Book Reviews, Spotlight on Writing

Release Day for GROUNDED IN JANUARY!!

20190101_101015
from Brother Mockingbird Publishing

20190409_153528The day has finally arrived and now YOU can enjoy my first sweet romance novel. I’ve loved this story from the first idea (a fearful flyer), and my drive to include multiple sclerosis in a story (for my mom who suffered from the disease). From there the idea grew in Grounded in January. And, an important note, for many of you who remember Bayou, I hope you find this book extra special. While this story is a work of fiction, Bayou’s mannerisms are brought back to life (and his name) throughout the book. I do hope YOU find this story to be funny and inspiring.fb_img_1496244030665

Advance praise for Grounded in January.

Grounded in January is a heartwarming, down-to-earth tale that will convince you that two people, no matter how imperfect, can still find a perfect love. – Cassidy Carter, author of Love on Location and The Perfect Catch from Hallmark Publishing.

Grounded in January is a story of resilience and rebirth that will warm your heart. Kate and Ox reminds us that having faith in love can be the greatest leap we can make. – Maggie Wells, author of Love Game from Sourcebooks Casablanca.

A heartwarming tale of two people dealing with real-life issues that lead you on an emotional journey filled with angst and laughter. This story is a fantastic reminder that love can make all the difference in someone’s life, especially when other factors are full of uncertainty and out of one’s control. Inspirational! – Elsie Davis, author of Back in the Rancher’s Arms from Entangled Publishing.

Add Grounded in January to your Goodreads list!

Purchase it on IndieBound or Amazon! And request it for your local library and bookstores!

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5 Minute Fiction

Map ~ 5 minute fiction 

She ran her fingers along the map. Tracing the journey she wished to take. Every night, when she slid under her sheets, she repeated the process.
Light on, map out, tracing first by sight, then by memory. Two times, then she paused her eyes at the frame ontop her nightstand.

She folded the map up, placed it back into the drawer, and clicked off the light. Laying back on her pillow she pictured the journey she would one day take.

Book Reviews

A Good Book

difdfI first “got” into books once I was actually able to read them, much later than my peers (okay, way, way, way later than my peers). The R.L Stine series and The Boxcar Children when I was younger. Then, once again when I became a nanny and couldn’t find anything worth watching on TV when the baby was sleeping.

I would pull books from the family’s bookshelf, read the back cover blurb, and then if it sounded good, would dive right in. The family that had these books was an Oprah book club member. Every book had the OPRAH sticker on the cover.

I believe the first one I read was:

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Followed by:

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

Vinegar Hill by A Manette Ansay

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

I found these books to be the center of my day, and my joy the following day (these books were so well written!!!!). I never let them (the family) know I was reading them, so I would stick them back on the shelf and make a mental note of the chapter I was on.fdfdfdf

The weekends were especially long since I didn’t work, and had to wait until Monday to get back to reading. I was at the time, and still am, a slow reader, so it would take me a good month to finish one book.

I worked as a nanny for this family just over 2 years, and when the mom stopped buying new books for the shelves I stopped reading. I was not aware of libraries and how to use them (I didn’t know they had them outside of school!!), however immature that sounds. So my reading time faded into nothing for many years, until I picked it back up again, and started reading and (funny as it is) writing and learning about libraries.

Nowadays – many years later – I am well versed in library knowledge (thank goodness). My reading taste have turned rather…pig-headed, so to speak. Most books I read, I find sub-par. The hook is weak or the hook fades off after chapter 2, or sentences go by without much connection to moving the story forward. It’s hard to please me as a reader. Even children’s literature I have grown rather picky over since becoming a writer.

So, basically the thing to note about me is this, if I recommend a book, that means a lot coming from me.

 

 

 

5 Minute Fiction

Broken Angel – part 1

20170104_134943My wings have been shredded and torn in the storm of grand wind,  which ripped the siding off Mrs. Rumpskin’s house.  Just before the corn stalks in the Danbury’s field took flight.

I believed I was untouchable as an angel. My translucent pale wings a forever gift since my death at age three on the playground swing. Please note, if you think you can stand on a swing and fly, you can’t. Well, I guess technically you can, because you die and then you get to fly as an angel.

