Great teasers today! Happy reading to all!
Miss Wednesday meticulously checked every student's notebooks. By the time she was done, there were two groups of students standing on each side of our blackboard. Both groups look nervous. I was nervous too even though I knew I was safe. The reason why they were there had something to do with their homework. What none of us knew yet was who only did a partial and who did nothing.
Now back to her desk, Miss Wednesday picked up her fat wooden stick. I called it fat because it was long, has a rectangular shape and was at least two centimeters and half thick. That thing hurt but not as much as the three arms monster (more on that later)."
Khyr dug the heel of his palm across his eyes and caught a quick breath, warring for a control that failed him. His fingers traced over the delicate arm, took the soft, cold hand in his.
When had the numb emptiness in his soul subsided? He needed it now. A stifled moan became a soul-rending growl and he vaulted to his feet. How often he’d brought death; how often turned it aside. Ythbhas, greatest of all death bringers. And now?
Now it availed him nothing.
He could do nothing. Change nothing.
Teeth clenched, he stormed through his trio of spectral observers. They wavered, dissipating as mist against his heated skin to reform some distance beyond. They mattered not. Nothing mattered but loss.
Consuming fury, deeper than he had known, supplanted all measure of reason. Seizing a sword, Khyr fell on the dead goblins, hacking until the worn blade cried out with a hollow ring. Looking toward the warri encircled charnel, he flung the broken sword aside. Black blood ran down his hands and arms; it did not cool the fire burning in his gut. Snatching up another sword, his rampage continued, slashing and cleaving goblin corpses until even the remaining bits were reduced to unrecognizable pulp.
His nostrils flared as he took in long draughts of air, then he released the scarred blade to fall upon the blighted grass. Futility, sharp and bitter, rose like bile to choke him. He did not reach her in time, could not save her. If he butchered every goblin between this vale and the furthest shore, he could not undo this wrong.
Khyr stared at the Ele’ath; their silent presence yielded no comfort. With fierce determination he pulled Brionn’s sword and scabbard over his shoulder and clutched it before him. Their coveted sword could not restore what was lost.
“Choose another.” He tossed the sheathed blade to their feet. “I will not yield the living in service to the dead.”
As I sat there having my little pity party, my head started swimming and I got really drowsy. “It’s not fair.” I groaned and reached for my test kit.
“What isn’t fair?”
I jumped at the sound of Rider’s voice, dropping the tube of test strips. They spilled across the sleeping bag.
“Everything,” I said. “This.” I gestured to my diabetic supplies then fumbled for a test strip. I felt just low enough that picking all of them up would be too much of a feat right then. As it was, it took great concentration to check my BG. Sure enough, it was fifty-eight.
“What did you do?” Rider asked as I popped a glucose tablet into my mouth. He sat rigidly across from me. I pictured him staring open-mouthed. Even people used to modern technology, but not diabetes, often stared at me with the same kind of shock I’d heard in his voice. I could only imagine what he was thinking.
“Give me a minute,” I told him. I quickly chewed three more glucose tabs. If I had any hope of being coherent, an explanation would need to wait until my BG was a little higher.
“What…” He waved his arms at me, apparently at a loss for words.
“I have diabetes. Type one, to be specific.”
“What is that?”
“It’s a disease. Basically, when I was six, my pancreas stopped working.” I gave him a very simplified explanation of what was actually a very complex condition.
“So you are ill,” Rider said.
I wasn’t sure I liked how he said that. “Excuse me?”
“I’ve been wondering about it since we first met.”
“Because you are so pale,” he said as if pointing out the obvious.
I sat there, stumped, for a long minute. I blamed it on my low. Sometimes it made me slow on the uptake. But I finally got it and started laughing. “What, you mean because my skin is white?”
I laughed harder. Poor Rider must have been very confused by that.
“This isn’t because of my diabetes. My skin is like this all the time. It’s how I was born.”
“Oh,” Rider said softly, a hint of horror in his voice. “How awful.”
My flushed body had nothing to do with the desert. It didn't help with Jorge standing so close either. Electrical sparks went off whenever I stood close to him. I took a deep breath, trying to calm down. I really wanted to ignore what I’d seen last night. There had to be a logical explanation.
Suddenly I had an overwhelming urge to leave. Being around him was too much. I had to escape. I stepped away but not fast enough.
