Friday, July 25, 2008

Homesick For Normal (Fiction Friday)

***Posted For Friday Fiction @ Patterings. Click here to read and share more great fiction!***

Homesick. Home means books, hot chocolate and someone to sit back-to-back while you read. Homesick is wishing for the warm, fuzzy feelings that come with it.

A sickness that was very dangerous in my life. I muffled the evidence of my sorrows-by eating marshmallows. It helped-for the first five minutes.

I wouldn’t feel so bad if it was just me. Ally could’ve had a normal life, but I suppose the black and white nature of the teenage mind, told her otherwise. After all, how many teenage girls have a mother in the witness protection program?

It never was what I had in mind. Usually it was a cabin of some sort, tucked away in the deepest hearts of mountains with names that I couldn’t pronounce.

“You okay, mom?” Ally slung her backpack on the floor, squinting up into dusty rafters. “Wow, this place is weirder than the last one.” She shivered.

I scooted her backpack along the entryway, into the room. “I’m fine…we’ll make do.”

“Don’t we always?” Ally stood in the middle of the living room to stare up into the circular ceiling. “Whoa! Take a look, mom!”

I followed her gaze upwards and smiled at the detailed, silver cross nailed to the roof. “Nice.”

There was a knock on the door and Rico, bodyguard one, entered, folding his skinny frame through the tiny doorway, lugging my suitcase behind him. “Everything okay, Mrs. Wheeler?”

“Yes, Rico. Thank you. Can we use the bedroom this time, or..?”

“Not this time, Mrs. Wheeler.” Bryan sighed. “It should only be a few weeks here…I’m sorry.”

Jon’s gravelly voice filled the room, along with the rest of our new possessions. “We brought sleeping bags though, it should help.” He tossed Ally a red bundle. “Catch, kid!”

Ally pounced on it, unrolling it on the futon. “Thank you!” She collapsed dramatically onto the newly covered surface.

“Anything you need straight away, Mrs. Wheeler?” Rico’s fuzzy head appeared from the kitchen entry way. “The cabinets are stocked.”

I headed to the kitchen to look. It was decent enough, canned vegetables included. “Cleaning supplies?” I swiped a finger along the wood paneled wall.

“I’ll check.” Rico smiled. “Don’t worry about the dust, Mrs. Wheeler.”

Because I won’t have the time to clean it? Or because you don’t want me near the windows? I forced a smile. “You do that…I’ll see how Ally’s doing.”

The smile wavered as I stared at the new shopping bags. I knew what was inside of them, new clothes, hair dye and a new, prepaid cell phone, in case of emergency.

“Mom?” Ally touched my shoulder. “Maybe you should sit down.”

I let her guide me to the sofa and sat dumbly, waiting for the tears to come. Ally hunkered down on the floor, taking my hands in hers. “It’s okay, Mom, it’ll be okay.” She toyed with my bracelet and her eyes closed.

Her lips moved, but I could only make out the “Amen.” at the end. Now the tears came, pouring and gushing out.

Ally swiped the box of tissues from the coffee table, depositing it in my lap. “Mom? Hellooooo…talk to me!” She stuffed fresh tissues in my hands. “Just say something.”

“I miss home.” I choked the words out, wishing for the floor to open and swallow me. How ungrateful can I be? I’m alive, my daughter is here…and I need to be strong for her! Dear God, please,…I want my life back!

“Mom?” Ally shook my knee.

“I’m sorry I ruined your life.” The words popped out before I could double-check them.

Ally blinked. “What?” She shook her head. “I could never be ‘normal’ Mom, you know that. I’m too creative. You didn’t ruin my life. You stood up for the truth and you weren’t afraid to speak up. You’ve probably saved lives!”

“And ruined yours.” I snuffled into the tissues.

“Would you quit saying that? You sound like me! You’re supposed to be the grown-up, I’m the kid!” Ally disappeared behind the sofa.

“Excuse me?” Her words registered.

“You’re excused!” Ally chirped.

“Ally!” The tears vanished. “Where did that come from-”

“And she’s back, people!” Ally popped up from behind, a rolled-up sock as her imaginary microphone. “We have successfully weathered the first step in makin’ this place home! I thought you were gonna do that all day.” She ducked away from the pillow. “Mom! Not fair-pillowfights are later. Lookit what I found-books!” She dragged a stack of paperbacks to the coffee table. “Lotsa books! They even have The Secret Garden, my favorite!” Ally dropped the book in my lap, hopping onto the sofa to next to me. “Your turn to read.”

I couldn’t stop the smile that started. Home is wherever family and books are.

