#52weeks52stories “Liana”

Liana banner


This young lady, Liana Daniels, is haunting my thoughts again. She’s talking about her sisters and her father, and about trying to please everyone and be the family cheerleader.

And how she almost lost herself in the process.


#52weeks52stories: Week 39

Word prompt: cutting

Word count – 535

Reading time – 2 mins, 4 secs


Knowing her father would be at a job site and her two sisters still in class, Liana Daniels skipped her sixth period chemistry class and rushed home and straight to her bedroom.

Taking the shoe box from the back of her closet, Liana sat on the floor and stared at it. She knew even wanting to do this meant she had emotional problems. There wasn’t much on the subject of self-harm at the library, but Liana vividly remembered two phrases — personality disorder… and schizophrenia.

Suddenly angry, Liana ripped the top off the shoe box. She wasn’t crazy… she wasn’t! She just didn’t understand why her family had to suffer so. Why did her mother go away? How could she leave her daughters? And her dad… even when they managed to all have fun and laugh together, she could still feel his sadness.

She thought the family might get some relief from Sophia, her rigid rules, and need to control when she went off to college. But Sophia came home most weekends… and sometimes popped in during the week. Reina was acting out and getting into trouble all over Granger, and Neema was painfully shy and withdrawn.

She couldn’t add to her father’s growing list of problems with his girls. He needed her to be strong.

Feeling tears burning in the corner of her eyes, Liana removed the single-edge razor blade from the shoe box. Without hesitation, she slipped off the cardboard sleeve, held out her left arm and in a slow, deliberate motion, made a two-inch cut.

Liana didn’t cut too deep, yet she was amazed at the amount of blood… and how she felt! Expecting the burn or sting of pain, she instead felt relief… and euphoria! Making another cut right next to the first, she leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Gone were the jumbled thoughts and the near panic. Gone were the feelings of guilt and doubt. It was as though a suffocating fog had cleared allowing her to breathe again.

Ten minutes later, feeling light and refreshed, Liana used the gauze and antiseptic she’d also placed in the shoe box to clean her cuts. When she finished, the cuts appeared to be two faint scratches on her arm. Satisfied, Liana wrapped the used razor blade and bloody gauze in a piece of clean gauze and put the tiny bundle in a small brown paper bag.

She returned the shoe box and its contents to the back of her closet and slipped the small bag into her coat pocket. She would have to throw it away on the way to school tomorrow.

Relaxed for the first time in days, Liana stretched out across her bed. The books she’d read were wrong. What she had done wasn’t wrong. She hadn’t used drugs or hurt anyone. She had not caused five minutes’ worth of trouble. And she was not crazy. Liana knew she just needed a little relief… a temporary crutch to get by. She didn’t plan to make cutting a regular thing or do it forever. Just until her family was happy again.

Just until she was happy again.

A few short minutes later, still thinking about her family, Liana fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.




 Image from Pixabay

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “Break Away”

Be image


#52weeks52stories: Week 38

Word prompt: hunger

Word count – 182

Reading time – 45 secs


Trapped among the chaotic masses

I’m jostled, kicked and pushed

My personal space invaded as others try to claim their own

My soul hungers for peace

And I rise into the arms of my family

Where I am sheltered and loved

But the shelter turns into suffocation

And the love turns into obligation

Old hurts are new again

And I am to blame

My soul hungers for peace

And I rise to the side of friends

Where I’m accepted and understood

By those who know me best

And have navigated the highs and lows

Of this life’s journey with me

But acceptance turns into jealousy

And understanding turns into the double-edged sword of betrayal

My soul hungers for peace

And I rise again, alone but not lonely

Enjoying the peace my soul craved

I look down

At the chaotic masses

At my family

At my friends

But they don’t see me

Because they’re not looking up

They’re looking down

Under the souls of their feet

Where they tried to stomp out my dreams

And crush my joy


I smile… and float away



 Image from Pixabay

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “the sapling”



#52weeks52stories: Week 37

Word prompt: foundation

Word count – 100 (A Drabble)

Reading time – 24 secs


a young sapling struggles to stand

as its roots stretch deep to grasp a firm hold

on a solid foundation from which to pull water and nutrients

that will help it grow tall and proud and withstand

the endless battering of the elements as they try

to make the sapling bend to their will

or fall from its foundation, broken,

but their grips are steadfast, sapling and foundation,

their bond unbreakable even as the sapling matures

stretching it leaves and limbs

out to receive the nurturing blessings of the sun

and become a force of nature in its own right.



 Image from Pixabay

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “A Mother’s Love”

A Mother's Love banner


#52weeks52stories: Week 36

Word prompt: softball

Word count – 1286

Reading time – 5 mins, 23 secs.


Kristen Wisdom cursed Greg Gaines for delaying her exit at the end of the workday.

Since her divorce, the accounts payable manager found more reasons to be alone with the senior accounts specialist.

But Kristen wasn’t in the mood for his reindeer games, especially not today. She’d pushed him aside and barreled out the door, blocking out the profanity-laced threats he yelled after her.

“Stuck-up bitch! Guess you don’t need this job.”

That remark made her whirl around to face him.

“I need my job about as much as you need yours, and the only bitch I see is standing in front of a company security system that records video… and audio.”

Horrified, Gaines flung himself backward through the door as though it would erase the security tape.

She fumed as she inched her Camry along in the stop-and-go rush hour traffic. She’d deal with him later.


Kristen’s day began with her ex-husband, Sean, backing out of today in favor of a Happy Hour birthday celebration for a coworker.

“This is important, Sean. You need to show up.”

“My job’s important too, Kris.”

“Does Happy Hour fall under other job duties as needed?”

“That’s not funny, Kris. You know how the game’s played. I’m up for a promotion and I need to be seen as a team player. Besides, the new position comes with a substantial raise which translates to more alimony and child support for you.”

“Well, that’s different, Sean. Just toss a fistful of dollars at me. That makes everything better in your eyes and erases your guilt. But you’re still an asshole.”

