Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Start of Every Day

It’s 5:30 a.m.  Mama enters the ring.  She stretches the pink ponytail holder at her wrist, loosening it up.

Jordan plays in her crib, not bothering to look up.  Wild dark and knotted curls cover her face and neck like a beekeeper’s mask might.

“Here’s the deal, Kiddo,” says Mama.  “This ponytail holder is going in that hair.  That’s the way it is.”

Jordan gurgles under her breath a message only Mama can understand.  “I don’t think so, Mama.  My hair is wild and free.  It’s unique just like me.  And I like it down.”

“Big talk for a little girl,” Mama counters.  “But, you can’t see two inches in front of your face to play or defend yourself from the other kids.  Most importantly, everyone knows all Moms are judged by their children’s appearance.  I have 90 pounds on you.  This.  Is.  Happening…”

“Oh, Mother.  Let’s not kid ourselves,” Jordan sets down her toy cellphone and peers up at Mama from underneath her mane.  “Your weight advantage is no match for my Floppy Fish maneuver.  That’s right.  I’ll flail, I may even scream.  My unpredictable thrashing will make me seem twice my weight.  And we both know you’ll spend as much energy trying to protect me from myself as you will on the task at hand.”

“Enough talk!”  Mama steps forward.  “Maybe you didn’t smell the kale, spinach and other Superfood on my breath.  Yep, I’ve had my green juice this morning which is not only shedding your baby weight, but arming me with enough nutrition to be on my tip top game this morning.  Pull out your pad and pencil, Sister.  Mama’s ‘bout to show you how it’s done!”

Jordan sighs and pulls herself up to her feet.  She steps with the right foot, then the left.  Leaning against the bars, she looks like a tiny sumo wrestler.  “Alright, Mama.  I see trying to reason with you is a futile exercise.  I’m ready.  Let’s do this…”


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Welcome, Jordan Victoria

 Mom and Baby Jordan - Day Two
It’s been about forty days since Jordan made her dramatic appearance into the world. Welcome, Baby Girl! She was born “in the bag,” which means as you might have guessed, that my water didn’t break until after the birth. The contractions themselves presented her without any pushes on my part in her liquid cocoon to a doctor who with a smirk, popped “the bag” and tugged. Done.

The doctor said this almost never happens. The nurse said it’s a sign she’s a special baby. Well, of course, we already knew that! At 36 weeks, she was 6 pounds 7 ounces. Gratefully, and I mean this so sincerely, also in perfect health.

Take Your Small Miracles
Jordan and Hayden are twenty two months apart. Caring for two children under two is a kind of acid endurance test for the anal parent. I admit it. I have been accused of such before, and now I know it to be true. I’m a hand-sanitizer toting, toy-safety researching, logging-of-every-feeding-and-diaper obnoxious kind of Mom. It turns out, even a nursing mom can know exactly how much her baby eats with the small purchase of a baby scale that measures in grams.

After Hayden was born, an annoyed anonymous family member assured me with a condescending giggle that I would relax all this with my second baby. Alas here we are, and I’m still pedaling out the sanitizer on unsuspecting visitors, asking: “Can I hold her?”

I’m not going to say I’m not exhausted. Who knew anything could be more amazing and more tiring than caring after a newborn, and exponentially so? But, I’m learning the wisdom of a little tenet my cousin, mother of three, told me: One is one and two is ten.

A little advice, for what it’s worth to the brave souls equally comforted by charts and sanitation who will inevitably come after me to join the Two Kids Under Two club. And really, if you’re reading this post because you’ve just learned you’re pregnant and you have a six month old slumbering in the next room, what choice do you have? Take your small miracles. Embrace them. Relish them.

Murphy’s Law Reprised
Murphy was a wise, single man with no children who observed the uncanny ability of the universe to go diabolically wrong. His mother however, was caring for a toddler and a newborn.

She looked around to all the horrifying and seeming unending chaos erupting around her. But, she saw that on occasion and randomly the stars will align and things will go fantastically... right! And this is always a time to celebrate.

Right now, for example, Hayden is having an unfortunate morning battling some jealousy. So, she’s sitting between me and Jordan in her Boppy Chair. Ironically, this means she’d rather me be on my laptop with her attending to Jordan’s binkies and rocking. So, I get fifteen minutes or so to recharge my batteries writing this and playing Greedy Spiders. Yay! Small Miracle.

