Tag Archives: short story

The Bus Trip to Heaven – a short story.

The bus wound its way the edge of the cliff. Precariously positioned on the narrow road, it was an odd feeling, considering when she looked out of the opposite window, there were rolling green hills, with animals and houses dotted around. She had never been to such a place, and the sheer beauty (as well as the sheer size of the cliff) took her breath away. At every corner there was a new view, another mountain in the distance, a waterfall that seemingly springs from nowhere, a village tucked away in the foothills. Strange yes, but somehow it all made total sense. It was every beautiful scene she had ever seen or dreamed of, all in the one place.

They had been driving now for several hours, and what surprised her the most was the other passengers. Some were completely ignoring the view, others looked bored and some like herself, that were spellbound.
Except for one. A young man sat near the front, facing away for her, not moving. Still as a statue. But she could see his reflection and his face was constant movement of emotions. Like her own she imagined, but his was different, as though this was a strange new world, and he was almost scared of the trip. Maybe it was a certain naivety on his behalf. She wondered why he would be scared, seeing views like this would not mean something scary at the end of the road.

The road started climbing into the hills next to them, winding in and around the natural shape of the earth. Ahead of them lay a large area of bush land and looking closely, she could see the road disappear into the darkness. The road kept winding, feeling almost as though it were tying them in a knot. She started to feel dizzy, no lights anywhere, and with no certainty of their direction the bus suddenly felt stiflingly closed in. “Will it ever end?” was her thought on the cusp of fainting.
Rounding one last bend and the sunlight appeared as if out of nowhere, and between the faint feeling and the sudden light, her head started pounding with an impending headache. “Seriously, just what I need” she whispered to herself whilst reaching for her water bottle. Where was her water bottle? She was sure she had bought it with. That was really annoying.

Looking around she was surprised by the other passengers, still, unimpressed by the beauty of the place. Why, how could you not be affected by this.
It was then she noticed it. The young man was no longer in his seat. She looked all over the bus, front and back. No, he wasn’t anywhere. Where did he go? And what about the two kids behind her, and the old lady on the back seat.
She tried to call out, but no voice came. She tried again. Still, no voice. Standing up from her seat, although it was more like she was floating, in a panic she tried to call out, to get someone’s attention. Nothing would come out, and it was as though no one could see her.
The driver had seen her and after she started to approach him, he called out, and in an instant she was back in her seat. How did that happen, she hadn’t moved and yet she was again seated. And it was also then she realised how quiet it was. there was no noise, no engine from the bus, no chattering. What was this place, she pinched herself, was she in a dream. More like a nightmare.
She started shaking uncontrollably, scared, until an older lady sat beside her, calming her with a touch.
“It’s ok my dear, we all have to take this trip, it’s been so long since I was here, but now it’s your time. Don’t be scared now”
She looked up “Grandma! What are you doing here?.. but you’re dea..how did you get here…?”
“Yes dear, remember when you were just a child, of 8 if I remember, and I was in the hospital. You brought me a picture you drew, flowers, and us both dancing in the sunshine”
Sitting in stunned silence, she looked at her grandma, who looked exactly like she had 10 years earlier.
There were no words for such a long time, it felt like an eternity. The understanding crept in, and she remembered exactly where her body was.
“Where are we? What is this place?”
“On our way to Heaven dear. I’ve been sent to help you through. As with everyone here, they have their helpers, a guide if you will. Some have left already, and the young man you were watching, he’s still alive, it’s why he was so scared, it wasn’t his time yet. You’re nearly ready, and we’re nearly there”
Heaven? No, not now.
“But.. my family, mum and dad…” her voice trailed away, even though it was all just thoughts.
“They’ll be fine my dear, they’ve come to accept your passing is inevitable. They’ll survive, in time”

They rounded another bend before she could say anything else and the view that greeted them was beyond anything in her wildest dreams. The sight was such she swore she could hear the angel song of harps, and the butterflies and flowers all around made her heart sing.

