How Do You Keep Going?

Wait just a moment and don’t think,
“How is this going to work out?”
Only take a moment to breath before moving on.
 
So you’ve been here before and failed
A moment in the past doesn’t mean you will again.
You can do this, you must tell yourself.
Slap those doubts right out of your head.
 

Sometimes Terry wondered if what he was learning would sit well with his mother. He knew without a doubt that his father would have understood. Warren had died trying to take out dirtbags like the ones he was learning to fight against. But Mary…

Mary had been a stay at home mom for most of Terry’s childhood and had only started looking for work after Matt had started school. Even then, it had only been part time until his parents had separated. Once she’d been the main bread winner for herself and her boys (before Terry had thrown an epic teenager snit fit and moved in with his father) she’d taken whatever hours she could without stinting her sons on time spent with them.

Sometimes Terry really wondered just when his mom had slept. He knew she ate, because she’d eaten with the boys ever night and tried to have breakfast with them on the weekends before running in to work. His mother is made of something stronger than he is even though he’s definitely her son. He’s been keeping his grades up and still working with his new boss on not only how to run a successful business and running all kinds of errands and getting to know people in his network.

(The local police didn’t know, but a lot of their ‘anonymous’ tips were from one local business man who’s seen enough go wrong that though he doesn’t have the health to join the force or go vigilante he wants to do something to make a difference.)

Terry is always tired in between school, work, learning the ins and outs of his future job (he will be able to make a difference once he’s old enough to enter the Police Academy and he will have the contacts and the know-how in gaining those contacts), spending time with his little brother, his girlfriend and getting any kind of rest.

How is his mother able to do everything when he knows she’s still mourning his father (divorced though they may have been at Warren’s death) and certainly not sleeping through the night. She still manages to look not any worse for the wear, unless you really know her and then you can see that the only thing keeping her from cracking right through the middle (instead of all along the edges) is her love and need to care for her sons.

“Terry?”

Terry looks up from where he had been frying a few eggs real quick to see his mother enter. Her hair was already brushed and she was dressed for work.

“I thought you might enjoy something to eat instead of drinking one of your smoothie drinks on the way to work.” he answered as he pulled the toasted bagel from the toaster and carefully loaded the fried egg on it.

Mary smiled at her son and accepted the breakfast sandwich, unsurprised that there was also some strips of bacon in it, “Thank you, son. I’ll see you after school today?”

“Yeah, I have today off.” Terry called over his shoulder as he moved back towards the carton of eggs to fry up enough for a sandwich for himself and his younger brother.

“Can you make sure Matt catches the bus?” Mary asked as she gathered up her keys and wallet.

“I’ll take care of it, Mom.”

Mary turned and pressed quick kiss to her eldest’s cheek in thanks before running out the door.

Terry watched his mother climb into the car and wondered again how she kept going.


Inspired by the prompt from DungeonPrompts last Thursday.

Muzzy Morning

She grumbled quietly as the glare of the sun filtered through the partially drawn blinds. Her head ached more with every blinking of the light as the wind rustled the leaves outside, adding to the dilution of the light through the window. Her nose was all stuffed up and she could feel the phlegm dripping down the back of her throat from it.

“Mary? Mary? Are you awake yet?”

Mary groaned, though it was no less loud than the earlier grumbling. The sound of Warren entering the room and, as quietly as he could, walking across the room gave her enough reason to actually lift her head from their bed and peer out at him.

“I don’ feel so goo’.” she mumbled, placing a hand on her aching head.

Warren handed her a glass of water and a few wintergreen mints but nothing else. Mary drank the water and munched a few of the mints before placing the majority on the end table by the bed. She snuggled back under the covers and Warren smiled slightly before kissing her in the forehead and turning the lights off.

Being pregnant seemed to bring out all the vulnerabilities that Mary usually didn’t have.


Inspired in part from one of the FreeWriteFriday prompts and the slight cold I have this morning.

Yearning

Mary had always wanted a child, someone to raise and watch and know that they were hers. She’d wanted a husband to stand next to her while she cradled their  young, his arm around her shoulders as the baby slept in her arms.

For most of her life, there hadn’t been anyone she’d wanted. most of her life was spent keeping her sister out of trouble and trying to find whatever it was they were looking for.

(It had taken too long, much too long, to find their purpose, but they hadn’t realized how long it was for the first millennium or so.)

Once they’d found their purpose, their princess, they hadn’t thought much beyond keeping her alive and then helping her and others of her ‘class’ (for lack of a better word) to do what they needed to do. They’d protected their princess and any others where and when necessary, but other than their duty and the few small friendships that had come with said duty…

Mary hadn’t started wanting, really wanting, what their princess, what the others had until after their princess, now their Queen, had given birth to her third child.

