Running for my life

23 Oct

As I run through the woods past the deep reds and oranges of the surrounding trees, my heavily worn sneakers crunching the leaves below, I gasp in quick breaths of cool air.  Glancing over my left shoulder I see about a dozen other people straining to catch up.  My ears and nose are chilled from extended exposure.  My knees are numb and weak under the weight of my body.  My head is pounding with each stride from stress.  Still, I press on with determination.  Ahead, I can see the path narrow to two person width and it appears to be on an incline.  I slow my pace slightly to better handle the unevenness of the terrain.  I take giant strong steps onto the gritty dirt hill and proceed forward despite my exhaustion. 

After just 50 yards, I spot a lone figure in the middle of the path facing my direction.  Clothed in a white jumpsuit that is splattered with blood, the dark haired person sways slowly back and forth, staring mostly at the ground.  I stop in my tracks and wait for others to catch up to me and assess the situation.  There is a foothold in the hill to the right of him and the tree to the right of that has a low hanging branch that can be used for quick leverage to pull oneself past him.  Once more runners have closed in around me, we quiet down and begin to slowly file past him one by one.  I wait for several people to pass me before I muster up the courage to take my turn. 

Placing my shaky foot into the small divot, I get closer to the mumbling figure and keep my face turned away from him,  preparing to squeak by.  I tell myself not to look up close at his wild ice blue eyes and droopy face with ugly jagged teeth.  He growls and reaches out at me just as I grasp the tree branch above my head and pull myself to safety past him.  The intensity of the close encounter has made my heart skip a beat and, before I know it, my feet have carried me a few hundred yards away.  Once I know he has remained in his spot behind me to terrorize others, I realize I can take a short breather.  I lean my body forward against a tree and shiver from the dampness of my sweaty tshirt clinging to my skin. 

“C’mon, guys!  There’s a clearing up ahead,” shouts a tall skinny man as he whizzes past, others following closely behind.  I push off my resting post and jog to catch up.  As I eventually come to the edge of the tree line with the others our jaws drop in unison.  In the middle of the vast open field before us sits a large wall climb surrounded by dozens of bloodied growling figures milling around in the tall grass.  It will take lots of speed and strategy to get through this.  I glance down at my flag belt to ensure that my three hanging flags are properly secured before closing my eyes and taking a deep breath and allowing my adrenaline to kick in and propel me through the “deadly” crowd…      

This post is in honor of both my love for Halloween and my impending participation in the “Run For Your Lives” Zombie 5K this coming weekend.  Hopefully I will “survive”…

The letter

29 Jul

This is a continuation of “Central Booking;” please see previous blog post.

Marcus lowered his head and dejectedly followed Mr. Mason down the hall and into another room with a long wooden table and they sat down across from each other.  As the old crusty man with thinning dark hair began rifling through his briefcase for a legal pad and pen, he rambled on in monotone about Marcus always getting into trouble and never learning his lesson.

Bob Mason’s voice started out sharp in Marcus’ ears but quickly became more of a muffled sound as it drowned into the back of his thoughts and Marcus’ eyes glazed over and he fell into a trance.  He twidled his thumbs under the table as his mind drifted back to Carrie again…

Marcus hadn’t realized just how much she meant to him until she had slipped through his fingers six months ago.  And, now, more than anything, he desperately wanted to retrieve the worn down handwritten letter he’d never given to her that he always kept in his wallet and read it for some sort of comfort.  However, though he couldn’t get his hands on the letter now, he had taken so long to write it and read it over and over for the past six months that it was committed to his memory.

It had read: “Carrie, I have so many things to say to you that I have no idea where to start.  Every time I am around you, I am blindsided by your beauty and amazed by your sparkling personality!  When we first met, I was such a shy sheltered person but you have shown me so many ways to enjoy life.  We have shared so many good times together and I anxiously await more good times to come!  I feel like you complete my world and I long to make you feel the same way.  I actually can’t imagine my life without you and hope to spend the rest of it with you!  I hope that this all isn’t overwhelming to you but if I don’t say it, I will regret it.  Love always, Marcus”.

