Friday, February 21, 2014
Everything in the house was tipping and crashing and blowing. Frances crawled toward her father as the wind and rain entered freely through the broken windows and the open door. Outside the sky was black. Widow Beecher took her feet slowly and pulled her back straight, seemingly undisturbed by the storm.
"Follow me!" yelled the man as he yanked his daughter upright and turned from the house.
"Where are we going?!" screamed Francis.
"To the shelter!" responded Widow Beecher.
The old woman had come from behind and passed them with uncharacteristic speed. Her body was ancient but her muscles seemed taut and new. Her white hair loose behind her, she led Frances and her father through walls of straw and dust to a door in the ground and descending stairs. The door slammed above them as the sound of a train or a lion or a falling tree broke above them. Widow Beecher lit a storm lamp and the darkness retreated to illuminate their faces. And Frances couldn't breathe. The woman she had known her whole life had become something new. The dress was the same. The apron with holes remained. But her face was young, and her eyes were bright with action, and her arms moved with power. And Frances was afraid. More afraid of this woman underground than the sounds of destruction that shrieked above them. "We wait here!" Widow Beecher, or whoever she was, had to lift her voice above the noise.
Frances hid against her father's chest, his arms around her. She felt the pulsing of his heart beneath his shirt. He was agitated. His arms were tense. She knew his eyes were watching the old woman's every move. They remained like this, in the half light of the lamp for hours, or maybe it was days. Frances woke up, not realizing that she had dozed off, to a question in the now quiet darkness. The same question that had filled her dreams,
"Who are you?" asked Francis's father. Quiet. A soft sigh.
a.) I am Cordelia Jones. But I think your identity is much more important, wouldn't you say, Mr. President?
b.) I am Cordelia Jones. I've been watching you and your daughter for some time. There aren't many of us left, are there?
c.) I am Cordelia Jones. But then a telepath like you already knew that, didn't you.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
"What in the blazes! Frances Little. Come in before the tornado does." The circling wind caught pieces of Widow Beecher's white hair and swept them vertical. She looks even more like a witch, thought Frances.
Lilac hung in low bunches from the sealing, drying. The air was pungent with their smell. Frances followed Widow Beecher to the chair in front of the fire, sidestepping a raccoon, a squirrel and a possum curled up together in the warmth of the blaze. Frances allowed herself to look around at the cabin's interior with curiosity. It had been six months since she had sat at this fire. Six months since she had been banned from ever going back. Maybe no one would ask where she waited out the storm. Maybe Mama won't suspect. Frances thought. Even Frances knew this was unlikely. Mama suspected everything.
Widow Beecher paced back and forth, putting away the dishes, checking the latches on the windows, stepping from corner to corner with worry in her forehead. Even in her house dress, there was no hiding the strength of her shoulders, the confident movement of her hands, the curve of her back that held more power than the straight muscle of grown men. White wisps, loose from her braid, tested the air.
"Now I thought you weren't supposed to see me, Frances. Suppose you tell me why you arrive unannounced in the middle of a storm?" the old woman saw into Frances's soul.
"I uh. Mrs. Beecher, its just that I didn't think I could make it to the farm. Please don't tell my folks. I promise I'll leave as soon as the storm goes."
"And if the wind takes the house? My reputation in town won't be helped if you are taken by a tornado in my presence. . . " Widow Beecher shut her eyes and let out a low chuckle, "Burned at the stake... wouldn't be the first time." A window exploded. Shutters let go of hinges. Frances and Widow Beecher fell to the floor as glass and rain descended. The tornado was upon them.
"Frances! Are you ok? Come here, now!" the old woman was crawling toward the girl, who had begun to cry.
"Frances, we don't have time, do exactly what I say!"
a.) Widow Beecher found Frances, wrapping her body with her arms, just as the house and the animals and the bodies huddled together and the bicycle were lifted into the storm. All was wind and cacophony.
b.) Frances looked up through rain and tears to see Widow Beecher grab a bundle of lilac and crush it in her hand. Memories of summer sun and sweat filled the little girl's mind. She saw the lake and the flash of water's reflection, just as a hole opened up in the floor below them and the world went dark.
c. ) "No! Stay away from her, Frances!" boomed a man's voice behind them. Frances turned abruptly at the sound of her father's warning. He appeared like the tempest itself, rain soaked and fierce. The house shuddered around them, perhaps from the storm pressing in, perhaps from the exchange of power between a white haired witch, no longer old, and a father in the doorway.
