The Book of Love and Death

I scrape the last bit of tortilla soup from the bowl. As I raise the spoon to my lips, the server stops at my table placing a container on the surface. 

“Here’s your tacos to-go.” His gaze wanders past my face to the empty tables behind me. “Can I interest you in a dessert?”

“I don’t think I should.” I bite my lip to keep my foot from tapping. “New Year’s resolution and all.”

I look back down at my bowl to cut off anymore conversation.

He acts as if I hadn’t spoken and drones on with his script. “Today’s special is key lime pie.”

Why won’t he go away? I force a smile. “A slice of pie would top this meal off.”

“Great.” He yawns. Without asking what kind of pie, he turns and walks back toward the kitchen.

I turn around to take in the restaurant’s dining area. The place is dead. A rush of relief runs through me. They’re not here yet. But they’ll be here soon. With that thought my shoulder muscles stiffen. I rub the back of my neck with my fingers but the stubborn ache remains. I adjust the novel with a purple cover that I set on the table when I got here. My finger traces the raised script of the title The Book of Love and Death. A lump grows in my throat as I do so. The book is how the informant will know it’s me. Checking my phone, I don’t find any new messages from them. They are now 20 minutes late.

Aunt Louise would have said anyone who wasted your time wasn’t worth the effort. I have a habit of being at least a few minutes behind. If she thought I was a waste of time and effort, she never showed it. My favorite memories are of our reading marathons. We would borrow a ridiculous amount of books from the library then spend the weekend reading as many as we could. The winner was whoever read the most books and could recall the most plots. I only beat her twice. She read romances and mysteries like they were her only sustenance. I once asked her why she loved those genres so much. She said nothing simultaneously captures the soul while breaking the heart like love and death.

She was good to me even though I was an awful kid. I ran away several times as a teen. Even when I wasn’t officially running away, I’d crash with friends without telling her. She’d leave her door unlocked even though it’s dangerous in the city just so I could come home whenever I was ready. 

My Aunt Louise was found dead on the floor of her home three years ago. She was bludgeoned to death. The murderer got in through her front door which she left unlocked when I went out with friends all night. 

Panic rips through my abdomen. What if the informant doesn’t show? What if they do but can’t help me? Why did they ask me to bring this novel of all the things in the world?

My stomach flips and I rush to the restroom. It’s a bright small room that’s as empty as the rest of the place. Turning on a sink faucet, I splash cold water on my face. My breathing slows.

 Aunt Louise was my dad’s sister. She’d raised me since I was eleven after my dad died and my mom left to start a life without me. She was the only person who ever believed in me. I thought I was worthless because everyone abandoned me. I took my anger and pain out on Aunt Louise–knowing she had nothing to do with it–but punishing her out of terror that she’d, too, leave me alone one day. And she did… but not because she wanted to.

I look myself in the mirror. She did everything for me. I will do this for her. I will bring her justice no matter what it takes. As much grief as I gave her growing up, I vow to bring ten times the suffering on her murderer and anyone who gets in my way.

A fire of love and death grows in my heart. I step out of the restroom ready to go to battle. The dining area is no longer empty.

A customer sits at my table. They turn at the sound of my approach. In their hand is Aunt Louise’s novel The Book of Love and Death, a mystery romance that she wrote. Holding up the book with its purple cover, they say,

“You’re Wendy Charring? Let’s talk.”

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

Thank you for reading! This is an entry for the Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge. This time around the challenge is different so please check it out at the above link or on lisabeesim’s MSSSC blog to understand the scope of the next three months. January was to write a character with their background. This will be part 1 of a 3 part story so strap in. Max words/pics allowed: 800/8, my word count/pics: 766/7. All CC in the screenshots are from Around the Sims 4. You can find Wendy Charring in the Sims gallery under my forum name: Qnshr5 or with #MSSSC.

Forever

Forever

An old man sat looking at an old photo album one evening. He’d had a good life. He smiled at pictures of his mother, father, siblings, friends, spouse, and children. Most of the people in the album had long passed from this world. Memories of some of them fading from his mind. As comforting as it was to look back on them, their non-existentance reminded him that he, too, wasn’t long for this world.

He paused on a photo of a dapper young man whose smooth features, strong frame and bright eyes were full of the confidence of an entire life before him. 

