Trapping Wings

I didn’t participate last week but I wanted to try my hand at fantasy and possible humor for this week’s Twittering Tales? Or a humorous situation? Either way, this was a fun one. I wonder if I can participate in the A-Z blog challenge doing something like these little shorts?


$10,000 REWARD!
Small songbird escaped May 4th.
She has gold wings, pearl beak…’
Ell recalled the poster when she saw a bird with actual gold wings and beak of pearl.
She thought, ‘The sweet songs are lovely but I think she’s worth more than the reward.’
That day she set her traps.

© Jo-Creative PTSD Gal
Character Count: 280
Word Count: 52

Saturday Early-Late Start

Got a late start even though I woke up early. The older kiddos had solo/ensemble this morning and had to be at the school by 7AM. Picture it, I’m up at 4AM cleaning the kitchen and trying to prepare for the day. My son is up an reminding me that we have our coffee date and he even put some thought into the trip, ‘Let’s drop off my sissies first then we can go straight there.’ Well, can’t argue with that. It’s now 6:25AM, I’m not dressed to leave the house but surprise surprise, the girls weren’t even up! Here I am, trying to get dressed, make pancakes, and get the girls up and ready. My husband was tasked with digging the car out with the snow that came in last night but believe it or not we were out of the house and got them there right on time.

An exciting decision on my part I made in the wee morning hours. Now, just some research. I thought about putting writing an anthology of super short micro fictional stories and publishing. I’m not good at the long haul stories (I easily lose my train of thought or can’t even make it to the finish line) but thoroughly enjoying my short stories. I came across a list on Facebook that furthered encouraged my idea. I’ll post stories from this list. I have decided 150 words is my limit. No more, no less. I’m going to figure out a rating system and would like the reader’s honest opinion when choosing a rating. Ratings are for me to decide if this is something I should further pursue publishing and perhaps increasing the word limit by 100.

list

 

Mom’s Words

One positive thing about my toxic work environment is downtime. I even got to play with this week’s twittering tales hosted by Kat. Y’all I think this is helping me find my own style and voice in writing not to mention honing my editing skills. I’m digging these short story prompts.


‘You lay down with dogs, you’ll wake with fleas,’ Sam’s mom warned. A friendship, once innocent quickly had a bad influence on Sam.
Now, just released on bail he crawled into bed.
‘OW!’ Sam pulled back the covers to find his bed swarming with fleas.
‘MOM!’ he yelled.
‘I told you!’

Character Count: 279
© Jo Creative PTSD Gal

Cursed Melody

Y’all, I’ve been working on this since Fandango first posted the photo prompt for the weekly flash fiction. I suck at writing but no one gets good at something unless they are practice. This screamed fairytale and I’ve been working on this since Monday. I stopped when I was over 1000 words and went back to do some major chopping. I like the questions that I’ve left unanswered. Now to figure out a twittering tale and get ready for tomorrows short story. Happy Thursday Y’all!


Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young woman. It wasn’t her young skin, long silky hair or feminine physique that had men fighting for her affection. It was her light, quick flautist abilities that held their affections. Her small nimble fingers gently kissing the keys of her flute giving it a song that went straight to the heavens.

Brenna’s only secret was a curse given to her as she grew in the womb robbing her of her voice. No one knew the awful truth because her songs entranced all who visited. The deer would even come and pay their condolences of her fate. The curse that dwelt within her has the darkest of melody and it leaks out in deep notes throughout her music. The only way for this curse to be lifted is for someone to hear those hidden notes and play them in Brenna’s presence as an accompaniment to her song.

Day after day, Brenna sang through her flute. During the times of a silent Brenna and flute, she was surrounded by people waiting for her tunes. One spring morning she noticed a young woman following one of her deer back into the woods but couldn’t get her attention and shrugged it off. Over the next few weeks, the same young woman listened to Brenna, say hello, and then follow the same dark-colored deer into the thicket. It was a dark stormy day and Brenna felt more sorrow than she had in a long time. The rain was loud enough so only she could hear the melody. It seemed like every hidden dark note danced in the drops that fell on her Brenna’s dress.