Gripping the steering wheel, Kristen took a deep, cleansing breath.

Norris and Liz Carmichael taught their only child the only obstacles in life were the ones allowed to exist. She’d put her heart and soul into removing barriers for this day to happen. She’d be damned if she allowed two selfish men to ruin it for her.

An idea flashed through Kristen’s mind as she approached the next off-ramp. She zipped off and let out a loud whoop seeing the green light ahead of her. After a left then right turn, she bounced in her seat and pounded the steering wheel, jazzed at the open thoroughfare in front of her.

Eight minutes later, she pulled into the parking lot of the Leon Buford Memorial Recreation Center. Kristen popped the trunk and traded her suit jacket and three-inch pumps for a windbreaker and New Balance runners. Grabbing her blue and gold mom-poms, she raced across the lot to the rear of the rec center.

Rounding the corner of the building, Kristen couldn’t help but smile at the new black-top area paid for by donor dollars.

The bleachers weren’t packed like they would be for a regular game but she was grateful for the crowd of supporters and pleased the local press was there.

She made her way to the front row of the parents’ section and was relieved to find the game had just begun.

The red-and-white-shirted Colts in the field meant the Iron Dragons won the coin toss. She searched for her son in the sea of blue shirts near the dugout. Kristen’s heart sank when she spotted her fourteen-year-old son.

With his elbows on his knees, Nicholas Wisdom rested his chin in his hands.

Her hand went to the center of her chest, rubbing at the tightness forming.

She knew that look.

Nicholas didn’t expect his dad to show, but after not seeing her in the bleachers, he no doubt felt abandoned… again.

The last five years devastated her family.

Kristen’s already rocky marriage was tested and failed when the winter car accident that took her father’s life also put her son in a wheelchair for the rest of his.

Pushing her own grief aside to be there for her son and grieving mother, Kristen had nothing left for her self-involved husband who showed no sympathy… or empathy toward his family.

Less than a year later, Liz Carmichael moved to California to be closer to her aging siblings allowing Kristen to pour all of her time into Nicholas.

The life adjustments were not easy. Besides learning to live life from a wheelchair, it took several months of family counseling to relieve the depressed teen of the guilt he felt for his parents’ divorce.

It was on the way home from one of their last counseling sessions Nicholas screamed out as they drove past a local park and begged his mother to turn around.

Pulling up on the side of the road, they both looked on in awe at the sight before them.

A group of adults was involved in a fast-paced game of softball… from their wheelchairs.

The Wisdoms wasted no time in joining the game’s spectators.

Kristen got a quick history lesson about wheelchair softball and was surprised to learn there was a national governing body with official rules and leagues.

Nicholas was excited to hear there were also junior leagues, but the closest one was five-hundred miles away in the northernmost portion of the state.

Kristen Wisdom had seen enough disappointment in her boy’s face and that day it became her mission to bring youth wheelchair softball to Madison, Ohio.

Several infections and three surgical procedures sidelined Nicholas as teams formed but Kristen kept up her campaign working with parents and doctors to gather corporate sponsorship.

Now, twenty-seven months after Nicholas saw his first wheelchair softball game, he would get a turn at bat and he’d know his mom was there to see it.

It was mom-time.

Removing her windbreaker, Kristen stood on the bench seat and threw her head back, yelling, “Let’s go, Dragons!”

Channeling her inner junior-high-school cheerleader, she danced, bounced, clapped and sashayed through several cheer chants, much to the delight of the other parents… and her boy.

Winded, Kristen dropped back onto her seat as Nicholas approached the on-deck circle.

Denny Miller hit a double sending his teammate to third base.

Nicholas approached the plate and Kristen’s heart was beating like the drum solo in Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

The pitcher toyed with Nicholas to either walk him and load the bases or strike him out. But after two balls and one strike, he got too cocky and comfortable and Nicholas was ready, hitting an explosive grounder that sent the sixteen-inch ball speeding past several Colts team members.

Kristen was on her feet cheering as Nicholas rounded the bases so fast, the flame decals on his wheels appeared to flicker.

Two Colts members collided and tumbled from their chairs, giving Nicholas the opportunity to get to third base.

So overcome with excitement and emotions, a wave of dizziness hit Kristen as she watched her son grip his wheels and leaned toward home plate.

Virginia Blanchard was up to bat. Also fourteen, Virginia’s diminutive size made people believe she was younger… and underestimate her. Colts outfielders rolled their chairs in closer.

Virginia wasted no time and sent the first pitch to the fence. The fierce female headed for first base, but Kristen’s eyes were locked onto Nicholas as he sailed into home and the cheers and back-slaps of his teammates.

He gave a thumb’s up to Virginia, who’d made it to second base, and rolled toward the dugout.

Kristen Wisdom was still clapping and cheering when Nicholas stopped and glanced up at her. The smile on his face was brighter than a dozen suns and she erupted into tears.

People around her rubbed her back and passed her tissues but Kristen only cried harder.

She would endure it all—pervy bosses, selfish ex-husbands, rush hour traffic—all of it… every single day just to see her boy’s smile.

Nothing was more important to her.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “Just Once”

Sunny Day

Drabble time!


#52weeks52stories: Week 35

Word prompt: right

Word count – 100

Reading time – 24 secs.


The minister motioned for her to begin.

“Troy, my love, when we planned this day you said I wouldn’t make it to the end without crying—and neither would your mom and dad.”

Someone sobbed behind her.

“You said we’d get the perfect day with azure skies.”

Her eyes glistened with tears.

“You were always right… except when you said today would be our new beginning.”

She covered her mouth to muffle her sobs.

“Because instead of saying ‘I do’, Troy, I’m saying ‘goodbye’.”

Unable to continue, she placed a white rose atop the polished walnut casket and walked away.