Monday, February 3, 2014
I begin the story with a character and a setting. I provide 3 options for plot development. You, the reader, vote on what should happen next. We ride the story wave together. Brilliant fun. If more people than my mother and my husband participate, we are less likely to stall out at a tie. You understand.
Would you join me? I promise to engage every iota of my minds creative ramblings. I will not guarantee a happy ending. There absolutely will be a character named Cordelia Jones.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I've decided to close down this blog. Its been a good outlet for me and I am certainly grateful for those of you (mother) who have read and commented. However, I've become a mother of two and the free time that I wring out of a day is sacred. And I want to write music. So instead of blogging in the next year I would like to become a better song writer. This is my hope. Feel free to ask me about it. At present, I find that my few moments of precious quiet are spent contemplating with substantial guilt the accumulating dust on our dining room piano. Appalling.
So thanks. And feel free to follow the life of our family at my daughters' website
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
With a speed and purpose that would have astonished a tornado chaser, Charlie's mother coastered her iced tea, deftly nudged Agnes back a step, and stepped toe to toe with Julia. She grabbed Julia's perfectly pressed collar, which folded like paper mache under her fists as the amazed audience edged their seats. "Julia Schindler, I've waited for 15 years for you to step out of line, and now you've officially outworn your welcome!" (Bret)
Demonstrating remarkable strength for so old a woman, Charlie's mother escorted Julia to the door. And with a courteous "Good day," Julia was propelled onto the sidewalk where she smoothed her clothing with indignation, cast a final scathing look backwards, and stormed away. Back in the living room, Charlie felt the drapes in his mind begin to pull back and let in a peculiar light. As if for the first time he saw Julia for who she was. Her receding footsteps dragged with them the shadows of a former life and relief brightened the room. And there was Agnes. His oldest friend. My lands, she made good pies.
The room seemed filled with bright colors. In collective suspense the guests held their breaths. Charlie had never felt shy around Agnes. Now with a strange awkwardness in his knees he turned to look at her. He held out his hand to her. Her diamond ring caught the light as she found his hand. The room filled with applause.
Monday, October 12, 2009
"Fiance! No one here is going to be married until I've had my say," interrupted an authoritative voice from the hallway as Julia marched defiantly into the house of well-wishers. Julia Schlinder was an austere woman. She came from a long line of respectability - a weight not many can bear. Julia dressed almost entirely in navy blue. She ironed her collars at least twice before leaving her home, a habit which no one ever noticed to her satisfaction. After the death of her first husband, Julia had thrown her energies into her perfectly maintained garden and her not so perfectly behaved neighbors. Julia was a fiercely beautiful woman.
So with hostile self-possession she entered the living room, where Charlie stood frozen, a man who has discovered to his dismay to be in the possession of more female attention than he had ever sought. Julia took in Agnes, the ring on her extended hand, and Charlie's mother without so much as nodding in their direction.
"Charlie, I've waited for 15 years for you to come courting. What, is the meaning of this?"
"Julia, I never meant for this to happen. Agnes. . . " Charlie's voice suddenly lacked the necessary air.
"Hello, Julia." Agnes interrupted. "Charlie, loves me. He's always loved me. No, he doesn't know it yet, but give him a minute and he'll figure it out. I think you should leave. We are in the middle of an engagement party."
The guests at 3407 Magnolia Drive had been watching with interest. This was better than anything they had seen in a good while. Their widened eyes bounced from Agnes to Charlie to Julia to Agnes. Whole glasses of iced tea were tipped out on the carpet, unheeded, their owner's hands limp as the scene unfolded before them. They never could have predicted what happened next. . .
*** This is where you come in, dear reader. In 3 sentences or less, please describe "what happened next." I will choose from YOUR options. ***