Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/04/29

It was dark, and I was lost. “Marie told me not to wander off,” which had guaranteed I would. Into the trees, somewhere in the Green Mountains. I hadn’t paid attention. I’d just walked. Toward anything that looked interesting to me. It had been a good walk, too. I’d seen deer, squirrels, I’d lost track of how many birds, and I even saw a moose. I’d never realized how huge those things are. “God, don’t let it see me! God! Don’t let it see me!”

Before I knew it, the sun set. It happened all at once, like one moment, I could see where I was going through the trees, and the next I was running into trees I couldn’t see, and tripping on roots, and rocks.

I’d completely forgotten what direction was what, and I couldn’t see enough of the sky through the trees to figure recognize any of the stars. “Curse you, new moon!” I shook my fist at the sky. No moon made it even darker, and more difficult to figure out which way to wander.

So, I stopped. I found a good tree, with a chunk of level ground around it. I couldn’t see any stumps, or boulders. “Are there predators in the Green Mountains in Vermont?” I didn’t know. I figured there were certainly small ground animals of some kind. Mice. Maybe rats. Maybe rabbits. And bugs. Billions of bugs. Worms too. “If only I had a tent, or at least a blanket.”

It was going to be a long night, and I wasn’t likely to sleep very much. “Are there snakes?” That would have been perfect. Bit in the middle of the night by a poisonous snake, found dead days, or weeks later, with worms crawling out of my nose and mouth, and my eyeballs having been dinner for something.

“Marie told me not to wander off.”

I sat down and leaned back against the tree. “May the ticks not suck all my blood. And may I not get Lyme disease.” I settled in for a long night. A night filled with noises I couldn’t identify. Creatures rustling through the brush. Strange chirping noises, crickets, frogs, and something else. A lot of something else. Tree limbs moving in the dark, when there was no wind, turned out to be nerve wracking. I couldn’t sleep. Something on my hand. Something on my neck. Something on my leg. Something on my back. Something somewhere, all the time.

When I couldn’t take it anymore, I got up, and wandered around some more. “I know! Let me get super lost by going in some random direction, in the dark!” And off I went.

I don’t know how long I walked. Or what time it was. I just walked. And jumped out of my skin every time an owl said, “who?” or the frogs broke out in song, or a cricket chirped. I do know, I was hopelessly lost, in the mountains, in the dark, wondering when I’d trip on something, and break a leg, or impale myself on a dead tree branch.

When I heard, “Shhh!” I froze. “Shhh!” I’d clearly heard someone.

I looked around, scanned the trees, the dark. I almost fainted when a hand touched my shoulder. “It’s alright,” a soft, beautiful, musical voice spoke. “You’re lost, aren’t you.”

I glanced at the hand, and followed the arm, to a woman. “Who are you?”

She only laughed. “Let’s get you where you should be.”

I remember her eyes. Magic. I’d never seen eyes like hers. Blue, or gold, or silver. I couldn’t tell. “Follow me. I’ll guide you.”

She turned and walked a few steps, then paused, and waved for me to follow her. “Come on, silly man.”

She was naked. I hadn’t realized that before. Those eyes. Wow. Those eyes. But there she was. Naked. I couldn’t see any details, but I could tell, she was every bit as stunning as her eyes. And she was out of reach.

I followed. She walked at first, then got faster, until she was running. And I was chasing her. Not to follow her. I wanted to catch her. I wanted to touch her. To touch all of her. But she stayed just beyond my reach. And I chased her.

Until I heard Marie, “Danny! Please! Danny! Answer me!”

The naked woman with the magic eyes laughed. “See? You’re not lost any more.”

And she was gone.

740 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 8th week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. I never know what’s going to happen when I start to write. I just have to get out of my way, and let the story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain

I remember that day. Just another beautiful day, with me walking through the roses. I still do that, you know. Walk through that rose garden. Always did love roses. Never could grow ‘em though. Always managed to murder ‘em, for lack of a better way of describing it.

That day was different. On that day, I began to realize, began to understand, how hurt I was. How wounded. You gotta understand. If you’re wounded bad enough. Hurt bad enough. You do things you wouldn’t normally do. Like turn on your friends. Turn on the people that want you to get better.

Yeah. I was hurt that bad. And I’d hurt her ‘cause of it. I’d never meant to hurt her. No. Really. It was a stupid thing to do. And I’ll never forget it. Ever.

See. I’d been banned from the workplace. Couldn’t go to work. Had to sit at home, and wait to find out what would happen next. And I kept seeing these pictures in my head. Where she was talking with them. You know. Them. The people you don’t trust. In this case, one of the program managers. Didn’t help any that during the previous week, they re-arranged the office. Put me in the desk furthest from anyone. So they could watch me.

Paranoid. I know. But, you know. I was that hurt. Been in that job too long. Didn’t leave when I shoulda. Stayed there, ‘cause I thought people depended on me. Thought they needed me. Thought I was helping them keep their jobs. Yeah. I was fuckin’ screwed up. To the point where I thought everything that happened was done to try to get rid of me. Hell, I still think that. Probably always will.

But that morning, I’d written a note to her. And asked her point blank if she was one of them. If she agreed that I should have been banned from the workplace.

Talk about an idiot. Yep. That was me. Died in the wool idiot. Standing there in the roses that day. Catching my first glimpse of how injured I’d become. And how responsible I was for that. How badly I’d hurt myself. I’d told my doc already, “It’s nobody’s fault.” Which was a frakkin’ lie. It was my fault. It was always my fault. Everything that ever went wrong had always been my fault.

She’d written back. “How can you say that to me?”

Yep. Time to take a big damn sword and cut my heart out. That’s what it was. And there I was. Walking in the roses. Wishing I could do just that. Knowing I deserved it. Me. Looking at the roses on a beautiful day. Clear sky. Sun. Warm. And me standing there. Cryin’. Like frakin’ rain was fallin’ from my eyes.

Sometimes, God. I’m such an idiot.

I never meant to hurt her…


This piece was written for the 13th Friday Night Write, over on Sweet Banana Ink. There are always great little pieces of fiction there. Wonderful tales that have been shared. Please, go read them.