Sarah’s Nightmare 3 [fiction]

Author’s Note

I penned this on December 2, 2007. This is the last installment of Sarah’s Nightmare.


Sarah could not believe Julie had followed her. Did Julie actually think scaring her with the knife would make her want to go back? How stupid was she?

Thunder growled.

Sarah stumbled toward the highway. She had to keep going.

More thunder growled. The storm was closer. A car passed before Sarah reached the highway. She wished she had remembered to bring her cell phone. She could have called Annie to come get her and be gone by now.

Sarah turned toward Clearview and the purple-gray sky. Escape from Julie and Odinwood meant going into the storm.

So be it. The thought of Julie following her did not slow her.

She scanned the woods for any glimpse of her. Her muddy boots were evidence she had come from the swampier part of the pond, which meant she had kept herself hidden by the woods on that side of the highway.

She flipped a middle finger at the woods.

A crow cawed from its perch atop a pine tree. Then the bird lifted into the sky with bulky wings as the first drop of rain struck the top of Sarah’s head.

The crow banked left, soared across the highway, and perched atop another pine tree. It pranced on a branch and positioned itself so it faced Sarah. Then it stared down at her.

She yelled at it, told it to fly away.

It cawed at her. A few more raindrops fell as she started up the highway. Sarah had gone about twenty yards when the crow flew past her head and landed a few feet in front of her. It turned, faced her and stood defiant.

Sarah refused to stop. As she passed to the left, it pecked the back of her right knee. She yelled out as pain burned there.

The crow struck her leg again with its chisel-like beak and sent more pain shooting through her.

She jumped away from the crow, then kicked at it as it came for another peck. It dodged her foot, spread its wings, and danced along the shoulder of the road as it squared off with her.

She turned and ran. More rain fell and struck her face. As she wiped rain and tears from her eyes, the crow flew past her head again and landed in front of her. Then it turned and charged.

Sarah screamed and kicked at it as it attacked her legs. Its beak made direct hits as she kicked and screamed at it to leave her alone.

Her legs throbbed in pain. The crow tore at her pants legs and at her tender flesh beneath the jeans. Her head swam and her knees nearly buckled. Her stomach lurched and she staggered to escape. Rain fell harder. A vehicle passed dangerously close. The driver blew its horn as the car whizzed past and continued on.

The crow continued its attack. Sarah kicked blindly, erratically, and uselessly. She stumbled, caught her balance, and looked up. A pair of headlights came at her, fast, and lit up her eyes in a painful, fiery red.

She leapt out of the way in time for the truck to miss hitting her. The crow took flight. Its flapping wings sounded like someone shaking sand from a beach towel.

When Sarah turned, the truck had stopped. Dr. Bisbee got out of the driver’s side and hurried to her.

“Sarah? Is that you?”

She nodded her head and sobbed.

“What are you doing out here on the highway?”

“The crow,” she said in a bullfrog’s voice. “It’s trying … to hurt me.” The pain behind her knees caused her to stagger.

Dr. Bisbee took her by the shoulders. “Where’s your mother?”

Thunder rumbled. Cold rain fell. Sarah lifted her head, opened her mouth, and let the rain quench her thirst.

Dr. Bisbee led her to the passenger door, away from the truck’s warm grill, and helped her climb into a dry seat. The allover warmth inside swallowed her immediately. Before the doctor closed her door, the crow cawed from somewhere nearby.

Nightmare, part 3 of 3 [fiction]

The last part of this 3-part story is a work-in-progress I have never finished.

All the same, I decided to post it to coincide with this month’s lead-in to Halloween.

Happy Reading.


~ 3 ~

Sarah could not believe Julie had followed her. Did Julie actually think scaring her with the knife would make her want to go back? How stupid was she?

Thunder growled.

Sarah stumbled toward the highway. She had to keep going.

More thunder growled. The storm was closer. A car passed before Sarah reached the highway. She wished she had remembered to bring her cell phone. She could have called Annie to come get her and be gone by now.

Sarah turned toward Clearview and the purple-gray sky. Escape from Julie and Odinwood meant going into the storm.

So be it. The thought of Julie following her did not slow her.

She scanned the woods for any glimpse of her. Her muddy boots were evidence she had come from the swampier part of the pond, which meant she had kept herself hidden by the woods on that side of the highway.

She flipped a middle finger at the woods.

A crow cawed from its perch atop a pine tree. Then the bird lifted into the sky with bulky wings as the first drop of rain struck the top of Sarah’s head.

The crow banked left, soared across the highway, and perched atop another pine tree. It pranced on a branch and positioned itself so it faced Sarah. Then it stared down at her.