Brenna’s head bowed she played with such feeling the deer started to gather around her. Among her antlered friends, the young woman sat patiently waited with a flute in her hands. Brenna started another stanza when the girl began to play all the hidden dark notes from Brenna’s curse. The sky opened to let sunlight shine on the two girls playing a beautiful accompaniment of sorrow and cheer. The dark deer rested in the young girl’s lap and when they were done silence fell around them. Brenna asked, ‘What’s your name?’ but the young girl didn’t answer only patted her throat and handed her a piece of paper:

‘My dear sister,

It is my turn to bear the burden of the curse our father brought upon us girls. Take my voice and sing to my tune. Help find a way to break this spell.’

Stunned, Brenna looked up, ‘Sisters?’

Word Count: 427
© Jo Creative PTSD Gal

Twittering Tales: XOXO

It was one of the most trying days that I have had in a long while yesterday when I had started writing this. I’m surprised it didn’t turn out darker or more moodier. I’m a little late but luckily the character counter that I used remembered (still had it in the counting box) so I didn’t have to start over. I’m glad I finished it.


This will be the first Valentines day without her husband. XOXO was always the first candy heart he’d give Ruth. She bought her own box two days prior but couldn’t open it.
Waking up on the 14th Ruth decided to eat her candy. On top of the unopened box, a candy heart sat, XOXO.

Twittering Tales: June’s Integrity

I am absolutely beginning to LOVE these Twittering Tales hosted by Kat. I needed something to get my mind off my job interview today (that I know I won’t get but still what they hey). This week was a little more challenging because we finish the story after 23 characters were provided leaving us to work within 257 characters (including spaces and punctuation). The wheels were turning and like a wall, WHAM! I was hit with an idea. Tons of editing later, I even surprised myself. Happy Tuesday Y’all!


It starts with one word, integrity. It’s the truth between the moment of awareness and a final decision.
June saw hate begin to rumble towards the crone once trusted with healing, ‘MURDERER!’ The child had died from fever, nothing more. June stood shielding the crone, ‘COWARDS!’

279 Characters
© Jo-Creative PTSD Gal

Friday Fictioneers-The Peaceful Appetite

I had nothing. No ideas. Not a clue what to write about for my Friday story. Then I came across this picture prompt for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. I thought how perfect! My short stories have been rather long and this helped with a word count maximum. I edited this quite a few times so that was also helpful. Next…What in the world am I going to take a picture of today?


The Peaceful Appetite

Photo credit: Renee Heath

‘I QUIT!’ Tabitha said grabbing her bag. There were no tears, no explanation, and no looking back. Thinking about that last day in a ruthless society, she grinned staring at her backyard for the week. She knew leaving was the right decision.
‘Mommy, are we going to tell stories tonight?’ Tabitha’s daughter asked through a toothless grin.
‘Yes, love.’ Her daughter was just an infant when she went off the grid. Now, four years old. Lucille can read, write, paint, and is an avid storyteller.
‘What’s the story for tonight?’ Tabitha asked Lucille.
‘Erm…The Peaceful Appetite.’
Tabitha started, ‘I QUIT!’

 

 

New Years *Realistic* Planning

WOW! 2019 already around the corner! I was looking through some of my posts from last year and I set the bar really high for myself throughout the ENTIRE year. I started A LOT of projects and FAILED at almost all of them. I analyzed what I did wrong. It was basically me reaching for the stars while working a 40-hour job and a full-time second job as wife and mother. I’m going to try and keep it simple. I want to be as successful as possible and ran across this article that suggests ‘why’ people are not successful with their resolutions.