Just recalling his emotions from writing the letter and how different things were now was enough to bring tears to Marcus’ eyes.  But, as his eyes welled up, he quickly took a deep breath and shook his head and wiggled his neck in an effort to come back to reality.  Just then, he noticed Bob Mason leaning forward over the table with his glasses pulled low on his nose and looking at him questioningly with his pen poised over the pad.  Hmmm, what had the question been, Marcus wondered as he realized that he had no idea what his lawyer had been discussing with him for the past five minutes…

The prompt this week for Write on Edge was to write a scene, fiction or memoir, involving a hand-written letter.  I found it convenient to continue my story of poor Marcus stuck in the holding cell trying to piece together the events and learn his fate.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

Central Booking

8 Jul

“Squueeeeeak!!!” went the long metal bench for about the 20th time in the last hour.  Though it was secured into the wall with heavy metal chains, Marcus awoke every time the bench shook under the weight of the massive man laying against him with his sweaty t-shirt brushing along the back of his legs.

Craning his neck to glance behind him through the bars to the adjoining room, he could see that it was only 7:12 a.m.  The woman in her mid-twenties with stringy black-hair and fishnet stockings underneath her red pleather skirt and black tube top sighed deeply from her bench across the cell.  Since arriving around 1:45 a.m. to a rowdy crowd of about three teenage boys, an older blonde prostitute and two tough bikers covered in tattoos, Marcus had seen the rest come and go with their lawyers (or parents, in the case of the young boys).  Now, all that remained was him, “Sweaty Pete” and “Bertha” (as he’d silently nicknamed the other two unfortunate characters).

Turning over to now face the patchy ceiling, Marcus pondered the events and choices from the previous evening that led up to this point.  With his temple still slightly throbbing, he vaguely remembered that it all began with a few innocent drinks at “The Watering Hole.”

It had been a normal Saturday in July with scorching temperatures only allowing comfortable activities at a waterpark or indoors in the air conditioning.  All of his friends had plans and his family lived out of state.  So, after having spent a majority of the day sprawled on the couch watching the Indiana Jones marathon, he had decided to grab a small dinner and a few beers.

The bar had a decent group of people camped out laughing, talking and eyeing up the various baseball game in progress on the flatscreens overhead.  All of the conversations around him were incomprehensible all together at once but after being camped out for about thirty minutes, Marcus saw a party of six come through the front door and make their way toward his end of the bar.  It was three couples, with the men all dressed in black suits and the ladies in various brightly colored evening gowns.  They excitedly chatted as they each ordered beers and toasted together.

     “I can’t believe it!  In just twenty minutes, Carrie will be getting hitched,” exclaimed the tall skinny blonde in the navy blue silk dress.  “Who ever thought little miss Martin would become Mrs. Hawkins so quickly,” she continued. 

     Marcus perked up at this conversation.  “Excuse me,” he leaned into their gathered circle.  “Did you just say Carrie Martin?  Do you mean Carrie Martin from Roosevelt High School?” 

     “Why, yes,” the blonde answered with a puzzled expression.  “She’s getting married at St. Joseph’s Chapel to…” she said.  Before she could finish her statement, Marcus threw a a fifty dollar bill onto the counter and shouted to the bartender, “keep the change” and hurried out the door to his car. 

“So, what are you in for?” asked “Sweaty Pete” as he propped himself up against the wall and bringing Marcus back to reality.  Marcus chose to remain silent as he closed his eyes and tried to think back to what happened after he left the bar last night.  Had he gone to the church?  Had he punched her fiance?  Had he stopped the wedding?  Or, had he been stopped by the police while on the road?

His mind seemed to have a huge black hole from the “Watering Hole” to waking up in the holding cell of the police station.  What had he done?  How much trouble was he going to be in?  Suddenly the front door to the station opened and in walked Bob Mason, Marcus’ stuffy overweight attourney.  Internally, he rolled his eyes in anticipation of one of the condescending talks Mr. Mason was sure to give him.  My, how he hated trying to explain himself to this man, who always seemed to be inconvenienced to do his job.

But, as Marcus watched Mr. Mason speak with the officer at the desk and sign the log book, he sat up and collected himself.  He straightened his striped polo shirt, patted down his hair and thought what to say.  He had to keep his cool and get through this encounter and take it one step at a time.  No matter how much he didn’t like Bob Mason, he realized that this man holds the key to his immediate freedom and direction of his legal future.  Marcus took one last deep breath as the officer unlocked the iron gate with a stern Mr. Mason glaring behind him…

The prompt this week on Write on Edge was to write about Freedom.  I decided to write about an individual who made unfortunate choices and anticipated freedom in the uncertainty of his consequences.  I went over the word limit but my story simply took on more life as I began writing…

Five Minute Friday – Risk

22 Jun

It’s Friday again and on Friday The Gypsy Mama encourages us to throw caution to the wind and just write for five minutes. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.  Today’s topic: risk

GO

I was in Atlantic City on vacation last week and no matter how many times I have been there over the years, I am always caught up in amazement as I stroll through the casino.  Passing by the noisy slot machines with their bright lights, animated screens and loud chatter I see people ranging in age from mid-twenties to probably mid-seventies bustling about.

