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Jump – A Short Story

Lately I’ve been wanting to write more again. That makes me very happy. I’ve always loved writing, whether poetry or short stories, and the occasional attempt at a novel (I have 2 that are in the process of editing).  But I think short-short stories are my most favorite to write.  They are quick and easy, and a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoy what I share with you.  Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

Jump

(by Michelle D. 2018)

One more step and I’d be over the edge. One more step, just this last one, and I’d be done. Goal accomplished. I could still hear the voices egging me on. “Just jump.” “Just do it.” “You should just go ahead and jump.”

I shuffled just the tiniest bit forward, looked over the edge again. My breath caught in my throat, my heart pounded at the sight. Crystal clear water sparkled up at me, seeming even farther away than my previous glance. Such a long drop, such depths.

It shouldn’t be so hard to make this decision. Or maybe it should be. Maybe this hesitation meant I wasn’t ready. I still had other things to accomplish before I made this leap off the cliff. I could cross some other items off my list before I gave in and made this jump.

My children’s faces flashed in front of my eyes. I took a large step back. What was I doing? Was it worth it? Would they understand? They were so young still. They had no idea where I was. They didn’t know the shame I felt. Would they realize I was doing this for them? Could they understand that I had to do this?

It was time. I had stalled long enough. Any longer and I would lose my nerve completely and never do it. And I had to do this. I had to.

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, then opened my eyes, ran forward, and jumped. The fall seemed to take forever. Falling, falling, slipping through the humid air, then hitting the water with enough force to shock my body. I sank toward the bottom.

I did it. I jumped. The warm water surrounded my body as I sank toward the bottom. Moments later the urge to fight kicked in and I pushed toward the surface.

“Good job. Next time we’ll try the five-foot depth. And maybe not a belly flop on your landing. Those will steal the breath from your body, and quite frankly, they hurt.”

I smiled up at my instructor. Finally, I was getting over my fear of water and learning to swim.

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Midnight Moonlight – A Short Story

One of the Facebook pages I follow is for our local area and its focus is photography from around our county.  We have some amazing photographers in this area.  One of our local guys, DW, posted the following photo. I contacted him and asked for permission to use his photo (with credit to him) with the short story that the photo inspired. I hope you enjoy.

midnight moonlight inspiration photo - DW Harmon - Pure Lapeer

(Photo by DW Harmon – Michigan. Shared with permission)

 Midnight Moonlight

(by Michelle D.)

Unnatural silence surrounded her. The air so still not a single leaf rustled. Missing also were the normal sounds of wildlife. She should be able to hear the croak of the bullfrogs from the misty swamp ahead, the hoot of an owl, or the skittering of little feet through the dry leaves. Instead there was nothing but pure silence.

The woman took a careful step forward. Gravel moved under her foot, grinding together in a loud crunch. She stopped again, her heart racing, her heartbeat audible in the silence of the woods.

She just needed to follow the tracks, she kept telling herself. They would hopefully lead her to safety. The old cabin with the monster of a man was behind her. She hoped he was still unconscious from the blow she gave him to the back of the head.

The moonlight glinted off the rails of the old abandoned railroad track. She studied the rails. Years had passed since childhood, but she should still be able to balance on the narrow beam that the rail presented. She stepped carefully onto the right rail. The light mist made the rail slightly slick, but she should be able to carefully walk silently along it.

A careful glance over her shoulder showed nothing behind her. He wasn’t using the rails to sneak up on her, but she needed to hurry. He could come to at any moment.

Up ahead she saw a break in the woods. It appeared that the railroad tracks created a small bridge to cross a gap in the earth before the next stretch of woods. Maybe she would be able to figure out where she was, orient herself with the surroundings.

A loud snap broke the silence behind her. She gasped and took off running, carefully balancing as she ran. Years of training came back to her, unfortunately her body was not in the same shape as her gymnastics days. Her feet wobbled as she ran.

Low, rolling laughter came from her right. Another loud snap to her left.

“Leave me alone!” she screamed, abandoning the rail to run full tilt on the gravel next to the tracks.

She slid to a stop just before tumbling down the embankment. The tracks continued across the gap; just a couple of rails and rotted boards stretched between her and the other bank. Laughter came from her right again. Another glance around showed her she was still alone. She tested her weight on the rails.

“You can’t escape,” the words from below whispered over her skin.

“Go away,” she sobbed.

A growl came from behind, “Run!”

She took off across the suspended rails, balancing as carefully as she could on the shaking, slick rails. The other bank loomed, coming closer. If she could make it to the other side maybe she’d be safe.

She jumped the last couple of feet, slipping on the gravel and coming down to her knees. Her eyes wide, breath coming in short pants, she looked around. A light glowed ahead of her, just down a path off the tracks.

“Help!” she screamed before standing and running for the light. The woman burst into a clearing. “No,” she whispered, sinking once again to her battered knees. The old cabin, the same cabin she escaped only an hour ago, stood before her.

“I told you, you can’t escape,” a voice whispered just before pain burst across the back of her head. She rolled over, stared up at the monster, her vision fading.

“Until death do us part, my love,” he grinned as he raised an ax. The last thing she saw before the world went black was the light of the midnight moon shining on the gleaming metal head of the ax.

 

Conquering My Fear

This is a little off topic as it doesn’t pertain to anything crafty, cooking, or cats, but I wanted to share this with you.

As humans we all have fears. Some are based upon experiences in our lives, some from the media, and some for absolutely no discernible reason at all.

