The summer when I was ten years old my sister came home from the mental hospital. She had been in there for eight months already and my mother wanted her home with us. So she had her discharged against doctor’s orders.

It wasn’t a big deal- this is what I was told. In fact the whole happenstance of my sister even having been in a mental hospital was treated in the same way. She had been resting, that’s all, she’s not crazy, and her blank, glazed over eyes and slack mouth which refused to form words were just something to ignore.

I had hated that place and our Sunday visits to it. My mom would leave me in the common room where patients who were better off would roam freely and she and my dad would go fetch my sister for a visit. It wasn’t a visit though really, they’d wheel her out in a chair and she’s stare at us or rather through us while my mother talked on and on about what we had been up to that week. Mom would glare at me if I didn’t try to talk to my sister too. So I’d mumble something about my week and then I was allowed to go back to looking out the windows that faced the parking lot and dare someone to see me. They never did, the windows were the kind that let you look out but don’t allow anyone see you- but I’d try anyway. I thought that if I could focus on the guy crossing the street hard enough maybe he would look up or if that failed maybe I could make him trip or something.

I didn’t really want anyone tearing up their legs on pavement, mind you, it was just a diversion, and it was an escape. I hated the way everything around me felt sterile and yet dirty. The whole place smelt of Clorox and underlying sickness and sometimes I held my breath until the point where I had to gasp for air which only made the smell flood through my nose all at once.

But the summer my sister came home wasn’t that much better. She was off all of the drugs that kept her in a permanent stupor but the wordlessness had given way to the speech of a five year old. She even took to calling me big sister and following my mother wherever she went, holding on the end of her skirt. She was afraid of the dark now and shrieked through the night until she was finally able to go sleep. And I was made to play dolls with her when my mother needed a rest.

My mother found us a big tub of Barbie dolls at a garage sale for our play dates. It was so bizarre to be forced to sit in a room with this stranger, this eighteen year old in pig tails who giggled and then stomped if I didn’t giggle back. It was surreal and even the ten year old me knew it wrong.   But my mother seemed so happy about it all, happy to see the two us playing together. She was so happy to have her daughter home again so we all pretended that all of it was normal. And I hoped that it would pass soon so that I could go back to really being a normal kid again. That hope was like something that shimmered from afar, something to cling to for someone who just felt very scared and alone in the whole situation, someone who felt like her feelings must be strange when everyone else seemed like all was alright.

But I was never really able to feel normal again.

La Chusa

It was a beautiful and starry night, that I remember for certain, but then he began to whistle.

“You must stop that.”

“What? Oh I’m sorry I should have asked if you minded me smoking.”

He stopped rolling the thin cigarette he had been focused on.

“I couldn’t give two rats whether you smoked or  not, I myself like cigars, but you must never whistle, not here and especially not at night.”

He laughed then, clear and lovely his laugh was, it echoed through the nectarine trees that we had chosen for our rendezvous.

“C’mon Estrella, you really hate whistling so much? Surely you are not serious.”

“Esteban you are not from here so I will excuse your laughter, but just respect my wishes. Do not whistle again.”

“Okay, maybe I will entertain your whim…but you must tell me why. I need to know that at least, you can’t keep it from me.”

I sighed, knowing that what I said would not seem believable, but I decided to try anyway.

“La Chusas live in this valley. They are women that have sold their soul to the devil himself. Every night they turn into half woman half bird creatures …and they eat human flesh. They only come out at night and they answer to whistles. If they hear a fool whistling at night they will come and they will devour the one who is whistling.”

The words barely dropped from my mouth before I heard laughter erupt from Esteban’s lips. He was nearly doubled over and hitting the knee of the dressy black slacks that he always took so much pride in. It angered me, I had expected this reaction, but it angered me anyway.  I turned and began to walk back to the chapel where everyone else was still celebrating.

“No, no my little star come back, don’t be that way. I’m sorry, come here.”

