power for strength not to throw my best friends adventurous ass out of the car for getting us lost.

“Well, duh. I can see that” Mia chimes in sarcastically from the drivers side.

“Which way should we go?”She asks

“I have no idea. The map is wrong – there is no road to the left on it” I chew nervously on my bottom lip, looking towards the right first, then to the left. “Right, I guess”

I have absolutely no desire to drive down a road I don’t know the end to. Besides, the road to the right has fully functioning streetlights whereas the road to the left is completely dark and gloomy, looking creepy as hell.

My sometimes idiot of a best friend looks down both roads too, assessing both roads separately, tapping her chin as she decides which one to pick.

“Left it is!” She claps suddenly before grabbing for the steering wheel.

I wrap my fingers around her forearm to keep her from turning. “Are you insane? Why would you drive us down a road that looks like the highway to hell when the other looks like the road to heaven? We don’t know what’s at the end of that road, Mia” I hiss out.

“Because were taking the road less traveled and all that shit. Come on, Lisa. It’ll be fun!” She grins.

I look at her like she’s just lost her mind, because that’s what it sounds like to me. No one in their right minds would drive down that road when the other one is an option. Especially not in the middle of the night without phones.

“There is nothing to be afraid of, Lisa. If we were walking I would have voted for the right, but were in a car with locked doors. Besides, you’re the one who wanted to go on an adventure. Driving down a new road is an adventure since we have no idea where we’ll end up”

She gives me her best puppy dog eyes, the one she knows I can’t say no to. A huff of irritation leaves my lungs as I lean myself back against the seat and crosses my arms over my chest. “Fine, but I swear to god- if I get murdered, I’m coming back to haunt your ass”

“Ahh, you say the sweetest things, Mia”She sighs dreamily, looking far off in the distance. “You want to be in my life even after your dead. I’m touched” She grins, teeth and all. And I can’t for the life of me stop my own smile from forming. Damn her!

“Hey, ho, left we go?” She singsongs then, raising a questioning eyebrow at me.

“God. Yes. Fine. Left we go”

Let me in

He’s tired, so incredibly tired that he swears the bones inside his body aches.Something is bothering her and they both know it. Yet, every time  he tries to get her to talk about it, every time he so much a mentions the subject she locks up and throws away the key.

“I just want to help you, Kate. Please just let me help you” He pleads, reaching across the table to place his hand on top of hers.

“Let me in”

She slides her hand from beneath his and pushes up from the chair. “There is nothing to talk about. I promise, I’m-”

“Fine. Yes, I know. You keep saying that, but we both know you’re not” He lets out a heavy sigh, rising from his own chair before rounding the table. “You cry when you think I’ve fallen asleep. I know something is wrong”

The moment his words leave his lips, he knows he just said the wrong thing. Her face gets a horrid look and she takes a step backwards, putting more distance between them. He pushes forward, ready to lunge if she tries to run again. They’ve been through this five times in the last three years now, he knows the signs.

“I can’t, David. I just can’t” She shakes her head, putting her hands up to stop his movements when he takes another step in her direction.  “Can we drop this if I promise there is nothing wrong? Because there isn’t. I’ve just got a lot on my mind, that’s all”

“No, Kate. We can’t pretend nothing is wrong when something clearly is!” He snaps, her face flinching.

He knows she hates it when he raises his voice, but he can’t help it when she wants him to act like he doesn’t care about her wellbeing. His father raised him to be a better man than that. What kind of man would he be if he just ignored his fiancĂ©es problems?

He softens his tone and tries pleading with her. “Please let me in, Kate”

She turns then, heading towards the kitchen’s exit. He knows without her having to tell him that she’s running again. He doesn’t bother trying to stop her, the last time he did that it only made her cry. He hates it when she cries.

He walks towards the front door, waiting and listening as she packs a bag and readies herself to leave again. She stops by the door, her hand resting on the doorknob. He closes his eyes and braces himself for her next words. Those she always say.

“I’m so sorry” She whispers before opening the door.

He grabs hold of her forearm, halting her leave. He tries to catch her eyes, but every time he comes close, she averts hers, looking anywhere but him.