First I needed to do some ‘house cleaning’ for my blog. My poor Fenton project didn’t really go anywhere but I didn’t delete the project altogether. I also removed ‘I Survived the A to Z 2018’ image from my sidebar. That was a brutal task but I proud of myself for completing it. I might participate again this year but that could be a no-no from the no-no resolution list. After the ‘house cleaning’ I read through the list again and need to make sure I do these things:

  1. Make goals specific and to include a time frame.
  2. Do not be overly ambitious (more than I can handle-umm…I’m notorious for that as Y’all well know)
  3. Believe that I can complete my goal
  4. Have some with instant gratification and/or results
  5. Have a record of progress (blog)
  6. Make the list

My goal list started out as basically every run of the mill resolution. I want to be happier, lose weight, reduce stress and be more creative. Sounds like a basic list that I would BOMB within a month. I already quit smoking and I’m currently working on losing weight. I decided to break things down a bit more:

  • Work on being happy
    -Unplug (no phone after 5pm)
    -Do something that makes ME happy
  • Meet my goal weight this year
    -I have 22lbs to lose
    -Eating healthy falls in this category (this isn’t a goal)
    -Being more active also falls into this category (this isn’t a goal)
  • Write More
    -Produce one story 50 words or more a week
    -Have deadline
    -Could be about anything
  • Continue learning Asatru and Heathenism
    -Continue reading and participating in my kindred’s book club meetings
    -Study the Havamal
    -Be mindful of Asatru dates of importance
    -Participate more with Kindred events.
  • Draw more
    -Create a simple comic character
    -Produce one comic weekly
    -Keep it simple
  • 365 Day Project
    -Still, need to decide on a subject (HELP! I don’t know which one: create my own color pallets OR cell photography with the use of extra lenses. Opinions and thoughts are greatly appreciated!)
  • Express me more…be more social-ish
    -Express my feelings and speak more

This seems like a lot but when I break it down, it really isn’t. Instant gratification comes from the daily project which also serves as another objective-portfolio 365-day project that I need. Writing more is something that I have slacked on A LOT! I have a deadline and a minimum word count. Drawing more will fall under last years goal of creating my own little comic. The difference is that I have a deadline and some criteria such as KEEP IT SIMPLE! Nothing to elaborate and I’ve already started simple sketching planning my character. Finding my happiness is through ALL these goals. Continuing my Asatru Heathen path brings me peace and helps me work on mindfulness. Unplugging is something that is greatly needed and will help me unwind at night. All of this ALSO needs a schedule. Without one I’m surely going to fail.

What are your resolutions this year? How are you tackling them to achieve some level of success?

6 Word Story: 8/24

The company has blocked ALL social media and shopping sites and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I can’t make a post at work. Believe me, I get ALL my work done and then some but luckily I have good reception in the building and unlimited data. With that being said, I grew up understanding what a cellar was before a basement only to learn that they are nearly the same. How can I make ‘cellar’ positive?


Prompt Word: Cellar

The door creaks releasing terrible secrets.

Saving River

Every day at lunch I would sit outside to eat and soak up some of nature’s vitamin D. And every day, I would see this animal nosing roaming around. There were days that he would run from the animal control, or dodge cars, growling to protect himself from horrible individuals, or just sit and stare at me from across the street. I would yell at the teens wanting to harm him, or yell at the mongrel to get out of the street but he just stared. I called him river because the markings on his head looked like the mapping of a river.

After watching him for a few weeks I realized he was more than likely hungry and started bringing a bag of kibble in my lunchbox. I would eat my sandwich and as I got up I would dump the bag of kibble where I sat. For a few days, I would have to scoop away the old kibble and replace with fresh. Over time I noticed that the pile of kibble would get smaller and smaller until the piles would be gone by the next day. I spied on the filthy beast to make sure it was him I was feeding and not the birds. The dog would never come when I was present but made sure his presence was known.

Our relationship lasted for six months, just like that. I would bring kibble, he would eat it and repeat. One morning everything changed. I had just got done eating and started to pour his kibble out when he was standing in front of me, growling.
‘Shhh…river…go..good boy.’ I stammered and started to look down to appear submissive to him. I didn’t know what I had done to bring on this show of aggression. We NEVER interacted. River’s growls got lower and louder. He started baring his teeth and a barking that sent chills down my spine.
‘Ok…ok…shhh. Please be a good boy.’ I pleaded with tears running down my face.

