Janie’s mom shot into the dining room, yanking the Wings 8-track out of the player. “Fetch your brothers, we’re going to the beach.” She ricocheted out, leaving a Merit 100s trail and ash on the table.
“Soon as I make a call.”
“But it’s pouring, and I need to finish my geography.”
“Do it in the car.”
Twenty minutes later, they were packed into the back of the Bonneville, weaving through Beach Boulevard traffic, windshield wipers a metronome for songs they couldn’t hear because the radio was still busted.
Through the rear-view mirror, Janie spied a thin black line creeping down from behind her mother’s faux Foster Grants.
“Course I am, do your homework. And Jimmy, quit kicking the goddamned seat.”
Janie squeezed her youngest brother’s knee, pulled him close, and kissed his wavy black hair. Justin was half asleep, his head bouncing against the water-streaked window.
She wished she’d found them sooner. Maybe she’d have heard more than “wants me out, Mama … can I come home?”
Hopefully the storm would pass. It’d be a long drive to Nebraska (especially without a radio), and she knew this band on the run could never afford a jet.
Here’s the last one I wrote, for your reference.
She flips on the kitchen light and stifles a scream.
How long has it been there? That moth above her kitchen sink. Its wings flattened out against the wall, looking more applique than insect.
Mottephobia. Ridiculous. Especially since it hadn’t crawled out of its cocoon until a dozen years ago, during a midnight viewing of Silence of the Lambs. Her college roommate Janene (who bore an uncanny resemblance to Jodi Foster) had double-dog dared her into a tab of midterm windowpane.
Slipping off her shoe to shoo it away, she notices its wings. Mossy green with meticulous markings. She wishes her paintings were half as intricate and wonders if she’s afraid of beauty.
“Please don’t hurt me,” a small voice squeaks.
She spins around. An empty doorway leads into the darkened dining room.
“I made a wrong turn. I’m sorry.” A delicate flutter of wings sends her flying into the dining room, her scream not stifled.
Pre-teen laughter rings out from beneath the dining room table. Her ten-year-old appears, giggles “Gotcha” and hands her the birthday email his godmother sent him last week.
“Auntie Janene wants to know if the lambs are still screaming.”
Here’s where it all started.
Here are some of my favorites.
I’ll see what I can do about getting them all collected into this site. All in good time. Need to get writing on the new ones first.