The younger patrons; adorned in sleek skimpy clothing for attention, huddle close together in groups and carry on excitedly as they hurry toward the table games area to the left of the room.  The older crowd tends to mosey through at a slower pace, speaking in lower tones of conversation with one another as they selectively decide on a group of slot machines to sit down at and place their member cards in (attached to plastic cords).

These people, all from different walks of life, have one thing in common at this moment: they are risking their money.  With full knowledge that they may lose the money they are playing in Blackjack, Roulette, slots or whatever else, they are placing bets in hopes of beating the odds and coming away with more money in their pockets.  And, even though most of the time you will lose in the casino, you can’t win unless you try.  Wow – I suppose that’s just the philosophy that grabs hold of some people so hard that they lose control and play away their savings…

I know that many feel that gambling is wrong (read: those who can’t handle it. lol!) but I believe that all we experience in life is a gamble or risk.  Every time we get behind the wheel of a car or into a seat on an airplane, we are risking our lives by entrusting others to be safe.  When we are strapped into the seat of a roller coaster, we are praying silently that the harnesses will hold as they should.  Even when an individual enlists in the military, he or she is aware of the possibility that they may be sent into a war zone one day and be put in harm’s way to defend our country.  It’s a matter of what we anticipate as the reward whether we are willing to risk or not.

STOP
Five Minute Friday

Wordless Wednesday – AC baby!

21 Jun

Well, summer has only just begun but we have already successfully completed a family vacation to Atlantic City!  And here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip to prove it!

We had a lot of fun but it’s always hard to say goodbye to the ocean and come home.

Five Minute Friday – Perspective

18 May

It’s Friday again and on Friday The Gypsy Mama encourages us to throw caution to the wind and just write for five minutes. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.  Today’s topic: perspective.

GO

There is nothing lovelier than the perfect crystal vase to hold an enchanting bunch of flowers.  With it’s chiseled out pattern and elegantly shaped thick body, light catches it just right to cast flashes of a rainbow and sparkles across the room.

But, when not in use, this vase stays in its place under the kitchen sink; dank, dark and collecting dust.  It gets pulled out and with a quick puff of breath, clumps of dust balls billow out of the center and to the floor.  And, polishing the rest of the grime off the outside with a soft white rag, the hidden beauty of the crystal comes back to life.

With the freshly cut stems of bright pink summer lillies inserted into the base, the vase completes a perfect centerpiece in the middle of the dining room table.  This vase, previously forgotten and protected for months in its secure spot was not missed but it was also not fulfilling its purpose until now.

Now, it brings joy to display such pretty blooms and it is justified in being.  But, sitting atop this table, in the open, it is exposed to the possibility of being broken.  It does not have the safety of the cabinet to surround it anymore.  But, standing on its own now and subject to harmful possibilities is the only way it can be seen in its true grace and be appreciated.

STOP

The most important title!

13 May

Daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, friend, confidant, secretary, amatuer writer…  All of these are words that can be used to describe me in relation to others.  But, my most important title in life is, and will forever be, Mom!

Ever since my precious Little Man came into my life 3 and 1/2 years ago, I became a role model, a teacher, a provider and a leader all in one!  So, this week, one of the prompts given on Mama Kat’s site was to share a lesson from my mother that still sticks with me to this day.  I learned so much from my mom over the years and it is hard to pick out just one thing that has stuck with me.  Many lessons she taught me are ones that I am instilling in Lil Guy every day as he learns and grows.  From practicing good manners to treating others the way you want to be treated to “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” I am making sure that Lil Guy has the proper foundation to build from into a wonderful grown man one day.

Thanks Mom for everything you’ve done and taught me over the years!  You have supplied me with the stepstone of tools to raise the best child I can!  And, I want to thank Lil Guy for enriching my life thus far.  I love every moment spent with you, buddy and am so proud to call myself your Mom!!!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and grandmothers and female caregivers out there!  Enjoy your day!

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