Just a Slice

I see it in my mind, our little place away from the hustle of any big city.

It’s quiet here, especially at night when we look up to the stars from the small firepit you built by hand. I love sitting in our Adirondack chairs, watching the skies, as you hold my hand. Bundled in light sweaters, we sit in awe of how small we really are and how large the world truly is. We sit in awe of how we found each other once again in this big world.

When we walk back in, the fireplace greets us with warmth and dancing light. Our home is cozy and warm. A fluffy throw and a handmade quilt are strewn about our living room where we cuddle and relax. You love it when I walk out of the bedroom wrapped in that quilt, and nothing else, then nuzzle in next to you as we spend the day together not doing much of anything at all.

One wall is adorned with a large piece of aged wood, a fallen branch from a tree we found together. We had so much fun trying to get it home; it almost didn’t make it, it was bigger than the car, even with the back seats down. We had to leave the trunk open and protect it with blankets, hoping the gate wouldn’t shut down and snap it all the way home.

The dining room is on the other side; the large wooden table sits there, space for us and the girls and some more family should they ever come to visit. One side is a bench, and wood chairs with a simple X back surround the rest of the table. We put little candles along the center and we light them during our Saturday night dinners. I love looking into your eyes as the flames flickers and they sparkle.

On those nights, inevitably you lead me down the hall. Sometimes you stop and push me to the wall, looking at me intently and knowing I’m yours. Other nights are more gentle and sweet. You always seem to know what to do, and I still follow your lead, except on the rare occasions I decide to take control. Oh, you love those nights in our bed in the room down the hall, us wrapped up in our sheets, pillows askew, feet entwined.

But tonight, when we come in, we are greeted by two smiling faces, lit up by phone screens. I love when they visit. I wish I had given them to you, but grateful every day she did. I head to our little kitchen and smile as I hear their chuckles as you settle in and catch up on their lives. It warms my heart.

Their room has two twin beds and is across from the guest bath. It’s a simple room, but I hope they like it. Perhaps one day they’ll help me redecorate it to their own liking, I muse to myself. Aw, who am I kidding, we’ll have to give one the other spare room one day and split them up, it won’t be soon before one brings home a boyfriend, maybe a husband, or, gulp, maybe grandkids!

I slice a few pieces of homemade chocolate cake and plate them up, then return to the living room. You told me chocolate bribes work well; I just hope they appreciate it. I settle in on the side chair as you put on a new remake of another 80s movie to watch for the evening. The girls groan for a moment, but settle in and dig in to the chocolate cake. We look at each other and chuckle.



Flames dance in the night, the smell of campfire fills their noses. Sitting in their chairs, they relax enjoying the cool air. The hoot of a great horned owl echoes through the trees, while the occasional acorn falls from the oak trees above them.

One smacks her on the top of her head and she grimaces. A rustle from the brush near by followed by the crack of twigs under foot. They look up, surprised. They hadn’t heard a soul for hours.

She turns and looks behind her after noticing her friend’s eyes grow wide. As she turns, some wild animal runs into the safety of the forest.

She looks back at her friend. “What did you see?”

Her friend is frozen stiff, unable to respond. Her eyes are still fixed on the spot behind her.

Slowly she stands from her seat, her mug in her hand and turns. The cup falls from her grasp and drops, clanging to the ground, spilling its contents. Her mouth falls open as she’s face to face with a figure in the shadow, her shadow.

Its eyes stare at her piercingly. An evil grin spreads across its face as it approaches. As it nears, she moves, allowing the firelight to light its face. It doesn’t flinch from the light. The creature isn’t nearly as frightening as she thought it would be; she pauses, mesmerized.

Behind her, her friend begins screaming uncontrollably, but she doesn’t move any further. As it nears her, she begins to recognize masculine features, familiar, through its paled translucent skin. It says her name, somehow knowing it, or perhaps he has entranced her with a spell.

Her fear dissipates as she almost longs for him to come closer while her heart beats wildly. She shakes in anticipation. Her eyes break from his and float up to the sky. Her friend runs off into the forest. She arches back her neck and stares to the full moon above. Her collarbone and the crook of her neck glow in the moon’s rays.