River lunged past me knocking me to the ground. I hit my head on the stone walkway and I could hear a man’s voice. Sounded like he was in pain. The true chill came from metal clinking against the stone walkway. River had just prevented me from being the next victim of the serial murderer that has been claiming lives of women all over the city. I ran to the nearest store and called the police. I returned to the scene to find the cops wrestling the killer to the ground and River not letting go of the man. It was all over so quickly. Law enforcement asked if that was my dog and I had explained that it was a stray that I was feeding on my lunch breaks. They informed me that they would call animal control to capture my saving River. I refused and promised I would do everything in my power to gain control of my wild River.

It only took a week. I would approach River with food and treats. I gained his trust and before I knew it he had allowed me to put a leash on him. I took him to the vet and got everything he needed, then to the pet store and for the first time he was groomed and dressed. We went home where I introduced him to his new life and formed a friendship that lasted for his lifetime.


I wanted to do something different. I allowed myself only 20 minutes to write a story for this prompt before heading home. (Yup, work day is almost over, I’m out of work, and had an urge to write.)

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

Pirated Photos

Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects the modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics. Ok…I’ve literally sat here for 30 minutes until I had an ‘AHA,’ moment. Then just when I think I have a grasp of this genre it’s gone. Then I had to research quantum science which was no help. I’m not a damn science type of girl. However, quantum fiction stories are about any subject matter and do not necessarily involve science and deals in possibility and probability. So much research went into this story and trying to figure out all the moving pieces in my head.


What came first? The painter or the subject? The camera or the person? I visit so many museums and galleries and sometimes I swear I see the subject matter moving in my peripheral vision. Sometimes I see me, or my brother, or my kindergarten best friend. I’ll ask someone, ‘Did you see that balloon that went around the corner?t’ Or, ‘When did they bring back the Planter’s Cheez Balls?’ The answer was usually a ‘she’s losing it’ and ‘what is she talking about?’

The exact time I learned t ask the questions happened when I was taking a photo of my brother ice skating and I could see my great grandfather skating in the corner of my eye. My brother asked, ‘Sissy, did you get a picture of grampy and me?’ he asked with a 8-year-olds hopeful questioning. ‘What do you mean Rhett?’ ‘Grampy said that in the time from clicking the button up and down you can see him,’ he said in an annoyed tone. He expected me to know this, I could feel it. ‘Oh yeah? If he was only here for a nanosecond how did you tell you all of that?’ I said in a teasing tone. ‘Time is suspended for him. Every time someone takes a picture here he get’s to move forward in time.’ Rhett was ready to go but I was jealous. I wanted to see the past. Imagine, anything that was painted or pictured is attainable. Was it time travel or would it be visiting memories?

I went to the museum in town that was hosting a Pirate exhibition. There I knew there would be a lot of painting and artifacts. I also thought that would be one of the strongest situations for one of my viewing. Or were they hallucinations. Luckily the museum allowed visitors to take photos but only of the artifacts. I walked around the museum taking random photos when I took a picture of a ruby. In the corner of my eye, I saw a red-headed pirate but didn’t hear anything. I continued to walk around and take photos until I saw the red-head again and thought, ‘Who are you?’ and in my head, I heard, ‘Anne Bonny’.  I snapped another picture and was startled by, ‘He’ll never know.’ I went home excited that I was able to hear something.

I did some research on the pirate and possible pregnancy and was able to go back to the museum armed with the knowledge that would be needed to ask questions. I took pictures and listened. I learned that Anne Bonny gave birth to Calico Jacks daughter, was killed by her cowardly first husband, and her daughter was taken to a church to be raised Protestant. I was in tears when I was ready to leave when I wanted to take a picture of me and the artifacts. I went home and thought about what could Anne tell me about me? I went back to the museum and took pictures but it wasn’t Anne that I heard in my head. Calico Jack said that he knew my inner secrets but could also tell my future. Just as I was learning the truth about my past, he could tell me about my future. Did I want to know how I die or if I would be successful? Instead, I asked what I thought would be a safe question, ‘Will I ever have kids?’ I knew I couldn’t because of how my uterus developed. ‘You will experience the same thing I did.’

