Short Stories

I have a few short stories available for free on Wattpad.com. Here are some excerpts - enjoy!

 

 

Excerpt from S-12

 I’m going down to S-12 today.

I’m wearing my red helmet on account of having to duck under the trailer’s overhang to get my bike, and there are cobwebs under there, light as a feather but all sticky in my hair, they’d probably feel like silkworms if I let myself touch them.

When I get onto the dirt lane I slip a leg over the bike and run a finger over the handlebar’s shiny blueness, like the endless sky, which today is all filled up with cottony clouds. Lately their puffy softness is F-18s and dinosaurs; their sinister jaws or tails distort every time the Wind Gods blow.

I pedal hard to get up some speed. I tilt my head and listen to the tires on the gravel they put on the road to keep it from getting muddy. Today there’s a sizzle to the usual crunch. Stinging sweat soaks my armpits and my thighs are wet, because it’s so bloody darn hot that I’m melting from the outside in, I think.

The blistering breeze off the Darnley Basin slaps my flushed cheeks. I ride faster, like the wind. It cries all in and around the hurts. Howling, I hurl myself into its mercy and grace.

 

 

Excerpt from A Certain Kind of Freedom

The sunrise on kayaking day should have given it away – the fact that something big was going to happen. What was it that was said? Pink sky at night, sailor’s delight; pink sky in the morning, sailor’s forewarning. Something like that. The only other time Kate saw a sky like that so early in the day was when Swiss Air 111 went down in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. Kate was scheduled as an extra in a television series filming in Prince Edward Island that morning. She loved her sleep, but that autumn morning as the sun rose, she was on her way to an early call at an airplane hangar doubling as a soundproof studio. She listened to the radio, excited about the day ahead. As her mind tuned in to the unbelievable tragedy that gripped the alluring scenic Nova Scotia fishing village, her eyes caught the sunrise. Not pink, actually. Blood red. With a kind of sundog effect. Stunning, but oh so strange and fearful. Kate attributed it to the fact that she rarely saw the sun rise. Maybe this kind of thing happened all the time. Still, on the morning of the kayaking expedition on Gozo, the second largest of the Maltese Islands, a similar awakening reinforced the feeling of dread with which she awoke. Red. Dire.

Kate stood at the balcony door of the hotel room and sipped on a steaming hot coffee while Ryan brushed his teeth in the nearby bathroom. She pondered the ethereal sunrise while Ryan foam-talked as he brushed, regaling her with tales he’d heard at a local pub. Mostly they consisted of where it was safe to put your boat in. Ryan was in this for a certain kind of freedom. He liked the adrenalin rush of the unknown. So when choosing a local paddling hole, he picked one that almost didn’t make the map. It was quiet and serene, he told her. He left out the part that a few other kayakers had once gotten caught in some bad weather there, and never returned. In fact, he found out at the pub that some locals thought that location was cursed. Only the bravest adventurers put their kayaks in at that cove. So of course that was where Ryan wanted to go.

He and Kate were experienced with kayak paddles, so Ryan wasn’t concerned. He was so anxious to get going, being a morning person and all, that they didn’t make love before they left. That was something else Kate would always remember about that day. The incredible bloody sunrise and the fact that they hadn’t made love. It was a tradition of theirs, part of the routine, to make love on the morning of each of their adventures. Not being a morning person, Kate generally wasn’t so sunk on making love that she was willing to give up sleep. But initially, when this craziness all started with Ryan and the romance of Europe, she thought it was awesome. It was only after a while that she realized the energy he put into loving her wasn’t really about her so much as it was about marking the upcoming day.

They climbed into their rented SUV and hit the road. Kate couldn’t shake the feeling of trepidation even after the sun turned a golden yellow and commenced its crawl high, high into the centre of the sky. She nibbled on a toasted bagel with butter that Ryan bought her from a local coffee shop, and kept her lip zipped shut. She was a people pleaser. She loved this fine over-the-top zealous young man, and she wanted nothing to mar this day. She pushed the haunting negativity out of the way, and listened to an old Elton John tune as Ryan tapped his hands on the steering wheel. Once a drummer, always a drummer.

They were off in search of another adventure.

 

 

A Gentle Peace

Callused fingers are immersed in the ceramic biscuit bowl when Stella Grace’s ears pick up the first hint of change. Gripping the trusty bowl’s dusty milk-yellow edge ever tighter with the other hand, her knuckles pale like the doughy mixture she shapes in time to the whim of the gasping breeze outside. Her right hand is the one submerged in the flour, baking soda and salt, and in shortening and in this morning’s fresh milk too so that the homey ingredients have melded together. She’s making him biscuits because she knows they are his favorite after long hours mucking about in the barn. Almost every day she tosses handfuls of flour into the same bowl for her man. It’s been a few years so she has stopped measuring with cups. There is no longer a need.

Strong shoulders pushed back and stubborn chin thrust forward, from where Stella Grace stands on the worn linoleum she can almost see him in the barn’s open doorway or, if not him exactly, then she at least spies the wild dust motes surging loosely forth from the straw he is forking into the loft. The useless particles dance on the thirsty breeze, rejoicing at newfound freedom, as they are flung forcefully into the endless blue sky of a blistering Prince Edward Island summer.

When first she hears the new sound, a distant and unrelenting hum, it triggers a momentary lull in her pre-dinner routine. The low steady undertone tickles her senses, igniting a tingling thrill that traverses up and down her legs, but then a wild higher pitch seems to join in as the mysterious object moves closer, teasing her with unsure promise and an unbidden slightly sour taste – fear. To her the mingling sounds are an exclamation – I am here. Yet they seem unsteady, as if whatever vessel they’re powering lacks the will needed to keep body and soul afloat.

She relaxes a little. The confusing hum is evolving into a steady purr. It isn’t a threat. It is just a machine, albeit a strange one, appearing from the cobalt blue above. It’s unusual for these parts. It’s 1922 – a dry and lonely post-war world.

Now the buzz is almost above their small farm, at least close enough to startle Cletus, the weathered old Clydesdale Jack picked up at auction after old man Harris did a nose dive into his red earth last spring while patiently laying out boundless rows of potatoes. Cletus reacts like he does when thunder threatens, throwing up his great head and tossing his wiry mane anxiously from side to side.

She lowers her shoulders and squints out the window, watching in awe as, in preparation for landing, a small biplane approaches the fallow field yonder. Like the fearful horse, Stella Grace can almost feel the stifling, ominous presence of a black cloud overhead. Out of habit she looks up above the plane but sees only infinite blue. Not even gentle white mares’ tail clouds line the sky with promise. Yet the interloper seems to carry its own supercharged blue current, as if it contains some almighty power to jumpstart a barren land.