He bites, she exhales. The stars and moon are surrounded by a mystical glow as the world begins to spin. He feasts. She awakes.

Inspired by a writing prompt from Lady Jabberwocky: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/101036891/posts/3610967389


Wildflowers in the Mist – Part Two

Jack and Sal made their way to their next assignment to survey some land out West for a wealthy investor. The property had went up for sale as new land, never before deeded to any owners, and property of the state. A large field of wildflowers filled with Valerian honeysuckle and Indian Paintbrush appeared as they rode up on horseback.

Jack pulled out the map. “Sal, I think this is the place. Besides, I need to get off this beast. Why don’t we set up camp for the night. It’s going to be dark soon any hows.”

Sal pulled up beside Jack and took in a deep breath, enjoying the fragrance from the field. “Fine by me. It’s a sure pretty site.” Sal dismounted from his horse, Silver Tongue, and gave him a smooth pat. “I’m sure you’d like a break, too.”

Silver Tongue whinnied in delight and shook his head as Sal pulled off his pack and saddle.

“You baby that horse too much, Sal,” sneered Jack as he offloaded himself and things off the back of his horse. “See, Charlie here doesn’t need that type of attention. He’s a real man’s horse.”

Charlie looked over at Jack, then at Silver Tongue. He stomped one of his hooves in disapproval, but then stopped. He knew what Jack might do if he kept it up.

Sal and Jack set up their main work tent first and then their own sleeping shelters, then started up a fire to heat up some beans from their portable kitchen. It wasn’t much, but they’d hunt in the morning for some fresh meat to supplement.

As the sun set behind the mountains, the area around them first quieted, then seemed to come to life. The chirp of grasshoppers, the sound of the trees moving in the wind, and the hoot of an owl filled the air. In the distance, howls from a wolf pack floated their way.

“Well Jack, I’m off to bed. Catch up with you in the morn’,” Sal tipped his hat, hung it on the edge of his shelter and crawled inside.

Jack waved good night to his traveling companion, then reclined back on the log they had set up for seating and looked out over the meadow. In the distance, he saw what seemed to be a shadow walking among the flowers. “Hey, you. What are you doing out there?” he yelled out.

The shadow appeared to freeze and then disappeared before his eyes, leaving a trail of vapor behind. Jack rubbed his eyes and thought to himself, I must be more tired than I thought. With that, he decided to also turn in for the evening.


Wildflowers in the Mist

Sally laid on the sofa in her best dress. A boney aged finger, outstretch, pointed to the stone fireplace. Her eyes focused on the mantle where his picture sat, staring back at her. She knew she would see him again soon.

As she wheezed out her last breath, time became frozen in the main room of their humble home. She lay there dead, not to be found, not to be mourned, not to be buried or laid to rest.

The surrounding forest grew closer as the decades passed. Vines of kudzu and honeysuckle crept over the home and blocked any sunlight from entering the house. Spiders spun their webs, making the cabin their new home.

Aspen trees filled in the once tended garden while the meadow of wildflowers which drew them to settle here remained. In that field, many secrets lie buried, hopefully never to be found.

The start of something new…


The Watch – Part Two

Jon pointed out a booth to Steve. “Let’s sit here.” Then Jon looked around and nodded his head toward the corner. “Boy’s room. I’ll be back.” He slowly walked back.

Steve slid into the booth and removed his gloves and jacket. It was warm in the diner compared to the chilled air outside. A waitress just a few years younger than himself walked up. He looked at her nametag, Suzy. He looked up at her, “Hi, Suzy!”

She smiled as her brown eyes danced in the light from the pendant overhead. “Hi. What can I get you?” She wasn’t often greeted by her name, but she liked how Suzy fell off his tongue.

Steve proceeded to order, “My friend,” he nodded toward the back, “will have your famous hot cocoa and a burger with fries. I’ll have coffee and a burger too.”

Suzy looked at Steve a moment, then over her shoulder to the back. She then looked back at Steve. “Okay, two burgers and fries, a hot cocoa and a coffee. Coming up.”

She turned around and stepped behind the counter. She quickly returned with a hot cocoa and coffee. “So, your friend will be back soon?”

Steve smiled. He figured Jon was possibly cleaning up a bit since he’d been out on the street for a while. “Yes, he probably needs a few minutes.”