“I look nothing like that now,” he sighed. “Long after I’m gone, this version of myself will live on. What I wouldn’t give for a pinch of his youth and immortality. Life is unfair.”

“Do you want to live forever?”

The old man looked around his empty living room. “Who said that?”

“Down here.”

The man looked down. In the picture, his younger self waved. The old man threw the album from his lap with a yelp. 

“Ow! Don’t be so rough.” The muffled voice said smashed between the album and the carpet.

“You can feel that?” The old man cautiously flipped the album over. “You’re alive?”

“Of course. I’m a captured moment in time.”

“And… you’ll never die?”

“You can kill time, but a moment is forever.”

The old man sighed. “I don’t have much time left. You, my friend, are lucky.”

“I’m not just a friend. I’m you. As you, I have a proposition. Instead of you wasting your life dying, why don’t you trade places with me?”

“Trade? That’s absurd.”

“More absurd than talking to yourself in a photo? C’mon, it’s easy. Plus, no one dies here.”

“No death?”

“None. Would I lie to me?”

The old man thought about this. He didn’t want to die and he didn’t want to live fearing death either. If he traded places then he would live and the photo version would die. The younger was willing to sacrifice itself for him. Why shouldn’t he take it?

“Alright,” the old man said, “let’s do it.”

“Put your finger on the photo. Good. Now you visualize pushing into the picture and I’ll visualize pushing out.”

The old man did as his younger self instructed. Tingles and vibrations raced up and down his body. His head spun and his stomach queased. Then he felt nothing. 

He opened his eyes to find his clothes, his skin, everything in shades of black and white. 

“It worked!” He chuckled. “I can’t believe it. And I feel…” He jogged in place, jumped up and down, spun around. “I feel great! The weight of the world is off my shoulders. But wait, what about younger me?” 

Looking up through the frame of the photo he saw his younger self standing above him like the tallest skyscraper he’d ever seen. His heart pounded. “So, that’s what a person looks like to something as small as a photo. Never thought of it.” He waved to his self. “Hello. How do you feel?”

His younger self stretched his arms over his head. “So nice to finally move my muscles. I’ve been stuck in that pose for 66 years.”

“Stuck? What do you mean by ‘stuck’?”

“Oh, didn’t I mention,” his younger self grinned. “As a photo, you have to strike a pose. An eternal pose.”

“But I didn’t agree to–”

The old man’s limbs contorted. He was pushed to sitting position by invisible hands on his shoulders. His left arm was forced in his lap and his right hand on his knee. He tried to stand but he was bolted in place. His limbs were heavier than lead.

“Wait,” he pleaded, his neck and up still able to move. “Let’s trade again. It may not be much, but I want my life back.”

“Sorry, old pal. That wasn’t the deal.”

The invisible force made the old man’s head tilt to the side. “Please. You’ll die soon. Two months. That’s where I was headed.” 

“You were 89, but I’m only 23. I’ve got my whole life ahead me.”

“What about my life?” His eyebrows set as if in stone with one brow slightly up. “You’re a good person. You can’t leave me like this.”

Younger self laughed. “You’ve got a terrible memory, old man. We are a selfish jerk until about 34. Since you were quick to trade my life for yours, I guess we still are. Good person, what a joke.”

“Please…” He squeaked out of one side of his mouth.

“Oh, one last thing. You can’t die of natural causes, but beware of water damage, fading from sunlight, bugs, being crumpled, ripped apart–very painful, happened to Uncle Louis’ photos when Aunt Victoria found out he’d cheated on her–and, of course, fire.”

The old man wanted to scream but the primal sound only reverberated in his mind. His mouth was chiseled into a permanent charming smile. 

“Let’s hope whoever inherits this album takes as good care of it as you did.” His younger self picked up the album. “You’re not afraid of the dark, are you? Who cares when you’ll live forever, right?” 

He slammed the album shut plunging the old man into frozen silent darkness.

**********

This is my entry for the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. Learn all about and vote by clicking on the link above (psst…click October submissions to vote!). October’s theme was Spooky. I wrote 809 words (max 850). Please vote for 3 novices and 3 veterans (you must submit 6 votes total) whether you liked mine or not. There’s always good stories so you’ll easily find 6 to vote for. This wasn’t my original story for this month. I had one that is actually spooky called “Don’t Catch the Lights”, but it is double the max word count. I don’t feel like cutting down the words because it loses it bite. I also had another story that is also too long called “Sisters” which I wrote before that. I will post both stories over the weekend. This story, “Forever”, would have had better screenshots, but once I realized my other stories were too long, I had to come up with another idea with only three hours until the challenge was over… so not my best work. I didn’t start taking pics until I had 30 mins left because the game wouldn’t cooperate. Ugh. This has more of a Twilight Zone vibe than horror, but still fun story-wise (hopefully).

