fiction

Flash Fiction – Because She Loves Me

I open the window, allowing a light breeze and the neighborhood noises to come inside.  The curtains flutter, a horn sounds and I am reminded of another time.  Slowly, I make my way around the bed, stopping when I reach my chair.

“There was a time when I was just like our neighbors—always in a hurry, needing to be somewhere, trying to make a dollar.  Yep.  But that was a long time ago.  Back then, I thought I had it all figured out.  Work hard.  Pay the bills.  Take care of the family.  It’s what my father did so that’s what I did.  Hell, it’s what I taught our boy, John, to do.”

My easel is situated by Martha’s bed, across from the window, which offers a surprisingly wonderful view of a dogwood tree. Picking up the paintbrush, I dip the fine bristles into a dab of paint and smear it around on the pallet before gently adding the color to my canvas.  I pause long enough to look at Martha, hoping that maybe I’d see a glimmer in her eyes.  I don’t.

Martha was my high school sweetheart, the first girl I ever kissed.  As faithful as the day is long, that’s my Martha.  I think she deserved better than me.

“Remember how we always talked about going on that vacation?  You wanted to go to Paris and I wanted to see the pyramids…” I chuckle, patting Martha’s leg with my free hand.  “I should have taken you to Paris…”

I continue to dabble paint onto the canvas.  “I called John, yesterday.  But he wasn’t home.  Laura said something about him working overtime.  Said she’d have him call.  Maybe she forgot to give him the message…”

I glance at Martha, her eyes have become window into the bleakness of Alzheimer’s.  And once again, I feel the loss of her companionship, her quick wit, her constant support.  Tucking my hurt in a little box, I lock it away and focus on my painting.  “You know, Sweetheart, sitting here with you, painting and all—I reckon I have time to wonder what our life would have been like if I had followed my dreams.  Who knows?  We could have lived in Paris—me painting and you learning to cook French cuisine…  Who am I kidding?  You probably would have taught the French a thing or two about cooking!” I smile to myself.  “You deserved Paris.  Instead you got me…”

coupleI remember how pretty she looked, standing at the train station, waiting to welcome me home.  It was thoughts of her that got me through boot camp.  It was thoughts of her that accompanied me to Korea and it was thoughts of her that kept me going during my time in that frozen hell.

Laying down my paintbrush, I turn to her, lifting her soft, delicate hand to my lips.  “I must be the luckiest man in the world, having you for my wife.  I don’t know why a girl like you would have ever wanted someone like me.”

Clarity.  I see it in her eyes.  No matter how fleeting, I pray for these moments.  “Lo-ve you,” her voice croaks.

“Martha,” I cry as the spark fades away…  And this is why she deserved Paris—because she loves me.

-Deb

(Originally written in 2014)

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Flash Fiction – Night Runners

 

droneTrying to keep to the shadows,  Flint hurried through the streets, desperate to make his escape.  He glanced over his shoulder—no drones in sight—but, they were coming.  They were always coming.  It was just a matter of time before the incessant hum of their motors filled the air.   He darted down an alleyway, dove into a dumpster and covered himself with garbage.   The foul stench was a small price to pay for concealment.

Closing his eyes, he took a shallow breath and willed his racing heart to calm down.  Now was not the time to panic.  Now was the time to regroup, to prepare for the next phase of his mission—to get back to base camp with his precious find.  His hand moved to the pocket of his jacket, feeling for the pack of batteries.   The relief flooding his body was short-lived as the dreaded humming drew closer, echoing in the alley.

He lay still, waiting for the drones to leave.  After what seemed an interminable wait, the hum drifted away.  It was time to go—he knew this—but something in his gut warned him to stay put—so he waited.  Two minutes.  Four minutes.  Five minutes more.

And then it happened…

The sound of a drone as it started up…  He stopped breathing – his attention focused on the mechanical whining as it receded down the alleyway.

The operators, he realized, were getting smarter—powering the motors down—operating in a stealth mode, waiting for their prey to expose themselves.   Cautiously, he exited the dumpster.  He crept down the alleyway, hugging the building walls.  The going was slow but slow was good when it meant the difference between freedom and captivity.

The first rays of sun painted the morning sky as Flint entered the compound.  Quiet voices welcomed him.  He looked at the worried faces.  “Where are the others?” he asked.

They shook their heads, unable to answer.  But it didn’t matter—he knew what it meant.  The Community wasn’t safe.  They had to move and move quickly.  The Guard were masters of extracting information and considering the missing Night Runners—nothing needed to be said.  They gathered their meager possessions and separated, hoping that smaller groups would offer a better chance at survival.  With any luck, they’d find each other again.

Note:  This is a piece I wrote several months ago. After reading it last night, I tweaked it a bit. It’s one of those stories that keeps tickling the back of my mind and on occasion, I find myself checking in with Flint – just to make sure he’s still alive and well…  And he is. At last check, he had met up with his buddy, Clem – but that’s a story for another day.

Flash Fiction – The Coffee House

On occasion I enjoy writing flash fiction.

I wrote this story back in 2014 (and edited a little tonight).   Hope you enjoy it!

cafeThe Coffee House

I love those pictures of Paris—you know, the ones with the little tables outside of the bistro.   It just looks so… European.  And that probably explains my fascination with the Coffee House.  It’s become my Saturday morning ritual.  I sit at a little bistro table, nibble on a croissant, sip my coffee and watch the town-folk.