Suzy smiled back at Steve and returned to her duties behind the counter.

Jon returned and slid into the both across from Steve. “Oooh, that cocoa smells delish!” he leaned toward the cup and took in a big whiff. He pulled the cup closer to his side of the table, then looked up. “My granddaughter Suzy makes the best cocoa. I remember it from years ago.”

Steve smiled, looked at the waitress, then looked back. “Wow, our waitress is named Suzy.”

Jon continued, “Really? Small world! My Suzy is a sweetheart. She really should find herself a good man. Hard worker and pretty as all get out.” Jon smiled to himself, then looked at the quilt he had wrapped around his shoulders. “I know it isn’t much to look at, but the memories from this quilt keeps me warm.”

Steve leaned in to hear Jon as he continued on his poignant story.

“See, my wife’s grandmother made this quilt. It’s pieced together from old clothes and fabric findings. It’s why the pieces are all different.” He pointed at fabric covered in flowers, stripes, and solids. “We had plenty of picnics on this quilt, and used it on those cold nights to cuddle under, watching tv, and,” his smile turned a little shy and a blush came to his cheeks, “well, you know.”

Steve let out a chuckle, to which Suzy looked up and glanced over at the booth. That was the only table occupied that evening. It was a hearty chuckle, and while she didn’t know what it was about, it made her smile. She turned back to her work, waiting for the order to come up.

Jon continued to share his story, then switched his attention, “Now, about this watch. I’d really like you to have this watch, Steve.” Jon lovingly looked over the watch, holding the chain and rubbing its surface. “It’s a great watch, and I think you deserve it.”

Steve smiled. He had no need for a watch, but thanked Jon. “Tell you what. I’ll consider it. I’m going to step to the….boy’s room… before our meal comes. I’ll be right back.” Steve stood up and walked to the back of the diner.

A few minutes later, Steve returned. Suzy had just dropped off the two meals, still piping hot, at the table. However, Jon was no where to be seen. Suzy approached the table, her jacket on. “It’s almost the end of my shift, anything you need?”

Steve looked up at her, “Did you see where my friend went?” he asked as he glanced around. “I hope he didn’t leave.” Steve looked down at the table and the watch sat on the table beside the cup of cocoa.

Suzy looked at the table as Steve picked up the watch. “I didn’t see anyone with you sir, but that sure is a nice watch. Reminds me of my grandfather Jon’s. He loved that watch even though it never kept time.”

Steve looked at Suzy, then back at the watch in his hand. He opened the cover and read, The best gift you can give is your time.

He looked back up at Suzy and smiled. Then he looked at the jacket she was wearing to keep warm; a patchwork of fabrics, vibrant but familiar. “Where did you get your jacket?”

Suzy blushed. “I made this from my grandmother’s quilt. She and grandpa always used it and I wanted to keep it close. It had become tattered over the years. I hope I did it justice.”

Steve shook his head yes, still gripping the watch. “Yes, you did.”

Just as she finished her thought, another waitress walked in. Suzy waved hello and turned back to Steve. “Well, my shift is over, so Janice is going to take over. Have a…”

Steve interrupted her, “Suzy, it appears I ordered a meal too many — would you like to join me since your shift is done? I hear the burgers here are the best in town.

Suzy smiled as she slid off her coat and took a seat. She picked up the untouched mug in front of her and inhaled. “Hot Cocoa, my favorite.”

“I’m Steve by the way.”

Suzy’s grin grew, “Nice to meet you, Steve. I’m Suzy.”


The Watch – Part One

“Sir, do you need a watch? Sell it to you, cheap!” an old man, slumped on the sidewalk, held out his last prized possession. The silver pocket watch twirled from its chain, dented and well-loved. The man’s eyes cried out for help, but he wouldn’t beg, just offer things to sell to get by.

A sharply dressed man looked down at him. A chill went up his spine as he watched the older man with his watch. He raised his gloved hands to his face, blowing on them to keep them warm. His woolen coat, normally hot on his back even on the coldest days, suddenly felt as thin as silk.

He was a stranger to this town, and felt for the man on the street. He knew he needed to do something, but buying that watch would not help him. A voice in the back of his mind repeated, “The best gift you can give is your time.” He kneeled down, meeting the man on the street eye to eye.