Another example? Why, certainly! This morning, my new shampoo and conditioner I’ve been excited about arrived in the mail before I tried to take my shower. Yay! Small Miracle.

Get it? Now you try... for your sanity. Take a lesson from Murphy’s mother, and embrace the Small Miracles. Celebrate and don't blink! In five minutes, catastrophe will be on you once again. With that, I’ll need to leave you to go clean up some spit up.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Precious: "Bye-bye, Mama"

Hayden with Friends
Hard Rock Cafe - South Lake Tahoe

I had things I wanted to get done this morning, but I found myself early with a puffy-eyed toddler while it was still dark and quiet in the house.

Last night was Parent’s Night, where we can take Hayden to daycare from 6-11pm for some adult time at the movies (Tron was the best!). During the day, we didn’t see her much dealing with our doggie’s health issues at the doggie neurologist.

So, this morning, it was little surprise that she awoke hungry and eager for some reassurance after her long day yesterday.

I gave her a pop-tart and milk in her sippy cup. I pulled out my laptop beside her and began opened a story I’ve been working on. When she finished, she rubbed her eyes and smiled at me as if she and I shared a special early morning secret before the world got up. Pulling her back out of the chair, I set her down. She would go back down to sleep easily now. She waved and said, “Bye-bye, Mama.”

As far as I’ve been witness, this is her first “sentence.” So, I did what I imagine anyone would do: I closed my laptop and picked up my baby girl. We cuddled together on the couch watching Nanny McPhee until she fell asleep in my lap. When she did, I didn’t carry her up to her bed. I kept her with me, gently kissing her soft face.

These babies just don’t keep...

Things Hayden Says
Before Thanksgiving, Hayden knew "Mama" and "Dada." Today, she says:
  • Sit! (and points her finger with authority)

  • Bye-bye

  • Hi

  • Uh-Oh

  • Thank you (sounds like Day-doo)

  • A-B-C-D

  • Touchdown! (and throws up her arms)

  • Milk (sounds like Mick)
Precious Hayden: It’s nice to meet you.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dexter Season Five Finale Predictions

So, we all know how stellar the writing is on this Showtime brainchild starring starring Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter and Julia Stiles (this season). Tonight is the Season Five Dexter Finale, so it’s about time to do another round of predictions. Let's skip the boring intro and get to the questions!

Will Deb find out about Dexter's dark passenger?
No. But, LaGuerta might? Let's start with Deb. We've watched her evolve this season from a foul-mouthed, awkward cadet to a full-fledged threat to Dexter's livelihood. Gone are the days of Dexter's insecure little sister: today, she is a seasoned Detective with razor sharp instincts. In fact, considering how long Dexter has been in the game, Deb seems to be closing the gap faster, though admittedly, Dexter hasn't exactly been on his A game this season. I would hope a collision like this would take place earlier in the season... in a different season. Showtime writers consistantly tell us they don't make plans for future seasons when writing the current one. I hope in this case, that's not true. In Dexter-land, where the scruntiny is perpetually increased in the office, sharpening Dexter's honing, I can think of nothing more rewarding than a Morgan on Morgan cat-and-mouse chase.

So, Showtime. If you're reading: *PLEASE* make good on this "promise" from this season's foreshadowing. We've only begun to see this new Deb... and we like. :)

Moving onto LaGuerta. What are they doing with this chick this season besides completely corrupting her? I ask myself if LaGuerta were to find out that Dexter was somehow involved in killing the Barrel Girl killers, what would she do?

My answer: absolutely nothing.

Afterall, it would make the department and most importantly herself look bad. I smell a coverup. I know (believe me, I know) it's a stretch... but we have to throw the risky predictions out there with the "sure things" or else making them is no fun! So, there it is. If I'm right about the Deb progression next season: Dexter -> Deb -> LaGuerta might make for an interesting triangle in Season Six.

Who dies?
Jordan Chase, of course. We won't be denied this payoff. Lumen is also a possible contender (more on that below).

What happens to Lumen?
Say goodbye. Lumen’s gotta go tonight.

For some, this will be delightful news and others (like myself) will be bummed. Julia Stiles had enormous shoes to fill after John Lithgow’s performance last season. Her role is completely different, and also completely satisfying. I love Dexter having a partner in crime in concept. And their celebratory kill after “encounter” got my blood pumping as much as anyone (what? I’m human!)

