Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trick & Treat

In honor of all the creepiness associated with this month, I’m sharing a “Trick” of a short story I did a few months back for a writing contest.  (The rules stated the story had to begin, “She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.”)  This was not the piece I entered, but it is fitting and fun, and I hope you enjoy it.
Also be watching for a special “Treat” real soon, as I have a spook-tacular guest interview coming up.  You won’t want to miss out, but until then I wish you ghastly good reads!
She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.  Her heart was unsettled but it was time to make a choice.  Carolyn often felt misplaced but the days of reading to Greta transformed her somehow. 
“How is she?”
“Resting.”
“Resting?”
“Well, what did you expect Alice?”
Alice shrunk to a corner with a huff.  Carolyn was used to her aunt’s pouty demeanor, but today it irritated her.  They’d all been sitting around waiting for this moment, perched like vultures and not one of them showed an ounce of remorse or shame.   Ralph was greasy and pompous, but Ginger was the worst.  Carolyn imagined her, a fly hungrily wringing her hands.
“Well?” Ginger’s brazen question actually caused Carolyn physical pain.
“Well, what mother?”
“Don’t get testy.  What did the book say?  Did you find out where she put it?”
“You should’ve read it yourself!”  She expected her mother to strike her for the haughty response, but the attack came from Ralph instead.
“That is no way to talk to your mother!”
“Give it a rest Uncle Ralph, the book didn’t tell me anymore than we already knew.  She had it, now she doesn’t.”
The defeated group grimaced and made grumbling noises.  Not one of them asked to see her, or cared enough to send her off with an offer of love or even a simple farewell.  The choice should’ve been easy, but things like this never were.  “Mom, wait,” Carolyn felt the sting of guilt but resisted it, “Nana wants to see you.”
“Oh’ Goody!” Ginger clapped like a child.  “I knew she’d pick me!”  The other’s snarled, slamming the door as they left. 
Returning to the shadowy room, Carolyn softly touched Greta’s cheek, clammy, she thought.   Reaching over to the side table she wrung out a cool cloth and placed it on the elderly woman’s forehead.  She looked at her longing to make her well, never realizing before how much she resembled her grandmother.  She’d never really cared, but there was an uncanny resemblance and it pleased her.
Reading the diary opened a window into a life she’d never considered.  This woman was a pioneer, courageous and a bit scandalous in her time.  Carolyn could only dream of being so remarkable. “Get out of the way!”  Ginger snapped, shoving Carolyn aside.  “Momma, I’m here.”  Her voice was syrupy, but the phony sound couldn’t hide her agenda.
 Carolyn was surprised the old woman had the strength to sit up, but she managed as if she’d been saving all her energy for this moment.  Looking directly at Carolyn she pointed toward a dresser, “There’s a box in the drawer.”
Carolyn retrieved the decrepit box as told and gently handed it over.  Greta opened it slowly and Carolyn imagined a glowing brilliance would pour from it, but once open, it only revealed an antique necklace.  “I want you to have it,” Greta announced handing it to Ginger.
Unable to take her concentration away from the bobble, Ginger’s eyes sparkled with greed.  She quickly put the trinket around her neck and smiled without showing an ounce of gratitude.  Greta coughed tiredly, “It’s the coveted everything and nothing.”
Carolyn watched, waiting for a miracle but the phenomenon had already transpired.  Ginger stood, her eyes gleaming with an unfamiliar affection, then she kissed Carolyn lovingly, “You may never have their love, but you own their adoration.”  Accepting the kiss was easy, masking her confusion was not, but her new mother gave a wink that soothed her nerves.
Mystified and gasping with terror, the old woman released her final breath and Carolyn felt her guilt slip away just as freely.  She hugged the adoring mother she’d always wanted and an eerie peace eased her deception.

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