“I have no need for your watch, but I am not familiar with this town. Could you tell me where I might get a good burger?”

The old man smiled and his eyes lit up. “The diner on 5th makes the best burgers in town. Their staff is great; they always give me hot cocoa when I stop by.”

“Would you show me the way?” He stretched out his hand to help the old man up. “I’m Steve by the way.”

The old man stumbled up to his feet. His coat was merely an old quilt, tattered by age and grayed by grime from living on the street. He wrapped it around himself tightly and tottered along down the road. “This way, sonny. Best burger in town. I’m Jon by the way.”

Jon showed Steve to the diner. When they arrived, Jon clapped Steve on the shoulder. “Thanks for the company. Enjoy your burger.” He turned to walk away.

Steve called out, “I could use some company, would you like to join me?” He paused as Jon turned to him. “My treat!”

Jon smiled a little, “I can get myself a hot cocoa.” He looked up at the steamed up windows, knowing the warmth would do him some good. “Sounds good.” Steve opened the door for Jon and let him lead the way.


Destination – Part 1

She pulled up to his place, nervous, with a small bag in hand. She’d never taken over control before, but she had it all carefully planned.

She climbed up the steps and knocked on his door. He was expecting her at least. He answered, still dressed in pajama pants and no shirt. She let out a sigh, she loved that look on him. He put his hand on his hip and smirked. “Like what you see?”

She blushed, then pushed her way through. “Yeah, yeah, enough of your modeling.” She made light of the moment, then she turned. “Here, put this on.”

He looked in the bag and scrunched up his nose as he tried to figure out what this meant. “I’ll freeze to death in that!”

She smiled. “Just do it. You can put warmer clothes on top!” She had crossed her arms and tapped her fingers on her upper arm.

He wandered down the hall, shaking his head, wondering what she was up to.

“Do you trust me?” she hollered after him as he walked away.

“No.” he flatly answered in his jokingly dead pan voice.

Moments later, he came back out, fully dressed. She pulled at the waistband of his jeans and looked. “Good, you really have them on.” Then she smiled sweetly. “Ready to go?”

“Go where?” he questioned. “What are we doing?”

“Don’t you no never mind! I took care of everything, even your Mom knows where you’ll be and don’t worry about work!”

He raised his eyebrow. How would work be involved, and why would his mom need to know. “But, what? Where are we…”

She interrupted him. “Do you trust me?” She looked at him with innocent eyes, but a devilish grin. “Come on.” She motioned to the door and took his hand.

The cold air outside was bone-chilling. He really didn’t like to be out in weather where layers and scarves were needed, but he still didn’t understand why she’d have him put that underlayer of what looked like a bathing suit and beach top on in this weather.

At least she had left the car running so it was nice and toasty when they got in. They both climbed in. “Want to go on an adventure?”

His lips curled. He knew she was up to something, but adventures with her were always fun at least. He shook his head as she pulled out and drove away.

A short while later, she pulled the car into the remote parking area at the airport. He figured they were going somewhere, but where? For how long?

After making it through security, he looked at her. Then she turned to him with a black scarf in her hand. “Here. Put this on. Make it comfortable, but you can’t peek.” She shook her finger at him.

“I’m going to look quite funny stumbling through the airport with this on,” he protested.

She laughed. “Do you trust me?”

He shot her a glance and smiled, but his voice quivered a bit. “Sure.” He donned the blindfold and she took him by the arm, guiding him to their gate to wait for the plane. She purposely sat at the wrong gate and then handed him noise cancelling headphones. He chuckled. “What, afraid I’ll hear something?”

She chuckled. “Yeah, something like that. Put them on.”

“Wow, getting a little bossy there lady. You sure you want to do that?”

She leaned in and sultrily whispered , “I know you like it when I do.”

His face lit up and blushed a little bit, then he put on the headphones. She had connected them to his phone so he could enjoy some music while they waited.

She spied that the gate staff arrived and made her way to the gate. She explained her plan and they agreed to let them board first so she could surprise him after they were on the plane with the destination. She walked back over to him while the inbound plane unloaded. Everyone was tanned, wearing tropical clothing, and in for a shock of the cold environment they were coming back too.