But, the unfortunate fact remains that she’s not an evolutionary character: she’s a device to evolve Dexter’s. She’s the same traumatized wreck we first encountered in the third episode of the season, albeit with a little more *culinary* technique.

Dexter, on the other hand, is nearly unrecognizable as a new sloppy, code-less (that's right - he can kill anyone this season), risk-taking romantic.

Astor summed up Lumen's character well earlier in the season when she accused Dexter of helping Lumen to make himself “feel better” about not saving Rita. For Dexter, Lumen in many ways symbolizes redemption.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be completely taken aback if the writers allowed Lumen to slip up and kill an innocent, so Dexter could take care of her himself and thus, bringing him full circle back to the code.

So, to sum up: Thia’s prediction is that Lumen definitely makes her finale tonight. She’ll fly back home, go into the arms of her ex or meet some other untimely demise. Besides, as Lumen gets better, she'll only make things easy on Dexter to accomplish his darkly deeds... and we can't have that in Season Six.

Will Dexter be touched by the Liddy aftermath?
No. So there's a body in a van. Small potatoes. Dexter has dealt with much worse. Quinn has a bloody shoe. This will be no problem for Dexter.

See you at 9pm!
This concludes my predictions. Feel free to poke holes or post some of your own. We'll see what pans out in a few hours!


Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Got Published! :)

I know, I know. You're dying for the next installment of Twisted Sunday Stories. If this is the case, then you're just going to have to WAIT until 12/7!

This is because my micro-fiction story called "The Stacks" will be appearing in the ezine Flashes in the Dark. In fact, the next two weeks of horror shorts will be hosted externally, since another of my works was also selected. (Yay!)

So, a hat tip: I love Flashes in the Dark. I highly reccommend you check them out if you're the type who giggles with delight watching Tales from the Crypt (man, do I miss that show) or equally creepy/morbid/innappropriate entertainment... like I do.

So, I know this is short, but I've gotta hop off to do my happy dance!

External Links (to be updated when available):

The Stacks - 12/7
Granny's Real Sick - 12/12


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Twisted Sunday Stories: Chord of Three Strands

498 words.

© 2010 T. Michelle on http://cometothia.blogspot.com/.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Harold, stop watching them,” she snipped with disgust.

He was peering out the attic window at the morbid twist on a neighborhood watch below. Take Sheila for instance. A month ago, he’d had her moaning on her kitchen countertop down the block. Now, she and her walking dead “friends” were devouring the paper boy in the middle of the street. Some were unrecognizable. They’d been eaten too much or had decayed too long. But, Sheila was in better shape. She looked as though she’d taken the chicken way out; the handmade linen noose still dangled from her neck behind her. Minutes after her death, she’d have awoken like all the others with a killer appetite.

Harold allowed himself to giggle at his joke before drawing the shades and turning to face his furious wife.

“I’m leaving you!” She pointed her butter knife accusingly at his chest. “Something I should have done years ago.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Lily.” He waved a dismissive hand, making his way to the food corner.

“Why should it be ridiculous? People used to get divorced every day before the world went to shit. Do you think the apocalypse made you any easier to live with?”

She explained she was going up to the roof. That’s right, the freaking roof. She was going to haul her old ass across the rope rescue lines some of the survivors had made to connect rooftops. When she found a home that was zombie free, she’d set up shop until the nightmare blew over.

“That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Honestly, at your age,” he told her.

“I’m ten years younger than you. I go to the gym twice a week. The only thing to make me fall might be the rocks in my chest you paid for.”

“You won’t make it fifty feet. You’re killing yourself,” he argued.

“There are worse things,” she said, cramming another sweater into her bag. “Like being eaten alive, or spending ten minutes alone with you, for example.”

In the end, he’d convinced her she was being irrational and that sticking together was their best chance. If they were running out of food, it was the man’s job to provide.

So, he crept slowly down the rescue line to the house next door. He kept his eyes on the line, trying not to notice the accumulating crowd underneath. They congregated on the lawn like vultures, lifting their uncoordinated hands to a meal just out of reach. As their moans grew louder, his hands shook on the line. One hand after the other, he told himself. You’re more than halfway there.

