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.


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.


Fly Away

The full moon cast its light over the ground below. A canopy of trees hung overhead. The winged creature stood in a large stream of light which hit the forest floor. She stood tall, raven hair, dark winged, pale skinned. Her wings were the color of midnight, reflecting highlights of violet and navy. The creature had human features, arms, legs and a soft feminine face. Some might mistake her for an angel, but in this world, there exists no such beings.

She haled from a small clan of forest folk knowledgeable in war and peace, in science and magic. There were not many of her kind left, so they often struck out from their sanctum in search of others suitable to share life. Cross breeding was never a concern, so long as they were able to hold the light of their partner’s eyes. However, tonight’s outing was not to find a mate.

She enjoyed her evenings meandering through the forest and communing with nature. This night under a full moon was ideal for observing her favorite nocturnal fowls and beasts. She moved through the trees steadily, missing the twigs and branches scattered on the floor, almost as if she floated through the forest. Her empire waist dress fluttered in the breeze, its translucent dark lace complementing her wings.

The forest floor became covered with a light mist as she approached the lake. A fallen trunk made the perfect seat for her to sit absorb the night air. In the distance, a doe wandered up to graze and sip from the lake. She watched her intently and smiled when a larger buck stepped up beside the doe. The mated pair nuzzled a moment, then retreated back into the forest.

The moon reflected in her dark eyes. From above, an owl hooted and then took flight over her head and across the lake. Its shadow appeared in the ripples in the water. She watched it disappear over a distant ridge. She longed to follow it off to the distant lands on the far side, to explore a new world. She stood up and stretched her wings. It had been years since she last took flight.


Back to Nature – Part Four

The sun was not up yet, but Suzy was. She heated up some water and began brewing a warm cup of tea for herself. She slipped back into the bedroom and changed from her nightgown into some workout pants and a long sleeved shirt.

She heard the timer go off from the kitchenette, completed making her tea and checked in on Rich. He still laid in the bed, sleeping. She went back into the living area of the cabin and curled up on the sofa, flipping through her phone to catch up on news and a few emails.

A soft knock came from the door and startled her. She plodded her still-sleepy self over to the door and looked out. Steve was standing there. She smiled, then opened the door and looked out. “Hey, what are you doing here, especially so early?”

He looked down and fidgeted his hands nervously, then looked up. He slid his hands into his pockets. “Can we talk a minute?”

She wasn’t sure what to expect, but she didn’t want to wake Rich either. “Hold on, let me slip on some shoes.”

Suzy found Steve pacing on the front porch, much like she had done a few days earlier, when she stepped outside. There was a chill in the air, but it wasn’t too cold for just long sleeves. “Want to sit, or walk?” she asked, seeing him pace.

He led the way down the stairs and they headed down the parking area and over to the fire pit. He took a seat on the edge of the pit while Suzy sat opposite him. Suddenly Suzy felt uncomfortable.

“Suzy, you told me you’d be here this week. Do you remember?”

She looked at him. She remembered their email exchange and did say she’d be out here, but not where they were staying. She blinked and looked at him confusedly.

“I took a chance,” his eyes locked with hers, then took a long pause before continuing, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

She smiled a sad smile and extended her hand, touching his lightly. “I’m glad you did. I’m happy we were able to reconnect in person.” Then Suzy hesitated and stumbled over her words a moment before continuing, “Do you know how many times I wished I had the courage to drop everything, walk away, to take a chance.” A tear rolled down her face. “But I didn’t. Not only was I not certain, but I also knew I couldn’t interfere. I just pulled back and hoped with all my heart that you were happy with her, happy being a father to those two beautiful girls of yours.”

He looked up, his eyes red. She’d seen that look before in his face in their past.

“But, then I had to find a way to move forward. I grew so lonely. He is good to me. It isn’t all that I dreamt of but….” She nodded her head towards the cabin. “Well, I’ve never been the one to call things off, to walk away, to end things. It’s my weak spot.” At this point, both of their eyes were filled with tears.

Steve shook his head, “I know. I think its why….” his voice trailed off and he tried to look away.

They both just sat there, saying so much without saying a word, for several minutes. Finally he stood up as the sun started to glow in the early dawn. “We’re heading home today. I wanted to see you before we left at least.”

She stood up across from him and they embraced in a hug.

Softly he whispered, “Still do.”

She whispered back, “Always will.”

With that, they stepped back from each other, and walked back to their respective cabins, both fighting the desire to turn around, knowing if they looked back, the moment would be even harder.


Back to Nature – Part Three

Rich and Suzy headed out early in the day for their adventure deep into the heart of Yellowstone. They found their way to Jenny Lake and boarded the ferry. The skies were a beautiful blue, lightly dotted with cirrus clouds and the lake was calm.