An experience from my life: I have a slight fear, or maybe just revulsion, of turkey vultures. Not because they are an ugly bird (which they are), but because of a bad experience involving a flock of them.

When I was growing up we had about 5 acres of land on a private road out in the country. Lots of woods, very few neighbors, so us neighborhood kids had a lot of acreage to play on.

We also had a pond back behind the pole barn a ways. I was walking along the drive to the pond when several humongous turkey vultures shot out of the trees right above my head! I felt the wind from their wings as they passed inches above my head.

I think anyone would have a slight shudder at seeing those birds after that.

Fear based on media: everything is bad. The world is going to hell. Nothing is good anymore. More and more idiots are appearing. (Tide pod, anyone?). I think I have more of a fear of idiots than anything else because of the media.

Fear for no understandable reason: as mentioned above, I grew up in the country. I grew up around hunters, both bow and gun. I watched deer get gutted and cleaned in our barn. I even love shooting a bow and arrow.

But for some unexplainable reason as I got older I developed a fear of guns. Mostly handguns. Shotguns and rifles don’t bother me that much. But the thought of having a handgun in the house made me nauseous and very anxious.

My husband, however, is former military and knows how to handle a gun from his military days. He has wanted to get a gun for quite a while now. He understood my fear and talked to me about different safety precautions. He also gave me the time I needed to process and think about why I was afraid and how I could get past the fear. I could not think of any reason why I would have that fear, it was just there.

We talked multiple times about taking a shooting class together even though he is experienced. I went to a family friend’s place and handled an unloaded gun to get a feel for it.

I spent time thinking about what could have caused this fear. I still cannot figure out a reason. I spent time going over it in my mind. I told myself I could do it. I kept telling myself that I could do it. That I was strong enough.

I finally got to the point where I felt that I could accept it, having a gun in the house.

So, for Christmas I got my husband gift cards to a local gun shop and shooting range.

This weekend we (my hubby, his mom, and myself) went to the gun shop pick out a gun. We went into the indoor shooting range and took turns shooting the gun, with my husband giving me a lot of tips and talking about safety.

Overall for my very first time shooting I did not do too shabby. The gun was a little big for my hand so it was not all that comfortable.

We are going to go back again another time so I can try out a gun with a smaller grip. My mom-in-law and I are going to set up a shooting date as well, as she has several guns that have smaller grips.

I am also going to take some classes and work on fully conquering this fear. Because even after holding and shooting the gun, the fear is still lingering. But nowhere near what it used to be.

What fear are you dealing with? Have you been able to conquer any fear? How did you do it? Or how will you? Set your mind to it, think about the reasons, and work your way through the fear. And sometimes you just have to pick up that gun, point it at the paper target, and pull the trigger.

Finished Placemats and Miss Molly 

2:15 am Thanksgiving day I put the last stitch on the last placemat.  What a great feeling to have them done in time to be able to use them with Thanksgiving dinner! 

This is the fall side:

Little Molly had to help me check them out:

They looked great on the table, if I do say so myself:

They are reversible with the other side not being seasonally themed. 

So, little Molly in the above picture? Yeah, we caved in and decided to keep her.  She has helped bring Ginger out of her shell and they play together all the time.  And they cuddle with me at the same time sometimes too. 

Such a change from when we first brought her home and had to bottle feed her. 

Molly Monster is practically fearless, very social, and very loving. 

October Also Brings…

Kittens apparently.  Last year,  in October,  my hubby brought home Ginger. Approximately 4 months old at the time. She’s really turned into a great cat. Very loving.  

This October has brought us Molly.  Barely 4 weeks old.  Found by my best friend in a pile of scraps from a house.

She weighs about 10 ounces and still needs to be bottle fed,  so it’s going to be interesting.  Luckily I run my business from the home and we have her in my office, so I can keep an eye on her. She needs to be weighed every few days to make sure she is gaining weight.  She really loves her bottle and suckles like a pro so I’m not worried about her getting enough to eat. She’s using the litter box. Yay Molly. 

She is very affectionate.  Still wobbly walking but she’s attempting to run now,  which is hilarious to watch.  

We are actively looking for a home for her but plan to get her onto solid food before she goes to a new home. We just can’t have another cat here.  

Red and White and Odds and Ends

My red and white block is almost finished.  Our meeting was last week for the Fiber Art Junkies and we each showed off our progress.  Mine would have been done,  I think anyway, but I was pretty sick for over a week and lost a lot of stitching time.

Here are some of the pictures of my block in progress. Again, the challenge was to use only the two colors that were drawn from the bag,  red and white.  We could use any shade of red as long as it still read as red.  (No pink,  orange,  etc).

It is closer to done now. The colors for next month are gray and fuchsia.  I’m going to do another crazy square block,  but I’m still looking through my stash to see what I have in fuchsia that would work.

I’ve been playing around with recipes again,  and tonight I made pasta with a really good sauce.  Olive oil, garlic,  spinach, tomatoes,  seasoning. Very happy with how it turned out.

And, because she posed so nicely for me,  a picture of our formal feral,  Ginger.  She’s snuggled in as close as she can get to me right now.

Just a Little Test Video

Nothing really exciting,  just wanted to test out posting a video so I decided to take one of my machine working hard tonight. Trying to finish up a gift for a friend.  

My machine has gotten a workout today! 

Hopefully this gift and one I did for a very cute kiddo will get in the mail this weekend. Then I can post pictures of the full items!