So many new faces this week! I love it. (I hear I have @DL_Thurston to thank for that.)
Didja’ like the prompt sentence? It’s the beginning of the short by Steve Bornstein, @steve_bornstein, Full Circle, in When the Hero Comes Home. You have to read the whole thing, it’s simply marvelous.
Now, while you’re finishing up your order and waiting for the book to download into your e-reader or (heaven forbid) waiting for it to come in the mail, let’s talk about this week’s finalists!
Great bunch of writers, them. Here are their entries. So read, vote, send friends, and acquaintances and maybe the stinky guy in the next cubicle. Don’t forget, this week’s winner gets a FREE copy of When the Hero Comes Home! So come back tomorrow morning at 9:00AM ET to see who WINS!
It was the look in your father’s eyes that finally convinced me. He stood defensively, arms folded against his chest — just like the last several times you’d taken me to see him. But this time, I felt defensive, my pulse racing.
I never should have doubted you. All those times you talked about what we should do to him. All those times you’d mentioned tying him down, making the right incisions, and working on fixing his attitude.
But it wasn’t until you’d gotten the Pure Emotion II Gel Cap eyes from the Gregory’s Taxidermy and Genealogical Preservation society that he had really come to life.
It was the look in your father’s eyes that finally convinced me. Not that you were homely, or that the dowry was lacking—but I saw he was offering you out of love, not hate.
I’m not sure you could recognize that at the time; you wanted to, that was plain in your face, even under your tears, but there’s only so much a young heart can process.
But the ones that come from love have a much richer taste, are much more trusting and malleable. I try not to abuse that trust, and I like to think that’s why they still come to me. I take the beds price and put it back into the community, making sure your father and sisters prosper; making sure your son is provided for. And you let me live on; in spirit and in flesh. And I let you out, every so many years: unlock that little door in your head, so you can see and speak without me as a filter, when you visit your father, your sisters, your son.
Just remember what they’ve done for you; and you for them. Love them, but come back when you’re done. Because there always others we must save from the mores of your society; until it grows up.
It was the look in your father’s eyes that finally convinced me. After all, who would kiss a frog. I mean gross. I wasn’t sure how I would live it down. The shame, but of course, it wasn’t really shame. It was a dare. A stupid dare at a stupid sleepover.
We’d snuggled around the fire in my room, all pink ruffles and pillows and it was wonderful. We laughed and giggled and ate trifle and confits and it was wonderful. And of course then came the storytelling and the “I nevers” and the “Truth or Dares.”
Let me be honest, I’ve never been much of an adventurous princess. I didn’t even want to be a damsel-in-distress. Well, maybe when I was little. The distress dresses were very chic. Rips and tears in all the right places. But as I grew older the idea of the dirt and ickyness and just plain waiting to be rescued frankly, bored me.
Now-a-days people think it was his charm and romance. A talking frog. Nope. The girls did all the talking for him. All the convincing. And all I needed to do was close my eyes and give him one little kiss.
I almost didn’t, you know. But…he did have such beautiful blue eyes.
“It was the look in your father’s eyes that finally convinced me.” I picked up the book and waited for his reply. I didn’t even pretend to read, just turned pages as I studied his lean face as it twitched from one emotion to another. Fear, anger, pain, anger again. All directed inward, at himself, at the memory of the man he thought he’d known all his life.
“What do I do now?” He’d settled too quickly on resignation for my tastes, but there it was. No denials or disbelieving. He’d known deep down that it was true. And that was even more dangerous than his rage.
“What you do with that truth is up to you,” i said in a neutral voice. He had to choose, not me.
He thought about that. “You said the look in his eyes told you…”
“Yes.” And here we were.
“You knew he’d been working with the daemons.”
“Yes.” I turned another page, waiting.
“Just before you killed him.”
“Of course.” The book trembled in my hands. I willed it–them–to stop. One wrong word, and the son follows the father that begat him while soul-tainted.
The kid just smiled and said, “Good.”
“It was the look in your father’s eyes that finally convinced me,” she said, hefting the laundry basket onto her hip, the cast clunking against brown wicker before turning and asking, “Could you hand me those?”
I picked up the bottles of bleach, fabric softener, and detergent and handed them to her so she could hold them in her good arm. They were heavy, so I had to use both hands, heaving them up, one at a time. The basement laundry area smelled of urine and old peanut butter. I wanted to get away.
We trudged up the stairs to the noise and chaos of the daytime area. Two kids were sitting on the floor crying next to some Leggos. Their mothers sat nearby, smoking.
Mom kept trudging ahead of me. Her thick legs in Bermuda shorts were all I could see except the peeling and crayon-scrawled walls on either side of us as we took the next flight up.
Finally, we arrived at our little room, with its bunk beds and Mom’s big burgundy suitcase and my little soft-sided lavender one with the Hello Kitty patch. I sat on the floor and ran my fingers around and around the patch.
Mom looked in the mirror for a moment and turned away in disgust. I wanted to make her feel better.
“You look much better now. They’re yellow instead of red,” I said. “And much less puffy. Plus the doctor said the break would heal fine.”
“Yeah,” she said. “All those times he said he’d take you. I never believed him till this time. And we just couldn’t let that happen, could we?”
I ran to her and put my face in her lap, the Bermuda shorts soaking up my tears. She stroked my hair.