I stopped taking pictures and rarely went to museums until one day I met my husband at a town parade. He knew that I wasn’t able to have kids and we were in the middle of an adoption process when we found out that I was pregnant. I wanted a home birth where things went horribly wrong. I never got to meet my daughter but I get to see her grow up through pictures. I hope that one day she will take a picture of herself with something of mine so that I would be able to tell her how beautiful she is and that I love her.

 

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

6 Word Story: 4/5

After an awful night, today is getting a little better. I have 3 Pit Bull babies as my nurses and my husband left my laptop in arms reach. So far, the pups have protected me from the mailman and the garbage collector and my laptop is on low battery. I will start with my 6-word story and lay down for a bit more. Then, I’ll try and tackle me A to Z challenge but no promises.


Prompt Word: Ballgame

‘I love you,’ What a game-changer.

 

Red Survival

OK, I’m attempting a short story with as my first installment in my Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This is going to be more difficult than I imagined but 1 down, 25 more to go.


 

There was speculative talk in the 80’s about the hippy warnings of the 60’s. The 90’s drowned out the voices that were trying to educate us on what could happen. Then technology took over the population in the 00’s. Then this became the answer, ‘We are developing the technology,’ or ‘we have the technology,’ to repair or prevent future occurrences.

I was 3 at the time when my father worked in the oilfield. I remember him coming home calm but covered in blood. My grandmother didn’t react but sent me outside and then tended to him. Looking back their calm demeanor was for my benefit. If I had been paying any attention I would have minded their conversation more. What did change that day was how I was raised. I have survived everything mankind has destroyed because of my training. My father made sure that day after the ‘accident’ that I wouldn’t succumb to the same fate as his fellow workers.

The oilfield workers were a family and this included the wives. The men had to keep each other safe in a dangerous career and the wives kept each other company. There were cookouts, huge parties, Saturday night card games, and huge holiday get-togethers. I had so many aunts, uncles, cousins, and all I could remember was the friendship and love. We enjoyed the simple and important things in life. Until that day of the first incident that my father experienced.

My father was mapping out the pipe that warm sunny morning and his friend, my uncle Tommy, was running the drilling rig. According to my dad, there was a sudden silence then Tommy started making these horrible gurgling and gasping noises. Blood started coming out of his nose and mouth, eyes went wide then turned solid black. My father could see this cloud of red smoke surrounding the rig. He took a bandana out from his pocket, wrapped it around his face and ran to Tommy hoping to pull him away and save him but by the time he got across the field Tommy was gone. He said the smoke clung to his body as if it was searching for a way to get in. He looked around and could see the men that were around the smoke suffered the same fate that Tommy did. My father regretted his next action but it was necessary, he left.

The oilfield company tried explaining it off as a gas pocket. They couldn’t bounce back from the incident and went out of business. My father then went to offshore rigging and experienced the same cloud of smoke but this time he was able to get his men either inside or cover their mouths and noses. Again, the company tried using the excuse of gas. There were only two fatalities that day. My dad explained that certain earthquakes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters would have a red smoke around them. Then some areas of deforestation would present the smoke. Soon anything disruptive to the natural environment would cause death. It was soon called the ‘Red Plague’. Scientists figured out how to continue certain things to ensure man’s survival except for mankind.

What we learned is that the red smoke or fog was an actual living organism that had laid dormant for centuries. After a little research, the first reports of the fog was dated back to the beginning of the industrial revolution but no one had the science to understand what was happening. We were destroying it’s home. Red was here before we were. Now, red has replenished it’s home. The wildlife is plentiful and certain species are no longer endangered. The land is green and the garbage is no longer a problem. But the fleas, humankind is now endangered.

