Sunday, October 4, 2015


Grocery shopping was her favorite time of the week.  At least until today, when two crazy people followed her into the store and made her haven a decidedly unsafe place to be. 

Taylor gripped her cart with all her might, as if the cart was the thing that would protect her. Usually she started off in the dry goods, but for some reason she started out in produce today. Which is where the two men were. She tried to calm her racing heart and not do anything to bring attention to herself.

"I saw her come in!" the guy with the beard was insisting.

"Yeah, right. Just like you saw her at the gas station," the guy with the dirty long hair retorted.

"Just look, man! She's wearing a black shirt today," Beard said. Taylor glanced around, breathing a sigh of relief when she saw that she wasn't the only person wearing black. She quickly turned her back to the men and pretended to be very interested in the limes.

"Geez, Ray, everyone seems to be wearing black today."

Taylor began to slowly make her way to the corner of the produce section. If she could just make it out of sight, she could run like hell. Or at least make it to customer service to call the cops. Her mother had warned her about this. 

"People who stick to routines are more likely to get stalked, Taylor!" she had said. But Taylor had written her off as just paranoid. Taylor liked to her routine. Well, she did until a few weeks ago, when she started noticing these guys at many of her usual stops. The grocery store, the coffee shop, the bank, the bookstore. They seemed to be everywhere. And then they started looking at her and watching her all the time. She hadn't thought anything of it until today, when she got out of her car and saw them pull in.

If she saw them everywhere, then surely they knew where she lived. Which meant that home wasn't safe anymore either. So where was she going to go? Not to her mom's. Then they would know where she lived too. They would vanish if she went to the police station. So where could she go to get them to leave her alone?

The thought came to her right next to the cabbage: the church. She hadn't been there in months, but she knew they were open at this time of day. The men might not follow her there, but even if she did, she knew the pastors would at least call the cops. That's why they called it sanctuary, right?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Gift

She checked her watch for the tenth time.  Only an hour had passed.  She let out a loud sigh, not caring who knew how much she wanted to be anywhere but this family reunion.  She was sure this whole day would be a colossal waste of her time. 

"Jenna!" her grandma beckoned her from under the shady pavilion. Jenna pasted a smile on her face and made her way over.

"Hi Gramma," Jenna said, sitting in the open camping chair.

"Jenna, I'm so glad to see you," Gramma said, reaching over and squeezing Jenna's hand.

"It's nice to see you too," Jenna said. She mostly meant it. Anyway, it was what you said when someone said that to you.

"I've been meaning to talk to you," Gramma began. "I know you're itching to go away to college in a few months. Did you know that Grampa had a special gift for all of his grandchildren once they graduated high school?"

"Um, no," Jenna replied. Grampa had died when she was about 5. She barely remembered him.

"Well, he did. He wanted you kids to have a great start to your life away from home. And since you're here today, I might as well tell you that your gift is ready. He set aside $100,000 for each of you kids."

"Wait....what? Does Mom know about this?" Jenna squeaked.

"Oh, I don't know. I thought I mentioned it to her," Gramma mused.

"So you're saying I have $100,000?" Jenna could hardly breathe.

"Well, he set aside $100,000 for you. I suppose there is a bit more with interest and all that."

Jenna didn't know what to say. $100,000! She could do whatever she wanted! For the first time, she opened a door to a dream that she had thought was impossible, since she had to go to school. But with money like this, she could maybe skip all that and go directly to the thing she really wanted to do: dance in Hollywood. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Sight of Water

He stumbled and tumbled down the steep side of the mountain.  His thirst had made him weak, and the sight of the waterfall caused him to forget to be careful.  He felt every rock and tree root on that hillside as he rolled down, but he knew that the water would be sweet at the end.  Then he could concentrate on how to survive the night.

Ashton hit the bottom and came to a hard stop. He laid there for a minute, catching his breath and willing away the sharp pain in his foot. Then he laughed to himself as he remembered the scene in Jurassic Park, where John Hammond also fell down a slope, then got eaten by tiny scavenger dinosaurs.

He slowly got up and stumbled toward the water. Every survival show he had ever seen was racing through his mind and he tried to remember what he should do about the water. Was it safe to drink straight up? Did he have to boil it first? He vaguely remembered something about flowing water being safe, so he made his way directly over to the waterfall, hoping that if he could catch the falling water then it would be safe enough to drink.

He cupped his hands and jumped when the ice cold water hit his skin. He brought the handful of water to his mouth and took a tentative sip. That sip was indescribable. He drank and drank until he had had his fill, then sat back and rested. All he could do was pray that the water wouldn't make him sick. And that someone would stumble through this way and find him. And that there were no bears in the area.