In one sudden move, Jorge grabbed my hand, pulling me even closer. His heart beat raced.
“Not so fast.”
I tried to pull free but he only tightened his grip. Adrenaline soared throughout my whole body.
“You know I have to go," I whispered, my husky voice betraying my true feelings. "Unless you want to explain my absence to Hermana Garza?”
At first he said nothing. I feared the worse. Did he know or even worse, would he blame me for not letting him know about my own sister's escape from el Compuesto?
Then he threw his head back and laughed.
“No, can’t have that.” I glanced up at him. Light stubble framed his face and only intensified his rugged good looks. I cursed myself for allowing myself to fall that easy for his charms. I had to be tough if I wanted to survive. Any click in my defenses could easily be torn down.
by Neva F.
The obsession consumes me no less than the cancer in my breast. Alone, I must face surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, leading to at best, an uncertain future. And that scares the hell out of me.
It would be a simple matter to orchestrate my death, to make it as painless as possible. So why prolong the inevitable? I walk into the bathroom, open the medicine chest and examine the recently purchased bottle of sleeping pills. I shake the plastic container and peer inside. They're so small, and yet powerful. They call to me, like a hypnotic flame as it persuades the fragile moth to come just a little closer.
The phone rings.
I walk into my bedroom and pick up the receiver. “Hello?”
I heard Gramma’s familiar voice, deep and crackly from years of smoking cigarettes. She was considered quite a rebel in her youth. “Terri dear, I hate to bother you, but could you stop by this afternoon and haul those damn boxes down from the attic?”
How does one tell their ninety-year-old grandmother that they're busy contemplating suicide? “It’s not a good day, Gramma.” I pause, then can't stop the genetic curiousity, “Okay, now what are you up to?”
“I’ve finally decided to move to that fancy retirement home you suggested. The attic’s plum full o’ shit and I can’t climb those crickedy stairs anymore.”
I glance at the bottle of pills, still clutched in my hand. I suppose they can wait just a little longer. “All right Gramma, I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
LOVE ME BACK
I close the bathroom door behind me, take a deep breath, and step onto the scale. Worse than I thought. Way, way worse.
I step down off the scale and kick it roughly against the wall.
“What’s your problem?” Dinah asks as I stomp back to the kitchen and grab my pedometer out of my book bag. Then: “Hey, where you going?”
“Out for a walk.”
“I have to go to work!” she screeches, pointing at Emmy.
Ignoring her, I slam outside, clomp down the hill to the road, and start walking...
I try not to think about those numbers on that scale. I try not to think about how hungry I am after my skimpy little lunch of a single apple and some yogurt.
All I think about is how to keep my legs moving, my elbows bent at my side. How so many steps are so many calories burned. How so many calories burned will, eventually, be so many pounds lost.
How Mr. Jacquith said it won’t happen overnight—but it will happen, he promised, with determination and hard work.
Hot and exhausted, I stumble back in through the kitchen door. Emmy, having survived my untimely desertion, claps when she sees me. Dinah is less forgiving. “If I’m late, and I get fired,” she rages, “I’m gonna break your face!”
Sweat drips into my eyes, fire shoots through my shinbones, and I hear a funny wheezing sound coming from deep in my lungs. But when I peek at my pedometer, the pain lifts like magic.
I just walked four-point-seven miles without passing out!
Ten miles a week? I’m already halfway there.
Damn, I feel good!
THE WORLD THROUGH DEXTER'S EYES
by Vickie M.
A house where the bricks are crumbling. The driveway is cracked into slabs. Part of the siding is off, thanks to a dog named Dexter (hunkered down, sorry). Many windows on the sun porch have fallen out. The carpet on the porch is damp (and faded) most of the time, from the rain/snow getting in the missing windows. There are holes in the screens. The blinds all over the house won't close, especially the ones on the front, picture window. The paint on the walls is old, chipping, full of dog scratches on the white bedroom doors (hunkering again) as is the wallpaper peeling in certain rooms. A new roof is needed for the garage and back house. The basement is wet, with black mold all over it. There is no money to fix this, not to mention, no money at all. Everything is breaking down, waiting to fall in a river of tears.
This is what is known as a broken home.
Apple core, in the center of a banana peel,sprinkled with grape seeds. Orange and grapefruit rinds arranged all around, with peach stones, a cup of tea, half empty.