It wasn’t until the pain hit him that he realized he’d fallen. They were already on him before he could assess his injuries. They tore at him quickly. Looking up, he saw Lily gazing on from the attic window. Waving a pair of utility scissors and smiling, she was as beautiful as the day they met.

... Next TSS installment: 12/7

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Twisted Sunday Stories: Game for Mongry

A rural family on a run-down farm protects a horrifying secret in the basement of their home. 2398 words.

© 2010 T. Michelle on http://cometothia.blogspot.com/.

By the time Mary awoke and went downstairs, they were already gone. She knew it before she read the note left for her on the kitchen counter. They had taken their coats and hunting gear with them. Mary slid into warm overalls from the dryer and poured some cereal. She chewed side to side the way a sheep might and waited for Analiese to get up.

Mary hated the very thought of the hunting expeditions. Someday, she would have to go along. After last weekend’s expedition, Uncle Terry had told her so. He had handed her a sparkling blue stone dangling from a golden cord and said: “We’re a farmer’s family. And farmers' families pull their weight. We stick together, defend each other.”

“Support one another,” Mary had finished.

Mary remembered that Uncle Terry had seemed pleased and given her a soft nod before carrying a man-sized carcass into Mongry’s shed.

Shoving the memory aside, she pulled the necklace from the utensil drawer. In front of her, the stone reflected blue and purple streams throughout the sun-warmed kitchen.

So glamorous. It was the kind of jewelry Mary imagined a movie star would wear.

If I wore this to school, Sammy Deekes would be sure to notice me. It wasn’t the first time Mary allowed herself to fantasize about the boy. His cool eyes and friendly smile. He was one of the few at school who was nice to her, always polite, always said hello. Mary bided her time, knowing one day she would muster the courage to make her feelings known.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Analiese bounded down the stairs like a leprechaun. Mary stuffed the necklace back into its drawer and reseated herself.

“Good morning,” she offered, shoveling another spoonful of cereal into her mouth.

“Hurmph,” Analiese rubbed her puffy eyes.

Mary was mesmerized as Analiese stumbled around the refrigerator. Everything about her seemed exotic, glamorous, even. All the boys at school talked about her when she arrived nearly a month ago from L.A., probably even the likes of Sammy Deekes, but Mary didn’t want to think about that now. Though fifteen, like Mary, Analiese carried the body of a woman in her mid-twenties: full breasts, shapely hips, and yet her youth kept her slender. She kept her long, brown hair out of her face with a headband most days, including today, and whipped around green piercing eyes that seemed to all but melt members of the opposite sex.

By comparison, Mary looked like an adolescent with her rail thin, boyish frame and stringy blond hair. Ma had bought her training bras a year back to secure Mary’s “little pricks,” she’d said. Uncle Terry had hackled and bawled into Mary’s bedroom when he saw them in the wash, until Mary had flown at him, biting and scratching. No one laughed at Mary Buckley and got away with it. In the end, it had cost her a good whooping with Ma’s belt, but Uncle Terry never laughed at her again.

Analiese snapped the refrigerator door shut, apparently defeated and began primping herself in the kitchen window reflection. Mary burned with jealousy.

“Didn’t you sleep well?” Mary asked.

“How could you with all that racket? Do you keep a dog in the basement or something?”

“I didn’t hear nothing.”


Mary lowered her gaze the empty bowl, allowing her straw-like hair to fall in front of her chin. “Can I try on some?”

Analiese eyed the lipstick in her hand and smirked back at Mary. “Sure.”

When Analiese finished, she drew a handheld mirror from her knapsack and allowed Mary to admire her handiwork.

“There, now isn’t that pretty?” Analiese sparkled.

Mary smiled sheepishly at her own reflection and nodded emphatically.

“I look,” Mary started.

“Like less of a…” Analiese trailed off.


Analiese sighed. “Well, like less of dyke, I guess.”

Mary scoffed. When she glanced back at her reflection, the face staring back at her had somehow morphed. She saw her square jaw and crooked teeth jutting from a crimson open-mouthed expression. Ridiculous. She slapped the mirror out of Analiese’s hand onto the counter, and began furiously wiping her face with her sleeve.

“I ain’t no lesbian!”

Analiese shrugged. “I’m hungry. What do you have?”