How To Whinge Like a Pro

How To Whinge Like a Pro

You stew as your friends ignore you to discuss the drivel that is their lives.

Step 1: Nitpick the Nit-Pickings 

Any amateur can lament heavy traffic, bad romantic relationships or rising consumer costs. You have special insight to peer deep into a complex issue and choose the tiniest, most insignificant part to whine about. Figure out the most meaningless sliver of the topic at hand. Gripe about how global warming will make more people stink. Your friends laugh at your joke. You’re serious. More heat means more sweat which equals more smelly armpits. They try to talk about rising sea levels effects on coastal areas. Dig your claws in. Don’t let go. Sweaty. Stinky. Armpits. Tragedy. Hone the whinge craft by mining micro bits to carp on. Use long-winded examples. They relent. “You’re right. Sort of.” Your chest swells with pride. It always works. Niggle every quibble. Fuss don’t discuss.

You hijack the conversation to drone on and on until everyone is stupefied.

Step 2: Know Your Purpose

Take whinging to the next level. Why do you whinge? To make others feel miserable? To puff yourself up? To spew useless mis-information no one asked for? Use all three as inspiration and #LifeGoals. Overconfidence bloats your ego to an absurd degree. Your friends talk about about their dreams. Their dreams are stupid. Tell them so. Dominate the conversation. You have perfectly attainable dreams. They disagree. Raise your voice for no reason. Yell “facts” you made up on the spot. They beg you to see reason and empathize. Double down on their gross stupidity.

A triple threat, you assert your purpose by simultaneously praising your great mind while belittling everyone else AND insisting your wrong answer in the trivia game was correct.

Step 3: Be Oblivious

Continue to fuss about their poor life choices. They ask why you’re always grumbling. Feign shock. You don’t complain. Ever. They say you lie. You never lie. They persist. Their complaining is irritating. Refuse to acknowledge their arguments. Shout, “don’t you D.A.R.E.” Use the acronym to: Deny, Accuse, Revenge, Evade. 

  1. Deny your own whinging. 
  2. Accuse them of whinging. 
  3. Get revenge by whinging about them. 
  4. Evade ever working the issue out by pretending nothing happened. 
During dinner, your so-called “friends” call you out on your rude behavior. Invoke D.A.R.E on them all!

They say you’re disconnected from reality. They wonder why they hang out with you. Reality, bah. Reality is not your friend. In fact, no one is your friend because you don’t need them… they need you! Tell them so as you walk out the door. Give it a month. They’ll calm down, forget and invite you out again. The whinging cycle never ends.

The ungrateful ingrates demand you leave before dessert. Spend the next two hours complaining about them to your mother. Now a pro, you know that where there’s a will, there’s a whinge.

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

Author’s Note: This is my August entry for Lisabee’s Monthly SimLit Short Story Challenge. The theme is: Whinge. The limits: 500 words & 5 pictures. My word count is 421 with 5 pictures. Please support this challenge and SimLit by clicking the above link and reading all the entries in both the Novice and Veteran categories. Then vote for your top 3 favorite Novice and Veteran stories (yes, 3 in each category).

I’ve been challenging myself to write a different genre or style each month. I really wanted to experiment with 2nd person POV, but didn’t want it to be overbearing or cheesy. (Don’t know that I avoided either.) I was inspired by Lorrie Moore’s short story “How to Become a Writer Or, Have You Earned This Cliche?” Check it out. It’s a million times better than my attempt, but I had fun emulating the style & working in 2nd person.

True Magic

A magician is a person with magical powers also called a witch, wizard or necromancer. Zayne and Zaneida were none of these. They were the other kind of magicians the ones who perform tricks of mind and senses. The siblings were ranked 478 of all the magicians in the world and they were once proud of it. 

“Where did the doves go?” Zayne showed off his empty hat to the wide-eyed audience. “Perhaps the lovely Zenaida knows?”