She thought to herself, that will be us in a week, and smiled. The gate staff finally waved to her so they could board early.

She bent down and pulled his headphones “Okay, they’re ready for us!” She guided him to the gate and scanned the electronic boarding passes, then led him to their seats.

“Oof! Cushy seats!” he exclaimed as he settled in. “Are we in first class? Do I smell coconut?”

She giggled as she sat down. “Okay, put these on again.” She handed him the headphones. “I’ll tell you where we’re going after we pull away from the gate.” There’d be no escaping at that point, she thought to herself.

She smiled. She was pleased she’d made it this far with out entirely spilling the beans. Hopefully he’ll be just as happy when he finds out where they are going.



Steve flipped his wrist impatiently, checking the time. The taxi he ordered was late, and the plane was not going to wait. He looked at the stream of traffic going down Roosevelt.

He tapped his foot nervously as the taxi pulled up. A short stocky man rolled down the window. “Mr. Rainey, sorry for the delay.” Sam saw the bags and popped the trunk, then hobbled out of the car and over to put in John’s bags. Sam wiped his brow, “It’s a hot one today, ain’t it?” Sam smiled, hoping for a small relief from Steve’s stern face.

Steve drew in a sharp breath, then relaxed and smiled. Sam reminded him a little of his own father, hard working, and eager to make another’s day better. “It sure is! I’m ready to be back home in the mountains where it is cooler.” Steve helped with his last bag, then they both climbed back in the taxi.

“O’Hare or Midway, Mr. Rainey?” Sam inquired.


“Very good. We will be there in no time.” Sam smiled back in the mirror. “So, the mountains you say. Where abouts?”

Steve grinned just thinking of home and his face lit up. “It’s a little town at the base of the Rockies. Our house is out on a lot behind a field of wildflowers and next to a quiet stream.”

“Ours you say? Sounds lovely!” Sam chuckled. He loved when people said that.

Steve laughed, “I mean me and my sweetheart. We just moved there a few months ago.”

Sam continued driving, weaving through the traffic on the Dan Ryan with ease. “We should be to O’Hare in 10 minutes, Mr. Rainey.”

“Great, and you may call me Steve.” He flashed his charming smile while glancing at his watch. He realized he was going to have plenty of time and his stress disappeared. “I am on United by the way.”

“Great! So the missus is waiting at home? What brought you out to the Windy City?” Sam loved to hear why people came to this town.

Steve flinched a bit, and stuttered, “We’re not married just yet,” he paused. Then he continued, “I hope to change that however now. Just worked out a book deal and the advance will cover the ring.”

Sam chuckled, “Son, if she really loves you, the ring won’t really matter. Keep that in mind. It needs to be nice, but not extravagant. It’s the love that matters.”

Steve looked down and fiddled with something in his hand. “You think so? I already had a ring, but she deserves so much more.”

Sam pulled the taxi to a stop. They had arrived at the airport. “I will help you with your bags,” and with that, Sam jumped out of the taxi and readily pulled out Steve’s bags.

Steve walked up to Sam. “Thanks for getting me here so quickly.” Steve fiddled with a small, aged ring box.

Sam saw it. “May I see?”

Steve was a little shy about the ring, but opened the box. A simple ring sat in the box. “I bought it years ago. It was for her then, but it took us a lifetime to find each other again.” Steve looked up and Sam had a tear in his eye.

“You tell her that and ask with this ring. It would mean more than you realize.” Sam’s eyes locked with Steve’s.

Steve grinned and nodded. “Thanks Sam…I think I will.” He turned and headed into O’Hare, with a lightness in his step.


The Hat

He knocked on her door. He promised her a night out on the town, dinner and a concert, and he was on time.

He smoothed his short hair, straightened his shirt, and tried to figure out where to place his hands. In his pockets, dangling loose, maybe looped through his belt loops. 

She looked out the peephole and watched him fidget. She smiled. He was cute when he was nervous, but, really, he had no reason to be. She straightened her hair and opened the door, showing him a big grin.

That grin made him smile, and forget his nervousness. She showed him in to her place.

“I just need a minute more. I’m almost ready,” she cooed as she walked down the hall.

