Death can be nothing other than yellow for Cora. The time before and the time after. Hell, death itself was bold, school bus yellow. She vividly remembered death every Spring as young shoots pushed their way to the surface, seeking the warm yellow sun.


They lived their lives simply. Had the picket fence, the white clapboard two story colonial and the well cut lawn along with an extensive garden that stretched around the house from front to back. Cora always took meticulous, obsessive care of the flower beds. She sculpted in yellow, white and red waves of heirloom blooms.

Chasing tuffets of snow, a vast, flowing blanket of white Peter Pan crocus’  announced the arrival of Spring with deep heady fragrance and tiny yellow fingers reaching for the warmth of the sun. Not wanting to be outdone, the Campernelle  daffodils arrived with their yellow spiky stars and zigzag scalloped cups dipping and swaying through the carpet of white. Taking the curtain call was the tulips. Bobbing their heads in the near summer breezes were the bold, brilliant red Kingsblood, and demure Mabel tulips whose crimson bowls streaked with  delicate veins of white.

Stuart on the other hand, was singularly obsessed with corn. He had a plot in the back corner of their lot where he planted four rows of ratty, anemic bland corn. He raved at the deliciousness of his crop,  unaware he had procured common field corn which lacked the sweetness and tender kernels of the varieties normal gardeners planted. Cora tolerated the nonsense because it was tucked away where she didn’t have to see it. He limed, manured and hoed around. Too much of everything. His garden was stunted and feeble, but it made him happy and he left her gardens alone.

That Spring the tool shed was thrown wide and the commotion coming from within heralded Stuart’s usual routine of digging and shuffling through hoes, shovels, rakes and various bags of garden enhancements. Cora listened to the endless racket  grinding her teeth, clenching her eyes tighter and tighter with each bang, and tried to go about her daily household duties.

CRASH! “I’m not going to say anything. It won’t do any good.”

RATTLE CLANG BANG! “I’m keeping my nose out of his business. It will be over soon enough.”

With each noise she winced and jumped. She glanced out the window as she began washing the dishes from her afternoon tea. The water was warm and carried a puffy white cloud of soap bubbles.  She  gently pulled her grandmothers delicate tea cup out of the water. It was beautifully embellished with tulips and gilded with a rim of gold. Gently wiping inside and out, she cleaned and rinsed, then as she reached for the dish drainer, RUMBLE RUMBLE CRACK! and the cup slipped from her grasp and shattered on the granite counter top.

“Uhh! Uhh! That’s it!”

She stormed through the kitchen, into the dining room and out the patio doors. As soon as her toe hit the sod she began yelling at her husband.

“Stuart for the love of God! What in the hell are you doing? How damn much effort does it take to get a few tools out of the shed?”

As she arrived at the shed, Stuart wore a grin Cora saw as ridiculous and condescending.

As he swept his arm behind him he said, “Sorry honey. I can’t seem to find my weeding bucket. Those dandelions have already got a grip on my plot.” The bright yellow pincushions were happily thriving where Stuart planted his annual crop.

She raised her clenched fist and ejected her forefinger and stabbed at his chest. “Just shut up. You don’t even have a clue what you’re doing. All you do is rattle around and dig and put crap in the soil and all for a few rows of stupid field corn.”

Stuarts face fell, his feelings stung.

“Now wait a minute Cora. That’s just mean and uncalled for.”

“Uncalled for? I’ll tell  you what’s uncalled for, it’s you pretending to be a gardener. No one wants to eat corn the farmers feed their cows.”

She stumbled over a hose and bumped into the shed knocking over a hoe. Cora grabbed it as she steadied herself and continued to bark. “I’ve had it Stuart, no more!”

Stuart, now amused by his wife’s over the top reaction, put a hand over his mouth to conceal a smirk. When he started to shudder with corked up laughter, red hot anger rose in her face. She grabbed the hoe with both hands and swung it around and down onto his smug, patronizing head. Over and over. Again and again. She finally stopped and found herself slick with sweat and blood, and breathed in great gulps of air. She dropped the tool and smiled. A small giggle escaped as she looked over the ruined mess that was her husband. She giggled again and it rolled into uncontrollable laughter. She saw the yellow daffodils laughing with her from the front of the yard.