It’s amazing really—the things a person can see.   Just this morning, Bill (he looks like a Bill to me) ordered a latte and flirted shamelessly with the barista.  He leaned across the counter, lowered his voice, and slid a five dollar tip underneath her fingers.  The barista giggled, he laughed and I stifled the urge to clear my throat.

I walked to my favorite table and I noticed Bill was seated close by.  As was my custom, I decided to invent a life for Bill.  I imagined he was a successful surgeon, who at any moment would receive an urgent call, prompting him to abandon his morning coffee and hurry to the hospital.  Of course, being a world renowned surgeon left little time for a social life, which in turn, explained his attraction to the young barista.  Surrounded by such intense pressure, pulling patients back from the brink of death—the barista’s youth must have been intoxicating…

Except that wasn’t the truth.

I watched as she approached Bill’s table, pushing a stroller.  I couldn’t hear what she said as she bent down, placing a quick kiss on his check but Bill looked resigned.  Hmmm.  Obviously, she was his wife.  I decided to call her Natalie.  Natalie could use a fashion pointer or two—like the importance of brushing her hair.

I glanced back at Bill.  Gone was the flirt.  He was deflated, slumped in his chair, a hand on the stroller.  It’s sad really, the things you can learn by watching the people around you.  Very sad indeed.  I looked at Bill and wondered if he wished he was a surgeon.

 

 

Blessed Are Those That Mourn Virtual Book Tour

Welcome to today’s stop on the Blessed Are Those That Mourn Virtual Book Tour – Hosted by Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours.

Without further ado, let me introduce author, Kristi Belcamino. Kristi

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a newspaper reporter, crime fiction writer and Italian mama who bakes a tasty biscotti!

Each writer has their own rituals – some listen to music while others drink coffee.  What do you do to bring on your muse?

I must have caffeine – usually a double espresso when I sit down to write. Other than that, I need a spot for my laptop and I’m good to go.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on their meaning or because you like how it sounds? What other things do you consider when naming your characters?

Names are very important to me. Before my first Gabriella Giovanni book was published, I was devastated to get a cease and desist order from a handbag company that was named Gabriella Giovanni! Luckily, the company’s claim (or concern) that it’s customers might be confused by the same name wasn’t a valid argument. Hard to mix up a fictional character with a handbag, right?

 

Thinking about your latest novel:  If one of the supporting characters could step off the page and join you for lunch, which would you choose and why?

Chris Lopez. He’s the most badass newspaper photographer who ever lived! I love the guy!

Writers tend to spend a lot of time alone.   When it comes to socializing, do you prefer a small group of close friends or large and rowdy party?

I love throwing small intimate dinner parties. If I have to attend a party, I am the one off in the corner having a deep conversation with one other person.

Which would you prefer:  Hiking/Camping   or   Dinner/Movie

Dinner and movie. I got all the hiking/camping out of  my system as a kid growing up in Northern California.

Everyone dreams but not everyone remembers their dreams.  Do you remember your dreams and have they ever inspired a story or a scene in a story?

I remember my dreams, but they haven’t inspired a story. However, I have woken in the middle of the night with a breakthrough idea for my current novel. It’s why I keep a pen and paper on my nightstand.

At the end of your life, when it is all said and done, what would you want your tombstone to read?

Her family was her everything.

About her novel: blessed are those that mourn

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops’ reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies—the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her—she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.

It is not until evil strikes Gabriella’s own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves…

Author Bio:

Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist. In her former life as a newspaper crime reporter in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and interviewed serial killers. She is now a journalist based in Minneapolis and the Gabriella Giovanni mysteries are her first books. Find Kristi on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter or on Twitter @KristiBelcamino

Contact Information

Website: http://www.kristibelcamino.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristibelcamino

 

Purchase Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blessed-are-Those-Who-Mourn-ebook/dp/B00SG1ELNW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/?ean=9780062389428&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-MdXm68JZJz8-_-10:1

HarperCollins: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062389428/blessed-are-those-who-mourn

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Writing Group Outing & Flash Fiction

My writing group is pretty informal – we don’t have officers or go over the minutes of previous meetings.    Instead, we get together for lunch, talk about our current projects, and discuss things like our latest marketing efforts.  In September, we decided to change things up by taking a trip to an arboretum, bringing only paper and pen.

After a few minutes of “sharing,” we split up – each wandering through the gardens and the paths of our own imagination.

It was overcast with a passing sprinkle or two, a comfortable 72 degrees – perfect writing weather.

Adirondack ChairsI thought I had found the perfect spot to write – a picnic table under a gazebo.  I scratched out a few lines and after a moment, I moved to another location.  It was there, sitting in an Adirondack chair that I met Grace.

Dropping the garden rake, she placed her hands on the small of her back and stretched as rain drops lightly fell around her.  June had been unusually hot and dry.  Grace refused to run inside.  She thought it a sacrilege not to bathe in the prayed for precipitation, to not revel in the glorious wetness.

The clouds thickened, the droplets fell harder, faster.  A low rumble signaled this would be no passing shower.  This would be an electrical frenzy – a clashing of the elements.

The wind shifted.  The trees found their rhythm, swaying to some mystical music.  Grace closed her eyes, raised her hands into the air until she too, found the melody.  she rocked to and fro, and as the storm increased in intensity, so did her movements.  She danced – twirling like a tornado.  A laugh erupted from deep inside as lightning crackled across the sky.

It was then he saw her – this beautiful madwoman embracing the storm – and the fairy prince knew she would be his.