She yelled at it, told it to fly away.

It cawed at her. A few more raindrops fell as she started up the highway. Sarah had gone about twenty yards when the crow flew past her head and landed a few feet in front of her. It turned, faced her and stood defiant.

Sarah refused to stop. As she passed to the left, it pecked the back of her right knee. She yelled out as pain burned there.

The crow struck her leg again with its chisel-like beak and sent more pain shooting through her.

She jumped away from the crow, then kicked at it as it came for another peck. It dodged her foot, spread its wings, and danced along the shoulder of the road as it squared off with her.

She turned and ran. More rain fell and struck her face. As she wiped rain and tears from her eyes, the crow flew past her head again and landed in front of her. Then it turned and charged.

Sarah screamed and kicked at it as it attacked her legs. Its beak made direct hits as she kicked and screamed at it to leave her alone.

Her legs throbbed in pain. The crow tore at her pants legs and at her tender flesh beneath the jeans. Her head swam and her knees nearly buckled. Her stomach lurched and she staggered to escape. Rain fell harder. A vehicle passed dangerously close. The driver blew its horn as the car whizzed past and continued on.

The crow continued its attack. Sarah kicked blindly, erratically, and uselessly. She stumbled, caught her balance, and looked up. A pair of headlights came at her, fast, and lit up her eyes in a painful, fiery red.

She leapt out of the way in time for the truck to miss hitting her. The crow took flight. Its flapping wings sounded like someone shaking sand from a beach towel.

When Sarah turned, the truck had stopped. Dr. Bisbee got out of the driver’s side and hurried to her.

“Sarah? Is that you?”

She nodded her head and sobbed.

“What are you doing out here on the highway?”

“The crow,” she said in a bullfrog’s voice. “It’s trying … to hurt me.” The pain behind her knees caused her to stagger.

Dr. Bisbee took her by the shoulders. “Where’s your mother?”

Thunder rumbled. Cold rain fell. Sarah lifted her head, opened her mouth, and let the rain quench her thirst.

Dr. Bisbee led her to the passenger door, away from the truck’s warm grill, and helped her climb into a dry seat. The allover warmth inside swallowed her immediately. Before the doctor closed her door, the crow cawed from somewhere nearby.

War and Rain [poetry]

War and rain are long;
our patience is gone and burns much faster in the zone.

War and rain are long;
our broken bones and lullabies char the path to your home
where your war torn love bears a daily weight for years alone.

War and rain are mean;
their dirty green and red are always messing with your head

War and rain are mean;
a life unclean and too much pot put a hole in your head—
now your pothole brain is the next best thing to being dead.

You say it’s just a state of mind
and the weather there is fine.
But you can’t hear me call your name
above the drone of bomber planes.

War and rain are his:
an awful dizzy man with piles of money in his plans.

War and rain are his;
your life with him and too much weight put a hitch in your stance—
now your lovesick soul waltzes by in a broken dance.

You say it’s just a state of mind
and the weather there is fine.
But you can’t hear me call your name
above the drone of bomber planes.

No one hears me above the war and rain that fall…
on us all.

The Haunting [fiction]

Rain woke her.

It struck against curtained glass like the nails of something evil wanting to come inside.

Sarah sought safety behind two pillows a kiss away from each other; his picture and a bottle of Jim Beam Black watched over her in the swoon of the night.

Soft chills shivered though her body seeking the safety and warmth of his body in memory.

It was a rainy night when they first made love. It was a rainy night when they stopped. It will be this bed and rainy nights that will entangle, hold, and haunt her forever.

Rain [poetry]

Rain on the windows paints calligraphy on his walls—

He recites verses
to music playing
where pear flower stars burst forth
in the multicolored bowl on his kitchen table
where he once compared nature with artifice
and made love to the girl with ornamental hair

That’s what happens, she says to him now, when tradition
and art
are sacrificed
for the preservation of book pressed flowers

Bones in the Sand, 1 of 2 [fiction]

It rained on the island for five days. On that fifth day, water stood in the furrows between the rows of vegetables in the garden behind the house. Although it was July, Sarah added a log to the fire in the fireplace and pushed Kenny closer to it, for the dampness inside had made the boy’s breathing worse. She wrapped a quilt around his shoulders and sighed gloomily at the rain that made her house cold and cheerless.

But Mickey, the youngest, ran and chattered and blocked the TV when he wanted Kenny’s attention. Never annoyed, Kenny always smiled or laughed at Mickey’s antics. In fact, Mickey and Kenny behaved as though they liked rainy days best. Perhaps because it was the only time the two boys spent time together. Today, they seemed to share a cheerful bond that almost annoyed Sarah. She never had a sibling while growing up. She sighed again, more deeply.