With his own tools, she picked a place in the yellow splash of dandelions and began digging. Each time she glanced back at Stuart, laughter overtook her and she leaned on the shovel until the hysteria subsided. Finally she had a Stuart sized hole and she roll and roll and roll him in. Then shovel by shovel, she covered him with the soil she had removed, and carefully spread the extra soil around the bed. She returned all the tools to the shed except for the hoe. That she took in the house with her. She scrubbed it with soap, then bleach. She took a long hot shower and rinsed the last remnants of Stuart down the drain.

Dried off and hair up in a towel, she swiped with her open hand to clear a patch of mirror. Rivulets of water continued to streak the surface marring and distorting her face. She took a deep breath and exhaled.

“Well. I wonder how peonies and roses will do in that back corner?”

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, SAM gave me this prompt: daffodils, dandelions, and death.

I gave Michael this prompt: Use these sensory words in a piece: cool, yellow, fresh, sweet, and crackle.

When I got the e-mail with my prompt this week, this story popped right in my head. Dark huh? Of course, since yellow is the a big part of the entire post, it had to be “Yellow” by Coldplay and it fits shockingly well.


And the Rain Came Down

The rain was coming down in sheets, two rivers ran on either side of the street as the excess searched for a place to go. The force of all the drops created blasts of wind and the rain turned horizontal. Alberta; her name, yes, but she would either ignore, or deliver a scowl at the insistent speaker who called her by her given name . She preferred Bertie. To that she would respond with a smile and sparkling eyes.

Rain soothed Bertie. She stood in front of the large window in her living room and watched as it shifted and changed with each gust of wind. She thought of rain as a giant scrubber that cleansed the air, the streets, and every object in it’s path. She waited anxiously for the clouds to break so she could step out and breath in the world, newly refreshed. Even the birds rejoiced. They announced the end of the tumult with a glorious, joyful noise.

The first five notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony startled Bertie out of her reverie. Annoyed at the interruption she grabbed her phone and grumbled,


“Hi Dolly!”

Rolling her eyes, she crossed her left arm under her right, phone holding arm. “Hi Mom.”

“Isn’t the rain wonderful? I know how much you love it and I always think of you the instant a drop falls.”

She relaxed and answered as a smile tipped the edges of her mouth.

It is Mom. I love it. I can’t wait to get outside. I’m tempted to go now but I’m afraid I’ll end up in the next county with this wind.”

Her mothers musical laugh lilted through the line.

“Well, you probably should wait a bit. It really is blowing right now.”

So sweetie, how are you? Are you doing OK? I hope the rain is helping.

It’s time honey.”

She clenched her prickling eyes shut as her mouth tightened and fought the too familiar tears. She didn’t want to go to Pine Hills. The ache of the cold and the needles of the sleet as Father Jack said the final blessing and we each placed a single yellow rose on his casket, were still vividly etched in her mind. Whenever she closed her eyes, it was there.

I know it is. It just hurts too bad Mom. I haven’t been there since we said good-bye. It was so cold and I can’t imagine it without feeling that frigid wind last Winter.”

“Bertie, I was there yesterday. His flowers are blooming. I can’t tell you how beautiful it is. I have never seen a bush so loaded with blooms.”

DSCN0936The tension she’d built in her shoulders released when she released the single deep breath she held. Then she opened her eyes. Her mother patiently waited through the silence for her daughter to find her voice.

OK. As soon as it stops raining I’ll head up there.”

“Do you want me to go with you?”

No. No, I need to do this alone. I’ll take a box of Kleenex and have a chat with Caleb. I’m still mad at him for leaving. Maybe I can let go of some of the anger. I don’t know.”

The line became quiet and Bertie heard a soft sniffle. After a moment her mom finally spoke, tears had altered her musical voice to a subdued muffled tone.

“Bertie. While you’re there….. See if you can find some of your happiness….. Take some time…. to smell the roses.”