I try to expand my wings with my shoulder muscles. The left wing is missing a section in the middle big enough for a box of  my favorite chocolate sprinkled donuts to fit. My right wing is all but gone, with the exception of three feathers stuck at the base of my shoulder blade.

I look at the destruction around me, knowing I have a choice. All angels have what people back on Earth would call a “life alert button.” In Heaven, it’s call the “oops button.” See even angels fall from grace and need help. We are far from perfect, even in Heaven.

However, a part of me doesn’t want to push the button. I miss Earth, and don’t get to see it as often as you would think an angel would. Yet, Earth is not where we are permitted to stay for long and those who choose to, remain broken angels.

A broken angel is not a bad thing, although it does sound rather bad I suppose. In heaven a broken angel is someone that can’t return. They remain on Earth, without the peace they have in Heaven. Doesn’t sound too bad, I know, but it’s a rather catch twenty-two situation. The broken angel gets to be with family, unbeknownst to them, yet, missing out on their own afterlife.

I think of Mama, who is pushing seventy now, alone. I think of Pop, who became an angel ten years ago. The one thing about being a broken angel is that once you make your decision, it sticks like super glue.

I think of Mama. The clock is ticking, I must make my choice.

5 Minute Fiction

THE LEPRECHAUN’S GHOST

by Savannah Hendricks

ornaments-030Lucy Greene woke from her nap, the blankets wrapped tightly around her body. Her bold blonde locks stood at points, courtesy of her pixie hairstyle. Even a two-hour nap couldn’t lessen its spunk.

She reluctantly stood up, and made her way down the hall to the thermostat. It read sixty-six degrees. Lucy flicked the plastic cover with her middle finger; the cheap tan needle wiggled.

“There is no way its sixty-six degrees in here, feels like two degrees. Damn winter.”

Lucy shuffled back to the couch and plopped down. She let out a scream, jumping back up.

“What the hell?” Lucy looked down to see ice cubes sprinkled over the couch. A small, but evil little laugh echoed around her. The laughter was the same she had heard the first day that she moved in.

“This better not be some Christmas ghost of the past crap!”

Lucy grabbed a bowl from the kitchen and scooped up the ice cubes from the couch.

“Unless you are taking me to the Bahamas for Christmas leave me alone!” Lucy yelled.

At first, Lucy didn’t know what was going on, maybe she was simply hallucinating or maybe she had gone crazy. Yet, when things like ice cubes on the couch happened, it clearly was beyond anything she could possibly explain. She had been dealing with what, or whoever was doing these tricks since she moved in five days ago. Apparently, not all historic houses were welcoming.

Lucy focused on the television. The weatherman had just started giving the forecast.

“Current temperatures are in the low thirties tonight folks, with snow arriving Friday, perfect for Christmas…”

She looked around her living room, nothing resembled that Christmas was a few days away.

Lucy looked down at her triple sock covered feet. She could hang a sock from the fireplace mantel if she wasn’t wearing all of them. Lucy stared out her living room window to the evergreen trees covered in snow. Then she thought of the butcher’s knife in her kitchen drawer. Lucy smiled.

She made her way to the kitchen and went to open the drawer. But it was stuck. She pulled, and pulled some more. With one last pull, she nearly flew backwards with the drawer in hand. Lucy examined the inside.

“Bubble gum,” Lucy questioned as she picked at the sticky stuff inside the lining of the drawer. She slid out the knife.

“This is gonna be for you if you don’t leave me alone!” Lucy yelled.

Then she heard evil little laughter in the distance. The same one she had heard following the ice cubes. This time it was followed by the noise of a coin dropping. Lucy spun around, knife ready in hand. On the counter behind her was a gold coin, spinning. She slammed the coin to a stop with her palm. The laughter stopped, but the goose bumps on her arms remained. She rubbed at the goose bumps. When she looked down for the coin again, it was gone.

“Leave me alone,” Lucy stated, her hands shivered as they pat the now empty counter top where the coin once spun.

Tears welled in the corners of her eyes, fear was taking over.