“We got cereal and oatmeal,” Mary offered, still calming herself.

“Do you have pancakes?” Analiese lifted her perfect eyebrows hopefully. Her green eyes flickered in a manner Mary imagined was practiced to solicit her every desire, no matter how trite, from any warm-blooded creature in the vicinity.

“Pancakes? I guess so.”

“Make me some.”

While Mary cooked, Analiese typed vigorously on her phone, pausing only to run her fingers through dark tresses. Mary watched from the corner of her eye. It was nice to have someone over, a friend. That Analiese had asked at all to spend the night had surprised Mary. The other kids at school seemed to steer clear of the Buckleys. Mary knew they considered her family odd, but, Analiese was new, and maybe hadn’t yet been acquainted with the gossips.

“Quit looking at me,” Analiese said without looking up. “I mean it.”

“I ain’t.”

“Yeah. Are you sure you’re not… funny?”


“You know.”

Mary didn’t.

“I don’t really care, my aunt has a girlfriend. It happens all the time in California.”

“I ain’t gay!” Mary growled.

“Yeah? Prove it,” Analiese seemed pleased to have gotten a rise.

Mary paused a moment, but ultimately played along. “How?”

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

Mary was silent.

“Have you ever had a boyfriend?”

Mary poked at the pancakes with her spatula.

“Never?!” Analiese giggled.

Mary’s face burned. “I have to!”

“Yeah? Who?”

Mary searched her mind. “A boy. At... at school.”

“Yes, but who?” Analiese demanded.

“Sammy Deekes,” Mary muttered under her breath.

“Sammy Deekes?! You’re such a liar.” Analiese returned to her cell phone.

Mary set the flapjacks on the table and fumbled in the utensil drawer over a loose wallet and bracelet before pulling out a fork. She hoped Analiese hadn’t noticed.

“Who you texting?” Mary asked.

“None of your beeswax.” Analiese set down her phone and started in on her food.

Mary bit her lip, unsure if she should press the issue. “Can I do one?”


“On your phone.”

Analiese scrunched her face as if tasting something sour. “Don’t you have a cell phone?”
Mary wagged her head no, embarrassed.

“Tiffany earrings and no cell phone?” Analiese mused.

Mary brushed her hair self-consciously over her ears.

“Tsk,” Analiese started. “You should hit up your dad. That’s what I do. No offense, but I won’t be stuck in this country bumpkin town for long. I’m only here because of the divorce. My dad was trying to get me into acting, and I know I am going to make it. Yep! I’ll be back in LA and on TV before you know it.”

“I bet you will.” Mary was sincere.

“Darn straight I will!” Analiese took another bite.

Mary fidgeted in her socks. “My Pa run off when I was a baby. It’s just Ma and Uncle Terry raising us now.”

“Us?” Analiese drowned her remaining pancake in a pool of syrup.

“My younger...” Mary stopped. “I mean, just me.”

A scuffle, scuffle, thud wafted up from the basement.

Analiese snapped up, alert, and made her way to the basement door. “Okay. I know you heard that.”

“Don’t!” Mary cried out.

“Why? What’s down there?” Analiese stopped.

“Our dog,” Mary lied.

Analiese folded her arms in front of her. “You have a dog now?”

“Mongry is real rowdy. We keep him in the basement.” Mary nodded rapidly and motioned to the folded note on the counter.

Analiese took the bait. It was a short note. Three words.


“You Buckleys are weird.”

“Listen, I got chores. You can come if you want.”

“Nah. I better shower and get home.”

“’Course.” Mary tried to hide her disappointment and turned to leave the house.

When Mary returned from tending the hogs, she could hear the water running in the upstairs shower. Analiese’s knapsack, purse and phone were gathered together on a pile on the kitchen counter. Mary started washing her hands. She couldn’t let Analiese see them this way.

The phone chirped and vibrated on the counter. Mary ignored it scrubbing her hands with a soapy towel.

On the third chirp, the temptation proved too much for her to bear. She dried her hands and nervously picked up the phone, now silent. When it vibrated and chirped again, Mary checked over her shoulder. Still hearing the shower water, she began trying buttons.

It didn’t take long for the keyboard to snap out and screen illuminated. Mary jumped. Giggling at her own na├»vete, she held the device carefully as if it were a baby chick. She read the large black letters.