Photo by Adi Ulici on Unsplash


©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories The Problem Princess


I’m having another one of those weeks. It will pass soon. 😉


#52weeks52stories: Week 34

Word prompt: queen

Word count – 235

Reading time – 58 secs.


In a kingdom far away there lived a Queen

Who had a troublesome daughter just out of her teens

On her tasks, she did tarry

And she vowed never to marry

And she thought her mother quite mean.


The Queen blamed the girl for her migraines

And the lines on her face showing the strain

“This brat of mine

Must get in line

Or I’ll be in court tomorrow getting arraigned.”


She got an idea – a Ball!

“Invite a few men, no, invite them all

And make sure this royal order

Gets to my hard-headed daughter

Her time is up, she no longer can stall!”


The Princess was tired of the stress

And thought, “I’ll wear a horrid dress!”

“The men will think me quite strange

And maybe a bit deranged

And then I’ll be free of this mess!”


When the Queen saw the dress, she moaned

The royal court was filled with giggles and groans

Except for Prince Luke

Who thought she was cute

And wanted to take her home.


The Princess considered the crown-Prince guest

Who didn’t mind her wretched dress

“Hmm? Live at home with the Queen

Or marry this man of means

Are you mad? I won’t fail this test!”


And that’s how this story ends

A royal wedding with family and friends

As they raised a toast

Her mom couldn’t help but boast

“I’m the Queen, I always win!”



Image from Pixabay

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories Wowie Zowie!

wowie zowie


#52weeks52stories: Week 33

Word prompt: flu

Word count – 2105

Reading time – 6 mins


She put off the appointment for too long and missed her chance.

Flu season had arrived with a vengeance and Teri Wilson’s doctor’s schedule was full.

She knew better.

Along with her daily meds, the yearly flu shot kept the chronic asthmatic out of the ER and off her nebulizer.

Now she stood in line at her local pharmacy to pay out-of-pocket for a flu shot from people she didn’t know.

All because she dreaded making that appointment.

Because Teri Wilson was afraid of needles.

Not just, oh-this-is-going-to-hurt afraid, but anxiety-laced, blood-pressure-raising, vomit-inducing, pass-out-on-the-floor afraid.

It was an irrational fear, she knew, especially for a woman of her years and medical history.

But when Teri looked at a needle, she didn’t see the long hollow pointed part of a hypodermic syringe used to deliver medicines or fluids to her body to help her. She saw a Viking’s sword, poised over her in battle ready to pierce skin and bone and eviscerate her very soul.

And no amount of counseling, sedatives, or taunting had ever been able to change her.

Family and friends who took turns escorting her to medical appointments to hold her hand—or hold her down—would be exhausted from the physical struggle.

Teri’s husband, Leonard, made fun of her and called her a big baby.

“Jesus, Teri. It’s just a tiny prick and over before you know it.”

His smugness annoyed her and wasn’t close to the level of compassion she felt a spouse should have.

“You’re right, Leonard. I should be used to it since I married a tiny prick and it always ends before I even get started.”

He wasn’t amused.

Leonard’s lack of support wasn’t the reason Teri filed for divorce six months ago, but she’d find room to squeeze it in among his long list of flings, affairs, overspending and other mid-life crisis issues.

As if on cue, a couple in line behind her sniped at each other.

“It’s a flu shot, Deb. Stop acting like it will save your life.”

“It might. Remember how sick I was two years ago, Larry? Nineteen days in the hospital. I got my flu shot on time last year and never even had the sniffles.”

“But forty dollars? Isn’t that pricey? I’ve seen them advertised for twenty-five.”

“Well, I didn’t find that price today, and it’s a small investment in my health compared to the visit to the doctor’s office that’s three times as much and not covered by our insurance.”

“I get it. This is about me switching to a cheaper health plan at work without talking it over with you first.”

Teri heard the woman scoff.

“Larry, this is about me trying to stay as healthy as possible this winter so I don’t miss a ton of work and can still take care of the kids.”

His voice softened. “I want you healthy too, Deb. I need you.”

Their voices lowered into cooing and breathy kisses and Teri mentally applauded the man for at last speaking from his heart and not his head.

She hadn’t been so lucky.

The line moved forward five steps and Teri craned her neck to see a divider was added to make second booth to assist with the small crowd.

Droplets of perspiration formed around her ears and hairline.

Don’t start this, Wilson. It’s just a flu shot. Stand still before you embarrass yourself.

She took two cleansing breaths to calm herself and went back to people-watching.

Her gaze fell on a dark-haired boy of about five three places ahead of her in line.

His mother had a firm grip on his hand while her other hand-held the ereader she focused on.

Teri watched the well-behaved child and smiled. He appeared to be talking to himself while waving his hand around in the air.

Was he doing jazz-hands?

Her smile grew into a grin as her curiosity got the better of her. Teri tapped the shoulder of the man in front of her.

“Sorry to bother you,” she tilted her head toward the child, “but can you hear what’s he’s saying?”

The young man in front of him turned around chuckling. “Excuse me for butting in but I was wondering the same thing.”

The adults took a step forward and leaned toward the child.

The first man frowned. “Sounds like ‘Wowie Zowie.’”

This got the mother’s attention, and she faced the small group, a sheepish look on her face.

“He is saying ‘Wowie Zowie.’ Nicholas is afraid of needles and my goofball brother taught him that so he wouldn’t be afraid.”

“Does it work for him?” the young man asked.

Before his mother could respond, little Nicholas looked up at the curious group. “Unkie Tate gave me magic. It always works.”

The young man laughed. “It does, huh? Always?”

“Yep. Long as you believe, anything’s possible.”

Both men high-fived the boy and knelt to talk with him as his mother looked on, smiling.

Teri was speechless, mesmerized by the child’s eyes. They reminded her of Boyd at that age. A chocolate-brown so soft it resembled velvet. What intrigued her about Nicholas’ eyes was the ring around his irises in gradient shades of gold. The contrast of the deep brown against near-platinum hues created a glowing effect.