There are a few of us left living peacefully in small tribes across the world. My father has taught me that Red can be forgiving if you replace or repair what was taken or destroyed. I have a nice tree house with my family. My father taught me how to hunt and forage. I have livestock of deer and rabbit and a beautiful garden. I have replaced the trees that we used for housing in the area that we inhabit. We are quiet and calm. There is no electricity, no phones or internet. It’s simple, hard work. Every now and then you see clouds of red smoke from in the distance because someone thought that reviving a piece of technology from the past was more important than living.

We still have Saturday night card games with our extended family. Some are people that survived the offshore rig with my dad and some that we have met throughout the years. We have cookouts and get-togethers. My children have only experienced the world we now live in and never the technology. I have taught them to read and write but also to respect Red and his planet. The buildings, roads, or anything manmade is now our museums of discovery. The survival training that my father started to teach me when I was three is what has kept his bloodline going.

Faceless Warning

Screaming myself awake had become a once a month norm. Ever since I was three I had a dream of how I would die. As I got older the man of my dreams didn’t scare me as much. He was my once a month visitor that only I could see. He kept his identity a mystery which I was calmly ok with. Why would I want to know who murders me?

As I got older I went through school, dances, boyfriends, and graduation. The dreams kept occurring but never gave any information of my age, the location, or his identity. I started my first job at a local library. That month I didn’t have a dream. After three months of working there, I met a young man that took me to all these different places where we would enjoy food, movies, dancing, comedy, music, or just each other. I felt alive and never thought of the man of my dreams.

The young man took me home one night after a poetry reading, we kissed goodnight, nothing new. That night the man of my dreams visited me. He had the same features as the young man I was dating but faceless. This time he didn’t kill me right away. In my dream, we were in the stacks at my library. He hands me this book where his voiceless words appeared on the page. That’s when he took the book from me and started bashing me in the head until I woke up. Screaming.

I went to work the following morning not giving another thought to the dream until I had to file the books back in their stacks. In my hands was the blood red book from my dreams. I opened it up to find my handwriting. I was confused as I read in my penmanship, ‘The man in your dreams will not visit you anymore but will see you on the other side if you do not fight for your life. The man you’ve been seeing is the soulmate that you never got to meet. You can choose to die and be with him now or you can fight and meet him after you lived a long life. In the back of this book is a letter opener. If you want to live, take it and turn around right now and place it in your killers head. I was shaking as I unsheathed the blade.’

I thought, ‘Is this for real? Can this really be happening?’ I heard the sound of someone breathing behind me when without thinking I turned and placed the blade in the throat of my attacker. His wide eyes looking both surprised and furious. After the police came and time passed I did what any librarian would do. I did some research. The man I killed was a person of interest in the murder of the man in my dreams. He was kidnapped and taken to a field where he fought and lost the battle for his life. The night I killed my murderer he had rope, a knife, and gloves. I’m sure he would have taken the book from me and killed me just like in my dreams.

The title of the book that I haven’t read yet, ‘Unspoken’. I still don’t know how my handwritten warning was in this book. Was it me? Was it him?  I wish I still had the dreams just to learn more about the man and the killer but now I only sleep through the night.


Tried something new with this and even though I had several different endings this one only felt right. I think if I work on this a bit more it could be a longer-short story. Do you have a faceless person in your dreams? What do you think they are trying to tell you?

6 Word Story: 3/19

This morning has been crazy and I’m frustrated that I couldn’t tell people ‘NO’ so I could write this. How many times have I started out saying this to myself and never follow through? TONS, to be honest.


 

Prompt Word: I will…

I will find my persevering will.

6 Word Story: 3/17

Today’s prompt really doesn’t surprise me. According to the Wikipedia, page leprechauns are a mischivous little creature that has beards, wear green, drink and fix shoes. I found an interesting article that pictures them as something different. What do you believe?


Prompt Word: Leprechaun 

His charm lived in his wisdom.