Lucy’s black boots crunched the snow as she made her way to the smallest evergreen in the yard. She eyed the perfect tree to put up for Christmas. Maybe making her house feel like Christmas would send away whatever was haunting her.

The tree was probably about six feet tall, she thought. Lucy took the butcher knife and swung low and quick. The knife stuck in the trunk. She pried it out and swung again. She continued to swing away at the slit she had created. The top of the tree started to lean and stretched the bark. It snapped and Lucy dived out of the way and into the snow. The tree smacked the ground, the trunk rested on the stump.

She pushed herself up; snow shoved into the top of her turtleneck. She chopped at the last little bit of the tree that was still attached. As Lucy went to grab the tree, she heard car tires with snow chains coming down the street. It was the mail carrier dropping off today’s letters and no doubt, bills. Lucy crunched through the snow to the mailbox. As she opened the box, the sound of metal sliding apart filled the air around her.  She reached in and pulled out the stack of mail. Lucy watched in terror as a small furry rodent ran out from atop her pile of mail and up her arm. She screamed from the depths of her gut. The mail she was previously gripping flew in the air. Lucy lost her footing and her butt thumped on the snow below. She heard a sharp, evil giggle nearby, but with her neighbors not close enough, no one heard any of the commotion.

Shaken up, Lucy retrieved her scattered mail among the snow. When looking up she saw something low move by the front window. With every step towards the house Lucy sped up. She reached the porch and peered through her windows, but saw nothing moving through the lace curtains. The front door squealed as she pushed it open. Inside the television commercials were the only noise she could hear. No evil laughter, no spinning coins. She took a deep breath, rubbed her forehead, and then headed back outside.

Lucy leaned the newly trimmed evergreen tree up against the wall, snow still stuck to some of the branches.

“No ornaments and no stand.” Lucy laughed. “Popcorn always works I guess, and the wall will do.”

Lucy made her way into the kitchen to start popping enough corn to string the Christmas tree.

Three long hours later Lucy stood back from the tree, the popcorn string hanging carelessly in all the wrong places. Although very country looking Lucy thought. She clicked off the living room lights and made her way to her bedroom. The loose floorboards creaked as she made her way down the hall.

*******

Lucy jerked straight up in bed. She heard the evil little laughter again. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadow move in the hall. She tried to move her feet, but they wouldn’t budge. She threw back the layers of blankets to find her feet tied to her foot-board. As she attempted to untie the knots, the rough rope pricked through her socks to her ankles.

A busted nail later, her feet were free. By the time Lucy reached the hallway, the shadow was long gone. She flicked on the light switch. The light illuminated the hall, but not the darkness of the rooms beyond it.

“Whoever you are go away! Stop messing with me!” Lucy’s voice trembled as she made her way back to bed.

She wrapped herself up in the quilt, creating a tiny ball with her body. Tears streamed down, wetting the pillow below.

*******

Lucy woke to a beam of sunshine coming through the window. This time her feet were free. But the light of day didn’t make her house feel anymore safe. In the kitchen, Lucy grabbed a small pot off the rack and started to make some oatmeal. She went to turn on the television when she noticed a change with the Christmas tree. The popcorn string she had hung last night was all but a few kernels now.

“What the…,” Lucy said.

She walked around her house, checking all the window and door locks. She plopped down on the couch and simply stared at the once again bare Christmas tree.

“What’s burning?” Lucy asked, sniffing the air. “Oatmeal!”

She darted to the stove and swung the pan off the burner.

“Damn it! I can’t do this! I cannot do this anymore. Either I’m crazy or this house is. I can’t even make freaking oatmeal!” Lucy sent the pot flying into the sink, the noise mirrored her shriek of frustration and apprehension.

She left the burnt oatmeal on the stove and grabbed her laptop. She started her research with the realtor who sold her the house. She located the website after a few clicks. OFFICE CLOSED the site read. Lucy sighed. She pondered what else she could do. History, Lucy thought. She typed a few search words in and a site popped up. She wrote down the address to the local historic society located at the Trentway Museum, she would go as soon as they opened their doors in an hour.

*******

“I have questions regarding the house I purchased. I’m experiencing strange…things,” Lucy told the director.

“And your address?”

“7556 Hillrow.”