At least it did to Teri. No one else appeared to notice. The younger man and Nicholas were in an animated conversation about Peppa Pig while his mom and the other gentleman seemed pleased to find out they were both single… and available.

“Next in line, please.”

A couple with two pre-teens moved to the reception counter and now Teri was fourth in line.

A dull roar sprang to life right behind Teri’s ears and competed with the butterflies in her stomach. Clenching her fists, she tried to will away the sense of dread moving through her.

“It’ll be okay.”

Touched by his concern, Teri looked at the boy… and gasped.

His beautiful eyes were glowing.

She looked around.

Nicholas’ mom was at the counter filling out forms. The two men discussed their last bouts with the flu. The line behind her carried on with their conversations, reading, and looks of boredom.

No one saw the golden light shining from the child’s eyes.

Except her.

Teri turned back to the tyke, but he was disappearing behind the divider next to reception with his mom.

She rubbed her temple, unsure of herself and what she saw.

His eyes glowed.

Listen to yourself, Wilson, you sound crazy as hell.

But you’re standing too close to miss it.

About to give in and ask the men if they’d noticed anything different about Nicholas’ eyes, Teri was interrupted by crying from the far divider.

Her mind remembered where she was and why and her anxiety rushed back to the surface.

More crying followed by soft wails assaulted Teri like a punch in the gut. She stepped around the two men in front of her to lean against the counter no longer trusting her legs.

The preteens reappeared ahead of their parents, heads bowed and clutching their arms. Not even their father announcing a stop for chili dogs and fries could raise their tear-filled faces.

“Guess I’m up next.” She heard the young guy say as he zipped behind the divider.

Why is he so happy? They’re about to plunge a piece of metal into his skin.

The pharmacy aide slid a health form over to Teri. Focused on not throwing up, she wasn’t sure what she put on the form but by the time Teri finished the young guy was waving and heading up front for the exit as the first man took his place.

Oh, God. I’m next.

Her vision blurred and Teri cursed herself for allowing pride and a bad attitude to let her come here alone today. She wanted to bolt but knew she’d never make it to the parking lot. Patting her coat pockets, she searched for her phone to call Boyd. Her oldest child was the only person who would come for her and not judge her. Much.

Startled by a sudden jolt, Teri looked down at her hand where the sensation started, to see Nicholas stroking her fingers.

“It’s your turn.”

She studied the child as she allowed him to lead her behind the divider.

His mother was fastening her jacket while the nurse gave her aftercare and injection site instructions.

Nicholas stopped at the small exam table and motioned for Teri to sit.

She considered him again. He was a compassionate young boy who could sense unease in others, one of those old souls people spoke of. Teri chastised herself for thinking Nicholas was anything else.

“C’mon, Nic, we have to go. Tell the nice lady goodbye.”

His mom held out his jacket for him, but before walking away, he gripped Teri’s again.

“It’s gonna be okay.”

“Thank you so much, Nicholas. It was nice meeting you.”

He ran to his mom and slid into his coat.

Teri removed hers while the nurse changed gloves and readied a new tray.

Teri’s brow knitted in confusion. She was rolling up her sleeve as a nurse prepared a flu injection a few feet away.

For her.

And she wasn’t freaking out.

The anxiety and nausea which plagued her only moments ago were gone.

No perspiration trickled down her back.

How had she conquered a lifelong fear in a few minutes? And why today of all days?

The nurse sat the tray on the table next to Teri.

She still wasn’t happy about the shot but she was no longer crippled with fear or filled with dread.

Teri watched the nurse open the alcohol swab and wipe a spot on her arm.


She looked up to see Nicholas peeking around the divider.

“Wowie Zowie!” He waved his hand through the air, then ran off.

“You’re all set.”

Teri jerked her head back to see the nurse removing her gloves. She looked at her arm and her eyes widened to see a band-aid in place.

“That’s it? You’re done? I never even felt the poke.”

“These new flu shot needles are smaller with a finer point. They make less of an impact on the skin… and patient’s nerves.”

The two women chuckled. Teri hurried to get her coat back on, only half-listening to the nurse’s instructions.

She had to catch Nicholas.

Thanking the nurse, Teri headed for the front of the store. As she passed the flu shot line, she froze. Teri opened her change purse and took out two twenty-dollar bills and folded them in half. The couple who’d bickered over the cost of the shot were now near the front of the line. Teri grabbed the surprised woman’s hand, placed the bills in her palm and folded her fingers over them.

“I hope you both have a nice day.”

Smiling, she turned and rushed toward the exit in search of a special five-year-old.

Her heart fell as she stood in front of the store and looked out across the parking lot.

Nicholas and his mom were nowhere in sight.

What just happened? I’ve never gotten a shot in my life without putting up a fight or getting sick, and today, I didn’t even feel it.

Resigned, she headed to her car, replaying the last hour in her mind. Teri thought she was in the wrong row until she saw the bumper of her Altima sticking out just past a large, windowless, commercial van.

Her smiled returned as she passed the van. Between the van and her car sat a Nissan Xterra. The woman sat in the driver’s seat talking on her cell. Teri looked inside the car as she opened her own door, to see the child fastened in a mini car-seat.

She heard their engine start and waved to get his attention.

He glanced in her direction and smiled, returning her wave as his mom pulled out of the parking space. Holding Teri’s gaze, Nicholas waved the same hand through the air… and his eyes glowed.

They drove off, leaving the dazed woman standing there, her own hand held up in a frozen wave.

Teri dropped her hand, looked around to see if anyone witnessed what just happened, then got in her car.

Sitting behind the wheel, Teri Wilson tried to make sense of her situation.

A lifelong fear… gone.

An adorable little boy… with glowing eyes.

No one else appeared to notice.

And no one would ever believe her story.

She started her car and left the parking lot.

Remembering the child’s words, Teri decided being believed wasn’t important.