Mumford & Sons–After The Storm


Writing for Scriptic Prompt exchange for February, 10-14 and I came up with this stand alone piece about mourning and moving on. Mumford and Son’s song is the perfect song to go with this piece.

For the prompt exchange this week, SAM gave me this prompt: Take time to smell the roses.

I gave Barb Black this prompt: Singing with words no one could understand, she carefully packed the box.


Climbing Out

Emma’s bootsteps echoed hollow, sharp off marble mausoleum walls. Reverb steps determine a path away from that past. Sun beams rushed her, attempted to banish saturated cold stone and death.

As she walked, doll size figures grew to life size. Aunt Polly, Cora, Father Peter. A small table bore the urn; her “father” entrapped.

“Let’s get this over with.”

“…that he may not receive in punishment the requital of his deeds …” Eyes roll, she snickered.


Escape steps shattered quiet; a thought punished,

“I will climb this high wall in remembrance of him to regain or re-earn my life”


I’m in! Jumping in the sandbox and playing 100 Word Song with LeRoy on Lance’s blog My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. My entry has Emma dealing in her way with the death of her father. Conveying her contempt and mixed emotions about the passing of the man who raised her stretches my writing “muscles” with the 100 word limit and using music as inspiration; this week it’s a dark goth piece Lillies And Remains by Bauhaus.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Holding the Key

The newspaper blows down the street, elusive and forgotten. Skittering along crinkly and scraping the sidewalk when a fresh puff lifts it toward the pedestrians where it jolts a few  and lands open at the feet of one girl. She bends over to pick it up and sees a name in the Obituary Section she has known since she was a child.

Ania Boudreaux.

Mrs. B, the librarian was the holder of mystical and fabulous information about every book in the Youth section. She had the right questions and always knew exactly the right book. The obituary was a sucker punch, shocking the breath away, eyes widened and mouth open as her life with Mrs. Boudreaux flashed before her in vivid detail.

Story time when she was young with tales painted in words, vivid and  exciting.

Hunched in a long row of books whispering and giggling while sharing  thoughts about this or that book.

Hanging on Mrs. B’s elbow peeking on tip toes she flips through the cards in the card catalog explaining the Dewey Decimal System. Then triumphantly whisper cheering and high fiving when she’s found the perfect book for the school project.

The tears bite the corners of her eyes and her face crushes into grief and pain knowing her BBFF (best book friend forever) was gone. Her time with Mrs. B had grown, changing since she moved out of Youth and into the Adult section of the library. She made detours into the children’s section seeking out Mrs. Boudreaux’s input and valued suggestions, but the trips became fewer and fewer. It had been months, perhaps a year since the last visit.

Fifty six is too young. Reading the obituary she found breast cancer was the hoodlum that stole her. The obituary included brief details of Ania (Zielinski) Boudreaux life and her journey to death. It differed because it included a poem penned by Ania, Mrs. B herself as her epitaph.

We’ve traveled the road
     you and me.
We’ve seen the plain
     and we’ve seen the strange.
Now I hold a shiny key.
A key for me and only me.
The lock it turns
     opens a door
     where a different new
     adventure awaits.
The road is for another life
     that has no beginning
     and no end.
You’ll have to wait,
     another time, another day,
     for the road you’re on
     continues still.
The time will come
     when you have a key
     and I’ll be there
     to wave and greet.
Then we’ll begin a journey,
     bright and fresh and new
          on the road that has
               no beginning
                    and no end.

Dropping the paper back on the ground it renews it’s skitter and floating  journey. Emma pulls the hood over her head as the granite in her throat breaks free and the whitewater crash of emotions flow and she stumbles along, resuming her journey to the library knowing there is a hole in her world that won’t be filled until she finds her key.


This post was written from a prompt from Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood. It went like this:

“For this week, write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece in which an epitaph features prominently. 

This can be a short as the epitaph itself, or the epitaph can be part of a longer story. As our New Year’s gift to you, this will have a hefty word limit: 500 words or less.

And one more thing? Since this is a new year, we want you to attempt brand new characters. We love your ongoing stories, but we are curious about what else is in those fabulous imaginations of yours.”

I give you a new character, Ania Boudreaux.