The director’s eyes widened and she scratched her neck, not bothering to even look up the address.

“Before you bought the house it sat empty for a few years,” the director said. “Everyone in the area knew of the rumors so it was up to an out of towner to buy the home. There had been many stories about the family who first built the home back in 1875, all the way to the last owners. So let me guess, you have a story to tell too.”

“Do you not believe these stories?” Lucy asked.

“No, because, they were stories about, leprechauns,” the director stated.

“Leprechauns? Those little green guys with the…,” Lucy stopped. “Evil laugh.”

“There have been ghost rumors surrounding the house for thousands of years.” The director got up and headed to a file cabinet. She pulled out a folder with Lucy’s address on the tab.

“Ghost?” Lucy questioned. “I thought you said leprechauns?”

“Ghost leprechauns, I guess to be more accurate to stories,” the director stated.

Lucy giggled out of disbelief and thought, what could be worse than a ghost, but a leprechaun’s ghost.

The director placed the file in front of Lucy and left the room. Lucy opened the folder and found a stack of article clippings. She carefully read the top article.

“We would experience these weird things, like damage to our household items. We would sleep and wake up to find parts of our bodies tied up to our bed,” Gloria Powel said. “At first we thought our kids were playing tricks on us, especially the spinning coins, but it was happening to them too.” 

“We couldn’t explain what or who was doing this,” Todd Powel said. “We heard laughter and saw shadows but, never found a thing.”

Lucy’s mind flashed back to the laughter, shadows, the coins, and all the tricks. Knowing now that she wasn’t alone. She was living with the worst of the dead there could possibly be. Lucy left the file on the table and went to look for the director. She found her sipping out of a travel mug in the hall.

“I know I’m a first time home buyer, but isn’t it against some real-estate ethics law?” Lucy asked. “I wasn’t told about the history of my house before I purchased it.”

“You should take that up with your realtor,” the director said.

“I can’t. The office closed and I couldn’t find her in a search.”

The director started to walk away, when Lucy grabbed her arm. “What am I supposed to do with my house?”

The director looked at Lucy’s hand wrapped around her arm then into her eyes.

“Make friends with them.” the director laughed. “We can’t go losing more citizens – especially young ones like you.”

Lucy let go of the director’s arm.

“There is always another option,” the director hinted.

“Another option?” Lucy asked.

The director headed to her office, leaving Lucy alone to think.

******

Lucy slammed her truck door closed and placed her hands over her face. She breathed deep. She needed to do something, but making friends was not the answer. Lucy decided to go to the library and do some research, she wasn’t sure what research, but she needed to start someplace. Just maybe being away from her house, in the calmness of the library, would help her thought process.

Lucy had a few hours to look around before the library closed. She started in the non-fiction section and began scanning the spines for a title that caught her eye. When a book on home remodeling stood out on display, Lucy knew exactly what she had to do. The book contained instructional information about fixing faulty wiring. She figured if there is a way to fix it, then they must have a few pointers on what to not to do. Lucy grabbed a scrap piece of paper and a miniature pencil. She started taking notes, as she couldn’t have the book checked out on her record.

*****

Lucy could take very little with her or it would look planned. She filled a small box with mementos, and waited until the moon was high and bright. Then she headed to her mailbox and dug a hole big enough for the box. In the morning, Lucy made a large batch of sugar cookies. After the last of the cookies came out of the oven, she went to work messing with the electrical house wires. Taking her notes, she put what she learned to good use.

With the plate of cookies, Lucy made her way down her driveway. It had just started to snow and the flakes were large and detailed as they fell on her jacket. Lucy reached the end of the driveway, the snow crunching below.

She gazed back at her home, her lace curtains hanging in the windows, and the Christmas tree she couldn’t see but knew was there. The snow was beginning to collect on top of the wrapped cookies. Lucy saw yet again a shadow behind the curtains. She was unsure if it was the fire building and casting a shadow, or the leprechaun’s ghost.

Lucy crunched her way down the street, not knowing where the side of the road met the street. The neighbor’s house sat farther back on the driveway that Lucy’s home. She headed down the path, thankful for the tree lines to guide her. It had been about five minutes since she left her house, her timing should be perfect.