Zenaida lifted the top off the box she’d been holding. Out flew two white doves to the gasps of the young crowd. Zayne raised his arms in triumph. As the applause died down, a tall woman wearing a green turban stood. 

“Smoke and mirrors,” the woman shook her head. “These are mere tricks.”

Confused and doubtful whispers filled the small room.

Zayne tilted his head back and laughed. “It’s no trick.” He threw his arm out with a flourish. “It’s magic!”

The woman smiled and snapped her fingers. The two doves from Zenaida’s box disappeared then reappeared, one on each of the green-clad woman’s shoulders. The party-goers gasped. The woman waved her hands in front of the birds and the doves vanished. 

“Where did they go?” Someone asked.

The woman snapped her fingers. “One. Two.”  

Zayne felt a sharp pain on the top of his head as a dove suddenly nested in his hair and pecked away. His sister let out a yelp as the other swooped toward her face. They jumped around flailing their arms like maniacs trying to shoo the stubborn birds off. The audience laughed and cheered. 

“My name is Verrica the Extraordinary Sorceress,” the woman announced, “and I know true magic.”

*****

You may be thinking that true magic doesn’t exist; and once upon a time you were right. Now that has changed. Regular old magicians like Zayne and Zenaida have watched the noose tighten on their livelihood along with all involved in the industry, including their manager, Harry.

“We had three parties lined up and all of them cancelled in order to snag this Verrica instead.”

“All?” Harry repeated.

“On the spot,” Zayne said.

“I’m glad you weren’t there to see it, Harry.” Zenaida held her head between her hands. “She made complete fools of us.”

Zayne pointed to the bird poop crusted in his hair and Zenaida held up the tatters of what was left of her best pink wig. 

Harry sighed. “I told you, the act can’t afford to lose anymore business.”

“There must be something left for us.” Zenaida said. 

Harry shook his head. “Sorry kids. It’s over. Everyone wants real magic.”

“They can’t push aside every magician who’s trained hard because a few people have discovered they have supernatural abilities.” Zayne pounded his fists on the table. “Who cares if it’s real or not? Isn’t it all entertainment? A show?”

“Doesn’t matter what it is, it’s competition.” Harry stood and put on his hat. “So you’d better figure out a way to get back on the playing field.”

“How?” Zenaida asked.

“Find your own niche.” Harry shrugged. “Out magic magic.”

*****

Outmaneuvering supernatural power with street tricks was impossible. The siblings signed gigs where they could but work was too far and few to keep crumbs in their mouths. They traded magic tricks for steady jobs.

Several years passed. Though resigned to their fates, the passion of the heart never completely goes away.

“That’s amazing! Do another.”

Zenaida had gotten on as a maid and sometimes regaled her co-workers with a trick or two.

“It’s not real magic.” Zenaida placed the wine glass that she had broken and “magically” repaired on the table.

“So what? It’s fun.”

Fun? Even as she brought out cards for another trick, an idea sparked.

Zayne was a grocer’s assistant who did coin tricks for the children who came in. The joy on their little faces melted his heart. Joy. Zayne’s mind lit up.

The siblings got together with the same concept. People were still interested in smoke and mirrors. The draw wasn’t true magic. It was the show, the entertainment, the thin space between truth and illusion where fun, joy and wonder reside.

Over the next year, they worked hard creating and practicing new while reinventing their image. It was mostly frustrating, but it paid off. They re-debuted as the Wonder Twins (Zenaida was two years older, but twins were more exciting than siblings) they challenged Verrica the Sorceress. The show was dubbed the showdown between the natural and supernatural. Who can tell the difference?

For all the razzle-dazzle, sparkly malarkey, haunts and daunts in the performances, only the magicians both old and new, illusionists and supernaturalists knew for sure.

The rest of the audience simply enjoyed the show. The spells were spectacular and the illusions were such clever feats they were fantastical. Zenaida and Zayne had found a way to out magic magic.

A/N: Words: 800  Pictures: 10

Ladies and gentlemen, I was going to enter the spectacularly extraordinary simlit exhibition that is the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. Unfortunately, I was ill with a really bad infection this month plus school and work when I wasn’t in excruciating pain or knocked out from painkillers. Still, I didn’t want to break the habit of writing a story a month so I slapped True Magic together. This month’s topic was It’s Magic with a word max of 800 and 10 pictures. Please check out the stories submitted for this month. Read ALL the entries and vote for your top 3 favorite stories in BOTH the Novice AND Veteran categories. Top 3 in both categories–6 votes total–is required! Thank you for supporting SimLit!