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trial By Fire-Full Story, (Fiction Friday)

Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Note: For those of you who read the 'Trial By Fire' FW challenge entry, this is the complete story. Enjoy! ^_^

Peace. Quiet. Tranquility. The thought scrolls through my head. Night. Dark. Silence. Mere minutes remain before my meditation will be complete.

Shelena-Brie is an emotionless state. Every true warrior wishes to reach that point in meditation. A place where, in the midst of battle, they can return, calming their minds and refocusing on the goal.

It takes time. Lots of time to ready your mind and soul and then to test your patience. I have not moved for nearly two days. Excitement touches me in the form of chills skipping on my spine.

It is an emotion I hurry to squish. There can be no emotion at all in Shelena-Brie. There must be nothing but quiet and darkness.

Soft thumps announce a visitor. I will the footsteps to stop anywhere but at my window.

Thank you for reading this excerpt. This short story has been rewritten, revised and turned into an Ebook. Click here to purchase!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ivy-Bound Slave (Friday Fiction)

Come join us at Patty Wysong's blog to read and share great fiction!

Author's Note: This may be a little too intense/sci-fish for some of you. If you don't feel up to reading it, here's something lighter. ^_^ Enjoy!

(Fading Night)

Ivy Bound Slave

“If you’d just shut up and leave me alone-I wouldn’t be like this, ugh!” I almost slammed my bedroom door, but didn’t. Slamming it would’ve meant coming back outside for a forced apology. I needed some sleep.

My fingers closed around the smooth, green stone of the speacial necklace I'd found. It was almost an accident, but I was glad for it. It let me fly. But I'd been too tired lately to do much...maybe tonight. The star-filled skies and the midnight-thick air were calling me. Maybe not tonight...gotta sleep.

Light was shut out from my bedroom as I turned the lock and stuffed a rug along the bottom edge of the door. Fumbling around the desk, I switched the lava lamp on and grabbed a few pillows from the bed.

My life was falling apart at the seams as I tried to keep my parents together. Saving them was killing me. “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” I muffled the screams in pillows, while standing in my closet.

That helped with the frustration part, but not with much else. I was physically exhausted with the added bonus of being an emotional wreck. The darkness of the closet was almost comforting.

I rooted through my shoeboxes to find the diary I’d hidden under my black pumps. The gold clasp reflected through the purple glow, provided by the lamp and I found the necessary nightlight for writing.

Arranging the pillows on the cold, linoleum floor, I settled down for a few minutes of sanity. Pen poised over page, I waited for the words to come. They seemed to be stubbornly stuck to my brain.

Maybe music would help. I dragged myself up and out of the closet to retrieve my Ipod from its position on my nightstand. The gummy earbuds were soft to the touch as I stuffed them inside my ears and cranked the tunes up.

Some of the stress slipped away as I returned to my self-appointed scribble spot. Words came out jerkily, in bunches I couldn’t understand. “Girlfriend, you have seriously got to take better care of yourself.” I muttered.

When I’d successfully filled five pages, I slammed the diary shut and buried it beneath my shoes as before. The nightlight was unplugged, the pillows quickly gathered and returned to my bed. I paused to grab the devotional from my desk.

Feeling for the ribbon bookmark, I turned the page, squinting in the dark to make out the daily verse. It was something about something that didn’t make any more sense that my day had.
I turned off the lamp, mouthing the Lord’s Prayer as sleep seeped through my eyelids. That’s when I heard the whisper.

“Sleep well my love.”

The sultry purr couldn’t have been my imagination. My imagination is practically non-existent. My eyelids were stubbornly stuck together as the whisper was accompanied by a throaty laugh.

“Who’s there?” I took my hands, rubbing my eyes to coax them open. Clapping my hands, the fear faded as the bedside lamp turned on.

A quick glance around the room showed all to be in its usual, perfect place. The tiny nagging thing in my chest was shoved away as I voiced the affirmation aloud. “There’s nothing to worry about. Go back to sleep.”

Familiar words of my mother, usually repeated in the aftermath of another horrible nightmare, I pictured her stained bathrobe and sky-blue curlers, as her cherry-glossed lips planted a fruity kiss on my cheek. “There’s nothing to worry about…go back to sleep.” I mumbled, already giving in to dreamland.

Silky, thick vines brushed against my shoulders, tickling my cheeks.

Tickling. By the time my mouth caught up with my brain, it was far too late to scream. For once, the nightmare was real and not inside my head.

