Box of Memories

Anna smiled as she rooted through the small box in front of her. It had been years since she’d thought about any of this and even longer since she’d actually seen it, but as her hands picked up every item, fingers caressing certain points, her memories drifted to the front of her mind easily enough.

A small candle, half melted down, the wick blackened by both use and age.

She’d been barely a teen, her friends deciding she needed an abundance of candles, regardless of the fact that no one in their right minds let her use matches. (Trying to use an arts and crafts project where you carefully edged a picture with burnt paper hadn’t ended well, but thankfully, the fire had been contained before it really damaged anything.)

A small red and white box with the names “Meier & Frank” stamped on it, opened up to show a small necklace, earrings and bracelet set.

They’d been lovingly crafted by her grandmother with plastic pearls, silver beads and both large and small chain links. She’d worn them several times, but had actually lost the large pendant from the necklace the first time she’d ever put them on and had never found it. The set still was beautiful after all these years.

A folder filled with notes and small pamphlets on various houses, colors and different floor designs.

After several years in college, she’d finally found her major: Interior Design. Something that no one in her family, no matter how far out you searched, had ever gone into. It was completely new to her and yet also came slightly more easily than she had hoped. Her years of helping her mother rearrange the house once or twice a month, something that had annoyed her as a teen and amused her as a child, had finally gained an appreciation within her.

An old packet of photos in a card-stock packet that had been taken as a roll of film to the store to be developed and returned with little imperfections like fingers around the edges and heads cut off from inexperienced hands handling the old film-stocked camera.

The camera had been a gift from her elder sister, a hand-me-down that had been  carefully fixed before given with a small packet of four rolls of film for the excited would-be photographer: aged 13. She’d loved that camera and mourned its loss after flooding in the house had broken it beyond repair.

A small gold ring with a strange pale pink gem set into it.

It had been a small gift from her favorite aunt and had fit her little ring finger perfectly at age 7. It had no real gems or costly metal in it, but it was her first piece of jewelry and she’d worn it until it wouldn’t fit on her ring finger anymore. It barely fit on her pinkie finger now.

A scuffed and breaking red binder with childish scrawl across it stating “Anna’s Folder.”

She’d watched her eldest sister as she’d drawn with her fine pencils and pastel crayons a beautiful sunset. Anna had a hard time drawing stick figures, but with patient hands (and some frustration…a lot of frustration) her sister, Mary, helped her to draw on several pieces of paper and then grabbed an unused red binder from her desk. Carefully using a hole-punch along one side of the paper, Mary eventually had a little book for Anna to collect her drawings in it. On the second page was the sunset that Mary had drawn right next the clumsy attempt a five year old Anna had tried to draw as well.

There were more things within the broken little box of memories and Anna smiled, tears glinting in her eyes at times, as she carefully lifted everything and placed it to her side in a newer, plastic box.

“Almost done, honey?” a male voice called from the front of the garage.

Anna turned to her husband, Ivan, and nodded, “Just about, give me another five minutes and I’ll be through.”

“Don’t forget to wash up, we’re going out to eat after we’re finished cleaning the garage.” he reminded her before grunting as he lifted his second to last tote up onto the shelves they’d set up over an hour ago.

Anna looked around her at the small pile of boxes they’d gone through, together and separately throughout the last month. It had been slow progress going through the single garage, but at the beginning of spring they’d decided they wanted to actually use the garage to store the car instead of leaving it full of boxes from their move. Now, half a month later, they were almost finished.

Their first house still had a lot of work (they had barely touched the backyard and Ivan was certain that there was something wrong with the heating), but it was their’s.


Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt: http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/03/06/dungeon-prompts-season-2-week-10-dreaming-big/

This was supposed to end differently, but I think I kind of like it. This Anna is a little older than she was the last time I wrote about her (and originally was going to be a different person altogether, but she demanded screen time.)

(Also, I’ve been rooting through our garage for the last month, but have mostly been working alone due to work schedules. I am nowhere near as done as Ivan and Anna are, but my sister has helped me install the shelves and promises me new boxes as soon as she gets back from work.)

Longshot

When they first realized she was pregnant, they weren’t sure what to think.

It hadn’t been several months when she realized something was wrong. Shew as hungry for things that she’d never wanted before and when she checked her calendar, she realized that it had been several months since she’d had a monthly. That alone wasn’t enough to clue them in, though. She’d never had a regular monthly, she’d sometimes go a third of the year before she’d have one. The fact that she was hungry and then she started having problems with her feet as well as never having enough sleep had shown her husband that something was wrong.

Warren had insisted that she go see a doctor. Her health was important and the fact that she was having symptoms that she’d only had before she’d met him (before she’d come to his world) made him worry. She wasn’t the kind who got sick, she was never tired and she didn’t eat more than she needed because she did not feel hunger the same way that he did.

“Warren, I don’t need to see a doctor, this will-”

“Mary, you don’t get sick. You told me that the last time you couldn’t explain your body reacting like this was before you emigrated.”