He opened his arms and entreated  so I stepped forward and let him envelop me, I did like him after all, I just didn’t like to be teased. I could smell his fancy cologne as soon as I got close to him. It was subtle, not like the gallons of cheap stuff the other town men practically bathed in. I took a deep sniff and enjoyed the moment. He was new in town and I liked how he differed from everyone else. I loved that he took pride in how he looked, I rolled my eyes when my brother said he was like a women. He was clean and he always dressed nice, he talked about all sorts of things and places that I had never even heard of, he interested me immensely.

But damn him if he didn’t start whistling again. I threw him off me and I could feel my blood start to boil. No one knows my temper when I’m really vexed. I try to control it so much, but I really am only a moment away from going off at any minute. I turned again and I could hear the idiot whistling behind me. He was whistling some song I had heard my mother sing when I was still little, back when she was still alive. He was whistling and twirling, only stopping to laugh before starting again. I was pissed I couldn’t help it, it’s what being made fun of does to me, it’s what whistling does to me. You’d think a clear warning would stop people but it never does. They know what will happen but they have to go out and stand in a damn field and whistle to test me anyway. I felt the feathers erupting from my skin as he continued. It hurts a little but I’ve gotten used to it by now. He didn’t see me. I’m sure he had expected me to come back to him; I don’t think he was expecting the form I choose to come back.

That man really was lovely in spite of everything, I could almost regret what happened. But he was so very foolish…he was also pretty tasty though.

Evaporated (100-words, Flash Friday)

“Get off of this bus this instant, young lady!” Mommy stood in the aisle clenching her lips into a hard red line and tapping a high heeled leg.
“Momma, I can’t I just can’t he’s out there.”
“Come on lady, get your kid moving, some of us have a job to go to,” someone yelled.
“Oh pipe down, you. Stacey Marie Thompson if this is about that little boy from school who’s a little odd, I do not want to hear it. Get up and get off the bus, now.”
So I did and now she’s gone.
Written for the 100 word challenge photo prompted challenge that Madison Wood hosts every Friday. Check it out to find what others have written up for this, great place to find awesome 100 word flash fiction and also to contribute your own.

Of Fairy Love

The sound of  damp leaves squished to the right of her. She flushed all over with  a mixture of fear and anticipation before her eyes made out the shape before her.

“It’s only me.”

“Of course, I mean I knew it was you.” Fiona turned slightly and pretended to be very interested in the tree she had been leaning upon. Her fingers trailed the bumpy bark, every now and then halting when it pierced her sensitive  flesh with it’s roughness. She smiled when she felt him move closer to her. He stood behind her and reached over, placing his fingers atop hers. His fingers stayed a moment before they grazed up her arm sending shivers deep inside of her. She turned to face him, which was exactly what he wanted.

“If you knew it was me, Princess, then why was fear so brightly flashing in your eyes?”  His fingers left her arm and touched her cheek instead as his smile met her own, but then she wrinkled her nose which made him laugh softly.

“Please, Ryder, do not call me Princess. We both know those days are long past. I am just Fiona now.

“Ah, but you will always be a princess to me, with one difference, now we can be together.”

“I’m afraid that title or no, my father would say different.”

“Then we will wait until he changes his mind, I have known that you were made for me the first time that I set eyes on you. Tell me that you didn’t feel the same?”

“We both felt that bolt,you know this, it tore my world apart. But  I am here aren’t I? It’s just complicated, I’m sure that you have heard this but King Alistair has asked for my hand. You know that this would restore my family, you must know how torn I feel. They are my duty but you are my heart.” Fiona’s lip quivered and the trails of glitters streaked her face before she brushed them away in a puff that dusted the air around them.


He moved to fold  her into his arms and she let him, she rested her head against his chest and sighed contentment. When she looked up into his eyes there were still traces of glitter there but he kissed them away and then kissed her lips gently.

The moon hung large in the sky waiting for their next move….

Linking this to the Bloggy Mom Writer’s Workshop, this week’s prompt was,”Write about whatever you want, but it MUST end with this line: “The moon hung large in the sky waiting for their next move.”