“Peek-a-boo!” As Emma’s peal of laughter filled the sun-dappled air, her parents, Tracy and Eric, turned from the picnic table towards the sound of their daughter’s voice. Tracy gasped. Their daughter stood before an ancient, sun-kissed tree, slowly covering and uncovering her eyes playing the age-old game with— “What is that?” Eric asked, his voice

Change in the Weather

“Looks like rain,” Emma’s Grandma Frances said, looking up. Emma squinted up at the vast blue sky, then at her grandmother. “Where?” she asked. “On its way.” Grandma Frances nodded. “Let’s you and I find a place to wait it out.” “A place to hide?” Emma asked, excited by the idea of a new game.


“…nine, ten! Ready or not, here I come!” Janey laughed, and scanned the grove of trees for her friend. Emma covered her mouth to keep from laughing and crouched low to the ground behind the tree. She’d picked the tree because it wasn’t very cute—kind of like a slug with arms. She thought it might

Fallen Star (part 2)

Stacy’s eyes went round as two quarters. “What should we do?” “I don’t know,” Jodi repeated. She began turning in place while Stacy clung to one of her belt loops. The combination of her poor eyesight and slow, steady circling changed the faces of those around them into garish clowns—mouths too wide, cheeks too red,

Morning Walk

Emma cupped her mittened hand over her mouth and announced in a loud stage whisper, “Look, Daddy, there’s a fog monster.” Her dad chuckled and squeezed her free hand. “Where?” “By that phone pole. See?” She pointed down their street. “He’s yawning.” Emma’s dad squinted into the foggy morning. He sipped his coffee. He tilted

A Christmas Story (part 10)

Mellissa opened her eyes and smiled. “In glorious days of old, that angels bending near the earth, did play their harps of gold…” The sister’s voices merged and floated into the house of Mary Atkins. Enveloped in music, the old woman stood a little straighter and didn’t notice the tears running down her cheeks as

A Christmas Story (part 9)

Mellissa lifted her head and began to sing. Her voice was clear and sweet, not beautiful, but full on this cold night. It carried itself in a tufted cloud up the porch steps, through the cracks around the door and into the straining ears of Mary Atkins, who stood motionless behind dusty lace curtains. Several

A Christmas Story (part 8)

“Mellissa!” Stacy hissed as her little sister opened the iron gate to the front yard. “She could have an attack dog or something. You want to get us killed?” Mellissa held her tongue and gazed at the snow shapes in the yard. No threat here. A few feet from the front porch, she stopped. “Someone’s

A Christmas Story (part 7)

“We should sing for her,” Mellissa said, looking at Stacy. “You’re really being a pain. You’ve just ruined my life, do you know that?” Stacy frowned. “I have not!” Mellissa cried. “You have too! They’ll never speak to me again!” Stacy said. “So?” “Oh! What do you know? You’re so stupid!” A lump formed in