***********************************************************************

The family stood huddled around her bed, tears threatening each of them. A woman sat close, holding the hand of her daughter watching her chest rising and falling gently, slowing. “I wonder if grandma is there with her, I hope so” a young man, her brother, stated, “it would make her feel comfortable, welcome”
They had been here with her for several days, the illness had ravaged her body, and it was about to take the last vestige of life. She was too young to go, but they knew this day was coming, had prepared for it. They would survive, slowly learn to move on. To live again.
Her body stirred, and she took one last breath, a sharp intake of air and then… nothing. Her chest stopped moving, her eyes settled beneath her closed lids and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

**********************************************************************

Hope you enjoyed that one which started out as they tend to do, on another track altogether.
Jen ūüôā

A family broken – short(ish) story.

She watched the cars make their way up the driveway. She knew what they would say. How sorry they were about her parents. How they would do anything for her if she needed it. She would only have to call. ¬†She had heard all this years before at her grandparents funeral. Hollow promises, no one ever came back. No one rang, or stopped her in the street. They didn’t care. It was all crocodile tears.
She wondered where she would go now. There were no siblings to worry about. And of all these relatives there were none she wanted to spend time with, let alone those who would be the slightest bit interested. She was too different. A non conformer, the black sheep.
She wondered what would happen to the house, she couldn’t live in it on her own although the thought was appealing. ¬†It would no doubt be sold, the servants along with it. ¬†Pulling a face at that thought, she turned and went back to the house and up the old back staircase to her room.
The voices in the formal dining below carried and she could hear most of what they were saying.
“Where is she, she should be down here, the boys wanted to meet her…”
“Who will take her now, we looked at things, and can’t afford another person..”
“her parents would be ashamed of how she’s acting, how rude to not even greet us…”

The youngest of the help came up the stairs, her light foot steps barely making any noise.
“Did you want something to eat? I’ll leave it by the door for when you’re ready…”
The foot steps retreated and within minutes loud voices make her sit bolt upright from her bed.
“What do mean no one wants her? She is a capable young lady who needs love and care, one of you must be able to take her in…”
There were other slightly muted comments followed by a slammed door.
She looked out of the window in time to see an older man in a well cut suit walk across the driveway, and lean against a tree. ¬†She was intrigued. He walked with purpose, with confidence. There was an air about him that exuded a no nonsense approach to things. ¬†There was also something familiar about him. She knew she hadn’t met him before. Oh, you couldn’t forget that face in a hurry.
Panicking briefly at the sight of smoke before realising it was a cigarette, she wondered who he was. He hadn’t sounded like any of the relatives, but again, something in his voice was familiar. ¬†He could have been one of the older cousins, she hadn’t seen them for some time. ¬†But, no, that was not it, and none of them sounded that nice. ¬†Scanning the cars it was easy to pick which one could have been his. While the yard was full of prestige vehicles, it was a Jag that stood out, not least of all because it was definitely the newest.

The photos were a comfort. The funny portraits she’d taken of them all, the personal, private side of her parents. Sarah and James. A side that only ever came out when they were together as a family. ¬†They were her memories to treasure forever, no one else would ever get to see them.
Putting the book away she listened intently, there were only murmers and the clinking of cups and saucers. The tray was still outside her door, petite sandwiches and mini savouries.  Her favourite. Although not hungry, she sat on the stairs and nibbled, listening to the conversation that drifted her way.
The man had come back in and she could hear his voice above the others, not from being raised, just the timbre of it. ¬†It was a nice voice, she could listen to it all day. The lilt of a long gone accent, the richness, it was soothing. ¬†That must be why she hadn’t recognised him, he travelled, or wasn’t from around here.
The talk had changed again, now it was about the kids and what amazing things they had done, places they were travelling to, boring stuff. ¬†Being rich had its downfalls sometimes. So much superficial shit. Can’t afford another mouth? no, it’s just your priorities don’t want to afford it.