Vines wrapped around me quicker than a roadrunner in summer. My arms were tightly pinned to my sides, two smaller vines were delicately twined around my neck and the remaining ones dragged me out of bed, to be held, suspended in mid-air.

Someone clapped.

The lamp flickered on.

If my mouth could’ve fallen open, it would have. I know something is wrong when I can’t wake up from a dream. I’m an expert at interrupting my own dreams.

“This isn’t a dream.” The voice gurgled in delight.

More vines snaked out from the shadowy corners of my bathroom and behind the matching bureau, creeping towards the light.

Bright red hair was confined to numerous braids wrapped around a very white head. A young woman, clad in , a green, flowered frock that seemed to sprout from her skin.

The leaf over my mouth shifted as she was brought forward by her vines. “Hello there…you don’t know me, but we’ve got a lot to talk about.” She laughed again, the emotion seeming to travel through her greenery. “Now listen closely, love, because I as much as I love myself, I absolutely hate having to repeat things to you humans.”

The vines lowered her to my bed, where she sat, legs crossed and hands folded innocently in her lap. “I thought I’d never get out of the forest…but you helped. More correctly, your parents did. You see-would you stop trying to bite me? You can’t get rid of me that easily.” She rolled forest-green eyes. “Oh all right…speak!”

“What are you?” I gulped in several deep breaths.

She giggled. “A manifestation of your frustration, anger and neglect.” Cotton-candy pink lips pursed in surprise. “Don’t you recognize me?”

“Excuse me?” I wriggled in the vine’s grip, as my left foot lost all feeling. Whatever hopes I’d had of sleeping had been swiftly chased away by the jolts of adrenaline.

“Remember that necklace you fished out of the creek bed a few months back, the one that allows you to fly?” She leaned forward, propping her pointy chin in her skinny hands. “There are side effects to it, you know.” Another giggle spouted out. “I’m one of them.”

“You’re not real-” I started to protest when a fiery line sliced down my cheek. Specks of red were visible on the razor leaf that was shoved in front of my face. Something warm trickled down my face with a soft splat on my bare shoulder.

“I’m as real as you are, you ungrateful brat! I’ve spared you these past weeks…but you make it incredibly hard to survive with being such a goody-two shoes. I’ve been starving away here for days…but you have to be the perfect daughter, dedicated to your darling parents, your dumb job and your crazy friends!” The last words came out as a hiss. “Do you think I haven’t noticed? Do you think I’d just let it keep on happening?”

Flecks of greenery leapt off of her gown and onto the bedroom floor. A thick green grass quickly overtook my ivory carpet. The vines loosened and I tumbled to the floor, awkwardly sprawling at her feet.

Pointy fingernails tipped my chin upwards. “Now here’s the dealio…you help me and I’ll leave your parents alone.”

“My parents?” I couldn’t begin to fathom this puzzle, much less this crazy new twist.

Her short bark of laughter cracked the vanity mirror. “You don’t really think you get poison ivy by sitting outside for five minutes, do you?” She pushed me away, standing to her full height. “They’ve been good enough, but now I need more. Living off the misery of their plight is getting very old, very quickly.”

“Look…this is-”

Her fingers slapped over my mouth, stinging my cut cheek. “Shhh! While we’re here…you are absolutely nothing more than...than a slave! You talk again and I’ll-”

“What do you want from me?”

The giggle escaped again. “Now we’re getting somewhere…all I want you to do is just sit down, close your eyes and think back a little. There we go.”

Her arms slipped around me and I succumbed to the sudden warmth and touch. My eyes began to close and I drifted off without another thought.

I could barely move the next morning…and the mornings of the next two weeks afterwards. My life was literally being drained away, a little bit each night. My temper frayed first. This resulted in more time spent, locked away in the green prison at Ivy’s mercy.

I didn’t want to give in, but I couldn’t give up either. Work, family and life already had their claws in me, Ivy was just another hook in my tortured soul.

Her voice would coax and drag out memories of hurts and tears I’d long buried. When I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, then she’d hold me and sing the strangest lullabies I’d ever heard.

This ritual went on forever, it seemed. Days, weeks, months…maybe even a year. During the day, I found that using the superpower from that necklace, it helped to cope, just a little. I could sleepwalk through the entire day, but with the power of flight, I was never late to anywhere.

You don’t have to give in to her. The thought spiraled through my head as I cried out in one weak moment. “I don’t?” I forced the words through my lips, leaning against the metal reality of a public bathroom stall.


I choked my back sobs to try and focus coherently.

Twenty-nine and eleven.