When the house came into view, it resembled an embossed Christmas card. The Christmas lights hung perfectly around the patio, and a tree all lit up in the front window. Lucy made her way up the steps, and then used the brass knocker.

The door opened.

“Hi, I’m Lucy. I live next door. I moved in last week, but just now got around to stopping by – cookie?”

“I’m Delia,” the lady said, “come in, come in.” Delia took the plate. “These cookies look delicious,” she motioned for Lucy to sit in an empty rocker. “I’ll get some coffee brewing.”

A man on the couch stood up, and shook Lucy’s hand. “I’m Woodrow.”

He grabbed three cookies from the plate Delia had set on the coffee table.

“Woodrow and I were really surprised when we saw someone had bought the house,” Delia commented as she entered the living room.

“Well it’s a beautiful classic home.” Lucy smiled.

Lucy tried desperately to focus on the conversation, but all she could think about was her house. Was it burning? Was this whole plan even going to work? Was the nightmare finally over? Was she going to get caught?

“Lucy?” Delia questioned.

Lucy re-focused. “No kids, and yes I’m a single lady.”

“Maybe you were enough to scare away the leprechaun.” Woodrow laughed.

“You have heard the stories of the leprechaun too?” Lucy asked, focused on Woodrow’s words.

Delia took a bite of the cookie. “Bet the coffee is done.”

“The ghost of the leprechaun. The actual leprechaun died long ago,” Woodrow said, taking a sip of his just poured coffee.

“The stories started from back in 1875 when the land was cleared and the house was built,” Delia stated, looking out the front window. “Rumors say there was always a rainbow that ended in the spot where the house was built. And when the house was built it disrupted the rainbow’s end, disrupting the leprechaun, or maybe multiple leprechauns.”

Lucy looked out the front window too, the snow had stopped. “Have you seen any of these ghost leprechauns?” Lucy said, finally sipping on her coffee.

“Just heard stories from those who have lived there,” Woodrow said. “We know they are most active during Christmas time.”

Lucy set down the mug she was previously cradling to warm her fingers. “Why is that?”

“Those gold coins filled with chocolate that you found as a child in your Christmas stocking are from Leprechauns or so the real story goes.”

Lucy thought of the spinning gold coin.

Delia reached for another cookie. “We have never had a neighbor for more than a month. Most never even got a for sale sign up before the moving truck pulled away.”

“Have you seen the leprechaun’s ghost?” Woodrow asked.

Lucy looked at her watch, ignoring the question. She didn’t want the house fire to look suspicious by any comment she might make. By now, the fire should have spread to all the rooms Lucy hoped.

“I really should get back home. The snow has stopped, but might start piling up more when it starts again.” Lucy stood up.

“We hope you find peace in all this,” Woodrow said.

Lucy looked at him. The noise of the spinning coin and the evil laughter filled her thoughts.

“Merry Christmas,” Lucy said as she opened the front door.

Lucy had barely made it off the front porch steps when she saw the black smoke. She turned around with the fear in her eyes that she had practiced. Delia looked at her.

“What is it?” Delia asked.

Delia followed Lucy’s line of sight.

“Did you forget to turn off the oven?” Delia asked.

“No,” Lucy said, acting in shock. “No, no, no!”

Lucy took off down the driveway, nearly tripping in the snow on her way to the main road.

“We’ll call the fire department!” Delia yelled.

Lucy reached the road, and slowed her pace. When she made it to her driveway, the horror on Lucy’s face was real. She watched as the flames destroy the house she thought she would have spent the many, many years in. It was a while before she heard the sirens in the distance, muffled by the snow, which had once again started to fall in the tiniest of flakes.

*******

Months passed and Lucy’s new house construction was near completion. The last of the snow had melted except for those hidden spots in the corners of the yard. She had decided she loved the land, so she built on the same piece of property. The insurance company covered all of the damage, because the report came back as fire caused by faulty wiring.

The first night back, Lucy laid in her bed, grateful to be out of the motel she called home for many months. She was looking forward to cutting another Christmas tree this year. Lucy felt comfort that the leprechaun’s ghosts were gone with the ashes of the old house. She glazed at the moon outside her bedroom window until she fell asleep.