“We can’t keep doing this, Kate” He sighs heavily.I love you so damn much it hurts, but you have to open up in order for us to move forward, sweetheart. We can’t keep going like this”

“I just need some time, okay?” Her eyes finally land on his then, blank with unshed tears. “I love you too, you know” She confesses in a whisper, placing her hand right above his heart. “But in order for us to get to the top of our love, I have to give you the bottom of my heart. I’m just not ready to do that, yet”

He cups her face in both of his hands, swiping his thumbs against her cheekbones, before leaning in to place a loving kiss against her forehead. “I know, sweetheart, I know” He whispers against her skin before leaning back to lock eyes with her again.

He forces a smile to his face, trying desperately to keep his tears at bay. “Take some time, Kate. We’ll talk when you come back. Really talk this time”

“I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you, but whatever it was – I’m grateful”

“You try. That’s why I don’t give up” He leans in to kiss the tip of her nose. “You try so hard for me, and I know it’s just a matter of time before you open up. And when you finally do – I’ll finally be the happiest man out there”

Then she leaves.

A murderer amongst us

The hair on his arms rise and he know without looking that she’s in the same room. He lets his eyes travel across the sea of faces until they finally land on her. His stomach does a large flop at the sight and he struggles not to gape like a fool.

She’s breathtaking.

He let his eyes follow her from head to toe.  Her hair is combed over the right shoulder, leaving the left side bare and open.  Her dress, a deep red color, sits just tight enough to show off her curves, making his mouth go dry as the sahara desert. He swallows hard against the dryness as he trails his eyes down towards her cleavage and across her small waist. An urge to invite her to dance with her enters his mind, his fingers itching to touch her in some way.

He watches transfixed as she tips her head back and laughs out loud at something, and he zeroes in on the side of her neck. For a small moment he imagines what it would be like to trail kisses down her skin. She’d  close her eyes in ecstasy and tilt her head to the side to give him as much access as possible. That’s when he’d  do it. That’s when he’d wrap both his hands around her throat and squeeze the life out of her.

He shakes the thought away as soon as it enters. It’s wrong to think it, it’s wrong of him to want it.  “Excuse me” He says to his friends before he starts pushing his way through the crowd.

He rushes towards the nearest exit, slamming the doors loudly in his hurry to get as far away as fast as possible. The cold air he gulps down as soon as he’s outside is a blessed relief, and he feels his carefully crafted control fall back in place. He leans heavily against the nearest wall, relaxing as much as he can.

He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again. He knows it’s wrong, but he can’t seem to help himself. There’s just something about watching the light in their eyes die. He’ll wrap his hands around her throat one of these days.

He just won’t be able to stop himself.

Trust your gut

She startles awake, bolting upright in her own bed. A lump in the pit of her stomach forms and the unpleasant feeling that something bad has happened settles in her heart. She reaches for the phone on the nightstand, her fingers  rushing to find her sons contact information.

“He-hello?” His voice answers groggily and sleep ladened.

“Go check on your daughter”

There is no time for hellos or explanations, only actions. She needs to get him to go check on his daughter right now! So when he starts to ask questions about why she’s calling in the middle of the night to check on his daughter she snaps.

“Just do it!” She hisses.

“It’s the middle of the night, mom. We’re all sleeping peacefully in our beds” He sighs tiredly. 

The phone crackles a little as he moves.

She knows she’s being hysterical and unreasonable, but something inside her is screaming at her. In her gut, she feels something is wrong, and her gut is never wrong.

“I know, Dan, just please check on her. I won’t be able to fall asleep until I know she’s okay” She tries to say it softly, but the urgency inside her still surfaces in her words.

He lets out a big yawn before she hears more rustling of sheets. “Fine” He groans in irritation. “I’ll check on her, then I’ll call you back up, okay”

“NO!” She screams, making her husband turn in their bed. He reaches over and flicks the small bedside lamp on, bathing the room in light. He opens his mouth to speak, but she places a hand over his mouth before he can get a full sentence out.

“Keep me one the line. I need to hear that everything is okay”

Her son mumbles something about crazy mothers that she pretends not to hear. “Fine. I’ll keep you on the line”

She holds her breath and listens as his bare feet pad against their hardwood floor. Then she hears a door being opened carefully. It’s complete silence on both ends as he enters the room, his feet walking quietly on the carpeted floor in his daughters room. Then theres a shuffling sound, almost like he’s fixing the comforter and she pictures that he’s tucking his daughter in.

There is a loud thump, then some crackling before she hears her sons scream.

“No!”

“Please, please. Emily!”

Her heart stops in her chest, never in her life has she heard her son so panicked. She grips her husbands shoulder so hard she’s afraid her fingers will snap.

“Call 911, mom! Emily isn’t breathing”