The words slipped out of my mouth. “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper and not to harm…”

The weight on my heart began to thaw. I found myself methodically folding a scrap of toilet paper. The reality of it sank in and for the first time I could remember, I laughed.

I didn’t care who heard me or what they thought. I laughed. And when I finally left the restrooms, I headed straight for the supervisor’s office. It took a lot of explaining and a bit of negotiations to wrestle some time off.

From there, I stopped by the café to draw on the support of my closest friends. When I finally told my story, with the exception of a few Ivy-related parts…they enveloped me in the love that sealed our friendship and surrounded me, literally, hands joined in prayer.

The fog lifted and so did my spirits. I called up my parents and told them I was bringing Chinese takeout, if they could spare to spend their dinner with me on the back patio. I repeated my strange story, only to be humbled by their understanding and promises of hugs for when the poison ivy was all gone.

Courage and faith had begun their work, restoring more than I’d expected. When my fingers touched the bedroom doorknob, a smile inevitably crossed my lips. Tonight I will stand up and Ivy will meet her worst nightmare. I refuse to belong to leeches that take more from me than I have to give. I will not drink their angry, jealous poisons any longer.

Tonight when I meet Ivy…I will be ready.

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan

Monday, July 7, 2008

Tagged! My Book...answers.

I've been tagged by Vonnie-so here's my answers.

Here's my answers to some questions about my favorite books:

1.Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

Nancy Drew Hardcovers! My mom used to read them as a kid and one of our first library trips, she introduced me to the wonderful world of mysteries! I loved Nancy Drew books because they were easy to read and I liked trying to figure out the mystery before Nancy did. This led to the The Boxcar Children, The Hardy Boys mysteries, The Three Investigators, Agatha Christie and eventually Sherlock Holmes. I just fell in love with the worlds inside those pages. ^_^

2. What are some books you read as a child? Every Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie book. I read most of the boxcar Children, I think almost all the classics, Black beauty, The Secret Garden, Little Women, The Time Machine, Around the world in 80 days, The Prince and the pauper, A conneticut(Yes, I know it's spelled wrong...) yankee in King Arthur's court, The little princess, The last of the mohicans, Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, All the wisbone books, and almost all the wishbone mysteries. The entire Saddle Club and Baby-sitter's club series. DIY-Origami. All the American Girl books. Some of the old "Dear America, Diaries" Random books on horses, cats, gymnastics and martial arts. Too much stuff to list here, so just pop over to my shelfari page and see what's new. ^_^

3. What is your favorite genre? MYSTERY! And then fantasy/sci-fi. Oh and I'm also getting a bit into the christian chick-lit thing.

4. Do you have a favorite novel? The Little Princess! Hands down!

5. Where do you usually read? Um...virtually anwhere. Riding in the car, walking through the mall, sitting on the sidewalk, before bed, etc.

6. When do you usually read? When my head is empty. No, seriously. I have so many interesting things going on in my head, I can't really read until I 'empty it' by writing something. Then I can read mostly in the morning, or way late at night.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? YES! All the time!

8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction? Yes, I read it all the way through in one sitting, usually in quiet spot and then later I go over parts that jumped out at me as I go through the day or wherever.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?I will buy them from bookstores only! Technically, I'm a book 'collector' as in, I collect my favorites. I used to be a library regular, but life's too busy for that now.

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them? Yes! Every single one! Ones that were really, really lousy....I donate to the library and they do whatever they want with it, or I just give it away.

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? No kids ^_^, but in the old baby-sitting days, kids loved it when I read fairy tales and used different 'voices' They really liked the Beginner's Bible stories too.

12. What are you reading now? This quiz. lolz. Actually, I'm not really 'reading' anything, but I am reviewing several WIP novels from my writer friends, does that count?

13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list? I've tried...but I always lose it.

14. What’s next? Currently I'm hunting for all the books in the Zenda series, I'll read whichever one I find next.

15. What books would you like to reread? All My Nancy Drews. (Can you tell I love them?) A Lady of Quality (Frances Hodgeson Burnett) Sisterchicks! (Robin Jones Gunn) Anything Sherlock Holmes, The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Flashpoint (Frank Creed) The Lily books (Nancy Rue) The Protector of the small quartet (Tamora Pierce)

16. Who are your favorite authors? Dee Henderson. Frances Hodgeson Burnett. Carolyn Keene/Franklin W. Dixon, Mildred A. Wirt-Benson, Gertrude Chanlder-Warner, Lori Wick, Bonnie B. Bryant, Jan Karon, Robin Jones Gunn, Nancy Rue, Melody Carlson,

Now, I have tagged a few nameless people and if you don't reply...I know all your cyberhaunts! Answer these questions and find two other people to tag. Have fun! (and my apologies if you've been tagged before...heehee)


Friday, July 4, 2008

Pink Paradise (Fiction Friday)

For Patty Wysong's Fiction Fridays. Go here to read or add to more great fiction:

I can hear the voices. Snickering, raging and screaming. Their slimy fingers are meshed with my brain, wringing out every iota of sanity. I feel so drained.