A door opened and before she could move, the man had come round the corner and was standing at the bottom of the stairs. ¬†There was nowhere to go without making it obvious she was trying to get away. ¬†He smiled at her, and with a slight gesture asked her permission to come and sit with her. She nodded, not sure what to do otherwise. ¬†As ¬†he sat down, his long legs stretching past her own on the stairs, she felt a wave of reassurance. ¬†As though she had known him all her life. ¬†How could that happen, she had never seen him ¬†before, but she’d heard about it, how people had known as soon as they’d met someone they were meant to spend the rest of their life together. ¬†Maybe this was something like that, although he was old enough to be her father, how could she feel like that about him.
She looked over at him, he was watching her intently, a look on his face she couldn’t read, a curiosity, a knowing. “Hi, I’m Lee” and held out his hand. She smiled at his formality, and put her hand in his “I’m Carissa” His hand was warm, and his handshake firm. She respected that. ¬†Many of her father’s business associates had limp wrists, or soggy hands as she liked to say. ¬† She held on a second too long, but Lee didn’t seem to mind. ¬†Smiling, he pulled his hand as if to pull it away, and she loosened her grip just a bit. “Sorry, it’s just so nice to have someone want to talk to me. No one has said a word since the accident, apparently I’m invisible now”
His look said it all but he spoke anyway “really, now why would no one be talking to you. You’re a beautiful girl, inside and out. Sarah, your mother, often talked to me about you. I find your comment hard to believe”
Hiding her surprise at his words, she replied “mum didn’t know everything, or maybe she thought she would leave it be, and not bother me about it. After all I was not too worried. I enjoyed myself while I was at home, I had my music, and my camera”
They talked for another hour, of general interests, vaguely aware most of the others had left and true to form not bothered to say goodbye.
The large hall clock struck the hour, echoing in the now empty house. It was suddenly eerie, and Carissa felt an intense loneliness for the first time in weeks. And just as it hit her, she felt the tears well up and leaning on Lee, let the tears flow. His arms wrapped round her, naturally,  holding her tight, letting her cry,
Wiping her tears, she sat back “sorry… oh look, I’ve made a mess on your jacket..” she fussed at his shoulder, but he grabbed her hand, gently placing it back in her lap. “Never mind, leave it”
Taking a deep breath, she looked him the eye, “tell, me, how do you know my mother, and why would she be talking to you about me?”
“You mean, she never told you, about your father?”
“what about my father, he was a good man” she immediately thought he meant the worst and was ready to defend him.
He placed his head in his hands, shaking it, and muttering. Looking up he said, “there is something you should know, and your mother said you were ready to be told. ¬†Although, I told her you were ready at 5, but she insisted on waiting. ¬†I gather she was ashamed of herself….”
“How could she be ashamed…what would she have done…oh” Carissa covered her mouth with her hand as the realisation hit. “You mean she had an affair, dad isn’t my real father…oh no, does, did, dad know?”
“Well” Lee started, not sure how he should broach it “yes and no”Carissa said nothing.
“James knew. And no, she didn’t have an affair” Still Carissa said nothing. ¬†All of a sudden she was at a loss for words. The father she knew and loved was not her real father. Well, not by blood anyway. Little things came to mind, they were more like good friends than parent and child. ¬†There was almost nothing in common, the idiosyncrancies that drove her nuts, and everything she did, her mother had done before her.
Their eyes met, and in that instant she knew. Why his walk was familiar, his stance,  why she felt comfortable with a complete stranger.
“I.. mum.. why…” she stammered over the words and standing up stumbled into her room “I have to find something…”
He let her go, sitting for a moment longer. In her room Carissa was going through her dresser, tossing letters, and cards on the floor, obviously looking for something. “Where is it, ¬†where did I put it…” she mumbled to herself, Lee stood in the doorway watching her. She was just like her mother, passionate, feisty and that beautiful thick hair. Sarah’s daughter in more than one way.
“A-ha, got it” Carissa’s voice brought him back to the present and Lee looked up to see her barely two feet away, a sadness in her eyes, an envelope, unopened in her hands. ¬†The letter she had been given a week before the accident, but had not opened, even though her mother had insisted, it was important. Thinking back she remembered her mother’s words “Please Carissa, this is important, read it and then when you’re ready, come and talk to me…” Despite thinking it was weird she had not bothered, putting it away for another day.
Sitting on the bed, Carissa fiddled with the envelope, finally releasing the papers from within. “You read it. I can’t”, she said waving it at Lee.
Pushing her hand back, he declined “No, you need to read it, it’s important that you do it” his voice was firm but gentle, and Carissa knew not to push it.
Unfolding the letter, Carissa recognised her mother’s favourite scented writing paper, she liked to hand write letters, and always on pretty paper. No note pads or emails for her mother. Just one more thing she was going to miss.
Her hands shook as she read the pages, choking back the lump in her throat, a tear dropping onto the paper.  They fluttered to the floor as Carissa fell back onto the bed and sobbed.  Lee bent and picked them up, inhaling the scent still on the paper, oh how he would miss their conversations, her laughter, but above all her friendship.  Sarah was the real thing, genuine with no pretenses, regardless of her wealth. How he had longed to be with her for longer.
“Please read it, to me. I want to hear it again..” Carissa said between sobs.
Lee cleared his throat and started. Carissa immediately heard a mix of her mother’s soft voice and his, a beautiful mix if ever there was one. It was perfect.