Also, this idea was inspired by the actual “feud” that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries between science and spiritualism. It was exemplified in the one and only Harry Houdini (yes, that Houdini) who spent a great portion of his career debunking spiritualists. Houdini represented using science and human ingenuity to accomplish feats and illusions (magic). While the spiritualists claimed to gain powers from the supernatural and would perform fortune telling, seances, and even necromancy (also sometimes billed as magic). For this story, I wondered, “what if the supernatural powers were real”.

June Sky: A Myth

Under the warm shadow of June night

Two lovers 

Mahru, brother of Earth 

Elara, daughter of the stars

meeting on the planet of life 

to unite in love 

For eternity.

But the stars, Vega and Antares, 

not approving their wayward child’s union

stepped down from their celestial plane.

They separated the lovers.

Banishing them

to the dark abysses of the universe.

Mahru and Elara fought valiantly.

Yet, the giant stars were too powerful 

and the lovers were flung from the planet.

But, Ila, the Earth, 

having covered their secret wedding,

took pity on the newlyweds

and appealed to Sol, the sun star.

Sol heard Ila’s pleas.

Her sorrow and anger intertwining with the earth’s own.

Though bigger and more powerful than Sol, 

Vega and Antares had trespassed in the sun’s domain;

weakening their own might and strengthening hers.

Stepping down to the planet of life, 

Sol fought Vega and Antares

until they flew back in fury to their own constellations.

Vega and Antares curse upon Elara and Mahru could not be undone.

Earth had tethered her brother to her oceans

keeping him from hurling through the expanse.

Sol turned Mahru into the moon, 

bringing balance to Earth, her oceans, and lighting her nights.

The bride had been thrown to the outer circle.

Sol found her and

Elara, daughter of Antares, a royal star, became Jupiter, the giant king planet.

The moon, close as it is, came and went from the planet of life 

but Jupiter, cast to the outer circles, was too far.

All Sol could grant to the new celestial bodies was one point in time 

to line up Earth, Jupiter and sun.

Under the protection of Sol

Jupiter may descend.

Elara and Mahru separated by space

united by undying love

are joined together once a year

during the month of their wedding.

This is why the moon and Jupiter burn brightest together in the night June sky.

—————–

A/N: Words: 319  Pictures: 8

Part 1: This is my third entry in the fabulous Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. This month’s topic was June Wedding with a word max of 800. Please check it out, read ALL the entries and vote for your top 3 favorite stories in BOTH the Novice AND Veteran categories. Top 3 in both categories–6 votes total–is required! Thank you for supporting SimLit!

Part 1.2 (added 8/1/19): AemaSimming has written a beautiful story in the same vein/universe as this myth. It uses some of the same cc so even the look is similar, but the story stands on its own. If you liked this story, you will Love it! PLEASE read The Most Powerful of Magic and support a great storyteller.

Part 2: Brief background on the celestial bodies in this myth: Vega and Antares are two of the brightest stars that you can see from earth. Antares is a supergiant 17 times more massive and 10,000 times more luminous than the sun. Thousands of years ago, Antares was the North Star (modernly it is Polaris. This is because the earth’s axis moves changing north every thousands of years.) The ancient Persians regarded Antares as one of 4 royal stars who were the guardians of the galaxy (not just a comic/movie). Vega is the 5th brightest star in the night sky and is part of the Lyra constellation. It was the second star to be photographed (the first is our sun). (Vega is also a character in Street Fighter who I played as all the time :P) Mahru is a nickname for the African name Mahrukh which means “face of the moon” and Elara is one of Jupiter’s moons. Lesson over!

Part 3: The sun, earth and Jupiter line up around June (sometimes in late May or early July) every year. It’s known as opposition. This makes the brightest objects in the night sky the moon and Jupiter for the entire month of June. Jupiter is so clear you can see it with the naked eye and its biggest moons with binoculars! I took some photos of Jupiter and the moon above my house. Also, check out the awesome new photos of Jupiter that NASA’s space probe, Juno, has been sending. 

Jupiter (white dot on left) & the moon above my house. Taken with my phone camera 14 June 2019.
Jupiter’s clouds. Taken by the Juno probe.

