The Proposal (part 43)

Her dad caught her arm as she passed him. “Apologize, Ayn,” he said, not letting go. His voice was quiet but firm. Ayn clenched her jaw and turned enough so she faced the iron-haired woman whose lips curled in the faintest of smiles. A burst of heat rushed through Ayn’s chest. She’d only experienced that

The Proposal (part 10)

“What about the garden?” Ayn asked. “For the hundredth time, Ayn,” her dad said, “they said they’d have someone come do the upkeep. Like with the house. Keep an eye on it.” Leaving the garden to strangers  felt like the biggest abandonment of her mom. She had loved tending the garden, and it showed. Their yard

The Proposal (part 9)

Even with all of that, Ayn couldn’t help feeling like they were running away. It had been a year since her mom had died. And while she knew she’d never see her mom again, leaving somehow made that fact seem even more real. Like somehow, living and breathing in the same walls where her mom

Fallen Star (part 40)

As she crumpled the wrapper to put in her backpack, Jodi noticed something glinting overhead. A six-sided star swaying from a tree limb. Her star. Jodi stood to pluck the star from the branch. She thought about all that had just happened. About what she knew about their mom. About her secret. “I’m afraid,” she

Fallen Star (part 39)

Jodi was starving. She took out the almonds and protein bar, thinking about what had just happened. Maybe she’d fallen and bumped her head. But she didn’t really believe that was all of it. Jodi realized that she had been keeping secrets as much as their mom had. Only she’d been keeping the secret from

Fallen Star (part 36)

“When is daddy coming back?” Stacy cried. “He isn’t.,” Jodi said. Her matter of fact tone of voice gave away none of the turmoil she was feeling inside. It was as if the ground were being taken out from under her feet. “Is he?” She turned to their mom. There was a distant, pained expression

Fallen Star (part 35)

Their father left just after bedtime on a Sunday night. He had tucked them into the bed she and Stacy shared. Kissed their foreheads, saying “I love you,” to each of them as he stroked the bangs from their foreheads. Jodi knew something was wrong. She crept out of bed and followed him to the

Fallen Star (part 33)

Her face was kind, and at the same time, Jodi knew that the tattooed lady across from her would see through any lies. There wasn’t room in this cozy little cottage for anything but the truth. The tattooed lady lay another card on the table. As before, pictures formed in Jodi’s mind. Fragments of memories

Fallen Star (part 26)

It began to rain. Jodi barely noticed. As soon as she saw her mom’s name, tears pricked her eyes and spilled over, mixing with the rain drops hitting the paper. It wasn’t long before it was impossible to tell if it was tears or rain making the words harder to read. Brenda May Sutters, aged

Fallen Star (part 25)

No one had told her and Stacy what had happened to their mother, other than she was dead. Their father and step-mother had kept media out of the house, no television or radios had been turned on without them being present, they’d stopped their subscription to the newspaper, and had enrolled Stacy and Jodi in