My dearest Carissa,
My beautiful daughter. How I love you so much. I feel so ashamed of not being able to tell you before this. I know we can talk about anything, but this was my secret shame, I thought that if it was not spoken it would go away. I didn’t want to cause you any shame. I knew I had to tell you, but I never knew how to broach the subject. How do you tell something like I am about to.
I know school life is not fun for you, and you are so much better than this life we have here, but please be patient, Your time will come.
Your father and I love you more than you can ever imagine but there is another man you need to know about.  James knows him, and is forever in his debt.
I was young, and somewhat stupid at times, when I met James. The fateful day before I met him I had slept with a long time friend, whom I’d been on several dates with. ¬†I became pregnant that day, with you. ¬†By the time I realised this we had fallen in love and there was no going back. Your father, the man I married is a wonderful, funny, caring man and loves you like his own. But he was impotent, not something talked about in those days, so we married quickly and the baby, you, was ours.
It was all very simple but complicated at the same time. While he could have just as easily paid him off to never have any contact, and not know you at all, he didn’t. He insisted we remain friends, to keep tabs and so your father could get to know you, if only from afar. ¬†He needed to know who he was, to relieve himself of the shame he felt. To know the man who gave him the child he had always wanted but couldn’t have himself.
There were conditions to this.  No affairs between us and you two were not to meet, or you would know he was your father.    You are so much more like him now than I could ever have imagined.  Please know, I did not have an affair while married, I was always faithful to him. I stood by our agreement, I loved your father, I loved my husband and will continue to do so.

My sweet sweet Carissa, please don’t hate me for this, I have waited so long to get this off my chest, and although James was happy for me to tell you, ¬†I never felt the timing was right. ¬†And before you ask, what was to be gained by telling you now, and not earlier. ¬†You are now old enough to understand the implications it could have on our family, and your father, James, the one who raised you, is extremely sick and wont be getting better. How many colds has he had over the last year that have lingered far too long.
Once you have read this we can arrange to meet your father, Lee.
Please, be the mature young lady I know you to be, for me, for us.
Forever and always, Mum.

Lee looked up from the pages and saw the confusion and understanding in her eyes. The very same eyes that stared back at him from the bathroom mirror every morning.
As she fought back more tears, Carissa was unsure of what her life was before and what lay in store for her future.

 

This has been a lwork in progress over the last few weeks and I have to thank Amy (of Amy Reese Writes fame) and my friend Kelly for help in getting things moving again. I hope you enjoyed it, it turned out longer than expected.
Jen

Writing challenges

I like writing. For the most part it is enjoyable. I am not a writer. I don’t want to publish a book, or be published anywhere really but my blog.
Wordpress have their writing challenges sure, but the topics all seems so bland to, I get nothing from them. I am a visual person. Give me a picture and my mind will start forming a story, a scenario. I have plenty of photos, from way way back to the present, but they already have their stories. I want new ones. New pictures, new stories.

I would like to do a Sunday short story post, with the idea that you send me a picture – within reason – and I will write a short story. Something to keep the creative juices flowing.
If anyone wants to help send me an email, you’ll find it on the About page.

Have a great day ūüôā
Jen.

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My Mad Monday – misc.