He took note of what she was wearing as she walked back into her bedroom…jeans with a not quite sheer white blouse, leather belt, and her stockinged feet. Her makeup was done in a very natural way; he liked that about her. Nothing too showy, just soft and sweet.

When she re-emerged from her room, she had the finishing touches perfect for a country song, leather boots, simple earrings, a long necklace, and a burgundy and brown leather hat, straight from Wyoming. 

He almost didn’t want to take her out tonight. He was ready to stay right there and dance the night away in her living room, preferably naked, except that hat. But, he knew that wouldn’t do. 

“Ready,” she announced. She caught him in a half-stare; his mind obviously wandering. Her voice brought him back to the moment. 

He cleared his throat. “Great, let’s go.” He opened the door for her and they walked out. She locked up, and they were off to dinner.

Over dinner, they talked about themselves and had some time to get to know each other better. They shared stories about past concerts, college life, and the years after, just like old friends. 

He watched her throughout the meal. Her necklace hung down outlining her cleavage before disappearing under her blouse. The lace in her bra was just barely visible through her blouse when the light hit her just so. 

She was watching him too, although she tried to hide it. She noticed the little crinkles around his eyes when he laughed. They made him looked more mature. His smile was just a little crooked, making her bite her lower lip, knowing she wanted to kiss his lips.

They both could have headed back to either of their places right then and there after dinner, both were willing, but didn’t say anything to the other. He held her hand as they walked out of the restaurant. 

“Concert?” He questioned. They had great seats, but she looked at him with wanting in her eyes, but not for the concert. They stopped next to his car and she looked at him. In that moment, he knew. “Home?”

She reached up to him, and pulled him to her. Their lips met. He wrapped his arms around her and enjoyed the moment.

“Home,” he stated this time, and opened the door for her to get in. He rushed around to the driver’s side, slid in and started the car.


Fly Away – Part Two

Her wings were weak from not using them for so long. As she stretched them open, she could feel the tendons and ligaments moving in unfamiliar ways.

I need to fly again. I need to go somewhere new. She pondered to herself in the moonlight.

She flapped her wings and caught some air under them, lifting into the night sky. Flying was harder than she remembered as she moved her wings to catch more air. Finally she found a current and floated along the lake shore. She closed her eyes just a moment, feeling joy for once in ages. A smile spread across her face.

Suddenly, the wind stilled, and she began to lose altitude. Her instincts on how to land however did not kick in quite in time. She found herself sliding into grass and dirt, twisting. Her body slid between two rocks and her foot became entwined in some tangle roots between them, stopping her forward slide. She felt the pull of the roots up her leg as she rolled over to a seated position, folding in her wings.

Slowly she freed her foot from the tangle, then tried to stand up. Her ankle gave way and she leaned against the boulder she just missed hitting her head on to prevent herself from falling. Her ankle crackled and popped as she rotated it. It didn’t feel broken, just twisted.

Gently, she set her foot back down and tested it. It would hold until she could get back to the sanctum. Slowly she limped away from the lake, knowing she needed to tend to it. In the near distance, she could see the willow huts her people called home. Getting home was slow, but she made it.

She arrived at her hut, a small dome-shaped nestle among the larger family homes. The willow branches were woven into a basket pattern and packed to keep out the rains and mist. A small heart shaped window adorned the front of the home aside the entrance; her people found it good fortune to introduce shapes representing your desires. The other side displayed an archers bow and arrow. It was a reminder for her that when life pulls you back, it can launch you further forward than you ever dreamed.

Tonight she smirked at herself, unsure if a twisted ankle was just a foolish thing or one of those moments. She wished for the latter as she stumbled inside. She lit a candle to bring light into her home. The decor was sparse, but meaningful. Her grandmother’s handmade piece quilt lay across her thatch bed. A small wooden table for two made by her Da’ sat near her makeshift kitchen. There wasn’t a need for much when just one lives in a place like this.

She made her way to the small bath. Her people understood how to plumb their homes with running water. She found a swath of material and wrapped her twisted ankle to provide it support, then made her way to the bed to elevate it. She blew out the candle and laid there, wondering about the ridge, wondering what lay beyond. As her eyes grew heavy, she gave in to slumber and dreams.