“A lot of rain,” she said, listening to it drum upon the rooftop.

“How much rain would it take to sink our island?” Kenny asked.

“Don’t make jokes,” Sarah replied a little sharply. “We may have to run the sump pump if the basement walls get any worse.”

“Yippee!” Mickey cried out as he gazed out the window next to Sarah. “We can go swimming in our yard.”

Sarah did not have to look to know the side yard was submerged. It had been that way for two days.

“Come on,” she said to Mickey. “Help me do the breakfast dishes. Then we can figure out what to have for lunch.”

“I want eggs.”

“We had eggs for breakfast. I was thinking a hot, homemade vegetable soup would be nice. Some carrots, peas, corn—”

“No broccoli,” Mickey cried out. He made a face.

“No broccoli. No. Just your favorites.”

“Potatoes, diced,” Kenny said. “Those are my favorites.”

“Yes, of course. Now come on,” Sarah said to Mickey, “let’s get going on the dishes.”

The boy followed his mother and the two spent the next hour in the kitchen while Kenny watched TV. During that time, Kenny was the only one to notice when the rain stopped. Sarah noticed when a warm, glowing sunbeam came through the kitchen window above the sink. She whistled while she prepared lunch, and smiled when she and her boys ate their soup in the living room.

Mickey shoveled away his soup and asked to go outside.

“Stay on the porch,” Sarah said.

“But I want to go to the beach. A lot of neat things get washed ashore during a storm. Maybe I’ll find a pirate’s sword.”

“Stay where I can see you. And be careful. And, by the way, I get half of any gold or silver or doubloons you may find.” Sarah winked at him. “Now take your bowl to the sink and be back in an hour. No longer. Don’t make me have to whistle for you.”

Mickey hurried his bowl to the sink and ran outdoors. Parts of the island was under several inches of water, but the water along the upper beach was receding already, and Mickey made his way on wet, sandy ground, making sure his house behind him remained in view. Along the way, the deeper sand was sopping wet and oozed between his toes.

He skipped around lots of seaweed and driftwood, examined several stones that looked like flattened marbles, and found some unbroken shells during his hunt for pirate treasure. He put the prettier shells into his pockets to give to his mother. She would likely add them to her aquarium of tropical fish that sat next to the TV.

A white stick with no bark on it caught his attention when he picked up a conch shell next to it. The stick was shy of being a foot long, and it had tiny carvings of animals on it, which were mostly birds. He carried it with him while he collected more shells, and he peered at the world through a large piece of beach glass until his watch told him that his hour was nearly up. As he headed toward home, he realized he had left the stick behind. He would have to come back some other day and find it.

Along the way home, he passed two large boulders that jutted out of the base of the upper beach. There, half-visible in the shifted sand, was a human skeleton.

He stood for a minute frozen with uncertainty. The skeleton’s jaw gaped, as though the person—man, woman, kid?—had died while laughing.

Mickey ran from the bones, his breath coming in great pants as he shouted for his mother. He even yelled help a few times when he was certain that the skeleton had risen from its grave and now chased him, determined to keep him from reaching his house.

Sunlight had dried and softened the sand already and it slowed his escape. A shaking Mickey ran out of breath when he reached the front porch steps and dropped in an exhausted heap there, terrified of the strong bony arms that would snatch him up and hurry him away, never to be seen alive again.

He sobbed and pushed his way up the wooden steps. Any second, those skeleton hands would grab him by the ankles and pull him away.

He looked behind him and saw no skeleton there. But that didn’t matter. Some skeletons were magic and could become invisible. Gasping, he crawled to the outer door and beat against its solid frame until his mother came and found him sobbing.

“There’s a skeleton,” he said when she took him into his arms and carried him inside. “A real life skeleton’s in the sand!”

 

To be continued!

Halcyon Days [poetry]

A gentle breeze caresses leaves,
swirls past children playing in meadows,
and whispers ancient language
on a beautiful warm summer eve.

The setting sun brings her special kiss:
a fiery burst across the hems of satin blue dresses
of angel-looking clouds,
A mist falls from the east.

A woman laughs. She loves. She watches rain sprinkle her lawn in a soft caress.

Long shadows dance and grow longer
around blue-eyed Mary dropping off to sleep.
A noble thunder quickens some to retreat indoors
where windows shine as whitest gold.

The increasing darkness stirs the lonely to reach out to friends.
Lovers hold each other close,
sharing an ancient communication
while the pattering rain adds a gentle nocturne to their world.

Rain on us, they say, and the woman agrees: Rain on us all.