Mary said nothing, just looked away from her husband in silence for several long minutes. (She was silent for 20 whole minutes, Warren counted, but he waited in silence with her.)

“All right,” she whispered into his shoulder finally, “All right, I’ll go see someone.”

When they got the results back that she was pregnant, they kind of just stared at one another in confusion.

Warren was sterile. There was no way that the child was his, but it was physically impossible for Mary to have anyone else’s child. She literally could not get pregnant by anyone other than her Bonded, which was Warren.

How did she come to be with child?

“Whatever happens, Mary,” Warren assured his wife that night, “We will get through this, because that’s what we do.”


Written for today’s Daily Post prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/daily-prompt-against-all-odds/

Not Wanted

The funeral had been hard to sit through. Her sons were angry and sad and didn’t know just how much he was missed.

Mary sighed as her eldest slammed the door behind him.

This isn’t what I meant.


Written for this week’s Trifextra challenge: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2014/02/trifextra-week-103.html

A little interlude somewhere in the Former Guardian story after her estranged husband dies.

I Will Find You

If he had any kind of psychic power then he would have been able to tell that she was planning something that might actually work. As it was, he’d known that she wanted freedom. Anyone with the ability to want anything would know that she did.

(No one likes being held prisoner, not even someone who is in a gilded cage. His wife was held in a cage as far from gilded as you could get. She had no comforts, nothing and no one to really make any of this seem less than it was: enslavement as a living resource for whatever he wanted at the moment.)

He had worked very hard at making sure she would be unable to find the resources needed to escape. It was part of the reason that she didn’t often get to see anyone other than him. He didn’t want her to find sympathy amongst the servants and have someone to help her. He wasn’t stupid, he knew that most people, people who actually cared about the suffering of people they didn’t know, exist and that they would probably try to help her if they knew. He was very careful about what others knew and didn’t know about his wife and her situation. He had gotten where he was because he had known where and how to gather and disseminate information.

The point of the matter was, he hadn’t been aware that his wife, his darling and oh so dear wife had been able to escape. And in such a matter that he was finding it difficult to track her. Whatever she had done to send children away (and it had taken him an embarrassingly long time to figure out that was happening when he’d just thought that her boy had been trying to do a false pregnancy. Human women had this happen to them all the time) she had been able to use to escape for herself. He had been able to get a read on some of the children, but not a location, just that they did exist and were alive somewhere.

“I will find you, I will find you and as many of those pathetic little rats that you’ve hidden from me, my darling wife.” he snarled to himself as he paced the library like a caged animal, books open and strewn about him.

“You cannot run from me forever.”

Just because he could not predict the future did not mean that the power he’d gained was useless in hunting down what belonged to him. He would never stop looking.


Written for today’s Daily Prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/daily-prompt-future-3/

The Price Is Right?

Was this the price of his power, his ability to become more than just some backwater nobody living for nothing more than that moment?

As a child he had wanted simple things, but before he’d hit the double digits his father had passed and his mother had slowly gotten sicker and sicker. He’d had no siblings to help care for their small farm and the neighbor’s weren’t really interested unless they got to keep more than they really needed. They weren’t interested in being neighborly towards his family, small though it was, so he wasn’t really interested in giving them any of his father’s and his grandfather’s hard-won land. They’d taken this from the forest and he’d give it back to the forest before he’d let them get their greedy, selfish hands on it.

His mother hadn’t lasted the year, and he just knew that it hadn’t been a completely natural death. The remnants of different types of strange things that he had found around an on her spoke of something else, something…more…than natural.

He hadn’t known what they were and he hadn’t wanted anyone else to know either. He’d kept some of the things in a field journal that his father had given him and took notes and sketches of them before burning them and his mother’s body. He’d sold what he could to start his new life and then traveled.

He hadn’t sold any of the land though, just let the neighbors know that he’d be back for it, and kept all the proper papers with his field journal as well as filing a copy of them with the magistrate in their area.

That was all decades ago by now. Most of those people were gone, dead or moved away or not even the people that they had been before. He certainly was different. None of his peers from his childhood would ever recognize him now and not just because most of them were gone as well.

He wasn’t the same poor farm boy, a nobody who only held land because his grandfather had come with a sizable family, only to lose them because of sickness and accident and injury.

“My Lord,” his majordomo bowed to him and took his cloak, “I hope that all went well on your latest journey?”

“It did, Marcus, it certainly did. Anything new come about while I was away?”

“No, my lord, your lady wife is still ill, just as before, I am sorry to say.”

“Mayhap what I found whilst out will aid her in her recovery.”

“One can only hope, my lord.”

He moved away from the man behind him and he was alone once he’d reached his wife’s chambers. No one but he was allowed in these rooms without his express and written permission and even then only for a certain amount of time. Once he was in her chambers, he moved towards the door that led to her tower, taking a key out from around his neck and opening the door that led up and up and up the stairs. They seemed higher than they actually were and well they should. He had no need to brush a hand against the runes carved into the walls here and there.