Within a few hours, Lucy went from sleeping to sitting straight up in bed, grasping for breath; her feet were stuck. Familiar prickles rubbed her ankles. She threw back the covers.

“No,” she screamed, her feet tied to the bed frame.

She heard the evil laughter as she tried to undo the knots.

“It IS the land!”

 

© Savannah Hendricks, 2016

5 Minute Fiction

What’s Left for Celine – short story

Celine’s hands shook as she clutched the letter. “This can’t be real.”

She read it for a second time, tapping her free hand on her knee. She put the letter back into the certified envelope. Celine bounced her feet and patted her knees, then pulled the letter back out and re-read it. She took a deep breath, set the letter down, and pulled out her laptop. Celine searched for an airline ticket, and purchased the soonest one to Rome she could catch.

Celine sat in seat F24 and opened up the pocket in the seat back in front of her. She always checked for the air-sickness bag. Not for her, but to see if the previous seat filler had puked on the plane. No bag meant they had. Celine located a bag, and sat back with a rather comforting feeling.

“On spring break from college?” the lady, who barely fit into seat F23 asked.

“No, just a …trip,” Celine replied.

“No one takes just a trip to Rome,” the lady remarked. “I’m Margaret.”

“Celine,” she said, without offer a handshake.

“A trip to look for love? Discover yourself?”

“My father passed away, and left me his mansion.”

Margaret leaned closer toward Celine.

“I don’t want to talk about it, if you don’t mind,” Celine stated.

“Okay,” Margaret roughly remarked.

****

The cab dropped Celine off at the front door of her estranged father’s mansion. She rolled her suitcase through the grass, over the gravel, and onto the path to the front door. Celine pulled out a key from the black velvet bag and unlocked the door.

She pushed the door open with a deep sigh. Celine took quiet steps into the middle of the massive foyer and slumped down, leaning against a nearby wall. She placed her head between her knees, interlaced her fingers behind her head, and started crying.

When the sun moved low enough to cast beams of light through the windows, and bounce off every curve of every wall, Celine pushed herself up and moved into a giant room. The room had several sitting areas and could easily accommodate a party of a hundred guests.

The couches were stallion tan. The lounge chairs were the palest of creamy milk. Pillows were plump, the floor white marble, and the crimson jar candles sat just so on glass table tops.

Hanging from the vaulted ceilings were three crystal chandeliers. And as the sun lowered through the window panes it bounced off every inch of the crystal, casting rainbows, even up into the arched corners of the vaulted ceiling.

One of the rainbows suddenly caught Celine’s eye as it glared on a framed photo off to the left of a side table. In the photo stood a man and a blonde haired two year old girl…it was her. Celine had the same photo tucked in a box in her closet.

“So…Dad, why leave your daughter who you haven’t seen or talked to a mansion half a world away?” Celine asked the room so grand it echoed.

When Celine had booked her ticket to Rome she was unsure about where she was going in life. And this gifted mansion made every thought more difficult than the last. She didn’t have much in Minnesota, but she had a job, and a nice little condo she had finally finished decorating.

Celine had never seen a mansion that was not on television or in the movies, but she was sure this place took the cake. The big five layer butter crème frosting with strawberries on top cake. Celine’s mom, the only family she had otherwise known, passed two years ago from the worst case of pneumonia the Rochester Hospital had seen in five years.

Celine wandered through the rest of the five bedrooms and six bathrooms, locating a fully stocked wine cellar.

“Ahhh, red, white, and even pink,” Celine declared. “I think I’ll take one of each.”

Celine wrapped her left arm around the two bottles and gripped the top of the third bottle in her right hand and headed to the kitchen. She opened cupboard doors until she found a glass, and then used the table top wine opener.

She poured the red wine into the glass, swirled it a few times, and took a quick sip. Her eyes grew wide with delight.

“Now that is amazing wine,” Celine said, raising her glass to the empty kitchen. “Welcome to Rome. And I’m hungry.”

