I’m a little awkward, full of doubt.

Here is my foot and here is my mouth.

When I get all flustered just look out,

‘Cuz you never know what’ll come out.




Just having a bit of fun. Photo courtesy Pixabay.

A Mother's Worry Begins Here(1)

Image via Flickr by Evgeniy Isaev

Some Rights Reserved

And the winners are:

Cody Z.
– Signed copy of Peter Samet’s Zero Echo Shadow Prime

Michael W.
– Red River Rangers Novelette (e-book)

Brian L.
– $10 Amazon Gift Card

Congratulations, gentlemen! Check your e-mail addresses for your prizes (Cody, I’ll need to know where to ship your book! :D), which should arrive in the next day or two.

Thanks for playing along,



Gaph chuckled at the flickering television screen. His giggles turned to choking coughs. He spat more slimy red globs into a tissue.

The woman in white scrubs moved every item off every surface in his private room as she wiped and wiped with some stringent solution. The force she used to scrub combined with the brisk paced in which she moved caused her salt and pepper hair to fray right out of her high bun. No one would ever accuse the nursing home staff of being filthy. Or overly friendly, for that matter.

Gaph’s favorite horror movie continued to play on the T.V. and the nurse continued to clean. Gaph continued to die.

Mercy would be along shortly. She came by every Tuesday morning. They’d drink coffee and critique Gaph’s old films as though they were still relevant. She was running late today. Though he was a stickler for tardiness, at their age Gaph figured it was forgivable. Besides, he wasn’t going anywhere.

With an itchy wool blanket draped across his lap, Gaph reclined in the lazy boy his son had bought him the last Christmas he was alive. Murphy had always been a solid, healthy lad. Gaph had never imagined that he’d attend the funeral services of his son. The shock of seeing his boy, an elderly man himself at his death, in a coffin had dried the tears right up in Gaph’s eyes.

He cleared his throat and reached for a clean tissue to wipe the tears that now leaked freely from his eyes. Over a hundred years of being the strong one, the man of his household since his early teens when his father had left him with a sickly mother and six siblings, had left him weepy. A spark of the old anger flashed through his gut, but was gone quickly. Now, he was just plain tired.

Maybe his Lilly would come for him today. Murphy was three years old when his mother died. Her car had cleared a bridge and dove into the river below. She’d saved Murphy, but was lost when she went back down for Alice. More tears for his wife and baby girl eeked from the corners of Gaph’s eyes.

At noon, Mercy still had not arrived. Gaph ate the cardboard lunch his nurse served him before she left for the day. Even with a two hour nap after lunch the afternoons and evenings were unbearably long.

Coming out of the shower, Gaph’s foot caught the slippery corner of the shower curtain and went right out from under him. The porcelain toilet broke his fall. He raised a shaky hand to his head, saw blood on his fingers through blurry vision.

Gaph turned his head to the right and watched a pool of blood spread across the floor. Just above him, within reach, was the red call button that would bring one of the nurses to his rescue. Instead of pressing the button, he turned onto his back, crossed his ankles comfortably and clasped his hands together on his chest. How many times had he been in such condition? How many times had he prayed it would be the last?

Once again, he waited patiently for Lilly to bring him beyond this life. He daydreamed of golden fields shining in the sun, Lilly dancing among countless rows of wheat. He pictured them sitting together under a white gazebo overlooking a meadow where Murphy and Alice played, surrounded by old oaks.

Mercy had not come that day, and that was okay. Lilly, Murphy and Alice weren’t there either, and that was okay, too. Gaph hadn’t been waiting for any of them. Not really. What he had been waiting for had finally come. Darkness found him content and brought him peace.


Stepping onto the porch, I tipped an imaginary hat to the bereft neighbor standing with Officer Carter, the first on the scene. “Mrs. Claire Whitstine,” I said. “I’m Detective West. Can you tell me what happened?”

“Well, I live across the street,” she waved her hand absently in the direction of her house, then wrapped her arms around herself. “I was coming to check on Dana, I haven’t seen her in three days.” Her eyes glazed over, and she stared at nothing. “I knocked before going in. I called out, but she didn’t answer. When I got to the bedroom at the end of the hall, I saw her lying in bed. So beautiful, so peaceful.” A few more tears escaped.

“Claire, I know this is difficult,” I said, “but I just have a few more questions. Okay?”

She nodded.

“Do you always let yourself into Dana’s house?”

Her brow furrowed. “She’s my best friend,” she said.

Her mind drifted to a happier place, a wistful smile gracing her lips. “When we bought our houses, we made spare keys. Dana used to make breakfast at my house on Monday mornings while I showered.”

“Thank you, Miss Whitstine,” I said. “Why don’t you go on home and rest. If I have any more questions, I’ll contact you.”

Her lips were still trembling, her eyes remained unfocused. Gazing at thin air she nodded, then crossed the street.

I followed Carter into the house and down the hall, past pictures of a smiling Dana Townsend with friends and family, and into her bedroom. Pictures of her hugging a gray haired woman with features similar to her own adorned the walls. On her dresser, a picture of her grinning in the midst of a circle of laughing, costumed children, her own face painted to match. Carter waited at the door while I examined the scene. On the bedside table, I found the note that Claire had missed.

Dearest Claire,

    Your smile is brighter than the sun, but not bright enough to banish the darkness within me. Your laughter is sweeter than any orchestra of angels, yet not enough to lift the weight that crushes my heart. I’m sure that wherever I go from here, I’ll miss you terribly.

I Love You Always,


    I stared at her serene corpse. Aside from my trembling hands and shaky breathing, I couldn’t move. The similarity between this scene and my wife’s suicide, down to the handwriting on that final letter, nearly brought me to my knees.

    Carter, still waiting at the door, cleared his throat. “Detective West, you want me to call the Medical Examiner?”

    “Yes, please.”


UPDATE: I WON!!! Special thanks to Jeffrey Hollar for hosting, and for choosing my story :), and Rachael Spellman for inspiring this winning piece.

Monday Mixer Week 29 Winners

Every week, over at The Latinum Vault, Jeffrey Hollar (@Klingorengi) hosts a Monday Mixer. This week, I’ve decided to participate in the fun.

The idea is to write a flash fiction story of exactly 150 words. Nine words are provided each week; three things, three verbs and three adjectives. One word from each category must be incorporated into the piece. The prompt word must appear as the part of speech listed. (A verb must be used as a verb, etc.)

For a complete list of the rules, check out his blog.

This week, I chose the thing susurrus, the verb vex, and the adjective maudlin.

The inspiration for this piece comes from a good friend of mine, @Raishimi, and her blog post, Writing Reality: The Power of Persuasion

Without any further ado, I present to you my submission:


A red moon hovers in the eastern sky,

Many men may stop and wonder why.

Pathos, agitated, in a maudlin mood,

Hurries and paces, foretelling of doom.

“Can you not see, either of you, the peril at hand?

Can you not hear the susurrus that vexes the land?”

Logos, staid, content in his wisdom,

Sticks to the facts, opening the schism.

“Dear Pathos, fret not over this night’s scarlet gloom,

Tis but mother nature that plays with the moon.”

Ethos, upon examining the assessment of her brothers,

Defers to her research, consults with their mother.

“With the information I have here at hand,

It would seem the red moon is really quite bland.”

Such arguments as these were heard many and often,

In the home of opinion, fact and thereof a fusion.

For ever abides in the souls of each one of us,

Pathos, Logos, and, thankfully, their sister, Ethos.

Special thanks again to @Raishimi, without whom this piece would never have been born. ❤