CC used:  (Not a complete list.)

Ila’s Crown of horns by Nolan Sims, Sol’s Headdress (Pegasus set) by ERSCH, and Mahru’s crown (Thranduil’s Crown) by ersel/ERSCH

Sol’s dress and Mahru’s earth outfit by Jomsims

Twinkling Stars wallpaper & floors by Bakie

Moons Light (the moon and planet Jupiter objects) by Mabinogi

Couldn’t fit this into the picture limit, but I like it so…

Sorry! Didn’t mean for my author’s note to be longer than the actual story! 😛

Missing Peace

Missy tripped down the winding path of the gloomy woods crying out for her daughter. This was her last chance. The trees thinned and the gale died when she heard a soft voice behind her.

“Mom?”

Missy spun around. “Aubrey!”

She held out one hand to her daughter to pull her into an embrace, but Aubrey sidestepped out of her reach.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to give you peace.” Missy felt her ears warm.

“You’re wasting your time.” Aubrey frowned. “I’ll take you back home.”

Dead leaves crunched under their feet as they moved down the dirt trail.  

“Have you made any friends, sweetie?”

Aubrey’s brown eyes darkened. “Phineas is my age. His whole house went up in flames.”

“That’s awful.”

“He set the fire.”

An icy breeze blew around them. Missy shivered and hugged herself.  

“Why are you friends with that boy?”

“We have a lot in common.” Aubrey shot her a cruel smile. “Parents who don’t care until it’s too late.”

Sharp stabbing pain pelted Missy’s heart. Years passed, yet Aubrey stayed the same–sharp-tongued and abrasive.

“He’s bad news. Use good judgement, Aubrey.”

“I do.”

“Like your little sister and you getting in a car with drunk strangers?”

“Mom!” Aubrey crossed her arms over her chest. “You never let anything go.”

“You should have been more responsible.”

“You promised you’d drive us home.” Aubrey narrowed her eyes. “I called you to take Heather and me home, but you were too busy partying with your date of the week to pick us up.”

“I told you to call a taxi.”

“You’re blaming me? I’m 17. We didn’t have any money.”

Missy reached out to her, but Aubrey pulled away.

“I’m sorry. I just want to help you.”

“You’re too late.”

Aubrey turned away. Missy’s heart sank. It had taken her 34 years to get here. She had ruined this last hope squabbling over the unchangeable past.

“You’re right.” Missy wiped at her wet cheeks. “I’ll never forgive myself.”

Twilight shadows with dark crooked arms and spiky fingers stretched across the path. Black tendrils slid up Missy’s feet, wrapping around her ankles. Her heart beat a pounding cacophony.

Aubrey stomped her foot. “She’s not dead, yet!”

The shadows let her go and dashed back up into the trees. Missy leaned, panting, against a tree.

“This is a place for the hopeless.” Aubrey began to walk, fast. “If you despair or stay too long, they’ll keep you.”

Aubrey didn’t want her hurt. Then there was a chance. She caught up with her. “Do you talk to Heather?”

“No.”

“Her grave is–”

“I can’t face her.” Aubrey voice was soft and strained.  The bitterness gone. “It’s my fault she’s dead.”

“I know you hate me, Aubrey, but how you feel about Heather is the same for me with you.”

“I don’t hate you. I just want you to care about me.”

“I had you so young. I dropped out of school. No more parties or hanging out with friends. I became jealous of my own girls, thinking I deserved to be carefree, too. Don’t carry my burden, honey. You made a mistake, but I should have been there so you wouldn’t have to.”

They stopped at the entrance to Pearl Gate cemetery. A cold blast from the woods sent dirt and leaves spiraling into the air. Slender shadows rode the wind clawing at Missy’s clothes.

“Hurry.” Aubrey bounded pass the whitewashed walls of the cemetery with Missy close behind.

Among the graves, a suffocating silence descended. The overcast sky grew darker as if the sun sank at an accelerated pace behind the clouds. They stopped before her daughters’ twin gravestones where Missy’s body of flesh and bone lay unconscious on the ground.

“Don’t return again. Next time, you might not make it back.” Aubrey pulled her into an embrace. “I forgive you, mom.”

Missy sobbed in her eldest’s arms.

“Mom… it’s time. I can go.”

She looked up. There stood Heather, hand out to her sister, waiting. Aubrey ran to her. They hugged each other tight. Missy watched as the girls vanished into thin air.