Celine opened the refrigerator and found it empty except for a few bottled waters. She opened the freezer side to find several instant American entries. Celine popped a Lean Cuisine into the microwave, and then took her wine glass to the foyer. With a few more gulps along the way she had nearly finished what she had poured. She unlocked the French doors leading to the back veranda.

“Wow!” Celine declared, already slightly buzzed.

The sun was setting ever so slowly behind the olive trees that lined the hills. Celine was engulfed by a feeling of warmth and peace even with the unknown that lay ahead. She leaned forward as though she was making room for fairy wings to feather out on her back. It might have been the wine, but Celine felt suddenly optimistic about her future. As she was leaning forward she noticed the table top was resting atop a bronze coated seahorse.

“Well look at you,” Celine stated.

With her glass in hand she bent over sideways.

“Hello little seahorsey,” she slurred. “I have a rather large conundrum. See this house – mansion, well it’s all mine, little ole me. Mind you I have a very small condo back home with thick velvet curtains to keep the world out. And now I’m here at…my mansion, which has so much light from the world shining in.”

Celine looked out as the sky darkened and the stars starting to show their spender. She slumped out of the chair and onto the ground, and then wrapped her arm around the seahorse.

“Tell me what choice to make,” she sulked “this beautiful place with nothing familiar but unanswered questions, or comfort with everything familiar, but nothing magical.”

Tears formed and streamed down her checks.

“Why did he leave me with so much, but never even a minute of himself,” she whispered.

***

Celine woke to find a seahorse nose above her. She slowly stood up, trying to avoid hitting her head on the table top.

“What a beautiful view,” Celine commented as the sun started to cast its shadows as it shined over the rolling hills.

She made her way into the kitchen to grab some water. As Celine’s mind began to un-fog, she remembered the instructions on the letter from the lawyer. She made her way to her suitcase and unzipped the front pocket, pulling it out. At the bottomed she re-read the sentence.

There is a note from your father in the master bathroom at the bottom of the left hand drawer.

Celine made her way down the hall and into the master bathroom. She looked at row upon row of drawers, and then glanced at the note again.

“Which left hand drawer? There are six,” she questioned.

One by one Celine opened the drawers, moving around the items. In the last drawer Celine located an envelope with her name scribbled on the front. She sunk to the bathroom floor and tore it open.

Dear Celine,

This letter will never be able to cover the answers you need because as I write this I still don’t have them. I can’t explain how I fell out of love with your mother, but it was the opposite of how deeply I fell in love with Rome. The reason you are reading this is because the adventures of my life got the best of me. I left you the cars, the house and everything in it; I know you will love life here in Rome.

Sorry will never be enough,

Your father

Celine pushed herself up off the bathroom floor. She had hoped the letter would mend at least a percentage of her heart and wondering mind. Instead it sprouted seeds of anger in the middle of her chest.

“You couldn’t love me in person, you clearly can’t love me with your leftovers,” Celine declared.

***

Two months later Celine pulled back her condo’s grey curtains to let in the midmorning sun. She was waiting for a delivery today and hoped they would get there before she needed to head out.

Sure enough right when Celine was losing her patients the doorbell rang.

“Celine Fisher?” the man with the clipboard asked.

“Yes,” Celine replied.

“Sign here and here,” he said, handing her the clipboard.

And with that, crate after crate were rolled into Celine’s condo. She instructed the men where to put the extra few crates that didn’t fit in the spare bedroom. Once the men left, Celine headed out.

She returned exhausted and headed to one of the crates. Celine took a crowbar and popped open the lid. She reached inside and pulled out a wrapped bottle.

“Oh yay, pink,” Celine cheered as she grabbed her wine opener and a glass.

She took the glass and laptop out onto the patio. One new email message was in bold with a subject line of Labels. She clicked it open and then clicked the download button.

On her screen was a picture of the bronze seahorse with FAIRY TALE in cursive across the top.

“To my winery,” Celine said, raising her glass with a smile.

“Your winery?” said a voice from the patio next door.

Celine nearly choked back up the vintage wine.

“You startled me,” Celine said, clearing her throat. “Yes, I’m just getting ready for the grand opening.”

“A winery in Minnesota, I guess the winters will be tough,” the voice said.

“I’ve got it all worked out,” Celine told the voice.

