Wilhelmina Winters, Fifty-One

Wil’s eyes scanned the page without absorbing any of the words upon it. Her mind was with her ears: anxiously straining to hear movements from her parents’ room. All seemed quiet, but her father was not the noisy type.

She carefully adjusted her position on her bed, attempting to make it look as though she were comfortably reading and had not just landed after a hurried rush down the hall. Being further into the book would help, but she had to read it for English class and didn’t want to skip ahead.

Wil sighed. The few sentences she’d managed to swallow had not given her many hopes for its content so far. She’d expected more from a book with a title about killing. So far, the author had written about two kids in a boring town with a father for a lawyer who didn’t like it. One had a broken arm, but they blamed Andrew Jackson for it?

She heard the door at the end of the hall open. “To heck with that,” Wil whispered, then flipped the book open to the middle and pretended to be absorbed.

Her bedroom door opened to reveal her father, tiredly blinking in the light. Wil looked up and pretended to be startled.

“Dad!” She said. “What are you doing home?”

Rob rubbed his hand on the side of his gruff face, gathering thoughts for words. “I didn’t sleep last night, so I called in sick.”

Wil couldn’t ever remember him doing that, unless he was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed. If he didn’t work, Rob didn’t get paid. She looked at him in surprise.

“I, uh,” Rob began. He was still rubbing his face. He looked unsure about what to say. His eyes looked around Wil’s room, at the book she was holding. Finally, he met his daughter’s gaze.

“Cynthia and I want to talk to you,” he said. His eyes looked at her sadly, then turned to look toward the living room. “I’ll go see if she’s ready to talk.”

Wil sat up and moved to follow him. “No, no,” her father gestured tiredly. “You wait here. Keep reading your book.” He smiled a bit, then left.

Wil heard his slow tread down the hall. He was much quieter without work boots on. She turned the pages back to the beginning, where she’d actually been. Low mumbling (her father’s voice) answered by higher, softer pitches (her mother) was picked up by her left ear. As usual, a coughing fit began.

Subconsciously, Wil tensed up. She tried to tune her surroundings out and tune her reading in. Jem? Dill? Wil thought. Who named these poor kids?

“Wil?” Cynthia called from the living room.

“Coming, Mom!” Wil answered. She closed the book gratefully and rolled off her bed. Straightening her coat, scarf, and hair; she realized she still had her gloves on. Hopefully, her father hadn’t noticed. She slipped them off and put them into her pocket, then headed down the hall.

Sundown Stroll

Humidity cushioned their sunset movements. Emiline sensed it, always, in the dense Jamaican air.

“I feel like something’s pressing on my arms and legs,” Mark said, though with a smile.

Emiline answered with her own, with a light hand pulling wisps of beach-blown blonde from her eyes. Their aimless ambling soon led them within the resort gardens.

Each breathed deeply in. Clusters of pinkish blossoms blushed boldly against darker green. Snow-white Oleander winked from wall bushes. Their gaze drew skyward to admire a riot of orange.

“Nature’s bouquet,” she whispered. Speechless, he followed her through a tropic twilight.

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Carrot Ranch Writing Prompt

Mental-ity

I don’t read re-posts. We-e-e-e-ell once in a blue moon I will.

Accordingly, I don’t like to stick them into my own blog (the one you’re currently reading). I often read great things I’d like everyone else to see as well, but feel like I’m stealing someone else’s brilliance and pasting it over my lack of writing anything for that day.

‘Tis true, however, that I’m sometimes at a loss for time because of my dear, sweet, distracting children. Summertime’s here, which means they’re wild and free and completely under my tutelage.

I can be creative, though. I can! I’ve written some wonderful things. Some of those are contributing posts over at The Bipolar Writer.

If you haven’t been over there, go right ahead and check it out. If you’re lazy like me and don’t want to bother, I’m doing you a solid and pasting an article right here that I wrote back in April. It’s titled What’s So Normal About Labels?

 

I was conversing with my dear, oblivious husband the other night. I’d had an epiphany about my negative perspective of everything. Beginning to expound, I said something about depressive people thinking one thing, then moved on to try to finish with what other people thought.

The hubby helpfully suggested, “So, you mean what normal people think?”

Normal. People. They’re not normal. They just like to be called “normal.” Pshaw, I say.

Given that there are probably just as many wizards -er, mental illness sufferers out there as “normal” homo sapiens, things really seem to indicate that they should have the nickname, and we should be called normal.

What can we name them, then? How about “Aberrants?” “Defects?” “Outsiders?” or “Vulcans?” -You know, because they clearly aren’t feeling human emotions, so they’re overly serious aliens.

All right, all right. I’m sure we can come up with a more flattering name. In our spare time. Perhaps we can brainstorm during that extremely small window of time when we’re awake, and the sun and distractions are not.

Got anything yet? Yeah, not a good time for me, either.

Since coming over here to James Edgar Skye’s enlightening blog, I’ve felt a lovely camaraderie. It’s like the dark little corner of the party actually had people hiding there that I just couldn’t see before.

“Oh, hi!” I whisper to a fellow curled-up body. “Depress here often?” We cry a bit together, agree that cynicism is the best outlook, and part ways when one of us pretends to need a drink.

Since this discovery, I’ve been wondering how many people out there fit into one category or the other. Confirmation bias keeps telling me that most people struggle with mental illness. As I said, doesn’t that mean weshould be normal?

Checking out a more reputable site than my own mind, I learned that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. That’s freaking high. Despite all these people hanging out in closets or staring morosely into the bottom of glasses, that still means that MOST PEOPLE (4 of the 5) are not.

Dangit.

I guess we actually are the ones out of our Vulcan mind. But that doesn’t mean that I want to be grouped in the dark corner, apart from those who think they don’t have problems.

If they’re “normal,” that makes us “abnormal.” And we ARE NOT abnormal. We are fighters. Deep feelers and thinkers. We are authentic, strong, emotional, real -and tired of being labeled as defective.

Eureka! The real problem here is that we need a label besides all the others slapped on by those 4 out of 5 liars.

I vote for Human.

So, you Vulcans: listen up. We’re not broken. We’re not useless, imperfect, or crazy. We are Human.

Now, fellow Humans: get out of that corner, and let’s show them what we’ve got.

Go ahead; I’m just going to grab some punch.

Purple Prose

Aesthetically adorablely beautifully brilliantly characteristically curiously dirtily damningly energetically eagerly flauntingly flowery genuinely genially hopefully hauntingly ignominiously ickily jauntily junkily kleptomanically knowledgeably laughingly lovingly Lula

meets

Mysteriously masterfully naively nefariously ostentatiously odiously paternally politely quietly quickly respectfully randomly selectively seductively thoroughly tremblingly undyingly undressingly viriley violently wretchedly wealthily xenophobically xeriscapedly yearningly yuckily zealously zanily Zach.

Makes one wonder what their offspring will be like.

Summertime

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Summer sunlight’s
     blaring bolting glaring scolding
          burning skin

I call for winter
     begging praying
          Snow Queen, give me frosting days

Yet, when she answers
     blowing kisses
     my soul misses warming love

Dancing
     skinlight
          sundrop tickles
make the sunskin worth the scold

Skinwalkers, XXII

A very hurried citycross led Nathan and Shin back to Ware Tech, back to Check In, and back in front of any humanoid’s least favorite supervisor.

“What took you ladies so long?” Choms leered as they entered. Not one of the room’s occupants laughed, but the odious man never needed outside confirmation of his incredible wit.

Nathan ducked his head and shrugged. He felt out of air, and moved past Choms and a few peers to deposit their gear. Shin, on the other hand, straightened. The graying storm cloud of despair moved aside and glorious midmeal light shone upon his face.

“We gotta go back next shift,” he explained, flippantly. Choms immediately puffed up in fury. Just before he released his usual torrent of inaccurate, angry reprimands; Shin added, “Oh, and I need to quit. See you never!”

He cheekily patted the spluttering Choms on a sweaty shoulder, then spun around and skipped a bit to his locker. Nathan stood by the bench, torn between shock and hilarity. His friend looked up and they shared a very brief moment of incredulous amusement before –

“Whaddya mean QUIT?! There’s formals, you dirk!” As Choms erupted into an ever-swelling wave of profanity and indignation, Shin calmly activated his locker and dumped his satchel in the bottom. Nathan winced at the sound of the autodrill and drivers impacting the metal; his friend seemed even happier.

Shin slammed the door so forcefully that Nathan saw his reflection wobble in his own locker door. Oblivious, Shin strode purposefully up to the still-shouting Choms; said, “I’ll need my depart charge.”

Their flustered supervisor literally shook with rage. Words now eluded him as that area of his small mind became engrossed in processing a reaction to Shin’s request. Nathan could watch Choms’ thought process through varying skin hues and feature contortions across the ugly man’s face.

After a full moment, Choms managed to activate his tablet. A moment more, and he’d fumbled open Shin’s work record. The instant Shin saw the prompt, he scanned his comm beneath the sensor. The paltry paycycle loaded; Shin’s work permissions simultaneously disabled.

If he thought he could do so without losing a limb this time, Nathan was sure Shin would have patted Choms again. “I’ll exit you,” Nathan offered, closing his locker and coming forward. He and Shin moved around Choms, who was still trying to get his voice to function.

Nathan activated the door just as Choms finally burst out with, “You’ll need to return that liner, you know!”

Shin stopped at the doorway, turned, and looked Choms right in the eye. He removed a pocketlight and ignited the tiny concentrated flame. Without breaking eye contact, he slit his company liner from knee to collar. He capped the pocketlight and stepped out of the charred-edge fabric.

A useless shell and acrid stench were all Shin left behind, as he gleefully left in only the skin birth gave to him.

 

Continued from Skinwalkers, XXI.

Midweek Musings

Before a company is allowed to release something like tight yoga pants, the sales executives must be exposed to a policeman-style lineup of every sort of person who may end up wearing them -particularly the backside, picking-up-something view.

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Sheesh, women. You do know they go more transparent when stretched like that, right?

Wilhelmina Winters, Fifty

Fresh, warm air with a hint of sterility met Wil’s chill-kissed senses as she opened the door into Number 2. She walked into the dimness gratefully, just remembering to retrieve her key before shutting the door behind her. Jakob made it his habit to keep her key if she forgot it in the lock.

Stopping to listen and look intently, she smiled as the sounds of her mother’s presence reached her from the couch: soft sighs of a shadowy sleeper, almost synchronizing with the methodical mechanized sighs and beeps of the IV machine.

Today began the weekend. They would have two complete days together.

Wil paused. She realized her father was at work till late. Jakob was at school till later. Now was the perfect time for a search.

The room was dark; the humming refrigerator and erratic heating provided ample background noise.

A hand clothed in darkness moved deftly, feeling for any obstacles as its owner hushed across the floor. Her dark body barely rustled the air it passed through. She was as silent as the night, as deadly as sharpened steel.

In an eye’s blink of time, she reached the hall. As she suspected, the woman sleeping had not stirred. No one knew Agent W was there. That was preferable, sometimes.

Her gloved hand moved to the wall, lightly guiding her secret path to the room at the end. She could see the door’s outline, then the frame, then the door; then she was pushing gently into complete blackness.

It was then W realized her penlight still rested under the bureau of the Iranian Prime Minister’s military commander. The late commander, she reminded herself -and she smiled. It wasn’t much of a smile, but it was all that was left after what the past decade had done to it.

No matter. She gently closed the bedroom door behind her back, then flipped the overhead light switch on. The glare was overpowering at first, but W adjusted quickly.

She blinked and scanned the disheveled and cluttered furnishings. The floor was littered in laundry, papers, shoes, and medical apparatus. The desk and dressers squeezed uncomfortably around the unmade bed. The bed was scattered pillows, more laundry, and lumpy masses of blankets.

One of the larger lumps began moving and emitting sounds of awakening. Wil quickly switched off the light, fumbled for the doorknob at her back, then rushed from the room before her father woke enough to recognize her.

 

Continued from Forty-Nine.

Sunday Short

The crocodile had a problem.

No, it wasn’t that she felt socially shunned. The latest court ruling had ensured that all major amphibious predators could finally slink about the public streets without reprimand. Irwin vs. The Reptilia had seen to that.

She sighed, and looked at her beautiful, green, scaly feet.

Now that she was an accepted member of society, she wanted to dress like it. But where was she possibly going to get a matching purse, without looking like a complete cannibal?

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