It’s more of a productive Monday, with me settling in to do all the computer work that needs to be done but is frequently put aside for better¬†more fun things.
Unfortunately, there is always something that needs to be done on the computer, and no matter how productive it is, I feel I could be using my time better elsewhere. Sitting around on the laptop can be quite counter productive.
This morning I’ve got the ‘get up and go’ happening. Starting with two and half hours doing good stuffs with 2 coffees, then a shower, bowl of cereal and pop this post up to keep you, my loyal legion of fans, happy for another day or so while I get onto the other important stuffs. And I was just told that tomorrow I will be out most of the day with hubby attending to other business.

One of my laptop jobs is going through my drafts folder in each blog and doing a tidy up after I cleaned up my spam yesterday – finding some lost people in the process, sorry about that, it’s pretty scary in there.

Enough on that, so without further ado, here are a couple of creative writing pieces I found. The first from a friend back in College, 1991 when we were 17/18, the second from yours truly.

“You say you love me”
You say you love me,
but I’m not so sure.
I saw the way you looked at her
my heart went through the floor.
You say you don’t care for her or her love anymore,
but your eyes are filled with love and affection for her.
I can’t stand it anymore.
You say you love me
but now,
I’m not so sure.
Selina Kubach, 18/5/91

‘Home on the moor” ¬†Edited briefly as I wrote from the original.
Hand in hand they strolled across the moor, warm against the icy wind in thick jumpers and scarves. Woolly beanies keeping the chill off their heads. Pausing to look backwards, they can see the river, winding like a snake through the rushes, green and brown, glowing in the sunset, waving in the wind. A place of great beauty where wild animals roam, and flowers bloom blending sweetness with the rugged vastness.

Further on wards they walk, pushing against the wind, the sun dips below the horizon and darkness settles in. They know this path,, they walk it every day, yet when the fog settles in, quite suddenly it seems, they feel isolated and lost.
The path gets steeper, as they wind their way around the lonesome hill. Their house sits at the top, perched precariously against the rocks. The fog lifts as quickly as it arrives and the sky is dark and clear.
The wind picks up, and they stop near a tree, to huddle and watch. A lone hawk circles, searching for prey, anything that might brave the weather.  He leaves with empty beak and the pair continue on their way.  A darkness comes over them, darker than the night, and looking up, they see the shadow of a storm cloud that promises a war upon the earth.
An eerie silence envelopes them as they make the final dash to the front door, the calm before the storm.  As the door is closed, the fury is unleashed and the tin roof becomes a source of thunder with the rain, lightening fills the rooms with light for the briefest of seconds, over and over again.

Finally, after what felt like hours, the storm subsides and passes on, they sneak a look from their window. The river is bulging and trees are down. The moor resembling more a war zone than a place of endless beauty.

moor

Picture from this awesome website here
Now, as another of my friendly bloggers would say, time for another coffee!
Happy Monday ūüôā
Jennifer

A short story – Love

Another off-the-cuff short story.

The anticipation was too much. She had waited too long for this moment, and keeping the tears in check was proving difficult. Although they had only met twice, they shared a pain that not many would understand. A shared experience. And a friendship that would last, no matter what.
The first time they met, he had come to her and they had talked. A lot. Some sight seeing. You know the drill. Visit someone’s home town, to get to know them, you have to visit their haunts, take the time in their playground.
The second time, she had visited him. A lot more talking. Theirs was a friendship that was solid. A deeper connection was made. They both knew. But were they both in denial.

It had been six months, they had spoken every day. But nothing would seal the deal more than being together.
They both knew it. But were never sure if they could admit it. They needed what the other could give. But was it too early. The conflict played on their minds. Happiness vs loyalty to the dead.
To admit was to open their heart, to face the possibility of rejection and pain. But in their hearts they knew it was right.

Walking in through the arrivals gate he glanced around, out of habit (checking out those waiting) rather than because he expected anyone to be there for him. He hoped, but wasn’t sure if she would reciprocate.
The place was packed, and he knew it would be a long process just to get his bags. This airport was renowned for being haphazard and slow.
Not knowing quite why, feeling something calling to him, he looked up, and straight into her eyes. Across the hall, she stood out like a beacon to him, and he knew coming back was the right thing to do.

He lifted her into is arms, and as their lips met, they knew this was where they belonged.

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Jennifer ūüôā