“What’s your name?” the voice asked. “I have never seen you outside in all the years I’ve lived here.”

“I’m Celine. And you are?” she asked.

Celine leaned forward to see a lady watching the sunset dip beyond the trees.

“Margaret,” the lady said.

Celine’s eyes bulged as their gazes meet.

“The plane!” both ladies said breaking into laughter.

“I think you have a story to tell me about Rome,” Margaret said. “And bring the wine.”

 

© 2016, Savannah Hendricks

5 Minute Fiction

Star

STAR

by Savannah Hendricks

 

My brand new, pearl white 1953 Chevrolet Corvette had blown a tire. I didn’t have a clue as to what I might do to change it. To be exact, Daddy had never taught me what to do. If that alone was not enough, my heels were not meant to for long distances. I started to walk north, staring at my heels with each step. I figured if my eyes met the horizon I would realize I had too far to go.

The clouds layered the black sky with their ruffled lines, the stars where hiding, the moon’s light obstructed. I continued walking, the dimming lights of Las Vegas behind me.

The Flamingo Las Vegas opened the day after Christmas in 1946, I was only twenty-three at the time. I learned my skills at other hotels on the strip to build my resume; finally landing a part in one of the most lavish shows when Champagne Towers opened in 1950. And it’s where I remained until today.

I had left my dressing room at nearly three-fifteen a.m. exiting through the bright lights of the casino floor. I glided through the hotel, my royal blue costume hidden under a tan pink glittery overcoat. Tonight was the night I had had enough of the drunken men, the sparkling lights, and the sequin costumes.

One would think that a showgirl from Las Vegas would not be lonely, or walking away from the famous lights on the strip. You would be surprised how bright lights can get to you.

To be honest I had no idea where I was going, other than north. Then my right heel gave way. I stumbled to the gravel.

“Damn it!” I screamed, throwing a handful of gravel.

I looked up at the sliver of a moon and noticed the clouds separating, and stars were reveled. But the stars didn’t twinkle like they did when Daddy would sing My Blue Heaven. He was always so loving, rocking me back and forth on the porch swing for all those years. The stars didn’t shine bright like they seemed to when I wished on them about Mama. Every night Daddy and I would find the brightest star and that was Mama. The star, never in the same spot. Daddy always said it was because Mama was encompassing the world with her love for us.

“Oh Mama, what am I doing? Where am I going?” I asked at the brightest one tonight.

A car coming down the freeway broke through my conversation with Mama. Pushing myself up off the gravel, I stood as graceful as possible with just one heel on.

The car slowed and the passenger window rolled down.

“Is that your Corvette back there Miss?” the voice from the shadows of the driver seat asked.

“Yes, the tire went down,” I replied, balancing steadily on my one heel.

“Your heel busted there too I see Miss?”

“Yes, I am afraid it did as well.”

“Do you have a spare?”

“No, I lent it to a friend, didn’t think I would be needing it anytime soon, it being new and all,” I mentioned, broken heel in hand.

“Can I give you a lift into town Miss?”

I thought, looked up at the bright star, and sighed. Then I looked back at the shadow of the gentleman in the car. “Thank you sir, but I will pass on your offer.”

“Mighty dangerous out here alone as a woman, if I do say so.”

“Thank you for your concern,” I said, back up from the gentleman’s car.

“Suit yourself Miss.” His voice had turned hostile.

The car tires squealed on the asphalt as desert dust kicked into the air.

I stretched my neck back up to the sky to Mama’s star. It seemed to me as though the star’s light was pointing away from the Vegas lights. I hobbled back to my car, and situated myself to sleep in the driver’s seat. Before I was able to completely doze off a loud engine revved towards my car, the lights blinded my vision.

The engine came to a stop, the noise of a door squeaked open, then slammed shut.

“Excuse me!” a man’s voice yelled. “Excuse me, anyone in there?”

I popped open the door and climbed out, barefoot. “Hi.”

“I see you have a flat Miss,” the man said, pointing.

He had climbed out of a tow truck.

“Can give you a lift Miss?” the man questioned. “Are you headed to or out of Las Vegas?”

With the moon, and Mama’s star bright I said, “out.”