Because she believed.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “John & Stella – A Limerick”


Weird week. Hard to concentrate. Too many personal things to deal with, especially with the mister’s and my mom’s health.

Didn’t want to give this week a pass though, so this is my brain under stress. 😀


#52weeks52stories: Week 32

Word prompt: triplet

Word count – 125

Reading time – 30 sec


There once was a man named John

Who was always working a con

On the day he met Stella

John became her fella

And the two began life on the run.


They grifted in Boise

They scammed in Poughkeepsie

With the law on their trail

John and Stella decided to bail

And spent four days in Reno getting tipsy.


The duo hid in a cabin in Truckee

And John just knew he’d get lucky

But they weren’t very cautious

Now Stella is nauseous

Looks like these two are having a baby.


Nine months later the triplets came

John knew he had to up his game

So he taught them the ropes

Raised them not to be dopes

And they’re still bringing fame to his name.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “Whose Right is it Anyway?”

Whose Right is it Anyway banner


#52weeks52stories: Week 31

Word prompt: saw

Word count – 2581

Reading time – 4 min, 10 sec


The paramedics burst through the bay doors rushing the gurney down the hall while firing off details to the ER team.

“Male, white, 59 years-of-age. He was using a rotary saw with a frayed cord in his garage. The saw overheated, the frayed wires arced and shocked him. His son said he tried to drop the saw as he was falling but he didn’t let go in time. His left arm is almost completely severed at the elbow. His eyes are open but he’s unresponsive. His wife, Carol, is on the way and,” he tilted his head toward a young man entering behind them, “that’s his son, Will, twenty-two. Watch out for the attitude.”

Shouts from ER staff filled the area as the wounded man was pushed into the trauma area and transferred to the treatment table.

“BP’s 70 over 40, thready pulse.”

“Breathing is rapid and shallow. Respiratory is on the way.”

“Sir? Sir? Can you hear me, sir? What is the patient’s name?”

“Dan Henderson.”

“Mr. Henderson? Can you hear me? Do you know the date?”

“Get him typed.”

“Lab is on the way.”

“IV’s are placed.”

Trauma doctor Tim Koskins tried to assess the wound without removing too much of the pressure dressing. “Do we have a history?”

The paramedic held up his clipboard. “No hypertension, diabetes, asthma or known allergies. That’s all we got.”

“Thanks. Start a norepinephrine push and page Dr. Cole, stat.”

“What are you doing to my father?”

Without raising his head, Dr. Koskins spoke to the nurse at his side. “Would you mind? Please?”

RN Rayanne Downes stepped away from the table. “I’m on it.”

She approached the frowning young man.

“It’s Will, right? I’m Rayanne and we’re trying to assess and stabilize your dad to get him into surgery. They may be able to save his arm, but the clock is ticking. Let me show you where you can wait -”

“I’m not leaving my dad.”

“Will, sometimes it’s easier on family -”

I’m not leaving my dad.” He glanced over her shoulder. “What’s he doing?”

Rayanne turned around to see vascular surgeon Aric Cole had arrived and was examining Dan Henderson’s arm. She turned back to Will.

“Dr. Cole will lead the team who reattaches your father’s arm.”


“Excuse me?”

“No. He’s not touching my dad. Tell him to step away.”

“Will, what is the prob -”

“No blacks, none. Or Mexicans or Muslims. And only Asians from Japan or China… none of those shit-hole countries.”

Rayanne Downes had dealt with hundreds of people who refused treatment for a variety of reasons during her twenty-four years in nursing. However, this arrogant young man was going on her short list of most outrageous.

She backed away, unable to mask the contempt in her eyes.

Rayanne walked over to the doctors and murmured something the rest of the staff couldn’t hear. However, they all knew it wasn’t good when both men stopped examining Dan Henderson to stare at his son.

Aric Cole and Tim Koskins exchanged smirks before Aric left the table and washed his hands in the corner basin.

Tim worked to control the rage building inside his head, knowing to lash out at the young man would only make the situation worse.

Instead, he gave instructions to Rayanne for Mr. Henderson, then approached the man’s son.

Will Henderson smirked as he puffed out his chest.

“I suppose you’re gonna give me a lecture on tolerance and loving my neighbor now, right?”

“No. I wanted you to know that other than the injury he sustained, your father appears healthy, which works in his favor.”

“So, what’s the problem?”

“The type of injury is the problem. He’s in danger of not only losing his arm but his life. His blood pressure is too low, his pulse and heartbeat too fast. He’s in shock and has lost a lot of blood and -”

“Yeah, he’s in bad shape. So, why aren’t you over there helping him?”

“Because the doctor you don’t want to treat your father is his best chance to come through this alive and with his arm intact.”

Will Henderson scoffed. “You doctors all stick together, good or bad. I don’t want some affirmative action scholarship darkie anywhere near my dad. So, you get him stable and into surgery – “

“I’m not a surgeon.”

“This is a hospital! I’m sure there are surgeons all over – “

Koskins’ patience ran out. He turned with clenched fists and walked away from the belligerent fool before he decked him.

“Hey. Hey!”

Not trusting himself enough to get close to the kid again, the doctor looked over his shoulder.

Will pointed at a nurse next to his dad hanging units of blood from the IV pole.

“What’s she doing?”

“Your father has lost a lot of blood. Lauren is preparing a transfusion for him.”

“She needs to step away too, and where did that blood come from?”

Tim glanced over at Lauren, but the pretty young African-American RN was already walking away from the table.

“Lauren, wait. Please.”

She stopped near the door and exhaled roughly. She folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the wall, her angry glare focused on Will Henderson.

Dr. Koskins addressed Rayanne. “Is Mr. Henderson responsive yet.”

“No, doctor. He’s still foggy and confused.”

“How’s his BP?”

“Not much improvement, doctor.”

“Increase the norepinephrine.” He turned to Will. “Your father needs blood… now.”

“You still haven’t told me where it comes from.”

The doctor threw his arms out at his sides. “The hospital blood bank.”

