Lost, Sadly

The acrid scent of smoke filled her nostrils, causing her lungs to violently spasm, as it forced the foreign substance from her body. It was a hoarse cough the ejected from deep with-in her, and it was the first thing she could remember experiencing. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Her skin was warm, but only on the right side of her body. She tried to open her eyes, but a warm viscous substance clouded her vision.

“Uhn,” she groaned.

A tidal wave of pain, originating from just below the elbow of her left arm, began to lap at the edge of her consciousness, It pulsed with growing urgency, each reception only a split second behind the rhythmic drums banging in her ears.

She screamed, the pain forcing mind to take root, as she became aware of the dangerous situation threatening her.

Again, she struggled to open her eyes.

Her left peeled open, fighting against the warm sticky substance that had covered it. She knew that more of the same liquid also ran up her face, thin, morbid, rivers that carried her essence away.

Thick smoke clouded her vision, making it nearly impossible for her to see much farther than the top of the steering wheel, and it did nothing to fight against the feeling of disorientation that still coddled her senses.

She cried out as another wave of pain rolled up her arm, and slowly, she turned toward the source of her agony. She struggled to make sense of the nightmare before her. Even through the haze of smoke, and the liquid that poured up her cheek and into the corner of her eye, before following the trail it had made on her forehead, did she fight to believe it.

Where her forearm should have begun, just below the elbow, were two very bloody fragments of bone. What should have been, was no longer, and what remained, was the source of a crimson rain that bathed her in her own life’s essence.


Past the steering wheel, through the broken windshield, the engine suddenly ignited. The flames were small, but they fed hungrily at the fuel pooling on the pavement below. With the light came the revelation that she was upside down.

At that moment, she remembered everything. She remembered coming home to find her husband in bed with her best friend. How she hastily gathered some of her clothes together and threw them into a suitcase, desperate to leave as they begged her to listen. She remembered the panic attack setting in as she sped down the mountains, and looking down as her phone came to life. And, the last thing she remembered, was seeing the missed text messages and phone calls.

But then, the flames found their way into the fuel tank, and nothing else mattered. She was surrounded by an intense heat, crushed by an impossible pressure, and erased from existence, in all but the blink of an eye.

Trespasser (Part II)

The look on ole Sammy Dryden’s face was that of pure contentment when it happened. He was fixated on the shape of the ballerina, his one good eye staring as affectionately while the other remained hidden behind its milky cataract blanket.  His heart had simply ceased to continue beating.

His smile softened, then faded altogether as the life slipped away from his old bones. First the knife, and then the figurine he had been carving, fell from his hands.  The first clattered against wooden floor, spinning for several seconds before coming to rest at his feet.  The other landed on its side with a crack.  The right arm of the graceful dancer broke from the impact and shot into the air, bouncing off of the approaching forehead of its maker.

He had been known as Sammy Dryden to his neighbors, though some of the children often referred to him as ole man Dryden, or Sammy D.  He had survived his wife Hazel, of sixty years.  He had outlived both of his sons, Robert and Douglas, who had each served and died for their country.  He himself had served three tours protecting the people’s freedom.  There was no man on God’s green Earth capable of sending him through the Pearly Gates.

As the rains finally died and the water level in the street slowly vanished into sewers already swollen from the storm, it was ultimately time that had betrayed him.

Nobody had noticed when Bryer Street’s oldest resident quietly died that night.  The storm had taken its toll on the community’s residents.  Having become disinterested once they realized that it wasn’t going to be the end of all things, each family had moved into the interiors of their homes to fulfill their nightly routines.

By the time anyone knew he was gone, he had become as wooden as the figurines he spent his days drawing from the wood.

Trespasser (Part I)

Most days, Bryer street was full of activity.  Children were playing in their yards, throwing their Frisbee or yelling “Ollie All in Free” as they chased one another from one hiding place to the next.  Men pulled their cars out into the driveway and crawled under the hoods while the women hung laundry on clotheslines out back.

There were fourteen families along Bryer street.  Five of their odd numbered homes stood solemnly across from their even numbered counterparts, while the remaining four filled out the cul-de-sac at the end.  Each was built from the exact design as the other, with the only difference being the cosmetic differences that each owner had applied over the years.  Where some had simply repainted their wood siding, others had replaced it entirely.

Some families proudly displayed the flag of their favorite home team on the front of the home.  At the very back of the cul-de-sac, one home had gone so far as to design the entire color scheme of their structure to that of their favorite team!  It was the only house of its kind, dark red with gold paint on the trim, and each year they placed life-sized plastic statues of the team’s players along each side of the driveway.

Everyone knew the names of their neighbors in the Bryer Street community.  They had lived together for no less than a decade and congregated regularly at barbecues, block parties, or other themed events.  Each year, the men met at a different house to watch the Superbowl, while the women retreated poolside and shared the latest gossip.

The families were tight knit and on most days they were full of activity.  But then, today wasn’t like most days. Today, every family was nestled comfortably in their homes, watching television, reading books, or doing whatever it was that they do whenever the weather turned foul.  Outside, the rain drummed on the hoods of their cars.  It filled their gutters to capacity and the storm drains struggled to swallow the deluge.

The hours stretched into an endless eternity, or so it seemed to the pale faces peering out from the windows of their homes, and it felt like the day couldn’t get any worse.  They watched helplessly as the waters flooded their gardens.  The soil had long since become saturated and the sprouts were slowly drowning beneath the weight of the uncaring waters.  Phones rang as they called one another.  Some to comment on the severity of the storm, others just to hear the sound of their friend’s voice.

Nobody thought that it would last this long.  Not a one of them thought it could get much worse.

It happened as the evening approached.  The rains had lessened enough so as to allow the waters to seep into sewers which had long since filled beyond their capacity.  Some of the families were either finishing dinner, while others were drying the evening dishes or getting ready for bed.  The only constant was that every family had finally accepted the storm for what it was.  You might even say that they had grown complacent with it.

At the house nearest the beginning of the street, Sammy Dryden was resting in his rocking chair, enjoying the fresh scent of rain.  A retired widower, Sammy was the oldest of Bryer Street’s inhabitants.  As he was wont to do, he spent his days on the front porch whittling various creatures to life from whatever material he could get his hands on. Tonight, he was patiently pulling the graceful form of a ballerina from a small piece of Basswood he had found while walking along the sidewalk in front of the Duncon’s residence.

His hands shook as he worked, but he pressed on with the patience of a predator carefully gauging its prey.  And, as the ballerina continued to appear from the labors of his skilled touch, he reflected upon a time when he was much more agile.

It was a pose common to his neighbors, all of whom spoke fondly of the Old Man Sammy and his Wooden Figurines.  Even beneath the quiver of age and deteriorating health, his hands continued to create the most beautiful creatures ever seen by the eyes of his friends.

He hunched forward as he worked, his elbows resting just behind his knees.  It wasn’t the most comfortable posture for him, but he wouldn’t think of it until she danced free of her wooden prison.  For now, he only watched as the wood shavings fell away with each stroke of his knife.