My lips form the words, my voice obeys. “Make it stop.”

Tiny pink pills promise paradise, taunting me from their station on the nightstand. I want the pain to stop-but it seems intent on killing me. Death must be a state between reality and insanity, I have been there so many times. I wish I could kill this sickness the way it is killing me. Slowly and painfully.

Fiery darts, throbbing aches and horrible twinges between muscles. It is a nightmare I can't snap out of.

Red numbers on the clock remind me this torture will only last for another ten minutes-and then a new kind will begin.

Maybe ten minutes won't matter. It takes a superhuman effort to stretch one cotton-clad arm towards my peace. Neon pink nails flash briefly before me and then the unthinkable happens.

My clumsy fingers fumble with the bottle...and knock it to the ground. Tears of frustration pool in my eyes as my teeth clench to stem the pain that overcomes my anger.

The outstretched hand curls into a fist as I draw it back, burying it within the cool sheets. My fingers brush against something hard.

Anger and frustration give away to puzzlement. The mystery fades as I realize it is my bible. I had originally fallen asleep, reading.

The bookmark is missing and the pages are turned to James. I skim through the first verses of the first chapter.

For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

Two tears leak out. I turn away from the open book, curling into the soft pillows. I know what I've been doing, but I don't want to stop. My character is fine the way it is, my heart is a different story.

It's breaking in two tonight. I feel so alone, so forgotten.

Oh Daddy, why are you doing this to me? You can take the pain away, why won't you? Don't you care anymore?

I can feel His answer almost instantly. It sounds like a patient sigh from a parent to a young child.

Tears begin to flow freely, as I sob into the mounds of pillows. Today has been horrible, terrible, very bad sort of day.

It hurts so much...please take it away.

My stomach churns, I haven't eaten anything today. It takes too much effort call for someone.

I feel His answer to this as a cool touch, feathering across my hot forehead. Now I feel foolish.

The pang in my head has moved to my soul.

Father...I'm sorry. If the pain must stay, please help me to survive it.

The clock beeps, reminding me it is time for the next dose. The tears threaten to turn into sobs again, as I struggle to sit up. I will have to call for help and I don't want to.

I am so new to this, Father...Daddy, send someone, please.

Shame stains my cheeks, hot tears trickle out, mixing with the metal reality of my wedding ring. The roughness of it reminds me that I am not really alone. Not emotionally, physically or spiritually.

I twist the ring, willing the pain to stem and my head to clear. Each twist is a promise that I will live up the vows that come with this token.

There is a knock on the door, it echoes through the shadows of this room. I close my eyes, knowing what will come next.

Light floods the patient cell, the brightness is a hope that creeps through my eyelids and spills into this tired body.

“Nioa?” Jehan's warm voice sends a thrill up my arms.

I open my eyes, taking in the white lab coat, tousled dark hair and sterile gloves that make up my husband.

“Are you all right?” He turns the alarm clock off and his gaze sweeps around the room, noting any changes from his last visit. His mouth twitches as he sees the fallen medicine bottle. “Time for your medicine.” Picking up the bottle, he rations out the prescribed three, pouring a glass of water from the pitcher on the table across the room. “You didn't get up today. The aides were worried.”

I don't want to talk about me, but my mouth is dry and burning.

“Open wide.” Jehan's latex-cased fingers brushed my lips, coaxing the pills in. I am given the water. “Any better?” He dipped a napkin in the water, sponging my face.

I nodded. Just his presence, makes my world better.

“You have to eat something.” He murmured, setting the glass on the nightstand and gathering me in his arms. “Did you read James?”

“Mmhmm.” I basked in the simple pleasure of his hug.

“I hope you don't mind that I moved the were sleeping, so I didn't wake you.” His arms tightened. “We're going to beat this you know...whatever it is.” A kiss is pressed to my brow. “Trials are to make us stronger...I don't know about you, but my heart is getting quite a workout.”

My giggle is smothered in his shoulder, the pain is far away. I feel the tension drain away from him.

“I love you, Niota.” He whispered in my ear. “And God loves you too, forever and always.”

Copyright 2008 S. Harricharan