The ferry skimmed across the water for their brief boat ride. They pulled into the dock and offloaded with several others to find their way to the trails near by. Suzy took Rich to the side, letting the more experienced hikers head up and to allow them to have a little space before they tried to find their way to Inspiration Point and Hidden Waterfalls.

Slowly they made their way up the trail, well behind the throng of hikers. They took their time, not as skilled, carefully navigating some of the more moderate sections of the trail. It definitely was a more strenuous hike than those on the flat areas by the coast.

Suzy stopped to take photos along the way, appreciating the various vantage points. Rich caught up with her when she stopped and took in deep breaths of air, one of his habits she grew to appreciate through the years, although she wonders if he’s actually okay from time to time. Rich points out a view over Jenny Lake. It relaxes both of them before they carry on.

They reach Inspiration Point, but it was extremely crowded. Suzy was uncomfortable around the throng of bodies; she hoped people would have already moved on. She liked quiet walks, not tourist central sites. They enjoyed the view for a few moments and then moved on to find a small spot to enjoy lunch.

After the hike, they headed back to their cabin to freshen up and relax. Suzy found her way to the Adirondack chairs around the fire pit. She took a seat, facing their cabin, and began scrolling through her photos.

A shadow came overhead and a voice spoke up, “That’s a great shot.” Steve was behind her. He walked around her and sat down in the seat next to her. “How’ve you been?”

Suzy wasn’t sure how to react. She stared at her camera…it was a tie that bound them, at least in her mind. A shared interest from long ago. “Good. And you?” She managed to get out.

Her stomach still had butterflies for him, but they had gone different paths, built their families separately, moved on. When you love someone, sometimes you let them go and take the hit…that was how she felt. She had struggled to move on, but found a way.

“Good…good. Can I see your photos?” He extended his hand.

“They’re mostly junk, but sure.” She handed him her camera. “My eyesight isn’t what it used to be.” She pointed to the lenses of her glasses.

Steve scrolled through the images. He laughed at one which Rich had took of Suzy being silly. “You guys seem to have a lot of fun together,” Steve commented.

Suzy shook her head. “Most of the time, we do.” She smiled, looking over at their cabin. “He’s taking a nap right now.”

Steve handed her camera back to her. “Nice shots.” Then he looked toward the unlit fire pit. “I’m glad we bumped into each other.”

Suzy’s eyes drifted over to Steve. He was sitting there, elbows on knees, clasped hands, looking solemn. Some awkward time passed as they sat in the silence, with all the words they never said and may never be able to say to each other.

Sofia’s voice rang out from behind them as she walked up, “Dad!” Steve smiled as his eldest walked over. “Who’s this?”

Suzy smiled toward Sofia. She looked like her Dad so much. Suzy had seen pictures of her through the years, but now she was almost grown and around the age when Steve and Suzy first met, all those years ago.

Suzy introduced herself to Sofia, then continued, “Your Dad and I went to school together. Crazy how we bumped into each other after all these years!”

Sofia smiled at Suzy, “He’s mentioned your name before. Nice to meet you!” Then she turned to her Dad. “Lexi and I are going down to the camp store. Want anything?”

Steve shook his head no and soon Sofia was off with her kid sister.

“She’s a sweet girl, Steve.”

His face brightened up and he started sharing about watching the girls grow up. Suzy genuinely smiled as Steve talked. She couldn’t have kids of her own, but she was happy he got to have the family he wanted.

Slowly their conversation turned more comfortable and even lighter. The awkwardness dissipated and their friendship came back. They even shared a few laughs.

“Am I interrupting?” a man’s voice inquired. Rich had walked up to the ring of chairs.

Suzy looked up at him and smiled. It was a smile of true happiness. “Hey sweetie, this is Steve.”

Rich was happy to see she was no longer on edge. He stuck out his hand and exchanged greetings with Steve, then he took a look at the fire pit. “Hey, this is gas. Mind if I turn it on?”

Steve gave Rich a thumbs up. Suzy smiled, and was surprised how comfortable she was with both Rich and Steve being in the same place.

Rich took a seat on the other side of Suzy and the three of them stared into the fire as evening settled in. They chatted about the weather and the sites for a bit.

Steve then looked at his watch and suddenly stood up. “I should get back to the cabin and head out to dinner with the family. It was great to catch up with you!”

Suzy stood up and gave Steve a friendly hug. “Yes, it was.”

Steve headed back to his cabin and Suzy turned to Rich. “Dinner?” Rich smiled and shook his head yes.