A strong wind blew. Missy stepped into her body. Blinking her eyes open, she looked around. She sat in the cemetery. The sun shone bright and hot in a clear blue sky. She was back on the side of the living.

Salty tears slid down her face as her fingers caressed the warm gravestones in front of her. She’d done it. She brought them peace. Now maybe she could have a little, too.

________________

A/N: Word Count: 759, Pictures 5

This is my second entry in the Monthly Simlit Short Story Challenge. May’s theme was Mom, Motherhood. Big thank you to Lisabeesims for hosting. Please follow the link to vote for your top 3 favorite stories in the Novice and Veteran categories.

Nincompoop

“This is a terrible idea, Chloe.”

“It’s the only way to get Gina out of the way.”

They peered across the rainbow decorated gym floor where Gina and Mason danced by the bleachers.

Chloe sighed. “Mason looks so good in a suit.”

“He’s got a nice butt…” Ann rubbed her ear between her finger and thumb. “This plan didn’t work last week at lunch.”

“That’s because you ruined everything and Gina asked him to the dance before I could.”

“Not my fault the cafeteria has an incline. I’m just saying… What if it’s a sign? You should talk to him first. He might not mind one dance.”

“I can’t wait with Gina hanging around.” Chloe grabbed Ann’s shoulders. “It’s now or never. I’ve got the punch. Did you get the laxatives?”

Ann put her hand in her purse. “My mom thinks I have a serious problem.” She passed the bottle to her friend. “She says I have to go on a cleanse for a week.”

“You’ll survive.” She poured the medicine into the cup of punch and stirred it with a straw. “But Gina won’t.”

The ruby red liquid turned a deep pink.

“Ok, take it over to her.” Chloe pushed the cup toward Ann. “When she’s gone–“

“No way. Not again.”

“Fine.” Chloe grabbed the cup. “Wouldn’t want you to spill it all over me like last time.”

Ann’s eyes narrowed and her lip curled. Chloe ignored her and took a deep breath. She stalked through the students of High Pier high with Ann following close behind until they stood next to the target.

“Hey, Gina,” Chloe forced a smile. “You look thirsty.”

Gina and Mason stopped dancing.

“I brought you some punch.” Chloe held the cup out.

Gina lifted an eyebrow. “No, thanks.”

I’m thirsty.” Mason reached out for the cup Chloe held.

Chloe’s heart pounded against her sternum. She couldn’t let him drink it. That would ruin everything.

“No.” She pulled her arm back. “It’s mine. I’ve got germs.”

Mason shrugged. “I don’t care.”

His fingers brushed the rim. Chloe looked at Ann for help.

Ann shrugged and mouthed, “Drink it?”

She lifted the cup to her mouth and gulped down the laced contents.

Ann leaned close. “I meant to say spill it.”

Chloe glared at her.

“There’s Jaimie,” Gina clutched Mason’s arm. “What should I do?”

He patted her hand. “You two need to talk.”

Gina nodded and gave him a thumbs up before walking off into the crowd.

“What was that about?” Ann asked.

“Gina’s scheme to get Jaime’s attention by pretending to get back with her ex.” Mason said. “Didn’t work. Now she’s taking the old fashion route.”

Chloe clutched her rumbling abdomen. “So, you two didn’t get back together?”

Mason grimaced. “No.”

If she had waited one more minute… Her belly burned like a Halloween bonfire.

“Looks like I’m dateless.” Mason grinned. “One of you want to dance?”

“Yes!” Chloe put her hand out to him.  Mason moved closer. She stared into his sparkling brown eyes. His smile made her stomach squall with the force of a typhoon. Chloe froze.

“Is everything ok?” Mason asked.

She hugged herself as her stomach roiled with waves of stabbing pain.

“We don’t have to dance.” He turned to Ann. “What about you?”

“Sure.” Ann smiled. “Hope you can keep up.”

“Wait. This is my dance.”

Ann and Mason were too busy grinning at each other to hear her. Another raucous ripple from her middle sent her sprinting out the gym.

Word Count: 584

Pictures: 6

For the Monthly SimLit Short Story Contest. Please head over there and read all the entries. Then vote for your top 3 in the veteran and novice categories (that’s 6 votes in all)! Thank for reading and support SimLit by checking out and voting in the contest!