Once at the top he found his wife, sickly looking, but with a smallish bulge at her hips. Her eyes were closed and her breathing labored. This wasn’t unusual and he pulled a small hip flask from his belt and sat at the edge of her pallet. With one hand he lifted her otherwise waif-like body and when her mouth fell open with the aid of a thumb he slowly but surely fed her the liquid from the flask. He was careful to rub his fingers down her throat in order to make sure she swallowed the liquid instead of drowning in it.

She would need several more doses of from the ever-refilling flask at least twice more before he retired for the evening. He had to make sure that the child survived the pregnancy.

Combining species that had never successfully procreated together before was a tricky business.

But, he thought to himself as he laid her back gently on her little cot, it is certainly worth the rewards.

He left the small tower room, his wife never once awakening during his short visit.

In order for his wealth and life and riches to continue, he needed viable offspring with which to continue his work. He could only go so far with unsuccessful and dead fetuses.


Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompt and this wasn’t how it was meant to end, but when a story’s done with it’s little scene, then it is done.

http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/01/09/dungeon-prompts-season-2-week-2-the-price-of-civilization/

Miss You

You know the bed feels warmer, sleepin’ here alone. –Kelly Clarkson

Warren looked down the short hallway towards his son’s room.

Terry wasn’t home yet, despite the late hour, but Warren wasn’t too worried. Terry was a good kid, despite the recent problems in turning in his classwork. He knew that his son knew what was required and he also knew that his son was still upset about the split between his parents.

Warren missed his wife. Despite the legal papers stating otherwise, Mary was still his wife and he loved her and missed her. He missed holding her in his arms as they fell asleep after a long day at work. He missed breathing in the slight scent that always emanated from her no matter what she tried to cover it up with. She smelled like fire and ice but without the smokey undertones that most people would associate with those two scents mixing.

“Warren, I don’t want to smell like that! It makes me think of Al’s science lab.”

“Mary,” he’d respond, “Al’s lab doesn’t smell like that. It smells like chemical fire and acid ice. They are not the same thing.”

“That is not the point. I’m trying to smell-”

“‘Normal’? Mary, there’s nothing wrong with smelling different than the norm.”

She’d frown at him and he’d smooth a finger between her eyes and tease her about getting wrinkles there too early.

He missed being able to treat her like his wife.

The door downstairs opened.

“I’m home, Dad!”

Warren smiled.

Love

According to the Student’s Dictionary that my eldest nephew gave to me, love is defined as 1)a very strong warm feeling or deep concern for someone, commitment; 2) darling, sweetheart; 3) to feel passion, or a strong affection for someone or something.

We hear about what people are and aren’t willing to do for love, but do we ever really stop and think about it? Really, think about it?

I’m not going to go into all of the details and answers to my questions, I’m just going to tell a little story.

Once upon a time, there was a man and a woman who met and fell in love. They married and wanted to have children as many people who marry or love each other do. That was when things turned away from the normal narrative, or maybe they didn’t? After all, there is always a trial of some sort in every story.

They discovered that the lovely wife would more than likely be unable to have any children. The reason? She was only born with one kidney.

Kidneys do several things for each of our bodies that is very important. They help with the urinary system, blood pressure, electrolytes in the body and acid-base balance in the body. They are also a natural filter for our blood. All of these things are important when it comes to pregnancy as pregnancy is hard on the female body even though we’re also designed for it.

She went on to have three children anyway and everyone was happy and healthy. This first trial passed with flying colors and riding off into the sunset. Other trials come and go and they overcome them as in all modern fairy tales.

Except the real sunset wasn’t for several decades.

All children grown, the happy couple now face another trial, this one larger than others.

You see, the lovely wife’s only kidney is failing and none of her family are a match for transplant. She is on dialysis and they don’t know how long she will last while waiting for a compatible transplant. They didn’t know what to do.

One night, as the couple were sleeping, the husband had an idea. The next morning, he slipped out of the bed he’d shared with his wife without waking her up. He bought a sign and wrote on it “NEED KIDNEY 4 WIFE.” He then took to the streets.

With torn cartilage in his knee and in 97 degree weather, he walked 15 miles. People would stop and offer him money. He would reply, “I don’t want your money; I want your kidney.”

Local news station in South Carolina picked up on his story and 2,000 people called offering to help. These kind souls were referred to the hospital where the wife underwent dialysis, but were also not compatible. Many of them donated anyway, other people were still helped.

The husband took up his sign and went back to the streets. He walked another 54 miles and still no compatible donor was found. Other news stations and websites took interest and wrote about this story as well and finally, a compatible donor was found. 41-year-old heroine from Virginia Beach read such an article and offered. She was a match.

This story isn’t over, but it looks like it’s going to be a happily ever after.

One man loved his wife and wasn’t going to wait around when he could do something about it. Other people recognized this love and offered to help, and even when they couldn’t, they still wanted to help others who weren’t even in the story. A stranger from a different state wanted to help and was able to.

There are many types of love in this world. We are so privileged to be given these examples.

For more info on this story, here is the article that caught my attention: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=26909792&nid=1010&title=man-surprises-wife-by-walking-miles-to-find-her-a-kidney-donor