Are you back from the Buckleys yet? SAMMY D.

Her heart throbbed in her chest. She swallowed hard and wiped a sweaty palm against her shirt before typing back.


She jammed the Enter key and waited. It took only a few moments for her new shrine to chirp to life again.

Bummer. I miss you already. SAMMY D.

She quickly scanned the room again.

Me too. Hit enter.

I couldn’t stop thinking about you last night. SAMMY D.

She smiled and tried to think of what to write next. There was so much she wanted to tell him. She typed ‘I want to kiss you’ but deleted it, then retyped it again. Minutes passed and the phone chirped again. She grunted in frustration and decided on a single sentence.

You are the most amazing person I have ever met.

The next message took an agonizing few minutes to come. Mary realized she was holding her breath.

You too, Babe. SAMMY D.

The next fifteen minutes passed like wonderful hours. Mary made herself comfortable on the living room couch with her feet up. She told Sammy all the things she wanted to do to a lover and hoped to receive in return. She allowed herself to be rapt in anticipation, hitting the Enter key and awaiting the next message. She imagined Sammy feeling the same way, reclined on his bed, giddy to receive another note, maybe even touching himself. The thought warmed her to her core.

She was surprised how little it mattered that Sammy believed he was talking to Analiese. The truth was that Sammy was talking to her, Mary. And he seemed enthralled by it. By her.

Mary’s euphoria was cut short when she heard a familiar clicking noise from the kitchen. She squinted to recall it.

The basement door lock.

Mary whipped herself off the couch and bulleted to the kitchen.

“What do you think you’re doing, Analiese?”

Analiese spun from the basement door to face Mary. She seemed surprised and dropped her knapsack, which fell at her feet spilling Uncle Terry’s blue-stone necklace, a wallet and a number of trinkets from around the house.

“I... I..” Analiese stammered.

“You’re stealing from us?”

Analiese pulled herself together. “Look. I want to know what’s down these stairs. You Buckley’s have money and I want it!”


“Don’t sass me,” Analiese pointed an accusatory finger. “I know this farm doesn’t make that much. I see you walking into school with your jewelry. I’ve got to get out of here and back to L.A.”

With that, Analiese burst into tears and sunk to the floor.

“I see.”

“I’m sorry, Mary.”

“You didn’t come over because…”

Analiese looked up through swollen eyes.

“I mean, you don’t like me,” Mary was defeated.

“Like you?” Analiese giggled.

Mary fumed, balling her fists. No one made a fool of Mary Buckley. She had Analiese in her sights.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that,” Analiese insisted, with laughter still on her voice.

“No. You’re right. We have money.”

“What?” Analiese sobered.

“We have money. We keep it locked up down there.”

Analiese eyed Mary suspiciously. “What about your dog?”

“It’s not a dog. My little brother is down there. He likes to play games in the basement. Mongry. I lied because I didn’t want you to go down there and find all our treasures.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because I love you. I loved you since I first seen you, but I know now that we can’t be together.”

“I knew it!” Analiese stood up.

Mary nodded. “If you go down there, you can take what you want. I won’t tell anybody if...”

“If what? Tell me, tell me!”

“If I can have a kiss when you come back.”

“A kiss?”

“One little kiss, and then I’ll never bother you again,” Mary was focused. “Just go downstairs. You can take anything you want.”

Analiese eyed the door.

“Just open the door, and go downstairs,” Mary could feel her eyes growing wide.

After Analiese descended into the basement, Mary locked the door behind her. The deadbolt sounded like a hunter’s rifle. Mary’s small body flooded with adrenaline as she pressed it against the door. The added security wasn’t necessary, she knew. If the reinforced wood and locks kept Mongry in, the likes of Analiese surely didn’t have a chance against it.

It took a few minutes for the shrieks to begin, a roar, scuffling, rattling, then bangs on the door. Mary waited for the basement to grow quiet again before returning to Analiese’s phone on the living room couch. There were a number of messages from Sammy, but Mary didn’t know how to retrieve them all. She typed one slowly:

I love you Sammy D.

The phone chirped back at her, but she didn’t pay any attention. In the distance she heard the family truck coming up the road back from a hunting trip for Mongry.

She smiled. Ma and Uncle Terry would be pleased.

... Next TSS installment: Chord of Three Strands 11/28