“No, I mean are you sure you’re giving him blood from his own kind?”

“His own kind?”

“You know. White.”

The trauma staff froze and stared at Will Henderson, incredulous.

Tim Koskins shook with rage. Not looking at any particular staff member, he spoke through gritted teeth.

“Get someone from admin in here. Now.” He took a step toward the defiant man.

“Blood is stored by type, not ethnicity.”

Will threw up his own arms, amazed. “And that’s the problem. That’s why our people are getting so many strange illnesses. You mix our blood with theirs.

Tim was done. “We don’t work in ours and theirs here. Our job is to help everyone anyway we can. If you’re refusing the transfusion, you have to sign a form. But know you’re jeopardizing your father’s life.”

Before Will could respond, the doors behind him opened and the medical receptionist entered, an attractive but harried middle-age woman close at her heels.

“Doctor, the patient’s wife is here.”

Seeing her son first, Carol Henderson stopped and grabbed him.

“William, what’s going on? What happened?” She noticed Tim Koskins and rushed toward him. “Doctor? Are you working on my husband? How is he? What happened?”

Tim reached out and gripped her arm to steady her. “Yes, ma’am. I’m Dr. Koskins. We’re trying to stabilize Mr. Henderson and slow the bleeding.”


“I don’t have all the facts, Mrs. Henderson, but your husband has a partially severed arm.”

Carol drew back in horror, covering her mouth with her hands. She looked past the doctor to her husband lying on the treatment table.

“W-What -”

The doctor gripped her arm again with a firmer hold. “Mrs. Henderson, time is very important right now. May I speak with you in private, please?”

He led her to a small consultation room. Will tried to follow.

“I need to speak with you alone, ma’am.”

Will tried to protest. “Hey, wait a minute. This is my family – “

“Now is not the time, William. For God’s sake, just wait.”

No one missed the glare the distressed woman threw at her son before entering the room.

Time stood still as the ER team continued to work on Dan Henderson while casting looks of worry at the closed consultation room door and looks of contempt at the chastened young man still smarting from his mother’s reprimand.

Four minutes later, the door opened. Tim Koskins took one of Carol’s hands into both of his.

“Thank you, Mrs. Henderson. Wait right here. There are forms for you to sign, and I’ll have a patient advocate come and sit with you.”

Overwhelmed and eyes brimming with tears, Carol Henderson nodded once.

Koskins turned to his team, issuing a flurry of orders.

“Page Dr. Cole back to Trauma. Alert surgery the patient will be there as soon as he’s stable.” He glanced over at Lauren still leaning against the wall.” The transfusion’s not going to start itself.”

He hadn’t finished his sentence before she was at Dan Henderson’s side looking for a vein in his uninjured arm.

Carol watched the team move around her husband, every movement with determined purpose.

She only caught glimpses of Dan’s face, but she didn’t miss the large blood-soaked bandage on his arm.

Or the small puddle of blood on the floor.

She watched a nurse lean over and say something to Dan, but he didn’t respond. The nurse tried again, and Carol saw Dan’s lips move but she didn’t hear anything.

Clutching her bag in one hand and her chest with the other, Carol stepped closer to the table.

Dan was speaking, but it was gibberish and made no sense.

The tears she’d held back fell as her heart broke for the man she’d spent more than half her fifty-two-years with.

Tim Koskins raised his head and saw the poor woman falling apart.

“Folks hang on just a second.”

He reached out his hand, motioning for Carol to come closer.

She stepped around Lauren securing the needle in place with a Tegaderm. Standing at her husband’s head, Carol was grateful to be near him.

The doctor encouraged her. “It’s okay. Go ahead. Talk to him.”

Gripping his shoulder, Carol leaned close to his right ear.

“Danny? I’m here, honey. You’re going to be okay, sweetie. These good people are giving you their best.”

Dan Henderson took a large gulp of air.

Tim Koskins motioned for her to continue.

“They’re taking you to surgery, sweetie and you’ll be back to your old self in no time, and then I want that four-star lunch you promised me.”

Soft chuckles from the staff stopped seconds after they began when Dan Henderson turned his head for the first time since arriving for treatment.

Carol leaned over farther so he could see her face. Her tears flowed faster seeing tears in his eyes.

“You’re going to be fine, baby. And you’re wearing a suit to lunch.” She kissed his cheek and the staff was in awe of the recognition and love in their patient’s eyes.

Rayanne swiped a tear from her face. “There are some things modern medicine will never be able to do.”

Carol squeezed Dan’s shoulder again. “I’ll be here when you get back.” She stepped away from her husband’s side just as Aric Cole rushed back into trauma.

“Surgery is prepping, ortho and anesthesia are ready. We’ll stop at radiology on the way for a couple of scans and x-rays. How is the star of the show?”

“BP and pulse are improving, doctor.”

“That’s what I like to hear.”

Koskins and Cole stood off to the side talking for several minutes. Tim tilted his head and Aric’s gaze followed to Carol Henderson. He smiled, then looked toward the unit doors. Will Henderson was still there, but his stature had diminished. His shoulders were slumped and his hands were shoved deep into pockets.

Aric approached Carol. “Mrs. Henderson, I’m Dr. Cole. I’ll be leading your husband’s surgical team.”

“Dr. Koskins told me you’re tops in the city and you started in Afghanistan. I know my Danny’s in good hands.”

Aric Cole looked over at Koskins then leaned closer to his patient’s wife. “I’m putting him in charge of my PR team.”

Carol smiled. “Dr. Cole, about earlier, about you treating my husband – “

“Ma’am, it’s forgotten. Your husband’s health and full-recovery is the focus and always will be. The procedure will be long, but we’ll keep you updated. I’ve called in a special patient advocate to stay with you. Daria Melrose. We worked together in the middle-east and she’ll take care of you and can answer some of your questions.”