Watching Solaris with her two elder children around her, her husband standing behind her as they presented their third child to the Court had changed something within Mary’s heart.

Mary’s sister hadn’t felt that change for herself, but considering how they’d been connected at the time, she’d felt it in Mary. Star hadn’t understood, but Mary hadn’t blamed her.

For all that they were one at one point-

(Before Mother had split them, made them separate but the same.)

-they were very different by this point.

Her desires didn’t mean Mary wanted to leave her duty behind and considering the time shortly after the Third Child of Sol was presented…

Well, after the War no one thought Mary’d be able to do anything.

But Star had remembered and out of everyone else, she was the only one who knew that time didn’t matter when it came to finding a solution for Mary. And she had.

But all of Star’s work and planning and actions hadn’t been able to get her sister everything Mary had wanted. Mary had mental stability and health now and with time, she’d found Warren.

But they couldn’t have children.

And so Mary had continued to yearn for that thing she could never have.

She still loved Warren-

(Would always love her Bonded.)

-but she also mourned that they could never have children.

Once she realized that Warren was just as aware of her mourning as Star had been of her wish for a family, she’d been terrified that it was too much for him. Warren was one of a kind, but surely even he had to have his limits.

But…

Warren had just pulled her into his arms, laid his face against her hair and cried with her.

It hadn’t ruined their marriage and the mourning in the back of their hearts had faded enough into the background that it was more a watercolor on a fantastic high definition snapshot of a meteor shower. There and always present, but not the focus and not the point of the picture.

Warren wouldn’t let it ruin what he had with his wife. He had wanted children just as much as she had and they would find a way to have children. If it took twenty years to get approved for adoption or fostering he would go through that.

(They would have gone through it together and loved any and every child put under their care.)

It didn’t turn out that way, but they would have taken more children into their home if they could have. They’d even been preparing themselves to go to Mary’s brother, Alex and ask for help.

(Alex would have helped in a heartbeat, sooner even.)

They hadn’t needed to.

It was around the flu season when they noticed something different. About a month directly after Warren had gone in for his own flu shot, specifically.

(Even with what she was sealed away, Mary didn’t really need the same shots that others did. She’d gotten the boosters needed for an immunization record, of course, but flu shots weren’t mandatory and so she skipped them.)

It started slowly-

(As slowly as anything but faster than some, it’s different for every person after all.)

-but Mary started to show signs of something different about her. Something that she had noticed about thousands of others throughout her very long life, but had never personally experienced. A small part of her had been terrified when she told her husband.

(What would he say? What would he do?)

She needn’t have worried.

They ended up going to see Alex after all and it was he who found out what had been done to Warren and what this meant for them.

(Mary would wait over two decades to thank the woman responsible.)

Once Even I Was A Little Child, And I Was Afraid

Matt hummed softly as he walked down the long hallway, carrying his precious bundle so carefully. Halfway down the hall a door stood open and inside was a bedroom done up in soft warm colors, reds and browns and golds with an occasional touch of blue to offset it. He moved towards the bed which was already turn down, the quilt showing a starburst pattern on it.

Once his little bundle was placed in the bed and tucked in he sat on the edge of the bed and ran a hand through the child’s hair and his humming continued and moved into words.

Little child, be not afraid
The rain pounds harsh against the glass
Like an unwanted stranger
There is no danger
I am here tonight
 

The little girl in front of him smiled and rolled over so that she could peek up at him through her eye lashes, humming along with his little lullaby.

Little child, be not afraid
The thunder explodes
And lightning flash
Illuminates your tear-stained face
I am here tonight
 
And someday you’ll know
That nature is so
This same rain that draws you near me
Falls in rivers and land
On forest and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you see
In the morning
 
Little child, be not afraid
The storm clouds mask your beloved moon
And it’s candle like beams
So keep pleasant dreams
I am here tonight
 
Little child, be not afraid
The wind makes creatures of our trees
And the branches to hands
They’re not real understand
And I am here tonight
 

She frowned slightly, sleepily at the words about the moon. Matt smiled, but kept singing softly. He knew that she’d always preferred the sun or the stars to the moon, but this was the way the song went.

And someday you’ll know
That nature is so
This same rain that draws you near me
Falls in rivers and land
On forests and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you see
In the morning
 
For you know once even I was a little child
And I was afraid
But a gentle someone always came
To dry all my tears
To switch sleep for fears
And to give a kiss goodnight
 

Matt’s voice shook slightly over the previous verse, remembering when his mother would sing him to sleep. The little girl’s eyes had slipped closed by now, but she was still just slightly awake, so Matt carried on.

Well, now I am grown
And these years have shown
The rains a part of how life goes
But it’s dark and it’s late
So I’ll hold you and wait
Until your frightened eyes do close
 
And I hope that you’ll know
That nature is so
This same rain that draws you near me
Falls in rivers and land
On forest and sand
Makes the beautiful world that you see
In the morning
Everything’s fine in the morning
The rain’ll be gone in the morning
But I’ll still be here in the morning
 

After the lyrics had all been sung, Matt continued humming slightly though the little girl was deeply asleep. His hand had long since stopped carding through her dark red hair an sat limply in his lap. His eyes hadn’t stopped watering throughout the ending of the song and tears were still trickling quietly down his cheeks.

Little Mary snuffled softly in her bed, unaware of her silently crying son next to her.


This little snippet is far into the future for this little universe, but it’s been on my mind for a while and I had to write it down.

My mom often sang us to sleep at night, so much so that the first thing I have ever tried to get my nieces and nephews to sleep is some of her songs being sung softly.

Benefits

Mary’s face was grim, this farce of a meeting was really starting to get on her nerves. Her husband’s former employers were refusing to honor his will. He’d stated that, though they were no longer married, he wanted his benefits to go to his wife and children.

“I’m afraid that everything isn’t quite in order.” The man in front of her was pale and nervous looking, the sweat glistening on his forehead. “There seems to be a misfile on the information regarding Mr. McGregor’s benefits.”

“How can there be a ‘misfile’ when everything is electronic and I know for a fact that the filing system for the Corporation is excellent.”

The man in front of her looked even more pale and sour, “Sometimes, these things happen-”

“I wish to speak to your supervisor and if this little runaround keeps up, then I might have to go to the Department of-”

“Is there a problem here?”

Mary smiled brightly and just as falsely back to the woman who’d just entered, “Why of course not! We were just discussing how luck I was to still be included in my ex-husband’s benefits. I know that the paperwork was all submitted correctly as Warren never left things unfinished.”

Mary’s eyes glinted in a dangerous fashion and she knew that the woman in front of her understood how close she was to landing the Corporation with a case in court. A case that would likely be very publicized without something more interesting showing up. The news hadn’t had any stories heavier than a few fluff pieces to run lately. They’d fall upon this like piranhas in the Amazon scenting fresh blood in the water.

“Let’s get this taken care of right away then.” the other woman responded.


Inspired from this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt.

Contract

Mary held the man’s hand in her own and slipped a simple golden ring onto one finger before kissing him on the forehead. She stood up and stepped away from his crumpled body. She took a step towards the man in front of her.

He watched her take several more steps forward, his yellow eyes watchful.

“I know you, sir, and I would like to buy your contract.”

The man didn’t say anything, merely nodded his head in the direction of another man, this one blonde and looking more slight than he.

Mary nodded, “I will buy his contract as well, if that is what you wish.”

The man in front of her smiled.

“I admire your audacity in trying to hire my men away from me while I’m right here.”

Mary simply turned and looked at the new man in front of her. The other men stopped moving, the first one, the one she’d spoken to, had a flash of something in his eyes before it was hidden away behind his stoic facade.

The new comer wore a three piece suit, his hair neatly combed back from his face. He looked confident, unconcerned with what his lackeys and his mark had been conversing about. Like there was no way his men could turn on him, not because they were loyal but because they had much more to lose should they turn on him.

“I have much more than simple audacity.” Mary whispered as a wind started to slowly tug at her hair and clothing, slowly growing in intensity.

A quick glance from those standing around Mary or behind her showed that no one was really certain where it was coming from. The skies were clear and no one else were making any kind of gestures that would bring about the surge of power, pure unadulterated power that was growing.

“Oh this is too precious,” the cultured man smiled mockingly, “You truly think you have the ability to stop me.”

“I don’t think anything.”Mary continued to whisper, but everyone present could hear her voice as if she were whispering it directly in their ears. “I know it.”


I had started this installment last week, actually, but I couldn’t find the ending until I read the Friday prompt from Light and Shade Challenge today. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make the word limit requirements, but i’m going to keep it as is anyway.

Sunlit Memories

Mary often looked out over the city from the top of her apartment building as the sun was setting and thought back to all the last times she’d seen such a sight…

Sitting with her sister in various places, watching the sunset and knowing that it was somehow connected to what they were looking for.

Seeing the sunset for the first time behind her princess and finally finding home.

Eating funnel cake with her sister during the Summer Solstice.

Watching the sky turn dark red hours before sunset as the smoke from the battlefield covered it.

Meeting her sister even in their dreams with a sunset as the background as one of them was deployed and the other was on Nursery Guard Duty.

Seeing the sun lower itself below the hills just as the assassins struck.

Trying to paint a memory during one of her sessions while her sister continued fighting the War.

Meeting Alex as the last rays of daylight slipped into twilight after crashing into the ground, dizzy and disoriented.

Arguing with the stubborn man about which college she wanted to go to, whether she wanted to get a job, anything that involved her going out and interacting with people he hadn’t carefully vetted, all with a sun setting through a background window. He always made sure to be home before the sun would set on any of the important occasions they had agreed on.

Meeting, dating and finally marrying Warren. A kaleidoscope of pictures involving the sun as her Bonded had quickly learned of her love for the celestial body.

The first time they’d held Terrance and then Matt up to see the sunset after their eyes had grown enough to truly see the colors.

The last time they’d watched the sunset on the top of the same apartment complex she was standing on before the separation took place.

Watching the sunset on the eve of the funeral and realizing that she was going to be Alone for the rest of her Days…of which there were likely to be many.

Mary didn’t look away as the last rays of light sunk beneath the edge of the city. Her eyes burned, but no afterimages of light blinked across her vision.

Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second. –Mattie Stepanek


Inspired by the Monday prompt for Light and Shade this week.

Missing Person

Mary was really starting to worry about her eldest son. She knew that he was an honorable teen (well, as honorable as a teen could be in this day and age where such things weren’t really thought of on a conscious level, unless you lived in Asia somewhere) but the fact that most of his time was spent in nocturnal activities for his new boss made her uneasy. She didn’t see him as much anymore, only caught him as he was on his way out the door, whether to work or school only depended on the time of day and whether or not it was a school day.

Mary missed her son and she knew that, though he would never admit it, Matt missed his older brother as well.

Of course, getting Matt to admit to such a thing was a course fraught with peril.

“Why would I want to hang out with that dweeb anyway, Mom?”

Mary smiled, “Because he’s your older brother. I remember when you used to toddle after him begging for his attention.”

Matt turned red, “That never happened!”

“And you dragged your little ducky blanket along with y-”

“NEVER! HAPPENED!”

Mary’s smile didn’t fade, though she did wish that Terrence was here as well to help her poke a little fun at her youngest.


Inspired by this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt.

Also, I’m really tired today.

Ringing Silence

The room was quiet and Mary sat staring out the window. The lights were out and her sons were asleep though she could hear the sounds of Terrence tossing and turning even from down the hall.

A small smile graced her mouth, he had never been a particularly quiet boy.

The smile faded just as easily as it had come, but he was far more guarded then ever before. He hadn’t been happy when his parents had separated. No one had been happy, but it had been necessary for the work that Warren was doing. Matthew hadn’t been happy either, but he hadn’t been as vocal about it as Terrence.

Terrence (Terry as he was more and more insisting on being called) was rather translucent about his feelings though Matt wasn’t far behind. This was the reason (other than their young ages) that the boys hadn’t been told about the plan. They were the children and they had responsible parents, parents who could conscience the idea of putting that kind of pressure on their sons.

They wished this hadn’t been necessary at all.

Mary shook her head, these thoughts wouldn’t help her. She looked down at the black clothing she was still wearing though her shoes had been placed by the door as always. It would be some time before she changed out of these clothes and into a pair of Warren’s sleep clothes, ones that he had left behind when he’d initially moved out.

It was eerie how little like him they smelled.

(She had only been wearing them every night since the separation had begun. The boys hadn’t known as she always went to bed after they did and woke long before they started to stir for the day.)

Once she had changed into the sleep clothes, she reached down to where a pocket in the pants would have been located, her hand seemed to disappear into a pocket though if anyone had looked closely (there was no one else in the bedroom) they would have realized that the pants had no pockets. Once her hand came back out, it was holding a simple golden band. It was larger than the one she still wore on her hand.

Mary slipped it over her thumb and spent the few hours she tried to sleep turning the large ring over and over with the fingers of her right hand.


Inspired by the words from this week’s prompt in Three Word Wednesday.

Life’s Dark Book

Her pale face was the lantern
By which they read in life’s dark book.
-RS Thomas, On The Farm

Mary’s face was pale, well, more pale. Her sons stood next to her in their own black clothing, their faces just as pale as their mother’s, though their tears were more easily seen.

Mary had faced things like death of family all her life, long before she’d ever met or had any of her current family, but she had never been so cut off from her Bond mate.

Her mind was more lonely than it had been even after the sealing of the pathway she shared with her sister. This was different and so much more painful.


Written in response for today’s Light and Shade Challenge, again. But this time I managed to stay within the 100 word limit!