 

A Trunk’s Secrets

I finally finished the short story. This is my first stab at fiction without a prompt and although I think that there is room for improvement I am quite pleased with the turn that the story took. And thank you, Jules, for the inspiration and encouragement.


I was always afraid and curious about the wonderment the attic held. Being only seven, my little mind imagined great and terrifying things. From monsters to treasure the forbidden was occupied by fear. ‘Don’t go up there, you’ll get hurt,’ my grandmother would warn every holiday season when she had to fetch decorations. Until one day when she decided I was old enough to handle the ladder and the probable pain from falling or that’s what I assumed.

‘Jo, go up to the attic and grab the Halloween decorations,’ my grandmother called after me. Excited and terrified I burst through the screen door that led to the garage. This is where the attic entrance was housed. As I pulled on the cord that showed me the ladder, I gasped. That smell was oddly sweet, like family and dust. I slowly climbed the ladder and stared into the cave of darkness. I heard creaking and moaning and I learned that I can be quite fast when I wanted to be as I darted for the light switch.

The glow from the dim light on all the family treasures was mesmerizing. I could spend days on end up there opening every box and chest. There were colorful quilts draped over banisters, a full-length mirror that had a sheet over the front, an old rocking horse with matching wooden crib and plenty of boxes. What caught my eye was a glint of gold underneath old newspapers. I carefully gathered the crumbling papers and placed them on the floor. There an old trunk sat with huge brass hinges and a weathered leather handle. The trunk was a green colored metal with dings and scratches all over. You can tell the trunk has traveled but no proof of it on the exterior.

My grandmother always told me curiosity killed the cat and if I knew then what I know now I would’ve never opened that trunk. Inside were baby clothes but only one set. I thought, ‘where are the rest of my clothes?’ It was a tiny small pink lacy dress and hand crocheted matching baby booties, still soft. Under the clothes was a baby blanket and for some reason, I thought it was familiar like I’ve seen it before. Full of colors and patterns held a sweet smell of perfume but not my grandmothers. Under the quilt were pictures of a pregnant woman with a little girl posing by a Christmas tree. Then another picture of a man kissing the woman. There were many other family photos but not my family. I thought that maybe it was someone that I haven’t met yet that I was related to like a long lost aunt and uncle. Under all of that was a newspaper with the headline, “Couple Murdered, Infant Baby Girl Missing.”

‘That isn’t the box with the decorations.’ I turned and there was my grandmother with the blackest eyes I have ever seen her have. She wasn’t angry with me and what I had opened, but I didn’t feel safe around her anymore either. She came and sat next to me and carefully took the paper out of my hands. ‘Whatever you’re thinking you’re going to be half right. All I’m going to say is that I love you like you’re my own.’ She squeezed my shoulder and put everything back in the trunk. I grabbed the box of decorations and went downstairs. We never talked about that day in the attic and I never went up there again while I lived there.

Later I learned that my grandmother and grandfather were the people who murdered my parents. My grandmother wanted a grandchild so bad but her and my grandfather never had kids. I learned so much about the people who raised me, gave me everything I ever wanted, showed me right from wrong and offered unconditional love. They even put me through college with stolen money. I found all this out when I went back into the attic as part of packing up the house when they passed away. I took the trunk and read everything in it from newspaper articles to my grandmother’s journals. I also learned I wasn’t the first baby they tried to take and by the time they were ready they could only take me. The story went as: their daughter got pregnant outside of wedlock and died during birth so they took me in. My real family was brutally murdered after they brought me home. My grandparents had been stalking my parents for months. The only two people that survived that night was my sister and me. I’ve never met my sister. They didn’t take her because she was sleeping and during the whole murder, they decided to leave her and let her sleep. The only witness that couldn’t identify them because she never woke or cause trouble during the kidnap.

The fear was not the attic, it’s what was in the attic. The pain wasn’t from falling off the ladder but what was in the trunk. The trunk didn’t travel, it was battered from the truth.

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