“Y-You did that… and arranged all those things I heard you mention even after my son – “

He cut her off. “Mrs. Henderson, the procedure is the most important part, but it’s not the only part. We have to have everything in place to give your husband, or any patient, the best opportunity for a full recovery. And we have to take care of family because you’re the first level of support.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

“You’re welcome. We’ll talk again soon.”

He returned to the charts and monitors surrounding Dan Henderson. His vitals were improving.

A young nurse appeared with a clipboard and an electronic tablet for Carol’s signature in several places.

After signing, Carol glanced at her son. He still looked like a sullen child upset over not getting his way. Gone was the shy, introverted child who had trouble making friends. So desperate for acceptance, Will latched on to the first group which welcomed him—an alt-right group of hate-mongering racists who weren’t above using violence to deliver their warped messages. Carol was disgusted but she walked over to him.

“Mom, you don’t understand.”

“What, William? What don’t I understand? That you were taking advantage of a situation and exerting your authority over something you know your father wouldn’t want? Is that what I don’t understand?”

“You and dad won’t take the time to listen. If you did, you’d understand it’s past time we took a stand and stop letting these liberals walk all over us – “

“Stop it.”

“No, mom, Mr. Milner said – “

“Stop it, William.”

“But mom, Mr. Milner said -”

“Shut up! Mr. Milner said this, Mr. Milner said that… I’m sick of it. Your dad and I raised you and told you the right things, and this hateful jackass erased it all from your head in less than a year.”

“Mom, you’ve missed the big picture – “

Carol’s soul shattered. He was lost to her.

“William, the big picture is you had no right to overrule your father’s rights. He was unable to speak for himself and it was your duty as his son to act on his behalf, not your own twisted agenda.”

He tried to respond, but she continued.

“All that garbage propaganda you spout talking about rights miss one key point—your rights are no more important or come before anyone else’s. I-I…  could have l-lost my husband today because of your selfishness. What has – “

“Mrs. Henderson, I’ll show you to the surgery lounge. Daria Melrose is there waiting for you.”

Carol smiled at the receptionist. “Thank you, I’ll be right there.”

“It’s going to take some time for me to find forgiveness in my heart for you, William, and I can’t be around you right now.”

She reached up, took his face in both her hands and pulled him close, kissing his forehead.

“I love you. But I miss the bright-eyed, compassionate kid I raised with the easy smile. You? I don’t know who you are, so easily swayed by words and believing in whatever you’re told. But if that is the case, please believe me when I tell you-you’re an idiot.”

Carol Henderson walked away, leaving her only child standing there in confused disbelief… and alone.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “The Sweetest Days, Conclusion”

chest and rose

This story vexes with me. It’s another that has more to say, but I’m on WIP-overload right now and have to go with the HFN (Happy For Now) ending.


#52weeks52stories: Week 30

Word prompt: gray

Word count – 1791

Reading time – 2 min, 10 sec

Part 1     |     Part 2


“I hope you’re remembering how hot Kiefer Sutherland was as a vampire.”

Pulled from her thoughts and The Lost Boys movie poster by her best friend’s voice, Moira whirled around.

“Josephine Octavia Jacobs-Broadnax!”

Josie guffawed, embracing her friend. “Woman, if I wasn’t so happy to see you, I’d have to deck you for going full name on me, Moira Suzanne Jennings-Lambert!”

They both laughed aloud as the years melted.

Moira leaned back, appraising her classmate. “Geeze, Josie, you look amazing.”

The self-professed diva spun in a circle and struck a runway pose. “Of course, I do. And it’s just Jacobs now. Divorce is final and Clarence is free to ruin another woman’s life.”

Moira laughed but heart swelled with love for her oldest and dearest friend.

Unapologetic and brash, Josie Jacobs had always been the pretty, chubby girl. No amount of teasing and taunts could break her spirit.

Josie was a force of nature.

She was also the rock-solid pillar of support Moira needed after Kevin committed suicide.

Moira could do little more than breathe when police showed up at the Jennings’ home with notification of Kevin’s death.

Just a few short hours after arguing with their father and after kissing her goodbye, her brother put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

Moira’s pain bottomed out when neither of her parents reacted to the news.

All these years later and Moira still believes she saw a short, cursory nod shared between Abraham and Genova Jennings.

The familial bond between daughter and parent snapped that night. Moira became an occupant in the Jennings home. The honor student seldom spoke to them and kept her head down, studying.

She smirked at the irony of her estrangement with her parents being the catalyst for her edging out Don Thompson for the number one spot in their class.

Most teenagers would experiment with drugs, sex, alcohol, or join a band in an act of rebellion. But Moira Jennings’ act of anarchy was to become class valedictorian. What a troublemaker.

“MJ? Where’d you go? You zone out on me again.”

Flushed, Moira looked away. “Sorry, Josie. Guess it’s just a night for memories.”

Always the schemer, Josie grabbed Moira by both arms, glaring. “You know what else it’s a night for? Across the dance floor, in fifteen minutes… the Walk Like an Egyptian dance contest.”

“Aw, Josie, no way am -”

“C’mon, Moira. This is our night. This could be our last hurrah. Think about it. Ten years from now our knees could be shot or we’ve had hip replacements.”

Moira couldn’t hold in her cackles. “Ok, ok, fine. We’ll dance but -”

“Who’s dancing? I hope you know you’re not dancing without me.”

The two women turned and rushed toward the new voice, already screaming.

“Melanie! YAAY! You’re here.

“So good to see you, Mel.”

With an arm around each of her lifelong friends, Melanie Yankama hugged them close.

The Asian-American wife, mother of five, and middle-school science teacher pulled back, her eyes brimming with tears. “Why do we wait so long to get together? I love my life and everything about it, but, damn, I miss my girls.” She turned to Moira. “It still bugs me I couldn’t be with you after Alexander… well, it was just frustrating. Louis’ dad’s Alzheimer’s advanced so fast and then we lost his mom. She was healthy as an Olympic swimmer and one morning, she just didn’t wake up.”

