Story Seeds – Day 18: Facing

Edith watches the sea from a small table in front of the sliding glass door to the tiny balcony.  She finishes a puzzle by the end of each day, between glances and gazes at the sky and the horizon.  The uneven stacks of puzzles lean in towers against the wood-paneled walls on either side of the door.  If her father were still here, he would turn on the light overhead.  Instead, she takes only the light offered from the door, from the sky.  

She has come here to heal, though she would avoid ever saying such a thing.  Her family, much to their dismay, knows where to find her but cannot reach her.  She has no electricity, just a gas for the stove and plenty of wood from back home for the fireplace.  She has turned off her cell phone and never hooked up the internet.  She never even installed a telephone landline because of the chance it would ring.  When Randy came to fix the kitchen faucet’s perpetual drip, he lectured her about the electricity, but seemed to understand the rest.  

We’ve got the best lines on the coast, he said.  They spent years diggin’ ‘em into the ground to protect them from the winds.  And when those winds hit something fierce and you’re getting nothing but noise from the sky, you will want a little light and maybe something in the oven.

Edith only smiled.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 17: The Hole by the Sea

Thomas had searched the Atlantic coast over the years, certain that rock had to be along there somewhere, the one that kept coming back to him.  And surely, he thought, he would have remembered if there was a journey across the country, to another coast.  But there was never anyone to ask, no one to verify these snips of that sparkling rock by the sea that kept slipping in.  His parents were long gone and his sister stopped speaking to him years ago, just before their parents passed.  And it sounded so ridiculous, he never dared to mention it to his wife or his grown children.

Caroline had a friend from college she visited in Portland every few years and this year, she suggested Thomas come out toward the end of the visit so they could take a road trip down the coast.  She’d been trying to get him out there for years.  And now that he’d retired for the third time, she thought if she got him across the country for a month or two, it would be a little more difficult for them to pull him back in.  

He searched up pictures of Hwy 101 while she watched her shows and asked her about Haystack Rock.  Wasn’t that in that movie the kids…Yes, Goonies.  

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 16: Upstairs

Each story has pockets full of alternate stories, sometimes hidden and sometimes only partially revealed, like the corner of a handkerchief.  The stories may overlap and tangle and even if they overlap it can often be difficult to tell where it really begins and where it ends.  And everyone who hears that story only grabs a small part of the story.  So when it’s shared again, it becomes a different story.  The missing parts mean just as much as the shared parts.  So it’s true when they say no one really knows what happened to Anna in the tower. And why she refuses to leave.

This is what we do know.  Several girls told the story of how Holly lured her up there in confidence, pretending to be her new best friend. Several girls know this because she did it to them too.  And everyone was always too afraid to say anything.  This time, it went too far.  Holly brought Anna up there as a secret getaway for just the two of them.  Then, in the middle of the night, she locked her up there and left and told no one.  Holly was one of the first to join the search for Anna, leading her own team.  Some say, it’s possible she snuck up to the tower and somehow convinced Anna to stay there.   Because when they found her there several days later, hidden in the wall, the door wasn’t even locked.  

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 15: Soft Bones

It might be common to find bones in the woods, but not here. These woods are surrounded by houses, defined by houses.  So when Rhoney found a skeleton just off the trail, she was sure it was a deer.  But the form was smaller and more slender.  It had been there long enough that the bones were clean and soft with the damp, with the insurmountable amount of rain from the winter.  And when she determined it could be a dog, she covered it up with fallen branches.  It laid there as if he had gone out there to die and no one noticed.  

Here, everyone has a dog and none have gone missing.  Not having a dog would be like not having a front door.  Everyone would notice.  And since there weren’t any other houses for miles, the remains of a dog that never existed would raise questions.    

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 14: Hindsight

Janey was the kind of mom everyone simultaneously avoided and envied. She was so exceptionally capable and bright and just an absolute pleasure to be around. She made things happen – fundraisers, parent meetings, gifts and awards for all the deserving contributors.  Her husband, Ron, was gorgeous and made it obvious how much he adored his wife – giving her all the credit for the events they sponsored, for always “keeping him in line.” Their kids, Jason and Ally, were only slightly above average.  Jason made varsity soccer as a sophomore and was so obsessed with the Robotics club that he struggled to relate to humans.  Ally played the trumpet in Jazz Band and wrote plain poems she gave herself liberty, as editor, to print too frequently in the school flyer.

Janey and Ron never missed a concert, never missed a meeting or deadline.  They always showed up together early and were the last to leave, after everything had been put away.  So when neither of them appeared at the biggest event of the year, the Spring Fling, everyone was certain there had been an accident, that someone must have died.  But none of us would have guessed that Ron had been  terrorizing them for the past few years.

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 13: Flood Warnings

The rain claimed the courtyard that night, but stopped at the narrow doors of the guest house, only three steps up from the bricks.  We had one last, full day in that little city, and we refused to let a bit of flooding dissuade the day.  Without even realizing it, in the short time we’d been there, we had completely succumbed to the air of New Orleans – enjoying all that is, rather than what isn’t.  So we ignored our kind host’s warnings and climbed out the back bedroom window to take the dry path behind the courtyard.  

The gutters drummed along with the beats of drizzle and downpour.  Drum and drizzle, drum, drum, drum and drizzle – as if waiting for the horns to join the line.  Laurel was already a shallow stream, but the sidewalks rolled high enough over old oak roots to avoid the current.  Still the cars crept and crammed along those narrow streets.  I stopped to get a shot of one of the yards where the long leaves dripped, then took a right on Arabella.  I expected to see you heading toward Magazine, where we planned to catch the bus, but there was no one else walking.  It was possible you’d turned one street sooner, while I was taking pictures.  I thought you would be waiting at the bus stop, but you weren’t.  We had ten minutes at least, if the lines were running on schedule, which was doubtful in such weather.  I tried to call your cell, but you didn’t answer,  I assumed you’d gone into the drugstore for gum or hard candies because you could never just wait.  And then the bus came and left without us.    

~ Megan M. Codera

Story Seeds – Day 12: Unseen

All night wind tore through the trees and I was certain we had finally made it to the ocean. That somehow it was possible for the ocean to arrive in the middle of the night to meet us halfway.  But it was much too dark to see the sea, to see anything.  Along with all that wind came the rain, of course.  I heard it suddenly pelting leaves and then our tent.  I thought of the things we might have left out around the site, as we sat too late by the fire, too drunk and tired to care.  I nudged Raymond but of course he didn’t budge. I felt the gritty tent floor for the flashlight, which was never where I thought I left it.  I felt near the shoes and under the bed mats.  I reached over Raymond and felt between him and the side of the tent, careful not to touch the fabric and let in the rain.  Eventually I found a flashlight in one of his shoes, clever man that he was.  I switched it on and struggled with the zipper and flaps of the door.  

I piled as much as I could on the table, leaving the cans and bottles where they were to collect the rain. Then I found the tarp near the car and spread it over the food and stove on the table.  I gathered the sweatshirts and jeans we’d laid out to dry and put those under the tarp as well.  Then I collapsed the chairs and stuck them under the table.  We only had a few logs left, so I tossed those under the car.  I scanned around the site with the flashlight.  And as I did, something shifted in the woods, just beyond the darkness.  It took one more step and then stopped.  As I edged the light to where I thought it was, I expected to see a bear or deer, or something even smaller and more ridiculous like a raccoon.  The second the light caught it, an owl called out from behind me and I startled.  But when I flashed back again, it was gone, without even the sound of another step.  I flashed the light everywhere, desperate to see it again.  But there was only rain and completely still trees.  I was certain what I had seen was not a creature that is usually seen, but only common in stories and sightings.

 

“Honey!  What are you doing out there?”

 

I climbed back into the tent with wide eyes and every sound too loud to let me sleep the rest of the night.  

~ Megan M. Codera