Josie didn’t respond, recognizing her friend’s need to talk.

Moira touched Melanie’s arm. “Don’t, Mel. No one knows better than me… life doesn’t wait for the right time, it will take its due. Your daily calls meant the world to me and helped me get through some bad days.”

Moira blinked, fighting to hold back her own tears.

“So, are we dancing or dissolving into a messy heap of old ladies?”

“Oh, hush!” Melanie chided Josie. “Of course, we’re dancing, but I’m the only old lady in this conversation. You two look amazing. Do you have portraits in your attics? I feel like one of the Golden Girls standing next to you two.”

“Woman, you are stunning and you know it. Your gray hair looks like professional highlights. Mine look like I lost a battle with life.”

The trio shared a laugh at Josie’s expense.

“Now let’s go dance and watch out for the Conway Twins. Word is they’re on the prowl.”

Moira giggled. “Oh, no! Rick and Dick are here?”

“Yup! And they’re still identical. Even their comb-overs match!”

Howling with laughter, the friends made their across the ballroom, greeting classmates, posing for quick photos, and avoiding Rick and Dick Conway.

Moira Lambert was still well aware of the heaviness on her heart but the despair was gone.

As she danced, shared toasts and reconnected with friends, she was reminded of the fun of high school.

For thirty years, her one focal point was the day her brother died and her parents’ lack of concern. Moira spent so much time hating and avoiding them, she blocked out all the happy times in her young life, even the ones shared with Kevin.

The evening passed faster than anyone wanted, and the pre-dawn hours found the hotel’s efficient wait staff replacing centerpieces and empty snack trays with large bowls of fresh fruit and pots of strong hot coffee.

The early breakfast was such a hit at the last reunion, die-hard class members voted for another and now sat around the ballroom minus shoes, jackets, and a few wigs, in small group conversations making plans for family visits and cookouts.

Moira, Josie, and Melanie each claimed a lounger behind the bandstand. Melanie was on her cell giving husband, Louis, a quick rundown of their evening, while Josie was exchanging texts with someone.

Reclined with her eyes closed, Moira wasn’t asleep or even tired.

Montages of her past played in her mind, along with her late husband’s words.

“Baby, we get one life. Don’t spend it focused on your pain or the people who caused it. We have our kids and careers. We have each other. Days like these are the sweetest. Don’t focus on the pain, honey-bunny. God knows we’d never smile if we only remembered the bad times.”

He was right. Alexander Lambert was always right and as long as he was the center of her universe, she knew the truth.

When Moira returned for her sophomore year, she rented a bungalow from a former professor who recently married and moved all her things out of her parents’ home. Again Abraham and Genova were emotion-free and their daughter was glad to be rid of them.

Until the phone calls began.

When Moira moved out, karma moved in. Excessive drinking, extra-marital affairs, and empty bank accounts were just a few of the things one of her parents would call to complain about.

Moira never took sides or gave advice, and after one too many emotional outbursts from her mother calling her an uncaring daughter, she stopped taking their calls.

But Alexander refused to let her turn her back—he knew regret would catch up to her one day.

He held her hand when they invited her then-divorced parents to dinner to announce their engagement.

Alexander’s wink from the altar made Moira grin as she held her father’s arm all the way up the aisle.

When her parents became ill two years apart, Alexander was at her side, helping to move them each in turn to Indianapolis and manage their affairs in life and after their deaths.

Moira never again had a daughter’s love for Abraham and Genova. She could never mine deep enough in her soul to find forgiveness and her parents made it easy by refusing to talk about Kevin. However, her husband made her understand turning her back on them would only make the memories worse for her.

How could one person be right all the time?

Well, not all the time. There was the one time Alexander was wrong.

Home just three days after corrective knee surgery, her husband waved off chest pains as indigestion. When antacids didn’t help, Moira wanted to take him to the ER but Alexander refused, saying he’d had enough of hospitals and would prefer to try resting for a couple of hours first.

Less than an hour later, he woke in distress. His breathing was rapid and shallow and he coughed up blood. Moira’s 911 call brought paramedics to her home in six minutes, but it was too late for Alexander. He’d suffered a pulmonary embolism and never made it to the hospital.

Moira sat up, in awe that the memory which caused so many of her tears for over a year wasn’t breaking her down now. Losing the love of her life still hurt, witnessed by the dull ache in her chest, but at last, she knew she’d go on not in spite of her loss but because of it.

“What are you smiling about, MJ?”

Glancing over at Josie, Moira’s smile grew. “Nothing, just memories.”

Melanie ended her call and sat up. “Louis said if you two leave town without coming by to say hello and give him a hug, he’s going to put an ancient Asian curse on you both which will cause your hips to spread.”

“Too late!” Moira chirped.

“Yeah, your hubs is a little late to the party on that front. How did he come up with that idea? A supernatural message from his ancestors?

“Nah. An old episode of Tales from the Crypt.”

They all dissolved into giggles, then Josie looked at Moira with a wicked glint in her eyes.

“You know, we could grab my things from my room, stop by your hotel and get your bags, then spend a few hours at Mel’s, making Louis sorry he ever met us.”

Melanie leaped to her feet clapping her hands. “I like that idea.”

Moira agreed. “Sounds like fun. I’m in.”

The clatter of dishes made Josie peek around the bandstand.

“They’re bringing out the grills and steam tables. First, breakfast, then Operation Annoy Louis.”

Moira chuckled as Josie dragged Melanie toward the breakfast buffet wondering about her chances of getting a six-egg omelet.

Before joining them, Moira paused, resting her hand over her heart.

Alexander Lambert loved her and saved her from every bad thing in her life. Though he was gone forever, his words were still with her, urging her on. Moira closed her eyes, grateful for the time they had together and the life they’d shared. She said a silent thank you to the memory of the man who worked to see the good in everything and everyone… and brought out the best in her.

Smiling, she went to join her friends, looking forward to the sweetest days still to come.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved